Home Cooking: Three fresh and fast summer meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner
We made it to June, and fingers crossed, it appears we’ve moved on from snowy May-uary. Clear skies, lots of sunshine, and 14-hour days are to be filled with summer fun. I’ll be taking my Newfoundland dogs for longer walks, attending concerts at the Riverwalk Center to enjoy the music of the National Repertory Orchestra and, later this summer, the Breckenridge Music Festival. If I’m really brave, I’ll try pickleball at some point.
With so much to enjoy and out-of-town friends to entertain, preparing complicated recipes is the last thing I want to do. So, I’ve become obsessed with two things: creating meals that can be made using one pan, one skillet, or no cooking at all, and incorporating fresh whole foods into each meal. As locally grown fresh vegetables become plentiful and less expensive, summer is the perfect season to try ones you haven’t before or in different combinations. So expect to see lots of these in upcoming columns.
This week’s menu shows you easy options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the case of the lunch menu, it’s so easy that no cooking is involved. This is the meal when you’ve been outside all day and all you really want is a big fresh salad, but something different than the usual lettuce, avocado and tomato combo.
Let’s get started!
Skillet potatoes, sausage and greens hash
2-3 regular or sweet potatoes, small dice
1 medium onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper, small dice
½ pound ground breakfast sausage
5–10 ounces mixed baby greens
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Season salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes (optional)
2–6 eggs (depending on how many people you are serving)
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
Into a cast-iron skillet, add a swoosh of EVOO, then the diced potatoes, onion and bell pepper. Cook until the potatoes are just starting to brown. Add the sausage, cover with a lid and continue to cook until the sausage is no longer pink inside and the potatoes are browned on the outside and tender on the inside. Add the mixed baby greens, cover the skillet again and allow the greens to wilt. Gently stir contents of the skillet together, then crack eggs into little indentations in the hash so the eggs rest on top. Season and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Cover again and allow to cook until the eggs have reached your desired doneness. The eggs will cook quickly, so keep an eye on them if you like runny yolks.
Beet salad with goat cheese candied pecans
Lately, I’ve been craving cold beets. And I believe that what keeps me and others from enjoying the cool sweetness of beets more often is the prospect of peeling them and ending up with hand dyed red from beet juice. Luckily, peeled and cooked beets are now available in the refrigerated area of the produce department. And this no-cook salad is the perfect way to use them.
Toss together salad greens, sliced cooked beets, candied pecans and crumbled goat cheese. To make this an elegant dinner salad, add in big chunks of poached or dry-smoked salmon, or buy a rotisserie chicken and add the breast meat to the salad. Rather than grabbing a bottle of salad dressing, I encourage you to make your own. Mix together ½ cup EVOO, ¼ -1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, teaspoon of Dijon mustard, ½ crushed garlic clove, salt and pepper to taste. The sweetness of the balsamic vinegar pairs beautifully with beets.
Bacon-wrapped Pacific cod with balsamic glaze, broccolini and olive tapenade
This is a quick and easy sheet pan dinner that includes an appetizer to enjoy with a glass of wine while dinner cooks. What could be a more relaxing way to enjoy the end of a busy summer day?
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Wrap individual portions of Pacific cod with one or two slices of bacon and place on baking sheet. Do the same with individual portions broccolini (asparagus would also be great). Sprinkle both the cod and the broccolini with EVOO and balsamic glaze.
Roast for 15 minutes and remove the broccolini so that the buds don’t burn, but continue to roast the cod until it is fully cooked. Estimates: 15 minutes if it’s a thawed piece of fish, up to 25 minutes if it was frozen when placed in the oven.
While the cod and broccolini are roasting: add one 14-ounce can of black olives (drained), two cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon of anchovy paste (or substitute 1 tablespoon of capers) and juice of half a lemon into a food processor. With the food processor running, drizzle in EVOO until the tapenade is just between chunky and a paste. Taste and season. Scoop into a bowl and serve with crackers or pita chips.
Suzanne Anderson lives in Breckenridge. Her two cookbooks can be found at the Next Page Books and Nosh in Frisco and at the Tattered Cover bookstores in Denver.
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