Spicy, saucy salmon

If there’s one thing that everyone knows goes with Buffalo sauce, it’s salmon.

OK, wait, that’s not right. And yet, oh my goodness, the combination deserves to be in the same realm as chicken wings. That’s a daring statement, and even I won’t pretend that Buffalo chicken wings can be replaced.

But if you like spicy sauce and something different, this is the recipe for you.

Buffalo salmon ingredients.

If you are skeptical, I understand. I was once among you. My sweetie suggested it several years ago, and I said only I was willing to try it. Salmon was one of the few fish I enjoyed (at the time), and I love Buffalo sauce so much I made it into a deviled egg recipe.

When I took my first bite, though, I was sold. It’s been a staple ever since, and even something I’ve made to impress my foodie family.

Besides tasting great, it’s a simple recipe: few ingredients, hard to mess up, and frankly, the veggies I added could have been anything that you have on hand or suits your tastes. I chose green beans — to ring out the summer season — and a bell pepper that was a leftover garden item from a friend. I didn’t even add anything to them, just the oil the covered the pan.

I served it alongside a pre-made mix of rice and grains to make it a fuller meal, but again, the salmon is the real star so serve it with what seems to fit and whatever makes you happy.

Flaky, spicy, yummy.

Here’s what I did, following a long ago Gourmet recipe:

Ingredients

  • 4 salmon fillets, preferably with skin on
  • 5 T. unsalted butter
  • ¼ c. hot sauce (I prefer Louisiana)
  • ⅓ c. panko crumbs
  • 1 T. vegetable oil, plus more for coating
  • 1 bell pepper, optional for adding vegetables (or pick what you prefer)
  • 12 to 16 oz. green beans, optional for adding vegetables (or pick what you prefer)

Directions

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Lightly oil a large sheet pan (large if adding vegetables, smaller will work if not). Melt butter in a small bowl (I just nuke it but you can do it in a small saucepan), and add hot sauce. Set aside ¼ c. of the mixture. In a separate small bowl, mix the panko with the 1 T. oil.

Place the salmon skin side down on the sheet pan, and brush on the remaining sauce. Pat on the panko evenly across the salmon fillets.

Add vegetables, if using.

Bake for 16 to 20 minutes until the panko is golden and the fish is cooked through. Serve with the set aside 1/4 c. sauce on the side and a grain mixture, as desired, and enjoy!

Stir Fry-day!!!

You guys, I’m not going to lie, it’s been a bit of a week.

It was one where I could not eat for a day and a half, and that had nothing to do with the sh*tshow in DC that may well decide the future of the court for the next generation.

All of it’s enough to make you want to weep, and believe me, it’s not been easy keeping a straight face. Fortunately, there’s wine.

And, mercifully, this week’s recipe calls for using some white wine, so enjoy the leftovers while trying to hold on to your last bit of sanity. It reminds me of my favorite quote.

My stir fry recipe, I think, is from Cook’s Illustrated. It’s one of those recipes that was printed more than a decade ago, put into a plastic sleeve, and has been used ever since. The Christinia that printed it is quite a bit different from that one. But the recipe persists.

Sheet pan stir fry ingredients.

It’s not quite comfort food. It’s relatively healthy. It’s not something I grew up on. But it’s the kind of recipe that bends to suit what one’s feeling at any given time. Like, this time, I made it with chicken but I’ve enjoyed it with tofu or just the veggies.

I usually cook it on my pseudo wok, but I saw from things I’ve made so far this year that cooking veggies and chicken on a sheet pan would be fine. Basically, it’s hard to mess up

Also, did I mention that the sauce includes wine *and* ginger?! It’s pretty amazing.

Wine *and* ginger, you say? Delicious.

Here’s what I did to enjoy my stir fry on a sheet pan:

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 4 T. soy sauce
  • 4 T. dry white wine or cooking sherry
  • 1 T. honey
  • ¼ c. minced ginger (I use the jar, but if you’ve got the patience for ginger root, please do!)
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced (Again, I’m lazy and used a couple teaspoons of the jar stuff)
  • 4 scallions, sliced white and light green parts

For the stir fry:

  • Combination of veggies, approximating 2 lbs. Mine was a combination of cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas, green peppers, and onions. (For a better estimate, I used less than a quarter of a cauliflower, 2 heads of broccoli, 1 large carrot, about 1 bag of Dole sugar snap peas, one pepper, and one onion)
  • 1 lb. chicken, cut into ½ inch chunks, marinated in about ⅓ of the sauce
  • Remaining slices of scallions, added near the end of cooking time
  • Oil, for generously greasing the sheet pan
  • Rice, for serving

Directions

Mix the sauce. Prepare the chicken by putting the chicken chunks in a bowl and topping with about a quarter of the sauce.

Meanwhile, chop the remaining vegetables into bite-size pieces.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees, and generously grease a large sheet pan.

Add the vegetables to the sheet pan, and coat with about ½ of the remaining sauce. Cook for about 10 minutes. Create an opening on the sheet pan and add the marinated chicken. Top with more sauce. Bake another 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (I used an electric thermometer and it took longer, but safety first when it comes to eating meat!).  Remove when close to ready to serve, and add the remaining scallions and the rest of the sauce. Bake for another 5 minutes.

Remove from oven, let cool slightly, and enjoy with rice!

A mostly muffaletta

I had been thinking about ways of making a grilled sandwich on a sheet pan when I came across the perfect recipe. As in, Delish had a recipe for sheet pan subs.

But, of course, I wasn’t content with the ingredients that made up the Italian submarine. I waffled for a few days over whether to make it anyway or do reubens/rachels instead, or a combination of each since the sheet pan could fit both. That’s when I remembered the Italian meat-using New Orleans favorite that my brother is enamored with: the muffaletta.

Sheet pan muffaletta ingredients.

It was like the Italian sub, what with Italian meats, some pickled relish, and cheese. But, you know, better. And while the bread appropriate for sheet pans wouldn’t be the traditional muffaletta kind, it was at least pressed to mimic the scooped out recipe of the original. Either way, it’d really let the insides of the sandwich shine.

So, with a pound and half of meat, a pound of cheese, and more than enough pickled items, I set about making the sandwich. I otherwise mostly followed the recipe, using a second sheet pan and an oven-proof weight to press the sandwich together.

It turned out almost perfect. I would say in hindsight that the sandwich could have cooked a while longer just to get the tops more browned. But otherwise, the cheese was melted, the meat was warm, and the sammies tasted great.

I did bring it to a friendly get-together because, well, look at how much meat and cheese it used. Even with eight people eating it — admittedly with other snacks and drinks throughout the day — I still took home about half. I’d say you could skimp on some meat, but the whole point of the sheet pan sandwich seems to be overindulgence, so go ahead and live a little.

Oh, but if the muffaletta doesn’t strike your fancy, I do truly believe this would have worked as a reuben/rachel or any grilled sandwich, just replace the meats and cheeses with your favorites and skip the relish or replace it with something more to your liking.

You mostly see bread, but trust me, there’s a whole lotta delicious meat and cheese inside.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of melted butter, divided
  • 1 ½ to 2 loaves of sliced bread, I opted for sourdough but pick what works best with your sammy (like, I’d use a seeded rye if making a reuben)
  • 1 ½ lbs. Italian meats, sliced (I did a combination of salamis, capicola, and mortadella, which is traditional, but I’m already stepping on tradition so who am I to judge?)
  • 1 lb. provolone, sliced
  • 8 oz. (about half a jar) of giardiniera, chopped
  • 6 to 8 oz. mix of capers, sliced black olives, and sliced green olives

Directions

Heat an oven to 400 degrees.

Brush about half the butter onto a large rimmed sheet pan. Top with bread, it can be slightly overlapping like shingles, and use your fingers to press it down slightly. Add the giardiniera to the top of the bread. Add half the cheese on top of that. Top the cheese with the meat slices. Add the remaining cheese on top, and then top with the olive, caper mixture, to taste. Place bread on top until covered, again can be slightly overlapping. Brush the bread with the remaining butter.

Place another large baking sheet on top (mine was slightly smaller, which worked fine), and use a cast-iron skillet or the like on top to press down on the bread.

Bake for about 10 minutes until the sandwich is starting to brown. Then, remove the weight and the top sheet pan. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or so until the top bread is golden too. Let cool slightly and then cut into sandwich-size servings (friends suggested a pizza cutter would work well here) and enjoy!

Chickity China the Chinese chicken

I like cheese way too much to make Asian food a staple of my diet. But it’s great to occasionally expand my palate and eat (somewhat) healthier fare. So, that is how I came to have a wide variety of Asian condiments in fridge door.

This week’s recipe thankfully allowed me to use so many of them and not add to my collection. I had bought some chicken thighs a weekend earlier when I made my venture to Whole Foods for seafood, so my purchases for this one amounted to three items.

Cauliflower, a sweet potato, and a red pepper were all it took to complete the sheet pan hoisin sriracha chicken recipe I had found a few weeks earlier from Taste of Home.

Hoisin sriracha chicken ingredients.

I mostly followed the recipe, except I’m lazy and used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I might have added more sriracha because I didn’t measure it but it was damn spicy so add carefully or taste the sauce before pouring on the meat and vegetables.

I have to say I enjoyed it thoroughly, but my favorite thing was perhaps just how simply it came together.

I made it when we had the “fake fall” this past weekend, so I prepped the vegetables, made the sauce, and then sat in front of our firepit for a while before coming back to put it all together. About 45 minutes later, we had dinner, and a couple days worth of leftovers.

Don’t let the cauliflower fool you, this meal is flavorful and delicious.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • ⅓ c. hoisin sauce
  • ⅓ c. soy sauce (preferably low-sodium but we had regular on hand)
  • 2 T. honey
  • 2 T. sriracha (I didn’t measure but perhaps it’s best to measure on your taste for spicy foods)
  • 1 T. rice vinegar (I was out of rice wine vinegar, which I planned to use, so I used apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 t. sesame oil (I definitely used more but I love sesame oil)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t. minced fresh ginger
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cut into cubes
  • 4 c. fresh cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • Sesame seeds, optional for topping
  • Oil for coating

Directions

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together the first eight ingredients, the hoisin sauce through the ginger, in a small bowl. Line a large rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil and coat with a layer of oil (I use the spray kind). Place the sweet potato and chicken on prepared sheet pan, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Brush on about ⅓ of the hoisin sauce mixture.

Bake for about 15 minutes. Add the cauliflower and red pepper, and brush on another ⅓ of the hoisin mixture.

Bake another 25 to 30 minutes longer, until the chicken is cooked through. Brush on the remaining sauce, add the sesame seeds  (if using), and enjoy!

Saving the planet one shrimpie at a time

I’ve had a love affair with the deep blue sea since childhood. I blame Matt Hooper. I spent nearly a decade growing up wanting to be him, sometimes I still wish I had.

So, I was especially sensitive to a documentary I saw some years ago, The End of the Line, about the worrisome trend of endangered fish populations and what it could mean to our planet. I’m sorry to say that until I saw that documentary, I assumed that the vastness of the ocean meant a nearly endless supply of seafood. I should’ve read my history books.

The film, however, had the desired effect, as I have started paying attention to Seafood Watch ever since and trying to buy the best, most ethically sourced seafood I can. The stores in Ames were iffy at best, so I checked again and learned that Whole Foods is partnering with Seafood Watch so their fish options rank between best choice and good alternative. (Not a paid ad, but seriously, yay!)

That’s a long way of saying that it took a little more time to find a key ingredient in this week’s recipe, the beloved shrimp boil. Only, you know, in a sheet pan.

Sheet pan shrimp boil ingredients.

It was worth the wait.

The sheet pan shrimp boil is exactly as it sounds — take all the ingredients in your typical shrimp boil, spread it out on a sheet pan, pour on Old Bay and butter, bake, and you’ve got an amazing, and quick dinner. The longest part was parboiling the potatoes to ensure they’re cooked along with everything else.

We have one more pound of EZ Peel (no deveining required!), USA made, and ethical shrimpies, and I’ll be honest, I’m considering making this one again.

So much good stuff all on one sheet pan.

Here’s what I did, mostly following the Damn Delicious recipe, except I wanted the fun of peeling the shrimp:

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. medium shrimp (uncooked, EZ peel or peeled)
  • 1 (about 12 oz.) package smoked andouille sausage, sliced (I get ethical meat too, I recommend D’artagnan sausage, which is sold in some Hy-Vees)
  • 1 lb. small yellow potatoes, quartered
  • 3 ears corn, cut crosswise into six pieces each
  • ¼ c. (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 T. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving (optional)
  • Chopped parsley leaves, for serving (optional)
  • Olive oil, for coating

Directions

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a large rimmed sheet pan (I use the spray kind.)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the potatoes until parboiled, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the sausage, shrimp, and corn onto the greased sheet pan. When the potatoes are ready, drain them and carefully spread on top, trying to keep all items on a single layer.

Stir the garlic and Old Bay into the melted butter, and then pour on top of the shrimp mixture.

Bake the mixture for 12 to 15 minutes, until the shrimp are opaque and the corn is tender. Top each serving with parsley and squeeze on a wedge of lemon, and enjoy!

The most delicious trash mash-up

I’m not proud, but I knew from the moment I found this recipe that I would be making it. Two comfort foods in one is not going to look pretty, but sometimes you just need it.

Unfortunately, I was not expecting to make it so soon. But my super exciting, semi-fancy, fun recipe had to be put on hold for a week because I couldn’t find the appropriate *redacted ingredient* I needed. Research assures me I’ll be able to find *redacted ingredient* in West Des Moines this holiday weekend, so I should have my fun dinner a week later.

In its stead, however, I made chili cheese dog pizza.

Yep, it’s chili cheese dog pizza ingredients.

Yeah.

It was every bit of gloriously trashy and delicious you’d expect.

Even if I felt a bit silly making it, it was not a recipe of my own creation. I found it at “Taste of Home” and basically followed the ingredients except partially baking the crust before adding the toppings, since I used my own Betty Crocker recipe instead of the store-bought stuff.

However, despite following the recipe, it has exactly the ingredients you’d expect. Except one. First, the expected: a can of chili, 6 hot dogs, cheddar cheese, onions, and pizza dough. But it also called for yellow mustard.

Now, I like yellow mustard, and it is my go-to topping for hot dogs, but I wasn’t expecting it to be called for here. I went with it anyway. I have to say, it really brought the dish together so it was a welcome addition.

While I am loathe to admit it, this is one I’ll turn to again in the future.

A sheet pan pizza that needs to be seen in all its glory.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 2 Betty Crocker pizza crusts (or store-bought)
  • ½ c. yellow mustard (I didn’t measure, just spread it on until there was a light coating)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chili of your choice
  • 6 hot dogs, sliced
  • 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ onion, diced (optional)
  • Oil, for coating

Directions

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a large rimmed sheet pan with oil. Spread out the crust.

Spread on the mustard, top with chili and spread throughout, add hot dog slices and onions, and then top with the cheddar cheese.

Bake for about 15 minutes until the crust is browned on the edges and the cheese is melted. Let cool slightly, slice, and enjoy!

Quiche me like you mean it

After two weeks of traveling, I’m finding it nice to be home. And one of the surest signs that we’ve been on the road too much (and that I’m officially grown up) is that I got burnt out on fast food. Yes, I was craving salad and vegetables.

Of course, I do not need to be nudged too hard but the need for healthier fare hit like a craving. So, I was glad I had saved this quiche recipe for a post-travels dinner.

Sheet pan quiche ingredients.

It isn’t all healthy, what with an all-butter crust, cream cheese, and more cheese. But it was topped with my comfort food veggies, marinated artichokes and asparagus. And eggs, well, I think the jury is still out on whether they’re healthy or not. For the sake of this post, let’s say they’re a good source of protein.

Plus, I was happy to have another reason to make a pie crust in this year of sheet pan recipes.

The recipe was adapted from food blogging fave Smitten Kitchen. But I chose my favorite vegetables over spinach (which is a fine green!) and had to tweak to fit my size sheet pan (roughly 11×15 inch). All worked out perfectly and I found a relatively simple recipe I am sure I’ll be returning to again and again.

Look at those beautiful vegetables and that perfect crust.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

For crust:

  • 2 sticks butter
  • Scant 2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
  • 3 oz. ice water (I used a handy shot glass and shaker, don’t judge)
  • Salt, if desired

Or, feel free to roughly double your favorite pie crust.

For quiche filling:

  • 1 brick (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c. half and half
  • 7 large eggs
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced white and light green parts
  • About ¾ bunch asparagus, ends removed and cut into about 1 ½ inch pieces
  • 1 (about 6 oz.) jar of marinated artichokes, drained
  • 1 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Oil, for coating

Directions

Prepare crust. Use a food processor, pastry blender, or hands to mix together the butter and flour until well blended. Add water slowly until dough forms. Pat into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for about an hour. When ready, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about ¼ inch thick and slightly larger than the size of your sheet pan. Carefully place the dough in the sheet pan and trim the edges as necessary. Freeze for about 20 minutes.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Then, when ready, pierce the cold dough throughout with a fork. Cover dough with a lightly oiled piece of aluminum foil. Add weights. (I forgot this step and all turned out fine.) Bake for about 20 minutes until partially done, and then remove foil (and any pie weights) and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes to lightly golden the crust.

Meanwhile, make the filling. I was lazy here and used my stand mixer, but do what works for you. Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl. Carefully add the half and half. Whisk in eggs one at a time, until combined. Stir in the scallions, cheeses, and salt and pepper.

Once crust is ready, pour on the egg mixture. Do not overtop the crust (this amount of egg mixture worked perfect for my sheet pan, but amounts and sheet pans vary). If you have extra, consider you’ve got breakfast in the morning.

Top egg mixture with asparagus pieces and quartered artichoke hearts.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, and bake the quiche until the crust is fully golden and the eggy filling is set, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for at least 10 minutes or until warmed to desired temperature, and enjoy!

Energizing eggplant Parm

I know at one point I had a recipe for chicken Parmesan. It’s how I learned to cook it, as it wasn’t a traditional family recipe I learned by osmosis. But anymore, I just wing it.

The recipe is easy enough to mostly remember, and I like it and its partner in crime, eggplant Parmesan, enough that I make it fairly regularly. So, somewhere along the way, I just stopped consulting whatever recipe it was I used, and it always turns out fine.

*All* of the ingredients for eggplant Parmesan.

Well, OK, I actually usually forget one ingredient, but it’s the ones that are served with the dish, i.e., pasta or pasta sauce. And, OK, one special time where I forgot mozzarella.

But a quick trip to the grocery store later and I’m back on track.

This time was no exception. I, of course, forgot pasta sauce, but it otherwise worked out well.

I was a little nervous because I usually saute the eggplant (or the chicken) before a short time in the oven to melt the cheese. This time, though, it was all sheet pan.

My experience in — holy cow! — more than six months of working with sheet pans, however, prepared me quite well for the endeavor. While it took a long time, it was more or less the amount of time I expected. And, yeah, it was pretty great.

Tastes great any way you slice it, and any way you serve it. Generally, pretty great.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced about ¼-inch thick
  • 1 c. whole wheat bread crumbs
  • ½ c. Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 T. dried basil
  • 1 T. dried oregano
  • 1 t. onion powder
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Olive oil, preferably the spray kind
  • 1 c. mozzarella, shredded
  • Pasta sauce, such as marinara, to taste
  • Pasta or bread, for serving

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray or coat lightly with oil.

On a large plate, mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, herbs, and spices, and salt and pepper. Add a little water to the beaten eggs, and stir to combine in a small bowl. Set up a workstation so you can easily go from dipping the eggplant in the beaten eggs to coating them with the bread crumb mixture. Then, individually dip the eggplant slices in the egg mixture, and then coat in the bread crumb mixture before placing on the sheet pan. Repeat until you’ve used up all the eggplant.

Spray or coat with more oil.

Bake for about 45 minutes, turning halfway through, until the eggplant is fully cooked through and the bread crumbs have browned. Add the sauce (we used about ½ a 24 oz container), and then top with the mozzarella. Bake for another 15 minutes until the mozzarella is melted and the sauce is warm.

Serve with pasta and some additional sauce, or serve on hoagie buns for a warm sandwich, and enjoy!

Fun with falafel

I can’t tell you the first time I had falafel but I know that it was love at first taste. And the love affair has been ongoing ever since.

I like any kind too. There’s not a boxed falafel I haven’t enjoyed, and I will go out of my way to get it in stores. Literally. Almost any time I’m in Iowa City, I’ll make a stop at Oasis. Heck, one time I made my family go to Canada (from Montana) to get a falafel dog (and hot dogs, which I also love).

Baked falafel ingredients.

So, it’s not a surprise that when I found a homemade recipe for it years ago, I had to try it. And once again, I’ve been making it ever since.

My tastes have evolved over the years, so it’s probably just my current palate that makes me say this, but I think this time is the best I’ve made it.

It comes from a snarky vegan cookbook that I’ve only made a handful of recipes from and mostly ignored the annoying pleas for using coconut oil, and I’m sure I’ve made other things where I straight up just added real cheese. Not to snark on vegans but, man, cool it sometimes.

So, suffice to say, I’ve amended the original (though mine is still vegan. Until I top it with tzatziki.).

Since I don’t have a good food processor, I used my very wonderful Ninja blender. That made it a little hard to bring the mixture together so I added a little water, and this made the mix look a little like cookies when I finally baked them. But don’t let that fool you, they were still amazing and perfect, and I honestly recommend making them with a few splashes of water even if you have a food processor so they turn out this delightful.

While they’re not as simple as pouring from a box, they are baked instead of fried and still pretty frickin’ easy, and did I mention, amazing?!

These aren’t cookies, but they are savory treats that won’t make you falafel. 😉

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 T. panko crumbs
  • 2 T. whole wheat flour
  • Chopped parsley, to taste (it calls for 2 T. but I like more)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 t. ground cumin, or to taste
  • 1 t. ground coriander, or to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, preferably spray

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray or lightly coat with oil.

In a food processor or blender, combine the garbanzo beans, onion, panko, flour, parsley, garlic, spices, and a splash of water and blend. Pulse until smooth, adding tablespoons of water as necessary. Once mixed, flatten into about a dozen rounds and place on the lined sheet pan. Spray or brush lightly with more oil.

Bake for about 45 minutes, turning halfway through, and enjoy with tzatziki and pita!

Bread, beans, and bangers make a mighty meal

It’s turning out that my brother’s Christmas present of Jamie Oliver’s “5 Ingredients” is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only have we found some great recipes in general but it’s always good for a sheet pan recipe when I’m short on time and inspiration.

This week’s meal, a savory pseudo bread pudding with beans and bangers, turned out to be just what I needed.

Sausage bake ingredients.

It may have been recommended for when the weather requires something hearty, but it has the side benefit of being relatively quick in the oven so it worked well in the heat. And let’s be honest, once the Midwest got warm, it got real warm and so the A/C has been going for weeks now.

Despite the 5 ingredients moniker, Oliver does supplement it with up to 5 pantry staples (the same 5, FWIW), and he suggests that the base ingredients can be added to. So, I tweaked his a bit.

First of all, our garden has been just full of green beans thanks to a freebie of provider beans from Seed Savers, so I figured I could throw them in and add some more veggies. And second of all, I couldn’t find rosemary focaccia for some reason, so I used olive and pepper varieties but still supplemented with rosemary because who doesn’t love rosemary.

Also, it calls for a British sausage that I can’t find and didn’t bother to try to replicate. Instead, I turned to my favorite meat-monger and bought another British sausage, bangers. I think any sausage will work; bangers certainly did. Oh, and British measurements are hard to get right without extra work, so I changed them to clip up everything.

Other than all those changes, I mostly followed the recipe and had a delicious dinner in no time. I’m bookmarking it for the winter when I’ll surely turn to it again.

Despite what you’ve heard, British food can be freakin’ fantastic.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 2 (15 oz.) cans great northern beans (or similar variety)
  • 2 (pint) containers of cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 large bangers (8-12 sausages, or 12 chipolatas if you can find them), cut into bite-size pieces or slightly larger
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 small loaf (about 300 g.) focaccia, rosemary or whatever variety, torn or cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. red wine vinegar
  • Any garden veggies or herbs you want to add (optional)

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the tomatoes and garlic on a large rimmed sheet pan. Top with bread, and then pour the beans (with their juices) on top. Add a splash of water (I used the bean can to get a little more bean juice). Drizzle the oil and vinegar over the top of the mixture, and then dot with the sausage pieces.

Bake for 45 minutes, until golden and bubbling; let cool slightly and enjoy!