You can buy vegetables for sides in various ways, but for our purposes, we’ll say you can buy them canned, fresh, or frozen.
First, let’s dispense with the canned varieties. These are precooked, and the taste (and nutrients) are boiled right out of them. If you’ve ever tried a canned carrot slice, you know I speak the truth. Also, there are more servings in a can than we might want. (Eating an entire can of green beans is a feat I’d rather not try, thanks.)
Fresh is nice, but also more work-intensive, and the longer they sit on the shelf, the less the nutrients are preserved.
Frozen isn’t everyone’s bag, but they do come in bags, which are easy to measure out for a single-serving, with little to no prep work. Also, if you check the nutrition label, you’ll see that frozen vegetables do a pretty good job at keeping their vitamins intact. (Carrots may be the exception to convenience here, since they’re easy to grow, inexpensive, and available year round.) Remember that frozen will take a little longer to cook, and you should be fine.
With that said, canned is the least desirable for healthy, single servings, and it’s a toss-up between fresh and frozen. That’s up to you.
Now, let’s get to fixin’ ‘em.
Green Beans, Stove-Fixed, Mm-mm Good
1 tbls (olive) oil or butter
2-3 tbls water
1/2 to 1 cup fresh or frozen green beans
salt, to taste (1/4 tsp?)
bacon crumbles, optional
Okay, green beans are hard to get right. Sometimes they come out waxy and squeak when you chew them. Not cool.
So, in a little saucepan, throw in the water and the oil and turn the heat up to medium or medium-high.
Put the green beans in there with the salt and the bacon crumbles, if you want them.
Now, boil those suckers, stirring them around, and remember that the higher the heat, the more closely you want to watch them. As the water evaporates, the greens will start to caramelize. Keep stirring. Only just let them do this before you take them off the heat. You’ll smell the burn, but only a little, and it won’t be unpleasant. Some of the beans themselves will look a little browned, not black.
Take these off the heat, put them on a plate, put them in your mouth, and enjoy. I’m telling you, these are the best green beans. Scorched just the best little bit.
Skillet-Fried Corn For One
1 tbsp butter (so good in butter, but sub as you must)
1/2 to 1 cup corn
salt and pepper, to taste
In a small pan, melt the butter over medium to medium-high heat. Throw in the corn and the salt and pepper. Toss in the pan to coat everything with butter, and then sauté until some of the corn begins to brown. Don’t overcook, though. That can dry the corn out, which is not your friend, and is too chewy besides.
Fried corn is kind of awesome. Trust me.
Glazed (Baby) Carrots For One
1 cup (baby) carrots
1 tbsp butter (or sub as needed)
1 tbsp honey or brown sugar or maple syrup
Use the water to either boil the carrots (submerge them in a saucepan and boil for many minutes until tender), or cook them in the microwave (1 tbsp water and maybe 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until tender, check them while you’re cooking, microwaves can mummify carrots if you’re not careful). Steam them if you have a steamer, ‘cause that thing’s super easy.
Use a saucepan to melt the butter and whatever sweetener you decide to add. Toss the cooked carrots in the glaze. Eat. Enjoy.
These would go super good with the meatloaf or the blackberry pork chops I’ve mentioned. Or maybe as another side with your mashed cauliflower. Dang, I’m hungry again!