Dishing up comfort foods in April?!



The date on the calendar may indicate that spring is here, but Mother Nature must not be aware of that. With the cold temperatures and winter-like weather, my taste buds are still stuck on comfort foods.

I would like to be writing about fresh asparagus, strawberries and sweet peas… sigh. Instead I’ll keep those thoughts for when the weather begins to warm up and the fresh fruits and vegetables start to appear at local stores and markets.

I found the following recipes on the website to enjoy as we ride out the cold weather. Think Spring!

Macaroni and Cheese Chowder with Crispy Ham

• 1 ½ c. dried elbow macaroni (6 oz.)
• 1 Tbsp. butter
• 8 oz. ham steak, cut into matchsticks
• 1 c. finely chopped carrot
• ½ c. finely chopped celery
• ½ c. finely chopped onion
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
• ½ c. all-purpose flour
• 1/8 – ¼ tsp.cayenne pepper
• 2 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth



• 3 ¼ c. milk
• 8 oz. American cheese (12 slices)

In a 4- to 6-quart pan, cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and set aside.

In the same pan, melt butter. Add ham and cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes or until browned and slightly crisp. Remove from pan with slotted spoon; set aside on paper towel.

Add carrot, celery, onion and garlic to hot pan. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until tender. Stir in mustard, flour and cayenne pepper. Add

broth and milk. Cook and stir over medium high heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook 2 minutes more.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add cheese, stirring until melted. Stir in cooked macaroni. Ladle into bowls. Top with ham.

Lemon-Rosemary Pork Loin with Cherry Sauce

• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tsp. lemon zest
• 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
• 1 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1 Tbsp. Dijon-style coarse ground mustard • 1 Tbsp. snipped fresh rosemary
• ½ tsp. salt
• 1/8 tsp. ground black
• 1 lb. boneless

pork top loin roast (single loin)
• ½ c. cranberry, cherry or apple juice
• ¼ c. red currant jelly
• 2 tsp. cornstarch
• 1 tsp. Dijon-style coarse ground mustard
• 1 c. fresh sweet cherries (such as
Rainier or Bing), halved and pitted, or 1
c. frozen unsweetened pitted dark sweet
cherries, thawed

In a small bowl combine garlic, lemon peel, lemon juice, olive oil, 1 tablespoon mustard, the rosemary, salt and pepper. Spread pork roast with lemon-rosemary mixture and place roast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.

Roast, uncovered, in a 375 degree oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until an instantread thermometer inserted in thickest part of the roast registers 145 degrees. Transfer the roast to a serving platter. Cover loosely with foil. Let stand for 10 minutes before carving.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine cranberry juice, jelly, cornstarch and 1 teaspoon mustard. Cook and stir, whisking constantly, over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low. Add the cherries; stir until mixture is heated through. Serve warm cherry

sauce with the sliced pork roast.

Old Fashioned Chicken and Noodles Lasagna

• 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast
• 1 tsp. salt, divided
• ½ tsp. ground black pepper, divided
• 1 sprig fresh thyme or ¼ tsp. teaspoon
dried thyme
• 5 Tbsp. butter, divided
• 1 ½ c. sliced fresh mushrooms
• ¾ c. frozen pearl onions, thawed
• ¼ c. all-purpose flour
• 1 (14 ½ oz.) can chicken broth
• ¾ c. half-and-half or light cream

• 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp.
dried thyme
• ¾ c. thinly bias-sliced carrots
• ¾ c. thinly bias-sliced celery
• ¾ c. frozen peas
• 9 no-boil lasagna noodles
• 1 ½ c. Havarti cheese with dill, shredded
(6 oz.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Fill a medium saucepan with water; add thyme sprig and bring to boiling. Add chicken, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 to 18 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to cutting board to cool; discard cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan. Add mushrooms and onions. Cook and stir for 3 minutes or until just tender. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in same saucepan. Stir in flour until well combined. Stir in chicken broth, half-andhalf, 1 tablespoon thyme, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cook and stir until thickened.

Set aside 1 cup sauce.

Stir carrots, celery and peas into sauce in saucepan. Cook, covered, for 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

Chop chicken; add to sauce, along with the mushroom mixture. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes more or until heated through.

To assemble: Spread 1/3 cup of the reserved sauce in a greased 2-quart square baking dish. Top with three noodles, half the chicken mixture and a third of the cheese. Repeat layers, ending with remaining 2/3 cup sauce. (Set aside the remaining third of the cheese.)

Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes more or until noodles are tender and cheese is melted. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

* Variation As a shortcut, you can substitute 3 cups of chopped rotisserie chicken and skip the first step of preparing the chicken.

Hot-Stuff Kielbasa-Cheese Soup

• 1 large onion, halved lengthwise and
thinly sliced
• 1 c. sliced celery
• ¼ c. butter or margarine
• ¼ c. all-purpose flour

• 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
• ¾ tsp. dry mustard
• 1 (14 ½ oz.) can chicken broth
• 3 c. peeled and cubed potatoes
• 1 c. chopped carrots (2 medium)
• 8 oz. fully cooked kielbasa (Polish sausage), sliced ¼ inch thick
• 3 ¼ c. milk
• 3 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese (12
• ¼ tsp. coarsely ground pepper
• Shredded sharp cheddar cheese or
coarsely ground pepper (optional)

In a 4-quart Dutch oven, cook onion and celery in hot butter or margarine until tender. Stir in flour, Worcestershire sauce and mustard; cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Carefully stir in broth.

Add potatoes, carrots, and kielbasa. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Stir in milk. Heat and stir until mixture almost comes to a boil. Reduce heat. Add the 3 cups cheese and the ¼ teaspoon pepper; cook and stir until cheese is melted. Ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle with more cheese or pepper, if you like.

Do you have recipes to share? We’d love to hear from you. Email your recipes to Please include your name, city of residence and a telephone number.

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