Tomato Gratin

This is a custom French summer dish that I tweaked slightly. The entire thing cost me $4 to make $2 for a French Baguette and $2 for some tomatoes. Easy, cheap and delicious ?! Okay now! This is also perfect for warming up at work for leftovers! The bread stays crispy and it tastes amazing!

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Ingredients

  • 4-5 medium size tomatoes
  • 1 Baguette, either 1 large one or probably 2 small (Can also use whole grain bread)
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Basil, Parsley and Thyme (If you don’t have thyme, just go with basil and parsley!)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 sweet onion ( I just used half of one)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt, pepper, red crushed pepper and Italian seasoning
  • Baking dish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven for 425 degrees. Slice your tomatoes thin, you can probably get at least 6 slices out of one tomato.
  2. Place tomatoes in bowl, season with salt, pepper, red crushed pepper, Italian seasoning and stir. Place tomatoes in rows in baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over tomatoes.

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4. Take baguette and cut into small cubes, put in a medium mixing bowl.

5. Chop your basil and parsley and put in bowl along with Thyme.

6. Finely dice your onion and mince garlic, add to bowl.

7. Season  bowl mixture with salt and pepper, then pour in olive oil. You want bread coated evenly in the oil, so pour at your own discretion. This allows the bread to become crispy.

8. Toss the cubed baguette in the fresh herbs, oil and seasoning.

9. Pour bread over tomatoes and use anything left in the bowl to drizzle over top.

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10. Bake for 25-30 minutes, around 20 minutes check that your bread is golden and not burning…everyone’s oven cooks differently so better to be on teh safe side.

11. Serve and enjoy!

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Midwest Ratatouille

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This ratatouille is a perfect meal, healthy, cheap and just a symphony of flavors.  It is basically a vegetable hash, in the midwestern sense. Best served with some bread to get all the juices.

Ingredients

  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • salt/pepper
  • 3-6 Tbsp olive oil
  • a dutch oven (aka casserole dish) or a deep sauce pan with lid
  • (may need extra tomato juice, so always handy to have some extra)

Instructions

  1. Peel and chop your eggplant. I dice my eggplant into quartered pieces about an inch in size, chop and put aside.
  2. Cut your summer squash and zucchini to match your eggplant. Put these vegetables in a bowl, mix and sprinkle with salt…and let set for 30 minutes.
  3. While your eggplant and squash/zucchini are sitting, you’ll chop your onion and green pepper. I cut these julienne style and set in a separate bowl.

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4. Back to your eggplant and squash/zucchini, dry off all pieces and then add 1 layer at a time to your skillet. Don’t over crowd, this may take a few skillet trips to saute it all.

5. Set your skillet on medium, add in 1-2 tbsp of olive oil and then add in one layer of your eggplant mix. You want to just lightly brown your eggplant and saute your zucchini–don’t burn/overcook. Once ready, set in a bowl to the side.

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6.  Once your eggplant mix is all sauteed and set off to the side. In the same skillet add in your green pepper/onion mix …more olive oil may be needed. Add in your garlic and cook until peppers and onions are tender. Don’t burn the garlic!

7.  While your pepper/onion mixture is cooking, cut up your tomatoes.

8.  Open your tomato cans, pour the juice in a bowl and cut your tomatoes julienne style. Once they’re all diced, pour your tomato juice and julienned styled tomatoes over the onion/pepper mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

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9. Cover and turn up heat to bring to a boil.

10. While your tomatoes are heating up, begin to finely chop your parsley.

11. Once your tomatoes are at a boil, uncover and we’re going to begin layering your casserole dish.

12.  Add  a layer of your tomato/onion/pepper mixture and sprinkle with parsley. Then add in a layer or eggplant/zucchini/squash, then tomato mixture sprinkle with parsley and continue layers until done.

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12. Put casserole on stove on a medium heat, cook for 20 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning as needed. Be sure to give it a little stir, to ensure that vegetables at the bottom are not burning. Vegetables should be tinder and if it seems dry, add in some tomato juice and adjust the seasoning.

Serve with warm bread and enjoy!

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