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Comfort food from mamma’s kitchen

By Dina Boucher

Published 11:22 PDT, Fri May 10, 2024

The media has left no stone unturned when it comes to reporting the rising cost of groceries. I look back at the fact that both my mom and my dad grew up in big families of eight brothers and sisters and both of their fathers were the only breadwinner. One has to be amazed at how they ever managed but they all grew up pretty healthy. Sundays were always a big family dinner for our family of six and my parents who cooked together always prepared more than needed so that several more meals could be prepared for the following week from all the leftovers. 

So many of their recipes were hearty, healthy and full of flavour. My dad was a butcher by trade, he was also a great chef so I learned at the early age of 12 how to cook farm style. My dad loved to bake so at the age of 12 I learned how to bake pies and cakes. It’s my pleasure to share recipes that have been handed down from my parents which I like to refer to as 

• affordable-hearty comfort food and 

• how to stretch your food budget.

Today as a senior citizen, I find it challenging shopping for two adults. I buy (at Costco) two very small eye-of-the round roasts in a package, the reason, there’s so little fat and therefore little to no shrinkage. 

Step one prepare roast:

• Rub salt, pepper and garlic salt on all sides

• Roasting pan add one cup of water and one cup chopped onion

• Pinch of salt and pepper

• Keep cooked liquid to make your favourite gravy

• Preheat oven 350 degrees and cook roast for two hours

One small roast will provide 4 dinners and still have 30 per cent of the meat left over with gravy to prepare the following meals. 

• Dinner number one - sliced roast beef, potatoes and turnip with gravy. 

o Boiled Potatoes whipped with butter (cook enough for leftovers)

o Boiled Turnip whipped with butter and brown sugar (cook enough for leftovers)

• Dinner number two—hot roast beef open face sandwich with hot gravy and coleslaw. 

• Dinner number three—blend leftover potatoes and turnip with butter, add a small can of kernel corn (drained) and fry all ingredients together, it’s flavourful and filling.

• Dinner number 4—with 30 per cent of the eye-of-the-round roast left I like to make a beef stew that provides 8 more meals that can be frozen or shared with a neighbour under the weather. This is why I refer to it as comfort food. 

Some people buy stewing beef (an inexpensive cut of meat) but because of no shrinkage with the eye-of-the-round roast it goes a long way and is a tender addition to this recipe. 

Preparation of homemade beef stew:

• Put left over gravy in a large pot—add

• 1 small can tomato paste or 1/3 cup of ketchup

• 1 can of vegetable soup for added gravy flavour

• 1 cup of water and mix all ingredients over low temperature

• Cut left over roast beef into small squares 2 cups

o If there is a little meat still left, add it to the stew

• 1 cup of chopped onion

• 2 cups of chopped celery

• 3 cups of sliced carrots (frozen or garden fresh)

• Wash and peel 4 average size potatoes, cut in small squares

• In a separate pot add water and boil the potatoes to semi cooked

• Do not cook potatoes until tender, they will cook in the stew

• Drain the potatoes add to stew

• Boil in a separate pot of water, semi cook 1 cup of macaroni or penne noodles

• Do not cook macaroni until tender, they will cook in the stew

• Drain and add to stew

• A pinch of salt and pepper

• Under low heat simmer the stew stirring constantly

• Continue cooking and stirring for two hours 

• Turn the heat off, cover the pot with a lid and let the flavours blend

• Stir occasionally until ready to serve

• Serve with buttered dinner rolls 

Note, this is a recipe that you can add as many vegetables as you like, it’s whatever satisfies your taste buds and your budget. 

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