Easy Turkey Ratatouille

Can anyone even hear the word “ratatouille” anymore without thinking of the Pixar movie? Or for that matter, did anyone know was Ratatouille was before that movie?

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I’m not even sure if I can answer that question myself. I’ve been making ratatouille for years – ever since I found the recipe in one of my old cookbooks and thought it sounded good. That, and I was trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into my diet…not because I wanted to be a vegetarian, but I was following a very clean diet at the time and was varying meat meals with vegetarian meals. Anyway. I was living overseas at the time and frankly I can’t remember which came first – finding the recipe, or seeing the movie.

easy turkey ratatouille | eatwriterunrepeat.com

It’s funny how even now sitting down with a bowl of ratatouille sparks memories of my various overseas homes. Whenever I was homesick for the States I’d make a huge pot of the thick vegetable stew and eat it with a sprinkling of shredded cheese and some crusty french bread and dream about Pennsylvania. Which is odd, considering we never ate ratatouille when I lived in PA – my father won’t touch eggplant, zucchini, peppers, or squash, and I didn’t ever make it when I was living by myself in PA…but for some reason, I equate the two.

I dunno.

easy turkey ratatouille | eatwriterunrepeat.com

I mentioned that traditional ratatouille is a vegetarian dish and that’s how I used to prepare it…before I married the consummate carnivore. I know Kevin would eat the vegetarian version if I served it to him, but I can pretty much guarantee that thirty minutes after dinner he’d be scrounging for some protein. So my easy solution to the problem was to toss in a pound of ground turkey to this dish – perfection!

This is another great one-pot meal to make on a cold night…and with the addition of the turkey, even the carnivores in your family will leave the table feeling full!

easy turkey ratatouille | eatwriterunrepeat.com

EASY TURKEY RATATOUILLE

prep time: 15 minutes (long enough to chop all your veggies)

cook time: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS

1.5lbs ground turkey

1 eggplant, cut in chunks

2 green zucchini, cut in chunks

2 yellow squash, cut into chunks

1 onion, diced

2 bell peppers (I used one green and one red), cut into chunks

1 can diced tomatoes (no salt added)

1 jar tomato sauce (I used marinara)

2 cloves garlic, minced

olive oil

your favorite red wine (optional)

salt, pepper

your favorite italian seasonings (I used an italian herb blend, rosemary, thyme and basil)

chipotle chili powder (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat approximately 2 tbsp oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and sautee until translucent. Add your turkey to the pan and brown. Add eggplant, squash, bell pepper, and zucchini and cook until the vegetables are starting to get tender. Add diced tomatoes, seasonings, tomato sauce and a splash of red wine (if using) and stir to combine. For an extra kick, add a couple of shakes of chipotle chili powder. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer another 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.

easy turkey ratatouille | eatwriterunrepeat.com

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Comfort Food: Hearty Pot Roast

Two weeks into the  move and we’re still not completely finished. We did have a short reprieve once we finished putting all the stuff from our apartment away – but on Monday Kevin’s stuff was delivered from his place in California, which started another bout of moving, unpacking, rearranging and organizing.

kitchen

The good news is that we are starting to create a home!

living room

Kevin and I busted our butts on Monday to empty what we could of the PODS pod we rented for the move. I wish I would have thought to take a picture of the pod before we started to unpack – it was literally packed to the brim. It looked like the world’s most complicated game of Tetris. The upside is that we were able to unload everything except the heaviest items – we enlisted some help from the men in our Bible Study to come over on Tuesday and help with that. But everything else, including our sectional, most of Baby Bear’s bedroom set, and half of Kevin’s bedroom set (not to mention the boxes and boxes of various other household items) were taken out and (mostly) put away on Monday. Now we have a completely empty pod and a houseful of stuff that just needs to get put in its place and we’ll be done!

We survived the ordeal with only one minor setback:

hole in wall

Which, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t bad – as you can tell from the picture, it’s a patch job from some previous occurrence (I’m guessing the incident involved moving heavy furniture, as the scene of the crime is on the landing between staircases) and it’s an easy fix, so I’m not worried about it.

In the midst of all this, we’ve still had to eat, and given by the state of our kitchen, cooking something elaborate has been out of the question. Which is where I need to give a shout out to my second best friend: the dutch oven.

We all know that my first best friend is my crock pot.  What’s not to love? You throw some meat and veggies into the pot in the morning, turn it on high, and when you come home from work your house smells like heaven and dinner is served! But coming in a very close second is my dutch oven – particularly this one that I got as my one and only wedding present. It is pretty much perfect in every way, and it’s quite similar to the crock pot, except it doesn’t take as long to cook. In the case of this pot roast, it does require a bit more labor, but we still only used one pot, which is a win in my book!

comfort food - hearty pot roast

Out of all the quintessential comfort foods out there, pot roast is way up on the top of my list. I have very fond memories of my mom’s pot roast growing up – although admittedly, I liked the carrots and potatoes more than I liked the meat. But just the smell of the meal when I came home from school was enough to send me into food euphoria. I still get tingles when I think of it.

comfort food - hearty pot roast 2

This pot roast is a bit different than the one I grew up eating. For one thing, my mom used to cook it in a covered roasting pan in the oven, while Kevin and I use the dutch oven on the stovetop. Also, we use copious amounts of red wine in our version, whereas my parents substituted beef stock. But however you prepare it, sitting down at the table with a steaming bowl of pot roast while it’s pouring rain and freezing outside pretty much makes everything better.

comfort food - hearty pot roast 3

HEARTY POT ROAST

serves: 6

prep time: 20 minutes

cook time: 3 hours

INGREDIENTS

3 lb beef chuck roast

1 bag carrots, chopped into one inch pieces

1 bag new potatoes

4 onions, cut into quarters

1 bottle red wine

herbs de provence spice blend

salt and pepper

coconut oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a dutch oven over high heat. Add your onions, cut side down, to the pot and brown, about five to seven minutes. Set aside. In the same pan add your carrots and cook another five minutes, until carrots start to caramelize. Set aside. Meanwhile, season your roast with salt and pepper. If necessary, add another tablespoon coconut oil to the pan and sear your meat on all sides before removing from pan. Deglaze the pan with one cut red wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape off the brown bits. Return the meat to the pan and add another two cups wine (about 3/4 of the bottle total). Drink the remaining glass of wine if desired. Season with herbs de provence spice blend, cover, and cook for approximately two hours. Add the potatoes and carrots to the pan and cook an additional one hour.

comfort food - hearty pot roast 4