Comfort Food for Lunch

Sorry it’s been awhile since I’ve posted about cooking…It’s just been one of those few weeks. However, Sunday and Monday I did some cooking that I think is worthy of sharing about…

Sunday I woke up with great ambition. I woke up planning to make turkey sandwiches, curried squash soup, and wild rice for dinner. However, when I went to church I didn’t run into all the people I would generally run into and those who I did have plans. So, instead I went on a walk with a good friend, spent some time quilting, and then made only the turkey sandwiches.

Monday at lunch my co-workers and I discussed our weekends and when I brought up making the sandwiches, the question of the hour was why I didn’t bring them in…so I volunteered to bring lunch today. Invigorated, I made the wild rice, some banana bars to use up some old bananas, and as I was flipping through my family cookbook, I ran into a recipe from my great-grandmother for apple bars. Wanting to shake things up a bit, I brought those in as well.

While some of these recipes are new to my family, all of the recipes I made are what I consider comfort food. In the tradition of my extended family, I have always remembered my dad’s extended family joining together for the holidays. This no longer happens, but when I was younger, generally the majority of family gatherings happened within a 30 mile radius of the family homestead, a place where my godfather still lives, as several of my uncles had livestock who needed to be fed and taken care of. For the holiday gatherings that didn’t happen around planting or harvest, one of the two would be at my dad’s sister in the “city” but the majority of events happened down around the farm. We would gather together, spend the day, eat our big lunch of whatever, and then people would leave to do chores, and we would gather again at the end of the evening after chores had happened. We would have sandwiches or something along those lines. And, on Thanksgiving, this often meant the end of the night would include turkey sandwiches.

As far as the wild rice stuffing goes, it’s a recent addition to family recipes. I made it the first time a few years ago for Christmas with my godmother on my mom’s side. I’ve made it a few times since and every time I’ve made it, people have enjoyed. So, I decided to bring it for lunch today, which included putting it in the crockpot to heat it up, which went relatively well. I was worried about it drying out, but that was not an issue.

Banana Bars are something we’ve made at different points to provide a non-chocolate dessert option.

As I was looking through the family cookbook for recipes, I came across my great-grandmother’s recipe for Apple Oatmeal Bars. It was submitted my one of my favorite great-aunts. The last line lists that it was her mother’s recipe. After I found it, I called my dad and asked if he remembered those bars at all. But, he shared his grandmother passed away when he was really young and didn’t remember much about her not being sick. We discussed whether his mother made the bars or if it something he was familiar with at all, but we couldn’t come up to any conclusion whatsoever. They tasted great and it was wonderful to try something new.

Comfort lunch. It’s important now when the weather is changing and life is good. It’s about fellowship and family. Enjoy the recipes!

Hot Turkey Sandwiches

6 c cooked turkey or chicken

1 c mayonnaise (or less)

½ c chopped green pepper

1 ½ c chopped celery

¾ c chopped onion

1 can cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken)

3 c grated American cheese

Mix all together and heat at 400 for 1 hour. Serve in a bun or on toast.

Wild Rice Stuffing (recipe courtesy of cooking light)

1 ½ c chopped celery

1 c chopped onion

1 c uncooked wild rice

2 minced garlic cloves

4 c chicken broth

1 ½ Tbsp sage

1 c uncooked long grain brown rice

½ c dried cherries

½ c dried apricots

½ c chopped pecans

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

Heat Dutch oven over medium high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add celery, onion, wild rice, and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in broth and sage, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes. Stir in brown rice, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed (took 45-60 minutes last night). Remove from heat; let stand, covered, 10 min. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Apple Oatmeal Bars

1 c flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp soda

½ c brown sugar

1 c quick-cooking oatmeal

½ c shortening

2 ½ c sliced peeled apples

2 Tbsp butter

¾ c sugar

Sift together flour, salt, soda, brown sugar. Add oatmeal. Cut in shortening until crumbly. Spread half of mixture in greased 7×11” pan. Pat down. Arrange apples over crust, dot with butter, and sprinkle with sugar. Cover with remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour. This is Grandma Anderson’s recipe.

Delicious! — Don’t tell, but I added caramel bits to the top…just to change it up a bit!

P.S. Last post I neglected to give a shout-out to Kristachio for the Squash Enchilada recipe. She’s my former roommate and kicking it at grad school out in Boston right now. Without her, I never would have found the recipe. Thanks, Kristachio!

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