Strategies for Fun and Accessible Cooking: Hidden Pleasure of Comfort Food

By Theresa Sweeney-Smith


I love using the slow cooker during the winter time to make soup and stew. It not only warms the air from the heat of the simmering broth, but it warms the spirit with the smells of hearty herbs and vegetables floating aromatically through the house.


Being familiar with your chopping and cooking utensils is very important.


I have a non-slip knife that I can easily pick out of the drawer and is comfortable to use. It also has an indent on the sharp side so it can be picked up properly.


I have a chopper that can take quartered vegetables and once the lid is screwed on, one or two pumps gives me the size I am looking for in a soup or stew.


The chopper can be easily rinsed off and placed in the silverware compartment blade down, to avoid injury.


I love using the slow cooker because I have had enough practice that I am familiar with the “off, low, medium and high” buttons. Enjoy!



Italian Vegetable Soup


(This recipe can be changed by adding vegetable stock and eliminating meat for my vegetarian friends)

1 32-ounce container of beef broth

1 large can tomato sauce

1 can sweet corn

1 can cut green beans

2 cans kidney beans

½ cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic

10 baby carrots cut in half

3 stalks celery chopped

1 can drained Italian diced tomatoes

3 cups shredded cabbage

1-pound ground beef cooked and drained

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon garlic pepper

½ 1/4 teaspoon sage

½ 1/4 teaspoon rosemary

1/4 teaspoon oregano

3 cups of elbow macaroni cooked


Brown 1 pound of ground beef with celery, onion and minced garlic. Drain well.


In a 2-quart slow cooker, add all ingredients except elbow macaroni. Cook on high for 4 hours and then reduce to low for at least 2 more hours.

Note: It is a great party food because you do not need to take it off of warm until you are done eating.


Macaroni may be added if all guests want macaroni, just before serving. Otherwise macaroni may be placed in a covered bowl and added as desired.

Serves 12.

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