...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Crohn's Comes for Dinner

This weekend we had a family party.  I had talked to my mom earlier in the week to see what we could bring for dinner and she mentioned that she was planning to buy a couple of frozen lasagnas from the store to feed everyone.  The day after she said that I couldn't get it out of my head. 

One of the exciting tendrils that Crohn's disease so kindly (watch out for dripping sarcasm) wriggles into your life is a deep and abiding awareness of food.  The idea of pre-made lasagna made me incredibly nervous (how pathetic does that sound).  I don't handle most processed foods very well at all.  I can pretty much expect to throw up any fast food or greasy suppers (soooo, good-bye pizza...but no big deal, I was never a huge fan anyway).  Restaurant food in general is touch and go, so the thought of a processed pasta dinner didn't sit well.

No worries, I make a mean lasagna so that problem was easily solved.  Josh and I made lasagna at home and took it to the party (which solved the what should we bring for dinner dilemma and made things easier for my mom so it was a great solution for everyone involved). 

The point to the tiny-bit-longer-than-I-intended anecdote is that life with Crohn's disease has altered our eating habits (I say ours because everyone has to eat what I cook so my whole family is stuck with Crohn's friendly meals). 

I should mention, its not like we used to eat a ton of processed or fast food before or anything, but I find that making things as much from scratch as possible works best for me, which is a bit of an adjustment (you may remember that I don't love cooking).  I've learned to make things like bisquick type biscuit mix and monkey bread and terriyaki sauce on my own and that has been a big help to my tummy. I have become good friends with google search as I seek out new recipes -- things that will sympathize with my lamenting intestines.

So having become a mom-that-cooks-from-the-bare-bones-of-the-pantry-much-more-than-she-used-to, I have a couple of wonderful recipes that I thought I would share.  These are Crohn's disease approved meals that will hopefully tempt your family to the table too.

Chicken Noodle Soup
Few things are more calming on a churning stomach than chicken broth...but that doesn't usually go over well with the kidlets so this beefed up (or chickened up as the case may be) recipe is a favorite.  It is creamy and delicious and everyone loves it (even the four year old which is really saying something).

10 Cups chicken broth (or 10 cups water and 10 bullion cubed if you are me)
4-5 carrots chopped (I don't peel vegetables when I put them in soup partially because I LOVE knowing there are extra vitamins in there and partially just because I am lazy)
2-3 celery stalks chopped
1 small bag frozen peas
1 bag (16ish oz) Homemade style egg pasta noodles (our favorite kind are called "Country Pasta"..or make your own, but my hubby doesn't like home made...I know, weird!)
1 can cream of chicken soup
salt and pepper to taste (we like lots of pepper)

Put the broth on to boil in a large pot.  Add carrots, celery, peas and noodles and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Stir in cream of chicken soup and allow to heat for 5 or so more minutes.  Serve with sliced French bread or crackers.  Yum!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
This looks better when it hasn't
been in the fridge packed for tomorrows
lunch before I remember to snap a photo.

I found this recipe just after Christmas and it has become one of our favorite meals.  We serve it over rice (rice is great for me almost all the time) and Josh swears it tastes even better as leftovers the next day for lunch.  He seriously told me this is his favorite meal ever the other day.

1 lb ground beef
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
(honestly we just bought frozen meatballs and used them instead, they were still really good)

3/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
3 Tbsp soy sauce

Mix sauce ingredients together in a large sauce pan.  Cook until it thickens a bit then add your cooked meatballs and turn down the heat.  Let them simmer together for 15-20 minutes but stir them often so they don't burn.  Serve meatballs over rice or pasta.  This goes GREAT with green beans (if you were wondering).

Orange Chicken
Lame picture, I know, I
forgot to take a picture of the real
thing.  Sorry.
This one tastes just as good as orange chicken from any Chinese restaurant (if you ask me, with the added bonus that I don't puke my guts up twenty minutes after eating it).  Serve it with ham fried rice (we leave out the "fried" part) and I can almost promise your whole family will love it.

2-3 large chicken breasts cubed and cooked (Lots of people like breaded, fried chicken bits but that doesn't work for me.  If you want that create a breading by mixing eggs and cornstarch, dipping uncooked chicken chunks in that and then frying them in oil for a couple minutes until done.)

1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed or from concentrate)
1/3 cup vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp garlic
2 Tbsp green onions (did you know you can chop these and freeze them in a ziploc bag FOREVER so they are always there when you need them...grow a couple rows in your garden and you will be set for the whole year)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

*3 Tbsp cornstarch
*2 Tbsp water

In a large saucepan stir together water, orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce.  When that is heated mix in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, garlic, green onions and pepper flakes.  Bring to a gentle boil.  In a small bowl combine cornstarch and water and then stir that into the sauce to thicken it.  Stir in chicken chunks and serve over ham fried rice.

(Ham fried rice for us is rice with carrots, peas, green onions, scrambled egg, cubed ham or bacon  broken to bits mixed with some soy sauce...I often just throw it all in the rice cooker together and let it cook there.)

I hope your family (and your belly) enjoy these meals as much as we do.

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