Tag Archives: comfort food

Batch Cooking on the Whole30: Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

After a couple weeks in the trenches, my biggest tip for navigating a Whole30 is to be prepared. It’s so important to have meals and foods in mind that you can turn to at a moment’s notice. That way you won’t hit the drive-thru or reach for the non-compliant convenience foods stashed in your pantry.

One of my go-to, make-at-the-drop-of-a-hat dinners for as long as I can remember is spaghetti. But, on the Whole30, a quick perusal of my grocery shelves put a kink in that plan. Most jars of pasta sauce contain sugar. So, stashing a few jars for quick week night meal solutions? That’s out for the time being.

Next best thing? Batch cooking my own! Here’s how I did it…

What you’ll need:

2 lbs of ground beef
3 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
2 onions, diced
1 10oz package of frozen spinach
2 Tbsp EVOO
3 tsp of minced garlic
1 tsp of lemon juice
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder

    

And how it all comes together:

– Heat your oil in a skillet over med-high. Add onions and cook until translucent.

– Add ground beef and cook through. Once the meat is no longer pink, drain the fat and add it to your slow cooker.

– Add the rest of your ingredients and give it all a good stir. Leave it to cook on high for 4 hours (or low for 8) and stir a few times throughout to make sure the spinach is well dispersed. (Sneaky micronutrients!)

– Serve over zoodles and sprinkle with nutritional yest! Save the rest for the freezer and pull it out the next time you need dinner in a pinch. Enjoy!

P.S. Other Finding Delight recipes

Recipe: Cheesy Cauliflower

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In Florida, the passing seasons aren’t marked by changes I’ve grown accustomed to. (Plummeting temperatures! Sweaters! Dreary rain all day!) However, I still find myself hankering for the sorts of foods that would warm you up on a cold, Autumn evening. Hearty vegetables and ooey-gooey cheeses. Whack ’em in the oven casseroles that smell delicious and warm up your whole house. This dish, adapted from Leanne Brown’s cookbook Good and Cheap, certainly fits the bill. And since it uses cauliflower as a base, one could argue that it’s basically the healthy alternative to mac and cheese! I’m excited to whip this one up again in a few weeks as a Thanksgiving side.

What you’ll need:

1 head of cauliflower

1 Tbsp butter

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 tsp chili flakes

1 Tbsp flour

1 1/2 cups milk

6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated

salt and pepper

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp paprika

breadcrumbs (optional)

scallions (optional)

And how it all comes together:

– Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

– Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat and chop your cauliflower into florets. Once water has boiled, add the cauliflower florets and a pinch of salt and allow to boil for 4 minutes.

– Butter a small casserole or pie dish. Drain the cauliflower and add it to the buttered dish.

– Next, melt your butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Add garlic and chili flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add flour and stir quickly for about a minute to allow your roux to get a bit brown. Slowly add your milk as you continue to stir. (Note: You may need to add a bit more flour or a bit more milk to reach your desired consistency.)

– Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring every once and awhile to insure the bottom of the saucepan doesn’t get scorched.

– As soon as the sauce reaches a boil turn off the heat and stir in your cheese. Add your mustard, paprika, and scallions. (Note: This is a really great cheese sauce recipe to have in your wheelhouse! Add it to noodles for creamy mac and cheese or to scalloped potatoes or chopped winter squash.) I also chopped up a few slices of deli turkey that I wanted to use up and threw ’em into the mix. Add what you have on hand: leftover cooked ham, bits of crispy bacon, peas, salsa…the skies the limit! Or, leave the cauliflower to speak for itself.

– Give the sauce a taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

– Pour the cheese sauce over your cauliflower and add breadcrumbs to the top, if you like. Bake for 40 minutes or until the top is bubbly and brown! Enjoy as a main dish (great casserole or mac and cheese substitute) with a green salad or as a hearty vegetable side with a yummy roast dinner.

Cooking up a taste of home.

cooking up a taste of home

The emotional power of food has long been of interest to me. You can learn so much about a person by seeing what comes out of their home kitchens. And even more watching what meals they turn to time and time again, what they cook to celebrate moments of triumph, the dishes they serve to ease a loved one’s heart break, food that feels comforting and comfortable. Certain tastes can cultivate memories, happy AND sad, traveling you through time and feelings and emotions until you reach home. Whatever home may mean to you.

Today, I’ve asked four ladies I admire to tell us about the meals they make to connect with their own feelings of home. Here’s what they had to say…

sheryl ravioli

“My dish is a Shiitake Marscapone Ravioli served with a savory sweet potato mash with pesto drizzle.  Raviolis really take me to my happy place.  Early on my Mom, Nana and Aunts would slave over making traditional raviolis for family gatherings.  I remember how labor intensive they were and coming from a large Italian American family there was no such thing as a small batch.  In an effort to get the same home made feeling without spending an entire day in the kitchen I discovered this fabulous recipe and tweaked it to suit my needs and level of laziness:).  My grandmother has influenced me as a home cook in so many ways, she has taught me to be innovative and versatile in the kitchen.  She has also ingrained a zero waste mentality (long before it was trendy) as she survived the great depression, among other hardships.  Growing up in the greater Boston area my heritage is considered a badge of honor, however I’ve come to love my life here in Lexington, KY and would wholeheartedly claim Kentucky as my home.” – Sheryl H.L.  (If you’re in the area, I HIGHLY recommend you visit Sheryl at Broomwagon, a bike and coffee shop in Lexington that frequently offers dishes with unique tastes of home.)

ashley sausage and cabbage

“Cabbage and smoked sausage, cooked with bacon grease and (hopefully) some sweet cornbread on the side. It reminds me of home; I remember my mom whipping up this quick, tasty, filling meal many a night throughout my childhood and even today when I cook it I think of her. This meal brings back memories of my dad too–it was the last meal I saw him eat before he passed away 15 years ago. Every time I eat it, I think of my family, my childhood…my home. I now live in Madison, Wisconsin, but am a Kentucky girl born and bred! I’m from Hodgenville–LaRue County for all my fellow Kentuckians.” Ashley L.

Katie buttermilk chicken

You would never know it from looking at me now, but growing up I played A LOT of sports. Swimming, tennis, cross county- you name it and I did it. I was always on the go and I was always STARVING. This unfortunately left my mother with the ridiculously extensive task of feeding me… as well as my three brothers. Needless to say, things had to get creative and foods had to be heavy. Growing up in Kentucky it wasn’t hard to find those “heavy” recipes, the recipes that contained more calories than most people eat in an entire week. Now that all of my brothers and myself are adults (ish) my mother wouldn’t go within 10 feet of these recipes but, these were the jackpot back in the day. The dish I have picked to share is Buttermilk Chicken. This particular food gives me the weirdest mix of “yum” and “ugh” feelings. My mom would make this for me after a long day of swim practices and I would come home, reeking of chlorine, and MOW DOWN at the kitchen table. So, “Yum” because it is delicious but “ugh” because I only remember getting it after several hours of exercise. Regardless of the “yum” and “ugh”, this meal brings back some great memories for me of home. When I was 15, going to bed with a full belly was pretty much all I needed. I currently live in Indianapolis, but this dish in particular reminds me that I will always consider Kentucky my home.” – Katie N. 

carrie spaghetti

When I search my feelings for the food that stirs up a sense of “home” the most, it’s definitely your standard, common spaghetti. Nothing exotic or elaborate– just the typical combination of tomato sauce and noodles. (My ideal bowl comes with a bit more sauce than noodle and plenty of toppings.) Growing up, my idea of “home” was ever-changing. Moves, divorces, remarriages, and more divorces made it difficult for me to tie the emotion of home to any specific place. Instead, it’s the people in my life that have created home for me. For some years I lived with my dad in my late grandfather’s home. He worked incredibly hard as a concrete finisher and sometimes throwing Ragu onto some al dente noodles was the best he could do for dinner. Spaghetti was our favorite meal and now when I visit CA to see him and my younger siblings, it’s the only meal we can agree on. I offer to cook so that I can make it a bit more nutritious and fun. It makes me think of gathering around my grandfather’s dining table that likely hasn’t been cleared off for a meal since I last visited. I think of laughing with them and the pleasure of seeing everyone’s plate totally clean within 5 minutes and full again with a second serving in 6. In my current home it is also an almost weekly choice for a meal. This photo is of a bowl we made last night to bring us comfort after a long weekend of wedding photography. It’s delicious, nostalgic, and you really can’t do it wrong. That’s my favorite kind of comfort food!” Carrie G. 

Thank you SO MUCH to these four wonderful women for sharing! I think you’re all fantastic and your meals sound like perfection on a plate (and give me ALL the feels). 

Now I’d love to know, what foods connect YOU to a feeling of home? Is it a dish passed down through the generations? A simple meal that tastes remarkably like childhood summer vacations? Share below!

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