(Photo courtesy of ebay.com)
If there is ever a time to treat yourself, now is that time. We are all going to be spending quite a bit of time at home (and we should be). You can be “cooped up” and mad about it, or you can take this time and use it to your advantage. I love being home, because I am happy there. I enjoy doing things in the kitchen – trying new recipes and making old favorites. None of what you do or try in the kitchen has to be fancy and it doesn’t have to be expensive for you to enjoy yourself.
This time of year can be iffy, weather-wise. Soup goes good around now. You can use homemade chicken broth (I usually have some in the freezer) or canned broth. Heat a portion up on your stove, and make dumplings to include. They are easy. All you have to do is gather your ingredients – one cup of flour, two teaspoons of baking powder, one teaspoon of white sugar, one half teaspoon of salt, one tablespoon of margarine and one half cup of milk. Mix this into a soft dough. When your soup/broth is boiling, drop a heaping, rounded teaspoon and take out when your dumplings rise to the top. If you feel like it, add a can of canned carrots (minus the liquid). You’ll have a nice, warm and comforting meal.
Why not try a peanut butter sauce to pour over noodles, like they do in Chinese restaurants? The ingredients include a bunch of green onions/scallions, two tablespoons of sesame oil, a teaspoon or so of ginger (I use powdered), one third cup of peanut butter, a quarter cup of soy sauce, one quarter cup of hot water, one teaspoon of white sugar, and one quarter teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes. Heat consistently until mixture gets hot and bubbly. Have your pasta done in advance – I use regular spaghetti or fettucine noodles – toss with the sauce, and enjoy!
Most of us have cans of tuna (or even chicken) in our pantry – but sometimes, a boring tuna (or chicken) sandwich is just that – boring. Jazz it up a little bit – google some tuna casserole recipes (I’m not really a heated-up tuna fan, that is why I can’t recommend any). I do like tuna melts – try to melt it with some Monterrey Jack cheese, it’s really good. And you can get away from the boring sandwich idea of you cut lettuce leaves (iceberg works best) into bread shapes and make your sandwich like this. It’s at least something different.
Bananas are a great snack. If you want to jazz them up, peel one. You can then roll it into crushed cereal – it’s sweet and it’s pretty if you use Fruit Loops. A banana can be rolled in cinnamon sugar, some mini chocolate chips, or even coconut. You can get about ten little banana rounds for yourself. Very good, and good for you too.
Going with the Chinese food idea, make some white rice. Open up a small can of peas and carrots. Heat/cook up a few chicken nuggets if you have them. Toss everything together and serve – use some of the little packets from Chinese takeout that we all have in either our cabinets or refrigerators.
Everyone (well just about everyone I know) likes Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches together. If you don’t want to bother making your sandwich grilled, why not have toasted cheese? While your soup is heating up, take two slices of bread with two slices of cheese on top – and put them in your toaster oven. When they are done, cut them into shapes – you can make squares, long strips, some kind of angled ones – whatever strikes your fancy at the time. I like to make them big enough so I can dip them into the soup. It’s a nice change from the ordinary and usual.
Have a good old fashioned snack – enjoy milk and cookies. You would be surprised that when you ask people if they still have these two things together at how many people will tell you no. Another thing to try that you may not have (or probably haven’t) had recently is chocolate milk. Every time I have chocolate milk, it makes me feel like I am eight years old again. I really like a glass of it from time to time.
So, what other comfort foods will make you feel good during this time of boredom, uncertainty, and whatever else we are going to call it? It is a time to try to be as happy and content as we can be.