It’s a cold, rainy or snowy night. Maybe you just came home from a hard day at work, or you’ve been running around all day doing errands and chores. You’re cold to the bone, and tired, and just want to snuggle down and be warm. When you feel like that, do you think back to when you would come home from school and would the aromas of your mother’s cooking wafting out the door? Whatever it was at the time, it was enough to make you feel happy and warm inside and you didn’t want that feeling to end. As we grew older and went out on our own, many of us changed and started cooking “the modern way”: healthier cuts of meat, more fish, salads, grilled chicken, etc. But did you ever come home after a long, cold, miserable day and just want to reverse time and have some comfort food–something that would stick to your ribs, and make you savor each bite while you would reminisce about the way it used to be? Not store-bought, but homemade, just like your mom made. It may seem a bit old-fashioned, but a bowl of chicken soup or some chicken potpie on a cold winter’s night really hits the spot, not just in your stomach, but with a smell that can turn back the hands of time.
The meaning of “comfort food” in Wikipedia is stated as:
“Comfort food is food prepared traditionally that may have a nostalgic or sentimental appeal, or simply provide an easy-to-eat, easy-to-digest meal rich in calories, nutrients, or both.”
The bottom line is: comfort food makes you feel good, doesn’t have to be unhealthy and can be prepared in advance, so you don’t have to cook much at the end of a hard day. So think back to what dinners made you happy when you were a cold, hungry student and, with some modifications, why not cook some meals that were “comfort food”? Here are some menus and recipes that may conjure up some warm cozy feelings.
Make over the weekend, or the day of. It may take 1-2 hours to cook.
One chicken, whole or halved
3 large carrots, peeled, whole
1 medium onion, whole
2 stalks celery, cleaned, whole
2 parsnips, peeled, whole
Salt and pepper
Place chicken in a large amount of water–around 5 quarts and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until froth stops forming on the top of the liquid. Skim off the froth from time to time. When it stops forming, add vegetables as mentioned below. (Could take up to an hour or more if using a whole chicken). Add the carrots, onion, celery and parsnips. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until vegetables are tender and chicken is falling off the bone.
Remove carrots, onion, celery and parsnips. Cut up carrots and add back to soup. Cut up parsnips and remove the chicken from the bones. Set the chicken aside for the potpie. Serve soup with cooked orzo or small noodles.
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