Sometimes you just don’t have the energy or the inclination to prepare dinner, inspiration has deserted you, and you would rather just relax and not bother. I love to cook, but I have to admit that even I have days when I just wish dinner would magically appear before me. Of course there is always going out to dinner, but if you’re feeling put upon to prepare a meal, then getting dressed and primped so you’re ready for the public may be more trouble than actually cooking. You can also order in, but at least in my neck of the woods the choices are somewhat limited to battered and deep fried and the nutritional value is dubious at best. So I have learned over the years, make big batches so you can freeze some and when you’re feeling like a bag of hammers you can produce a tasty homemade meal with very little trouble. There are also a few things you can cook that require very little effort or creativity on your part, no brainer meals for days when spending two hours chopping and prepping, simmering and tasting are about as appealing as sticking knitting needles in your eyes. Following are a couple of easy fixes for everyday meals that require little of your time but deliver big flavour and pretty good nutrtion. Now, if you can find someone to clean up the mess after dinner you’re laughing!
Mustard Cream Pork Chops – serves 2
2 – 3/4 inch thick pork chops
fresh ground pepper
1 heaped tbsp. butter
1 heaped tbsp. grainy mustard
1/4 cup half and half
pat chops dry and sprinkle with pepper. In a saute pan over med. high heat melt butter, add mustard and stir to mix well, lay chops in pan and fry on both sides until cooked and browned, about 5-7 minutes per side. Remove chops from pan, add cream, stir and let cook for about 5 minutes so sauce thickens a little and reduces. Return chops to pan and turn so both sides get coated in sauce, plate chops and pour remaining sauce over top.
Baked Squash – serves 2
Preheat oven to 400F
Small winter squash such as acorn, humber or pepper (I wouldn’t use a spaghetti, or butternut squash here)
salt and pepper
2 tbsp. butter
herbs of your choice or maple syrup or brown sugar
Cut squash in half from stem end to bottom tip. Remove and discard seeds (or save to roast later for a treat). Take a thin slice off the side or what will now be the bottom of your squash so it won’t wobble in the pan. Sprinkle squash halves with salt and pepper, bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Place, 1 tbps. of butter in centre of each squash half and sprinkle with your choice of herbs to season. My husband likes it savoury so I usually season his with a little ground sage and dried thyme, I like mine sweet, so I add a little brown sugar or maple syrup to the pat of butter. Return to oven for another 20 minutes, serve and enjoy.