Saturday, April 19, 2008

5 Things to Cook (Fast) When You're Sick

I didn't do any planting...because if I had, the seeds would now be on their way to Kansas. We've had 30-40 mph winds pretty much all day. No gardeners outside: if you were working in the dirt, you were also eating it.

Maybe tomorrow. When I'll feel better (hopefully) anyways.

Here are 5 things to make FAST if you're not feeling that great -- but have to eat:

*A milkshake. Any kind, preferably with some kind of fruit. (Substitute 5 big teaspoons of jam, if you have to.) Around here, it's often more smoothie than milkshake: 1 cup fruit, 2 cups milk, 2 tablespoons sugar, a cup of yogurt (if I've got it), and approx. 3 cups ice cubes. Blend until frothy. If you haven't got any fruit, substitute 1/2 cup of peanut butter. Feels great on a sore throat.

*'Cheese guys' -- our name for a quesadilla. Keep corn tortillas in your fridge -- they're low-fat and add crunch when served instead of bread for any meal. Back to the dish -- peel off 6 tortillas, feed 2 to the dogs, and slap the rest in a pan. Gently drop grated or sliced cheese on board; add nothing or salsa or leftover whatever. Heat at 450 degrees until cheese is melted and the whole thing is crispy - about 5 min.
Also good with a hot dog rolled into the tortilla, or dolloped with canned chili. Nuke some scrambled eggs, top with salsa or chili, serve with the cheese guys, and you have huevos rancheros.

*Pasta primavera -- Start with a pound of your favorite pasta, dumped into a pot of boiling water. While it's cooking (about 10-15 min.), add whatever veggies you can find in the refrigerator, chopped up. Drain, then add 1 can of shrimp OR crab meat OR tuna plus four tablespoons of ranch or another kind of dressing. Angel hair pasta cooks faster (so you don't have to stand upright as long), and looks elegant. Add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (or 10 hard shakes) or a handful of grated cheese, mix and check for taste. (Add more dressing if it seems bland.)

A great variation -- Pasta carbonara -- Fry up some bacon (as little as 2 or as many as 8 slices per pound of pasta) when the pasta and veggies are about half-done. Drain the pasta and mix the bacon in, as well as one or two eggs. Stir until eggs are cooked. (You can also cook the eggs in the bacon pan.) Add the cheese and mix. A good shake of oregano and onion (or any kind of) seasoning salt are nice, or just salt and pepper.

*Chicken soup plus -- Heat up a can of chicken noodle soup, adding a couple tablespoons of salsa. When broth is bubbling, add an egg. Stir gently, then wait until egg is cooked.

*Chicken and Rice -- start a cup of rice to cooking. (Add veggies or not -- green beans are good in this.) Chop up a chicken breast, and throw into the rice, along with a bouillon cube. (A shake of garlic or celery salt is good here, as is a handful of chopped celery or celery leaves.) Turn heat down, let cook 20 min. Serve as-is, or mix in 1/3 cup sour cream. (Daughter #1 adds a can of kidney beans, then calls it Gordita rice.)

Why do I rely on salsa a lot when I'm sick? It's the chilies; they're jumping with Vitamin C. The chicken's supposed to be good for you, too. Something about the broth.

There. None of these dishes will take more than 5-10 min. of standing upright, and generally 10-20 min. to cook. Enjoy, and remember...you're supposed to be resting.

P.S. We watched Alien vs. Predator 2: Requiem this afternoon, wherein the Aliens (and one Predator) blast the heck out of Gunnison, Colorado. What a crock. Anyone who's been to the dry high plains desert of Gunnison is going to find the constant rain and fog-coated forest scenes hilarious, let alone all the houses. (Gunnison just isn't that big, and definitely not that developed.) That area is full of hunters who know what they're doing -- these people act like their favorite hobbies are freezing in terror or running away, screaming. A true Coloradoan would have turned around and blasted THEM, just to shut up the racket.
For at least half the movie, the screen was so dark that we were trying to figure what was going on, let alone who was winning. Don't bother -- get out Alien vs. Predator, which is based in the Antarctic and far more amusing.

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Zzzzzzzz...

After four hours at Tuesday Morning's checkout line today, I can honestly relate. Okay, maybe a nap AND a cookie.