Tag Archives: swiss chard

Aunt Doll’s Healthy Pigs-in-the-Blanket

 

In certain circles, my grandmother went by “Aunt Doll.” I always longed to call her Doll instead of Gram, but it didn’t feel right (with her being my gram and all). Aunt Doll is quite the woman – and known for many things. Large plates of Christmas Cookies. Cards on every occasion (sometimes with a $5 spot inside). But most importantly, Doll is known for her cabbage rolls, a.k.a. “pigs in the blanket.”

Tonight I channeled my inner doll and sought out to make a slightly-healthier version of her cabbage rolls. We have mounds of swiss chard in the garden, and I just received a delivery of ground beef from my grandparents’ farm. The herb garden is being severely neglected. No better time than the present to make my first-ever-batch of pigs-in-the-blanket, this time with a more locally-grown twist.

When I was young, I had no taste whatsoever for cabbage rolls. I turned my nose up at cabbage. Then, for a while, tomato sauce wrecked my existence (and still does, on slight occasion). But with age has come wisdom, and I’m excited to share that I thoroughly enjoyed my first batch in the privacy of my very own backyard.

So no, Aunt Doll didn’t make these. And this isn’t even her recipe. But she deserves the credit/namesake. That woman always made these look like a breeze. Try them for yourself, when you have time. You won’t be disappointed.

{Full Recipe}

This week, I’m thinking of my grandma. I saw her, yesterday, at the funeral viewing of her sister. At 93, my great aunt Ruth passed away with little pain in the arms of her own daughter. Yesterday, I drove to my hometown for the viewing and quickly became a fly on the wall. I listened to stories of the past, learning how much the hardworking lifestyle impacted the way my aunt and grandmother grew up.

Aunt Ruth didn’t like to clean, so she taught her 13 children how to do it. I’m guessing that she probably taught them how to cook as well. Like my grandmother, she lived her entire life on a farm. Hearing the stories from A. Ruth’s children placed me back into my past, and I vividly began remembering the amount of time I spent in the garden with my grandma – weeding, picking greens and getting them ready for supper.


There are things to be learned when you have your own garden. Like how purple beans will turn green once cooked. Or how dirt feels between your toes. You see, there is a garden growing in my city backyard. Thanks to my roommate’s diligence and hard work, we are able to eat organic lettuce, swiss chard, tomatoes, peppers and more. While she puts in the patience (weeding, watering, etc.), I have taken on the role of cooking those goods.

Over the weekend, I walked into the backyard and picked the swiss chard and purple beans (that turned green). I leisurely created this meal using additional ingredients from the cupboard: kidney beans, couscous, olive oil, a bit of salt and pepper. It was simple and earthy, and has been providing sustenance throughout the week when we haven’t felt like cooking.

Oh, Aunt Ruth. If you could see this meal, what would you think? I’d like to think she’d be proud. But knowing that German in her, she’d probably think I’m some “crazy vegetarian” who should be helping her roommate weed the garden [for goodness sake.]

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