Disclaimer: this is not a political post
Although for some people Inauguration Day was a fine one, for me it was stressful. If you know me at all you’re aware that I deal with stress by cooking, yes, eating too, but cooking is what soothes me far better than eating. When I cook or bake I focus and stay attentive to the task at hand. I let the things troubling me fall away as I bend to more important and immediate things such as not cutting myself or burning the garlic.
Saturday while waiting to pick up my daughter from a class I stuck up a conversation with another mom waiting for her kids. It was one of those great conversations where we skipped the banal and went straight for some good meaty stuff. We’d both come from the Philadelphia Women’s March, so I think we were both a bit tired and less guarded. Before you stop reading, let me say our conversation was not about politics, or even about the march. We talked about family and feelings and things that mattered to us. We talked about what happens when people struggle to name their feelings, and how that impacts their behavior.
Feelings are important to all of us whether we like them or not. I spent many years ignoring, squashing and denying mine until the dam broke. I have spent the balance of my life facing my feelings, even when I’d rather not. This doesn’t mean I’m better than someone who can’t or won’t take on their emotional truth, but I am better. Not a better person, but a person who feels better. Which brings us back to my stress and how I manage it.
My daughter is always with me on Fridays, so I am more inclined to produce a healthy meal than when I am alone. For myself I can make do—on a rough day, with a can of soup, or buttered popcorn. Meal planning isn’t my forte. I rarely know what’s for dinner more than a few hours in advance. I used to try to plan, but I’ve given up. I buy what looks good, what is seasonal, and rely on my ability to create a tasty meal out of the mystery basket my fridge and pantry provide. That strategy hasn’t failed me yet.
Friday I made a noble effort (minimally successful) to check out of social media, and media in general. I listened to music, tried to write, did some reading, talked to people I love, cried just a little and cooked. What I made was easy, and simple but blessedly time consuming. I had a bunch of chopping to do, some roasting and then baking. I hope this isn’t talking you out of trying this meal, it was everything we could want for a meatless dinner, and perfect for an infinite number of permutations and adaptations. It would be a perfect way to use any pesky leftovers and involve much less labor. It would be good with the addition of meat, especially ground beef or sausage.
I am a fan of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. We generally have a few boxes on hand, and Friday I had one box left. I mixed it up, adding extra milk and egg, and topped it with roasted vegetables. We cut it into four wedges for a comforting and delicious one-pan meal. Am I still stressed? A little, but I got through Inauguration Day and dinner.
Roasted Vegetable Cornbread Dinner
|Prep time||1 hour|
|Cook time||40 minutes|
|Total time||1 hour, 40 minutes|
|Meal type||Lunch, Main Dish|
- 1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
- 2 Large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1lb Brussels sprouts (trimmed and cut in half or quarters depending on size)
- 1 Large sweet potato (about 1 lb., peeled and cut into 1/2" dice)
- 1/2 Large Spanish or sweet onion (chopped into 1/2" dice)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 4oz sharp cheddar (grated (cheddar you grate is always better than the stuff in bags))
|Preheat oven to 300F |
Put all vegetables in a large bowl
Measure oil, reserving 1 TBL to brush into the bottom and sides of a 10" oven proof saute pan
Put remaining oil on vegetables
Add spices, and maple syrup and mix well
|Lay the vegetables on a parchment or foil lined pan and roast for 40 minutes, turning vegetables halfway through|
|In a medium bowl mix eggs and milk together, add Jiffy mix and stir just enough to remove lumps |
Pour batter into saute pan
|Raise oven temperature to 375F |
Remove vegetables from oven and let cool about ten minutes, then scoop vegetables evenly around over corn batter
Top with grated cheese, and bake 20 minutes. A toothpick inserted should come out clean.
|Let rest five minutes and cut into four wedges|