Tag: comfort food

Foodie Swellness: Cooking for Chinese New Year

Braised mushrooms with sesame bok choy

Did you know that February 16th is Chinese New Year and it’s the Year of the Dog? While I haven’t celebrated in any formal way since I was a little kid, I will always use any excuse to cook and eat something delicious, and much of the new year revolves around food so I think it’s time to fire up the stove!

I find myself often craving Chinese dishes I grew up with, but I can never make them as well as my mom does. And while she has shown me how to make a few things, it’s hard to learn because it’s always, “add a little of this, a little bit of sugar, and that’s it!” I need precise measurements, Mom! In any case, I have been attempting to make more dishes I grew up with as I don’t get to eat my mom’s cooking often since she lives in another city. I now make congee and fried rice occasionally, my sister just recently taught me how to make wontons and I also made hot and sour soup for the very first time using a recipe I found online.

For Chinese New Year, I think I’ll make this recipe for Braised Chinese Mushrooms and Sesame Bok Choy (I made it recently to test it out first before making it for friends). It was surprisingly easy to make and the best part is that I didn’t have to make a trip into Chinatown for the ingredients because Real Canadian Superstore carries all of the ingredients at great value. And I know they’re authentic brands because I recognize them (brands such as T&T and Rooster) from my mom’s kitchen.

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So creating a dish for Chinese New Year, or just when I’m craving Chinese food with the best (aka mom-approved) authentic ingredients, is easy because I can just pick them up during my regular weekly grocery trip. I know my mom is very particular about the ingredients she uses, and I love that I can get everything she would use at an easy-on-the-budget cost at Real Canadian Superstore (because let’s face it: I’m way more likely to cook these dishes I love from my childhood if I can get the ingredients easily). Now, I’ll just have to hound my mother for more precise recipe instructions so that the dishes taste just right!

Oh, and here’s the recipe for the Braised Chinese Mushrooms and Sesame Bok Choy. I actually had all of the ingredients on hand except for the mushrooms and bok choy, so this dish cost me next to nothing to make.

Happy New Year, and happy eating!

(sponsored).

 

1 Comment February 8, 2018

Foodie Swellness: The ultimate hibernation meal, homemade “Hamburger Helper”

Homemade hamburger helper

Is this dish full of veggies and fibre? Nope. Paleo? Nuh-uh. A rainbow of ingredients chockfull of vitamins and minerals? Not really. It’s pretty beige. But sometimes, like when it’s colder than -30C out and a bomb cyclone is hitting the east coast, you just crave plain old comfort food.

I didn’t grow up eating Hamburger Helper. I actually am not sure if I’ve ever had it. I have always thought it looks delicious in commercials, though. Meaty, creamy, carby. So I suppose I should state that I am not sure if this tastes at all like the boxed HH.

In any case, my recipe is inspired by this one from Dinner Then Dessert, except I added milk to make it creamier and some spices. And the result is everything I wanted for my winter dinner (warm and hearty), eaten tucked under a blanket all cozy, while watching The Mindy Project. It’s the ultimate winter hibernation meal.

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Homemade Hamburger Helper

  • 1 pound large elbow macaroni
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (depending on how cheesy you want it!)
  1. Cook the macaroni according to the package directions and drain.
  2. Meanwhile, brown the beef in a large skillet.  Remove beef from skillet.
  3. Add butter to the beef fat in the skillet and saute onion and bell pepper for about five minutes.
  4. Add beef back to the skillet.
  5. In a bowl, mix the beef broth, milk and cornstarch together.
  6. Add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika and beef broth mixture into the skillet.
  7. Cook about three minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
  8. Add the macaroni to the skillet and mix together gently.
  9. Remove from heat and stir in grated mozzarella.

I’d love to hear from HH fans if this is at all what the boxed variety tastes like. I like the idea of making it from scratch versus using the powdered ingredients and am so pleased with this stick-to-your-hones results of this meal. I rounded out my dinner with a glass of Cabernet but a nice crisp green salad would be a nice side (I just didn’t have anything for a salad in my refrigerator at the time).

Happy hibernating!

4 Comments January 5, 2018

Comfort foods are, well, comforting

Comfort foods do affect your mood and emotions, says research published in Psychological Science. Seems that many of us associate that meat loaf/mac & cheese/mashed potatoes with close friends and family, so eating (or in the case of the study, writing about) these foods makes us think of these loved ones.

So the next time you’re feeling alone? Break out the apron and whip up some mac and cheese.

Leave a Comment March 22, 2011


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