End of Winter Skillet

By the calendar, the tail end of winter is here. The days should be warming soon. In three weeks we’ll be starting our seeds for the garden.  But if you go outside, it’s hard to see the promise of warmth.  Still, it isn’t nearly as bad as it was last year, with a winter that lasted six months and a depression that made it impossible for me to get out of bed.  I keep that in mind whenever I look at the weather report and see temperature forecasts of negative degrees.

The other night I pulled out the iron skillet and made something simple and warm for dinner.  It had been cold all day long, of course, and I didn’t feel up to anything that required a lot of work.  I pulled out three vegetables from the fridge: potatoes, an onion and a bulb of garlic.  All three had been sitting in the bottom veggie drawer for a couple of weeks.  Skillet potatoes?  No, I wanted something a little more sustaining, and healthy.

From the pantry I pulled a can of diced tomatoes, from the freezer a bag of corn.  Aha, this was looking promising.  Dried rosemary and thyme from the spice cabinet rounded out the haul.  I had assembled before me a reminder that even in the heart of winter, plenty could be found if I just looked.  A little dicing and chopping, some stirring and simmering, and half an hour later I had dinner: warm and tasty and filling and healthy.  Just what I needed.

End of Winter Skillet


2 T. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium Russet potatoes cubed
1 c. frozen sweet corn, or 1 8.75 oz. can sweet corn
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 t. dried rosemary
1 t. dried thyme


  1.  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium/high heat.  Add the oil and let it warm about 30 seconds.
  2. Add onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft and clear, but not brown.
  3. Add the herbs and stir for a minute.
  4. Add the potatoes and sauté for five minutes.
  5. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, for another two minutes.
  6. Add the diced tomatoes with juices to the skillet.  Bring to a boil.
  7. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Let cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When the potatoes are fork tender the dish is ready.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately with crusty bread, a salad and red wine for a warm and hearty meal.

Nutrition Information

Makes 4 servings.

209 Calories
7.3 g Fat
3.3 g Fiber
4.3 g Sugar
3.5 g Protein

Metaphysical Information

If you practice kitchen witchery, this is a great meal to promote protection and healing. As per the Venerable Cunningham*, all the ingredients in the skillet have protective and healing properties. The potato and corn are associated to the earth element and are grounding. The onion, garlic and rosemary are all associated with the fire element and are warming. The tomato is associated with love, adding another layer of potency to the protective and healing aspects.  The meal itself provides 58.2% of the recommended daily dose of Vitamin C, adding to the healing properties.

When you are cooking, visualize love, prosperity, protective and healing energies spilling into the dish, ready to impart their blessings on those who partake.  See the promise of returning warmth in the red and yellow of the tomatoes and corn.  Winter will end in its own time.  Until then you can keep yourself healthy and secure with a boost of vitamin C and a warm belly.

*Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs

Reynold’s Mess

Be forewarned: this recipe is not for the feint of heart.  It is full of stuff that is horrible for you: fat, beef, cheese, fat, salt, food processed until it no longer resembles food.  It will stick to your ribs, your diaphragm, your colon and your conscience.  All of that aside, it is my most favorite meal in the world and I make it a couple times a year and it is so very good.

With that warning out of the way, I present Reynold’s Mess, named after my father who made it for the family when I was a growing roach.

Reynold’s Mess


1 box of macaroni & cheese

1 brick of cream cheese

1 lb ground beef

1 can cream of mushroom soup

garlic salt


  1. Prepare the macaroni and cheese according to the directions on the package.
  2. While the water is boiling, brown the ground beef.  Drain.
  3. After you have prepared the macaroni and cheese, add the cream of mushroom soup.
  4. Cut the cream cheese into chunks and add it to the macaroni/mushroom soup mix.
  5. Add the ground beef to the mix.
  6. Keep stirring and heat over medium heat until all the ingredients are combined.  Add milk as needed for the consistency you desire.
  7. Season with garlic salt to taste.  I use 1/2 t.  Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information

Hahaha … just kidding.  There’s no way I want to know just how bad this meal is for me.

Honey-Citrus Granola

We get a lot of our groceries from Costco.  It saves money, but it means that we end up with things like 10 lb bags of rolled oats.  And there is only so much oatmeal you can eat.  After a round of oatmeal Craisin cookies or banana oatmeal bread, you still have five pounds of rolled oats staring at you.  Let me tell you, the Quaker Oats guy can give a mean stink-eye after a while.

And so I’ve been making granola on a semi-regular basis*.  The other night I pulled out my current favorite recipe from Mother Nature Network.  Unfortunately, I was short several ingredients: no nuts, limited cinnamon, and limited vanilla extract.  I excavated a bottle of orange extract from the back of the cupboard and found lemons and limes in the fridge from a recent grocery trip.  Add in the rather large jar of ground nutmeg and and idea formed: Citrus Granola.  That sounded breakfast-y!  Time for an experiment.  Below is the recipe I used.  The result was a granola with a very distinct citrus-flavor.  I have enough orange extract left that I will most likely make it again.

If you decide to make it, let me know how it turned out for you.

Continue reading Honey-Citrus Granola