By Christina Knoell | PREVIEW Columnist
After two years of being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pagosa Springs Senior Center will be opening the dining room.
A soft opening is planned for three specific days: June 22, 27 and 29.
We are hoping to open our doors five days per week after July 1. Please be prepared to show your vaccination cards. If you have COVID-19 or have been exposed or are exhibiting symptoms, please stay home.
Medicare Mondays are for anyone who needs help enrolling and navigating Medicare plans Parts A, B and D.
We can also help you with fraud concerns and troubleshooting any billing issues you may be having. By appointment only. Please call our Medicare line at (970) 264-0501, ext. 4. Someone will return your call within 24 hours.
Bridge takes place Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at 1 p.m. Bridge is a four-player card game with partners sitting opposite each other around a table. It is a trick-taking card game using a standard 52-card deck. Come alone or bring a partner. Proof of vaccinations is required.
Kitchen and desk
The Community Café at the Senior Center is requesting volunteers to help with the lunch desk. Please call (970) 264-2167 to volunteer or for more information.
ASI board vacancies
The Archuleta Seniors Inc. (ASI) Board of Directors has four vacant positions open for financial oversight and policy implementation for the organization and Senior Center staff.
Terms are three years with an option to renew for an additional term. Potential candidates should be at least 55 years of age or older and must have a passion for adult and aging services.
Community Café menu
Thursday, June 16 — King Ranch chicken, sautéed zucchini, milk, salad and chocolate toffee crackers.
Friday, June 17 — Tuna salad with green salad or as a sandwich, broccoli salad, milk and lemon mousse.
Monday, June 20 — Closed for Juneteenth National Independence Day.
Tuesday, June 21 — Beef Frito pie, coleslaw, milk, salad and blueberry cobbler.
Wednesday, June 22 — Dining room open to the public. Chicken salad with green salad or as a croissant sandwich, carrot salad, milk and strawberry shortcake.
Thursday, June 23 — Shrimp scampi, roasted zucchini, tomatoes and onion, milk, focaccia bread and salad.
Reservations and cancellations are required. Please call by 9 a.m. the morning of the day you want to pick up a meal. A suggested donation of $5 helps to sustain our program. No one will be turned away for their inability to donate. For ages 59 and younger, the cost is $10. Please call (970) 264-2167 to make a reservation.
Meals on Wheels
We deliver fresh Meals on Wheels five days a week (and provide frozen Meals on Wheels for weekends) to homebound Archuleta County residents. Call (970) 264-2167.
Pasta is an excellent source of nutrients. Consider trying whole-grain pastas for more fiber and protein. There are many options for gluten-free pastas that are derived from rice, beans and quinoa. Pasta is a great way to make a quick and tasty meal, even on a budget.
Pasta (spaghetti, penne, rigatoni, etc.)
Extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper
Cook your pasta in boiling salted water until al dente.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and sauté garlic and chili.
Toss in the tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook.
You’ll want to cook the tomatoes over a high heat until they burst and their juice gets thicker. It takes about 6-7 minutes.
Once the tomatoes look saucy and yummy, stir in the shredded basil, taste and adjust the seasoning.
Finally, it’s time to drain the pasta and add it to the skillet.
Toss until well combined and serve with more fresh basil, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
A few notes on the ingredients:
• Tomatoes: Make sure your cherry tomatoes are ripe and sweet, and cook them until they burst and get deliciously saucy. I recommend using cherry tomatoes for this recipe, but Roma tomatoes can work too, although the result won’t be the same.
• Basil: Use only fresh basil for this recipe.
• Extra virgin olive oil: It’s absolutely the best for this tomato basil pasta, full of fresh, fruity flavor that pairs beautifully with tomatoes.
• Garlic: The sautéed garlic provides such a wonderful base, and I’m always happy to use at least three garlic cloves. But, if you’re not a garlic fan or if you find it hard to digest, reduce the quantity.
• Chili flakes: These are to give it some kick, but feel free to skip it if you feed children.
• Parmesan cheese: Parmesan adds plenty of savory flavor, but I leave it optional in case you prefer a vegan or dairy-free version. The result will be terrific anyway.
• Salt and pepper: Taste the tomato basil sauce and adjust the seasoning if needed. Salt is also important when you cook your pasta, because if you haven’t salted your pasta water properly, the entire dish will be miserably under-seasoned.
Last week, you may have read that ASI has an immediate monetary need of raising $100,000 from our community to strengthen a Round 2 state of Colorado grant opportunity. Well, guess what? We have raised $25,000 so far.
ASI is proposing a $2 million request to purchase a new senior center, including the cost of renovations for a large dining room, food storage, offices, a large commercial kitchen and space for activities.
Please consider donating to ASI by calling (970) 264-2167. You may also mail your donation to P.O. Box 3444, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. Donation checks can be written to Archuleta Seniors Inc.
We are located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. For general information about ASI, please visit http://www.psseniors.org/.