Back in the Kitchen…..Diane 2.0

Photo Apr 15, 7 45 23 PM Farfalle with prosciutto and chicken

Click on the photo to enlarge and then the back arrow to return to the original size

Hi Everyone,

I hope this post finds you well. I want to thank all of you for the warm emails and comments that I have been receiving regarding my heart transplant and recovery- thank you so much.

I have missed all of you tremendously. I can’t wait until I can come back to the blog full time and set a few new tablescapes. My head is spinning with new ideas.

I am in my fourth month post heart transplant and I am feeling much stronger. It has been a roller coaster recovery so far. Some weeks are great and then there are weeks that a few set backs show up here and there that stops me in my tracks. I will not give up or give in to pain or difficult situations that arise, so I will continue to follow all the rules and the restrictions to get myself back to being me.

My husband calls me Diane 2.0, the new and improved.

Speaking of my husband or should I say angel on earth, he has been doing everything while I recover. He is dusting, cleaning the house, doing laundry, making beds, food shopping and cooking three meals a day and continuing to work full time. He is truly a gift from God.

I have more good days than bad lately and one day a few weeks ago, I decided that I was going to cook dinner. I didn’t know what we had in the refrigerator or pantry since I haven’t been shopping so I decided to check out the situation. As I was poking around I felt like a contestant on the Food Network show, “Chopped” where you make a meal from odd ingredients.

Well, I found pasta of course (and one of my favorites, farfalle or the bow ties), prosciutto, frozen peas, chicken breast and half a container of mascarpone (Italian cream cheese). I could do something with that and pasta is always an easy dish. I announced to Bob that I was going to cook and he really wasn’t on board with it at first because I was still not allowed to lift a lot of weight and I have awful tremors from the medication and my hands shake 24/7, but I told him I would start and if I couldn’t do it, he would have to take over. So he agreed. He put the water up for the pasta and I was ready.

Although my body wasn’t as ready as my mind. Because I had just started walking, I still had the walker at all times so I had the walker set up in front of me at the counter and a kitchen chair behind me in case I needed to take breaks and sit. I should have had Bob take a picture of that but at the time I was too focused on being able to make dinner.

I had to sit and think of a plan because I couldn’t move around the kitchen freely and I was basically stationary in front of the cabinets and next to the stove. Bob was a call away, and he had to put the chicken in the oven for me.

I finally completed dinner and I considered it a success when Bob told me how much he missed my cooking. He needed a break from cooking and I needed to get back in the kitchen- my happy place.

The following is a list of ingredients and directions for this first meal I prepared post transplant. I hope you give it a try and enjoy. 

I will be posting more and more recipes that I have been preparing while recovering. I don’t have enough strength to cook every night but I am working on that and getting stronger for a tablescape.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

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Farfalle with Prosciutto, Peas and Chicken in a Creamy Red Sauce

Ingredients:

3/4 lb pasta

1 lb chicken breast

1/2 cup chicken broth or water

1 can whole plum tomatoes – crushed by hand or food processor

2 shallots – diced

1-2 garlic cloves – minced

olive oil

garlic

prosciutto

basil, parsley & oregano (1 tsp. of each dried or fresh herbs)

8 oz mascarpone cheese

grated cheese to garnish

frozen peas

salt and pepper – to taste

Directions:

Place chicken breast in a small roasting pan and add 1/2 cup of broth or water and bake for 25 minutes COVERED on 350 degrees.  Remove from poaching liquid, let it cool and dice into cubes

Start to boil your water w/salt for the pasta

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute diced prosciutto until it starts to get crispy and remove to a paper towel.

To the same skillet add shallots and 1- 2 cloves of minced garlic (more olive oil can be added if needed) and saute for 1-2 minutes 

Add the crushed tomatoes and herbs, simmer for 10 minutes on medium and add the mascarpone cheese, frozen peas and simmer for 10-25 minutes while the pasta cooks.

When the sauce is done, add the pasta, chicken, prosciutto and some grated cheese. Season with salt & pepper.

 

12 thoughts on “Back in the Kitchen…..Diane 2.0

  1. LINDA

    So glad you are feeling stronger. Heart surgery is no easy thing to bounce back from. Take it slow. Praise God for your supportive hubby. One question, how do you handle the sodium intake in dishes? Do you use no salt added tomatoes? Do you use organic broth? My hubby is a post open heart surgery patient and we have to control his sodium intake. I also care for my 88 yr old mother and she has both heart trouble and kidney disease so sodium is an ever challenging thing to manage. I am so glad you are doing well. Keep it up!

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    Reply
    1. aries041158 Post author

      Hi Linda, If I have to use a canned or boxed product, I use low sodium organic products as much as I can and I use very little salt while cooking. I have to say I use mostly fresh veggies in my cooking so I start off with a clean slate as far as sodium. I try to use fresh herbs to add flavor to my meals instead of relying on salt. Good Luck and I hope both your husband and mother stay well.

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  2. Toni

    So happy to see your post this morning !! Looking forward to reading more and seeing the upcoming Diane 2.0 tablescapes !
    My little 88 y.o. Italian Auntie has undergone many tough surgeries, including double by pass, knees replaced, bad fracture of femur at 85. She’s still upright, but slowing down from arthritis. We call her bionic.
    Can’t imagine how much courage and fortitude is required after heart transplant. Sounds like you’re a compliant patient, who’s trying to “be patient” !!
    Praying you will continue to heal, and that for your new normal, the shaking will subside soon, Diane.
    I’m going to get your blog onto my aunt’s Facebook page. She’ll love it !!

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    Reply
    1. aries041158 Post author

      Thank you so much for your prayers Toni, very much appreciated. The tremors are a big issue for me because it prevents me from doing so much but I know that as the medication dosage comes down the tremors will subside so I am trying to stay positive and focused. I hope your Aunt enjoys the blog. Stay well.

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  3. Margaret Arny

    Diane, I am so happy for your accomplishments. My husband recently had a pacemaker put in and every day he feels stronger. You are blessed with a wonderful husband, thank God! Your fans love you the way you are right now and as you continue to improve. Thank you for the recent recipe. I am looking forward to receiving many more and tablescapes only when you can. I would like to share a recipe with you. My son once came home, after being in his friends house, raving about his mother’s peas she made. After several raves, I had to call her about the “special peas”. Well it turned out the secret was that she sautéed a chopped up onion well and added peas (I like frozen) to the pan with black pepper, or whatever you like. Well, it is delicious and easy to make. I wanted to share if you need something as a side dish to have with Bob. I will pray for your divine healing.
    Blessings

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. aries041158 Post author

      Hi Margaret, thank you so much for all of your good wishes- they are so appreciated. I had a pacemaker/defibrillator for 26 years, I hope your husband feels better and better……Thank you so much for the recipe. I love when we can share recipes. I have a similar pea recipe that involves peas, pasta and mascarpone cheese. This is one of the first recipes my mother taught me and told me to always have these ingredients in the house for a quick meal- keep it as a standby.
      https://dishingwithdiane.com/2019/01/09/pasta-with-peas-pasta-piselli/

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      1. Barbara Barber

        Very glad to hear that your heart transplant went well Diane. I am heading down that road myself and it makes me feel good to know someone who has done well. You are in my prayers for a full recovery!

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      2. aries041158 Post author

        Barbara, my prayers are with you and I wish you the best of luck. It is amazing what the medical field can do; always remain hopeful and positive. If you have any questions for me, please drop me a line. Are you listed yet for heart transplant?

        Like

  4. Linda Terranova

    Diane, I was so happy to see your post today. I pray for you and Bob and think of you often. You are one of the strongest people I know, and I know you will be back doing what you love soon. Keep well.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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