Meal variety

You might be cooking like me and I’m sorry.   You see, a favorite past time of mine includes wading through pages of recipes. Cookbooks, magazines, online databases. Even if I have no intention of making the three layer coconut lime cake, I’ll read the ingredient list and directions, making a mental note of the ingredients I have on hand. (Just in case I run into an emergency need-a-cake situation). I love the professional photos that almost let you taste the softened butter frosting. 

The reality is that I cook very few of the recipes I find most enjoyable to read. I love lamb, but rarely cook it at home. Duck? No one does it like Sidney Street Cafe, so I allow them to retain their crown. In fact, I rarely prepare meat at home, so it’s a bit of a treat to savor it elsewhere. Sure, we grill chicken and the occasional steak, but the vast majority of my recipes involve vegetables. Pasta primavera, wild rice soup, quinoa stuffed peppers. 

I didn’t realize how predictably mundane my cooking had become until our youngest son, Jacob, came home from college and asked if I ever put three separate dishes on a plate anymore. “You know, meat, a starch and a vegetable - not mixed together!” Ooh, that stung. It seems I’m known as the sauteed/roasted veggie queen, with little else appealing to hungry carnivores. 

So a few weeks ago, I began purchasing andouille sausage from my farm share mercantile. I added it to my sauteed veggies and stuffed peppers. Still no rave reviews except those from my hubby, who will eat anything I place before him. (“Mmm, this is delicious. I like how you blended summer squash and spicy sausage into your winter recipe.”)

With steel determination, I took a greater leap last week. That’s right, huge, juicy burgers (Couldn’t bring myself to purchase the gigantic enriched flour buns, so I lost points for the whole grain skinny buns.) Then homemade baked fries, grilled eggplant, and a salad. Three dishes on one plate with a bonus salad bowl! 

Proud as a male peacock (the female is so drab), I carried my overloaded plate to the patio and reveled in the multiple choices before me. As I chewed, I thought of the tasty recipes I used to make and envisioned grand additions to my fall menus. Parties, accolades, Iron Chef invitations. 

Jacob left for school this week, so I threw together a summer vegetable stew with the leftover andouille sausage.

Baby steps…