Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cooking Again

Our last meal provided by a friend--after 3 1/2 solid weeks of wonderful meals from friends--was Monday.  Which means Mama and I are in charge of the cooking again.

I'm a little apprehensive.  I can't lift much and, because of the painkillers, am not driving yet.  So Mama will have to do the shopping in the evenings or weekends; or we'll get PeaPod.  I can't do a lot of chopping, or stand to saute or stir fry for long and I can't get heavy things into or out of the oven or lift heavy pots (even draining pasta requires scooping out the noodles instead of pouring the big pot into a colander), so I'm thinking slow cooker meals will be best.  But even a lot of my slow cooker meals require a lot of the above, so I'm looking for new recipes.  Dump recipes, essentially, one pot.

I've asked friends, got out a couple of light or healthier slow cooker cookbooks, and even signed up for a 2-week trial of emeals.com, which has a "clean eating" family crock pot option.  I'm thinking the "clean" part means no condensed soups.  We'll see how it goes.

Coincidentally, my Whole Food Kitchen workshop with Heather Bruggeman focused on meal planning earlier this week.  So I'll be spending some time thinking of meals that I already know how to make and looking for new easy ones that we might like.

As for tonight, we had pizza!  I had forgotten I had a doctor's appointment.  The surgeon says I look good, though I had to have some granulomas that had to be treated with silver nitrate--they're these bubbles that form when there is inflammation while healing, harmless but annoying.  And so I didn't want to cook and we got pizza, salad, and chicken fingers for Sis.

Here are some of my thoughts for the next few weeks:

From my own repertoire:
Veggies are the challenge.  Three of us eat salad, but Sis won't.  Roasting vegetables is ok, until I have to get them out of the oven.  Maybe stir fry or saute will work, especially green beans and spinach which are pretty fast.

Recipes suggested by FB friends:

  • Miss JG:  Rice or mashed potato with cooked ground meat covered in a Campbell's chunky soup. Rice works well with the jambalaya, my dad loves the sirloin and Brendan the bacon baked potato. If you microwave bake the potatoes in a casserole dish while you brown the meat, and then add everything to the dish, and microwave the whole thing for 2-3 minutes, you can get away with ten to fifteen minutes standing and a really fast dinner. Just have someone help make salad and/or add some canned or steamed veg to the concoction.
  • Mr. KW:  Grill or pan fry thinly sliced pork chops. Add a little salt and pepper. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top. After about two minutes (for thinly sliced pork chops) turn over on grill or in pan and repeat the above steps. Easy and very tasty.
  • Miss LS:  Do you have a rice cooker? Want to borrow one? Really simple and you can even add stock for flavor. Just dump and turn on. Add your favorite frozen veggies when it's done and they'll thaw/cook in the rice. Also, easy baked chicken: Lightly oil or grease baking dish, use any cut of chicken you like (thighs are inexpensive and stay juicy, but boneless breasts work as well) and cover with a single beaten egg and seasoned breadcrumbs. No need to be fussy, just quickly do it all in the baking dish, turning each piece once in first the egg, then breadcrumbs. Leave any excess in the dish. It won't hurt anything. Sprinkle a little oil on top if ck is boneless. Bake for 30 -45 minutes at 350. Baked eggs with veggies and cheese is simple, too. Grease the dish, use frozen veggies and top with shredded cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Jarred marinated artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, etc, can be used as well, and they add lots of flavor. Bake time depends on quantity, so check after 30 minutes. Beans and greens slow cooker soup: any beans (cans are easy) and greens (store washed, cut) combined with a few teaspoons oil, store minced garlic, parsley and stock. It's like escarole and beans. You can also add sausage midway through cooking. Salt and pepper to taste. Needs about fours to cook on medium. Good luck and happy (easy) cooking!
  • Mr. CP:  Add equal parts cubed chicken breast, black beans (canned), and frozen corn to your slow cooker. Add about a half part salsa. Cook on low for 6-8 hours stirring occasionally. When done, stir in an 8oz brick of cream cheese. Serve over rice. Super easy and leftovers freeze well.
  • Mr. BN:  Simplified sweet potato soup: Throw stock, sweet potatoes, garlic, onions, basil, ginger in pot. Boil. Puree. Yum. My kids love it.
  • Miss JS:  Easy crock pot pork chops: 4-6 thick chops in slow cooker, slice 1-2 onions over. Mix onion soup mix with 1c water and pour over. Cook all 9 hours

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