Having a brain injury changes how you go through your day, for me, how I process and organize my thoughts is different from before my TBI. It takes a lot more energy and effort to organize my thoughts, which is ok if I have time. I find I plan longer now, I thought about this recipe for several hours today before starting. Cooking presents challenges for me after my accident, following recipes or staying organized can put my head in overload. I have had to learn to break down my cooking process into stages, this allows me to take short breaks and regroup.
My recipes come from ingredients from my own refrigerator and cupboard.
Elbow Macaroni with Ground Beef
Tonight I am using a recipe our family always enjoys. This recipe allows me to be creative, there are no rules. Well there are a few rules, and they all have to do with who I’m serving. Our son is autistic, so ingredients and seasoning become a factor. I will share a few tips as we go through the cooking process to explain how I work around these challenges so that we don’t have to open up a restaurant in our kitchen to satisfy everyone’s needs.
Ground Beef (1 – 2 lbs)
Elbow Macaroni (600-800 grams)
Mushrooms (12 oz)
Celery (4 sticks)
Garlic (5 cloves minced)
Onion (1 medium)
Stewed Tomatoes (2 Large tins)
My go-to cooking appliance is our electric frying pan, I like the heat control and the ease of cleanup.
Today I’m using ground beef. A protein substitute could easily be made here, Turkey, Chicken, Sausage or Tofu are a few. Brown the Ground Beef. I season the Ground Beef with ground pepper and sea salt. I also add in 4-5 minced Garlic gloves.
Seasoning I sprinkle a quick pass over the Ground Beef with Sea Salt and Ground Pepper. My family is not one that cares for a lot of spice in their food and for the health concerns of some I am careful with amount of Salt I use. Our son has never like any kind of sauces on his food this includes condiments. Cooking for a family with this kind of dynamic has it’s challenges and rules. But Rules change health concerns and likes and dislikes change. There was a time our house saw a Hawaiian Pizza with no sauce, now it comes with sauce.
Side Step As I mentioned earlier it is important to know who you are serving, we have someone that is sensitive to the grease from the Ground Beef. I rinse the Ground Beef under hot water to remove the grease.
I give the Mushrooms a quick rinse to remove any dirt, if you like, canned Mushrooms could be used. If it is easier, use sliced Mushrooms, I buy the whole Mushrooms, they are usually a little less expensive and it only takes a minute to slice them.
Celery adds a nice texture, colour, aroma and flavour to the dish. I cut up 4 sticks. I used a medium white Onion, diced.
I used 4-5 cloves of Garlic, minced in the Ground Beef and in the Celery,Mushroom and Onion mixture.
Tip This is for anyone with picky eaters. I cook down the Mushrooms, Celery, Garlic and Onion in a separate pot with a little Becel. I add the mixture to the Ground Beef after I portion out Ground Beef for our son. This does create one extra pot to clean but now I am only making one meal.
After I portion out the Ground Beef for our son, I add the Mushrooms, Celery, Onions and Garlic into the Ground Beef. I do Not add the margarine juice to the Ground Beef. Next I add in both tins of Stewed Tomatoes. Cover and simmer.
Important Ingredient Information one of the Stewed Tomatoes Tins is Italian Seasoned. This was used because that was what I had in the cupboard. I have used Bell Peppers when I have them. No rules.
I made 800 grams of Elbow Macaroni in 9 cups of water. I added a tablespoon of Vegetable Oil to the water, brought the water to a boil, added the Elbow Macaroni, then reduced the heat. I stir often to ensure that the pasta does not stick. Cook until el dente. After draining the water, I portion out Elbow Macaroni for our son.
I can now combine all the ingredients together. I add the Ground Beef and Stewed Tomatoes and Vegetables with the Elbow Macaroni. Mix throughly. Cove and simmer, ready to serve in a few minutes. This filled a 16 cup pot.
Tip this could be put into a casserole dish and topped with your favourite cheese or cheese blend and baked in the oven to melt the cheese.
Ready to serve. Topped with shredded cheese.