The Big Game

Am I the only one who doesn’t care about the Superbowl?

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I understand pro sports from a commercial point of view. There’s money to be made across the board for players, owners, entertainers and advertisers. And when it comes to the big game, the host city, the airlines, and every company in any way associated with this production will benefit. I’m okay with that, but I can’t work up any enthusiasm for it.

When I was trying to come up with a blog today, I considered giving you some Big Game Recipes. A blogger friend of mine at GRACEANDGRAVY, offered 12 Top Superbowl Recipes that included: Oreo Cookie Ball Gameday CupcakesFried Macaroni and Cheese BitesLoaded Sweet Potato Fries, to name a few.  Oh, my gosh, no. I don’t eat those kinds of things on non-game days, so why would I go to all that work when two teams I have no vested in get together to play a game?

Normally, I’d be curled up with a book on Sunday afternoon, but because my brother-in-law is visiting from South Dakota, I will be attending a Superbowl Party this Sunday. I’m taking kale salad and slow-cooked ribs with Kinder’s Organic Barbecue Sauce. Very little prep work. I may still have time to read. ;-)

And while others are glued to the passing game or debating whether or not one team has under-inflated balls (how emasculating is that?), I will check out a few of the overpriced and sometimes very entertaining commercials. In years past, I’ve applauded Budweiser’s creative team for tugging on my heartstrings, but, I’m sorry to say, this year’s dog and pony show left me underwhelmed.

A wolf? Really?

Yep. I think I’m going to have to stick to reading. But, hey, to all of you who are big fans of New England or Seattle, good luck and game on!

Deb

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Cut to the Chase…. Er, Cheese

Comfort foods. That’s what I’ve been thinking about lately. The truth is, I think about food a lot. All right, all the time. I love to eat and I love to cook!

Today I’m sharing two of my favorite comfort foods, each made from scratch right in my kitchen.

mac&cheese

If I could only choose one comfort food, it would be mac and cheese. I love this stuff so much that I only make it when I truly need to comfort myself. Why? Because I always go back for seconds and thirds, until I could pop! If I made it too often, I wouldn’t be able to button my jeans. :-)

My all-time, favorite recipe is Patti Labelle’s Over the Rainbow Mac & Cheese (with a few alterations, some of which I simply cut from the recipe and others  in parentheses below).

Patti Labelle’s Over the Rainbow Mac & Cheese
serves 10
Preheat oven to 350
Lightly butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish

1 lb macaroni (I use 1 1/2 lb macaroni)
8 tablespoons butter (No need for all this butter– I use 1 Tbs)
1/2 cup muenster cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
2 cups half-and-half (I substitute nonfat, evaporated milk)
8 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Cook macaroni in boiling water for 7-10 minutes, until al dente (which means not quite done).
Drain well, (rinse with cold water to cut down on sticking together), toss with the butter, and return to the pot.

Meanwhile In a large bowl, combine all of the shredded cheeses.

To the macaroni, add 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheeses, nonfat evaporated milk, Velveeta and the eggs, and the seasoned salt and pepper.

Transfer to the prepared casserole dish, and top with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

Cover with foil. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and bubbly (I usually cook for 45 minutes). Remove foil the last 15 minutes.

Serve hot.

YUM!!!!

Coming in a close second is chocolate pudding.

chocpudding

Chocolate is always a go-to comfort food. But I eat it regardless whether I need comforting or not. :-) This recipe is easy. I love it!

Chocolate Pudding

If you’re a chocoholic like me, you just might eat the entire batch yourself! But if you’re more of a dainty eater, this recipe will serve 2-4.

2 Tbs cocoa powder
2 Tbs flour or 1 1/2 Tbs cornstarch ( prefer the cornstarch, as it thickens better)
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk or half and half
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix cocoa powder, flour or cornstarch and sugar together in a medium saucepan. Add 2 Tbs of the milk and whisk until blended. Add 2 more Tbs and whisk again. When fully blended, whisk in the remaining milk. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla. Let cool or go for it right away. :-)

Eat plain, or serve with whipped cream or just regular cream.

So there you have it–the best comfort foods, ever–in my opinion. :-)

What are your favorite comfort foods? I would love to know.

Until next time,

Ann

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Recipes!! (Tara Taylor Quinn)

Someone in my family came up with an idea a few months ago.  The suggestion was made that we all get together for a soup night.  I remember the suggestion.  We were all together at Mom’s house.  I can’t remember who made the suggestion, but we all liked the idea enough to keep talking about it.  We didn’t actually have a soup night, but we kept the idea alive.  We kept saying how much we liked the idea.  But when we actually had a chance to get together, all of us, for an evening meal, we opted to go to a culinary institute for a four course dinner prepared by professionally trained chefs.

We couldn’t get in.  My cousin called to make the reservations and we got one.  For some time in May.  And here we had this night – tonight – that we had all set aside for our culinary adventure.  And there was that idea sitting out there – the one we’d kept alive by stating our intentions over and over.  The two came together, a perfect match.  Meant to be.  And tonight, we are having our first ever – but I’m guessing not our last – soup night.  I’m really looking forward to it!  Mostly I don’t care a lot about food.  If it’s there and tasty, I’ll eat it.  If not, I’m okay with that, too. (Unless Pat Potter’s cooking.  Then, for some reason, I eat like I’m starving.)

I care about tonight’s spread.  I’m already vicariously tasting the offerings.  Of course, it helps that I’m already smelling two of them!  We’re meeting at Mom’s and since my office is also here, Tim and I are making our soup here.  Mom made hers this morning.  Since I have soup on the brain, I’m going to share our recipes with you and you can join us for soup night!

Mom’s Vegetable Soup:

1/2 small green pepper

1# hamburger

I cup cabbage

1 package frozen peas

1 package frozen green beans

3/4 cup celery

2 carrots

2 cups stewed tomatoes

1 small onion

Brown hamburger.  Bring to a boil in water to cover:  cabbage, celery, green pepper & carrots.  And remaining ingredients.  Simmer 2 – 3 hours.

Tim and Tara’s Bean Soup:

2 1# bags of navy beans (or four 15 oz cans of navy beans)

1 # ham chopped into small cubes

1/2 onion finely chopped

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp garlic powder

six cups water

Pre-soak beans with quick soak method.  (Or use four cans of navy beans and avoid the soaking.)  Put all ingredients in crock pot.  Stir.  Cook on high for four hours and then turn down to low, stirring occasionally throughout the day.

Aunt Phyl’s Potato Soup (my personal favorite!  I eat until it’s gone!!) 

Boil, in water, one large chicken breast. Cook for about 30 minutes. Drain, rinse and refrigerate. Peel and cube about six medium size potatoes. Rinse and cover with 16 oz can chicken broth. If more liquid is needed add 1 cup of water and 1 chicken bouillon cube. Cook until potatoes are just fork tender. Leave in liquid and mash just a few times. You want to leave mostly cubes. Add 10-12oz package of frozen broccoli. Leave on low heat while you cube 1/2 lb Velveeta cheese and cooled chicken breast. Add these to potatoes and broccoli and cook until cheese is thoroughly incorporated into mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.

Syd & Shawn’s Turnip, Apple & Potato Soup

2 T unsalted butter

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

salt and ground white pepper

1 # turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks

2 tart apples, peeled, cored and quartered

1/2 # gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

2 T creme fraiche

2 T chopped fresh parsley (Italian)

Melt butter over medium heat, add onion, thyme, bay leaf and a pinch o salt.  Saute until onion is tender.  Add turnips, apples, potatoes, a pinch of salt and 1 cup water.  Cover and simmer until the vegetables and apples are tender.  Add 4 more cups water, raise the heat to high and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for twenty minutes.  Let cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree the soup in blender and return to heat.  Thin with water if necessary.  Season with salt and white pepper.  Serve with creme fraiche and chopped parsley.

And…for our soup night entertainment we’re going to watch The Help.  Tim and I received the movie for Christmas and we all wanted to watch it together so we haven’t seen it yet!

Bon Appetit, everyone!