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Native Cooking

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It's that time of year again - back to school. It's a win-win time since
parents can breathe a little easier and kids can feel excited about new
purpose in life, renewing old friendships and making new friends. A few
weeks will have new schedules in place after the bumps are worked out.
Working parents will need to make the family meal simple and easy for
themselves so they can help with homework and organization during those
first weeks.

Kids need to feel organized. School-age children need bookshelves, a lamp,
a desk or table plus storage for clothes and toys. Under-bed plastic boxes
are great for some of these items. Other plastic boxes and hooks placed at
kids' eye level encourage their use, instead of the floor. When things are
not all over the place, students can concentrate better on their studies.

Now there are several ways to have easy quick meals. If you still have a
barbeque grill set up that's one. Stopping for pre-made meals to go is
another, but expensive. Getting out the old (beloved) crock pot slow cooker
is another.

All it requires is planning ahead. Making balanced, quick dinners on the
stove is also easy if planned ahead. Kids can help and asking them what
they would like to have once a week will build their self esteem in the
process. They may also have some great ideas about what they would like for
after- school snacks. If those things are on hand when they get home, it
will stave off being ravenous when you get home. Being ornery, cranky and
having an attitude are often just symptoms of hunger. Every family has its
own favorite snacks. If the kids get home before you do it's good for them
to know just what to go for right away. Leave notes.

Snack ideas for after school:

Homemade granola

Pre-made sandwiches

Raisins

Rice cakes

Dried apricots

Molasses or honey and bread

Fresh fruit

Celery or carrot sticks

Crackers and cheese

Vegetable or fruit juice

Peanut butter on anything

Instant soup cups

Popcorn

Salsa and corn chips

Fruit salad

Yogurt

Cereal with low-fat milk

Trail mix

Pemmican

Wild Rice and Chicken

2 cups wild rice, uncooked

2 cups cut up chicken

6 cups of chicken broth

1/2 cup onions, chopped

1/2 cup celery

2 small cans of mushrooms, stems and pieces

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

This is a good one for the crock pot. Combine all ingredients in a slow
cooker on low. Cover and cook for 4 - 6 hours. Do not remove lid before
four hours have past.

All Day Buffalo Roast

4 pound buffalo (or beef chuck) roast

6 cloves of garlic

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cups water

1 tablespoon each: Mixed herbs, oregano, basil and cumin

2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon gravy master or beef broth packet

Brown the roast on all sides in oil and put in cooker. Add drippings to
cooker and all other ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8 - 10 hours.
You can add potatoes cut up and carrots or green beans for the last two
hours of cooking if desired.

Easy Penne with Meat Sauce

1 pound package of penne pasta, cooked

1/2 pound ground buffalo or beef

1 onion, chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 jar prepared spaghetti sauce (or more, if needed)

3 tablespoons oil

Saute the ground buffalo, onion and pepper in the oil until tender, add the
pasta and sauce. Let cook and blend flavors for about 5 minutes, stirring
frequently. This dish is fine fresh and even better the next day.

A nice green salad is perfect with any of the dinners above. Dark greens
have tons of vitamin C, iron, fiber, beta-carotene and other good-for-you
nutrients.

Notes & Tips:

This is crazy but its true, cooking spray will remove paint and grease from
your hands. Also works for stuck-on rings.

Got dogs? Got fleas in your rugs? Use 20-Mule Team Borax to get rid of
them. Sprinkle and let stand for 24 hours.

Using the crock pot in hot weather is practical. You don't need to turn on
the oven which heats up the whole kitchen.

The high setting on most slow cookers is about 300 degrees, low is about
200 degrees.

Any slow cooker recipe that calls for a dairy product like milk, cream, or
sour cream should be adjusted to add that ingredient during the last hour,
or even 1/2 hour, as these products tend to separate or curdle when cooked
for a long time.

If you spray the inside of the crock pot with cooking spray, it will make
clean up easier.

I want to thank all of you who have sent in suggestions and ideas to
NativeCooking@aol.com. I am always learning things. Please let me know what
YOU want to see for recipes in this column.

Dale Carson is the author of three books, "New Native American Cooking,"
(temporarily out of print) "Native New England Cooking" and "A Dreamcatcher
Book."

For ordering information write to Dale Carson, P.O. Box 13, Madison, CT
06443 or e-mail NativeCooking@aol.com.