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Comfort Food

November 11

“Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved”

~ from “In Flanders Fields”, John McCrae

Today, I learned about the veteran on our 10 dollar bill. Robert Metcalfe: what an extraordinary person and life!

It’s rainy and a bit dreary outside these days. Perfect weather for comfort food, which is what we have been reveling in.

Remember that polenta-topped chili I mentioned the other day? Here was the final product:

I made a (nearly) vegetarian chili. In the mix:

  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • mushrooms, quartered (I used about 10)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I used the kind with no added salt)
  • 1 can red kidney beans (also with no added salt <– love the new PC Blue Menu choices)
  • frozen corn kernels, about 1 C
  • low-sodium chicken stock (hence the “nearly vegetarian” cuz I didn’t have vegetable stock) and water, enough to cover the veggies
  • I used the following spices: chili powder, red pepper flakes, ground cinnamon, and Montreal steak seasoning. Also a little bit of brown sugar (about 1 TB) to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. And salt and pepper.

 

Then I topped it with polenta croutons. I cubed the polenta I made the day before and toasted them in the toaster oven until crispy and just slightly golden. I’m in love with polenta and am already thinking of other recipes to use it in!

This morning, Len pampered me with grilled banana french toast:

YUM-O! 🙂 As far as comfort food breakfasts go, this one was pretty spectacular.

I’m still fighting that bleepin’ cold, so I concocted a Get-Better-Chicken-Noodle-Stoup. (“stoup” is what Rachel Ray calls a cross between soup and stew, and is what nearly all my soups end up being cuz I never add enough liquid)

Get-Better-Chicken-Noodle-Stoup

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2-3 carrots, diced

 

Saute the above in a large pot over med-high heat in some canola and/or olive oil. (I use a combination of both because the canola has a higher smoking point)

When veggies have softened a bit, add:

  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano (or whatever herbs you like)

 

Saute until veggies start to brown a bit. At this point, add a couple splashes of water or stock; then, using a wooden spoon, scrape up all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan (adds so much more depth of flavour). Then add:

  • 2 C low-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 C water (or any combination to a total of 8 C liquid. Or use more liquid if you want a thinner broth-y soup rather than stoup)

 

Turn temperature to high. When it is boiling, add 1 C whatever pasta you have on hand. I used:

  • 3/4 C macaroni
  • 1/4 C whole wheat spaghetti, broken into shorter pieces (because I didn’t have enough macaroni)

Turn down temperature to med-high and stir occasionally for about 6-8 mins (more or less time depending on how soft you like your noodles — I like my noodles very soft). In the meantime, marinate your chicken:

  • 3-4 small chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tsp corn starch (this is important for a smoother, more tender texture to your chicken)
  • 3/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp canola oil
  • 3 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • a few drops of sesame oil
  • ground black pepper

 

(This is the basic marinade I use for all meat stir fries as well) Mix well, making sure all chicken pieces are evenly coated. Add to the stoup and stir in. Cook for a further 6 minutes or until chicken is done. Add one more optional ingredient:

  • 1 C frozen green peas

 

Then turn off heat and cover pot with lid. Let sit for a couple minutes until the green peas have warmed through.

Scoop into a bowl and top with some finely chopped green onion:

And let the warm comforty goodness warm you up!

 

Posted by on November 11, 2010 in Kitchen Adventures

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