Why? First of all, I've paid my dues on the snow front as a child, teen, young adult, and woman. I moved to Alabama. This is the south!! I want southern sultry weather. Snow does not have a place here anymore.
Second of all, I have work to do. Serious work. And I'm not just talking about writing. I'm talking about Cooking Up a Storm. One that doesn't include making allowances for weather events where fluffy white stuff falls. I am on duty as cook de jour for my husband's colleague's family.
Life happens folks. And sometimes when life happens it is pretty sucky. Like a cancer is diagnosed and a young mom is fearful for her hubby and scared for her children. And when life happens, I get cooking! I am a Church of the Holy Casserole and Crockpot kind of gal. I can't cure cancer. I can't kill mean, bad ass cells, but I can cook. Yes, I can pray. I can ask for help from the universe and I do. But I can also help in practical ways. And this is my gift that I can give to them.
Snow is not allowed to interfere. Period. The. End. I have an SUV, and I'm not afraid to deliver.
Now I'm talking about cooking on full-speed ahead mode. I'm talking 2 crockpots running at the same time and one homemade casserole ready to roll. I'm talking about packaging the food and making it easy to freeze and microwave.
Yes, I am a doer. I always have been a doer. I can't sit still and wait for answers. I don't do well with not doing something to help if I have the ability and the resources to do so. So I hear crap news? I think to myself how can I help? And this is how I help best.
I'm a cook at heart. Had I not been diagnosed with a deadly food allergy, I'd probably be a food critic or chef. I love to cook (and I love to eat). The culinary world's loss is the writing world's gain because now I cook up stories, but I digress. I just want to make healthy, nutritious, and healing food for these people.
I'm cooking up a storm tomorrow. I know I can't use tomato bases in my recipes because of the acid (thanks to a nurse/friend's advice). So here's what is cooking at my house tomorrow:
Christine's Crockpot Chicken
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in half
12 or so new potatoes, cleaned with skin on and halved
1 pound carrots peeled and cut into large pieces
1 bag frozen pearl onions or frozen onions or 1 fresh onion chopped
1 cup white wine
1 cup light chicken broth, no MSG and low sodium
dried whole rosemary
fresh ground pepper
Penzey's Tuscan Sunset (salt free) or Salt free Italian Seasoning
Spray a crock pot with Pam cooking spray. Layer potatoes, onions, carrots, and onions. Then add cut up chicken breasts. Combine wine and broth. Pour over the mixture. Sprinkle all spices on top of the mixture to taste or to coat. (I never measure this). Cover. Cook on low for 6-8 hours in crock pot. Avoid stirring the ingredients if you can till the very end. Serve with hot rolls. The broth is excellent. The whole house smells like a wonderful, aromatic Italian trattoria. :-)
From Fix It & Forget It Lightly/with some adjustments
Gone All Day Casserole
Submitted By Beatrice Orgish
1 cup uncooked wild rice (I use a brown and wild rice mix) rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2, 4 oz cans mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 large onion, chopped (I'm using frozen chopped onion)
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 cup slivered almonds (I'm omitting due to small children & possible allergies)
2-3 pounds boneless round steak, cut into cubes
2 Tbsp. oil (I'll use olive)
3 cups low salt beef broth
3 cups low salt beef broth
Place ingredients in crock pot in order listed. Cover. Salt and pepper beef, brown in skillet, transfer to Pam coated crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours till rice is tender. Stir before serving (or putting in freezer containers). Enjoy!
1 pound elbow macaroni
4 tbsp butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
4 cups milk (I've made this with skim, but am using whole for the recipe)
1/8 tsp. cayenne (I'm NOT adding this for others, but do for my family)
1 1/4 cups yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/4 cups white cheddar cheese, shredded (I am doing 2 1/2 cups yellow/orange cheese)
fresh ground pepper
8 oz ham, diced into pieces
bread crumbs (I make my own & freeze), but store bought is fine
Preheat oven to 375 (in this case I will not cause I'm prepping for my friend). Prepare pasta, drain, and reserve. In a 5 quart heavy pot, melt butter. Add onion, cook till soft. Whisk in flour to coat onion. Add milk in a steady stream and whisk till no lumps. Cook, whisking often till mixture is thick and bubbly and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in cayenne (not in this case). Add cup each of cheddar cheese (I'll add two cups yellow/orange). Season with salt and pepper. Toss pasta with mixture, fold in ham. Transfer to baking pan. Set aside. Mix the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup cheese. Top pasta with bread crumbs and bake till top is golden. About 30 minutes.
I'm sending it ready to bake, with crumb mixture.
I hope you try these recipes. They're yummy. and the next time you see people who might need a helping hand, maybe these recipes will come in handy!