When a friend or colleague has a tragedy or major illness, I, like most people I know, want to do something helpful for them. When you know the family well, you can take care of the kids and other more personal tasks. When you are only friendly with the family, knowing how to help is less obvious. Taking a meal seems to be the most common gesture of goodwill.
A colleague suffered a major heart attack recently. So scary since he is relatively young - younger than me anyway. His wife also has a professional position and they have two children. This must have been devastating to the entire family and an adjustment to their diets going forward.
I wanted to do something to help and contacted a close friend of the family to find out if there was already an organized support plan we could plug into. In fact, there was already a meal delivery sign up in place but last week was all taken care of. She said that I could have today, Tuesday. I asked about any foods to avoid was told only that it should be lean meats or fish, low fat and low to no salt.
I have a copy of the American Heart Association's Low-fat, low-cholesterol cookbook from 1989 that I bought when my dad needed to change his diet. I scoured it for some kid-friendly menus. Talked it over with John and we decided on a chicken fajita dinner. Most kids like fajitas, right?
The AHA cookbook's recipe for guacamole is our longtime favorite, so I made that and fresh salsa to go with the fajitas. We were able to use our garden tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers. I purchased some healthy tortillas. The sides were calabacitas, a new favorite recipe, and fresh fruit with lime gastrique. Instructions on reheating and the recipes were included in the care package. Also made sure none of the containers needed to be returned. John made the delivery early afternoon so they could have dinner on their schedule.
Hope our small gesture of care and concern brightened their day
Serves 4; 2 fajitas per serving
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 T acceptable vegetable oil (I used grape-seed oil)
1 1/2 T fresh lime juice
3 T Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp ground black pepper, or more to taste
1 1/4 # boneless chicken breasts, skinned, all visible fat removed
1 large onion, sliced into thin strips
1 large green pepper, sliced into thin strips
2 tsp acceptable vegetable oil
8 corn tortillas (I provided whole wheat tortillas)
Prepare marinade of garlic, oil, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce and pepper in a large ziplock bag.
Cut chicken lengthwise into thin strips (it's best to have the meat slightly frozen for slicing thin strips). Add chicken strips to the marinate and refrigerate 20 minutes, or so.
Heat 2 tsp oil in a skillet set to medium-high. Sauté peppers and onions until slightly browned.
Line baking sheet with foil and place chicken strips in a single layer. Broil until cooked through. ( I used our George Foreman to cook the chicken. )
To serve, divide the chicken into eight equal portions, about 3 strips each and place on each tortilla. Top with onions and peppers and assorted toppings and garnishes as desired.
Makes about 1 cup
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled, seeded and mashed
1 T fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 T salsa
1 medium ripe tomato, or 8 cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 T finely shopped onion
1 tomatillo, husk removed, finely chopped
3 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together. Serve chilled or at room temperature.