Have you ever cooked on a budget? I don’t mean picking between name brand or store brand or using a coupon – I mean having only a few dollars for food and needing to stretch it. For millions of Americans, food insecurity is an everyday reality.
As a food blogger, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the world of fancy ingredients and latest trends. It’s easy to forget that the plentiful food and well-stocked pantry we have is privilege – but it’s one I really don’t want to take for granted.
September is Hunger Action Month – a time to bring attention to food insecurity. According to the US Department of Agriculture, 1 in 8 Americans were food insecure in 2017. That’s 40 million people – more than 12 million of which are children – with a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.
You know what I’ve noticed? Almost no one brings vegetables to a barbecue – but, when someone does, they always seem to get gobbled up.
I think a large part of their scarcity is that vegetables don’t have a great reputation for being an easy dish to take along. Let this one change your mind.
Today is the first Friday of Lent, so I’m kicking off my annual Lenten project – sharing meatless meals every Friday. What began as simply a way to keep from eating plain spaghetti and pizza every Friday has grown into one of my favorite yearly blog projects.
But, nine years on, how do I keep this series fresh? I’ve spent a bunch of time thinking about our family’s current needs and how to get them to reflect in my meatless Friday posts.
In the food blogger world, we’re often working ahead. Like, I’m currently working on Christmas cookies, as absurd as that sounds on this 80 degree summer day. Sometimes I feel like I’m living three steps ahead, not in the moment, so I was super excited that more than 80% of you were still up for summer recipes when I asked on Facebook this week.
I feel like I’ve missed most of it, honestly. The move chewed up so much of my time that I feel like I’m frantically playing catch up now before school starts. Grilling is something I’m catching up on – we finally got our grill ready to go this week. This was the first thing I made.
This “recipe” is really flexible – it’s more of a method. You can use any vegetables you have on hand. Want it to cook faster? Cut the pieces smaller. Want the veggies to caramelize a little more? Don’t stir as often. Sub the balsamic for fresh Parmesan. Add a nice, crusty loaf of bread and serve it as a meal. So many options!
It can also be served warm, cold, or at room temp which makes it so flexible for potlucks or entertaining.
Balsamic Grilled Vegetables
(adapted from Stop & Shop)
Serves 6-8 as a side
1 red pepper
1/2 red onion
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, julienned
2 Tbsp. balsamic glaze
Preheat the grill to medium-high.
Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Toss with olive oil and season with slat and pepper.
Add to a grill basket. Grill for 20-25 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
When done, transfer to a serving bowl. Top with fresh basil and drizzle with balsamic glaze.