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Tag Archives: comfort food

Chicken and Dumpling Casserole

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Chicken & Dumpling Casserole | veronicascornucopia.com

Although the first day of spring has come and gone, it’s been chilly and blustery here in Kansas, so I thought I’d share this warm and delicious casserole for everyone that’s still eagerly awaiting spring before it’s hot and sweltering and nobody wants to bake a casserole. This is pure comfort food and perfect to warm the soul on a chilly day.  It’s very quick and simple to make, which is good if you have a baby that has decided that if you aren’t holding him or playing with him or taking him on a stroller ride, he isn’t happy, because you won’t have to listen to him scream for very long  before dinner is in the oven. ;)

Chicken and Dumpling Casserole

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3 – 4 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite sized pieces (use rotisserie chicken if desired)
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups chicken broth
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup

Preheat oven to 400F. Place butter in 9″ X 13″ baking dish and place in oven while it’s preheating. Once butter is melted, you can remove the pan to continue with the recipe, or let it cook a little to brown it and add an extra dimension of flavor. Be sure to watch it if you decide to let it brown because it can go from nutty to burnt pretty quickly.

Remove pan from the oven and sprinkle prepared chicken over the top of the butter. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, flour, baking powder and salt. Pour over the chicken, but do not stir. In same bowl, after scraping out as much flour mixture as possible, whisk together chicken broth and cream of chicken soup. Pour that over top of casserole; do not stir.

Bake uncovered for 35 – 45 minutes. When done, the top will be beautifully browned and bubbly around the edges.

Yield: about 6 servings

Veronica’s notes: I boiled a whole chicken for this recipe. It was about 5 lbs and I covered it with water in a stock pot and added a teaspoon of salt, boiling for an hour or two. I forgot to set the timer so I really don’t know how long I boiled it because I was so busy with the baby- lol. If you make it this way, it’s very economical, and you automatically make your own broth to use in the recipe.

Recipe source: The Better Baker

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Roasted Tomato & Portabella Meatloaf

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Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and Italian Green Beans is my ultimate comfort meal.  But for some reason I rarely make it!  In fact, I only have one other recipe for meatloaf on my blog.  What is up with that?  There’s a good reason that I don’t make other favorites like pecan pie and cheesecake – because I puffy heart loooove them would eat way too much of those fat and sugar bombs.  But meatloaf isn’t necessarily unhealthy (you can even use ground turkey if you like!) and is so delicious.  I really need to make it more often.

My first meatloaf sammie! So good.

I adapted this recipe from my Foodie Mama, Marina‘s, recipe, which she adapted from the original Quaker Oats recipe.  I love that about the online foodie world – recipes keep shifting and changing as they pass from person to person.  I didn’t mean to get all fancy pants on my meatloaf, but baby portabella mushrooms were on sale at Aldi (LOVE ALDI!) for 99 cents and I had no idea what I was going to do with them, and when I decided on meatloaf I had no tomato sauce and had to make my own with canned roasted tomatoes (also from Aldi), so this wonderful meatloaf was born.

This is probably my favorite meatloaf I’ve had so far, but I know there are a lot of different ways to make it and I don’t have a ton of versions to compare it to.  It’s got lots of great flavor, the added veggies keep it nice and moist, and we thought the the sweet and sour roasted tomato sauce really put it over the top.  I hope you enjoy it too!

Roasted Tomato and Portabella Meatloaf

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2 lbs lean ground beef
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 (8 oz) package mini portabella mushrooms, chopped
1 small onion (or ½ of a medium), diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 (15 oz) can diced roasted tomatoes, undrained
¾ cup quick oats
1 large egg
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, divided
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup ketchup
½ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon lemon juice

Take the ground beef out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before starting the recipe.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Saute until softened and all the liquid is evaporated; set aside. Place the roasted tomatoes, with the juice, in a food processor or blender and process for about a minute, or until pureed. Spoon out ½ cup of the puree and add the mushroom mixture to the remaining puree. Process until vegetables are very finely chopped, or until pureed if you don’t want to see them in your meatloaf. If you are using a blender, you might have to stop frequently to stir the mixture.

In a large bowl, mix the ground beef with the tomato and mushroom mixture, oats, egg, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, salt, and black pepper. Pat into a loaf pan and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the reserved toasted tomato puree with ketchup, brown sugar, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Spread ½-2/3 cup of the sauce over the meatloaf and bake for 1 ½ hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the center reads 160F. Remove from oven and carefully pour off the liquid; allow to sit for ten minutes before slicing and serving. Refrigerate leftovers and make meatloaf sandwiches the next day. :)

What’s your ultimate comfort food? Here are a few of my personal favorites…

Chunky Chicken Soup

Easy Salisbury Steaks with Onion Gravy

Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Easy Salisbury Steaks with Onion Gravy

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This is how you know that food might be way too important to you.  You make a bucket list.  Which entirely consists of recipes you want to make before you die.  Or in my case, before I turn 40.  Lots of young food bloggers have a 30 Before 30 list, but since I’m older I made a 40 Before 40.  I don’t turn 40 for another 8 years (OK, 7 years and 2 months if you want to get all technical and make me feel even older) so I should totally be able to do it, right?

Check out my 40 Before 40 list here.

Salisbury steak just so happens to be one of the recipes on my bucket list.  Number 13 to be exact.  I don’t know what it is about the number thirteen this year but it, and three (I just realized while talking about my age that I’ll be 33 when Joshua is born-more three’s!), just keep showing up!  Anyway, I made the list several months ago and am happy to finally be able to cross off one of the recipes on it.

And what a delicious one it was!  This is another goodie from The Better Baker, who makes a lot of “my kind” of foods (comfort food) but usually they are healthier options.  My ultimate comfort food is meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy and Salisbury steak is sort of like little individual meatloaves with gravy so this was just a big plate of comfort for me.  These were so good!  So good.  Like so good, guys.  And unlike some more complicated recipes (which I’m sure are even more delish, however), they come together really quick and easy.  I had my Salisbury steaks and mashed potatoes from scratch ready in half an hour.  Dinner time!

Easy Salisbury Steaks with Onion Gravy

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1 egg
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers (about 15 crackers)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 (1 oz) envelope beefy onion soup mix*
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups cold water

In large bowl, combine egg, onion, saltines and pepper. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 5 oblong patties.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties and sear each side until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove patties to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.

In small bowl whisk together soup mix, flour and water; stir into skillet. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Return patties to skillet. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 5 – 7 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.

Serve with mashed potatoes and a veggie. I served mine with sour cream and chive mashed potatoes.

*The original recipe calls for regular onion soup mix, but I found a beefy version available for a limited time at Aldi.  If you can’t find the beefy kind, I’m sure it’s just as good with regular!  The color of your gravy will just be lighter.

Recipe source: adapted from The Better Baker

Chicken-Fried Steak with Country Gravy

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Living in Kansas, I say this so often that by now, it doesn’t really need to be said. But seriously, what is up with this weather? It seems like we went straight from summer into winter. It’s freezing, people. 40°F as I type this.  And the weird thing is that the grass is still green and the leaves are still green on the trees and none of them have fallen off. But it’s shiver-me-timbers cold.  It’s only the first week of October and I’m already pulling the ice hand in Dennis’ armpit trick.

All I know is, when cold weather hits, that’s when I start wanting hot, comforting meals. Chicken-fried steak was one such recipe on my bucket list (it also has other such common things as homemade chocolate pudding on it–seriously, I’ve never made these basics!) and I have Gina to thank for helping me get ‘r done.  Bring on the homestyle cookin’!

Chicken Fried Steak with Country Gravy

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1 ½ cups milk, plus more for gravy
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons seasoned salt, plus extra for steaks
½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more for gravy
5 tablespoons bacon grease or vegetable oil
4 cube steaks
Salt to taste (for gravy)

Pour the milk into a pie dish. Place flour in a separate pie dish and mix in the seasoned salt and pepper until well combined.

Heat bacon grease in a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, sprinkle seasoned salt over both sides of the steaks. One at a time, dredge the steaks in flour, coating both sides. Dip the floured steak in milk, flipping it over to get both sides wet, then dredge in the flour again, coating well. Once the grease is hot, place the steaks in the skillet. I place them in the skillet as I finish coating them, but if your skillet isn’t hot enough, you can put them on a platter until it is. Cook the steaks until browned on the bottom and juices are coming out of the top. Flip over and continue cooking until the meat feels tender when you poke it in the middle with a fork and doesn’t pull, and no juices run out. You may have to keep flipping the steaks over until they are done. Place finished steaks on a clean platter and tent with foil while you make the gravy.

Add the leftover flour from the breading to the skilled and stir it well to absorb all the grease in the skillet, stirring until no white flour is visible. Add remaining milk from breading the meat, approximately ½ to 1 cup, and stir until smooth. Add additional milk as needed to get a smooth, liquid consistency. Continue cooking until thickened, adding additional milk to thin as necessary, and seasoning to taste with salt and lots of pepper. Ladle over the chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes.

Recipe source: adapted from At Home My Way

Chicken Noodles


Back in July, my friend, Teri, came over for a pie crust lesson and we made four different pies with four kinds of crust (single, single pre-baked, double, and double lattice-top).  Then in August, I went to her place and she taught me to cook some simple homestyle meals–the kind my hubby was raised on and that seem to be a foreign language to me.  My brain goes “fish stew, curried caulifower, red beans and rice, shrimp scampi,” and his brain goes, “steak, pot roast, fried chicken, chicken pot pie.”  Our brainwaves needed to be synched up and Teri was up to the challenge of teaching me how to cook like the Midwestern housewife I am.  Except I’m not a housewife, really, since I work, but you get the point.

We made several of her family’s favorite meals and she taught me to make chicken noodles almost as an afterthought without a recipe.  The only chicken noodles I’ve ever had are those at our family reunion every year brought by someone I’m not even sure I’m related to, and I was excited to learn how to make them because they are one of the dishes I enjoy most each year.  I just LOVE me some egg noodles.  Something about their texture…I adore it.  Thick with some bite to them and they soak up all the yummy flavor of whatever you cook them in, in this case, chicken!

As the title indicates, there isn’t much to this recipe.  Pretty much just chicken and noodles cooked in broth!  I did add (too much) turmeric because I wanted to give them a yellow tint but I went overboard, as you can see.  The above picture are the leftovers from the batch Teri and I made, with no turmeric added, and the other ones are mine, which I added 1/2 teaspoon to, so I’d recommend just a pinch at a time if you want yours to have a little extra color.  I also added thyme to mine because I love the flavor of thyme with chicken, but if you want classic chicken noodles, just stick with the recipe and don’t go rogue like I did.

This is a very simple recipe and even the noodles go pretty fast.  If you want to go a slower and more flavorful route, you can boil an entire chicken, which will also give you your own homemade broth.

Chicken Noodles

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2 (32 oz.) cartons chicken broth (8 cups)
4 chicken bouillon cubes
3 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts
6 eggs
¼ cup cold water
2 teaspoons salt
4-5 cups all-purpose flour

Pour the chicken broth into a stockpot. Add the bouillon cubes and the chicken breasts and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender and no longer pink in the middle, 5-10 minutes. Turn off heat & remove chicken from broth onto a plate to cool.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, water, and salt. Stir in enough flour to form a stiff dough. Flour a surface to roll the dough out on and pull off small chunks of dough at a time (about 1/6 of the dough) with floured hands to roll thin. Use plenty of flour on the outside, adding more as you roll so it doesn’t stick to the surface or rolling pin. Use a rotary mincer or pizza cutter to cut the noodles and separate them onto a plate.

You’ll have about 6 batches of noodles this size. It’s important to do them in batches instead of all at once to prevent them from clumping together when adding them to the broth.

After you’ve cut your first batch of noodles, turn the heat back on your broth to bring it to a boil. While waiting on that, shred the cooled chicken your fingers or two forks. When you’re done shredding the chicken, the broth should be boiling. Reduce heat to medium and sprinkle the noodles over the top, stirring to keep them separated.

Continue pulling off chunks of dough, rolling them out, separating the noodles and adding them to the simmering broth as you finish each batch. Once all the noodles are in, stir in the chicken and heat through before serving. The only broth remaining, which will not be much, will be thickened from the flour on the noodles, which is what you want, but you can add more broth if there’s not enough liquid to finish all the noodles.  The noodles will thicken even more upon standing.

*Veronica’s Note: you can add a little turmeric to give the noodles more color, not more than ¼ teaspoon.

*Disclaimer: this post contains an affiliate link and I will earn a commission if you choose to purchase the herb mincer I linked to. :)

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

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Grilled cheese sandwiches paired with tomato soup seem to be childhood staples in America, but I never had a grilled cheese sandwich until I was a teen, and never with tomato soup until much later.  I remember when I went to babysit my neighbor’s little boy she asked me to make him a grilled cheese sandwich and I meekly asked her how to do it.  She was dumbfounded, needless to say.  That was my first grilled cheese experience, at sixteen, but after that I started making them at home.

No one gave me the memo that tomato soup pairs perfectly with them until a few years later, but I ignored it since I’ve never liked condensed tomato soup.  That is until I discovered Pacific Natural Foods’ Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup.  That’s when I started serving the classic combo of grilled cheese and tomato soup.  I loved that stuff!

This homemade version is thicker and a little tangier, perhaps because I used jarred red peppers and yogurt rather than roasting them myself and adding heavy cream or milk, but it is just as delicious with the benefit of a homemade taste.  Add more or less sugar to your tastes, and if you decide to use peppers you roasted yourself, please let me know how that turns out–that’s how I’m going to try it next!

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

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1 jar (12 oz) roasted red peppers in brine, drained
1 can (14.5 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can (28 oz) tomato puree/crushed tomatoes
1 cup low-sodium and fat-free chicken broth
3 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
Croutons, for serving

Combine drained peppers and diced tomatoes in a blender. Puree until smooth. Alternatively, you can place them in your pot and use an immersion blender to puree until as smooth as you like. I left some little chunks in mine because I like a little texture. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, or just add it to the pot if your puree is already in it. Add pepper-tomato mixture, tomato puree, chicken broth, sugar, salt and pepper. Heat just to simmering, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in yogurt. Return to stove and heat through. Ladle soup into bowls; top each with a few croutons.

Makes 6 servings.  Per serving:  139 calories; 2.5 g fat; 24 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 3.5 g protein.  (Calories calculated with 4 croutons per serving)

Recipe source: adapted from Family Circle, February 2011.

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