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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Comfort Foods For The “Blues” This Weekend

By Sherrie Norris

With howling March winds and even a little snow and freezing temperatures welcoming the first week of Spring, we’re still in “comfort food” mode here in the High Country. 

I am usually uncovering the grills by now for the season, but I think it’s safe to say that we can stretch out a few more winter dishes and casseroles before trading them in for lighter meals.

There’s nothing much more comforting than a good pot of soup or chili that’s been simmering on the stove or in the crockpot on a chilly day. And, I believe this coming weekend, at least on Saturday evening, will be a perfect time for a big bowl of goodness and plenty of snacks to help us through the Final Four.

While not a huge sports fan, I, too, will probably be joining the throngs for that big ball game shrouded in various shades of blue this weekend.

History in the making, so let’s make it as “comforting” as possible. Sadly, one group will need even more comfort on Sunday. Wonder which it will be?

Crockpot Chicken Chili

2 cans Great Northern or navy beans

1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice

2 tsp. chicken base or bouillon

1 tsp. chili powder

½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. ground cumin

1 can (4 oz.) chopped mild green chilies

2 cups cooked chicken

1 cup corn kernels, optional

Combine all ingredients in crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours. Serve with corn bread or crackers

Quick Taco Soup

Easy to make and feeds a large crowd. 

2 lbs. ground chuck

1 med. onion, chopped or diced

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 pkg. Taco seasoning

2 cans chili beans

2 cans Mexi-corn

1 can diced tomatoes or Rotel

1 can tomato sauce

1 lg. jar of salsa or picante sauce

1 can black beans

Additional seasonings, to taste.

Saute onions and celery in a little oil, until tender. Add beef and cook until done. Mix with remaining ingredients in large pot and simmer about 45 minutes to 1 hour. May add water if soup is too thick.

Half-Time Hot Dog Rolls 

2 (8 oz.) cans refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

8 cheese-filled or regular-wieners, cut in half

Heat oven to 375F. Separate dough into 8 rectangles.  Cut each rectangle in half length-wise. Place a wiener half lengthwise on 1 end of dough strip. Fold dough in half over wiener; press short edges to seal, leaving sides open. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375F for 11-13 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with choice of condiments for dipping.

Yield 16

Quick Ritz Cookies

Ritz crackers

Peanut Butter

Candy coating, color of favorite team (blue or blue?)

Make a sandwich out of the crackers and peanut butter. Melt candy coating and dip crackers. You will be pleasantly surprised at the taste. Make plenty,  they disappear like magic. 

Mexican Cornbread

1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

¾ cup buttermilk

1/3  cup oil

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 (8.5 oz.) can cream style corn

1 small can chopped green chilies

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

Heat oven to 375. Generously grease casserole dish. In large bowl, combine cheese, buttermilk, oil, eggs, corn and chilies; mix well. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup, level off. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mix well. Add to liquid ingredients; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes or until deep golden brown and toothpick in center comes out clean. Serve warm.  

Layered Blueberries And Cream 

Angel food cake mix

1 container Cool Whip

1 can or 2 cups home-made blueberry pie filling

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

½ cup powdered sugar

Prepare angel food cake as directed (or purchase one from bakery). Slice into three layers. Beat cream cheese and sugar together, fold in Cool Whip, adding 3 or 4 spoons of pie filling, and cover each layer. Frost top of cake with cream cheese mixture, and spoon remaining blueberry filling over cake, allowing it to dribble over the sides.

Note: This might be on the “darker” side of blue. Just sayin’.