Change and Comfort

With COVID-19 putting the entire world in a tailspin, we’re all beginning to find our way through this new “normal” of social distancing and self-isolating. So many things about the world as we know it will never be the same after this spring. I think COVID-19 will change much about our social norms and how we look at so many things.

We’re all looking for ways to find comfort and a sense of normalcy and calm, I think.

And one way I do that is in cooking.

This past weekend I made a batch of homemade bread. The actual act of doing the mixing, kneading and preparation was comforting and grounding. The family loved the smells and especially enjoyed the fresh hot bread last night when it came out of the oven. It was a treat and made me think about how so many things we do today are based on convenience and yet it is when we slow down that we learn to savor the little things, finding joy in the mundane and peace in the simplest of tasks. Mixing bread, kneading dough, etc.

Another comfort food for our family is soup. I don’t know about you but I love sitting down to a steaming bowl of soup. I thought I’d share some of my favorite soup recipes with you over the next few weeks. I know spring is coming and we may all be thinking about warmer-weather foods, but I also know if I get sick, soup is what I want. So, I thought I’d share some of our favorites.

This week’s post features one that can be done in a variety of cooking methods – stovetop, instant pot, or slow cooker. I’ve done it all three ways with pretty equal results in each way. Equally delicious!

This is a super easy soup – other than the browning of the meat it is essentially a dump-and-go recipe. Also great as leftovers. I eat a lot of this for lunch – and sometimes make a pot for myself to eat as lunch over the course of a week.

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, diced
1-2 bell peppers, diced
(I use a bag of frozen diced onions, celery and bell peppers, it’s a “mirepoix” mix and makes this recipe truly a dump-and-go recipe)
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
(I often use the Italian-seasoned canned tomatoes in this recipe)
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
2 cups beef broth (I use Better than Boullion Beef base with hot water)
Houston House Seasoning
2 cups cooked rice (for serving)

Directions

  1. Brown ground beef, seasoning liberally with House Seasoning.
  2. In either a large stock pot, your instant pot, or slow cooker, combine all of the ingredients except rice. Season soup with more House Seasoning as needed.
  3. Cooking times:
    • Stovetop – bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to combine.
    • Slow Cooker – set the timer for low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
    • Instant Pot – set on Soup/Stew for 5 minutes; allow to natural release.
  4. Serve with rice.

This is great with a crusty bread or saltines.

I hope you enjoy!

Just a note – I’m not going to be one of those bloggers with beautiful food photos. I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on myself. So, I hope you will trust that the recipes I post are delicious and family-approved without the mouth-watering photos to accompany them.

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