February 1, 2012

Ella’s Kitchen

Comfort Food – We hear that term often associated when the weather turns cold and dreary. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the term was first used in 1977. It can be applied to give “comfort” for nostalgic, emotional or psychological reasons. Comfort food is also easy to prepare and easy to digest. So get comfortable and enjoy the recipes below.

[Ella can be contacted at ellaweeze@yahoo.com or Ella – 50+ Lifestyles, 804 W Lombard Street, Davenport, IA, 52804]


Tuscan Bean Soup
(a recipe given to me by my nephew)

1/2 cup kidney beans soaked overnight
1/2 cup cannellini beans soaked overnight
3 tablespoons olive oil,
1/2 pound diced bacon (omit if doing vegetarian)
2 cups diced yellow onions 1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots 4 cloves garlic, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can store-bought garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 quarts chicken stock or vegetable stock plus extra water if needed
2 sprigs rosemary 3 sprigs thyme
1 sprig oregano 1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 heads kale, stems removed and cut into bite size pieces

Place the kidney beans in a medium pot, add water to cover by 2-inches and bring to a boil. (If using canned kidney beans, skip this step.) Turn the heat down, let simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until just-tender. Use the same process for the cannellini beans. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bacon, rendering the fat and cooking until slightly crispy about 3 minutes. Saute the onion, celery, carrot and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and
freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Add the diced tomatoes, the cooked and drained kidney beans, cannelloni beans, garbanzo beans, and the chicken stock. Using kitchen twine, tie the herbs and the bay leaf into a bundle and add to the pot. Season with the red chili flakes, salt and pepper. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, then add the kale. Continue cooking until the beans are
completely tender.
Makes about 8 servings


Skillet Potato Salad

5 slices bacon
1 10.5-ounce can condensed cream of celery soup
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon instant minced onion 2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped canned pimiento 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1-pound cans sliced potatoes, drained 1 14-oz. bologna ring

Fry bacon till crisp; remove from skillet; drain and crumble. Drain off bacon fat and return 1 tablespoon to skillet. blend in soup, relish, onion, vinegar, salt and pimiento. cook and stir till mixture comes to boiling.
Gently stir in the sliced potatoes and all but about 1 tablespoon crumbled bacon. Score bologna ring and lay on top of salad in skillet; cover and simmer 10 minutes or till bologna is heated through. Sprinkle remaining bacon over top. Garnish with snipped parsley, if desired.
Serves 6.