Tonight was a toss-up between ordering out for delivery pizza, or fixing something simple for myself. Simple won. So did Frugal!
Into a 3 quart sauce pan over medium heat, deposit 3 slices thick-cut bacon, diced or sliced into tiny pieces, and let them get frying themselves up, stirring frequently. When good and crispy (or however you like your bacon), drain off about half the accumulated grease (to save for tomorrow’s fried potatoes or something).
This is a slow process on medium heat; about 8-10 minutes, so you can be preparing the rest of the ingredients, which are added one at a time, then mixed before adding the next thing. This allows flavors to start mingling AND prevents the pan from going cold from adding everything at once.
Deposit about 1/2 cup Creole style mirepoix (equal parts chopped onion, celery, bell pepper — a staple in my house) into the bacon, stir around to get the mirepoix sweating good and proper. When the onion bits are turning clear…
take 1 medium zucchini and 1 medium yellow crookneck squash, cut off the ends (discard to the compost bin if you have one), cut lengthwise, and then cross-cut about 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices. Add them to the pot, stir around to mix well with the bacon and mirepoix.
Rinse 1 can of black beans (another staple here), and add these to the pot, stirring again.
Open 1 can Mexican style stewed tomatoes (or Italian style or plain or whatever you like — canned tomatoes of all sorts are another staple here), dump them and their juice into the pan. Fill the tomato can with water (chicken stock or beer would be better, but I used water today) and add that to the pan.
Bring to a light boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer at just under a boil for 20 minutes. The squash will be done but not smooshie-gross. (I grew up with home-grown squash of all types, most of which were eaten raw or cooked, either way is fine for me.)
You could add a dash of ground cinnamon, or ground cumin, or any other spices. I didn’t add ANYthing but what I’ve listed here. Not even salt and pepper; the beans were unsalted in the can, and I figure there was enough salt on/in the bacon I didn’t need any more. There was enough liquid to warrant serving over a shredded heel of my homemade bread. A good distribution of vegetables (tomatoes & squash), protein (bacon and beans), and a bit of carbs (the bread).
I eat plain and simple. I like tasting what the actual foods taste like, most of the time. Nothing fancy. When I make a ground beef pot of this or that, however, I always add garlic, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, a bit of Tony Chacheré’s cajun seasoning, and a splash of Worcestershire (L&P, of course — the real stuff). Most of the time I prefer to eat for content, rather than flavor.