3 classic comfort food recipes to cure the winter blues

With multiple atmospheric rivers, heavy snowfall, and record-breaking cold temperatures across BC, it’s overtly clear that winter is here — and in full force. 

The natural response to the unfamiliar weather outdoors is to hide out and cozy up at home. And what better way to stay warm and dry — while still keeping it interesting — than by trying out a new recipe?

To make the most of this brutal winter, we’re revisiting comfort-food classics with three recipes from Canada Beef: Stove-top Sloppy Joes, Swedish Meatballs, and Stuffed Peppers — dishes sure to spice up your average night in.

Classic Stove-top Sloppy Joes

Classic Stove-top Sloppy Joes (Canada Beef)

Let’s be real here, who doesn’t love a good ol’ Sloppy Joe? Rich beef that is full of flavour cradled by a warm, doughy bun has got to be one of the most comforting meals ever. 

This one’s also great because you can pair it with a classic side of potato chips and dill pickles, or swap that out for veggies or a salad to balance out the dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 package (227 g) sliced mushrooms, diced
  • 1 lb (500 g) lean Canadian ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 sweet green pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • ½ tsp (2 ml) pepper
  • 1 cup (250 ml) tomato sauce
  • ⅓ cup (75 ml) tomato paste
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) granulated sugar (optional)
  • 8 hamburger buns (soft buns such as brioche)
  • grated or sliced cheddar or mozzarella cheese

Method

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until golden brown (around five to eight minutes). Add ground beef, onion, celery, green pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until meat is thoroughly cooked and vegetables are softened. Drain, if needed.
  2. Stir in tomato sauce and paste; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Taste and add sugar, if needed.
  3. Place buns cut side up on a baking sheet. Top each bun lid with grated cheese. Broil for two to four minutes to melt the cheese and toast bottom buns.
  4. To serve, place bun bottoms onto serving plates, load meat mixture onto each bun and top with bun lid.

Tips

If you have Sloppy Joe filling leftover, it’s great used as a poutine topping or to serve over baked potatoes, pasta noodles, or in warmed taco shells.

If you’re looking for a great way to add more protein to a salad, try serving the leftover Sloppy Joe filling over hearty romaine lettuce.

Classic Swedish Meatballs

Classic Sweedish Meatballs (Canada Beef)

This recipe is bound to strike a nostalgic chord for anyone who’s enjoyed the sporadic trip to a certain furniture store. Easy to assemble and paired perfectly with a pile of mashed potatoes or atop some spaghetti, Swedish Meatballs are always bound to be a crowd-pleaser (even if the crowd is just you in your apartment).

Ingredients

  • 2 large shallots, grated

  • 1 egg

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) panko breadcrumbs

  • ½ tsp (2 ml) garlic powder

  • ¼ tsp (1 ml) ground allspice and nutmeg

  • salt and pepper

  • 1 lb (500 g) lean Canadian ground beef

  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil, divided

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) butter

  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups (500 ml) beef broth

  • ½ cup (125 ml) half-and-half cream

  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce

  • 1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon mustard

  • fresh parsley, chopped

  • lingonberry jam or cranberry sauce

Method

  1. Combine shallots, egg, panko, garlic powder, allspice, nutmeg, ½ tsp (2 ml) salt, and ⅛ tsp (0.5 ml) pepper. Gently mix in ground beef with a fork (careful not to over-mix). Roll meat mixture into 12 large meatballs and place on a plate. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to two hours to help meatballs retain their shape.
  2. Heat one tbsp (15 ml) oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add half the meatballs and cook for about eight minutes, turning until browned on all sides. Transfer to an ovenproof dish. Repeat with remaining oil and meatballs. Reserve skillet.
  3. Cover and bake in preheated 350ºF oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a digital instant-read thermometer inserted into several meatballs reads 160ºF.
  4. Meanwhile, return the skillet to medium heat, add butter, and swirl to melt. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring for one minute. Gradually whisk in beef broth and bring to a boil. Cook, whisking, for one to two minutes or until slightly thickened. Whisk in cream, Worcestershire, and Dijon; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Return the meatballs and any juices to the sauce. Simmer for five minutes, until flavours are blended.
  6. Serve garnished with parsley and jam on the side.

Tips

Meatballs are also great served over rice, couscous, or quinoa.

Classic Stuffed Peppers

Classic Stuffed Peppers (Classic Stuffed Peppers)

What’s a way to make eating vegetables more fun, you may ask? Well, we suggest loading them up with good stuff — like beef, rice, cheese, and tomatoes.

The subtle sweetness from the peppers compliments the richness of the beef for an uber-satisfying meal. And on top of how good this dish tastes, we always love a bright and colourful meal to feed our eyes as well.

Ingredients

  • 6 large sweet peppers, any colour
  • 1 lb (500 g) lean Canadian ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (796 ml) diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) dried basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp (15 ml) salt
  • ¼ tsp (1 ml) pepper
  • 1 cup (250 ml) cooked long-grain rice
  • ¾ cup (175 ml) shredded mozzarella or Cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh parsley, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Cut the tops off peppers (reserve tops). Remove seeds and membranes. Slice a small portion off the bottom of peppers so they can stand up straight — make sure not to cut through to the inside. Stand peppers upright in a 9×13-inch baking dish; set aside. Dice pepper tops — discarding the stems — and set them aside.
  3. Brown the beef, onions, garlic, and reserved pepper tops in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking into chunks with a wooden spoon while cooking, for eight to 10 minutes until meat is cooked through and vegetables are softened. Drain and return to stove.
  4. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in cooked rice and heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Fill each pepper with the ground beef mixture. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle each pepper with cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes or until peppers are tender and cheese is melted. Serve topped with parsley if desired.

Tips

To save time, place the cut tops into a microwave-safe dish with ¼ cup water in the bottom. Microwave on high for five minutes. This will reduce overall cooking time by 10 minutes.

You can also replace rice with another cooked grain — like quinoa, bulgur wheat, or even small pasta such as pearl couscous or orzo.


Want more night-in inspiration? Sign up for Canada Beef’s Make it Beef Newsletter for monthly recipes.

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