Comfort and Joy

Are you like me and go through periods of time when you just crave “comfort” food? Do you have a specific food that you go to that seems to make everything right in the world, at least for a short amount of time? I, myself, have a list of foods and it is WAY too long to share in this blog! There is a certain amount of joy that comes when you finally get a taste of something that you’ve wanted for so long.

For me there are “triggers”, things that set my cravings off…that first warm Spring day, you know the one, when you walk outside and it smells like EVERYONE in the neighborhood has their grills going and you just have to have a good, juicy burger! Or that frigid day in late January when you refuse to go outside and opt to stay in with a huge bowl of homemade potato soup and a hot roll that’s oozing with butter…or maybe it’s Super Bowl Sunday and you know there better be some “game food” on the menu for that day!

I have my specific favorites, too and most of those include any hand-me-down recipe from my grandmother just because I miss her cooking so much. You see, I was very fortunate when I was a college student (with the typical college-student diet), I was able to come home nearly every weekend and my grandmother would provide a Sunday dinner for the family to enjoy and as a bonus, I would take leftovers back to school with me. Don’t think I didn’t take advantage of that! I guess that’s where the comfort part came in. While I was away, I still had some yummy goodness from home.

I will leave you today with a few of my favorites from my kitchen and hope that maybe they will become some of your “comforts” too…..and maybe they already are.


Chicken-Stuffed Shells

18-20 jumbo size pasta shells
1 box of chicken flavor stuffing mix
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2-3/4 C. mayonnaise
1 can chicken broth
2 C. chicken, cooked and diced

Cook shells according to package. Cook stuffing as directed. Mix cooled stuffing, diced chicken and mayonnaise. Stuff shells with mixture. Mix soup and broth and pour over shells. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Down-Home Mac and Cheese

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, divided
1/4 cup Flour
1 cup Milk
1/2 lb. (8 oz.) VELVEETA Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups Elbow macaroni, cooked, drained
1/2 cup KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese
6 RITZ Crackers, crushed

HEAT oven to 350°F.
MELT 3 Tbsp. butter in medium saucepan on medium heat. Whisk in flour; cook 2 min., stirring constantly. Gradually stir in milk; cook until mixture boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Add VELVEETA; cook 3 min. or until melted, stirring frequently. Stir in macaroni.
SPOON into 2-qt. casserole sprayed with cooking spray; sprinkle with Cheddar. Melt remaining butter; toss with cracker crumbs. Sprinkle over casserole.
BAKE 20 min. or until heated through.

1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 C. onion, minced
1/2 C. green pepper, chopped
2 C. elbow macaroni, uncooked
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 C. water
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Brown beef with onion and green pepper in a skillet; drain. Stir in macaroni and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then lower heat, cover and simmer 25 minutes or until macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally.
* You may need to add just a little bit more water if it thickens too much or begins to stick.

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