Tag Archives: comfort food

For a Dull Saturday: Broccoli-Jack-Salsa Scramble

It’s a dreary day today. Fairly warm, but damp and dark. I spent a lot of time this morning standing in front of the refrigerator with the door open, figuring out what I wanted for breakfast. Saturday and Sunday are the only days I have enough time to have a leisurely breakfast, and to come up with meals that satisfy my desire for stuffing my face with comfort food, but keeping a balance of good-for-me ingredients.

So, after the cats were fed and happy, the pot of Barry’s Irish tea steeping under the cozy on the counter, I stared into the depths of my cluttered fridge. Fried eggs and toasted multigrain baguette? Close, but no. Coddled eggs and toast? No. Cheese and tomato omelet? No. (Something about tomatoes in eggs turns me off. On the side, yes. In salsa, yes. Not in an omelet.) Breakfast burrito? No. (I really wanted that baguette, not a tortilla.) I eyed the old bunch of broccoli that I needed to eat while it was still good. (It amazes me how long broccoli lasts in the fridge. Is that genetic engineering?) I started getting an idea. Broccoli. Eggs. Pepper Jack cheese. Salsa. Yogurt. (Yogurt? Yep. Just wait.) Multigrain baguette. Mandarin oranges.

This is an easy way to throw together a breakfast (or lunch or dinner for that matter) on a dreary day that takes only a few minutes, will satisfy your comfort food craving, but not leave you feeling guilty for having indulged. It helps if you like broccoli. If you don’t. Hmmm. Find another green veggie that would work as well…I can’t think of any. But give it a go.

This is a recipe for one – obviously double, triple, or quadruple for a crowd.

Broccoli-Jack Scramble

2 eggs
Milk
Butter
Chopped broccoli, at least a cup
Pepper jack cheese – ½ cup or less
Salsa – couple tablespoons
Whole Milk plain yogurt – couple tablespoons
Multigrain baguette
Mandarin orange, or tangerine, or clementine…
Salt and pepper
Tea and jam

In a small, nonstick sauté pan, put your broccoli and enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, but do not cover the broccoli. Put a lid on it and steam it on medium-low heat until bright green and still has a little bite. Do not overcook. While the broccoli is steaming, crack the eggs into a bowl, beat with a fork, adding a splash of milk to make it a little lighter and fluffier. Grate the cheese on a plate and put aside.

Turn the heat off the broccoli and push the broccoli to the sides of the pan, put 1-2 T of butter in the center of the pan, turn the heat back on LOW and let the butter melt, then redistribute the broccoli. Pour the egg mixture over the broccoli and put the lid back on for a minute or so, while you slice off a hunk of the baguette and put it in the toaster oven. Go back to the pan and start lightly turning the eggs and broccoli over gently in the pan so the eggs coat the broccoli and begin to cook/set. When they are about cooked, but not overcooked, turn the heat off, sprinkle the shredded pepper jack over the eggs/broccoli, and then drop spoonfuls of salsa over the cheese. Cover.

Warm your plate, butter the baguette and put it back in the toaster oven to keep it warm. Plate the eggs/broccoli/cheese/salsa with a spatula to keep the cheese/salsa on top. Put the toast and orange on the plate. Finish the eggs with a dollop of the whole-milk plain yogurt.

Enjoy with strong tea and your favorite fruit jam.

The idea here is to have more veggies than eggs in the scramble, so the eggs serve to hold it together. Don’t overpower it with too much cheese, but use lots of salsa and yogurt. The spicy heat of the salsa and pepper jack cheese goes great with the cool creaminess of the yogurt.

Chow for Now!

 

 

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Who feels like cooking when you’re sick and tired?

20161217_205903_resized2

Nothing like comfort food in bed with your best pal, when you’re feeling sick and tired.

I’ve been sick since Thanksgiving. The usual winter head and chest cold that it seems everyone is suffering with right now. Lousy time for it, with the holidays bearing down. There are gifts to buy, cards to address, meals to plan. Who has the energy? I don’t. Not after working all week. Just trying to sit upright and get through the day is hard enough. I spent most of this week having enough energy left over to open a can of soup and box of crackers for dinner and adding an orange for dessert, in hopes of getting some real food in there somewhere.

So, when this weekend rolled around I felt like I needed to get some healthy, fresh vegetables in me, but all I craved was comfort food — and I still didn’t feel like spending any time cooking.

So, I split the difference and came up with some semi-healthy comfort food that was quick to make. Yesterday, following that comfort food craving, and not knowing what to eat for breakfast, I threw together a cheesy skillet quick-bread. I had that with dinner later — steamed fresh veggies and shrimp tossed with Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheese and Old Bay. This morning I did a fresh tomato and avocado melt on a baguette. In the spirit of the recipes on this blog, they were all cheap, quick and easy:


20161217_100428Cheesy Skillet Quick-Bread

  • 1 1/2 c. Bisquick Heart Smart mix
  • 1/2 milk (plus a splash to make it looser)
  • 1/2 c. or so grated sharp New York cheddar
  • Cast iron pan
  • Olive oil
  • Optional: Old Bay seasoning

Make the biscuit recipe on the box (above), and mix in grated cheese (it could probably handle more than I added, but this was my first try, so I didn’t go crazy with the cheese). The batter should be loose enough to spread into the skillet, so you may need to add a little milk to thin it. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the skillet and start warming it on low. After the oil warms spread it around evenly with a paper towel. Put the batter in the pan and spread it to the edges. Cover the top with some more grated cheese. Cover. Keep the heat on low-medium. You don’t want to brown the bottom too much before the biscuit sets inside. Take a peek after 10-12 mins or more. If the top is set and the bottom is golden, turn off the heat. I have a toaster oven that can accommodate a pizza, so I put the whole skillet in the toaster oven (the door was open a bit from the handle). Leave it in a few mins to brown the top. You can garnish the bread with a dusting of Old Bay if you want to add a little spice. Serve warm with butter.

20161217_205903_resizedQuick Veggie/Shrimp Bowl

  • Fresh broccoli and stems cut in 1-inch pieces
  • Grape tomatoes sliced in half
  • Frozen shelled/deveined precooked shrimp
  • Olive oil
  • Pecorino Romano and/or Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper (try McCormick’s Peppercorn Medley)
  • Dried basil
  • Old Bay seasoning

You can make this with any amounts of veggies and shrimp, depending on how many you are serving. Cut broccoli into nice chunky pieces, halve the tomatoes. Use a sauté/frying pan, not a deep pot to steam in. Put a 1/2-inch to 1-inch of water in the pan. Bring it to a boil. Drop in veggies. Let them get a little crispy/soft before you drop in the frozen shrimp. Cover and steam just a few minutes until all are heated through and the broccoli is softened, not overcooked, still bright green. Drain, retaining a little of the steaming water. Put veggies and shrimp and a little of the steaming water in a bowl. Toss with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Season to taste with salt, pepper, basil, Old Bay. Toss with a handful of the cheeses until everything is coated. Garnish with a sprinkling of more cheese. Serve with the warmed Cheesy Skillet Quick-Bread.

20161218_101258-1Tomato/Avocado Melt

  • Crusty baguette
  • Tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes)
  • Half an avocado
  • Sharp New York cheddar
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper

This is a sort of healthier modification on one of my favorite comfort-food deli breakfast sandwiches (Toasted bagel, cream cheese, tomato, melted cheese).

Slice and partially toast the baguette with a little butter. Top with tomato, season with salt and pepper. Top with sliced cheddar. Put back in toaster-oven to fully toast the baguette and melt the cheese. Remove from oven and top with fresh, sliced avocado. Season to taste.

I hope you get through the holidays without getting the winter crud, but if you do get short of time or energy I hope you enjoy some of these easy, quick and comforting recipes.

Happy Holidays, Happy New Year and Chow for Now!

 

Looking for Comfort

Oatmeal with banana sauteed in brown sugar.

Oatmeal with banana sauteed in brown sugar.

Winter seems finally to be settling in here in Baltimore, which I guess should be no surprise, because it’s officially winter in six days. But along with the winter weather chill is the chill of what happened on Friday, Dec. 14, in New Town, Conn. A chill that has settled on our nation and many of our spirits.
There are just 10 days til Christmas and I have had no energy, or spirit, to climb into my chilly attic and retrieve my decorations. Although I have my Christmas CDs on a continual loop – the most comforting, I’ve found since yesterday, is the soundtrack to “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” And it’s not just the soothing jazz music, but the innocent childhood images it conjures.

I’ve been sick for a month, with shingles, but got back to classes last week. I was finishing up my end-of-semester teaching chores yesterday, and looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the holidays, when I turned off my computer about 2:30 p.m. and heard about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Last night I lit a candle in the window. Tonight I’ll climb into the attic and retrieve my five old electric-candle Christmas wreaths and hang them in the windows. I’ll hang the tacky tinsel wreath on the front door, I’ll listen “A Charlie Brown Christmas” over and over.

But what do you eat, when you can’t stomach anything? What do you eat when you’re chilly and in need of comfort? The other night I had a lovely bowl of oatmeal for dinner with bananas sautéed in butter and brown sugar. It was wonderful and soothing and it took away the chill of a dark winter’s night. So, give it a try. I just sautéed one ripe banana (a chopped apple works, too) in a tablespoon of butter, dropped in a couple tablespoons of brown sugar, let it all melt together, then added a cup of whole milk and a half-cup of whole oats. Cook until it’s thick and bubbly and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. And be comforted.

No. 10 Pot Pie Comfort

Cold, lean and on-edge. Time for Comfort Food.

Mmmm. Comfort food.

Mmmm. Comfort food.

I suppose it’s time to get back to some foodchat. I’ve been spouting off about the newspaper business (hiring, anyone?) and the DTV revolution, which, by the way, saw a bump in the road last week when the feds ran out of money for those government-sponsored discount coupons that make the $60 boxes more affordable.

 Our president-elect has suggested the transition, due Feb. 17, might be postponed until Congress can come up with more dough for the discount program. How likely is that to happen, I wonder, with a $750-billion economic recovery bill waiting in the wings?

 In any case, I don’t know about your world, you three people out there (besides my family and friends) that may have happened upon the Writers’ New Depression Cookbook, but my world is decidedly cold, lean and a bit on-edge considering the state of the economy, newspaper industry, job market and, well, my age. Not being a 30-  or even a 40-something any more, the idea of hitting the job market again is scary and depressing.

SO, comfort food in any shape or form seems to be the food of the day, or probably the whole winter, for me. Usually, during my 30-minute drive home from work I try to remember what’s in the cupboard and what warm, comforting dish I can throw together quickly when I get home, hang up my coat and get into the kitchen.

One recent chilly night, I tried to figure out what to do with some cream of celery soup, and some frozen and canned veggies. I came up with what I call Pot Pie Soup, because it resembles the filling, minus the pie crust, of one of my favorite comfort foods.

Pot Pie Soup

  • 1 can cream of celery soup prepared as directed
  • 1 cup of your favorite frozen mixed veggies (I used a Fiesta Mix with kidney, green and garbonza beans, carrots, red bell pepper and broccoli. It was nicely colorful)
  • ½ c. frozen peas
  • 1 16 oz. can sliced white potatoes
  • 1 small can of sliced button mushrooms, or pieces
  • 1 slice American cheese (it melts well)
  • Season with a little freshly-ground pepper

Prepare the soup. Add the frozen and canned veggies. (Of course you can use fresh for anything – this is just my version of fast food). Let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Before you serve it, tear up the cheese and stir until it melts. Serve with hot corn bread or muffins and lots of butter.

Ahhh…comfort food…

 ~ Chow for Now! ~