Just as one would peruse a menu or cruise the grocery store deciding what you want for dinner, I will occasionally cruise what was once referred to in a film as the "Interwebs," looking for menu ideas and concocting something new for my Greys.
I am particularly interested in the method of making good meals for them. I want the method to be easy and I want it to be a no-fuss kind of thing. It should be easy to prepare and if it can be frozen it is a home run.
If I can find one like that, it's a winner.
I was just doing that recently when I came across a recipe by that semi-great domestic goddess, Martha Stewart where she demonstrated how to make a one pot pasta dish.
It looked pretty interesting and I was intrigued with the simplicity of its method. She basically made a meal by heaving everything into a deep skillet. She then added water and nine minutes later, voila! Dinner. It was sort of like my Grain Bake only with no grains. Oh, and she didn't use the oven. But other than that the concept of heaving a bunch of food into a pot and adding water was the same method.
I contemplated this while once again chasing Parker down the hall and placing him on his play stand for the sixth time that morning.
Could I take her basic recipe, jiggle it around and concoct something that would be healthy for my birds? Why yes! Yes, I could.
Not being one to shirk my duty as I saw it, I leapt into the breach.
I knew if I could come up with something as simple as Grain Bake I knew I could tackle this one. (The only thing that honked me off about the Grain Bake thing is that I didn't come up with it ten years ago.)
As a way of demonstrating something I try to do when coming up with a bird-friendly recipe, I am going to give you the original recipe of Martha and her minions.
The first recipe would be fine for you and your family, but I probably wouldn't feed it to my Greys and with the onion and other items such as the highly acidic tomatoes are not a particularly hot idea for them.
Not-So-Hot One Pot Pasta For Birds (Great for You! Not for Your Parrots!)
(Just To Be Clear, Do Not Make This For Your Flock)
12 ounces linguine
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
1 onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 1/2 cups water
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Obviously this will not work for birds. The salt has to go, as does the onion. If you use garlic for your flock, I'd cut way back on the garlic. The cheese is unnecessary and I'd switch to coconut oil in place of the olive oil. I made some other changes as well to ramp up the nutrition.
Here is what I came up with that would be healthier for them:
One Pot Pasta For Parrots
Vegetable pasta (oat bran or barley meal pasta are also good choices.)
Red pepper flakes
Torn greens: kale or collard greens
Sodium-free vegetable stock
Fresh grated ginger to taste
Cilantro torn or cut up to taste
Chinese cabbage or bok choy
Heave ingredients into a deep-sided skillet and add a couple cups of the stock. Bring to a boil. Cook until the pasta is al-dente and the most of the stock has boiled off and absorbed into the pasta.
Let it cool and dish it up.
Garnish with watercress, basil and chia seed.
Drizzle with a healthy oil such as coconut or flax seed oil.
Now that is something your birds can have and they will probably love it. Mine did. Give it a shot and play around with what is fresh, in season, available and least expensive. I would try and keep a lot of greens in mind when preparing this. Greens are such a great way of adding some solid nutrition and keeping your flocks in good condition.
And that is the result of my morning of alternately hunting down my latest idea and hunting down Parker and putting him back on his play stand.