Friday, August 20, 2010

Fabulous Friday Food - Comfort Food Edition

Dear Mom,

I'm coming home this weekend, and I'd like to place my order now. Chili. Sloppy Joes. Pot Roast. Chocolate Chip Cookies. Chocolate Cake. Homemade Ice Cream.

Thanks, and I'll see you this weekend!



I think the letter I sent from college went something like that. Not much how-are-you business going on. I was all about the food. Mom's food. Oh, how I missed it.

There was something just, well, comforting about my mom's cooking. Mom is the queen of comfort food.

As a young farmer's wife, my mom had to learn to do a lot with a little. The woman could make just about anything with a little ground beef and some imagination. And a can of soup? Whoo boy! A can of soup could put the entire meal over the top.

My mom is still a wonderful cook, and I love visiting her because I know--I KNOW!!--that when I walk into her house I will be hit with some delicious smell coming from her kitchen. For the first night, anyway. (Today, Mom is the queen of going out.) But on that first night, she will always have something delicious and comforting waiting for us.

It won't surprise you, then, that I got this comforting recipe from my mom. I think her mom probably made it when she was a little girl--all of the ingredients would have been readily available even back then.

My family calls this "Homemade Hamburger Helper" because it kind of is like that, only much, much better. Sure, it's got the ground beef and the noodles and the cheese, but that's where the similarities stop. It doesn't have the MSG and the polysorbatewhatchamacallit or the high fructose thingamajigs. It's just good food.

This is what I make when I have PMS or when it's getting cold out or when I just need a little comfort in my life.

So here we go. Your ingredient list is pretty small, so pull together some ground beef, an onion, green pepper, celery, a can of tomato soup, a can of corn, and some noodles. That's basically it.

Oh, and there's one little not-so-gourmet ingredient that embarrasses me just to put on my blog that I'll tell you about later.

First thing you do is brown the ground beef together with the onion, green pepper, and celery. I'm not showing you a picture of this because, frankly, browned ground beef in a pan looks kind of gross.

After you drain the meat, add a can of tomato soup, 1 1/2 cans of water, 1 can of corn (drained), and some salt and pepper.

Here's what it will all look like.

Oh, and don't forget to add the 2 cups of dry noodles. Stir them in, even though it doesn't look like you are supposed to do that.

Simmer everything together for about a half an hour.

Place the mixture in a pretty casserole dish (because we all know how I feel about pretty dishes).

Now comes the embarrassing part. You have to top the whole thing with sliced Velveeta cheese. I know, I know. The only, and I repeat ONLY, time I buy Velveeta is when I make this casserole. You could try cheddar cheese, but it won't melt into the noodles in quite the same way that Velveeta will.

But go ahead. Try it with cheddar if you must. If you're a food snob or something like that.

But remember, the best part about the Velveeta is the grilled cheese sandwich you can make with the leftover cheese (is it cheese? Or should I just call it "product"?). There's just something about a grilled cheese sandwich made with Velveeta.

Anyway, slice the Velveeta and place it on top of the ground beef mixture. Then bake it for about a half an hour.

See how the cheese just melts all over? Mmmmmm.

So there you have it--Sunday Night Supper. Even a comforting name.

Sunday Night Supper

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 large green pepper, diced
1 Cup celery, diced

Brown all of the above together; drain. Then add:

1 can tomato soup
1 1/2 cans water
1 can corn, drained
2 cups dry egg noodles
salt and pepper to taste

Simmer for about 1/2 hour, then top with Velveeta. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

And there you have it, comfort in a beautiful dish. Hope you enjoy it!

Now tell me, what fabulous food will you be making/eating this weekend?



  1. I bet that is DELICIOUS!!!! And I know what you mean about Velveeta. It's kind of that "mystery product" but NOTHING melts like it :0! Hope all is well with your daughter at college!

  2. I use Velveeta for mac & cheese - at my husband's request. I prefer Cheese Whiz, though. It's more yellow and what my mom used. I know. They're both gross, but still kind of good. :)

  3. That looks delicious...and fast and easy, two musts for me these days. I think I will have to try that out next week, thanks!

  4. Before I even got to the surprise ingredient, I knew...I KNEW it was going to be Velveeta!!! looks great!

  5. Yummy!!! I'm totally gonna have to try this! Looks sooooo good AND easy! Two thinks I love when I'm cooking :)

  6. You are all making me laugh. Thanks for the great comments today!

  7. Velveeta's not a gourmet product? Who knew? :v)

    Sounds totally delicious and comforting. What am I cooking? Nothing. After driving 7 hours straight through yesterday I am too tired and there are no groceries in the house. Thank goodness I have a wedding today so we can eat there. LOL.

  8. Hey, Susanne, those weddings come in handy sometimes, don't they?! ;)

  9. Shelly, Before my granddaughter Rose left for college she told me about your blog and requested I follow it for her. I had no idea she had been reading your blog. I understand now after reading your writings. Thank you for making a difference in my child's life. Rose called me Friday night wanting the recipe for our no bake chocolate cookies. She and her roommate were going to make them. My baby is on her journey to becoming a doctor and I am so proud. I have raised Rose alone since she was 4 years old. She is my life and such a wonderful child. I have terminal bone cancer. I insisted Rose not delay her education on my account. Everyday is a battle for me. My strength comes from God. In 2003, I lost all my life savings because of Carolina Investors, as did many people. We lost our home but I rented a smaller house that served a purpose. I still managed to see that Rose went on mission trips, school trips and we kept our dignity. The day after Rose left for the university, my daughter informed me I had 2 choices. I could either move in with my oldest granddaughter and her husband or be put in a nursing home. I wanted neither. She left me with no choice. Yesterday, I watched as they sold all my belongings to strangers and I begged for one last night in my house alone. Today I have to leave and go to my granddaughter's home. I dread it so much. Rose doesn't know as I haven't decided how to tell her. I won't have internet until the first of the month. Shelly, thank you for your wisdom and your humor. If you will keep me in your prayers. I trust in God and without Him, I'd be nothing. I believe in prayer. May God bless you. Wheaton is an amazing school and I know your Kate will thrive there. Bless you