Sunday, November 20, 2011

Comfort Foods, continued

The theme of comfort continues...

It snowed yesterday, about an inch or 2 but the first real snow of the season.  Thankfully it was Saturday so I could stay in and wear my PJs all day.  Wait... That is what I do during the work week too.  The difference was I didn't have to sit at my desk.  So I continued my comfort pursuits.  I finished E's Vikings hat, started the Steve Jobs biography, made two batches of soups and a casserole, gathered the ingredients for two kinds of cookies and remade the bed with clean flannel sheets and put the courderoy duvet on.  "Should" be cleaning my house but...

Eating: I've already blogged my soup recipes.  On to casseroles.  Or as we call 'em here in MN, "hotdishes".  E's favorite is Tatortot Hotdish, but I refuse to put a recipe for that here.  Everyone in the world has their own recipe (or doesn't make it) and likes it their own way.  Most other casseroles are also things like my family's "I-don't-know hot dish".  This is what Mom would make when she asked us what we wanted for supper and we would say, "I don't know.".  It varies depending on what is in the house but generally is a type of pasta ("noodles" we called them back when I was a kid) - typically macaroni or egg noodles, a can of soup - usually cream of mushroom, cream of chicken or tomato, browned ground beef, and some veggie - corn is always good but frozen mixed veggies work too.  Mix it all up and serve.

The one I made yesterday is a recipe served by a friend a year or 2 ago that I just got around to making myself for the first time.  Great use of turkey leftovers, if you have them.  You could, of course, use chicken instead.

Butternut Squash and Barley Casserole with Turkey
2 tsp olive oil
1 med green pepper, diced
1/2 C minced onion
1/2 C pearl barley, rinsed and drained
1 tsp dried sage
black pepper to taste
15 oz chicken broth
1 C cubed cooked turkey breast
2 med butternut squash (about 1.5# each), halved, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2" cubes (I hear Trader Joe's has peeled cubed squash available for purchase)
1/2 C crumbled feta

Spray 4 qt. baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over med-high.  Add pepper and onion, saute 2 minutes.  Add barley, sage, and black pepper, stir to combine well.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 45 minutes.  Add turkey and squash and continue to simmer 15 minutes more or until all broth is absorbed and the squash is tender.  If mixture seems too dry, add 1/4 C broth or water.
Heat oven to 350.  Transfer to prepared backing dish and top with cheese.  Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes until cheese is golden. 4 servings

Turkey Noodle Stew - another great use of leftover turkey.  We make this one fairly often, sometimes with chicken.
2 turkey breast tenderloins (about 1/2# each) cut into 1/4" slices (or similar amount of other poultry)
1 med onion, chopped (surprisingly (haha!) this never gets added chez Anderson)
1 Tbls oil
14.5oz chicken broth
1 can condensed cream of celery (or cream of chicken) soup, undiluted
2 C frozen mixed veggies (or your favorite frozen veggies - I like green beans)
1/2 to 1 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
3 C uncooked extra wide egg noodles (guessing you could use a less-wide noodle instead!)

In a large skillet, cook turkey and onion in oil until turkey no longer pink (or just reheat leftover meat), about 6 minutes.  Combine the broth, soup, veggies, and lemon-pepper.  Add to the skillet; bring to a boil.  Stir in noodles.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until noodles and vegetables are tender.  6 servings

Reading: E bought the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson.  I know, I know!  For those of you keeping score at home, that is 2 books he has purchased now in his life and in the last couple months!  Anyway, I picked it up while he was gone this weekend and started reading.  For some reason, it is really sucking me in and I stayed up too late reading on Friday night.  I am only on the part about the Apple II (those of you in my age range may be able to place a year or timeframe on that, thinking of how old you were playing Oregon Trail or Lemonade Stand), but I am really enjoying it.  Not sure I am a fan of Jobs the man, but his story is a good one.

Creating:  As promised a couple weeks ago, some photos of the hat I knit for E to wear to the game that he won tickets for.  I used Lion Brand Yarn "Hometown USA", a super bulky yarn, in New York White, Pittsburgh Yellow and (this name I just don't get) Portland Wine.  I forget how quickly super bulky on 10 1/2 needles knits up.  Done with the hat in a day, the earflaps and braids added last night.  I made my gauge swatch, measured his head to figure out how many stitches to cast on, did a couple inches of ribbing, changing color for stripes, knit until at the right height to start shaping (made him try it on many times) and then did a clean Kitchener stitch to finish off the top.  I then picked up 6 stitches on each side (trying it on to see where the ears are), purled across, decreased one stitch, knit across and decreased a stitch on the other side, purled across, decreased one and then bound off 3 stitches.  I left a long tail as part of the braid, then attached 8 other strands, braided them and knotted each end.  No horns because that would just be silly.  Skol Vikings!

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