Rick's Reviews: Comfort Food Recipes for A Pandemic

Easy Lasagna. Photo credit: Diana Rattray

For those of us who like to cook, the irony of the pandemic is that, while we have the time at home to cook all we want, the shelves in the grocery stores are depleted.

At a time like this were all looking for a bit of comfort and these old-school recipes fit the bill. They will serve multiple meals and can be made with ingredients you may actually find in the grocery store.

Full of Beans Chili

This can be made with any beans you happen to find on the shelf. If you want vegetarian chili, just leave out the meat and sauté the vegetables in a little olive oil.

Ingredients

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. pork sausage

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, seeded and chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

4 jalapenos, seeded and chopped (optional)

½ Tbs. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp curry

Salt and pepper to taste

1 can (6 oz.) chopped chipotle peppers

1 can (16 oz.) diced tomatoes

1 can tomato paste

5 cans (16 oz. each) beans (any combination of kidney, chili, black, pinto or chili)

Directions

Sauté beef and sausage in a large pot. 

Once the meat is browned, add in chopped onions and peppers. 

Sauté until vegetables are soft. 

Add spices, sauté 2-3 minutes more. 

Add canned peppers and tomatoes along with tomato paste, stirring to mix. 

Simmer until mixture begins to thicken. 

Add canned beans (drain and rinse black beans, all others may be added with liquid in can).

Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally. 

Note: this recipe makes a large batch but freezes easily and will keep in the refrigerator for nearly a week.  

 

Quick and Easy Lasagna

This recipe may not be authentic, but it sure tastes good, and keeps in the fridge for a week (if it lasts that long).

 

Ingredients

1 lb. Italian sausage, browned (optional)

1 box lasagna noodles

2 jars pasta sauce (or make your own)

1 jar alfredo sauce (or make your own)

2 lbs. ricotta cheese

2 eggs

1 package baby spinach

½ lb. shredded mozzarella

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350º

Par-boil lasagna noodles according to package directions or until al dente. 

Drain and rinse with cold water. 

Place enough of the tomato sauce to lightly coat the bottom of an 11” x 17” pan. 

Line the bottom of the pan with lasagna noodles, overlapping the noodles slightly. 

Mix alfredo sauce, ricotta and egg. 

Spread half the ricotta mixture on lasagna noodles.

Add browned sausage (optional).

Sprinkle with half the spinach leaves.

Add ¼ the remaining tomato sauce.

Repeat with another layer of noodles, ricotta mixture, sausage (optional) spinach and sauce.

Top with a final layer of pasta.

Add remaining sauce.

Sprinkle top of lasagna with mozzarella cheese.

Bake 45 minutes, allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Reheats well in the microwave, add a little extra pasta sauce if necessary

 

Grammys Meatloaf

The secret to a tender meatloaf is to mix it as little as possible

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic

1 Tbs. butter

2 lbs. ground beef

1 lb. ground pork

1 lb. ground veal (or turkey breast)

2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper

4 slices stale white bread

½ cup catsup

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350º 

Sauté onion and garlic in butter until lightly browned.

In a large bowl, place ground meat.

Add onions, garlic, and1 Tbs. of the Worcestershire sauce.

Tear bread into 1” cubes and add to meat mixture, blend thoroughly.

Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray.

Lightly place meatloaf mixture into pan. Do not pack too tightly.

Mix remaining Worcestershire sauce with catsup, pour over meatloaf

Bake at 350º 35-45 minutes.

Allow to sit for 15 minutes before cutting.

This recipe makes a large meatloaf that will reheat for dinner and makes great sandwiches for lunch.

 

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