Joe’s been traveling all week. His days on the road are hectic and often doesn’t have time for a good meal. On the rare occasion he does, it’s just another restaurant to him.
When he came home last night I wanted him to have a meal he’d love. I was in the mood for a big grilled chicken salad. That’s not at the top of his list. Improvisation was my solution.
My husband loves brown rice. Something happens whenever I make a dish with his favorite grain. If you like to cook your husband’s favorite foods you know exactly what I’m talking about. He’s smiling as he eats and he can’t get enough. Most importantly, he feels valued and loved.
My impromptu menu:
- A big green salad with all his favorites – shredded leaf lettuce, slices of artichoke hearts, cremini mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and pepitas
- Grilled Balsamic Dijon Chicken
- Zucchini & Brown Rice Gratin
- Fresh baked gluten-free bread
- Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Joe got a good home cooked meal and I still got my salad. And yes, he loved every bite. Even the leftovers.
What are some of the foods your family loves?
This post is linked to Two for Tuesday at A Moderate Life.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
- 2 medium zucchini squash, cut in half and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cups cooked long grain brown rice
- 1 tablespoon freshly sliced basil
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sautee for several minutes until beginning to soften. Add mushrooms and sautee for several minutes more. Place into a 1 1/2 – 2 quart gratin dish. Put zucchini into pan and cook for several minutes, until it’s just beginning to soften. Place in gratin dish.
- Return to heat, melt butter, and add tapioca flour. It should sizzle when it hits the butter. Cook the flour and butter together until it’s fragrant but not brown. Whisk in cream and stock. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until it thickens and will coat the back of a spoon. Stir in half of the parmesan cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.
- Add brown rice and basil to vegetables and combine. Pour cream sauce over rice and vegetables. Top with remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes until browned slightly on top and bubbly. If desired, place under broiler for 15 – 30 seconds to add color to the top of the gratin.
Make ahead: This can be made several hours ahead of time. Reserve final 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and place it on top of the gratin right before baking.