Fall comfort foods make me think of candy corn and pumpkins. My husband and I would take our daughter to pumpkin patches when she was a young girl. These were special field trip days. She was homeschooled back then because of our RV lifestyle necessary for my husband’s job. There was no schoolwork done on those occasions. We would take a huge pumpkin back to the trailer, and I would boil the pumpkin and make homemade pumpkin bars, topping them with cream cheese.
Before the first day of fall, I’m already thinking of the season’s holidays and favorite recipes.Nostalgia fills the air as the temperatures begin to turn cool. Memories of fall festivals and holidays make me smile as I think of favorite foods and family gatherings. Cravings of comfort food have me turning the pages of my cookbooks, making me eager to start baking for the holidays.
Spending time with my family lately, I have enjoyed a few of my favorite foods. Three of them are chicken and dumplings, ribbon cane syrup (oh my! so good with hot biscuits and butter), and Blue Bell Ice Cream. Yes, Blue Bell is back. It’s a comfort food that always can be found in my family’s Texas freezer. My favorite is Homemade Vanilla, but I don’t think there’s any I don’t like.
Chicken and Dumplings
A bowl of chicken and dumplings hot off the stove makes a girl going home to see family feel nostalgic. You really don’t have to serve anything with it. It’s a meal in itself. Recently, I had the pleasure of spending a few days with my brother and sister-in-law. She made a huge pot of chicken and dumplings, salad, and steak. The steak and salad were mainly for my brother who is currently on a low-carb diet. Before I knew it, that big pot on the stove was empty! You see, they have five children and so many grandchildren I can’t count them all. While I was visiting, they came over a couple of evenings to eat dinner with us. Second helpings were not feasible with that many people. It was like a family reunion and fun. Chicken and dumplings can be made the old-fashioned way by rolling out the dough and slicing it into small pieces to drop into the boiling chicken broth. Or, it can be made the modern way – cut flour tortillas or canned biscuits into small pieces to use for the dumplings.
- 1 can chicken broth
- 1 whole chicken, boiled and deboned
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp. salt
- pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 8 oz. milk
- Boil chicken about 45 minutes.
- Remove chicken from pot, cool, and debone.
- Mix flour and salt in hot water.
- If needed, add a little extra flour so that dough won’t stick to hands.
- Roll out 1/3 of dough until thin, and cut in small pieces to drop into boiling broth.
- Mix in cornstarch, milk, soup, and deboned chicken – stir well.
- Pepper to taste.
- Cook until it steams, turn off the burner, and let it set for about 30 minutes.
I discovered one of my daughter’s comfort foods while visiting her. She cooked a thin steak, rice, and beans. Loaded with protein. Basmati rice is low in fat and sodium, no cholesterol. Nutritious. The steak tasted so good that after coming home from my visit, I went to the store for steak. Finding a thin chuck steak, I decided on a steak salad. If you’re thinking about a quick beef meal on the lighter side, try my easy recipe:
1 pkg. of 4 thin Chuck Steaks
Garlic and Pepper seasoning
Salt to taste
Spicy chili powder
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
Red Seedless Grapes, cut in half
Season the meat. Sear steak in hot olive oil on the stove. When done, cut in strips or bite-size pieces. Prepare the vegetables for the salad, mix the grapes in, and top with steak slices. Add croutons and salad dressing, and your meal is ready.
Comfort food is what makes us feel good. Not only does it delight our taste buds; our emotions are somehow lightened by memories of past joyful times when we ate the particular food bringing us the comfort. Maybe the recipe was a favorite prepared by your mother when you were a child, a holiday dessert always waiting for you when you arrived at your grandmother’s house on a holiday, or a simple savory soup you enjoyed as the weather turned cool.
Every time you prepare recipes favored by your family, you are creating a comfort memory for them. My mom passed in 2008, and there are times I want to talk to her so badly. Sometimes just making one of the foods she used to cook, baking her teacake recipe, or any of my favorite foods she made, will cause me to feel like she’s here with me. Her German Chocolate cake was what I liked best for a dessert. I like to use her special recipe but adapt it into cupcakes and share them with friends. By taking comfort memories like that and sharing with family and friends, you create joy for loved ones – and for yourself.
I’m joining Full Plate Thursday where you can find the best goodies.