Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rainy Day Comfort Food

It's finally Raining! A Nor'easter is upon us and we could get as much as 3 inches of rain through tomorrow morning. It's been raining here (on the coast) since mid-morning, steadily becoming more heavy with each passing hour. Everything has been caked with green pollen for weeks and now that glow is gone from everything. Sounds like handfuls of pebbles being throw at the windows along the back of our home. It will be an interesting night as the storm progresses and moves on. Gale & coastal flood warnings are in affect.

While at the supermarket this morning, I decided today was a good day to make a pot of Dad's tomato garbanzo bean stew for dinner and the leftovers would be handy for my lunch tomorrow post iv session. Usually making this, or any of his recipes/ones of mine he enjoyed, brings smiles, but, I couldn't get through making this today without tears & sadness. My brother.in.law has moved in with Dad to help take care of him and hospice begins this week.

There's no tried and true recipe here. The main ingredients are canned tomato's, garbanzo beans; sharp cheddar cheese and pasta shells/elbows (or whatever kind you have in the fridge). Make the pasta separate and add as much as you like. From there, like Dad told me, you make it your own.

Spices are to your liking as well. You can make it sweeter by adding oregano and basil flakes or more spicy by adding red pepper flakes.  Experiment!  Use smaller cans (14.5oz) for quick batches to make on days like today or large cans to dump into a crock pot that you leave on low all day.

Today, I added minced garlic, garlic powder, black pepper, fresh ground black pepper, basil flakes, fresh ground sea salt, a 1/3 cup low sodium organic chicken broth and 3 handfuls of shredded VT sharp cheddar/WI sharp cheddar/NY sharp cheddar to a can of no salt added chunky diced tomato's (mash lightly with a potato masher) and 3/4 can of organic garbanzo beans.  (Both cans were 14.5oz).

Add cheese after you bring everything to a boil and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, simmer another 5 minutes after adding the cheese then add cooked pasta, stir well and let stand 5 minutes.  Serve in bowls with shredded Parmesan or sharp cheddar on top and warm bread.

It takes a few times of trial and error to get it how you like it best, but it's quick, easy, healthy and comforting on days like today.

*Update: When I reheated this for lunch today (4/23/12), I added half a can of no salt added stewed tomato's with the juice and more of the chicken broth noted above just to cover.  After it came to a low boil I added a small handful of the shredded cheddar cheese noted above before serving in a bowl to which I sprinkled more cheese on top as well as some seal salt.

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