Back home after a week in Belize – another leg on our search for a warmer climate location to call home. We stayed a couple days on the mainland in Placencia Village at the tip of the peninsula and the remainder on the laid back island of Caye Caulker. There is so much value in leaving home – especially to visit a country that is predominantly comprised of third world characteristics. To see first hand how others make (& struggle) their way in the world always leaves me with extreme gratitude for all our blessings here in the states. Sure, we have our share of problems – but at least we have a somewhat broken system – in most parts of Belize, there is simply no system at all. That being said, on the Caribbean side (where tourism is centered) is glorious- the trade winds are cooling and the water is crystal clear. The locals are friendly and I am told there is little violent crime against tourists. And the food is quite good – tons of seafood of course. Vegetables are harder to come by as not much is grown on the islands – but shipped in from the mainland – thus higher costs. NO CARS ON CAYE CAULKER. Yes, that is the main reason we chose this small, quiet island as a destination. Hard-packed dirt roads with mostly bikes and a few golf carts – that is the kind of slow life we absolutely adore! To visit – yes! To live permanently – no! We received an education for sure. Although Michigan winters are rough, we will keep looking for the perfect warm weather relocation/retirement spot – and maybe closer to home in the southern states? We will see where our journey brings us next.
I am so happy to again have access to all our wonderfully abundant Michigan summer veggies and to be back in my kitchen making quick vegetarian meals. I have been making this grilled vegetables recipe all summer and am just now getting around to sharing it with you. Really – try this technique – you will not be sorry.
What’s so great about it?
SIMPLICITY! This is another quick vegetarian recipe you will return to again and again.
Grab a bunch of your favorite veggies from the market, fire up your grill and get cooking. Cut your veggies in bigger chunks – too small and everything will become mush.
Preheat the grill to a very high temperature – I had it up to 650 degrees. If you have a cast iron skillet – brilliant! It works beautifully to quickly saute these veggies. Once the grill is preheated, I put the skillet on the tray and cover the lid of the grill. Let cook, stirring often for 15-20 minutes. The onions will start to brown and the cherry tomatoes will burst creating a delicious juice.
While the veggies are cooking, bring a big pot of water to a boil and drop in your frozen gnocchi (yes, frozen=convenient!) and cook for 5 minutes. I have also used quinoa and baby red potatoes as a base for this grilled vegetables recipe – all equally good. Next time I make this (which will probably be tomorrow!), I am going to add a handful of garbanzo beans for extra protein – I can not get enough of those perfect beans! I finish the veggies with a generous sprinkle of fresh rosemary, purple basil, feta, and a very large squeeze of lemon. This is seriously good eating!!!
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes
- ½ a large zucchini, cut into large pieces
- ½ a large yellow squash, cut into large pieces
- 1 small onion, large chop
- ½ cup green and/or yellow beans, halved
- 2-3 large baby portobello mushromms, quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon rosemary, minced
- 1 tablespoon purple basil, rough chop
- 1 lemon
- ½ cup feta cheese
- 16 ounces frozen gnocchi
- Preheat grill to 650 degrees (by keeping cover closed)
- Bless summer grilling and warm Michigan days!!
- While grill is preheating, bring a large pot of water to boil, drop in frozen gnocchi, and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a large cast iron skillet, combine oil, garlic, tomato, zucchini, squash, beans, mushroom, onion, and salt. Mix well and cook with cover closed, stirring often for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes burst and veggies are slightly browned.
- On each plate (this serves 2 hungry people), place the gnocchi and veggies. Sprinkle with rosemary, basil, feta, and lemon.