Comfort Foods Food Challenge

starts us off on the Comfort Foods Challenge!    Here's her recipe:
Chicken Noodle Casserole
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 T lemon juice
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese, divided
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
12-16 oz. medium egg noodles, cooked & drained (I think I use the dumplings one, No Yolk brand or whatever)
In large bowl combine soup, mayo, and lemon juice. Add chicken and most of the 2 cheeses; mix well. Add noodles and toss to coat.
Transfer to 9x13 baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-35 mins. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake 10 mins longer or until cheese is melted.
Ginger sent in her "comfort food" recipe and it's baked Macaroni and Cheese..  Now who doesn't love good old mac- n-cheese?!    Thanks Ginger and oh!  I love the serving suggestions..."serve with love" !
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
2 Tbsp corn starch or flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp butter
3 cups milk
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz elbow pasta, cooked and drained
1.  In medium saucepan on medium heat, melt butter and add in the corn starch/flour, salt and pepper.  Stir until well combined and bubbly.  Pour in milk and stir constantly until it comes to a bubbling simmer.  Boil one minute.  Remove from heat.
2. Stir in 2 cups of shredded cheese until melted.  Stir in cooked elbow pasta.  Pour into buttered 2 quart casserole.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
3.  Bake uncovered in oven at 375 for 25 minutes.
Makes 4-6 servings
Ginger's notes: You can use any variety and blend of cheeses you like.  I use medium or sharp cheddar.  If you like your macaroni and cheese with a little spice, you can add 1/2 tsp of dry mustard with your dry ingredients and add a few drops of hot sauce in with the milk.  A few shakes of parmesan is not bad either.  Top with paprika for color or top with a cracker crumb topping.  Make it your own!  Serve with love.

Tara (who is a fantastic photographer) sends in her "comfort food" recipe which is also a really frugal meal.  All our wallets can do with a little relief, eh?
Beef Hash
1 lb. ground beef
½ cup diced onions
1-2 lbs. of diced/hashed potatoes
(1/2 cup diced bell peppers optional)
A-1 steak sauce
2 tbs. vegetable oil
 Brown ground beef and onion (and peppers if desired). Drain fat. In a large skillet heat vegetable oil. Cook hashed potatoes according to package directions. When potatoes are done, add beef and onion mixture. Mix together. Season with salt and pepper. Serve and add A-1 sauce to taste. Makes fantastic leftovers, or as an addition to omelettes, etc.
Tara's notesThis was a favorite growing up…adjusting the recipe you can feed a lot of people for really cheap!
Melanie has submitted her recipe.  I know Melanie.  She has such a nack for writing and I enjoy reading every devotion she has written for the women's ministry at First Baptist Church, Brandon ( so here it is...(I think she needs her own blog, I would so be a follower of hers!)

Once upon a time, I had a recipe for this from my Grandmother.  Since then I have made it so often and updated it to suit more modern kitchens, that I no longer have a formal recipe but I can tell you what I do!
Italian Wedding Soup
Pour two- three large boxes of Chicken broth into a soup pot.  I use the kind with Italian seasonings already in it.  If you can only get plain, add a bit of oregano, garlic salt, red/ green pepper, basil, etc. to the broth.
Add about ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese and several bay leaves.
Cook and dice or shred 2 boneless chicken breasts, into pot.
Shred (or buy matchstick type, ½ a bag) 2 carrots into pot
Put 1 block of frozen chopped spinach into pot
My grandma hand rolled tiny meatballs out of a pound of meat. I buy a bag of the tiny Italian style frozen ones, cook about ½ the bag according to instructions and then chop them up and add them.
Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for several hours, adding a shake of Parmesan every time you stir.
When you are ready to serve, bring to a boil and add about a cup of tiny pasta.  The original recipe alls for Orzo, but I can never find it.  Last time I used alphabets!  Cook until pasta is tender, put in serving bowls and top with a sprinkle of parmesan (I love parmesan!)

  **Since the original writing I have indeed found Orzo @ Publix and set in a stash for myself...but I still think alphabets, stars, whatever other tiny pasta you can find is more fun!  One time I pulverized spaghetti b/c it's all I had in the house!**
Traci sent in her recipe for Red Beans and Rice.  I feel honored...this is another great devotion writer from!!!  (see Traci's note below)

Red Beans and Rice

 8 oz package kidney beans

Garlic clove

Small onion

Medium bell pepper

3 stalks celery

16 oz smoked sausage*



Hot sauce

White rice

 Rinse bean, put into large pot and fill with water until the beans are covered 2” with water.   Soak overnight. (Quick cook method boil 1 hour: NOT AS GOOD)

 Once beans soak, partially drain water (about half) and add more water to cover again. Bring beans to a boil.  While beans boil begin chopping spices.  I use 3-4 pieces of fresh garlic, ½ bell pepper, small onion, 3 stalks of celery finely chopped.  Sauté these in a small frying pan with about 2 tsp. evoo until transparent.  Add them to the beans, and then add salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste. The more spices you add the spicier your beans will be! 

 Lower the beans to simmer for 2-3 hours at this point slice the smoked sausage and added it to the beans.  It is important to stir them occasionally or they will burn on the bottom.  After the beans soften, for thicker, creamier beans you can mash them a once the beans have cooked for a couple of hours. 

 Add corn bread for a warm cozy dinner.

Traci added a note:  this is one of my grandma's recipe's.  I wrote a devotion about her called "Simmering Pots" it's on the website, that's why this is a comfort food for me.


Tara has submitted TWO more recipes...she's on a roll!  Remember, you can submit more than one!

½-1 cup of diced onion, red and green bell peppers
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small can of tomato sauce
Handful of green olives
1 tbsp of vinegar
2 tbsp of red wine
½ tbsp of Season Complete (found in latin food aisle)
1 tsp of steak seasoning
1 tsp of oregano
1 tsp of cumin
Sprinkle of seasoned salt
1 pound of ground beef

In a medium to large caldero, add olive oil, pepper/onion mixture, tomato sauce, season complete, steak seasoning, oregano, cumin, and season salt. Stir together and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Rinse ground beef, and add to caldero. Mix in well, making sure to break apart meat. Add vinegar, red wine, and olives. Cook on medium to high heat, making sure everything is mixed together well. Cook covered on medium to high heat for approximately 15 minutes or until meat is cooked through and liquid is reduced. Stir occasionally to keep meat from burning on bottom of pan.   Serve over white rice. Great side dishes include Cuban bread, fried sweet plantains, or black beans.
Tara said:  This recipe is best prepared in a caldero. Seasonings may be adjusted to taste.
Tara provided a picture of a "Caldero"
 another from Tara: 
Pollo Guisado
This a great family dinner style meal. Think of it like a Puerto Rican chicken stew. Easy to make!

1 packet of Sazon Goya (found in latin foods aisle)
1/2 of extra large Knorr chicken bouillon cube
3 tablespoons of ready-made Sofrito (this is a "cooking base" found in the latin foods aisle)
handful of green olives
1 tsp of minced garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2-3 potatoes, diced into bite size pieces
several pieces of bone-in chicken (ex., 4 leg quarters)...remove some of the skin if you want; I also like to season the chicken with a little bit of Season Complete or Adobo first.
instant mashed potato flakes
1/2 can of tomatoe sauce
1/4 cup of golden cooking wine (or chicken broth)

In a medium to large caldero (see photo below), add olive oil, sofrito, garlic, tomatoe sauce, olives, sazon goya, knorr cube, and cooking wine. Heat over medium heat til it starts to bubble. Add potatoes and chicken. Mix well, and make sure they are covered with liquid. If there is not enough liquid, add more water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 45 minutes-1 hour until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are soft. Once it is finished cooking, add instant mashed potato flakes to thicken sauce. Server over hot white rice.
                      this is a "caldero"
Thank goodness Tara provided some pics of those ingredients she was talking about.    See what I mean about a great photographer?  They think of these things...