Saturday, October 11, 2008

Comfort Foods... What's Yours?

As my daughter and I were driving home from a football game this past week, I asked her what she wanted for dinner. It was one of those rare nights when my husband is out of town and it's up to me to put dinner on the table. Now, granted, I'm not a great cook, but I did learn a new dish this past summer that is delicious (thank you, Paula Dean), and I can put some tasty vegetables on the table, but my daughter knew just what she wanted.

"Red Noodle Soup," she said without an ounce of hesitation in her voice.

"Are you sure?" I asked. This would be pasta night #2 if we went with Red Noodle Soup.

"Yes," she replied. "Definitely."

When most people hear what the ingredients are for my family's own Red Noodle Soup recipe, they make faces. Sometimes they even vocalize their distaste with a "yuck." But for my daughter, Red Noodle Soup is comfort food. It's what we eat when her dad's away. It's a Saturday lunch. It's comfort.

It's what I ate as a kid -- probably because my mother had worked hard all day and didn't have the energy or the time to put a meal on the table. Perhaps it was all my sisters and I knew how to cook. At least it has seemed that way as I've gotten older and acknowledged, regretfully, my shortcomings in the kitchen.

And fortunately for my daughter, its three ingredients place it directly where it needs to be on the food pyramid. It's healthy. Really. It counts as a grain, it doubles as a powerful cancer-fighting antioxidant and fruit, and it's a dairy product.
  • 3/4 of a box of sea shell noodles (too many and it doesn't leave enough sauce) Why sea shells? They hold the sauce in them like tiny cups. When you bite into a sea shell, you get to savor the flavor of the sauce as it seeps out. Preferred brand: Mueller's. (Yes, there's a difference).

  • 1 16-ounce can of tomato sauce (it can't have oregano or basil or any other added ingredients... it can't be stewed tomatoes or anything resembling a jar of spaghetti sauce. Only tomato sauce. Preferred brand: Hunt's.
  • A dollop (rather big) of butter or a butter-wanna-be.

I saw that! You scrunched up your nose and nearly said, "yuck." But I urge you to not turn your back on my daughter's comfort food unless you try it first.

Now, I certainly claim Red Noodle Soup as a comfort food, but for me, creamed potatoes rank at the top of my list. ... a side dish my mother always cooked for me when she knew I was going to be driving up for a visit. ... Not too creamy, though. Probably "mashed" is more like it. Just chunky enough to let me know that real potatoes were washed and peeled and cut and boiled and mashed... not some fake flakes packaged in a box.

So what's your comfort food? What do your children ask for when it's just you and them scraping together a quick dinner? I want to know... And, as you can guess, I can use a few recipes, too!


miruspeg said...

My comfort food is very similar to yours but simplier to prepare......seashell pasta, small tin basil and tomato tuna, grated cheese, and cherry tomatoes on the be enjoyed with a glass of white wine....yum!
I do very little cooking, its not that I can't cook, I just don't find much enjoyment cooking and my neighbour next door John loves cooking and is always sending meals my way. In return I mow his lawn.
Another favourite is natural yogart, grapes, banana, mandarin and mixed nuts.
Take care

AVT Coach said...

This sounds just unique enough for me to give it a try!
When our girls come home for dinner they request their favorite noodle casserole. They say it reminds them of their childhood. It reminds me of when we had less money. Anyway, You add prepared noodles, chicken, cream of mushroom or celery and cream of chicken soup, lots of cheese, mix and bake with a ton of crushed regular fattening pototo chips on top. That is comfort food for them. We only make it now when they come home. My husband has honed his cooking skills thanks to Rachel Ray and Mr. Food so we actually have much better comfort food with just the two of us at home. Actually just the words "comfort food" caused a twinge in my stomach today wishing comfort food would actually do that an make everything difficult really disappear. Thanks for the post!

mommy2twinkies-Deb said...

Your daughter looks so pretty in that photo. Sounds wonderful. I'll give it a try. Perhaps Little Man will find something else he likes to eat other than yogurt. My comfort food is pasta (cooked or uncooked... I KNOW!!) :-)

Octamom said...

I'm gonna have to go with fried cheese sticks with marinara sauce--hot, ooeey-gooey melted cheese, the slightly acidic bite of the tomato sauce---ahhhhhhh. It calms my raging hormones.....


Caroline said...

I love comfort food...mashed potatoes are a big favorite! Basically any kind of warm crusty bread with lot's of butter...yum! I also love stew...warm, rich and hearty. Ummmmm. I think I will make that for dinner tonight!

Living Balanced said...

My comfort food is chocolate. I try not to eat it too often though. All those calories, darn. T

Inga's 8th day of the week said...

Just made my comfort food tonight; Loaded Baked Potato soup. Unfortunately this is not the healthiest choice. I like how my teenage son prepares the toppings while I assemble the soup base. Maybe it's the process I find comforting since that is time I get to spend with him, talking about life, friends & dreams.

Other foods that make me smile (and my tummy, too!)
* raspberries
* Pistachios
* Chili (again see above)
* M & M's (Love the natural portion control!)
* Ben & Jerry's Vermonty Python (who can resist the chocolate cows?!)
* Trader Joe's Chai Latte
* Steak Diane (a dish that my father used to make years ago). We make it on Father's Day & his birthday.

Thanks for the compliments on my blog LO, wasn't my design (just my discovery) through Blogger templates. I like the design not only because of its "notebook" format, it inspires me to work a bit more regularly on my scrapbooks.

Mariel said...

I could eat mashed potatoes and gravy for every meal! Luckily, I don't...but I sure want to!!

I have a good handful of super yummy recipes on my