Comfort food recipes

The following are recipes that I have collected over the years from friends and family. As a vegetarian, I enjoy cooking healthy foods that have wonderful flavors based on fresh, natural ingredients. It is fun to experiment with the recipes to find ways to add more veggies that are in season or simply in the fridge. I am a foodie at heart and love to read books written by chefs, search blogs for inspiring food ideas and to watch cooking shows with my daughter. The right healthy food helps to nourish our souls especially when going through life changes such as the end of a relationship, divorce, or the loss of a loved one. Food helps bring people together to share a meal outside on a warm sunny day or to make new memories over the holidays with that favorite dish. Some of my favorite days are spent up north enjoying a grilled meal put together with Grandma Suzy for all to gather around the picnic table next to the river. 

 
Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal.
— Julia Child

Minestrone Soup

From Ann Covault - a very dear friend that loved to cook.

  • Leeks - 2 medium (or sweet onions if on hand)
  • Celery - 2 - 3 ribs of celery from the stalk
  • Potato - 1 large or several small red skin potatoes (leave on the skin for fiber & iron)
  • Mix vegetables - frozen are easiest or use can of corn & green beans with fresh carrots.
  • Zucchini - 2 medium
  • Cabbage - about 1/2 lb or 1/2 bag of coleslaw mix 
  • Garlic - 2 cloves or minced from a jar 
  • Olive oil - 1/4 cup or less is fine
  • Butter - 2 tablespoons
  • Vegetable broth - 3 cans
  • Water - 1 cup
  • Tomato sauce - 2 cans
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Crushed red bell pepper - 1 pinch or 2 or 3 if you like it a bit spicier
  • Northern style beans or Kidney beans or both - 1 can each (I like to add both)
  • Pasta - 1/2 box of small seashell or elbow (or leave out or use rice if prefer gluten free)

In large pot add butter, olive oil, minced garlic, chopped leek or onion, and chopped celery. Simmer on medium heat and stir until soft and golden but not brown. Stir in chopped cabbage and potato along with mixed veggies (if frozen mixed veggies, saves time to heat in microwave for a few minutes first). Sauté for a few minutes.

Next, add broth, water, and tomato sauce. Stir in salt, pepper, and crushed red bell pepper. Bring soup to a boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer covered stirring occasionally for 45 minutes to blend flavors. Rinse and drain beans, add beans and pasta shells to soup. Cook uncovered over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until soup is thick about 30 minutes longer. Serve with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Makes about 8 - 10 servings. 


chili from Jen.jpg

Black Bean Chili from Jen Dziekan

  • 2 - 15 oz cans black beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 - 15 oz cans hominy, not drained
  • 2 - 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes with chili, not drained
  • 1 - 32 oz box of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped, lightly packed

Add all ingredients together in large saucepan. When chili comes a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with pepper. Serve in bowls, ladled over a handful of tortilla chips. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream and cilantro. Serves 6.


Quick & Easy Spinach Dip - My other favorite recipe from Ann Covault.

One box of cream cheese, creamed spinach by Stouffer's, small jar of marinated artichokes, a pinch of red pepper flakes, salt, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, & sour cream. Optional if in the cupboard: water chestnuts (low cal veggie with vitamins that my daughter loves in the dip)

All you do is chop artichokes and water chestnuts, heat up spinach in the microwave for a few minutes and mix together in a bowl. Microwave cream cheese to soften for 30 - 60 seconds. Combine cream cheese & Parmesan cheese  with veggies and stir then heat up for 1 - 2 minutes more. Put in serving bowl and add a dollop of sour cream.  Use tortilla chips or crackers for dipping. 

Note: If Stouffer's creamed spinach is not handy, make your own with frozen chopped spinach, 1 container of sour cream (16 oz.), and pinches of onion powder or garlic salt, and a bit of butter.  


Roasted Butternut Squash (super easy in the fall while available at Costco pre-cut into cubes). 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss butternut squash with olive oil and Chicago Steak seasoning on a baking pan then spread out evenly. Roast in the preheated oven until squash is nicely browned and tender to stick a fork in it, 25 to 30 minutes. Or throw in Air Fryer for 20 minutes.

Add to pasta, soup, salad, rice or just eat right out of the oven. Enjoy!

Note: If not available in cubes, peel squash with vegetable peeler then cut off the ends, slice down the middle, scrape out the seeds and then cup up into cubes.


Fajita Salad

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Roasted peppers & sweet onions
  • Black beans
  • Mexican cheese
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream

Rinse lettuce and chop or rip up into bite size pieces (love my salad spinner).  Add lettuce to plate and top with peppers, onions, beans, cheese and smashed chips. Top with salsa & sour cream.


Vegetable pasta with sun-dried tomato sauce

  • 2 cups uncooked pasta
  • 1 block of cream cheese
  • ½ cup of milk (I prefer unsweetened plain almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes finely chopped up
  • 2 large sweet peppers (red & yellow for nice mix of color)
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 5 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 package frozen peas (10 oz)
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta per directions. Combine softened cream cheese with milk and sun-dried tomatoes in bowl, stir until blended. In large skillet, sauté peppers and onions in olive oil until tender. Reduce heat. Add cream mixture, peas, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and drained pasta. Simmer on low and stir until blended and heated through. Sprinkle on a bit more Parmesan when serving. 


Sweet Potato Fries

  • 2 Sweet potatoes cut into sticks
  • 1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt (or plain salt)
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup OR Sriracha mixed with ketchup

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Rinse potatoes. I prefer to avoiding peeling and cut potatoes with the skin on the fries if organic. Cut slice off side of sweet potato to create a flat surface for easier cuts. Slice off ends of potato. Slice sections and chop into sticks about the same size for even cooking. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and seasonings. Bake for 25 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through or flipping fries over. Fries are done once roasted with a nice brown edge. Remove from oven and allow to sit on pan for 5 minutes. Enjoy with ketchup. 


Meat Lover Recipes


Chicken & Dumplings from Lynette Philippon

  • 2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 ½ c. Milk
  • 1 bag of baby Carrots
  • 3 large peeled Potatoes cut into cubes
  • 4 Chicken Thighs or Breasts or 2 of each
  • Bisquick Baking Mix

Put a cup of Bisquick in a bowl with salt & pepper.  Dip the chicken in the mixture coating it on each side.  Fry in vegetable oil in a skillet until brown on each side.  Set aside.

In a large stock pot add the 2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup, ½ c. Milk (mix together), add carrots, potatoes and then place the chicken on top of the veggies.  Cover and simmer on low/med heat for 45 min. 

Mix 1 -2 cups of Bisquick with milk until a thicker dough forms.  Take large spoonfuls of the dough and drop into the pot surrounding the chicken.  Leave uncovered and cook for 10 min.  Place the lid back on and then cook for an additional 15 min.  Serve, feeds approx.  Yum!


Mushroom Stuffed Meatloaf

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup of milk (almond milk works)
  • 1 - 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. minced onion or onion powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar or Mexican Blend cheese
  • 1/2 c. ketchup or BBQ sauce
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix everything together in a bowl except cheese, ketchup & mushrooms. Put ½ the mixture into a casserole dish. Smooth the top a bit. Spread ½ of the ketchup or BBQ sauce on top, layer can of mushrooms and top with cheese. Add remaining ½ of mixture and smooth the top to seal in middle toppings. Add rest of ketchup or BBQ sauce. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Take out of the oven, check center to ensure 160+, CAREFULLY pour off the fat.) Optional: Add more cheese on top and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes until cheese is crispy. Let stand 10 minutes. Serves 8.