Kay Wheeler Moore

Welcome to my blog

Hello. . .

The Newfangled Country Gardener is for anyone who has a garden, would like to have a garden, or who simply enjoys eating the garden-fresh way. I don't claim to be an expert; in this blog I'm simply sharing some of the experiences my husband and I have in preparing food that is home-grown.

About the author

Kay Wheeler Moore is the author of a new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, that features six generations of recipes that call for ingredients that are fresh from the garden. With home gardening surging in popularity as frugal people become more resourceful, this recipe collection and the stories that accompany it ideally will inspire others to cook the garden-fresh way and to preserve their own family food stories as well. The stories in this book center around the Three Red-Haired Miller Girls (Kay's mother and aunts) who grew up in Delta County, TX, with their own backyard garden so lavish that they felt as though they were royalty after their Mama wielded her kitchen magic on all that was homegrown. Introduced in Kay's previous book, Way Back in the Country, the lively Miller Girls again draw readers into their growing-up world, in which a stringent economic era--not unlike today's tight times--saw people turn to the earth to put food on the table for their loved ones. The rollicking yarns (all with recipes attached) have love, family, and faith as common denominators and show how food evocatively bonds us to our life experiences.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chili-Macaroni makes a healthy timesaver for Christmas rat-race days fast upon us

The clock ticketh in terms of Christmas Month Food Prep. Since Thanksgiving Week next week brings on the start of the Christmas ratrace, the days soon will be mega busy, with almost no available moments for preparing regular meals. I like to have the freezer well-stocked with food at the ready—usually doubles of items I've fixed in November or late October. When the Christmas marathon begins, I'm never regretful of having meals already on hand.

Keeping those meals healthy also is paramount now. In previous years I might have stocked up on such convenience items as rotisserie chickens from the grocery deli, takeout fried chicken, or readymade pizza. But last Christmas was our first year to be on our improved eating plan and to try to reform some of our unhealthy ways. Even the most motivated find Christmas time to be an automatic trap for weight gain, so I've tried to put aside only food items made the healthy way—meals that won't cause us to backslide.

Chili-Macaroni, made from a Better Homes & Gardens website recipe, fell into this category. Hubby and I enjoyed Chili-Macaroni during a November meal and spotted it as a perfect one to make in bulk and freeze for the "December-10K" time fast approaching. I loved the fact that it had fresh green beans and a fresh tomato cooked right into it, so veggies already were a part of the deal, as was whole-grain pasta. At the time I prepared it, I made and froze an extra batch, so it's waiting for a sure-to-arrive December night when the day has been jammed with Christmas "to-do"s and I feel clueless about mealtime that has arrived too soon.

Try as we might, most of us can do little about the fact that pre-Christmas days overwhelm us, but we can feel smug about the fact that meals already are taken care of. Chili-Macaroni joins some containers of Spaghetti Sauce Excellente, Vegetable Soup, King Ranch Chicken, and a few other freezables lying in repose in my deep-freeze right now for some for-sure future mealtimes when I'll be ready to hug them and kiss them just for being there to save my life.


12 ounces ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (14.5-ounce) can tomatoes and green chilies
1 can tomato sauce (no-salt added)
1 fresh tomato, choped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup whole-grain elbow macaroni or bow-tie pasta
1 cup fresh cut green beans
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
tortilla chips

In a very large skillet cook ground turkey and onion over medium heat until turkey is brown and onion translucent. Drain off fat. Stir undrained tomatoes and green chilies, tomato juice, fresh tomato, chili powder, and garlic powder into meat mixture. Bring to boiling. Stir in pasta and green beans. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until pasta and green beans are tender. Top with shredded cheese and serve with tortilla chips. Makes 4 servings.

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