Recipe: State Fair Pasta

I love to cook. I’m not such a hot baker, but cooking? I do okay.

Here’s one of my favorite concoctions.

Slice Italian sausage (I prefer sweet, but hot will do just fine) and place in a large frying pan and start cooking.

Take 1 sweet onion and two bell peppers (I’m not a fan of green peppers, so I use yellow and red), and cut them into strips.

Cook the sausage thoroughly. When it is done, DO NOT drain the grease from the pan.

Add the sliced veggies to the frying pan. Mix well.

Turn the heat to medium and COVER THE PAN. This is very important. You do not want the juices from the vegetables to evaporate into the air, but to mingle with the sausage grease to form a sauce.

Cook your favorite pasta. I think spirals work best with this sauce.

Stir the veggies occasionally. Let the veggies cook down until they are about half the size they were when raw.

You will have a juicy mix of sausage, peppers, and onions that smells exactly like a sunny day at the State Fair.

Drain the pasta when it’s done, then place in large bowl. Top with the sausage, peppers, and onions and all the liquid from the frying pan.  Mix well.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

 

Hydration

The last time I went to the doctor, he told me I was dehydrated. I try very hard to drink water throughout the day, but am not always successful. My solution to that is to keep several insulated containers of cold water at my desk. Doing this has helped.

At home is another story. I was swilling iced tea faster than I could make it and chill it, so I was holding back drinking, so I’d have something cold to drink “later.” I finally decided that was a bogus strategy, since it prevented me from drinking enough fluids.

I went on line and found my favorite iced tea pitcher and purchased it in several additional colors. Then I created a color-coded key and hung it on the fridge.

I like teas from Celestial Seasonings, especially their Cool Brew black teas. I order these by the case directly from Celestial Seasonings, as I cannot find them in stores around here. You don’t need to boil water to make them. I also like their fruit teas, especially the blueberry and acai mango.

So here is what the top shelf of my fridge now looks like:

I never go thirsty.

#UpbeatAuthors: Healthy Eating

Like everything else, defining “healthy eating” depends on one’s point of view. What my niece with celiac disease considers healthy is totally different from the foods her sister who is allergic to casein (milk protein) knows are safe. Peanut butter was a staple in my house when the Chromos were growing up. It would be deadly in other cupboards

Too often we forget mental health when it comes to eating. There are days when nothing less than Chinese for lunch will do. Or a carton of Ben & Jerry’s. Or a jar of Nutella. On those days, these food are healthy. No apologies. No judging.

And what about comfort food? Homemade macaroni-and-cheese? Grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup? Comfort is good for the soul. That’s healthy, too.

Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t be conscious of what goes into our bodies. Most of the time, I do try to eat foods generally considered healthy: Greek yogurt for breakfast, green salads for lunch, whole grain breads and low-fat cheese on my grilled cheese sandwiches. This past summer I swapped out making pasta salads for making quinoa salads, and it wasn’t a sacrifice.  My standard pot-luck contribution is a fresh berry/fruit salad. Naked. Lots of antioxidants and vitamins. Y-chromo called me the other night to find out how to cook butternut squash. X-Chromo preferred vegetables to any kind of sugar, even as a toddler. I stopped drinking coffee nine or ten years ago because the withdrawal symptoms when I was fasting were brutal. If I was that addicted to something, maybe it’s not good for me.

But don’t ever try to take away my Nutella.

 

Thursday Thoughts: Meatballs

Many years ago, when I first started working in local TV, I was introduced to a small groceteria located on the first floor of a nearby high rise (for this city) apartment building.  We called it the Skyline Deli, even though that wasn’t the official name. The store hopped during the lunch hour. They carried fresh rolls from a local bakery, hands down the greatest sandwich roll ever.

The owner of the groceteria made the best meatballs I have ever eaten in my life.  “Meatball on a DiLauro with provolone” was my usual order. For over thirty years.

The store owner died. His widow and son were forced out of business when new owners of the building raised the rent. I know I am not the only person to mourn the loss of one of the best lunch spots around.

I have been on a quest to find a comparable meatball sandwich, but so far the best I’ve found is merely adequate. And let me tell you: there are a lot of substandard meatballs out there, even in a city named Syracuse. But I am having fun trying.