The rock in a turbulent sea

There are weeks that start out bad and redeem themselves eventually. Then there are weeks like the one I’m experiencing. The ones that start out bad and grow to such proportions of terrible I feel like I’m being punked. I would welcome some celebrity jumping out from a classroom with a camera assuring me this has all just been a poorly planned practical joke. Sadly…I don’t think that’s coming.

But one thing I have come to appreciate is the fact that there is generally one thing I can always count on to make it better…food. I used to stress eat, which was a big part of my problem. In it’s place I have learned the art of skinny comfort food. It is a magical thing, food that tastes so amazing you’re sure it has to be at least a thousand calories but in fact, it is a reasonably healthy meal. That sneaky combination is the only thing I can count on to create a beacon of hope in an otherwise stormy week. Last night I made one of my best skinny comfort dishes yet.

I have always wanted to be one of those people that was proficient with the crock pot. You may chuckle, as I have often heard it is one of the easiest cooking tools available. However, the ease and appeal of the crock pot has eluded me for many years. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a control issue. I find myself thinking “I’m supposed to leave that in there all day…and not touch it? What if something goes wrong?!? What if it needs to be stirred? I’m not sure I can handle this.” Other times I think it’s the ghost of bad crock pot meals haunting my confidence. In my early days of adulthood, when cooking was new, I had my fair share of crock pot disasters. Luckily I’ve always been surrounded by hungry men who are none too picky about the look or texture of their food. This “stew” turned out way too dry? No problem! They’ll slap it on some bread and make sandwiches out of it. I may have been dismayed over the outcome but they were happy enough with something flavorful to fill their stomachs. (I really can’t say enough about having non discriminating men around to devour even the worst food when you’re learning to cook.)

However, being the stubborn person I am, I keep coming back to the crock pot, again and again, in hopes of mastering these elusively easy meals it taunts me with. I found this recipe on pintrest: Cheesy Chicken and Rice. It offered that skinny comfort food I was looking for this week, with the promise of not only being an easy crock pot meal, but also requiring no chopping, peeling, mixing or an abundance of ingredients. I was very much looking forward to seeing how this one would turn out (and secretly hoping for a respite in my chronically crabby mood this week).

I’m happy to say it turned out to be as wonderful as promised. I didn’t mess anything up, and it was the most delicious, filling, beautiful meal my crock pot has ever seen! Curiously, the sides of my crock pot did end up with a bit of burnt sauce sticking to it, but considering my track record I’m going to ignore that, (Stephen chalks it up to a lower quality crock pot) and pretend like it was flawless. My week can’t handle anything less. It is a comfort to know that when the world is trying to drown me, I have a rock to cling to, even if that rock is nothing more than a well executed comfort meal.

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