Posted by: kathryngraves | January 9, 2016

Saturday Supper

What I eatI’m often asked, “What do you eat?” after I tell people I eat only whole food. When I describe “whole food” as nothing that comes in a box, jar, envelope or other packaging, I am usually met with stares or silence. I’m constantly amazed at the number of people who don’t know how to eat if they can’t buy packaged food.

What I used to eatI shouldn’t be surprised, though, because I used to be one of them. I grew up in the era of casseroles. We started most of these processed delights with browned hamburger and added cans of creamed soups, cans of beans, cans of vegetables, and/or cans of sauce. We might even sprinkle the contents of an envelope on top along with shredded processed cheese before baking it. Yum!

Why we eat. Food is meant to be fuel and nutrition for our bodies to keep them healthy and functional. Sadly, the western diet is anything but. We ingest ingredients with names we can’t pronounce and enough sodium to cause a heart attack–and it often does.

Whole food is exactly what the name implies. It is food fresh from the garden and farm: vegetables and fruits in their unpeeled, uncut, natural state. It includes meat, poultry and dairy from animals allowed to graze and roam freely, eating grass and bugs instead of grain. In the winter, frozen vegetables in a bag are acceptable because the freshness is preserved. The days it can take to bring fresh produce from far-away countries often compromises the nutrient content. This one of only a few exceptions to the no-packaging-allowed rule. Another is bagged dried beans and whole grains, with the point being that they have not been previously cooked.

Saturday Suppers. But back to the question of what I do eat. I’ll call these Saturday Suppers even though I eat these types of meals every night of the week except Friday and Sunday. My husband and I go out on Fridays for “date night” and we try to find places where we can eat at least somewhat healthy food. We go out with friends on Sunday nights and, until recently, paid no attention to health rules on these outings. But some of us are beginning to struggle with health issues, so we are making an effort to reform our bad habit.

Last Saturday night I made baked buttered chicken, carmelized butternut squash, and steamed broccoli.

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The basic recipes follow:

Baked Buttered Chicken

Slice an onion into the bottom of a roasting pan. Place a whole chicken, breast side down, on top of the onions. Stuff the cavity with fresh herbs, such as parsley, or tarragon. Sprinkle rosemary, thyme, and sage on the outside, along with salt and pepper. Place pats of grass-fed butter on top of the chicken. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for an hour. Take out the pan and use tongs to turn the chicken over. Repeat the herbs and butter and bake another hour.

Carmelized Butternut Squash

Buy a whole butternut squash. Wash it and cut each end off, then cut it in half cross-wise. Lay a cut side down on a cutting board and slice off the peel in sections, working your way around the piece. Cut each half in half length-wise. On the bulbous end, cut out the seeds. Cut each quarter into 2-inch chunks. Toss the squash in a bowl with 2 T olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and 2 T 100% pure maple syrup. Pour onto a baking sheet and bake along with the chicken for the last half hour.

Steamed Broccoli

I use a bamboo steamer I got for a few bucks at a home goods store. Put an inch or so of water in the bottom of a large skillet. Put the bottom part of the steamer in the water. Cut up fresh broccoli into florets and place on the rack in the steamer. Bring the water to a boil and cover with the steamer lid. Steam for 5-6 minutes or until bright green. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Photo by Kathryn Graves

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