POSTS WITH TAG: comfort food

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    Not sure if you got the memo, but Mason Jars are totally in. This old-school canning vessel has been having a "moment" for a while now, and something about their unpretentious nature and simplicity makes it a well-deserved trend. One that is also affordable, and we always love affordable.

    I have to admit that I haven't done much with Mason jars beyond storing jams and pickles, but there is SO much more you can make in them -- from delicious desserts to foods to take with you on the road.

    Check out these 6 things you can use Mason jars for besides jam right here:

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    Poor microwave oven. It gets no respect! The stove and the oven get all the credit for doing the real cooking, while this unsung appliance is used mostly just to reheat. But if you sneak into your kitchen late at night, and you're very quiet, you may hear your microwave muttering to itself, "I coulda been a contender!" Turns out you can do so much more with that appliance than nuke your leftovers and frozen entrees. In fact, we found 13 recipes you can make in your microwave -- you'll be surprised at how much you can do with it.

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    With spring just a few days away, it seems like we should be breaking out the barbecue and abandoning our favorite winter comfort foods. But not so fast! There's still a chill in the air, which is a good thing, because it means we have the perfect excuse to try this amazing, sumptuous recipe for Slow Cooker Coconut Hot Chocolate.

    Yes, you heard that right. Your Crock-Pot truly is the magical cooking tool that keeps giving. You probably already know how to whip up a mean beef stew in your slow cooker, but the rich flavors in hot, tasty beverages like this one are only intensified when you let them sit on low for a few hours. Mmmm ... kinda makes you yearn for a longer winter, doesn't it?

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    There are certain things I regularly use my Crock-Pot for: slow-cooked beef, chicken soup, pork loin, and stew. Those are all classic slow-cooker fare, but you know what I'm finding out? My Crock-Pot can do much more -- SO much more.

    I love my slow cooker. It's convenient and easy to use, and any busy mom will sing its praises as an old-school yet totally awesome must-have appliance. But my slow-cooker skills have been limited -- until now! I have recently discovered that there are so many other concoctions that can be created in my humble Crock-Pot.

    Check out these 6 cool things you probably didn't know you could make in your Crock-Pot!

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    Can you believe that it's St. Patrick's Day this Monday? March is truly flying by, and who knew it'd be time to whip out the green outfits and beer so soon? You're already set with some typical St. Patrick's Day recipes, like Irish soda bread, corned beef and cabbage, and Shamrock Shakes. But since the temps still have yet to warm up in most parts of the U.S., why not indulge in one last ultimate comfort food -- traditional Irish shepherd's pie.

    This Irish shepherd's pie recipe from Food.com is super straightforward and versatile. You pretty much cook all the ingredients in a pot, top it off with some mashed potatoes, and brush the potatoes with egg and Parmesan cheese -- and you're done! Hearty, delicious, versatile, filled with beef or lamb, this will surely get you into the Irish spirit in no time. The popular dish, also called cottage pie, originated in the UK and Ireland, so feel free to honor its origin and indulge a little this holiday!

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    Some stars look like they live on water from the fountain of youth and magic golden apples. Actually, I'm pretty sure all of Hollywood is living on green juice and poached salmon these days. But supposedly even celebs indulge in some ordinary mortal food sometimes. In an interview with Self magazine, Jennifer Aniston divulged some of her favorite foods. You'll never believe what crunchy, messy food she loves snacking on -- and she makes it herself, from scratch!

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    We eat a whole lot of chicken in our family. There are several reasons why: Chicken is versatile, it’s affordable, and my daughter will actually eat it! Yes, all good, nay, great reasons. But here is my favorite thing about chicken: We can buy one chicken and create three meals from it.

    First, I should mention that our family is small -- there are just three of us. So this whole one chicken = three meals thing only works for families consisting of three or four members. If you have a large brood, you’ll need to use two or more chickens.Here's how to create three vastly different meals with just one chicken.

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    A classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting or vanilla frosting or any kind of frosting is a favorite dessert for a reason. It's really yummy! But sometimes it can be hard to get that fluffy, delicious goodness from scratch, so you immediately go to the boxed stuff. That's all well and good, but why not try making one for yourself since you probably have all the ingredients already?

    This yellow cake recipe with chocolate sour cream frosting from Smitten Kitchen is one of the best we've tried. The buttermilk gives it a smooth, rich texture, and if you don't like the idea of sour cream frosting, just use your favorite chocolate frosting to top this decadent cake off. You'll never go back to the boxed stuff again!

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    Now, in horrifying but ultimately not that important news, certain restaurants are talking about stopping the sale of guacamole! Whyfor this injustice? Why have they, if you'll forgive me, stopped seeing green? Because, due to inclement weather conditions, avocados are being battered into near oblivion.

    They are still around, of course, but their prices this season have been insane due to the extreme shortage of the fatty fruit. It sounds like the situation is only going to get worse. This year's shortage isn't just a one-off; scientists are saying that in the next 10 years, the changing climate is going to cause a real crisis where avocados are involved. So what are guacamole lovers like you and me supposed to do?

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    Sometimes you plan a meal that you later realize -- like, seconds before you're about to arrive home from work or running errands to actually cook it -- may not excite every member of the family. You brace yourself for the moans and groans and think all the while, I worked hard all day and then slaved over a hot stove to make a healthy dinner that everyone hates. Great -- pass the wine, please!

    This Crock-Pot spaghetti and meatballs recipe will create the absolute opposite scenario. You just set it to go in the morning and, nine hours later, you get to sit down and relax with family over a delicious, hearty, healthy, and no-fuss meal that will leave everyone smiling. And if you choose to enjoy a glass of wine, it will be a celebratory one.

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