Classic Grilled Cheese SandwichesOf course it’s ridiculous to reference a recipe for grilled cheese! Who needs that? I followed the steps for “Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches,” from Cook’s Country, knowing and admiring the meticulousness of this publication’s techniques. The recipe produced sharp and smooth cheesiness, sandwiched within perfectly crunchy and buttery bread. I did need to nuance the techniques, however.

I placed my sandwiches in the pan under the weight of a simple plate. After realizing that 4 minutes on the first side made them too dark, I cooked the other side for only 2 minutes, without the plate weight. Enjoy your grilled cheese!

Roasted Sweet Potato Corn ChowderI also made the perfectly seasoned “Roasted Sweet Potato Corn Chowder,” from All Recipes, customized for 5 servings. It was a sweet, hearty, and thick sweet-potato soup. I roasted my sweet potatoes with canola oil (not corn oil), for 20 minutes, adding 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper to the baking dish. Rather than swirling my 1/4 cup corn kernels with plain water in the blender, I mixed it with 2 cups of vegetable-bouillon broth, adding that whole purée to the soup pot. I added 1 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper to the soup. This was beautiful and a thrill to eat.

RECIPES: cheddar and Monterey Jack combine for a fine grilled cheese; roasted sweet potatoes swim in a dazzling soup
PREP TIMES: grilled cheese is oh-so-quick; you’ll need more than an hour to make this great soup
TASTES: it’s all about your bread and cheese; smooth, roasted sweet potatoes mingle beautifully with corn and onions and tomato paste

Next time, I want to cook another great meal. I’ll cook “Quinoa with Cauliflower, Cranberries, and Pine Nuts,” from Vegan Express, by Nava Atlas (recipe below), along with “Avocado and Tuna Tapas,” from All Recipes. This’ll be fun! Come back to my site on Friday, January 23, to see my results.

Quinoa with Cauliflower, Cranberries, and Pine Nuts
Serves: 4 to 6
Adapted from Vegan Express

  • 1 1/4 cups quinoa, rinsed in a fine sieve
  • 1 Tbsp. fragrant nut oil, such as walnut or sesame (if unavailable,use olive oil)
  • 1 medium yellow or red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small pieces and florets
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. flaxseed oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine the quinoa with 2 1/2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wide skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until golden. Add the cauliflower and about 1/3 cup water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until the cauliflower is just tender.

Once the quinoa is done, add it to the cauliflower mixture, followed by the cranberries, pine nuts, and parsley. Toss together, then remove from the heat. Drizzle in the oil, then season with salt and pepper. Serve at once.