Tuesday, December 29, 2009

dinner patchwork

As much as I love to cook, it is simply not possible for me to be sane and balanced and make all from-scratch meals every night with several choices of foods. To make family meals work for me, and for many families, I recommend a combination of from-scratch, relying on left-overs, and prepared foods. (Secrets to Feeding a Healthy Family, Ellyn Satter is a great resource.)

The other night, we had a DiGiorno frozen pizza (it was yummy, thin crust...) with leftover home-made butternut squash soup (from the freezer) and a plate of cut up veggies and dip. M ate the soup, veggies and pizza, a pretty well-rounded meal, and it was ready in under 25 minutes!
If you are new to cooking, don't set the bar too high. Start with eating what you eat now at meal times with your family. Maybe add a side of peas or applesauce. If you're going through a crisis with work or at home and you need to rely on take-out or frozen foods for a few weeks, don't feel guilty. Do the best you can, and don't beat yourself up! Get back to it when you feel ready and energized. If you make it too hard, or feel badly about cooking, you are more likely to give up. Good luck!

Squash soup. YUMMY!
1 butternut squash (or acorn)
1 large or 2 small leeks (can use an onion instead)
1 1/2 -2 boxes of chicken or veggie broth (less for thicker soup, more for thinner soup...)
hand immersion blender or regular blender
1-2 Tbspns butter
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (optional, or garlic)
parsley optional

preheat oven to 400 degrees, cut squash in half lengthwise and place face down on foiled cookie sheet. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until you can easily pierce squash with fork.
Take out and cool. Scoop out cooked squash into broth and leeks...

Meanwhile remove outer leaves from leek and cut off bottom roots and top darker green leaves. slice the leek in half (white and pale green parts) and get dirct out from between leaves under running water. Slice into 1/2 inch slices.

In large soup pan or dutch overn, melt butter and sautee squash about 10 minutes, don't let butter scorch. Add small amount broth if needed. When done, add the broth and stir. Cook about 10 minutes, add ginger, cook another 5-10 minutes or so. If you have an immersion blender, blend in the pot, if not, let it cool and pour into another pot. Scoop 1-2 cups at a time into blender and transfer back into pot. USE CAUTION if blending hot liquids. Best to wait, cover the top with a tea towel if still hot. May add 1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream for richer, creamier soup, but we like it just as it is... It freezes great! Makes about 6-8 servings depending on how much you eat! This makes a great meal with bread with butter and cheese...
Salt and pepper to taste and add fresh snipped parsley if desired.

1 comment:

  1. That is EXACTLY how I cook my meals! I am always advocating this approach to people who "don't have time to cook"... but I lacked a pithy title for it. I am also going to call it patchwork cooking, so smart!