Thursday, June 10, 2010

Comfort Food: Macaroni and Beef with Tomato Sauce (Or How to Deal with a Dead Dog)

A bowl (or two or three) of comfort

It's a funny thing about comfort foods. Nobody says, "I think I'll make a big green salad because I need to calm myself." Or, "I'm steaming some broccoli because I'm totally bummed." I suppose that's what's wrong with us Americans. We've been programmed to turn to foods from our childhood, usually heavily laced with fat, carbs and sugars, when we're seeking comfort.

Today, Betty, my beloved dog of 13 years, died unexpectedly. So, needless to say, I'm bummed, and I need some quick and easy comfort. I abandoned the idea of a spinach salad with goat cheese, dried cranberries and toasted almonds. That's a delicious lunch, but it's not the kind of dish that wraps its arms around you and says, "I know it hurts, but it's going to be alright."
For that, I needed macaroni and beef.
Macaroni and Beef with Tomato Sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
  • 8 ounces macaroni, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped (didn't have this today)
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Brown beef, onion and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat. Add tomato sauce, water and remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. It's as simple and easy as Hamburger Helper, but without all of those naughty processed ingredients.

This makes 8 servings, unless your dog has just died, and then it feeds three ravenous grievers.

Macaroni and beef won't bring Betty back, but at least it will get me through the afternoon. That and a quart of mint chocolate chip ice cream in my freezer.

(And if Betty was still here, I'd have let her clean out that bowl.)


Kalei's Best Friend said...

The one redeeming thing about this, is that these moments of needing comfort are few and far .... so don't worry about the calories!. ((HUGS)) I know exactly how u feel... Hey how about a glass of red w/that? I know I would need it...

Mary Bergfeld said...

Oh, Susan, I'm so sorry. Eat anything that helps get you through this first day without Betty. Hugs and blessings...Mary

Linda Dove said...

It's so hard to lose a constant companion like that. Thinking of you.

whalechaser said... is so hard to lose a loving pet. Sorry for your anguish. Yes, the mac and beef may be one of the only things that can help right now,

Cafe Pasadena said...

unexpectedly? heart attack??

very sorry to hear of your loss.
sometimes it's better when loved ones leave quickly. this is good enuf reason for me to eat some comfortable too.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it does hurt, and yes, it will be all right. Betty was a wonderful character; always up for a laugh and a pat on the head. Sending warm thoughts your way.

The Food Librarian said...

Susan, I'm very sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is just so hard. I hope this bowl of yummy food helped you a bit. Hugs, mary

Patrizzi Intergarlictica said...

Your post rings true. My comfort food is similar, spaghetti bolonaise.

Oh, Betty. Oh, what a dear!

Glad you are taking extra good care of yourself since it is you that is dear to us.

Patrizzi Intergarlictica said...

What I just wrote up there seems like a poorly constructed sentence. Grammar may have left the building, and taken Spelling with it. I don't know. I may be having a blip. Please look beyond to the sentiment attached, that's all I can say. :-)

T.Allen said...

I'm terribly sorry for your loss, I hope your mac and beef helps to soothe you, at least there's some tomato sauce in there, eh.

Healing energies..

Trish said...

oh dear! Betty was such a love! she even put up with your applying a tutu to her tush! may her memory be for a blessing!

and, why stop at the mac and cheese, go for the ice cream too---those containers ARE single serving, aren't they (just like a 5th of whiskey!), riiight?!

lots of hugz & luv being sent your way from both of us.

Susan C said...

Thank you ALL for your kind words and show of support. You're even more comforting than mac' 'n' beef!

Chrissy, You're so right that cravings (and need) for comfort food are infrequent. Ah, a nice glass of red wine would have been just the thing, but lunchtime indulgence puts me right to sleep. As it was, I fell asleep at 6:30 pm last night.

Mary, you're so sweet! Thank you.

Linda, yes, Betty was a "constant companion." Thank you.

Whalechaser, Thanks so much for coming by and for your condolences.

CP, I wasn't sure about using that word "unexpected" because Betty has been seriously ill for a couple months. The use of "unexpected" shows how optimistic I was that we would be able to extend her life for a couple more years.

Thanks, AH, for your kind thoughts and for loving and appreciating Betty.

Mary, Thanks for the hug. And, yes, the food (and the ice cream) did help a little.

Miss H, I was so touched by your sentiment that I didn't even notice any awkward sentence construction.

T. Allen, Thanks so much for your "healing energy" and good wishes.

Trish, Yea, Betty was something else in that Tutu. I'm surprised she didn't die then of embarrassment. Thanks for the love and hugs.

dianne said...

Sorry to hear of the loss of your dog. I will be sad with you.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Dearest little Betty
She's been with you through some pretty harrowing stuff....and wasn't that her strutting her stuff down Colorado blvd in the Do Da parade? ahhhhh

so hard

I'd choose pizza

Petrea Burchard said...

Oh Susan, I'm so sorry to hear Betty's gone. I don't think I'd be able to cook, much less eat. But I'm glad you did.

Betty was a sweet love.

Margaret said...

My comfort food is hot soup. I'd need a gallon. It's really hard to lose a pet, harder than most people think. Thinking of you.

Loryn said...

I love the look of your blog, it is amazing.

I am sorry to hear about your pup, I love dogs and losing one is always so hard, after time they really become part of the family.

Zoomie said...

Sending sympathy to you - what a sad day. You will miss her for a long time to come - love is like that.

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Just catching up on blogs. I'm so sorry. :(

suzybel56 said...

So sorry to hear about Betty, I have been through the same thing 3 times. Mac & Beef with Tomato Sauce is definitely comfort food & a fave of my family.