Comfort: to soothe, console, or reassure; bring cheer to; to make physically comfortable; encourage.
There is a lot of fodder for spiritual, medical, and even fashion discussion when comfort is the topic. The Bible describes God, in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 as “the God of all comfort.” In the Hippocratic Oath, doctors pledge to comfort and not harm their patients, and the desire for comfort has reduced fashion, in the eyes of many young women, to the public wearing of pajama pants because “they’re cute and comfy.”
This, however, is mostly a food blog. Therefore, I will share some thoughts with you about comfort food, and share a couple of recipes, too. 🙂
I asked on my Facebook page “What’s your favorite comfort food, and why? Does it remind you of a certain person or time in your life, or is there another reason?”
I got quite a few responses in a very short time. (We humans love to talk about food, don’t we?) I have a few observations about the responses that I got:
1. The vast majority of the responses cited a carbohydrate-based food as comfort food. (No one is comforted by a big, juicy Angus ribeye?)
2. Only three of thirteen who responded said that a sweet food was their comfort food.
3. Three of the thirteen specifically said macaroni & cheese was their favorite comfort food; one, my friend Amy who is Editor of IN Magazine in Tyler, said that the recipe I posted here on my blog for creamy macaroni and cheese is her “new go-t0 favorite, hands down.” (Thanks, Amy!)
4. The only mentions of meat were meats that were surrounded by delicious carbs: chicken and dumplings (Tiffany said they’re like “a hug from your mama!”) and pigs in blankets. (My clever friend Hope said that she loves pigs in blankets because “they’re the most comfortable food.”) 🙂
5. Potatoes are significant comfort foods for many: potato soup and mashed potatoes were mentioned as the most-loved comfort food for several friends.
6. Seven of the thirteen who responded mentioned family associations/childhood with the foods they considered comfort food. Food may not equal love, but it sure does play a part in our memories of being loved!
Many of my own memories of comfort food come from childhood; the spaghetti that my mom made us, as well as her tuna-noodle casserole and her hot biscuits. See? All carb-y foods. 🙂 They were so delicious! When things weren’t going so great in other areas of life, we could always count on the food being good, at least.
I was reading some posts by fellow food-bloggers today and came across a new recipe that I really do want to try. It looks completely easy, and it looks like it will be creamy and delicious! The recipe is on the Burnt Apple blog, complete with picture. I’ll just share the recipe for you here; after I make it for my guys, I’ll come back and give you what I’m sure will be a rave review!
(update: I made this tonight, and it was delectable! Creamy, delicious flavor, and totally devourable! I added sliced fresh mushrooms to the sauce, also, as we are all mushroom fans.)
Chicken Fettuccine Casserole
- 14 ounces whole wheat fettuccine pasta or whole wheat spaghetti noodles (I have to admit, I’d probably use regular semolina pasta, but whole wheat is so good for you….)
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream (can substitute Fat Free Half & Half or 1 or 2% milk; may be a bit less creamy)
- 1 cup 1% low-fat milk
- 2 cups cut chicken, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 cup reduced fat parmesan cheese
Cook noodles according to pkg directions, drain. Melt butter in large saucepan, blend in flour and seasonings. Cook over low heat stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat Stir in broth, cream, and milk. heat to boiling stirring constantly. Boil and stir for one minute. Stir in chicken and spaghetti. Pour into ungreased casserole dish. Sprinkle parmesan cheese evenly over top of casserole. Place in 9×13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees 20-30 minutes until bubbly in center and cheese becomes lightly browned.
Sounds delicious to me! Let me know if you try it, friends.
Now, for the sweets lovers who read my blog and who love cookies, I have a new cookie recipe to share with you! Maybe this will be your new comfort food, or you can make them yourself (or order them from me!) and they may be your child’s or grandchild’s favorite memory of comfort in your kitchen someday. 🙂
These peanut butter cookies are lovely and unique. Peanut butter cookies were a favorite thing for me to make with my mom when I was little; I used to want to do the fork criss-cross on the top of each one! You can do that to these, if you like. 🙂
Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook by Deb at the beautiful Smitten Kitchen blog
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature (smooth or crunchy, as you prefer)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
For sprinkling: 1 tablespoon sugar, regular or superfine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Place sprinkling sugar — the remaining tablespoon — on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a crisss-cross pattern (I used the back of a small offset spatula to keep it smooth on top), but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.
Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.
Doesn’t that sound fantastic?
I made these cookies today, and they went over very well with my boys! They do have a nice crispy edge and soft center when baked 1o minutes. We found we preferred to bake them for 7 1/2 minutes so they’d be even softer. Perfect.
Here are the ones I made:
The addition of the peanut butter chips is brilliant, and you can customize them by using the kind of chocolate chips that you prefer: milk, semi-sweet, or dark. I used Hershey’s Special Dark chips, and Reese’s peanut butter chips.
Ok, I suggest you get off your computer now, and go make these! You won’t regret it! 🙂 Let me know, if you do, how they turn out for you.
3 thoughts on “Comfort Food: Chicken fettuccine casserole”
Loved this post – I also run a Comfort Food blog and am fascinated with what people find comforting to eat. As you say – most of the time it’s not something sweet but quite often something that is loaded with carbs. Pasta, risotto, fresh bread etc. I think your cookies look gorgeous also – thanks for the post, it was really interesting 🙂