Thursday, December 15, 2011

Healthy stuff: It's what's for dinner

Yeah I've totally highjacked the Beef Council slogan, and I actually could have said, "Beef: It's what's for dinner," 'cause that's what we had.

But it was so much more.

First let me tell you about a typical day here in the Middle of Nowhere as it relates to meals. I'm a three-squares kinda gal and am holding steady with the no-snacking rule. For the most part. (Thank goodness all the Snappy Turtles and Snickerdoodles are in the freezer. In the garage. Destined for a Christmas Eve open house.)

My husband is more of a one-square kinda guy with the addition of an afternoon snack, usually yogurt, and a late-night gorge, usually whatever is lying around that looks good to him at that moment. Could be half a loaf of banana bread, as it was last night. Or half a bag of cashews, as it was the previous night. Or several large spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar, as he has done waaaaaaaaay too many nights.

Whatever he eats late at night he will swear off forever until the next time the following morning. And he will not eat a healthful breakfast of homemade yogurt and granola, as I do, because he's not hungry. Because he ate two pounds of crap the night before.

He will, however, at about 10 a.m., wonder what's for dinner. If I'm in a good mood I'll ask him what he'd like. If I'm in a normal mood, I'll tell him what I have in mind. And if I'm in a bad mood I'll ask him what he's fixing for dinner. Heh. (You have no idea how funny this really is.)

After last night, I think I'm going to just make whatever I want from now on and let him deal with it, because he did pretty darned well with a bowl of HEALTH that was so delicious I can't wait for lunchtime to eat the single leftover planned-over serving I stashed in the refrigerator before I served dinner.

You see, he doesn't care for squash. And he thinks we eat too much beef. (Is there such a thing as too much delicious, hormone-free, grass-fed beef?) And to him, a grain is rice. Period. No couscous, no barley, none of that fancy-pants quinoa.

But that fancy-pants quinoa was the foundation for a concoction of browned ground beef, cubed butternut, torn kale, mushrooms, and other goodies that was so comforting and good. I could have stuffed it in the butternut shell and baked it for an even fancier-pants presentation, but I just mixed it all up in a skillet and dumped it in a bowl. 'Cause I'm fancy like that.


He had two huge servings. I had one normal one. (He, of course, maintains his weight eating like this and I, well, we all know I have, um, issues, with my inability to lose weight eating moderately and exercising regularly. It's a gift, what can I say.)

Here's the recipe, recreated as closely as I can remember it, all nice and neat, in case you'd like to serve health in a bowl to your husband (or yourself) as well.

Superdinner! Healthy and delicious, what a great combination.
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Beef, Squash and Kale Mess
Serves four, unless you're married to my husband. Then it serves two.

1 cup quinoa
1 Tblsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 three-pound butternut squash
2 large kale leaves, torn, stems discarded
1 4-oz. can sliced mushrooms, undrained (or half a pound of sliced fresh)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts (optional, I wouldn't have missed them)
1 celery stalk, sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tblsp. turmeric
1 tsp. fennel seed

In a fine-mesh strainer, thoroughly rinse one cup quinoa under cool running water and set aside.

Pierce the squash and bake in 350° oven for 30 minutes. (You can do this earlier in the day, as it will need to cool a bit before you can peel and cube it.) After squash has cooled, cut in half lengthwise and discard seeds. Peel one half of the squash and cube the flesh. Reserve remaining squash for another use.

Swirl one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add ground beef, breaking into pieces with a wooden spoon and brown for five or six minutes. Add onion, celery, fresh mushrooms (if that's what you're using) and pine nuts, cooking until onions are nearly translucent. Add garlic, being careful not to let it get too brown.

If you're using canned mushrooms, add them now, along with the kale, squash, raisins, quinoa and spices. Add a cup of water, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is cooked.

Spoon it into a shallow bowl and dinner is served! Enjoy.

1 comment:

mauishopgirl said...

Thanks for sharing! This looks delicious. I love kale, quinoa...all of that good stuff.