Baked Stuffed Eggplant & Sardines 🍆🐟

Baked Stuffed Eggplant & Sardines

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy

Not everyone likes sardines but Teresa and I love them! To be honest, when my husband & son heard I was making sardines & eggplant they made some weird faces. I told them that's what I was cooking so they could either join me or cook for themselves! The combination of eggplant, sardines, garlic, onions, and tomatoes was making my mouth water. This dish doesn't have a strong 'fishy' taste at all but the flavor is reminiscent of Sicilian cuisine. My son had one request; please add some tomato sauce to it. Since I didn't have any made I whipped up a quick sauce using Italian stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic & oil. At first, their faces were very skeptical and then they took their first bites. I'm pretty sure they didn't want to say they liked it, but those weird faces turned to smiles and both wanted to split the 4th eggplant, which I immediately said 'NO', it's mine and Teresa's lunch for tomorrow! Moral of the story: never be afraid to cook what comes into your head because it just might be a new family favorite...you never know. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 (4.375 oz) cans skinless boneless sardines in olive oil, drained and flaked
  • 2 large eggplants, cut in half lengthwise (leave stems on)
  • 1/3 cup EVOO
  • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 ½ large sweet onions, diced
  • 4-6 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  (14 ounce) cans Hunt’s Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoons Hunt’s Italian style tomato paste with garlic & basil
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano (more or less to taste, fresh oregano may be substituted.)
  • 1/4 cup grated Locatelli cheese (Pecorino Romano)
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Quick Tomato Sauce (any homemade or jar sauce is fine) more if you are serving with pasta

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
    2. Cut eggplants in half, lengthwise with the stem attached. Score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern being careful not to cut through the skins.
    3. In a large skillet on medium heat, heat 1/3 cup oil then lower heat. Add the eggplant, flesh down. Cover and cook until completely softened but not falling apart. About 10 minutes. Carefully flip over and cook until soft, about 5 minutes more. You may have to do this in 2 batches if your skillet isn’t large enough.
    4. When done, let cool in a separate dish. Once cooled, leaving a 1/8-inch border, gently scoop eggplant flesh into a bowl and chop. Lightly drizzle some EVOO on the bottom of a baking dish and place the eggplant shells gently inside, close to each other to support them from flattening.
    5. In the same pan, add the 1 Tablespoon EVOO and saute onions for about 6-7 minutes on medium heat. Add all remaining ingredients including the chopped eggplant & flaked sardines, except the grated Locatelli and mozzarella cheeses. Remove from heat and combine well.
    6. Sprinkle with Locatelli cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese then top with 1 or 2 spoonfuls of quick sauce down the middle, again sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese again. Bake about 5-10  minutes or until cheese melts.
    7. Serve by itself or over your favorite pasta!

    Note:


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    Quick Tomato Sauce – Twiins Style 🍝

    Quick Tomato Sauce - Twiins Style

    • Servings: 4
    • Difficulty: Easy

    Don’t have time to make a pot of tomato sauce? This quick and easy sauce can be made in no time at all with staple ingredients from your pantry.

    Ingredients

    • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian stewed tomatoes
    • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
    • 2 frozen Dorot garlic cubes
    • 2 Tablespoons Hunt’s Italian style tomato paste with garlic & basil
    • 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning (more or less to taste)
    • Immersion blender

      Directions

      1. In a small saucepan on medium heat, heat the oil and add the garlic cubes. Sauté until fragrant, about a minute.
      2. Add tomato paste and stir well for a minute. Add the stewed tomatoes and stir well until the tomato paste is blended.
      3. Add 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning and simmer for 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender right in the saucepan,  purée the tomato mixture and simmer another 5-10 minutes.

      Note: Makes enough sauce for our Baked Stuffed Eggplant & Sardines (4) plus a few spoonfuls to top spaghetti.

      Pantry & Freezer Staples:

      2 cans stewed tomatoes, plain or Italian style, preferably Hunt’s

      2 cans diced tomatoes, plain or Italian style, preferably Hunt’s

      2 cans tomato paste, preferably Hunt’s with garlic & basil

      1 tray Dorot’s frozen garlic cubes (you can get these at Target and most Harris Teeter grocery stores)

       


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      Orecchiette with Veal Chorizo

      Orecchiette with Veal Chorizo

      • Servings: 4
      • Difficulty: Easy

      This recipe was actually a wonderful accident. I defrosted a pound of ground veal only to realize when I started to cook it that it was ground veal chorizo (quite spicy) Well it turned out pretty good and my family enjoyed it so here it is. Enjoy!

      Ingredients

      • 1 lb ground veal chorizo (spicy and gives a nice reddish color to the sauce)
      • 2 tablespoons EVOO
      • 1 large onion, finely minced
      • 1 large clove garlic, minced
      • salt & pepper to taste
      • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
      • 1/2 cup dry white wine
      • 2 Tablespoons capers (optional)
      • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
      • 1 tsp chopped thyme
      • 1/2 tsp rosemary, chopped
      •  1/2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
      • 12 ounces orecchiette pasta
      • 2 Tablespoons butter

        Directions

        1. In a large deep skillet, heat EVOO. Add the onion and minced garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until soft, about 4-6  minutes.
        2. Raise heat to high. Add the ground veal then season with salt & pepper. Cook until veal is fully cooked and no longer pink, about 7-8 minutes. Any juices from the veal should be evaporated.
        3. Add the white wine. Bring to a boil. Boil until almost evaporated, about 4-5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, thyme, rosemary, and optional capers then simmer over medium-low heat until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
        4. Cook the orecchiette according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta liquid before draining well. Add the pasta to the skillet. Add the Parmigiano=Reggiano cheese, chopped parsley, and butter.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the sauce is thick and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. If too dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water until the consistency desired.
        5. Serve right away with some crusty bread and Enjoy!

        Note: You can add vegetables of your choice to make this a one-pan meal.

        Recipe adapted from Quentin Bacon.

         


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        Gluten-Free Tuscan Bean Soup – Twiins Style 🌻 🌻

        Gluten-Free Tuscan Bean Soup - Twiins Style

        • Servings: 6-8
        • Difficulty: Easy

        With the first spoonful of our savory Tuscan Bean Soup you will be swept away to Tuscany admiring the sunflowers. This is the same recipe as our regular Tuscan Bean Soup using gluten-free pasta & broth in place of regular. It’s chock full of vegetables, delicious flavor & of course love! Serve as a main meal for either lunch or dinner and don't forget the toasted crusty bread to soak up every last drop. Enjoy!

        Ingredients

        • 1 (28-oz) can San Marzano tomatoes, crush with clean hands
        • 1/4 cup EVOO
        • 3 (15.5 oz) cans cannellini beans with liquid (divided into 3/4 and 1/4)
        • 1 rounded tsp Hunt’s tomato paste with garlic & basil
        • 1 leek, chopped (both white & green parts)
        • 2 yellow onions, diced ( I was out of yellow onions so I substituted with red)
        • 2 cups large celery stalks, large dice (about 3-4 ribs)
        • 2 cups large carrots, large dice (about 5-6 peeled carrots)
        • 8-10 garlic cloves, smashed then chopped (Add more or less to suit your taste.)
        • 2 tsp dried oregano
        • 1 tsp dried thyme
        • 1 tsp dried basil
        • 1 tsp dried rosemary
        • 2 large bay leaves
        • 1 tsp garlic powder
        • 2 tsp Kosher salt
        • 1/2 tsp black pepper
        • pinch red pepper flakes
        • 3-4 handfuls baby spinach, torn by hand (escarole or kale may be substituted)
        • 4 cups chicken broth (gluten-free)
        • 4 cups beef broth (gluten-free)
        • 1 small piece of rind from a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
        • 3 ounces gluten-free Ditalini pasta (any small GF pasta may be substituted.)
        • Pecorino Romano, freshly grated cheese (Locatelli), or Parmigiano-Reggiano (not the stuff in the green container, please!)

          Directions

          1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, add the EVOO.  When EVOO is hot enough add the leeks, onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and salt & pepper. Sauté on medium heat about 5 minutes.
          2. Add garlic, spinach, cheese rind, and 3/4 of the canned beans. Cook for another 3 minutes on medium-low flame until fragrant. Using an immersion blender, blend the remaining 1/4 beans then add to the pot and stir.
          3. Add the tomato paste and stir well.
          4. Add the hand crushed tomatoes, both broths & stir well. Add 3 oz of GF ditalini to the soup. (If you’re making more than 3 oz of GF pasta, we recommend you cook it separately & add right before serving.)
          5. Bring to a slow boil. Once it begins to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and simmer about 40-45 minutes or until vegetable are done.
          6. While the soup is simmering, prepare the GF ditalini pasta following package directions.
          7. Ladle soup into bowls & add the pasta. Sprinkle with grated Locatelli cheese (Pecorino Romano). Enjoy!

          Note: Please make sure all your canned ingredients are gluten-free.

          You can double this recipe for a big batch to freeze for later use. Just don’t add the pasta before freezing.

          , …

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          Tuscan Bean Soup – Twiins Style 🌻 🌻

          Tuscan Bean Soup - Twiins Style

          • Servings: 6-8
          • Difficulty: Easy

          With the first spoonful of our savory Tuscan Bean Soup you will be swept away to Tuscany admiring the sunflowers. It’s chock full of vegetables, delicious flavor & of course love! Serve as a main meal for either lunch or dinner and don't forget the toasted crusty bread to soak up every last drop. Enjoy!

          Ingredients

          • 1 (28-oz) can San Marzano tomatoesSan Marzano tomatoes, crush with clean hands
          • 1/4 cup EVOO
          • 3 (15.5 oz) cans cannellini beans with liquid (divided into 3/4 and 1/4)
          • 1 rounded tsp Hunt’s tomato paste with garlic & basil
          • 1 leek, chopped (both white & green parts)
          • 2 yellow onions, diced ( I was out of yellow onions so I substituted with red)
          • 2 cups large celery stalks, large dice (about 3-4 ribs)
          • 2 cups large carrots, large dice (about 5-6 peeled carrots)
          • 8-10 garlic cloves, smashed then chopped (Add more or less to suit your taste.)
          • 2 tsp dried oregano
          • 1 tsp dried thyme
          • 1 tsp dried basil
          • 1 tsp dried rosemary
          • 2 large bay leaves
          • 1 tsp garlic powder
          • 2 tsp Kosher salt
          • 1/2 tsp black pepper
          • pinch red pepper flakes
          • 3-4 handfuls baby spinach, torn by hand (escarole or kale may be substituted)
          • 4 cups chicken broth
          • 4 cups beef broth
          • 1 small piece of rind from a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
          • 3 ounces Ditalini pasta (any small pasta may be substituted.)
          • Pecorino Romano, freshly grated cheese (Locatelli), or Parmigiano-Reggiano (not the stuff in the green container, please!)

            Directions

            1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, add the EVOO.  When EVOO is hot enough add the leeks, onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and salt & pepper. Sauté on medium heat about 5 minutes.
            2. Add garlic, spinach, cheese rind, and 3/4 of the canned beans. Cook for another 3 minutes on medium-low flame until fragrant. Using an immersion blender, blend the remaining 1/4 beans then add to the pot and stir.
            3. Add the tomato paste and stir well.
            4. Add the hand crushed tomatoes, both broths & stir well. Add 3 oz of ditalini to the soup. (If you’re making more than 3 oz of pasta, we recommend you cook it separately & add right before serving.)
            5. Bring to a slow boil. Once it begins to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and simmer about 40-45 minutes or until vegetable are done.
            6. While the soup is simmering, prepare the ditalini pasta following package directions.
            7. Ladle soup into bowls & add the pasta. Sprinkle with grated Locatelli cheese (Pecorino Romano). Enjoy!

            Note: You can double this recipe for a big batch to freeze for later use. Just don’t add the pasta before freezing.

            To make this soup gluten-free, use GF broth & GF pasta.

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