Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thinking Thanksgiving: Roasted Vegetable Medley

Bear with me ... there's a recipe in here.

Thanksgiving is in one week. Since the beginning of the month, some of my friends on Facebook have been posting each day something for which they are thankful. I've thought about doing it but it seemed a little forced or hollow for me. I have always felt this way when I've been asked to tell what I'm thankful for at someone's dinnertable (this is not a tradition at my house) so I usually say 4-wheel drive (I am!) and coffee.

But this week I have had experiences that illuminated things I am thankful for that I take for granted. I am grateful my husband does not raise his hand or his voice in anger toward me. I learned of a family in my community that has to carry buckets of water to bathe and another family that has neither bathroom or kitchen sinks or a kitchen table. My trailer is a castle compared to where others live and I need to stop being ashamed of my circumstances. While I am watching the checkbook balance and working out who is bringing what to dinner to share the cost, there are some people for whom Thanksgiving is going to be just another day with no particularly special meal if they even have food at all.

I was happy to see another blogger who has a heart for those who have little or nothing. Scary Mommy sought $25 donations that she paired up and matched to people who said they needed help. Those folks will get $50 gift cards to buy their Thanksgiving ingredients. Read the comments on the blog and you'll see many of her readers gave more than $25. You'll also see the stories of some of the folks who will be getting the gift cards.

She's not even a food blogger. Really isn't this something food bloggers should embrace? Sometimes we talk about food and our enjoyment of it in ways that show we take it for granted. Last year I served a community Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who would come. This year I just donated groceries to the food pantry (good stuff like Campbell's soup and canned mandarin oranges -- no sauerkraut, beets or other cans of things few people like to eat). I have been in the place where I was looking at what I had left in the cupboard and trying to cabbage together meals out of it to last till payday. But no matter how bad my situation is, someone always has it worse. So to quote a Veggie Tales song, "I can love because God loves me; I can give because God gave."

Now, because you've been patient, gentle readers, I will give you a recipe.

Earlier this week, I made a pork roast in the Crock-Pot, shredded it and added most of it to this homemade sauce and served it on sandwich buns. I saved part of it to add to this pumpkin chili later this week.

For one of the side dishes, I made a roasted vegetable medley (recipe follows). I also served a salad topped with mandarin oranges, dried cherries and chopped pecans.

"This veggie dish is good with any meat, but I especially like it with pork. And because the vegetables can be prepared in advance, I have more time to enjoy my dinner guests," said Shirley Beauregard of Grand Junction, Colorado, who submitted this recipe to Taste of Home.

I got it out of the cookbook magazine they give to attendees of the Taste of Home Cooking School.

Because I am thinking Thanksgiving, I am considering this Roasted Vegetable Medley a holiday side dish. The potatoes in the mix might clash with mashed potatoes (and I wouldn't dare NOT serve mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving -- read about the near-disastrous time I changed up the potatoes one year) so why not swap the Yukon Golds for turnips? We usually save the marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes for Easter and I make either a sweet potato/dried cherry/bleu cheese/curry dressing or cinnamon honey coated sweet potatoes, the recipes for which can be found here.

Even if this roasted vegetable medley doesn't make the cut for Thanksgiving dinner, it's going to become one of my go-to fall side dishes.

7 Servings
Prep: 25 min. Bake: 30 min.

3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into small wedges
2 medium sweet red peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 medium red onion, quartered
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, red peppers, squash, sweet potato and onion. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar and seasonings. Pour over vegetables and toss to coat.

Transfer to two greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans. Bake, uncovered, at 425° for 30-40 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Yield: 7 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 1 cup equals 152 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 347 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 fat.

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