Butternut Squash, Carmelized Pears, And One Unhappy 4-year-old

I felt so guilty about not cooking for the family last week, (I did give my mom helpful direction when I was sick/recovering from dental surgery, but being annoying doesn’t count as actual cooking) that I prepared a huge meal tonight.

I had the 4-year-old put on his apron and help empty the seeds out of the butternut squash that I then roasted with olive oil, butter, and salt and pepper. Once that was in the oven, I cooked salmon and mashed potatoes for the husband and I, and pasta and chicken for the boys. I’m ashamed to admit that I’m one of those parents I swore I would never be and I cook two meals – a bland one for the kids and something I hope is slightly more interesting for the adults.

The dessert was for everyone and the 5-year was delighted to help because it involved sugar. I took Bosc pears and cut them in half and had the boys rub butter on the inside. Then they smeared a little brown sugar on the pear and I sprinkled a touch of cinnamon. I popped them in the oven with the squash and it made the house smell like Fall. The whole thing took forever and the pears started to get dry but were still hard. I poured a little apple juice on the pears (thank you Giada De Laurentiis and the Food Network website) and they came out perfect.

The squash was the best part of the meal, but the boys said repeatedly, “Noooooo. I’m not eating that.” I even offered them a quarter just to try it. They are long past falling for that trick so I took the squash (that already had olive oil and butter) and sautéed it with more olive oil, garlic, and spinach and it was amazing!!

I served the pears warm with ice cream and was able to get one of the boys to eat them. I kept telling the 4-year-old that it’s a pear, one of his favorites, with sugar, his favorite thing in the whole world. He put his hand over his mouth and mumbled, “I just want ice cream.”

This week I’m going to try cooking only one family meal and the kids will have to eat it…right? Or they’ll throw a fit, cry, and tell me they’re starving, but can’t possibly eat my dinner. We’ll see how it goes.

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