Recipe Friday: Meatballs and Broth Gravy

We needed a bit of comfort food the other day, so I came up with this. I adapted from a recipe that called for canned cream of mushroom soup, and breadcrumbs. With my husband coming down with a sore throat, I wanted something that didn’t contain any junk, only ingredients that would be healthful. (I also plied him with echinacea and elderberry syrup.)

We like to have this over mashed potatoes, but noodles or something else would serve as well.

Bone broth is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Make lots of it, and use it for soup bases, gravies, anything you can think of.

For more immune-boosting, I added extra cayenne, cumin, and onion (we like onion).

All the ingredients in this recipe are real food. Eat real food, folks, and give up the convenience in preference to health.

Yield: 2-quart casserole
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 25 min + 45 min to 1 hour


For the Meatballs:

1 pound                     ground beef, venison, or other meat

1                                  small onion, diced

1/2 cup                       quick (not instant) oatmeal

1                                  egg

                                    sprinklings to taste of spices: paprika, basil, celery seed, cayenne,


                                    salt to taste

1 tablespoon             Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon             tamari sauce

1/2 teaspoon             liquid smoke

1/4 cup                       barbecue sauce

For the Gravy:

2 cups                        bone broth

2 tablespoons           cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup water

     Serving suggestion:

     hot mashed potatoes


Preheat oven to broil at 400°
Mix all meatball ingredients in a large bowl.
Shape into 1-inch meatballs and place on a rimmed baking sheet. This recipe makes 20 – 24 meatballs, depending on size.
Place baking sheet on lower rack of oven and broil for 15 minutes.
Move meatballs to upper oven rack and broil for 5 – 10 more minutes.

In a saucepan, heat the bone broth to simmering.
Turn off broiler; turn on oven to 350°.
Remove meatballs from baking sheet to a 2-quart casserole dish.

Pour a bit of the hot broth onto the baking sheet, and scrape up the drippings.
Stir the cornstarch slurry into the saucepan with the hot broth, stirring constantly until thickened. Add the drippings from the baking sheet into the saucepan, and stir.
Pour the gravy over the meatballs.
Cover the dish and bake at 350° 45 minutes – 1 hr.
Serve over hot mashed potatoes.

Recipe Friday: Beef Stroganoff Pressure Cooked

We’ve got a blizzard going on in our neck of the woods. This calls for comfort food.

I know, I know, stroganoff automatically goes over noodles, right? Well, you can do it that way, but this household likes potatoes. Hey, you can even serve it over rice or quinoa or whole grain barley or not over anything.

The Instant Pot (or a pressure cooker) and the coffee make the meat tender. The sherry or red wine adds “depth of flavor,” as I hear in all the cooking shows (well, it makes it better is what it does).


1 pound beef stew meat, cut into bite-size pieces

1 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon (heaping) minced garlic

1 cup strong brewed coffee

spices to taste: cloves, basil, paprika, parsley, celery seed

salt to taste

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup cooking sherry or red wine

1 tablespoon tamari sauce

1 cup hot water

1/2 – 1 cup instant potato flakes

1/2 cup sour cream

hot mashed potatoes



Set pressure cooker to sauté. Sauté onions and beef until browned. In the last five minutes, add garlic.
Add just a bit of the coffee, and stir up the browned bits.
Add the rest of the coffee, the hot water, the spices, salt, Worcestershire sauce, tamari, and sherry or red wine. Stir.
Push Cancel. Put the lid on, and seal.
Set the Instant Pot to meat/stew, set for 20 minutes.
At the end of the 20 minutes, allow natural pressure release for at least ten minutes. After ten or fifteen minutes, release the pressure. Remove the lid.
Stir in the potato flakes: add enough to thicken. (This should be a bit thicker than you want it to end up, as it thins out a bit after you add the sour cream.)
Push Sauté, and let the mixture come to a low simmer.
Turn off the Instant Pot.
Stir in the sour cream; stir until completely incorporated.
Serve over hot mashed potatoes.

Recipe Friday: Comforting Oatmeal


When I want a little comfort food, I like it to be healthy, especially when there are unpleasant bugs going around. I want to be careful not to compromise my immune system with sugar; however, comfort often means sweet (at least, a little).

Enter a traditional favorite: oatmeal.

I go heavy on the spices because they’re so good for the immune system, and they also lend a bit of sweetness. And don’t be afraid to throw in the butter. Good food includes plenty of healthy fats: fats are not only good for the body’s systems and your brain, they also carry the flavor.

Kathy’s Comforting Oatmeal

Serves 3 – 4


4 or 5 hours before, or the night before:

  • 2 cups oats (use whatever is on hand: rolled / old fashioned; quick; use only 1/2 cup if using steel cut oats)
  • Filtered water
  • 2 Tbs kefir or yogurt

When you make it:

  • 2 Tbs cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp each of powdered spices: nutmeg, cloves, allspice
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • Several dashes Himalayan or mineral salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Optional ingredients:

  • Fresh or dried fruit, such as raisins, chopped dates, or fresh or frozen peaches
  • Sweetener (you may not need this with the fruit), such as pure maple syrup, sucanat, stevia, or coconut palm sugar
  • Dairy or non-dairy milk
  • Peanut butter (I know – weird – but I tried it once and I like it)


  • Put the oats into a medium-size saucepan. Add enough water to cover the oats. (You’ll need extra water for steel cut oats: the ratio is 1:4, i.e., if you use ½ cup oats, then 2 cups water.) Add the kefir or yogurt, and stir. Allow to soak 4 or 5 hours, or overnight. (I discuss benefits of soaking grains here.)
  • When you are ready to prepare your oatmeal, put the oats on to a low simmer until cooked: 5 minutes for quick oats; 10 minutes for rolled / old fashioned oats; 15-20 minutes for steel cut oats.
  • Add the spices, butter, salt, and vanilla.
  • Add optional ingredients.
  • Stir together and heat it back up.
  • Serve hot.

Sometimes I make “Apple Raisin Stuff:” I chop up apples, add a little water and some raisins, and simmer until the apples are soft. I throw in some cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice. I keep it in the ‘fridge or freezer to use in pies or to mix some into my oatmeal.

What do you like to put in your oatmeal?