Remote Control Cool

By Frank E. Vaerewyck, The Firehouse Foodie

I recently participated in a training exercise for first responders not as a provider but as a mock victim. I was made up in moulage that consisted of red food coloring, water, and corn syrup. Others participating were made up with shards of plastic molded into clay painted to look like flesh wounds and other types of injuries. The makeup artists did a great job, and as we acted in the manner directed, the first responders working this imaginary horrific scene went to work sifting through the carnage.

As the first responders worked diligently, evaluators watched and assessed their actions, and camera crews recorded these actions on video as well as still action shots. One particular photographer stood out from all the rest, for his camera flew. Yes, I said flew. This gentleman piloted a drone with a camera attached to the underside recording video for editing later. This drone was a four blade UFO-looking unit with blades on each corner, and a camera recorded the events in HD video from high above, giving a bird’s-eye view.

These drones have many practical applications and you have seen their footage in your favorite TV shows, especially reality shows and commercials, for quite some time. They are relatively low cost, shoot in HD, and get shots that were once unattainable. The practical application doesn’t stop there. In the fire service, we can use these drones rigged with remote video feeds to survey a hazardous situation that may be just too dangerous to send humans into such as chemical spills or explosion areas where there is still the threat of unexploded artifacts present. I can see how they could be flown into a sinkhole to see if there are survivors that may need rescue, or used in a building collapse, where structural stability is questionable. This technology tends to get a bad rap, because everyone thinks that big brother is watching, but it may just be what saves the day.

Technology in the kitchen has allowed us to get more done in the day and take a different perspective on life as well. One of the most ingenious technological advancements to ever take place in the kitchen was the invention of the Crock Pot™. This great piece of cooking wonder allows us to make wonderful dishes and have a fulfilling meal without slaving over the stove. In the firehouse, we can put dinner in the Crock Pot™ and not have to worry, if we get a call or run late training, if dinner will ever get done. I like the fact that many different types of food can be made in this modern marvel, and since Italian is one of my favorites, when we figured out how to make lasagna, I was in heaven. I hope you enjoy my Easy, Healthy Crock Pot™ Lasagna, “That's Bringing the Firehouse Home!”

Easy, Healthy Crock Pot™ Lasagna

 

Ingredients:

1 pound Italian-seasoned ground turkey

10 oz (or comparable size) jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

8 oz pkg. lasagna noodles, uncooked

4 cups skim Italian blend shredded cheese

15 oz container low fat ricotta cheese

1 onion chopped (I like sweet or red onions)

2 cloves garlic (sliced)

 

Directions:

  1. Spray the inside of the Crock Pot™ with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray.
  2. Brown Italian-seasoned ground turkey with chopped onions and sliced garlic.
  3. Stir in spaghetti sauce once turkey is brown and onions are cooked.
  4. Spread ¼ of meat sauce into the bottom of the Crock Pot™.
  5. Arrange 1/3 of the uncooked noodles over the sauce (if you have to break them up so they fit better, it's not a big deal).
  6. Mix 3 cups skim Italian blend shredded cheese (saving 1 cup to top dish) and low-fat ricotta cheese in bowl.
  7. Spoon 1/3 of the cheese mix over the noodles.
  8. Repeat these steps two more times and top with remaining sauce.
  9. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours  (great to start when you leave for work--it will be ready when you get home, or put it on at the start of the shift and it's ready come chow time!).
  10. Layer last 1 cup of skim Italian blend shredded cheese 5 minutes before uncovering and let stand in Crock Pot™ for 10 minutes  before serving to help set.
  11. For an extra little cheese kick, add ½ cup of low-fat grated parmesan cheese to the cheese mix.

Dish out with nonslotted spoon and enjoy!

 

Frank Vaerewyck has had a passion for the fire service that has spanned 20 years. He has been a volunteer and career firefighter and is currently a firefighter/EMT with the Manassas (VA) Volunteer Fire Company. He has passed on his passion for the fire service through instruction and mentorship. That same passion he has for the fire service is shared with his love of food. In 2006, Vaerewyck won an Iron Chef-style competition sponsored by a radio station in Richmond, Virginia. That is where he also furthered his education by attending a Culinary Arts Program. As the Firehouse Foodie, he has been compiling recipes to be included in a cookbook that will give others the opportunity to see their hometown heroes not just as firefighters, but as the firehouse chefs they truly are.

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