Cooking From the Hip ~ Comfort Food

ghlogoAhh winter… when a girl’s fancy turns to comfort food!

While I am not a vegetarian, I have found myself turning to more and more veggie meals in this cooler weather.  The combinations of flavors and spices are just as comforting as the staples of meat and potatoes (or my usual fave, pasta and cheese).

But with these meals, I have less guilt about indulging in dessert later!

Moroccan Vegetable Stew

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine in bowl and set aside.

  • 1 Tablespoon butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 56 ounces vegetable broth (4- 14 oz cans)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 white potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon water (optional)


Gather up your ingredients and do your chopping first.  Trust me this will make it SO much easier!


As you can see, I used a mix of purple and orange sweet potatoes from the garden in this recipe, but just orange will be just as delicious.


Melt butter (or place oil) in large pot.  Cook onion until soft and just beginning to brown (5-10 minutes).

Stir in the kale and spice mixture, cook for 2 minutes or until kale begins to wilt. Spices will be fragrant.

Pour the broth into the pot. Stir in the tomatoes, honey, carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, garbanzo beans, dried apricots and lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low.


The veggies should look something like this….


Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the veggies and lentils are cooked and tender. Season with pepper to taste.  If desired, combine cornstarch and water and stir into stew to thicken. I’ve been pleased with the consistency without this step, so I’ve not used it.

With all the veggies and beans, the best thing to serve with this is a nice wine and some warm bread! (This night it was a home made pretzel bread which was delightful!)


Moroccan Stew ~ piping hot, plated and ready to eat!



guiltypleasuresLet’s talk guilty pleasures.

I’d love to always make exciting, healthy and delicious meals for my family.  Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen!  Life gets in the way and exotic ingredients can be expensive.  So sometimes I make… well… this type of recipe…  A guilty pleasure type of recipe.

I found this card in my recipe box (which was a wedding present) shortly after getting married:



It was written by my grandmother, and although I do not remember her ever serving it to us ~ I am so glad she included it for me!  It’s processed, full of fat and I cringe while making it.  But we all pretty much lick the plate when we eat it.

Chicken Stuffed Jumbo Shells

  • 1 box jumbo shells (I end up picking out the whole ones and make about 24-25)
  • 1 box Stove Top stuffing ( to feel better, use the low sodium chicken flavor)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken cubed or shredded
  • 1 cup mayonaise
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup (chicken with herbs is really good)
  • 1/2 can water
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese



Here’s what you’ll need for this guilty pleasure!


Cook shells according to package directions.  Prepare stuffing (I use the microwave prep).  Mix together the stuffing, chicken and mayo.  It will look gross and taste insanely good!


Don’t panic. The mixture is supposed to look like this!


Combine soup and water, spread a little in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Stuff the shells with the chicken mixture and place in prepared pan. Top shells with the rest of the soup mixture.


The stuffing goes faster than you would think. Before AND after.


Sprinkle with cheese, cover with foil and bake for one hour.


At this point, you can also refrigerate until you’re ready to bake.


Cook up some frozen veggies to serve with it and you’re set!


Chicken Stuffed Shells ~ Comfort Food and Ultimate Guilty Pleasure


Gabrielle Howle, Domestic Chef and Baker

Gabrielle is a domestic chef and baker with 17 years experience. Her usual patrons are her husband and three children (and occasionally the dog when she is less than careful about dropping things).

She collects BareEscentuals make-up and has a penchant for bright shiny objects, be it jewelry or new kitchen knives. Her biggest downfall is a new cheesecake recipe.

In her spare time, Gabrielle enjoys making jewelry, mixing martinis, shopping and spending time at the gun range. But never all at the same time!


  1. tigs says

    Oh yum!! we won’t be eating the shells (allergies, my dear) but that Moroccan stew looks delish!!

  2. Jennifer says

    Gabrielle, the photos of the Moroccan Stew have inspired me. I have chopped and prepped all the veggies and spices. I have also tasted my very first apricot. Uh, surprisingly delicious. Into the pot it goes!

  3. Jennifer says

    Regarding the Moroccan Stew
    Me: “Awesomesauce.”
    Mr. Wonderful: “Wow. This one’s a winner!”

  4. Gabrielle says

    Seriously? First apricot? I love those little things!! So glad you enjoyed it. I am not sure which I like better, the smell or the taste!

    Who am I kidding… the taste.

  5. Jennifer says

    Yep. First apricot ever. I’m not generally a fruit fan. Here’s the proof:

  6. Jennifer says

    Well, it’s official: The Moroccan Stew has made it into or regular rotation. Mr Wonderful and I have been wanting more since we polished off the first batch. YUM. Thanks, Gabrielle!

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