An (easy) Autumn Dinner Template

I’ve been teased about a few things in my life. That’s OK, I’ll still acknowledge you and say hi when you ring up my things at Marketplace. Even today my friends find amusement with some of the things I choose to do, and tease me accordingly. For example, I recently offered one of the four clementines that were tightly packed into my purse to Cici when she casually mentioned hunger during a Sunday Funday. Or, after six straight hours guiding a visiting friend through the shops of Westfield, to whack out a small container of granola and start munching. Basically, when I’m hungry, I’m hungry, and its usually best for all involved that we don’t let me get to a state where I’m feeling hangry. That being said, I’ve learned that in spite of the potential of being teased, it is best not to be unprepared. I won’t last long at all when I’m feeling low in energy.

Someone so serious about snack-packing is even more serious about their meals. I think we’re all clear on the fact that I’m that someone. Anyway, breakfast is usually covered in the way of a banana and some of the granola that I make every Sunday. Lunch can be as easy as random veggies and some oat cakes that I’ll dip into hummus (not homemade, sorry) that I usually have hanging around. But, dinner gets hard. In the cold months, I like it hot. Or, at least warm…

What’s a girl to do when she has no leftovers she can easily warm up, and is gosh dang hungry? Aha! I glimpse the butternut squash I grabbed in a moment of seasonal inspiration at the market. I decided I would roast it to make a super warm salad, topped with poached eggs. And then that’s what I did.

You, coming into the door on a cold winter’s night, could also fix something similar up to the background sounds of your grumbling belly.

TEMPLATE FOR AN AUTUMN DINNER

1. GO GREEN:It’s always good (for you!) to have a leafy green as your base. I chose kale, which I ever so slightly steamed.You could also roast it!

2. PROTEIN: I poached two eggs to have them all runny and yummy on top of the salad, but beans, leftover meat, or quinoa could also work! I had some bean sprouts nearing the end of their prime in the fridge, so I sprinkled some of them on top too!

3. CARB: I was feeling too lazy to also cook up some quinoa (even more protein!), but if you’re feeling it, add some of your favourite cooked rice, quinoa, or pasta to the mix!

4. SOMETHING ELSE: I had a carrot in my veg drawer, so I grated some of that onto the kale and sprouts.

5. A ROASTABLE ROOT: It helps (your body) immensely if it bursts with flavour, adds colour in the form of beta carotene to this nourishing meal, and is bursting with vitamin C. I used butternut squash, but I’m sure a plain white potato would be fine too. Here, I used a butternut squash.

Method: Mix or layer your component parts in a deep plate or regular ol’ bowl. Dress or season as you wish.

To roast a squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, or 200ish C. Use all your might to cut into quarters. I failed at that, it was just uneven pieces. Drizzle with some olive oil. Sprinkle with stuff (I used sea salt and paprika). To boost this meal’s legitimacy, I put garlic cloves atop each piece of squash, so that that flavour could be infused as it roasted. Then, put the pieces in your pre-heated oven for an hour. I used the wait time to prep the other bits and to also put together cross-examination points for a criminal advocacy small group session – such is my real life.

Note: If you want to be boring (or are short for time), you could just boil the squash, but expect much less flavour.