TOUCHED BY LYME: Easy meals for Lyme families
Putting healthy meals on the table can be a challenge for anybody—either by yourself or feeding a family. When the cook is sick, or tending to sick family members, the chore becomes even more cumbersome. Fortunately, two things can help.
Putting healthy meals on the table can be a challenge for anybody—either by yourself or feeding a family. When the cook is sick, or tending to sick family members, the chore becomes even more cumbersome. Throw in the dietary restrictions faced by many people with Lyme disease (gluten-free, avoiding sugar, etc.) and the prospect of fixing dinner every day can seem like an insurmountable obstacle.
Fortunately, two things can help a lot.
- A crockpot
- A decent book of recipes for the crockpot
Crockpots, also known as slow cookers, allow you to assemble ingredients in the morning and simmer them all day. At dinner time, the only remaining job is to ladle up the vittles. (It’s almost like somebody else fixed dinner!)
In my experience, the most important requirement is to have appropriate ingredients on hand.
Luckily, a new cookbook by crockpot maven Stephanie O’Dea can help you there. Make It Fast, Cook It Slow (Hyperion Books, 2009) is based on ordinary ingredients that people are likely to have around the house, like rice, vegetables, canned beans, chicken, and ground turkey. In fact, one of the recipes is called “Clean out the pantry chili”—the name says it all.
Furthermore, all recipes are gluten-free. (Though if that isn’t your issue, it’s easy enough to use wheat instead of rice noodles or throw in regular flour.)
Cookbook author O’Dea started 2008 with a New Year’s resolution to use her crockpot every single day for a year. She documented her results on a personal Web site. When she tired of using the slow cooker as simply a “glorified pot roast machine,” she started to “think outside the crock.” Eventually, she came up with quite a collection of innovative, family-friendly meals. She even uses the crockpot for breakfast dishes and desserts.
A particularly inventive chapter is called “Take-out Fake Out.” Because her family’s diet has to be strictly gluten-free, she tried her hand at making GF versions of traditional take-out food. She devised crockpot versions of broccoli beef, chow mein, lemon chicken and Thai curry soup, among others. Her family’s verdict? “Wonderful meals that completely satisfied our takout cravings without the worry of gluten contamination.”
So, the next time you’re flummoxed by the mere thought of having to cook dinner, pull out the slow cooker, dump in a few ingredients, and walk away. When dinner time comes, you’ll be glad you did.
Click for more information about Make It Fast, Cook It Slow.
This blogger made split pea soup in the crockpot while she wrote this article.