Home cooking can get tiresome under forced isolation, but not with easy-to-make comfort foods. I’ve been rummaging in the kitchen of our new house trying to find where I’ve put things while preparing meals. Maybe you can find inspiration in some of these dishes that have been on our dinner table in the past week.
We had the kids over for brunch last weekend. I made this Zucchini Biscuit Bake with the recipe from my cookbook, although I added fresh mushrooms this time. I’d also served a Costco quiche, plus thin bagels with cream cheese. Dessert was peach cobbler.
Because we’d cut up too many zucchini and onions, I put some aside and made this stir-fry dish for dinner. Sliced hot dogs became the go-to protein addition.
Once those leftovers were gone, the next order was to use the multitude of strawberries we picked before they spoiled. So I made my first strawberry bread using a recipe I found on Pinterest.
Next dinner I made these Swedish meatballs with white rice for dinner, accompanied by a premade salad. If there’s any gravy left, I freeze it to use in Shepherd’s Pie. I’ll share this recipe with you.
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 egg, beaten
tsp. garlic powder
1 cup finely chopped onions, divided
cup dry bread crumbs
12 oz. bottle chili sauce
18 oz. jar grape jelly
15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 cup sweet Marsala wine
Make meatballs: Mix ground beef with beaten egg, garlic powder, ½ cup chopped onions, and bread crumbs. Form into small balls. Set aside. (Or use frozen turkey meatballs instead of making them from scratch).
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, blend together chili sauce, grape jelly, and tomato sauce until jelly is melted. Toss in remaining onions and add wine. When mixture is bubbly, add meatballs to pot. Stir gently to coat with sauce.
Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Periodically lift lid, being careful of steam, and stir. Cook for 1 hour on low heat (or ½ hour if using frozen meatballs). Serve over cooked rice as an entrée or by itself as a party appetizer.
Bekemeyer Family Farm is a hydroponic farm located in Winter Garden, FL off Colonial Drive near 429. In season, you can fill a white bucket with ripe strawberries as you trundle down aisles lined by plants reminiscent of The Land pavilion at EPCOT. You don’t have to bend as low as naturally grown strawberry patches, which is helpful. We could also pick oranges, but I’d given away our juicer so we passed on that opportunity. In a few more months, they’ll offer peaches.
Inside their small store, you can purchase honey and jams and a limited selected of homegrown vegetables. I bought bunches of dill that I needed for upcoming meals. They had small tomatoes, radishes and different kinds of greens including kale.
Our grandson had a good time enjoying the fresh air and picking the ripe berries. He had both sets of grandparents present to cheer him on and enjoy his company.
From there we went to the Winter Garden Farmers Market. It gets crowded on Saturday mornings. We strolled around in the sunshine, enjoying the sights like this cat in sunglasses and the multitude of booths.
We took a brief stroll down the main street of the historic district. Then it was back home to attend the Zoom meeting for Florida Chapter of MWA and make my vegetable bean soup.
We took a break from isolation to visit Oak Haven Farms & Winery to pick our own strawberries and roast hot dogs over a fire. It was a fun excursion, about a forty-minute ride from our new house. We parked in the dirt field then poked our heads inside the gift shop, café and wine tasting room. A staff member told us to go out in the field and someone would give us a crate to fill with fresh picked berries.
We stooped to pluck the strawberries off the stems. When tired of bending, we gave up and headed into the shop to have our bounty weighed so we could pay.
Then we bought hot dogs that came with rolls and a forked tool. We wove the meats onto the tines and went outdoors to cook the hot dogs in an open fire. I loved the charred taste.
Then we went back inside to order a strawberry shortcake with whipped cream for dessert. It was a treat and enough for two to split.
We skipped the wine tasting that cost extra as we are not fond of fruit wines or the Florida grape varietal. But if you’re interested, you can indulge.
If you wish to visit, check online to see their schedule first. Strawberry season is limited.
Oak Haven Farms, 32430 Avington Rd, Sorrento, FL 32776 or http://www.berriesandwines.com/