Thursday, April 28, 2011

Crisis Food - Cooking From the Pantry

I am a great lover of preparedness.  I want to be ready for any emergency, from an ice storm that takes out the power for a day or three, or something more scary, like what we all thought we should prepare for following 9-11.  Not only that, but I really hate having to go to the store after work, or sending Big Steve.

So within the past 36 hours, we have had a real crisis here.  Big Steve was involved in a bad car crash yesterday and the past day has been a whirlwind of worry and phone calls, seeing to prescriptions and doctor appts, and prayer.  Mostly prayer.

So tonight when we got home from the doctor and had a pound and a half of good ground beef thawed from that cow we bought a few weeks back, what could we do?   It was alredy 6 pm and we were really bone weary. So it was pantry cooking all the way...and this is where a prepared pantry comes in.

Here's what we had -- we'll call it homemade hamburger helper.

Boil up some pasta -- your choice.  Gluten free, or regular, or whole grain, or spinach.  The shape or flavor doesnot matter.

In the meantime, fry up some ground beef and some chopped onions.  Tonight we used 1.5 lb. pasture fed ground beef and one really large onion, chopped.

Once that is nice and done, stir in some crushed red pepper flakes, some celery seed, some seasoned salt (Morton's is gluten free) some worsterschire sauce (i like it a lot, so we added a good heaping few tablespoons, at least) and a can of crushed tomatoes, or in our case, a quart of Haney frozen chopped tomatoes.  Stir it up good.

Meantime, the pasta should be done by now.  Strain it, pour it in with the meat mixture and stir it up good.  Put this whole mess into a big pan, stir in a fat bunch of cheese (cheddar or whatever you like) and pop it into a 325 oven for 25 minutes.

Now granted, it's not fast food, but it's not unreasonable food either.  And it's frugal, and tasty, and very satisfying at the end of a very stupid and scary day.

Not sure where this whole crisis theme will bring us...stay tuned...we've only just begun...  I don't want to do stressful crisis cooking every I''m off to check the freezer and pantry for something do-ahead for tomorrow.  Our schedule is already daunting...

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