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Archive for the ‘Comfort Food’ Category

Beef Soup platedIf you’re looking for a warm bowl of comfort food on a cold wintery day, this hearty beef and barley soup definitely fits the bill.

Easy to make, you can serve a large group with this recipe.

Add a green salad and some toasted bread on the side and you’ve got a great meal.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Take about two pounds of stew meat and trim off most of the fat, cutting it into bite-sized pieces.

Take about two pounds of stew meat and trim off most of the fat, cutting it into bite-sized pieces.

Season with an all-purpose seasoning and salt.

Season with an all-purpose seasoning and salt.

Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 2 1/2 hours.

Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 2 1/2 hours.

Doesn't that look yummy? Don't you want to just snitch a piece?

Doesn’t that look yummy? Don’t you want to just snitch a piece?

When the meat is almost done, add water and broth to your stock pot.

When the meat is almost done, add water and broth to your stock pot.

Add the remaining ingredients and cover then cook on medium-high heat until it reaches a nice roiling boil.

Add the remaining ingredients and cover then cook on medium-high heat until it reaches a nice roiling boil.

Add meat, cover and let simmer on medium heat for about 15 minutes.

Add meat, cover and let simmer on medium heat for about 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

Beef Barley Soup

2 pounds of stew meat, cut into bite-sized chunks

1 cup celery, cut into small pieces

1 cup frozen corn

1 cup frozen peas and carrots

4 cups chicken broth

8 cups water

1 cup Quick Barley

1 tbsp. parsley flakes

1 tbsp. all-seasoning

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. onion flakes (or add real onion pieces if you like)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a nine-inch cast iron skillet, give it a light coat of non-stick cooking spray. Place stew meat in the pan, add 2 tsp. all-seasoning and 1 tsp. salt. Cover with foil and bake 2 1/2 hours.

Just before the meat is done, put eight cups of water on to boil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or stock pot. (I used an 8-quart pot).

Add the chicken broth, salt, vegetables, barley, remaining seasoning, and parsley flakes (I happened to find some left-over potatoes in the fridge and tossed them in, too!) Cover and bring this to a boil.

Once it gets rolling, add the meat. Make sure you scrape all the delicious beefy goodness from the bottom of the pan into the soup. Cover and turn heat down to medium, letting this simmer for about 15 minutes, until veggies are cooked through.

Serve and enjoy!

She Who Loves a Warm Bowl of Soup on a Cold Day

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Hash Brown Casserole PlatedOur weather has been incredibly and ridiculously cold the past week or so (although it seems like months!).

The bone-chilling temperatures just make me crave comfort-type food. Something warm and filling.

The other day, in a panic to come up with something edible for dinner before Captain Cavedweller arrived home, tired and hungry, I whipped up a hash brown casserole. Super easy, it proved to be quite tasty.

Simple ingredients

Simple ingredients

Start by giving your baking dish a good coating of non-stick spray.

Start by giving your baking dish a good coating of non-stick spray.

Melt the butter and crush, crumble or pulverize the crackers into the bowl.

Melt the butter and crush, crumble or pulverize the crackers into the bowl.

Stir together until cracker crumbs are well coated.

Stir together until cracker crumbs (in my case, chunks… did I mention I was in a hurry?) are well coated.

Mix together the rest of the ingredients.

Mix together the rest of the ingredients.

Then scoop into your baking pan. If you love cheese, go ahead and sprinkle some on top.

Then scoop into your baking pan. If you love cheese, go ahead and sprinkle some on top.

Finish it off with your cracker crumbs and bake in a 350 oven for an hour.

Finish it off with your cracker crumbs and bake in a 350 oven for an hour.

When it's done, you'll have a crispy ,crunchy golden cracker crust on top of a gooey layer of cheese.

When it’s done, you’ll have a crispy ,crunchy golden cracker crust on top of a gooey layer of cheese.

Hash Brown Casserole

2 lbs frozen shredded hash browns

1 can of cream of mushroom soup

1 cup of sour cream

2 cups shredded cheddar (or colby-jack cheese) grated

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. all-purpose seasoning (like Mrs. Dash)

1 tsp. parsley

1 sleeve of Saltine crackers, crushed

1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°F and spray an 11 x 14 baking dish with cooking spray.

Melt butter then crumbled crackers into it, stirring until well coated. Set aside.

Mix the remaining  ingredients together, place in prepared pan, and top with 1/2 cup additional cheese, if desired. Top with the cracker crumbs and bake for an hour.

Remove and indulge in the deliciousness!

She Who Should Not Make This Again, but It Was So Yummy

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Meatloaf plated

Captain Cavedweller isn’t a meatloaf fan and I’m allergic to processed tomatoes, so we’ve avoided meatloaf at our house.

The other day I got inspired to see if I could either find or create a recipe that didn’t use ketchup or any kind of canned tomatoes. Boy, did that turn out to be a tasty decision. Finding a few recipes online, I combined elements of what I liked and came up with a meatloaf recipe that is nothing like the one Granny used to make, but delicious all the same!

Ingredients

Ingredients

Start by slicing and dicing your celery into small, thin pieces.

Start by slicing and dicing your celery into small, thin pieces.

Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat and add celery and onion flakes. If you want to use fresh onion and add garlic, you can certainly do that, too. Cook until celery is soft then let cool.

Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat and add celery and onion flakes. If you want to use fresh onion and add garlic, you can certainly do that, too. Cook until celery is soft then let cool.

Add celery mixture to remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Add celery mixture to remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.

 

Form mixture into a loaf on a rimmed baking sheet. I lined mine with foil because I'm lazy and don't like scraping goo off the pan. The loaf should be about twelve inches long, four to five inches wide and at least an inch and a half to two inches deep.

Form mixture into a loaf on a rimmed baking sheet. I lined mine with foil because I’m lazy and don’t like scraping goo off the pan. The loaf should be about twelve inches long, four to five inches wide and at least an inch and a half to two inches deep.

 

While the meatloaf is baking, pour two cups of chicken broth into a pan with butter. You can add a spoon of crushed garlic if you want, which we didn't. This is going to cook for about twenty minutes, until it starts to thicken (although it will still be thin, not like gravy).

While the meatloaf is baking, pour two cups of chicken broth into a pan with butter. You can add a spoon of crushed garlic if you want, which we didn’t. This is going to cook for about twenty minutes, until it starts to thicken (although it will still be thin, not like gravy).

 

Bake the meatloaf until nice and brown - about an hour.

Bake the meatloaf until nice and brown – about an hour.

 

Slice and serve with the "gravy" drizzled over the top.

Slice and serve with the “gravy” drizzled over the top.

 

Not Your Granny’s Meatloaf

2 pounds of ground beef

3 eggs

2/3 cup milk

1 tbsp. parsley

1 1/2 cups Panko crumbs

1 tsp. seasoning

dash of salt

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/3 cup of thinly sliced and diced celery

1 tsp. onion flakes (or you can add fresh onion)

2 cups chicken broth

3 tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Thinly slice and dice celery. Heat olive oil in a small skillet on medium heat and add celery and onion (you can also add a little garlic if you want). Cook until celery is softened. Remove from heat and let cool.

Mix celery with remaining ingredients until thoroughly blended.

Line a rimmed baking pan with foil (if you’re lazy like me) and give it a shot of non-stick spray. Form a loaf in the pan that is about 12 inches long by 4-5 inches wide by 1 1/2-2 inches deep.

Bake for an hour, until outside is a nice, deep brown.

About twenty-five minutes before the meatloaf is finished baking, pour 2 cups of chicken broth into a heavy skillet with the butter. You can add a spoon of crushed garlic if you want or a spoon of seasoning.

Bring to a boil then simmer for about twenty minutes, until it starts to thicken. It will not get thick like gravy, but will be thicker than broth.

When the meatloaf is finished, slice and drizzle with the gravy and enjoy the delicious, yummy treat!

She Who Will Be Making This Again

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fried potatoes

Growing up, on the rare occasions when all the men were gone and my brother’s kids weren’t at our house, my mom would make a meal that never failed to taste wonderful, despite its simplicity.

She’d start with left-over boiled potatoes. Since we ate potatoes at least once a day, there were always left-over potatoes at our house. Always.

More often than not, they were potatoes we’d grown. In the summer and early fall, those potatoes packed such a delicious flavor.

Starting with a big ol’ glob of butter, she’d warm it in a cast iron skillet then thinly slice the potatoes into the pan. Sometimes she’d add onion slices and salt and pepper. Other times I’d catch her before she added the onions and beg and plead for her to leave them out since I disliked them as much as broccoli.

While the potatoes pan-fried to a lovely shade of crispy golden brown, she’d cut big, juicy, ripe tomatoes (still warm from the summer sun) into slices and sprinkle them with just a pinch of salt.

To finish off the meal, she’d cut slices of cheddar cheese that had just enough tang to be the perfect side to the potatoes and tomatoes.

Mom, my sister, and I would eat this simple meal and enjoy every bite. I’m not sure if it was the meal, the fact the house was quiet, there weren’t a bunch of dishes to wash after the meal, or that we could savor every delicious forkful that made it so wonderful.

Whatever the reason, it was always one of my favorite “harvest” meals.

If you’ve never made pan-fried potatoes, here are some tips. Better Homes and Gardens offers three ways to fry your potatoes – pan fry, oven fry, or pan fry pre-cooked potatoes.

She Who Needs to Fry a Potato

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creamy chicken rice soup in bowl

A few weeks ago, I had company coming for dinner and since it was a week night, I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time to put together something fantastic when I got home from work.

Dragging my slow cooker out of the cupboard and rinsing off the cobwebs, I decided a nice, hearty soup would do nicely. At the time, the temperatures were ridiculous frigid, so the idea of a steaming bowl of creamy deliciousness sounded really yummy.

This soup is so good,  comes together quickly, and can be left simmering in your slow cooker all day, ready to razzle-dazzle your guests (or family) when you get home from work.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Cut boneless, skinless chicken breast into bite-sized pieces.

Cut boneless, skinless chicken breast into bite-sized pieces.

Chop celery and carrots into about 1/4 inch thick pieces.

Chop celery and carrots into about 1/4 inch thick pieces.

Place chicken in the slow cooker and season.

Place chicken in the slow cooker and season.

Add carrots and celery.

Add carrots and celery.

Add rice and frozen veggies.

Add rice and frozen veggies.

Pour in broth, cover and set to cook for eight hours. (If you'll be home sooner, set it for six, later, set it for 10 on low).

Pour in broth, cover and set to cook for eight hours. (If you’ll be home sooner, set it for six, later, set it for 10 on low).

About 10 minutes before you are ready to serve, pour in a cup of heavy cream, and stir to blend it into the soup.

About 10 minutes before you are ready to serve, pour in a cup of heavy cream, and stir to blend it into the soup.

By this time, your mouth should be watering and you can't hardly wait to scoop up a bowl and devour.

By this time, your mouth should be watering and you can’t hardly wait to scoop up a bowl and devour.

To serve, add a little parsley garnish, a sprinkling of grated cheese or some toasted bread crumbs.

To serve, add a little parsley garnish, a sprinkling of grated cheese or some toasted bread crumbs.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

1 1/2 pounds of skinless, boneless chicken breast

1 32-oz box of chicken stock

1/2 cup celery

1/2 cup carrots

1 16-oz. bag of frozen mixed vegetables

1 16-oz. bag of wild rice blend

salt

seasoning

1 cup heavy cream

Spray the inside of your slow cooker with a non-stick cooking spray. I used a 5.5 quart Crock Pot, so if yours is smaller, just reduce the amount on the ingredients accordingly.

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt and seasoning (I used about 1 tsp. salt and 1 tbsp. seasoning).

Chop celery and carrots into pieces about 1/4 inch thick. Add to chicken. Add frozen veggies and the rice. (I used a blend of long grain brown, sweet brown, black and wild rice).

Pour the chicken stock in, cover and set your Crock Pot to cook on low for eight hours. (Mine ended up cooking 10 by the time I got home, which was just a tad longer than it should have gone).

About 10 minutes before you are ready to serve, add 1 cup of heavy cream to the soup and stir thoroughly to mix.

Serve with a garnish of parsley, shredded cheese, or toasted bread crumbs.

Perfect for a cold wintery day!

She Who Needs to Make This Again

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potato salad finished

After  months of pumpkin, caramel and apple flavors followed by the traditional holiday fare, we were ready for a taste of summer the other day. So I whipped up some chunky potato salad.

It tasted divine – or as divine as potato salad can taste.

Ranch dressing and pickle juice give this chunky mixture it’s subtle flavoring. Whip up a batch and see if you don’t get rave reviews. When taken to a potluck gathering, the bowl usually comes back empty.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Boil the eggs

Boil the eggs

and the potatoes.

and the potatoes.

Once the eggs are cooked and cooled, remove yolks.

Once the eggs are cooked and cooled, remove yolks.

Then smash them into oblivion.

Then smash them into oblivion.

Chop the egg whites and pickles then add to cooked, drained and cooled potatoes.

Chop the egg whites and pickles then add to cooked, drained and cooled potatoes.

Spoon the dressing, made from the smashed yolks, over the top of the chunky mixture. Blend well.

Spoon the dressing, made from the smashed yolks, over the top of the chunky mixture. Blend well.

Top with paprika and parsley then dig in!

Top with paprika and parsley then dig in!

Chunky Potato Salad

6 medium to large red potatoes

6 eggs

1/2 cup chopped dill pickles

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup ranch dressing

2 tbsp. pickle juice

salt and pepper to taste

paprika

parsley flakes

Boil eggs until hard-boiled then cool.

Cut potatoes into bite-sized chunks, leaving on skin if possible. Boil until fork tender but still firm. Rinse, drain and cool.

Slice pickles into bite-sized chunks then add to potatoes.

When eggs are cool, remove yolks and set aside. Cut cooked egg whites into chunky pieces and add to potatoes. Smash egg yolks until no longer crumbly and add mayo, pickle juice and ranch dressing. Do not, under any circumstances, substitute salad dressing for mayonnaise. You will be taken out in the streets and flogged. When your egg yolk mix is nice and creamy, stir it into the chunky mixture, coating thoroughly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with a sprinkling of paprika and parsley flakes. If I had fresh parsley, I would have used sprigs of it rather than dried.

She Who Likes the Taste of Summer

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cinnamon bread pudding finished

When I saw a recipe for Cinnamon Bread Pudding, I knew I had to try it.

Captain Cavedweller is a big bread pudding fan and it sounded like the perfect thing to make for Christmas breakfast.

Turns out, it was.

It was fast and easy to assemble the night before and pop in the oven that morning.

cinnamon bread pudding ingredients

Simple ingredients

 

Mix egg, milk and spices until well blended.

Mix egg, milk and spices until well blended.

Make your husband cube the bread while you beat the egg mixture.

Make your husband cube the bread while you beat the egg mixture.

Spread the cubes evenly into a greased baking pan.

Spread the cubes evenly into a greased baking pan. Pour the egg mixture over the top, cover and pop in the fridge overnight.

Heat oven to 350 and bake the bread pudding until golden brown - about 50 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 and bake the bread pudding until golden brown – about 50 minutes.

While the bread is baking, make the syrup - just sugar and water in a heavy saucepan. Stir until dissolved.

While the bread is baking, make the syrup – just sugar and water in a heavy saucepan. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

Continue stirring and bring to a boil, then add maple flavoring. Boil another minute before removing from heat.

Continue stirring and bring to a boil, then add maple flavoring. Boil another minute before removing from heat.

Cut baked bread pudding into slices and serve with warm syrup. It will make your knees wobbly and your stomach very happy.

Cut baked bread pudding into slices and serve with warm syrup. It will make your knees wobbly and your stomach very happy.

 

Cinnamon Bread Pudding

3 cups cubed cinnamon bread

4 eggs

1 3/4 cup milk

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Syrup

1/2 cup granulated white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup water

1 tsp. maple flavoring

Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish (for a 9×13 dish, double the recipe).

Cut about six slices of bread into cubes. You need enough to fill three cups. Spread evenly in baking dish.

Beat eggs, milk, and spices until well blended. Pour over bead. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350.

Uncover baking dish and bake about 50 minutes until the bread is set and the top is golden brown. Cut into squares and serve with warm syrup.

To make the syrup, pour sugars and water into a heavy saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Continue stirring until mixture comes to a boil. Add in maple flavoring and boil another minute. The aroma of the maple at this point will make your mouth water and cause great pangs of hunger to rocket through you.

You can pour the syrup over the bread pudding in the pan if you will be eating it all then or if you want you can individual spoon over pudding on each plate. You can serve with a dollop of whipped cream or sprinkle the top with powdered sugar if so desired.

She Who Will Be Making This Again

 

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