Sunday Prep Kitchen (and an Easter menu idea!)

Sunday was one of my typical days of prepping all that I brought home from shopping on Saturday, in less than 2 hours!   I didn’t set out for anything in particular as I went shopping, but found many great buys that will make their way to our dinner plates throughout the week ahead.

Sunday Prep

Sunday Prep

I couldn’t walk past 98 cent eggplant or asparagus at 98 cents per pound.  Whenever I find eggplant on sale, I typically make Eggplant Parmesan, but having a tray already in the freezer, I thought about a grilled vegetable pizza and knew I’d be stopping off at the Italian import store for some peppery panceetta and pizza dough.  As I continued my way around the store, the fennel flashed me back to a delicious Italian sausage and fennel sandwich I had a couple of weeks ago on crusty Italian bread.  My mouth literally started watering, so in the cart went the fennel as I headed for the sausage aisle.  Some of the best meals happen when you have no set plan in place!

As I was in the midst of prepping, cooking, and storing, I came across the leftover mashed potatoes from a few nights ago – and they quickly became my go-to potato pancakes.  That was Sunday – and we’ll be sinking our teeth into delicious meals all week long!

What are you having for Easter dinner?  I’ve made a ham for every Easter I can remember, and I just don’t feel like a ham this year.  I started thinking about what to have, and although I’m still thinking, I might use that grilled eggplant in a vegetable lasagna (grilled eggplant, roasted red peppers, and spinach, topped with goat cheese, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella.)  I’m thinking of grilling some chicken basil sausage on the side (for a little Easter je ne sais quoi,) make some garlic bread, a salad – and we’ve got Easter dinner.

Whatever you’re having, you’ll want to make the most delicious Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake for dessert!

Lemon Blueberry CakeI made this for our friend Christine’s birthday on Friday night – and it’s the perfect spring/Easter dessert.  You won’t be disappointed.  Mike came across this recipe a week or so ago (Sally’s Baking Addiction website,) and I’ll be making it again real soon.

Here’s wishing you a week filled with good food and happiness!  Buon appetito!

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Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner (and Roasted Fennel)

Actually, this post is all about the Roasted Fennel!  It might be a largely overlooked vegetable, but if you’ve never tried it roasted – do yourself that favor – you’ll be hooked!  Fennel is one of those items you see in the grocery or produce store, might cause you to pause and ponder, and then you move on.  You might have tried it raw and enjoyed (or not) its black licorice flavor, but roasting this root vegetable completely unveils another dimension of flavor.  Sweet, caramelized, and DELICIOUS!  I enjoyed it as a side to my Sunday Chicken, Warm French Lentils (Ina), and Roasted Asparagus – then it made an appearance the next day atop my Salmon Burger (recipe in the Sandwiches/Burger section.)

Winner - Chicken DinnerFennel - Ready to RoastFennel - Roasted!

 

 

 

Start by rinsing the fennel bulbs and discarding the green tops (though they make great garnish.)  Cut off the base, the slice the fennel bulb into wedge sliced chunks.  Arrange on a foil lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  You can also add some red pepper flakes or Aleppo chile flakes, if you like!

Toss together with clean hands, pop into a 400F oven and roast until caramelized – golden brown – and ready to serve.  (Cooking time probably about 45 minutes – toss the fennel around once or twice during cooking.)  Enjoy!  Let me know what you think if you give it a try.

(If you don’t like black licorice flavor – no worry – you won’t even taste that!)