Yet one the whole family enjoyed. The dinner idea began with a package of chicken wings. Everyone in the family enjoys chicken wings. They're fun to eat, and there are countless ways to prepare them. Last night, it was simply baked. I'd sprinkled them liberally with seasoning salt, pepper, and an herb blend and popped them in a 375ºF oven for 45 minutes. For a while though, I was stumped on what to have with it. I was thinking in terms of rice or potatoes, but I wasn't in the mood for potatoes, and we'd had rice a few times in the last couple of days. Since the kids aren't big on rice, I thought I needed something different.
Then I spied the butternut squash and decided to cook that instead. I baked it in a 350ºF oven for about an hour, covered with foil. I'd split it in half, scooped out the seeds, and then placed the halves cut-side down in a baking dish. I poked the skin with holes, covered with foil, and popped it in. When it came out, I scooped the soft flesh into a bowl with a smidge of butter, salt, and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Then I set it aside while the chicken cooked and pondered a vegetable or a salad to accompany.
When I popped open the produce drawers on the fridge, a fresh bunch of celery caught my eye, as well as a few apples that had a spot or two on them, and thus had been deemed inedible by my children. In mere seconds, I'd chopped two apples and two celery stalks. I added a handful of Craisins and then whipped up a honey-mustard vinaigrette. The salad was fresh and light and a perfect counterpoint to the last week of holiday indulging. I only wished that I'd had a bit of red onion to thinly slice into it.
The result was a dinner that made everyone happy, and was beyond simple to put together. There was very little active work time, mostly just waiting for it to finish in the oven. This is definitely a meal worthy of company, and I really need to remember this apple and celery salad. It's been a long while since I'd made it, and it's just so bright and delightful. I love it when a quick dinner comes out better than expected, and I hope to do the same thing tonight.