Today we’ve got a twofer! That’s two for one on recipes! Sometimes when I am making a nice meaty main, I want to have a couple of sides to go with it. Nothing fancy or difficult (especially if the meat is complicated), but light and healthy and utterly delicious. So last week, when I was making some amazing stuffed pork chops, I decided to make use of our weekly produce delivery and make some Garlic Parmesan Green Beans and some Sweet and Creamy Mashed Squash. Nom.
Now I will admit to you right now that I have had a LIFETIME aversion to green beans. I have hated them with every fiber of my being, and even the smell of them nauseates me. But for some reason, last week, when we got a nice batch of them delivered in our weekly farm box, something inside of me said I just HAD to find a way to use them. And by golly, I was astounded to find out that they were actually not too bad! Even Mark and the kids said how good they were, which I trust more than my hormonal pregnant judgement.
They are also super simple to make and take little time. Here’s what you need.
Garlic and Parmesan Green Beans
handful of fresh green beans
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic herb mix (use whatever one you like!)
1/4 C shredded parmesan cheese
Cut the ends off of the beans and place on a metal baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with your favorite garlic herb mix and then use a wooden spoon to stir them up so they are totally coated.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 – 30 minutes until they are cooked to your liking. I got mine nice and crunchy, and they were awesome.
Sprinkle with parmesan and return to the oven for a few minutes more until the cheese melts and gets a little crunchy.
These are seriously so good. I’ve started to rethink my hatred of these beastly little green things.
And then, there is the super comfort that comes from having a nice starchy side with your meal. Mashed potatoes are great, but let’s be honest – they can get a little old. And it’s October now! So squash of every sort is in abundance! I had on hand a nice acron squash and a beautiful butternut squash. Funnily enough, when I was a kid I tried butternut squash and hated it. I tried it again as an adult when I lived in the UK, and I still thought it was terrible. But I’ve since realised that there is good in everything if you just find the proper way to cook it.
For me, this mashed squash is the ultimate in comfort food. And it’s SUPER healthy… mostly.
First, cut each fruit (yes, squash is a fruit!!) down the middle, long ways. Make sure you have a sharp knife, and be careful when you go through the stem area.
Remove all the seeds and stringy bits with a spoon. These are not really appetizing. If you want, you can save the seeds and roast them up like pumpkin seeds.
Don’t those look pretty?? Next, gather the three ingredients you’ll need: Salted Butter, Cinnamon and Maple Syrup.
Simply smear the butter across the flesh of the squash, making sure to get inside the holes and all along until you hit skin. Then, sprinkle generously with the cinnamon. Finally, drizzle the maple syrup all across and in the holes. You can use a spoon to spread it out evenly, but chances are that it will kind of run around on its own. That’s fine.
Some people like to use brown sugar for this, but I think real maple syrup is a MUCH healthier and (in my opinion) tastier option.
Now, you will need to have a nice deep baking dish, filled with about half an inch of water in the bottom. Put the squash, skin side down, into the water bath. Use two pans if you don’t have one big enough. Cover the dish with foil or if a lid if you have one and bake in the oven at 375 for about 45 minutes to an hour.
When the flesh is easy to pierce with a fork, you’re done. Remove from the oven, let cool a minute or two and then scoop out all of the flesh and place in the bowl of your food processor. Make sure you don’t get too much water in the bowl, but definitely get the liquid from inside the squashes. That has all the cinnamony-maplely goodness!
Blend the fruit up until it reaches a nice creamy consistency. Of course, you can just eat it straight out of the skin, as well, which is just as good, but I love the mashed version. Another alternative is to blend it SUPER creamy and add a bit of cream to turn it into a squash soup! DELISH!
Either way, these are sides that will get your mouth watering. I hope you enjoy!