Sweet, Savory, and Spicy Weekday Meal in One Hour

(aka Sweet Tooth Dinner)

Sometimes that sweet tooth can’t wait for dessert!

A Little of This, A Little of That

The complete meal, served!

The complete meal, served!

I hate when I’ve been considering what to make for dinner since I sat down to lunch and still have no answer.  I’m so indecisive when I know it will directly impact other people; I want their input, if not some direct orders*.  The other night, I knew I wanted something sweet and lots of veggies, but I also knew that the BHE would “need” something meaty and we’d all want a decent starch.

After peeking in the produce drawer in our fridge and narrowing down my quick starch options to baked potatoes (just had ‘em) and mac’n’cheese (didn’t want it), I came up with a meal that made all of us happy.  As it was probably the last warm day of Fall, I also decided to use the grill while it was still out.

In an Hour

**Skip to the bottom of this post if you just want the recipes!

First, I whipped up a loaf of my Tasty-as-Heck Beer Bread.  It takes about 3 minutes to put it all together and needs an hour in the oven at 375.

Next, I wanted to turn the acorn squash that had been sitting in the pantry window into my favorite Fall side item, and I knew it needed at least 30 minutes in the oven.  So I set the timer on the bread for 30 minutes.  I didn’t start the squash prep yet, though.  No, I went wild with my broccoli.  Gotta get the goodies mixed together to let it sit for a bit and soak up the yumminess.  (See the instructions below for both the squash and the broccoli.)  Then I thawed a pound of ground chuck.

Then, I went and sat a bit with Angel Baby while she colored and played with stickers.  I needed to put up my feet anyway, as I’m doing all this pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen.  Yep, 37 weeks, folks.  I look like a hippo.

After about 15 minutes, I got my lumpy butt up and went to get the beef.  After mixing in the flavors (see below), I formed 5 palm-sized patties and one about the size of a silver dollar**.  Then I cut some sharp cheddar off the block to put on the burgers after they cooked.

Raw patties, tossed broccoli, prepared squash, and sliced onion, with my favorite buttery spread ready to go

Raw patties, tossed broccoli, prepared squash, and sliced onion, with my favorite buttery spread ready to go

As quietly as I could, I snuck out onto the back deck to get the grill ready.  I really didn’t want Angel Baby to know I had gone outside because then she would’ve wanted to come out.  Not really helpful, to be chasing after an energetic toddlers, when you’re 37 weeks pregnant and trying to make dinner.  With the gas grill warming up, I went back in to prep the squash.

When the oven timer beeped, I immediately reset it for 30 minutes.  Remember, the bread needs an hour but the squash only needs a half an hour.  I put the squash into the oven.

Just 30 minutes to go!

Just 30 minutes to go!

Then I grabbed my holey grill wok and coated it with cooking spray.  Again quietly, I crept outside with the container of broccoli and the wok.  All of that went together on the grill.  Then I went in and grabbed the plate of burgers, which I set on the little side shelf on the grill.

Back inside, I sliced up the rest of the onion (I used half with the broccoli but wanted the other half for caramelized onions for the burgers).  Then I cleaned up my work space: put away ingredients, loaded the dishwasher, wiped the counters, etc.  This is when the BHE got home and saw the burgers sitting by the grill.  He went ahead and put them on for me then stirred the broccoli in the wok***.

I checked on the bread and squash then went and sat my lumpy ass down again.  I talked a bit with the BHE while he put away his work clothes and we both loved on Angel Baby.  Somewhere in all this welcome-home-ness, I flipped the burgers and stirred the broccoli.

When the timer beeped again, I took out the bread and the squash.  Then I put a blob of butter in a skillet and turned it on medium.  Then I went outside and got the burgers off the grill.  That’s when I put the cheese slices on each one and stuck the plate in the microwave.  I didn’t turn it on, just left the food in there to (a) keep warm and (b) not tempt the cats.  Next, I tossed some cut onion into the butter and stirred it until the onion was coated.  Finally, I went to grab the broccoli/wok off the grill.  That got dumped onto a plate.

I'm really sorry but I don't think there is a way to photograph this process without it looking rather like worms in dirt.

I’m really sorry but I don’t think there is a way to photograph this process without it looking rather like worms in dirt.

Then I started to set the table:  silverwear, condiments, and all that jazz.  About now is when the bread is cool enough to shake out of the pan.  You can do this right away but I recommend waiting a few.  Then I tossed two tablespoons of brown sugar on my buttery onions, turned it on low, put a lid on it, and finished setting the table.  I rounded up the BHE and Angel Baby.  Once everything was in place (less than 5 minutes, really), I dumped the caramelized onions into a bowl and put it on the table.

VIOLA!  Dinner is Served

Dinner in an hour!

We're ready to eat!

We’re ready to eat!

Ok, maybe it was more like an hour and ten minutes, considering the bread cutting and onion caramelizing.  A little spicy (broccoli), a little savory (burgers with cheddar), and a lot of sweet (bread with honey, caramelized onions, acorn squash)… YUM!

Just another weeknight with a thoughtfully sought menu.  Next time, I’ll try to remember to take pictures.  I swear, this is the hardest part of doing recipes and making meals for a blog.

What are you having for dinner?

*Unless I’m “in charge”.  Just ask my former employees.  There’s a handful of memes they love to send me, their favorite control-freak manager.

**From one pound of ground chuck, I can make 6 burgers:  1 each for the BHE and I for 2 dinners, 1 for the BHE’s lunch at work, and 1 little one for Angel Baby, half for 2 dinners.

***More evidence that he is, indeed, the Best Husband Ever.

Sarah’s Squash

Butter (or its equivalent), black pepper, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

Butter (or its equivalent), black pepper, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

Pick a pretty acorn squash.  Hack it in half.  Scrape out the seeds then score the flesh.  Smear butter (or whatever alternative you use in your house) around the pit, shake in some black pepper and cinnamon, and put in a decent spoonful of brown sugar.  These amounts are subject to whatever you and your family like.  I go light on the pepper but heavy on the sugar for me.  I know people who go heavy on the pepper and skip the sugar but put in a glob of maple syrup.

Place the halves flesh-side-up in a pan with a little bit of water then bake it for 30 minutes at 375.  Poke it for doneness.  Enjoy!

Sarah’s Burgers

Put your meat in a bowl.  Dump some garlic salt, woostah sauce, and paprika on top.  If you want to get fancy and use fresh garlic or dice up some onion, be my guest.  Want black pepper?  Creole seasoning?  Mustard?  Whatever, put it in there.  Then mash it up with your hands and make your patties.  I like my wide and flat with strong edges so I don’t lose anything down the grill.  Cook until done.  Sorry, I don’t have a better way to explain the cooking part.  With some foods, you just know, y’know?

Grilled Broccoli

The broccoli and goodies tossed and waiting their 20 minutes.

The broccoli and goodies tossed and waiting their 20 minutes.

Oh, hell, yes!  This stuff is amazing.  Cut up your broccoli crowns into large bite sizes and put them in a big container with a lid.  Mince two cloves of garlic, and cut up a half of an onion and a half of a red pepper.  Put these in the container, too.  Drizzle roughly 3 tablespoons of olive oil over this then shake on some sea salt and crushed red pepper.  Choose these amounts according to your tastes.  Put the lid on, shake, and let sit for 15-30 (however long it takes you to prep the rest of the food and the grill).  Coat a grill wok with cooking spray, set it on the grill, give the broccoli one more shake, then dump the veggies evenly in the wok.  On medium heat in my grill, with it being stirred every 10 or so minutes, the broccoli is perfect after about a half hour.  Tasty.  Crunchy.  Cooked yet not overcooked.  Spicy.  Oh so good!

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