Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mega Snownadotopus vs. Snowbominable Zombie Prianhaconda: Snow Day Comfort Cooking!

Well a few years ago we had Snowmageddon (aka Snowpocalypse or SnOMG!), and tonight it looks like we're in for some more powdery fun!  YAY!  In good SyFy Originals fashion, I just couldn't resist giving an over-the-top name to the next 48 hours, and I feel my blog title has done that in pure overblown style.  Now, I get it, many of you are not originally from lands where this type of snow is a weekly winter (and fall, and spring) occurrence, and the words, "lake effect," "parking ban," and "shoveling the roof" have never been a part of your vocabulary.  So before panic sets in, here are this Northeast Ohio gals tips for winter storm survival:

1. PUMP YOUR BRAKES!  Seriously people, even if you have anti-lock breaks, please do not come flying up behind me at a stop light and think if you slam on your breaks you will stop.  Go slow, use caution on turns, pulling out and merging, and when you need to use your breaks, gradually pump them to slooooooowly decrease your speed.  Also, don't make drastic U-Turns into oncoming traffic and expect that I can slam on my breaks and stop (I'm looking at you black BMW on Beulah Street!).  That being said, unless the conditions are ungodly, going 5 mph on the Beltway is also in itself dangerous, and you will likely be the cause of an accident.  Oh and if you're in a big pickup or black government issue Suburban, let me remind you that ice is a great equalizer of all vehicles and just because you drive a big honkin' tank, it doesn't mean you can go or exceed the posted speed limit.  Slow your roll big vehicles, slow your roll.

2. Invest right now, right now, in a snow scraper and a shovel!  I've witnessed too many people trying to clean their cars or shovel out around their cars with baking sheets to know that proper snow removal implements are apparently a real need in this area.  Good people have invented wonderful devices to handle snow, so that you can leave the baking sheets for all the Snow Day baking you'll be doing.  Mmm, cookies & cocoa!  Also, once it really starts coming down, if we do get the higher totals they're calling for, trust me, you DO NOT want to try and shovel 10" of snow out of your driveway all at once, so shovel in intervals.  As the son my parents never had, I've had to shovel near knee-deep, heavy, wet snow, that was so heavy the snow blower said, "no, no thank you."  I wound up with what was likely a stress fracture in my left wrist for several months.  Not fun.  But snowball fights while you shovel your driveway in intervals are!  Plus, it's an excuse for more cocoa or hot toddies when you come back in!

3. Fairfax County Schools have already called it for tomorrow, so if you have kids, you get outside tomorrow and you play in that snow!  Snow forts, sledding, snowmen, snow angels, snowball fights, belly flops into snow (this is only fun if the under layers of snow are not frozen, if they are, trust me, it reaaaallly hurts), and even trek your way to the nearest playground and play on the equipment in the snow.  If you don't have get outside a be a kid!  But just as a friendly reminder to all...don't eat the yellow snow, and yeah, really don't eat any snow at all.  I've seen recipes on Pinterest for making ice cream from snow and I'm like um, probably not a sound idea folks.  Think of it like a sandbox, a very cold, wet sandbox, so don't eat the contents!

4.  There will still be Doritos, milk, bread and water on Friday.  It amazes me the first things to disappear from grocery shelves here, and apparently Doritos are a part of every snow emergency kit.  Unless you plan to go through a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, 8 gallons of water (I have witnessed this purchase this week, and yes she was in full storm panic mode), and 3 bags of Doritos in the next 24 hrs, maybe just buy some comfort foodstuffs.  A nice bottle of wine, a large roast, some potatoes, bagels from the bakery, you know, cozy foods you want to cuddle up with.  You're not going to be wearing a power suit and heels tomorrow, you're going to be letting the gut out in some slouchy, comfy pants (what I call, "party pants"), so eat accordingly!

See, this is fun!  Most of you will have the day off tomorrow, and just get home safely tonight and Mother Nature has just gifted you a Pajama Day!  HOORAY!  So like I said in #4, rather than stocking up like the world is ending (really lady at the Giant, 8 gallons of water??), get ready for some stick to your ribs comfort cooking.  And with that in mind, tonight I whipped up a faux cheesetacular batch of Chicken, Broccoli, and Zucchini Mac & Cheese!  There's nary a lick of dairy in this mac, but I dare you to not succumb to the ooey gooeyness.  I'll give you the dairy-free version, but you can always go with a dairy-full version and just use the real milk versions of the ingredients.  Well, at least in theory it should work, I never actually made mac & cheese from scratch before I met my dairy-free Mister.

So get home safe everyone, and if you don't have to venture off to work in the AM, then stay in those pj's all morning until you change into your snow gear to go play, and then immediately come home to change into another set of pj's before you curl up with some comfort food and a good film.  Happy Snow Day!

Dairy-Free Mac & Cheese with Chicken, Zucchini & Broccoli


12 oz pasta (shells, rotini, or macaroni)
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large zucchini, stem end trimmed and then cut into bite-sized pieces
2 broccoli crowns, chopped
Ground black pepper & garlic powder
1 breast, thigh and leg from a rotisserie chicken, shredded
4 cups unsweetened rice milk (or use skim milk for real dairy)
1 cup Daiya jack "cheese" shreds
4 cups Daiya mozzarella "cheese" shreds (or use the real version of each cheese)
2 tsp ground black pepper
2-3 dashes nutmeg

Start your pasta water to boil and get your pasta cooking according to package directions.

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add in veggies, season with a few sprinkles of ground black pepper and garlic powder, and saute until just slightly browned, 4-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Dismember your rotisserie chicken, and shred breast, thigh and leg meat with two forks (use the remaining breast and thigh for these Zucchini Boats Stuffed with Pesto Chicken...and know your husband has likely already eaten one chicken leg within 5 minutes of getting home from the grocery).  Set aside.

In a saucepan, heat rice milk over medium high heat.  When it begins to simmer, whisk in your cheese and continue to whisk until fully melted and well-combined.  Reduce heat to low and season with black pepper and nutmeg, whisking to fully blend.  Fold in shredded chicken and veggies and allow to cool for a few minutes while pasta finishes cooking.  When pasta is done and drained, pour cheese and veggies over top and gently fold in to cover all of the pasta.  Allow to cool and set up for a minute or two before serving.  Proceed to bow in awe before the lusciousness of the faux cheesiness!

No comments:

Post a Comment