Tag Archives: Comfort Food

Comfort Food: Apple Crisp Edition

Apple crisp isn’t going to change your life.  I can promise you that.

But what it might do is make you feel like everything is all right with your world; that your insides are warm and fuzzy and nothing bad can happen.  And that nothing makes you feel better than ice cream melting into cinnamon and nutmeg with warm apples and crunchy-buttery oats and nuts.

Apple crisp is a comfort food, my friends.  At least in my house it is.  My mom always makes at least one apple crisp every fall, and when I was a freshman at college she drove six hours to visit with a pan of still-warm apple crisp to help me move in the right way.

And that is comforting.

Apple Crisp (makes enough to serve a large crowd, or have lots of leftovers to be warmed up later)

for the filling:

  • 10-12 mixed varieties of apples (Empire, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Braeburn…), peeled, cored, and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 2 T lemon or lime juice
  • 1 t cinnamon

for the topping:

  • 1 C whole-wheat flour (I was out, so I used all-purpose)
  • 3/4 C almond meal
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1 C whole walnuts
  • 1 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 C butter (1 stick, chilled)
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/2 t)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  The first big step is to peel, core, and chop the apples–and this step is much easier when you have one of those nifty apple corer and slicer things.  I do, thank goodness.  Mix in the sugar, spices, and lemon or lime.  Pour the apple mixture into a large dish–mine is 10′ x 15′.  The apples should come right up to the top (but don’t worry, they’ll cook down later).  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the topping.  Cut the butter (it’s better if it is a bit chilled) into small pieces into the bowl.  Use your hands for the easiest mixing, blending the flours into the butter until it is the texture of sandy pebbles…if that makes any sense. 

Crumble the mixture over the top of the apples, and dust with freshly grated nutmeg.  Bake on the middle rack until the apples are soft and bubbly and the top is golden brown, about an hour.

Please, please, oh please, serve with ice cream.  Warm.

And when you reheat this, do it in the oven and not the microwave.  Your mother will thank you.  And so will your belly.

One of the best parts of this is the big walnuts–and that’s coming from someone who’s not a big fan of nuts inside desserts.

And if you’ve had a hard day at school, or a long day at work, or a fight with your hubs, or you are feeling down for any reason, really…this is your dessert.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Desserts

Chicken Adobo Soup

Tomorrow is the weekend!  No classes on Friday means the week is so much easier to get through, knowing that my weekend is approaching that much more rapidly.  That’s one of the things that’s great about being a PT student.

Not so great is having to bare my belly in a sports bra tomorrow for trunk stabilization lab.  I’m still in my pre-summer prep phase–this is not okay, people!  Thank goodness I got motivated earlier than usual this year, or it could truly be a disaster.

Also, I’m watching the third Harry Potter movie as I type this.  Just the last 45 minutes or so (I watched the beginning while doing yesterday’s entry), and I don’t know what I’m going to do when the last movie is finally released.  So happy…yet so sad.  Is this pathetic?  I’m a grown woman!

Today’s recipe came about as a result of what I like to call “refrigerator review”.  I made a roasted chicken (my recipe is here) on Sunday, and I’ve wanted to make soup for the week–and I refuse to waste the opportunity for homemade chicken broth.  However, I also had leftover corn, kidney beans, and half an onion to wasting away in the fridge, and I didn’t think that would work too well with a standard chicken and rice soup (my recipe for that is here) so, this Mexican-style soup was born.

And I was lazy, so it was born into a crock pot.

Chicken Adobo Soup

  • 1 lb chicken, diced (mine was already cooked, but it’s okay if it wasn’t)
  • 1/2 large onion or 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 C red kidney beans, cooked
  • 1/2 C lentils (uncooked)
  • 1 C corn (I used half frozen and half leftover)
  • 1 C diced tomatoes
  • 3 C chicken broth, and extra water as necessary (I added 2 C water)
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 t red pepper flakes
  • black pepper to taste

First I had to make the chicken broth (but you don’t have to–I won’t judge if you just buy it.  I do that too).  I boiled the leftover chicken (and the bones) in a few cups of water with two bay leaves and a teaspoon of ground thyme, and let it simmer for an hour or so, then strained everything out.  It’d be nice to add a little onion, too.

Now, if you are as lucky as I am, your mother and father will have very recently given you a gravy strainer.  Guess what.  It works for broth too.  Thanks!

Say goodbye to greasy soup and say hello to a healthier taste.

The rest is easy.  Add everything into the crock pot and turn to low (cook eight hours on low).  If you will be gone for a while, it might be a good idea to add some extra water because those lentils will suck it right up as they cook.

When it’s ready, add some salt and pepper to taste (and extra water if it still needs to be thinned), then serve immediately.  You could wait if you want, but I’m willing to bet that you won’t be able to.

Fritz and I both emphatically felt like this soup deserved to be in the top five of soups ever made–which is saying a lot because I love soup.  Love love love soup.  And this recipe beats every other previous soup recipe that I claimed deserved to be in the top five.  It was so yummy, and the warm cumin taste was perfect and not too spicy–and it was full of protein, with all those beans and lentils, not to mention chicken.

I want another bowl right this second (and I already ate two for dinner).

Darn you, sports bra lab day.

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Filed under Soups/Stews

Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage

This is a family recipe (that I altered a teeny bit–sorry Dad–to be a smidgen healthier), and believe you me when I say that it is well-worth the effort.  This is my ultimate comfort food.  Growing up, we didn’t have it that often, usually on holidays, but when we did have it, there was always enough leftovers for the rest of the week. 

And that’s the best part.  It tastes better with every day that goes by.

When I started undergrad, I made this recipe on Valentine’s day during my sophomore year to make myself feel better about the fact that a certain boy was snowed in and couldn’t make it through his treacherous driveway to see me–on what was supposed to be our first “date”.  That was a time that most definitely called for comfort food, and luckily since it was a snow day from school I had the required hours to be at home babysitting it while it bubbled on the stove.  The next day, that very same date (finally) appeared and approved whole-heartedly of the recipe.

That would be Fritz. 

So here it is (and sorry everything is approximated–that’s how you make family recipes):

Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage

  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 large jar/bag of sauerkraut (a pound?)
  • 2 onions, one finely diced and one sliced
  • 2 C brown rice, cooked partially, al dente
  • 1 lb each ground turkey and lean ground beef (you can also use pork and any combination within)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 large cans tomato juice

I told you it makes a lot!

First, boil the cabbage, removing the leaves with tongs and cooling in a large bowl.   When the leaves get too small to be used for rolls, remove the cabbage and slice the leftovers to use later.  Trim down the outer spine of each leaf so they are easier to roll.

Next, prepare the filling for the cabbage.  Brown the minced onion in a dash of olive oil, and set aside to cool.  Add the partly cooked rice (if you need to be quicker, you can use instant rice and add it dry to the mixture instead), the ground meat, and salt and pepper.  Using your hands (sorry, you have to get down and dirty in this recipe), mix it all together.

Now roll the cabbages.  Place one cabbage leaf on a board and place a handful of stuffing at the base of the stem, and roll the leaf up.  Tuck the edges into the cabbage–see my picture for help.  If the cabbage leaf is breaking really easily, it might be undercooked.  It’s okay if they break a little though.

Layer the cabbage rolls in a large pot (very large pot) with the sliced onion, sauerkraut, and leftover cabbage.  Finally, pour the tomato juice over the top and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for several hours, or until you just can’t handle the delicious aroma for another second.

Serve over mashed potatoes (I used plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for some more healthy substitutions).  Enjoy!

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Filed under Entrees