Freedom, Food & Friends!

If there is one song that will forever remind me of my childhood…my college roomates….all of our freedoms…and the events 9/11…it has got to be Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless The USA.”  I just can’t get enough of this song…especially on days like yesterday, July 4th, 2011.  If you need your fix of Lee Greenwood…check out this old-school favorite of mine:  http://youtu.be/xf8hfZuzw_A

 As we all reflected on our freedoms this weekend, I hope you took some time to indulge in some good food, the company of friends, and some good ol’ relaxation!  We did at the Boudreau household!  Friday night we welcomed my dear friend, Jenny and her husband Tyler!  It has been years since her last visit to Iowa and I was simply thrilled to have her under my roof!  In fact, her next visit is already planned…for just a few weeks after Baby B makes her arrival. I feel so lucky to have the friendship I share with Jen.  I love you “Tews.”

After an early 18 holes of golf for the guys and soaking up as much sun and pool time as possible on Saturday afternoon, the 4 of us headed out to Iowa City’s Jazz Festival and The Atlas for dinner.  By 930pm, we had to laugh at ourselves…completely exhausted!  I mean, come on…930!!  How old are we?!   With that, we piled into the car and headed home.  To treat us all, I decided to whip up a quick batch of brownies….to be served warm, of course….with one scoop of chocolate ice cream…and one scoop of vanilla.  It was 40 minutes later (after we all struggled to keep our eyes open!) that Ryan went over to the oven and pulled out the brownies.  Suddenly he shouted, “Robin!  What is wrong with these brownies!?!”  I hustled over to the kitchen, took one look and immediately realized…I FORGOT THE EGGS.  What an idiot.  It was at that moment I decided I was completely LOSING MY MIND.   Ohhh…but then it gets worse. 

The next morning, I made a batch of our favorite egg bake to share with Jenny & Tyler before they returned to Milwaukee.  Ryan (naturally) teased me about forgetting the eggs…in my “EGG-bake.”  I rolled my eyes..like, Yeah-Right.  Well…a short 15 minutes later, I poured my “egg-bake” into it’s pan and got ready to put it in the oven.  Then…just as I reached for the oven door it dawned on me….I FORGOT THE EGGS….AGAIN!!  So…I poured my egg-bake BACK into the bowl and added the eggs.  And it was at THAT moment I decided that I’ve lost my mind and IT MIGHT NOT EVER COME BACK.

Luckily everyone had quite the sense of humor and enjoyed my mishaps.  I, on the other hand, am a little worried that this could get progressively worse over the next 4 weeks.  Please tell me “baby brain” goes away after birth, right?!

Later that afternoon, we welcomed some more friends over to the house to relax by pool, catch up since our last visit, and enjoy dinner together.  While I prepped the rest of the meal, we started with a simple plate of cheese, sausage, and crackers.  Does it get any easier or better than this?!  (Good quality cheese is the key!)  I filled the plate with Extra Sharp Cheddar, Smoked Gouda, and Pepper Jack as well as some Summer Sausage from Pella, IA.  Delicious!

Keeping it as easy as possible for this Sunday afternoon, I whipped up my “go-to” Boudreau’s Balsamic Salad.  No….it never gets old.  🙂

Ryan & Erin Spengler brought over a big, juicy watermelon to be served on the side.  It was SO good!  Ryan’s key to picking out an amazing watermelon, “Find a good size watermelon that feels heavy for that size.”  Makes sense!  This watermelon was sweet and dripping with juiciness. 

And the main course…..a new favorite at our house!!  Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Sandwiches!  Truth be told, last week Ryan and I met some of Ryan’s other co-workers out for Happy Hour (yes, I stuck with O’douls) and a quick dinner.  On the menu…a Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Sandwich.  After ordering it up and LOVING it…I decided, we can totally do this at home!  And guess what folks, we did…and we like it even better than the “original”!  So….switch up your grilled chicken sandwiches this year….this one is easy and mouth-watering good!

ROASTED RED PEPPER CHICKEN SANDWICH

Serves 4

  • 2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on size).  Cleaned and pounded thin (1/2 inch)
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 1/2 tbsp Penzey’s Northwoods Seasoning (or other seasoning of your choice)
  • Red Pepper Aioli (See Recipe Below)
  • 2 Large Red Peppers, Sliced and Roasted
  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • 4oz Goat Cheese
  • 1/4 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 Seeded Buns

Begin by marinating your chicken breasts (already cleaned and pounded thin).  Place chicken, 2 tbsp EVOO, and seasoning into a sandwich bag and let sit for 20 minutes.

While the chicken is marinating, roast your red peppers!  Slice your red peppers and lay on a baking sheet, drizzle 1 tbsp and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until soft.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Once your chicken is marinated and your peppers are roasted, place your chicken breasts on the grill and grill for ~6 minutes per side or until cooked through.

While the chicken is grilling prepare the Red Pepper Aioli (see below).

About the time your aioli is complete, brush your seeded buns with olive oil and place on the grill for a quick toast!  (This should take just a minute or less!)

Remove chicken and buns from the grill and prepare too build your sandwich!

RED PEPPER AIOLI

Courtesy of Giadi de Laurentiis

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, drained, patted dry
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise (I used light!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Finely chop the garlic in a small food processor.  Add the peppers and blend until almost smooth.  Blend in the mayonnaise.  With the machine running, blend in the oil.   Season the aioli, to taste, with salt and pepper.   Transfer the aioli to a small bowl.

To build this sandwich, layer as listed:

Bun, a small spread of aioli, lettuce, chicken, a spread of goat cheese, red pepper, a little more aioli, red onions and topped with the bun!  Mmmmmm!

Last but certainly NOT least, we indulged in a few brownie bites!  Ryan and Erin brought these little treats…completely unaware of my latest craving…BROWNIES!  These little treats from HyVee were festive and goooooood!

After 2 days of enjoying the company of friends, Ryan and I relaxed on porch and admired the sunset in our backyard.  It doesn’t get more relaxing than this….

Now….off to work!  Enjoy your week….and make time for those chicken sandwiches!

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

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One thought on “Freedom, Food & Friends!

  1. Pingback: Bittersweet Beginnings & Roasted Red Peppers « INDULGE

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