What is it about comfort food that makes everything seem right with the world? Sometimes when I am feeling a bit melancholy I make comfort food as a way to lift my spirits.
Do you have favorite dishes you make that you consider comfort food? I’m sure this is probably something we all find comfort in. Maybe that’s why it’s called comfort food?!
Since I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in March, I have felt the need to make LOTS of comfort food. Now with summer right around the corner, I find myself wandering down memory lane as well.
Just the other night as I was closing up my shed, I saw a lightning bug blink just a few feet from me! Even at my age, there is just something so magical about that flash of light!
As you can see, I haven’t quite grown up…I still like to catch them! To me, lightning bugs have always represented the start of summer.
As a child, we would catch lightning bugs and put them in a large jar we had made just for them. The lid had several small holes in it for ventilation. We would add a few sticks and leaves for them to rest on as well. It was always fun to watch them light up while we fell asleep. The first thing in the morning we would set them free.
Summer Time at the Lake
As kids, my siblings and I spent quite a bit of time during the summer at my grandparent’s home. Needless to say, we LOVED it! They lived on a lake in Michigan and had a Christmas tree farm. Their house was less than an hour away, but it always seemed like such an adventure when we would go to visit during the summer.
To this day, when the four of us are together, we reminisce about those unforgettable summers. Sure, we worked hard helping out with the Christmas tree, but we also had fun! There were many relaxing pontoon rides, trips to the movies, and lots of love.
My Gram was an inventive cook and had the amazing ability to make something from nothing! I’m sure she learned this resourcefulness during the depression. Gram worked in a cafeteria for many years and probably picked up a few tricks of the trade there as well! We were lucky because we were the recipients of her remarkable cooking skills!
Who’s Recipe Was It Anyway?
I contacted my sisters recently as I wasn’t sure if this recipe originated with Gram or our Mom. We all came to the same conclusion that indeed, it was Gram. We remembered enjoying this at the lake more than at home. Though we do remember our Mom making it occasionally. I’m sure Mom probably learned it from Gram! 😉
I don’t think this recipe ever had a name. From what I remember, there was never a written recipe for this either. It was just something we watched or helped make many times. So, I guess I will call it Gram’s Comfort Food!
I’m sorry, but I have no idea how many calories per serving or anything like that is in this recipe. I just know it’s REALLY GOOD! You can delete or add ingredients to your liking, but this is pretty much how I’ve always made it. My sisters have their own version of this recipe as well and we all enjoy it no matter who makes it, as it’s all based on the same simple recipe.
This makes 4 generous servings. Fresh bread or cornbread are also delicious served with this. Generally, for a side dish, I make a green vegetable of some sort or a nice salad.
I try to use organic options when I cook. The seasoning tastes best when you can use fresh, but dried herbs work just as well. Add these in amounts as per your taste. The measurements below just happen to be what I use.
As far as bouillon goes, in my opinion, Better Than Bouillon is an excellent product. It is an easy to use paste and the flavor is fantastic! And I love that they have an organic option!
Gram’s Comfort Food
- 1 lb – lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
- 14.5 oz can – diced tomatoes (do not drain)
- 1 – large onion chopped (I use sweet)
- 1 to 2 – generous teaspoon(s) minced garlic (can use powdered if you prefer)
- 3 – large potatoes peeled and thinly sliced (any type can be used) I used russet this time
For the 3 fresh herbs at the top of the list below, I generally use 2 to 3 sprigs of each (see the photo for reference). Rinse, remove stems and chop to the desired size.
- 2 – bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon – red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 teaspoons – beef bouillon, this gives a meaty flavor (optional)
- 1 cup – water
In a medium sized fry pan, start browning the ground beef on medium-high. Add salt and pepper. Break the meat up with a spatula as you brown it. I don’t have to drain the burger since I use lean meat.
While the meat is browning, chop up the onion, prep the potatoes and fresh herbs, set aside.
When the meat is just about done, add your chopped onion, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes if you are using them. Mix all this together. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for about 5 minutes or until the onion is browned slightly to increases its flavor.
Once the meat mixture is done, add the sliced potatoes, folding in gently. Add the water and the bay leaves. Cover and continue cooking at medium-low for about 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are just about done. To test for doneness, pierce a slice gently with a fork, it should give slightly, but not come apart.
Finish Adding the Ingredients
When the potatoes are just about done, add the can of diced tomatoes, fresh herbs, and the beef bouillon if you are using it. FYI – Do NOT add the tomatoes prior to this point as it prevents the potatoes from cooking properly.
Mix together gently. Cover and simmer on low for an addition 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let rest for about 10 minutes more. Give it a taste to see if you need to add any additional seasoning.
Remember to remove and discard the bay leaves prior to serving.
Usually, I prepare the vegetable for the side dish, right after I add the tomatoes to this recipe. This allows everything to get done at the same time.
This time, I prepared broccoli. I take the thicker stems and peel off the tough outer layer then slice it and add it to the pot. These are very tender when peeled and taste delicious! As you can see, Festus and Dale love broccoli and always enjoy a bit of the stem when I prepare it!
Serve and Enjoy!
You can also top it with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for a tasty addition. The leftovers from this are fantastic as it reheats nicely and the flavor is just as delicious.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Please let me know if you make this for your family! I would love to hear how it comes out and if you did or didn’t like it.
If you have any recipes for comfort food and would like to share them with me that would be great! I am always looking for new recipes to try.
Also, do you call these flashing insects fireflies or lightning bugs? Reply in the comments below to let me know!
So what’s next on the blog?
How I redid my laundry room from a dreary and boring space to one that is bright and cheerful! Even Mr. Man likes doing laundry in there now! I hope you will join me then! As always, thanks for following along!
P.S. I also hope to be offering you a printable soon and will email that to you if you are already a subscriber!