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Cooking Corner


January 14, 2012
Bernice Volkens , Reinbeck Courier

Here we are in the middle of winter. Usually this is the time when we have a January thaw, but that can't happen when there is no snow to thaw. Also this time of the winter we hear about the winter blahs or cabin fever, but my only feelings this year is wonderful, sunny and the question, "How long is this going to last?" Even when the snow will finally come I will be ready to plow through a little more winter.

I can see why the snowmobilers are unhappy, or the people who like being outside, ice skating, making snowmen and people who say being out in the cold invigorates them and nothing but a fresh snowfall is more beautiful. Winter can be a lingering season. It is a time to be a little lazy, watch a good movie, or in this nice weather actually go out to a movie. Our idle hours can be filled with all kinds of ballgames from high school to the pros. Even the gardeners are busy. From December until March you wouldn't think that would be a busy time, but it is. The seed catalogs are out and if you are a true gardener, there are all kinds of growing going on in the pots and bowls in the house. Also every gardener knows that under ground in winter lies a miracle-a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb to open and sleeping grounds ready to sprout.

You should enjoy yourself as much as possible. Traditions have been always observed during the winter months. From the earliest of times light has been very meaningful, like lighting candles and burning fires. That has always been very important since we bought our wood-burning stove. However, we are yet to have our first fire. One of my favorite foods is a beef stew cooked on top of the wood-burner. Our stove is called a Nordic stove, which means it has a top that can be used for cooking.

Whatever, the weather is doing outside, this is the time of the year for comfort food. One of my favorites is a beef burgundy and this is a simple to make version of a classic dish.


2 LBS. stew beef, cubed

2 10-3/4 cans cream of

mushroom soup

2 4-oz. cans mushrooms,


2 cups red wine or beef


1-1/2 oz. pkg. onion soup


3 to 4 cups prepared egg


Combine all ingredients except noodles in a 2-quart baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve over prepared noodles. Serves 6 to 8.

Note: It's so easy to double casserole recipes and freeze half for another night. When you're busy or just don't feel like cooking, you'll have a warm, yummy meal.

"One kind word can warm three winter months."-Japanese proverb



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