One Bag Nation

Declutter Your Cooking with Simple Food

Posted on: July 31, 2008

Isn’t simple food delicious? Things like pasta with butter and cheese, baked potatoes, roast chicken. . .not “gourmet” or fancy, just good to eat. A few years ago, a well-known local chef put a wedge of iceberg lettuce, served with homemade bleu cheese dressing on his menu – no fancy greens! – and mmmm, so good!

For dinner last night I made a pan of simple vegetables, the kind of dish my British immigrant grandmother used to make. A regular side dish in her home was boiled carrots – scrubbed, not peeled, that would be wasteful – dressed with melted butter, salt and pepper.

Last night, when I took that first bite of sweet carrot and silky butter, I was transported back to Grandma’s kitchen table, where simple, humble food was served – and none of us had heard of balsamic vinegar or sun-dried tomatoes!

Don’t get me wrong; I love balsamic and lots of other specialty ingredients, but that taste of carrot was pure nostalgia – for both the food itself and for simpler times.

If you’d like to try to make the dish, here’s how I do it: Fill a 12″ straight-sided sauce pan (you could use a Dutch Oven or stockpot too) with about 1-1/2″ of water and bring to a boil. Toss in 12oz. mixed green and yellow beans (I get these at Trader Joe’s), and a couple of handfuls of baby carrots (or trimmed carrots). Cook for THREE minutes (on high heat); turn off burner and drain immediately. Return pan to burner (I have an electric oven so the burner stays hot for a while); add 1T (or more, we try to go low-fat) of butter to the pan, and swirl around until melted. You may have to take the pan off the heat if the butter gets too hot, depends on your stove. Add vegetables back into the pan, toss to coat with the butter, season with salt and pepper, toss again and serve.

We ate the entire panful last night, or I’d be munching on leftovers as I write!

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15 Responses to "Declutter Your Cooking with Simple Food"

I love simple food and easy recipes. Thank you!

If I had to choose just one food to eat for the rest of my life, it would be freshly baked bread with butter. 🙂

Hi Ann,

Isn’t that a wonderful feeling when you eat something and it reminds you of days past? It’s often those old recipes with just a few ingredients that are the best.

Your recipe sounds delicious!

For the past 5 months I have been eating based on weight watcher’s “core” program, which is basically simple yet delicious food. I’m still amazed when I can combine a few simple foods and it converts into a delicious and healthy meal. My challenge is figuring out how to consistently have my kitchen stocked w/ healthy simple foods. If I won the lottery, one of the first things I would do is hire a kitchen manager.

Mmmm. We are a drop-off for a local organic farm and last night we had our simple veggie — boil up beets, then add new potatoes, when they’re done, use the water to boil up the beet greens (chopped up). Slice the beets, throw the greens on top of it all, stir in some butter.

It’s soooo sweet and the beets and the potatoes together taste like dessert, while the greens keep it from being too sweet.

I love summer veggies!

Great ideas, all of these! (And Ann, I just ‘saw’ you on Problogger- I was like ‘I know her!’)

@Vered mmmm . . . that would be on my top ten for sure! and we have so many wonderful bakeries around.

@Barbara I was suprised what an immediate “hit” I got from just the taste of carrots!

@createabalance: I love Core! When I first tried it, I lost 10lbs – that was weight I thought I’d never see disappear! Now suddenly it’s gotten harder – age I guess. And yes, keeping the kitchen stocked and planning are key to success on Core

@Jen your recipe sounds wonderful, I love beets! I went to the farmer’s market last night but got carried away with fruit – no room or $$ for veggies, though I did mean to get some beets. Next time!

@Kelly I read problogger regularly but I don’t always add to the conversation; sometimes it’s too techy for me! Isn’t it funny how we “run into” each other around the web?

okay, too funny. Last night I was patiently trying to explain to the Urbane Lion (ex-chef) that we did not have to eat meals that take over an hour to prepare EVERY SINGLE NIGHT! I don’t think he got it. Sigh.

This is very timely because I’m trying to add more fruits and vegetables to my diet. I’m going to try your recipe Ann (actually, your grandmother’s recipe 🙂 ).

@Panther: I might not mind that the meals take a long time to prepare, as long as I’m sitting with a glass of wine while someone else does the preparing!

@Marelisa: the trick is not to overcook the vegetables; they get mushy in a flash – good luck!

Oh dear, you totally nailed me on that one. Yes, I am spoiled.

We often have a side of plain, boiled veggies but I have to admit that I do like food that’s a little more adventurous. Our week usually sees a reasonable mix of the two.

Did you know that our bodies can only use the goodness in carrots if they’re served with some kind of fat or oil? Hence why granma always tossed them in butter.

That sounds so good! And thanks for the (possibly unintentional?) tip about peeling carrots being wasteful. I never would have even realized that, but I understand! I hate wasting food without thinking about it like that.

Alex: I just read about eating the green tops of strawberries! I’ve never even thought about that, but I’m going to give it a try.

@Sharon: I agree, a mix of simple and more exciting is good. Butter is pretty exciting in my life . . . a real treat!

[…] Here is a simple veggie recipe post from One Bag Nation that sounds absolutely delicious. Not to mention that there are some great remarks in the comments too! Play nice: Share with others! […]

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