There’s nothing like comfort food for a cold January

When the cold January winds blow it is a good time to settle in with a good book and some nice, warm foods that stimulate strong memories of home and family.

Some of these recipes are from our readers and others are from my family’s recipe box.

Ye Olde Shepherd’s Pie

Nielle Hawkwood of Cochrane, Alta., shared that this hearty dish, from her mom’s recipe collection, is a family favourite that they all love.

  • 1 lb. ground beef 500 g
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper 1 mL
  • 1/8 tsp. thyme .5 mL
  • 1/8 tsp. savory .5 mL
  • 3 tbsp. flour 45 mL
  • 10 oz. can beef broth 284 mL
  • 1/2 can water 142 mL
  • dash worcestershire sauce
  • 2 medium carrots, diced small or sliced
  • 3 medium potatoes (about 2 cups mashed)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4-1/2 c. milk 60-125 mL
  • 1/2 c. grated cheese (cheddar or Swiss work well) 125 mL
  • 1-2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese 15-30 mL
  • 1-2 tbsp. buttered breadcrumbs, wheat germ or ground flax 15-30 mL

In a large frying pan, cook ground beef, drain off fat. Add onion and garlic, cooking until softened.

Stir in seasonings and flour.

Add broth, water, Worcestershire sauce and carrots.

Spread in one-quart baking dish.

Meanwhile, boil potatoes and mash.

To the potatoes add cheese, egg and just enough milk to moisten the potatoes.

Spread over the meat.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and wheat germ or flax.

Bake at 400 F (200 C) for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden.

Marinated vegetable salad

This is one of my favourite salads. Make a day ahead and then it is ready to add to a meal or take as a lunch.

  • 4 c. raw vegetables, sliced or in bite-sized pieces (combination of cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, green or red pepper, red onion and/or celery) 1 L
  • 10 oz. can whole mushrooms 284 mL
  • or 1 cup small whole fresh mushrooms 250 mL
  • 2 tbsp. honey 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. dijon mustard 15 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly crushed black pepper finely ground 2 mL
  • 1 large garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar 60 mL
  • 3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil or canola oil 175 mL

Wash and prepare vegetables and place in a large plastic container with a lid that seals.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the honey, balsamic, mustard, salt, pepper and garlic.

Add the oil and whisk thoroughly to combine. Continue whisking until the dressing is fully emulsified.

Add to the vegetables, seal lid and shake mixture to coat vegetables.

Refrigerate. Shake two to three times to mix with vegetables every few hours. Ready to serve in 24 hours or overnight.

Kath’s chicken stew

This is my daughter’s recipe; it is meaty, flavourful and so warm and comforting on a cold day. This large recipe reheats well in the microwave for a quick meal on busy nights.

  • 4-8 chicken breasts, depending on size about 2 kg, if using brined chicken breasts reduce salt approx. 2 kg
  • 1 carton chicken broth 900 mL
  • 4-10 oz. cans cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup or any combination 1,136 mL
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tsp. canola oil 5 mL
  • 3 c. carrots, sliced 750 mL
  • 5 c. potatoes, cut in cubes l.25 L
  • 2 c. beans 500 mL
  • 2 c. corn 500 mL
  • 2 c. mushrooms, small whole or sliced 500 mL
  • 2 c. celery, diced 500 mL
  • 1 tbsp. dill, dried 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. basil, dried 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. oregano, dried 15 mL
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper 2 mL

Slice large chicken breast horizontally in half to speed cooking. Place chicken on a cookie sheet or in a 9 x 13 inch (22 x 33 cm) pan and bake in 375 F (190 C) oven for about one hour, turn once.

Chop onion and brown in oil in large pot, add carrots, potatoes and broth. Boil on medium-high heat, stirring often to prevent burning.

Add beans, corn, mushrooms and celery partway through to cook in broth. Cook until veggies are fully cooked. Turn heat down.

Add soup, dill, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir until soup is smooth.

Chop cooked chicken breast into cubes and add to vegetables.

Heat until all is hot; stir often to prevent burning.

Optional: when vegetables are cooked, place in a large crock pot, add soup, seasonings and chicken, mix well and heat until hot, at least one hour on high or three hours on low.

Serve with fresh biscuits or buns or enjoy as is.

If available use fresh dill, basil and oregano.

Revisited meatloaf

Sylvia Zacharki of Prince Albert, Sask., shared this new version of an old favourite.

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk 125 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt 7 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper 1 mL
  • 1 1/4 c. soft bread crumbs 310 mL
  • 1 c. medium or old cheddar cheese, grated 250 mL
  • 1 med. onion, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 c. carrots, finely grated 125 mL
  • 1 tbsp. packed in oil sun dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped 15 mL
  • 1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped 60 mL
  • or 4 tsp. dried parsley, chopped 20 mL
  • 1 tsp. dried basil leaves 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves 5 mL
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef 500 g
  • 3/4 lb. pork sausage meat or ground pork 375 g
  • 1/4 c. medium or hot extra thick salsa 60 mL
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar, packed 15 mL

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

Whisk eggs in large bowl, add milk, salt, pepper and bread crumbs, stir well.

In a food processor, grate cheese, remove from container and set aside.

Grate onion, garlic, carrots and tomatoes in food processor.

Add to egg mixture onion, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, cheese, parsley, basil and oregano, stir to mix.

Add beef and pork and mix lightly using two large forks.

Pack into a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (22 x 12 cm) loaf pan.

Combine salsa and brown sugar, spread over loaf.

Place in preheated oven and cook for about 75 minutes. Drain off fat.

Let meatloaf stand for 10 minutes.

Serve hot or cold with salsa, salad, pasta, rice or baked potato.

Glazed carrots

Ann Weekes of Biggar, Sask., gave these carrots a very good rating. Yields five cups (1.25 litre).

  • 2 lb. peeled baby carrots 1 kg
  • or 2 lb. of sliced carrots (about 5 cups) 1 kg
  • 1/4 c. water 60 mL
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch 15 mL
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed 125 mL
  • 1 tbsp. butter, melted 15 mL

Place carrots in 3 1/2 quart (3.5 L) slow cooker.

Stir water, cornstarch, brown sugar and butter together in a small bowl. Pour over carrots. Cover and cook on high for two to three hours, until carrots soften. Cooking on high retains the carrot flavour. Stir before serving.

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact:

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