Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What's Cooking Wednesday - Chicken and Eggplant Stacks

Me, Rach and the family have pretty much eaten out every meal since we arrived back in our home state. Cheap, awesome Mexican food, grilled fish, fresh gumbo, crab craws, BBQ, sautéed shrimp, Panera Bread, breakfast buffets, Crawfish Po-Boys...oh the delicious food we have all eaten in the past few days. But no matter how the good the food is, there is always a part of me that says "OK, can we stay in tonight and eat a home-cooked meal?"

That's how I felt when we got back to my parents house. So me and Rach made a trip to the store and bought a few things to make Chicken and Eggplant Stacks for dinner Monday night. As I was putting the meal together, I suddenly realized that this was one of my favorite meals and that I haven't shared this one with you yet. I apologize because this is a meal that you can entertain with. Pair it with a Ceasar salad and creamy pasta dish and you have a winner. I took a picture of these before they were complete so that you can see what the stacks look like before I smother them in melted cheese.

Grilled Chicken and Eggplant Stacks

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

4 chicken breasts, halved, tenderized with a meat mallet until thin

Leaves from 2 rosemary sprigs, finely chopped

Salt and fresh ground pepper

1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch width slices

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/4 t. crushed red pepper

1 16-oz can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes

(regular crushed or diced tomatoes work too if you can't find fire-roasted)

1 package (8 slices) of provolone or mozzarella slices

Preheat a grill to high (Sometimes I will use a pan on the stove if I don't feel like messing with the grill). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium sauce pan, combine 1 T. olive oil, garlic, red pepper and red onion. Cook over medium heat until onions are tender. Add tomatoes and heat thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Remove from heat.

Spray or brush eggplant slices on both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle slices with salt and fresh ground pepper. (I dunk my eggplant in some extra balsamic vinegar for a few seconds, but I really love balsamic vinegar so this is optional) Set aside. Combine balsamic vinegar and 2 T. olive oil in a bowl. Marinate chicken in mixture for about 5 minutes, remove from marinating bowl and sprinkle and rub the chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper and set aside.

Throw the eggplant on the grill until tender. Remove from grill. Place on greased baking sheet. Throw chicken on the grill. Cook until done and place chicken on top of eggplant on the baking the sheet.

Remove eggplant and chicken from the oven. Preheat broiler to high. Spoon about 2 T. of tomato mixture over the chicken and eggplant. Place a slice of cheese over each stack and return baking sheet to the oven until cheese is melted.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Travel, Travel ... and More Travel

Sorry for leaving you high and dry for the past few days. Me and Rach made an impromptu trip home last week and the festivities haven't stopped. We have stayed in 5 different houses in the past 9 days and I am totally sick of packing and unpacking all of our stuff over and over again.

We spent last weekend with family shopping and eating and hanging out together. Then my parents showed up to take us to the beach for a few days, which was nice!! It was WICKED cold though! However, thank goodness for indoor pools and hot tubs. Rach swam like a little fish everyday. I can't say that she liked the sand and the waves though. Everytime we would take her close to the water, her little feet would inch backward at record speed or stop all together. We ate lots of seafood and watched a few movies. We did a little shopping and took naps everyday. Ahhh...that's the life!

We finally made it home (or what we call our hometown) yesterday where we were greeted by my sisters and their families, a feast for us all and plenty of cake to go around, all for Rachel's belated 1st birthday. She opened presents and played in the cake (again) and then tortured her littler cousin the rest of the night. Fun for all!

While I am super busy traveling around and visiting family and old friends, I will try to post a few things here and there while I am away. For starters though, here is a few pictures from the first part of our trip home and a video from last night when the cousins were introduced again...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cat's Out of the Bag!

It's tough to hide a secret when you are super excited and surprised and sick beyond words. I'm assuming that you can guess what my secret is by all of hints by this point. Yes, me and the mister are expecting our second little Bailey in the fall. We found out during one of the snowstorms so the new baby has been nicknamed "Snowball" since Rachel was "Sweet Pea." Too cute! I love that!

But my lack of blogging has been due to the fact that I can barely sit up straight without having to hold on TIGHT to my proverbial cookies!! Me and E have been so surprised by all of this. I had been telling him for weeks that I was pregnant and he had been telling me for weeks that I was crazy. Well, I showed him! As soon as the calendar started agreeing with me, he started changing his tune. Rach got a newborn Cabbage Patch Baby for her birthday so that we can start learning how to treat a new baby! No fingers in the nose, eyes, mouth, ears...she's super obtrusive.

Now that I think I may have "morning" (all day) sickness under control, I will try to post all of the stuff I had planned for this week, next week. Good stuff and it's all about saving money!
Since I feel like I gypped you this last week, here are a few pics and a few videos to hold you over till next week. But you can guarantee that if I couldn't get around to blogging last week, I most certainly wasn't going to cook either, so no recipes for you this week. Videos and pictures will have to do for now.