Pantry Quick – Gumbo

It is not easy staying on track nutritionally without a blowout during the holiday season, sporting events, birthdays, anniversaries, Easter, Valentine’s Day, TGIF, or family reunions; there is always a way to rationalize. Strategically stocking the refrigerator and pantry has been my coping strategy for years. While working as a computer geek and commuting I fine tuned that list. We lived in the country 35 miles from the nearest significant grocery store so keeping adequate pantry supplies was essential.

Planning became more complex, way more complex, when I realized that gluten had to be eliminated. But I eventually learned to cope with it, more or less.

Currently I am looking at adding more vegetables to my food plan plus keeping it all low on the carbohydrate count. Filling the refrigerator with fresh produce is not a winning option for me or Rita. I manage better with a well stocked freezer and canned goods in the pantry.This is not an optimum plan but it keeps me from falling in the ditch and I’m trying to help Rita get a stocking plan together that works for her.

Last weekend while Rita and I were brainstorming I was totally taken by surprise when I realized that Rita does not have the panicked ‘gotta-eat-this-very-minute’ syndrome that plagues her sister Teresa, her brother Jorge, and me. Somehow I had always assumed that was a family trait that included her.

The last several weeks have been crazy with holiday preparations, adding another day of working afternoons at The Caring Place, attending the Grand Opening of the construction additions, hemming school uniforms for the youngest granddaughter Ryan, unsuccessful baking experiments, and trying to wrap up a crochet project. Then we had a small family reunion in Temple with brother Chaz coming in from Boston, sister Amanda and son-in-law Eric joining us from Bryan-College Station, brother Jon and sister-in-law Donna plus their three adorable daughters drove down from Haltom City, and Rita came up from South Austin.

Sunday I drove to Rita’s apartment to be her acupuncture point-location model for a class room practice session before her big test. Somewhere in there I was baking cookies (from a mix) and I have to say that some of these mixes are candidates for pantry staples. A number of Rita’s classmates are gluten intolerant and they seemed pleased to have tasty chocolate chip cookies from The Gluten Free Pantry Chocolate Chip Cookie & Cake Mix. Don also enjoyed them – as much as any other chocolate chip cookies I have ever made for him. (Can’t make cookies for someone else without including Don!)

Okra and Tomatoes Make a Quick Gumbo

Okra and Tomatoes Make a Quick Gumbo

Monday morning I scoured the pantry for something to put together for my lunch/break at The Caring Place. There was a can of  Trappey’s Cut Okra and Tomatoes on the pantry shelf. I started thinking ‘gumbo’? It needed a lot of seasoning but it was a perfect quick solution.

Leftover Salad for Breakfast!

Leftover Salad for Breakfast!

I had used all of my home-cooked chickpeas to make up a large bowl of my favorite Roasted Chickpea and Artichoke Salad that was inspired in the Spring of 2010 by Ricki Heller’s Warm Chickpea and Artichoke Salad and adapted by me to be a cold salad. It has proved to be such a popular dish at neighborhood potlucks that I made some for the Christmas Party and there was barely enough left for me to have some for breakfast. Consequently I was out of chickpeas and no more salad leftovers so I added a can of chicken to the okra and tomatoes plus seasonings to make this gumbo. I’m thinking rice, beans, and corn would make a yummy vegan option.

Pantry Quick Gumbo – adaptable
1 can Trappey’s Tomatoes and Okra, drained
½ teaspoon each: sage, thyme, savory, marjoram
1/8 teaspoon each: smoked black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder

Add in options from the pantry or leftovers in the fridge:
About 1 cup: canned chicken, ham, or seafood, sausage, beans of any type or any other vegan option
About 1/2 cup: cooked rice, quinoa, corn, greens

Gumbo is all about the seasoning. My tastes are comparatively bland. Most of my Louisiana family can handle the spicier additions like red pepper and/or Tabasco. If I had filé I would add some of that.

It took me less than 10 minutes to open the cans, mix the gumbo, and divide it into lunchbox containers to take with me to The Caring Place  for my gluten-free, low carb afternoon break..


This post is linked to:
Wellness Weekend December 13-19, 2011
at Ricki Heller’s Blog – Diet, Dessert, and Dogs.

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