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Cooking in the Desert with Brianna Madia

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In this episode of Eat Like, Brianna and Keith Madia cook a mean skillet meal from their home sweet home—a van named Bertha.

Video Transcript

BRIANNA: Roasted vegetables like a skillet. Like a roasted vegetable skillet. What do you call it? Something in a cast iron. It's called a cheesy vegetable skillet.


That's it.


BRIANNA: Hey guys. I'm Brianna Madia and this is my husband and sous chef, Keith. This is our van, Bertha. And we're here in Moab, Utah today. And we're going to show you one of our favorite dishes to make out here. Our kitchen consists of a Coleman stove, this foldable table, this cooler, and these two plastic boxes.

We've got this box that we use for all of our utensils and little small things that could otherwise get lost in the vastness of this box. This dish towel that my friends got me. And we've got a couple plates, which we don't use because we've basically been camping for many years.

That usually leaves us making a lot of, what we call, one pot wonders. Today, we're going to take all the vegetables that we have, some quinoa, some cheese, and make a really nice melty situation. Do you like this sticker? I made this. If you lived in your van, you'd be home by now. The best ingredient of any meal is a little bit of the meal that you cooked before.

So we're going to have a little scrambled eggs with our meal today. If I were you Keith, I would chop them on the ground on the bluey. What you want to do is chop vegetables on the most uneven surface as possible. We always keep potatoes because they stay really well. But I think these have been in here for three, maybe four weeks.

You're going to want to chop up all of your vegetables into bit-sized pieces. I used to think that in order to make a good meal, you needed stoves and microwaves, pots, pans. And it's amazing what you can make when you just have two burners. And when you've also become immune to what regular food tastes like. No, I'm kidding.


When you're used to just eating garbage. I'm going to add in mushrooms. Shockingly, they haven't gone bad yet. Keith, you're doing amazing. That looks absolutely incredible. All right. This is the part where you cut your finger off.



BRIANNA: The sign of a good cook is a very well used container of salt. Looks like it's seen some things. Seriously, why does it look like that? While Keith is roasting the vegetables-- which you can do for as long as you like. I like my vegetables a little on the crispy side. Quinoa, or rice, or really any type of green that you have will work for this.

KEITH: I'm going to put the mushrooms in later because they cook down so fast.

BRIANNA: Yeah, but the juices are nice. So what I'm working on right now is my first book, actually. And it's a collection of short stories about our adventures, and living on the road, and living in the van. And it's not a cookbook, unfortunately.

Maybe we'll do a chapter about the cheesy skillet, if it turns out all right. Something that really threw us for a loop when we moved into the van was that there really isn't a typical day.

Sometimes, we wake up in a Walmart parking lot. Sometimes, we wake up out here. All right. So we've added the mushrooms.

KEITH: Yup. Mushrooms went in.

BRIANNA: Pepper's got a little rust on it. A lot of people think that they're very original for quoting the Chris Farley Living in a Van Down By The River skit. And so out of politeness, I go hahaha. I've never heard that before.

And then there's people in the thousands who are just so curious to know where we go to the bathroom. So the quinoa is finished. I like to just put in a little bit just to add a bit of that nutrish. Listen to that sizzle.

The final step for your skillet is going to be cheese. Wow, look at that. And you can go as cheesy as your heart desires. And now you wait. So the food is done, which you can tell because the dogs have graced us with their presence.


BRIANNA: Once we've made this beautiful meal, we like to eat it by balancing it precariously on our water jug in between our two camp chairs. We figure why dirty more dishes when you can just eat out of this dish?


BRIANNA: Cheers. Oh, that was a brussel sprout. Lucky. If you do end up making this at home or when you're out camping, you can tag us using the hashtag #cheesyquinoaskilletvegatabledish.