I love getting sauteed mushrooms and creamed spinach with my steaks when I go out, and I recently found myself craving both while grilling up some steak-burger patties. Two sides, however, seem a little excessive for a weeknight dinner, so I combined them with barley for a quick dish. This makes a great cold lunch the day after, too. —ktchnninja
extra-virgin olive oil
cremini mushrooms, sliced and then roughly chopped
frozen cut spinach, thawed
large green olives (mine were marinated in "Mediterranean herbs"), pitted and chopped finely
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add in the barley. Cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, place a medium/large skillet over medium-high heat and heat the olive oil (for extra smokiness and deliciousness, use bacon fat instead). Add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened slightly, about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and add the thawed spinach and chopped olives. Combine well with the mushrooms and cook until heated through. (I usually prep the mushrooms as I am waiting for the water for the barley to boil, and the vegetables are done around the same time as the barley -- if the spinach/mushroom mixture is done first, however, remove from heat and set aside.)
When the barley is ready (al dente), drain the water and return the barley to the pot. Add the spinach/mushroom mixture to the pot and mix well, seasoning with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in half the Gouda cheese and fold into the barley mixture; repeat with the remaining cheese.
Serve immediately if desired. Otherwise, this recipe can be made a day in advance, stored in the refrigerator, and served cold.