"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Feast

I’m no Paula Dean or Rachael Ray in the kitchen. In fact, when I married, I didn’t even know how to cook. Mom taught me a few things, but homework ruled my life and kept me from the kitchen. Kraft macaroni and cheese and browning hamburger were my specialties. But, my true love involved baking chocolate chip cookies or anything else with sugar. A few faux pas in my early married years and 20 something years later, I’ve learned a bit about cooking. However, I still like to keep it simple. Share a recipe with me that contains more than 10 ingredients, and I’ll not take a second glance. For this reason, I steer clear of gourmet cooking magazines which like to use strange ingredients I’ll only use once then find 6 months later growing a nice shade of green in my refrigerator. Recipes that use massive quantities of Cream of “Something” soup or spaghetti noodles or chicken thrive in this cook’s hands. My problem is I open the pantry door and stare at boxes and cans hoping the kitchen muses will bless me with inspiration, ideas and illumination.
These days, the majority of the battle with cooking is meal planning. If I can conquer that itty bitty thing, cooking is a piece of cake. In honor of this ongoing struggle, Friday posts will be devoted to quick yet tasty recipes. In our family, we call these “keepers,” a word coined by my husband to gently let me know if the meal should stick around.  Let’s face it, cooking can be deeply personal, and nothing is worse than the customers complaining about the menu:
“Oooooo, what’s this? Have you made this before? Do I like it? How many bites do I have to eat?”
Chefs put time and effort into preparing something they hope consumers will enjoy. And, moms don’t want to hear their beautiful babies (or bellyaching big boys) bawling about the beans, bread or broccoli or they’re liable to send those buggers to bed to wait for breakfast the next morning.
I ripped this recipe out of a Kroger mailer. Everyone raved about it except Maddie, who thumbed her nose at the dish never having tasted it. Apparently, she’s allergic to the color green!   

Balsamic Roasted Green Beans

2 lbs. green beans, trimmed
1 red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch wide strips
1 small red onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 t. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beans, bell pepper, onion, garlic, balsamic vinegar and olive oil on a sheet pan. Toss to coat vegetables with oil mixture. Roast for about 20 minutes or until vegetables reach desired tenderness. Season vegetables with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftovers. Serves 8.

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

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