Happy Sunday, everyone! I’m kicking off today’s edition of My Week in Food with a jazzed up version of my favorite cookout item: bratwurst. I love a good sausage, and while I’m quite content to eat it simply with the accompaniment of classic yellow mustard, this time we made a topping of caramelized onions and peppers. Since it was one of the hottest days we’ve had thus far, we opted to use the burner accessory on our gas grill instead of cooking indoors. I warmed a cast iron skillet (a recent gift from my friend, Amy!) over medium high heat, added a swirl of olive oil, 3 bell peppers (cored and cut into strips), 3 small onions (peeled and sliced), and a bit of kosher salt. After 20-25 minutes of cooking and stirring, they were tender, sweet, and ready for serving.
I’ve been trying to be better about keeping a well stocked fridge, and this next meal was the perfect encouragement for me to keep it up. No dinner plans had been made, but I considered the ingredients we had on hand, and within about 30 minutes, we were eating the best meal we had all week. The entree was our version of a banzai chicken sandwich. Boneless skinless chicken breasts were pounded to an even thickness, then marinated for about 20 minutes in a mixture of soy sauce, olive oil, honey, minced fresh garlic, grated fresh ginger, salt, and pepper (no measurements on these, I just eyeballed it). We grilled the meat and basted it with honey-sweetened hoisin sauce during the last few minutes of cooking. Dan toasted the rolls we had leftover from our Fresh Fig, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Sandwiches, making them the perfect vehicle for our chicken, grilled pineapple and fresh spinach.
Alongside our sandwiches, we had a salad composed of cubed watermelon, minced cilantro, diced red onions, feta cheese, and salt. It was simple, fresh, and something I look forward to trying again. (If you want to try making it yourself, don’t fret over quantities – just start with small amount of each thing, then add more until it suites your taste. Easy peasy!)
Grilled quesadillas were on the menu this week as well, only this time we did it a little differently than we usually do. Our typical routine is for me to pick just a few fillings and make several quesadillas of the same variety. This time, however, I prepared two large platters of toppings, and I included anything and everything I could rustle up: fresh spinach, sliced fresh kale, pineapple, tomatoes, red bell pepper, cilantro, red onion, feta cheese, queso fresco, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, and chopped ham. We set up a station on the patio next to the grill and had fun concocting a number of unique and varied combinations. My personal favorite was feta, spinach, tomato, and red onions, though I also enjoyed the classic ham and cheddar version. In the end, we had way more fruit and vegetables than we did cheese, so I tossed the extras together into a salad and topped it with a sweet poppy seed dressing. Delish on all counts! (In case you are wondering why there are no grill marks on the quesadillas – we cooked them on our baking stone inside the grill. I’m not sure we’ll do it that way in the future, but it was an easy way to prevent any mishaps with fillings falling through the grates.)
Leftovers were abounding in our fridge last night, so instead of making a full dinner, we pieced together whatever we could find and filled in the gaps with these his and hers smoothies. I combined fresh spinach with milk in the blender, letting it blend until the spinach was liquefied. To that, I added frozen blueberries, frozen Rainier cherries, and honey to give it a little extra sweetness. Mine was topped with cacao nibs, but the hubs declined my offer to add some to his cup. (As a side note, Dan remarked that my smoothie-making skillz are improving! I used to try and cram so much spinach and flax seed into them that they often didn’t taste very sweet, but I’m trying to be smarter about that now, only adding 1 handful of spinach per serving and using flax more sparingly.)
I’ve always loved cooking bacon in the oven, but this morning, I decided to get fancy and sprinkle the meat with dark brown sugar and freshly ground black pepper prior to baking. Twenty minutes at 400 degrees, and we had ourselves some candied bacon with just the tiniest bit of heat.
Scrambled eggs are often my weekend breakfast of choice, but today I tried making two-egg omelettes. The instructions given in this video were immensely helpful, and I decided to filled them with sauteed onions, yellow bell pepper, spinach, fresh tomatoes, and feta cheese. As you can see in the photo, they weren’t going to win any beauty contests (especially since they fell apart in my struggle to remove them from the pan), but they sure were tasty!
After Eowyn drank half of my smoothie last night, I decided to make her one of her own to take on the road to church this morning, only I omitted the blueberries which, in turn, gave the smoothie what I thought was a lovely green hue. Eowyn didn’t agree, though, so back into the blender it went until enough blueberries were added to make it a satisfactory shade of purple. I don’t know if it was the color or the fact that she got to be involved in the process, but there were certainly no complaints after that.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!