Iron Chef: the sailboat version

Happy Friday! I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season so far. I took a brief break from writing and the computer after participating in NaNoWriMo, but now I’m back with some important decisions to ponder such as where the heck you put a Christmas tree on a sailboat.

That looks comfortable.

Well, that looks comfortable.

This week I want to share a couple of great recipes I found. The first was discovered during a fervent internet search on the afternoon before Chuck and I drove to Florida for Thanksgiving. Even though we would only be gone for four days, he wanted to defrost the boat fridge/freezer, which left me with the task of strategically using up all the perishables. Things were fine until last Tuesday afternoon, when I found myself with only an eggplant and a red pepper and no idea what to do with them.

Make me a fancy meal, clown!

Make me a meal, clown!

My cooking creativity skills are pretty sad, so to the internet I went. As it turns out, someone else had been faced with that same dilemma: none other than the great Giada!

My mother, a third-generation Italian, loves Giada’s recipes and has made them often for us. She says that out of all the mainstream Italian chefs out there, her dishes are the ones that come closest to resembling what she grew up eating at her grandparents’ house. My brothers bought her cookbooks for our mom on occasion, which made everyone happy – Mom got recipes to try, and the boys got to look at the pictures. Everyone wins!

xoxo

xoxo

Anyway, her roasted red bell pepper with eggplant recipe was perfect. I didn’t follow it exactly, using regular tomato sauce seasoned with basil rather than going out and buying her special tomato-basil sauce, and I left out the breadcrumbs because we’d already run out, and the regular eggplant I had worked just fine in the place of the Japanese eggplant she recommends. Also, we didn’t have black or green olives, so when I stopped at the Farm Fresh salad bar for lunch that afternoon I just grabbed an extra spoonful of kalamata olives. All in all, it came out great! Stuffed peppers are one of those things that I love, but for whatever reason I don’t make them very often.

Photo credit: Food Network

Photo credit: Food Network

The second recipe comes from a serious craving for Indian food, but not wanting to sabotage my diet so soon before the holidays. Skinny Taste to the rescue, with Gina’s recipe for skinny chicken tikka masala!

I am in LOVE with this recipe! (Photo credit: skinnytaste.com)

I am in LOVE with this recipe! (Photo credit: skinnytaste.com)

This? Was awesome! I made it as-is, since it was earlier in the week when we still had milk and yogurt in the fridge (I’m a big fan of Fage; no other American yogurt seems to taste quite as good in my opinion.) I served it with a side of roasted vegetables and some turmeric rice for Chuck. All we were missing was some naan. (Side note – I was worried about where to find garam masala, but it turns out you can buy it at Target. Isn’t Target the best? It saved me from having to brave the local Asian market. I’d tried that once before, and all I’d gotten out of it was some moldy ramen noodles and a sense of extreme sorrow that I’m no longer living in Asia.) Anyway, mission success! Now to find a good recipe for palak paneer…

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