Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"TV DINNERS" FROM HOME - A HEALTHY & ECONOMICAL ALTERNATIVE TO EATING OUT

POSH TODD


Hello everyone and welcome to my blog. 

I had a bit of a shock yesterday---aunt Sylvia, who is in hospital has another infection and is back to being delirious again.   Poor thing, she was doing so well on Sunday, and I'd had her up every day walking since this past Thursday.
Its really shocking how something so innocent as a urinary tract infection can bring on delirium, but this is about the fifth or sixth time I have been through hospitalizations with my aunt for this, so I know that she will return to normal; or the "new" normal, which is having geriatric dementia.     Thankfully, last night she did not beg me, "Take me with you", when I left.  I'm very lucky because a friend of the man in the next bed is at hospital a lot and reassures her every day if she wonders aloud if I will be coming to visit, and he also coaxes her to eat more, telling her, "Todd would want you to eat more than that, Sylvia".  Its much better when I can be there at meal time, as I usually managed to coax her into eating far more than she would otherwise. 

On Sunday, I managed to squeeze in a great 11 km walk with my friend Bart.  Before we left though, I  sautéed some onions, garlic and celery, add cubed chicken breasts and four cans of tomatoes plus Italian seasonings and got the slow cooker started.  Actually its my Deni 8.5 quart electric pressure cooker, using the brown (to sauté) setting and then setting it to slow cook. 

We had sunshine for the first half an hour or so, so that was nice and its always good to spend time with Bart and get out on the seawall.  Here are a few photos of what we saw.
Looking towards the North shore and the docks.  In the centre you see sulphur and to the right is wood chips, for export to Asia.
Passing under the Lion's Gate bridge.  Lots and lots of snow in the mountains this time of year.
It was low tide, so Siwash Rock was exposed at the base.

When I got home I showered and then headed off to the hospital to visit Aunt Sylvia.  Later, when I returned, I was so preoccupied thatI forgot about the slow cooker until I walked in the door and was greeted by the wonderful aroma of dinner, cooked in my absence!  

I wound up making up eight of what I refer to as my "home-made tv dinners", to freeze and have on hand at work.   I got these containers which are microwave and freezer safe, from a friend, and they work great.  In each container I placed 1/2 a cup of linguine (by the way, one box of linguine makes 8, 1/2 cup servings), one cup of chicken and sauce with one ounce of grated mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup of chopped spinach.  For this purpose I use frozen chopped spinach, and I don't pre-cook it as it cooks enough when microwaving from a frozen state.  It usually takes about four or five minutes in the micro-wave to heat from a frozen state, and then I can enjoy my healthy (low salt and fat), portion-appropriate meal at work.

Not only is this tasty and healthy, it was also very economical, working out to around $3 per meal!  The family pack of chicken breasts was $12.95, the Barilla pasta was on sale for $1.29, the no salt-added canned diced tomatoes were on sale for 99 cents a can, the small ball of mozzarella was on sale for $2, and the spinach was on sale for $1 per package (so I bought 12 to freeze and have on hand). Incidentally, in most cases, frozen spinach is more nutritious than fresh, owing to the nutrients lost during the travel time of most fresh spinach.

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Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful day!


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