3 classic comfort food recipes to cure the winter blues

With many atmospheric riversheavy snowfall and record cold temperatures across British Columbia, it’s overwhelmingly clear that winter is here – and in full force.

The natural response to unfamiliar weather outside is to hide out and make yourself comfortable at home. And what better way to stay warm and dry – while still looking interesting – than by trying a new recipe?

To make the most of this brutal winter, we are revisiting the comfort food classics with three recipes of Canadian beef: Stovetop Sloppy Joes, Swedish Meatballs and Stuffed peppers – dishes that are sure to spice up your average evening.

Classic Stovetop Sloppy Joes

Classic Stovetop Sloppy Joes (Canadian Beef)

Let’s be real, who doesn’t love a good old Sloppy Joe? Rich, flavorful beef cradled on a warm, doughy bun has got to be one of the most comforting meals ever.

This one is also great because you can pair it with a classic side dish of potato chips and dill pickles, or swap it out for veggies or a salad to balance out the dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 C. (15 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 package (227 g) sliced ​​mushrooms, diced
  • 1 lb (500 g) lean Canadian ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 sweet green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 C. (15 ml) minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 1 C. 1/2 tsp (5 mL) salt
  • ½ tsp. (2 ml) pepper
  • 1 cup (250ml) tomato sauce
  • ⅓ cup (75 mL) tomato paste
  • 1 C. 1/2 tsp (5 mL) granulated sugar (optional)
  • 8 hamburger buns (soft buns like brioche)
  • grated or sliced ​​cheddar or mozzarella cheese

Method

  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until golden brown (about five to eight minutes). Add ground beef, onion, celery, green pepper, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are softened. Drain, if necessary.
  2. Stir in tomato sauce and paste; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Taste and add sugar, if necessary.
  3. Place the buns cut side up on a baking sheet. Top each bread lid with grated cheese. Broil for two to four minutes to melt the cheese and toast the bottom buns.
  4. To serve, place bottoms of buns on serving plates, spoon meat mixture over each bun and cover with bun lid.

Tips

If you have leftover Sloppy Joe topping, it’s great as a poutine topping or for serving over baked potatoes, pasta noodles or in warmed taco shells.

If you’re looking for a great way to add more protein to a salad, try serving leftover Sloppy Joe topping over hearty romaine lettuce.

Classic Swedish Meatballs

Classic Swedish Meatballs (Canadian Beef)

This recipe is sure to strike a nostalgic chord for anyone who enjoyed the sporadic trip to a certain furniture store. Easy to assemble and a perfect match over a pile of mashed potatoes or on top of spaghetti, Swedish Meatballs are always a crowd pleaser (even if the crowd is just you in your apartment).

Ingredients

  • 2 large shallots, grated

  • 1 egg

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) panko breadcrumbs

  • ½ teaspoon (2 ml) garlic powder

  • ¼ tsp. tsp (1 ml) ground allspice and nutmeg

  • salt and pepper

  • 1 lb (500 g) lean Canadian ground beef

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, divided

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) butter

  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) all purpose flour

  • 2 cups (500 ml) Beef broth

  • ½ cup (125 ml) half and half cream

  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) Dijon’s mustard

  • fresh parsley, chopped

  • lingonberry jam or cranberry sauce

Method

  1. Combine shallots, egg, panko, garlic powder, allspice, nutmeg, ½ tsp. tsp (2 ml) salt and ⅛ tsp. tsp (0.5 ml) pepper. Gently fold in the ground beef with a fork (be careful not to overmix). Roll the meat mixture into 12 large meatballs and place on a plate. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to two hours to help the meatballs hold their shape.
  2. Heat a tablespoon (15 ml) oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add half the meatballs and cook for about eight minutes, turning, until browned on all sides. Transfer to a baking dish. Repeat with remaining oil and meatballs. Reserve the skillet.
  3. Cover and bake in preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a digital instant-read thermometer inserted into several meatballs registers 160°F.
  4. Meanwhile, return skillet to medium heat, add butter and stir to melt. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring for one minute. Gradually stir in beef broth and bring to a boil. Cook, whisking, for one to two minutes or until the mixture has thickened slightly. Whip cream, Worcestershire and Dijon; Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Return the meatballs and any juices to the sauce. Simmer for five minutes, until the flavors are blended.
  6. Serve garnished with parsley and jam on the side.

Tips

Meatballs are also great served over rice, couscous or quinoa.

Classic Stuffed Peppers

Classic Stuffed Peppers (Classic Stuffed Peppers)

How do you make eating vegetables more fun, you might be wondering? Well, we suggest filling them with good stuff, like beef, rice, cheese, and tomatoes.

The subtle sweetness of the peppers complements the richness of the beef for an ultra-satisfying meal. And on top of how great this dish tastes, we always love a bright and colorful meal to feed our eyes too.

Ingredients

  • 6 large bell peppers of any color
  • 1 lb (500 g) lean Canadian ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 box (796 ml) diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) dried basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon (15 ml) salt
  • ¼ tsp. tsp (1 ml) pepper
  • 1 cup (250 ml) cooked long grain rice
  • ¾ cup (175 ml) grated mozzarella or cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh parsley, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Cut the cap off the peppers (reserve the cap). Remove seeds and membranes. Cut a small portion off the bottom of the peppers so they can stand up straight – make sure you don’t cut into the inside. Stand peppers upright in 9×13-inch baking dish; put aside. Dice the tops of the peppers – discarding the stems – and set aside.
  3. Brown the reserved beef, onions, garlic and peppers in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking them up with a wooden spoon as they cook, for eight to 10 minutes, until tender. meat is well cooked and vegetables are soft. Drain and return to the stove.
  4. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, salt and pepper; to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice and heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Stuff each pepper with ground beef mixture. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle each pepper with cheese and bake for another 10 minutes or until peppers are tender and cheese is melted. Serve garnished with parsley if desired.

Tips

To save time, place the cut tops in a microwave-safe dish with ¼ cup of water in the bottom. Microwave on high power for five minutes. This will reduce the overall cooking time by 10 minutes.

You can also replace the rice with another cooked grain, like quinoa, bulgur, or even small pasta like pearl couscous or orzo.


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