It is the middle of February. We have no fresh veggies coming in this time of year, but I still used our produce from the summertime! I love this part about living and working on our farm. We can use our garden even in the dead of winter. So for this meal, I just felt all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Not to mention very satisfied because it was delicious. My husband was happy because he has declared himself a “meat and two sides” type of man. If you’re wondering what type he’s NOT…he’s not a soup or a fish taco guy. Meat and two sides was the request for the evening. I also hadn’t really been to the grocery store in over a week, so this whole week I just decided to cook from what I had on hand.
Pork Chops. No recipe required. Here’s what I did. I just melted some butter in a skillet (iron, of course) and sprinkled salt and pepper over each side of the pork chop. Cooked them until done. Easy. Delicious. Butter.
Butternut squash. Leftover from the summer garden, our butternut squash have held up for at least six months in a basket in my kitchen. (I have no root cellar, but I would LOVE one.) Butternut squash has picked up popularity here lately. I’ve seen many different recipes that take so many different twists with this versatile squash! I’ve cooked it in my skillet, with different spices sprinkled on top, I’ve roasted it, I’ve served it with chutney, blended it into soup…there are a lot of different ways I tell you. But the way I fixed it tonight is my family’s favorite.
Mashed Butternut Squash
I peeled two small butternuts for this meal. Cube them up, and boil them until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain them. I keep them in my saucepan, and add a spoonful of sour cream, about 3 tbsp butter, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, coriander, smoked paprika. Blend with a stick blender, this is easy than dirtying up a whole blender! That’s it! Taste and add more spices if needed.
“I hate beets.” Wait!! So many times I’ve heard this, and I used to say it too…until I tasted these beets. Usually, in the summertime when my beets are fresh, I will just chop some up and use them, well, fresh. But it is February and I have no fresh beets. I actually canned some beets. This was pretty brilliant, because when you can beets, you have to pressure can them for a long time, about 50 minutes. So during all that time, the beets become very tender. Therefore, summertime beets will take longer to cook because they have to tender up, but my canned beets are already very tender. All I do is cook them until they’re brown.
Beet haters, please at least hear me out on this recipe. My two year old and four year old literally gobbled these up.
Heat bacon grease in iron skillet until hot. Pour in canned beets, with the water drained off. Add salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder. Stir around until they are all coated well. Add a dash of white cooking wine (or chicken broth). Let this evaporate pretty well, and by then, the beets will start browning, and that’s good.
When this happens, pour some balsamic vinegar over all the beets, and it should sizzle really good. Cook for a few minutes more, and then they’re done.
I could tell this meal made everyone very happy and comfy on a dreary winter evening. The boys ate without too much arguing. I have a fussy eater that complains about everything. And also, all the skillets and saucepan were scraped clean. Then everyone happily made their way into the living room to rest/play quietly with toys. This was great. I cherish such comfy moments with my family– made possible by a yummy meal.