Sometimes you need to comfort your tired family with more than just hugs, a promise of an easy night and early bedtime. Comfort often needs to come in the form of food. Thus the saying 'comfort food'. Everyone has their favorite. For some it may be sweets, others carbs, maybe a peach that is so sweet and delicious it reminds you of being in your grandmothers backyard. Whatever it is, we all have them and we all need them every so often. My idea of comfort food is something delicious, gooey and usually contains more calories per bite than I want to think about. My list of comfort foods in endless.
A few weeks ago one of my dear friends talked about comfort foods on Facebook. At the end she asked her friends "What is your favorite comfort food" This was my response:
Once again, easy, most ingredients are in your kitchen, very little clean-up and rather cheap to make. Best of all the family scarfs this down like a pack of wolves.
Cook up a 1# package of elbow macaroni or those mini lasagne style noodles in a pot that is oven safe. Be sure not to over cook, pull when they are just done. Rise and set aside
Cook up about 1# ground beef (elk or venison work great too) with 1 medium diced onion. I like to use a little olive oil here to keep everthing from sticking and it adds a great flavor. I also use the same pot I cooked my noodles in.
Add 1 package frozen mixed vegetabels (carrots, green beans, corn etc) or cans of the like.
Add 1 can diced tomatoes, juice and all
1 small can tomato sauce.
Season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic, and a little mixture of dried herbs like an Italian blend of sorts. If you have herbs in your garden like oregano, basil, thyme etc...use those! Yum.
Let this simmer for a while to allow the flavors to blend. You might need to add a little water to make sure your mix isn't dry. You want it a little saucy.
Cube up about 1/2# cheddar cheese ( I use medium, mild would be too bland and I usually don't have sharp around the house because I like it too much and I know I will eat it all).
Throw everthing, noodles, beef mixture and cheese, back into the noodle pot and stir untill well blended. Add more cheese if you feel there isn't enough. Remember we are going for gooey comfort here.
Sprinkle a little parmesean cheese on the top and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. You want all the cheese to melt and a little crust to form on the top.
Serve straight from the pot to the plate and tada! you have dirtied one cook pot. My son and husband like to put a little tobasco sauce on theirs. Sometime I will do the same. Either way, it's good.
The other wonderful thing that happens when I make this dish is my 16 year old son will hug me and tell me how much he loves me. Not sure why this casserole make him do that but that a comfort I will never pass up.