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Deb is one of my longest-term friends. We’ve known each other since college, when we were roommates. She’s my third-longest-term friend, actually. Beth is longest–we met the summer between junior and senior high school. She introduced me to Jane. Then Deb, then Pat, my Midwest Writers Workshop pal, whom I’ve known for about 30 years. I guess, technically, my mother is my longest-term friend, since she’s known me since before I was born, or maybe it would be God. Deb is my third-longest-term friend who isn’t a relative or, you know, the Deity.

Anyway, Deb sent me a cookbook put out by her church, and I made a dish out of it. I won’t reprint the recipe, because I didn’t exactly follow it. The recipe was called:

PASTA WITH SHRIMP (or not) AND VEGGIES

  • pasta
  • shrimp
  • veggies

Obvious enough, so far, eh? The pasta I used was vermicelli, which is thin spaghetti. Never mind what “vermicelli” means in Italian–trust me, you don’t want to know. The shrimp I used was tiny pre-cooked frozen shrimp, defrosted. The veggies I had on hand and felt like using were mushrooms and broccoli. I toasted the sliced mushrooms in a dry non-stick skillet, then added the crisp-tender broccoli and some white wine. Meanwhile, I made some pesto, but you could use pre-made pesto or open a jar of spaghetti sauce or Alfredo sauce or use whatever sauce you like. Then I added the shrimp and stirred the veg and shrimp together until it was all hot, then put it in a bowl with the spaghetti and pesto and mixed well.

You could leave out the shrimp and have just pasta with veggies, or you could substitute ham or bacon for the shrimp.

So thanks for the cookbook, Deb!

MA

writing prompt: Have a character make a dish from a recipe given him/her by an old friend.

dogsdinnerwchickThis looks extremely nasty, but it was actually very good. It’s boiled broccoli with re-constituted dried tomatoes (from my garden), mushrooms, roast chicken breast, mascarpone cheese and garlic-infused olive oil over angel hair pasta. It looks like the dog’s dinner, I know, except that the dog won’t eat broccoli. We liked this very much.

RANT: I can’t rant too savagely on this, because they’re hurting no one but themselves, but it really twists my knickers that I get so many hits from people looking for something like–and I’m using symbols for letters so I won’t be getting hits on this post for it–“An E$$ay 0n Mai Female Parental Unit”. Are they being assigned this for school, for ESL class, or what? It drives me nuts–I may have to take down the story, if I can’t get my OCD about it under control. It isn’t as if they can USE it, or at least it isn’t as if they can use it without raising questions. I mean, my story is about a kid whose female parental unit has snakes for hair. Not something one could pass off as one’s own, except under a very bizarre set of circumstances.

MA

Writing prompt: Imagine you’re a teacher and a student comes in with a wildly bizarre response to an assignment that you KNOW he/she copied from somewhere, but he/she insists it’s legitimate. What do you do? Outline a funny plot line and a not-funny one.

I got home last night RIGHT in time to start supper, which meant I needed something I could make without much time or effort. So I made this:

PASTA WITH CHICKEN SAUCE

  • pasta (I used wide egg noodles)
  • frozen chicken breast
  • canned or frozen peas
  • mushrooms (I did not have any, alas, but I thought of them and would use them if I had them)
  • butter
  • flour
  • milk
  • Parmesan or mixed Italian cheeses

Slap the frozen chicken onto a low-fat grill and cook for about 7-10 minutes. Remove chicken and cut into small pieces. Cook the pasta, drain it and toss it with a little garlic-flavored olive oil. In the same pan, with no butter or oil, dry-cook chopped mushrooms until they’re browned and nutty-scented. For each cup of sauce, add a little more than one Tablespoon butter. Add salt, pepper, and any other herbs or spices you like. For each Tb of butter you added, add one Tb of flour. Stir until all the flour is coated and cook for a minute or two. For each Tb of flour, add a little less than one cup of milk. Add peas and chicken and stir until sauce is thickened. Divide noodles into bowls or plates and top with sauce. Grate Parmesan over the top or sprinkle with mixed Italian cheeses.

Then I wanted dessert to take to tea with Mom, so I made these. Back in the day, cupcakes were called Cup Cakes because you measured the ingredients in a cup. This proportion makes a denser product than you may be used to–kind of a cross between cake and sweet bread. Needs no icing.

INSANELY EASY CUPCAKES

one cup of everything makes one dozen cupcakes

  • eggs
  • flour
  • solftened butter
  • sugar

Mix and divide into 12 greased or lined cupcake … thingies. Bake at 375 for about 20-25 minutes or until puffed up and golden brown on top.

MA

writing prompt: Do your characters eat dessert? What do they like? What do they hate? What do they do when confronted at a friend’s house with something they hate?

I would love to say that it’s writing that makes me have to make supper in a hurry, but it’s sometimes errands, sometimes email… sometimes Free Cell….

Anyway, I’ve had to knock something together in a hurry a couple of times this week, and these are what I made:

Pasta with “Cream” Sauce

  • angel hair pasta
  • onion
  • ham
  • chicken
  • bacon
  • mushrooms
  • butter
  • flour
  • milk
  • Parmesan

Melt the butter. Dice the onions, mushrooms and meat into the butter and fry until the meat and mushrooms are just done. Stir in flour and cook a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, bring some water to a boil. Put in the angel hair pasta. Add milk to the flour mixture and stir until thick and glossy. Drain the pasta and divide it into plates. Divide the sauce over the pasta, sprinkle with cheese.

Fish Plate for Grilling Machine

  • thin fillet of fish, like Tilapia
  • frozen Potatoes O’Brien
  • fresh green beans

Snap the ends off the green beans but leave them whole. Put them in a skillet with the frozen potatoes and cover. Cook until potatoes are done and green beans change color–they should still be crisp. Heat grilling machine and smear with butter. Sprinkle frozen fillet with seasonings and grill it for about 7-10 minutes or until flaky. Defrosted fillets will take less time. Can also be done in a skillet.

MA

Writing prompt: What kept your character from starting supper on time?

WELCOME TO MY BLAHG

Here is where I ramble on about whatever happens to fall through my mind. I also have a professional site, where I post about my books, stories, news and appearances. Every month, I post a “Hot Flash” there–a story or prose poem of about 50 words. I hope you enjoy your visit. –Marian Allen

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