The onset of comfort foods

As October approaches, my kitchen becomes a place of comfort. Throughout the fall and winter we cook dishes that take a long time to cook, and I love how the warmth from a simmering soup on the stove can fog up the windows throughout our house. 

This first recipe is a favorite in my house. There is a Chinese restaurant in Alpena that serves this soup, and somehow my mother got her hands on the recipe. Once word got out on Facebook that I had a recipe for this soup I was bombarded with requests from hometown friends who had moved away to share it. Trust me, it is delicious!

Russian Soup

Double this for a HUGE pot.

  • 2-3 lbs stew beef
  • 1 1/2 Qt H2O
  • Med onion chopped
  • 2 t Worchestershire sauce
  • 6 cubes beef bullion
  • garlic powder to taste
  • 1-3 sliced carrots
  • 1/2-1 head cabbage (med)
  • 3/4 c. Western salad dressing
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 4t soy sauce
  • 1/8 t white pepper
  • 2 cubed potatoes

Bring everything but potatoes and cabbage to boil, add potatoes. Simmer 2-3 hours. Add cabbage 30-45 min before serving

Lentil Soup with Mustard Greens

Original post:

Yield: 8-10 servings / Prep Time: 10 minutes / Cook Time: 45-60 minutes

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 3/4 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 9 cups water or stock
  • 4 cups mustard greens, stemmed and torn
  1. Heat olive oil in your soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent (~5 minuties).
  2. Add water and the remaining ingredients to the pot.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
  4. Simmer for 30-35 minutes, until lentils are tender.

Beet and Fennel Soup with Kefir

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped fennel bulb
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 large (2 1/2-to 3-inch-diameter) beets, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup unflavored kefir
  • Additional unflavored kefir
  • Fennel fronds (for garnish)

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion, chopped fennel, and fennel seeds. Sauté until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add cubed beets and stir to coat. Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until beets are tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Puree soup in batches in blender. Return to same saucepan. Whisk in 1 cup unflavored kefir and season soup with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Rewarm soup.

Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with additional unflavored kefir; garnish with fennel fronds.

My husband hates cauliflower. I made this dish one evening before he got home and he raved and raved about how delicious it was. This is  a great Indian side dish, and a good

Indian Cauliflower Mash, or Aloo Gobi Mash
Original post:

  • 1 cauliflower head, cut into large florets
  • 4 small potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • small piece of fresh ginger, ginger and finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red chile, finely chopped
  • 11/2 tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • extra chile powder, optional *
  • salt & ground black to taste
  • finely chopped chives, chiles and/or fresh cilantro to top, optional

 Boil the cauliflower and potatoes until tender. Drain and set aside. Heat the oil and cook the onion until soft and translucent. Add the ginger, garlic and chile and saute for another 3 minutes. Place the boiled cauliflower and potatoes into the pan. Add the remaining spices to the pan. Use a potato masher and mash until the vegetables have broken up into a thick mash. I left a few chunks of both the potatoes and cauliflower for a chunky texture. Stir to combine all ingredients well, and cook for another 10 minutes.

Since I included a recipe that won my husband over, this is a great way to get my kid to eat squash. We froze this in individual servings for a quick kid-lunch.

Dreamy “Mac & Cheese” Spaghetti Squash

Original Source:


  • 1/2 Tbsp flour
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk (1%)
  • 1/4 cup Tex Mex blend shredded cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups spaghetti squash, cooked
  • 1 slice green pepper, finely diced
  • 1 green onion, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp frozen peas
  • 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded


Preheat oven to 350. Spray a small casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, whisk together flour and salt & pepper. Slowly whisk in milk until smooth. Cook and stir until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in Tex-Mex cheese until melted and smooth.


That’s it for this week. Cheers!

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3 Responses to The onset of comfort foods

  1. Liz Coleman-Smith says:

    I’m looking forward to trying the Russian Soup recipe (as well as the others posted here). I don’t buy much salad dressing and when I looked for the Western Dressing, the first ingredient was high fructose corn syrup. Did not buy it. I found a recipe for a homemade version. Here it is in case anyone else might be interested. – Liz Coleman-Smith

    1 cup sugar or 1 cup sucanat
    1 cup canola oil
    1/2 cup cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 cup organic catsup (doesn’t have high fructose)
    4 teaspoons onions, grated or 4 teaspoons dry onion flakes
    1 teaspoon garlic, minced
    1/2 teaspoon real salt
    Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth. Makes about 4 cups.

  2. beckyblack53 says:

    Awesome!!!! Thank you for posting this!

  3. Becky I just dug out that recipe last week and made it! 🙂 last time I left out the western dressing, but this time added it… You DO have to add it! So so good! 🙂 although mike says they never used it, but he can’t remember how they made it 🙂 thanks of sharing it again!!

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