The smell of comfort food coming out of the oven at dinnertime creates the anticipation of pleasure, but when the weather is chilly, or downright cold, this pleasurable anticipation is elevated to a whole new level. But how do we make the act of creating this wonderful experience joyful? We enlist someone or someones to cook with us; we can enlist children, spouses, or friends. But what if they aren't as precise as we are - or, even worse, much more precise? What if they use three pans instead of one? It's important to focus on making the occasion joyful and also letting them understand they're involved in the clean up. If we can make cooking a joyful experience for others, we will enjoy our cooking more and reap the benefits of great home cooked food. The following is a favorite old standby in lots of homes. This is a recipe for six that fits nicely in a 10.5 inch baking pan, but my mother used to make them in individual ramekins and put our initials in the mashed potatoes on top. This is a great memory you can make together with family and friends.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces.
3. Add potatoes to large pot and cover with water and boil over high heat until potatoes are fork tender about 20 minutes.
4. While potatoes are boiling, dice the onions and carrots.
5. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions and carrots sauté about 2 minutes and add the meat and cook until the meat is brown.
6. Add beef broth and bring to boil over medium-high heat stirring well, lower heat medium and stir in tomato paste and Worcestershire, stir well and mixture begins to thicken.
7. Add peas and corn, stirring until well combined.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste*, remove from heat and put in a baking dish.
9. Drain the potatoes well and add butter, milk, and HALF the cheese and mash until desired consistency and salt and pepper to taste*
10. Spread the potatoes over the meat and sprinkle the remaining half of the cheese on top of the potatoes. Place dish on a baking sheet to catch any drippings.
11. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until potatoes are golden brown.
(* since in our house we add less salt than is common, 1/4 teaspoon usually works for us, but I do recommend you taste and add the salt and pepper by 1/4 teaspoons until it tastes good to you.)
#StoneSoupBlog #comfortfood #cookingtogether
, Clean out your refrigerator - throw all that toxic food away. Dairy has hormones, fruits and vegetables have pesticides, and meat will clog your arteries and add to our polluted environment. There is no longer any debate that our American diet is the chief cause of our obesity, leading to the "Diseases of Civilization" - diabetes, heart disease, many cancers, etc.
Such are the claims of the "clean eaters." Should you be one? Meat eating Keto and Paleo diet adherents call themselves "clean eaters", but vegan disciples don't agree that meat can be included. Adherents may choose different camps, some being quite militant, but the idea that foods with less preservatives, less pesticides, and are less processed are better for us only makes sense. Foods processed with the amounts of added fats, sodium, and sugar that we find in most of the packaged products in the grocery are not good for us. So, before we throw all our food out, let's begin with three of the basic tenants of clean eating. Incorporating these ideas into your daily pattern will put you on the path toward a healthier diet.
1. Eat whole foods, ideally organic These are foods that you could pick off a tree or from a garden. These would include fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. For people who include animal products, dairy, and meats, choose free-range varieties of each.
2. Avoid processed foods that include a lot of extra fat, sodium, and sugar. If the ingredient list with those unrecognizable words gets too long, that is food to avoid.
3. Eat whole grains rather than grains that have been milled with many of the vitamin and minerals excluded. Foods like quinoa, barley, whole wheat flour are good nutrient sources.
Have a happy, healthy, new year?
#stonesoupblog #clean eating
Tricia Gregory, MA,RD/N
A dietitian who is a foodie and loves a great dinner party with wonderful food and terrific friends.