This began as a post on how I made Stu the Duck into Teriyaki Duck with garlic rice. But, as I began cooking I realized that the way I was cooking dinner was far more important than the recipe. For those of us with chronic pain or illness cooking can be a daunting task. But it’s also important to us to serve delicious food to our families. I’ve come up with some tricks I use for cooking when you’re in pain.
Yesterday was a really rough day for me. My pain level was way up and I didn’t do much. But I needed to make dinner since take-out isn’t in our budget. I had Stu the Duck in the freezer and I’d been wanting to do something with that meat. Enough time had passed that I thought Mr. Comfortable could think of it as dinner and not the cute, white bathtub duck. It was a bit late in the day to make Stu into stew so I decided to make Teriyaki Duck instead.
The reason I chose to make Teriyaki Duck was that it’s easy to break down the steps to creating the dinner allowing lots of time to rest in between. That’s one of the tricks I use on days when the pain is bad. I pick recipes that don’t require me to stand (or sit) for a long time all at once.
For my Teriyaki
Stu Duck I thawed the duck in cold water then patted it dry. I put some olive oil in a bowl and added the duck. I seasoned it with salt and pepper then put the meat in a zip lock bag. That went into the refrigerator for a couple of hours and I went to rest.
After I’d rested for an hour or so I made the teriyaki sauce that I use for my beef teriyaki
When the teriyaki sauce was made I put it in a screw-top container and put it in the refrigerator. When I was ready to use it I just gave it a good shake to mix the ingredients again. After making the sauce it was back to rest.
The only steps I had to do all at once were put some rice on to cook, brown the duck, and slice some scallions. This all took only about 20 minutes. Then I plated the Teriyaki Duck and had a lovely, home-cooked meal.
When you’re in pain breaking down the recipe and preparing as much of it in advance as possible is very helpful. Another trick I use is marinades. In my post Marinades: Making Your Meals Special I list some of my favorite marinades. Using marinades adds a ton of flavor and I can put the meat in the marinade and go rest without worrying about serving a bland dinner. I often make some of these marinades in advance and freeze them so on days when I’m really suffering I don’t have to stand in the kitchen putting them together.
Another favorite way I can put a great meal on the table without a lot of effort is by making freezer meals. It takes me several days to create the same number of freezer meals that some people can do in a day but they come in so handy when I’m in a lot of pain. Better yet, many of them can be put in the slow cooker! I pour the ingredients (often frozen) into the slow cooker, push a couple of buttons, and come back at dinnertime!
Whether you have chronic pain or illness or maybe even just have a bad cold you don’t always feel up to spending hours in the kitchen. Using these tips you can serve a wonderful meal without wearing yourself out!