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Dover Post
  • Comfort food offers warmth to fight winter’s chill

  • Since my hometown is slightly further south, where it doesn’t get quite as cold, I got out my ladle and soup pot in October and started cooking up cold-weather food. Little did I know the worst was yet to come.
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  • Since my hometown is slightly further south, where it doesn’t get quite as cold, I got out my ladle and soup pot in October and started cooking up cold-weather food. Little did I know the worst was yet to come.
    When a chill is in the air, I instantly crave soup, casseroles and comforting creamy dishes. There’s nothing like being warmed from the inside out with a nice big plate of comfort food on a chilly evening.
    All of the recipes I’m sharing today qualify as comfort food. Yes, the pasta has kale in it, which technically qualifies as a nutrient-packed super food, but when you top a super food with butter and cream cheese it becomes comforting.
    The soup recipe that I’ve chose to share with you is packed with all the components a good soup should have: veggies, a creamy base, cheese and a little bit of spice. Since this soup has a bit of a southwestern flair, I like to serve it with toasted corn tortillas for dipping.
    The orzo casserole can be served as a side dish or as a vegetarian entrée. If you’re not sure where to find orzo, check the pasta aisle in most stores; in one area store I saw it with the rice. Orzo may look like rice, but it is pasta. The unique shape of the orzo works well with this recipe. The noodles get all coated in the sauce and bake into a hearty, cheesy dish. The butter-coated bread crumbs on top provide just the right crunch to counterbalance the creamy texture of the rest of the casserole.
    I like these recipes because they’re made up of comfort food that you don’t have to feel guilty about. Each dish has its fair share of vegetables and nothing is concocted with cream of mystery soup. The ingredients are straight forward and result in honest, hearty food.
     
    CREAMED KALE PASTA
    1 bunch kale
    5 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 cup water
    1 pound pasta
    1 8oz block cream cheese
    1 cup finely grated parmesan
    3/4 cup of milk
    1/2 stick of butter
     
    Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta per the box’s instructions.
    Wash the kale and remove the leaves from the stems. Chop the kale and put it in a pan over medium heat along with the garlic and the half cup water. Cover the pan and allow the kale to steam for 3 to 5 minutes.
    In a saucepan over medium low heat, melt the butter and cream cheese together, whisking to combine. Once the two are melted and are thick, whisk in the milk and the parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the wilted kale to the sauce and toss the sauce with the pasta. Serves 6 to 8.
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    Veggie Orzo Bake
    2 cups of milk
    2 cups of Monterey jack or Swiss cheese
    4 tablespoons of flour
    4 tablespoons of butter
    2 small zucchini, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    1/2 an onion, chopped
    2 cloves of garlic, minced
    8 oz. of mushrooms, sliced
    1 1/4 cup orzo
    1 tablespoon of butter
    1/2 cup of bread crumbs
     
    Preheat oven to 350.
    Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the orzo so that it is slightly underdone. Sauté all of the vegetables with a little olive oil, until the peppers begin to become tender.  Melt the three tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan and then sprinkle in the flour. Whisk the mixture for a minute or two, but don’t allow the mixture to brown. Whisk in the milk and stir until the mixture is thickened. Whisk in the cheese and toss the orzo and vegetables with the cheese sauce. Pour the mixture in a 9 by 13 casserole dish.
    Melt one tablespoon of butter and toss the breadcrumbs in it. Top the casserole with the breadcrumbs and bake for 30 minutes. Serves 6.
                                                                                                                                
    Spicy Chicken Chowder
    1 package of chicken tenderloins
    1 can of diced tomatoes and green chilies
    1 15 oz. can of black beans
    1 15 oz. can of corn
    1/2 onion chopped
    1 bell pepper chopped
    1/4 cup of flour
    3 tablespoons of butter
    2 cups of milk
    1 cup of chicken broth
    1 cup of Mexican blend cheese
     
    Dice the chicken and sauté it with a little olive oil over medium heat. In a large pot sauté the pepper and onions in the butter. Once the vegetables have softened sprinkle to flour over them and stir for a minute or two. Add the stock and milk to the pot and stir until thickened, whisk in the cheese. Add the chicken, corn, black beans and tomatoes and green chilies and stir. Serve with a dollop of sour cream. Serves 8.

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