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Monday, December 15, 2014

Being retired does not mean eating pet food

Dinner didn't cost $2 a serving and that's after going back for more.

Awhile back a reporter at The London Free Press wrote an editorial warning seniors that they may have to eat pet food in their retirement. It was a silly statement and I said so. The reporter was miffed and said so.

Tonight I cooked dinner. I was proud of my creation and it didn't cost more than a couple of dollars per serving. The green beans were the most expensive ingredient at one dollar per serving. (I found them selling at a reduced price at Ungers Market in Hyde Park.) The pasta wasn't even a dime as it was bought on sale for 79-cents for a 900 gram package at a discount grocery store like Food Basics. The sun dried tomatoes came from Costco. Need I say more. The cherry tomatoes added colour but not much cost. The walnuts came from the Bulk Barn and made an inexpensive addition. (The recipe follows the post.)

The best part of the dinner was that it kept to the Mediterranean cuisine rules. One of my doctors, a heart and stroke specialist, instructed me to try and keep to a Mediterranean diet. Lots of vegetables and meat only every other day and not red meat. Red meat is a once a month treat.

Oh, and there is one surprising fact that I haven't mentioned. Making this dinner didn't require a stove. Our gas range is on the fritz. I made the entire dinner using two microwaves and a kettle. The pasta was al dente and the green beans still had a little crunch.

Recipe 

Serves two
180 grams medium shell pasta
250 grams green beans chopped into one inch lengths
30 grams sun-dried tomato pesto
45 grams oven-dried freeze dried organic roma tomatoes from Costco. This has basil, garlic, lemon juice, oregano and red pepper added. It is inexpensive and a nice addition to this recipe.
1 medium tomato diced or a handful of cherry tomatoes sliced into halves and thirds.
30 grams of old chedder cheese diced into quarter-inch cubes.
30 grams of walnuts

I made this without a gas range. The stove had conked out. I was forced to use two microwave ovens.
  • Microwave the medium shell past for ten minutes after placing dry pasta in hot water preheated in a kettle. (Check during cooking.  Take care not to overcook.)
  • Microwave green beans for 3 min. on high. (Again: Take care not to overcook.)
  • Microwave the combined tomato/pesto/walnut mix for 2 min. on high. (It should be hot.)
  • When the pasta is done, drain the water and add green beans and tomato/pesto/walnut mix. Stir.
  • When ready to serve, stir in the diced old cheddar cheese. It should melt when added to the hot pasta/pesto/tomato/walnut mix.
  • Serve

During assembly it was noted that this meal had a dry weight of almost 10 ounces. After cooking, the pasta had swelled with retained water. I don't know what the weight of each serving was when served but this dinner was definitely filling.

Addendum:

I made this for guests the other night. This time our gas range was working. I made 360 grams of pasta for four of us using the traditional boiling water method. While the pasta was cooking, I quickly roasted the walnuts lightly in hot olive oil in a large wok. While roasting the walnuts I partially cooked the green beans in a handy microwave oven. When the walnuts were about half done, I added the cherry tomatoes and continued to heat the mixture. I added the green beans, the pesto/tomato, and cheese and mixed some more. At this point, the pasta was done. I added the pasta and tossed all. It was great.

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