Food For Comfort: 2 Dishes To Ditch The Cold
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When you’re feeling nostalgic, sometimes classic childhood comfort foods are just the trick. The problem is– what do you do if Mom isn’t around to feed you? Put down that phone and forget about another night of greasy Chinese food, because we have a solution. Here are some simple recipes for comfort food dishes– plus, they’re the basic dishes that any beginner chef should have under their belt. Simply turn to these delicious and easy recipes next time you’re in need of a taste of home.
1. Chicken Noodle Soup (above)
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Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much water will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow the liquid to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water, if necessary, to keep the chicken covered while simmering.
Carefully remove the chicken and place it on a cutting board. When it’s cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones. Then, hand-shred the meat and put it into a storage container.
Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately, cover, and refrigerate for up to one week, or freeze.
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2. Meat Lasagna
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.In a skillet over medium heat, season the ground beef with garlic powder and oregano. Brown the meat and drain excess liquid.
In a large saucepan, add spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, and oregano; set aside. In a skillet heat olive oil, add garlic and onions, and saut for about 5 minutes. Mix the cooked onions and garlic in with the meat and put mixture into the sauce. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
Combine mozzarella and provolone cheeses in a medium bowl. In a separate medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese, eggs, milk, and oregano.
Layer a 9×13 inch baking pan with just enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. Lay three lasagna noodles in the pan. Cover with sauce, then spread a layer of the ricotta mixture and sprinkle with mozzarella/provolone mixture; repeat layering. Finish with a layer of noodles and remaining sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Bake covered in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
3. Beef Stew
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat is rendered; transfer to a platter. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of the fat into a heatproof cup and increase the heat to medium-high.
Working in batches, adding more bacon fat as needed, add the beef and cook until well browned, about 8 minutes; transfer to the platter.
Add the yellow onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf to the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the onion is softened. Add the beef and bacon, sprinkle with the flour, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Stir in the wine and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Cover, transfer to the oven and bake for 1 3/4 hours. Then, stir in the carrots and cook until the meat is very tender for another 30 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned; transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the pearl onions to the skillet and cook over medium heat until golden.
Transfer the beef and carrots to a bowl; cover. Let the braising liquid stand, then skim the fat from the surface. Return the beef and carrots to the liquid, add the mushrooms and onions, and rewarm gently.
4. Roast Chicken
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.Rinse chicken inside and out, then pat dry. Remove excess fat from the cavities and season with salt and pepper. Place half of the lemon inside. Tie legs together with kitchen string and place in a roasting pan.
In a saucepan, melt the butter with the olive oil over low heat. Squeeze the remaining lemon half into the mixture. Brush butter mixture over the chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in the center of the oven, basting often with the drippings, until juices run clear, about 1 hour. The temperature should be 175 degrees F when a meat thermometer is placed in the thickest part of the thigh.
Remove chicken from the oven and transfer to a carving board; let rest for 10 minutes. Remove the lemon from the cavity and squeeze it into the pan juices. Stir in the water. Bring the pan juices to a low boil, scraping up the brown bits, and cook until the sauce is reduced, about 2 minutes. Skim fat from the sauce.
Carve the chicken and arrange on a large platter. Pour the sauce over it and garnish with watercress. Serve immediately.
In a large saucepan over medium high heat, combine the ground beef, onion, and bell peppers. Saut for about 5 minutes, or until beef is browned. Drain excess fat.
Add the chili powder, garlic, bay leaf, cumin, chile peppers, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in the beans and heat through.
6. Chocolate Cake
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper, then grease the parchment. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
In a saucepan, dissolve 2 cups sugar in 2 cups water over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat, add the coarsely chopped chocolate and 6 tablespoons butter and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa powder. Beat in the eggs, then stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla. Add the flour mixture, whisking until incorporated. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake until the cakes are springy to the touch and have pulled away from the sides of the pans, about 30 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and place on the racks. Let cool completely.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the finely chopped chocolate and the remaining 9 tablespoons butter, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar to a boil. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes, then stir the mixture until smooth. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until thickened to a spreadable consistency, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
Lay 4 strips of parchment paper around the border of a cake stand. Remove the parchment from 1 of the cake layers and place the layer on the cake stand. Place about 1 cup of the chocolate frosting in the center of the layer and spread to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Remove the parchment from the second cake layer and place the layer on top of the first. Apply a thin coating of frosting around the sides of the cake, rotating as you go. Top the cake with the remaining frosting and spread from the top of the cake down and around the sides. Discard the parchment paper strips.
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