Tag Archives: comfort food

Soup Week Day 2

22 Oct

Day two is lasagna soup, one of my faves. I found this recipe for Bobby’s Lighter Tastes Like Lasagna Soup by Bobby Dean on Pinterest about a year ago and I have been in love with it since. This is one that I generally follow to a T (except I love carrots so I added those). Here it is in all it’s glory!

It really is just like lasagna, it’s got a nice amount of heat, big flavor and I love the ooey gooey cheese!

lasagnasoup.jpg

Soup, It’s What The Doctor Called For

21 Oct

I haven’t been feeling very well in the past couple days (ahem Jessica who got me sick at work), so it was the perfect time to have Soup Week. Since I plan to make soup all week (different & new varieties) I dubbed it Soup Week to make it exciting – like Shark Week! lol. Are you excited yet? I am! Although my husband likes soups, I love them and I tend to want to make soup (homemade, of course) for dinner often. I had already decided before I was under the weather that I wanted to have Soup Week so I found three new recipes for soups that I have never made before, Pasta Fagioli, Broccoli Cheese Soup, and Chicken Enchilada Soup, and I plan to also make one of my favorite soups that I haven’t made in a while: Lasagna Soup. Is your mouth watering yet?? Mine certainly is.

I decided to start with the Fagioli and of course had to riff on the recipe that I found on the Frugal Living Now blog. This was exactly what I needed to make me feel so much better and was much less calories than a traditional ‘comfort food’ i.e. mac n cheese, mashed potatoes, etc. It was light yet filling and very tasty! It was so easy to make, the most intensive thing I had to do was literally collect all the ingredients. You could probably let it simmer for only 30 minutes if pressed for time and I bet it would be just as wonderful.

fagioli.jpg
Meaty Pasta Fagioli

Ingredients:
1 medium onion
1 lb ground beef
1 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots chopped
1 can white beans, great northern, or kidney- drained & rinsed (I used white beans)
1 can petite diced tomatoes and juice
32 oz chicken stock
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
Fresh parsley
Parmesan cheese

fagoli1.jpg

Directions:
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, add onions and sauté about 2 minutes. Add ground beef, break up meat with a spoon, brown meat thoroughly. Add carrots, rinsed beans, tomatoes, garlic, chicken stock, tomato paste and stir to combine. Add red pepper flakes, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and bay leaf. Reduce soup to simmer and cook for 1 hour. Check flavoring and add salt and pepper as necessary. Add elbow macaroni and cook for an additional ten minutes. Add parsley and Parmesan and serve.
Makes 6 servings.

fagoli2.jpgfagoli3.jpgfagoli4fagoli5.jpgfagoli7.jpg

I loved how fragrant my kitchen was with robust herbs and garlic. The second my husband came home from work the very first words were “something smells so good!”.

This soup is super simple to make and fantastic, I hope you love it! Now I am definitely looking forward to the rest of Soup Week and trying all these new recipes!

BBQ Turkey Meatloaf

16 Oct

So here’s the deal, meat loaf can be kinda gross. I was never a fan, like at all, when I was growing up. It just seemed like a mutant blob of blah. However, I can say that today I feel differently because of my BBQ Turkey Meatloaf. It’s super tasty, flavorful, tender, and saves easily for left overs- what’s not to like?
This recipe came about actually after an epic fail of trying to make a more traditional beef meatloaf. I won’t go into what exactly happened but I believe the words: cardboard and bland may have been thrown around and I do recall my husband politely choking it down. I don’t usually take epic failures lying down. I just had to redeem myself! And I did just that with this recipe.

20131015-211123.jpg
BBQ Turkey Meatloaf
Ingredients:
1 lb ground turkey meat
1 teaspoon meat magic seasoning (chef Paul Prudhomme)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce
1 clove garlic crushed
1/2 medium yellow onion finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
1 medium zucchini finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs

20131015-211303.jpg

20131015-211338.jpg

20131015-211416.jpg

20131015-211448.jpg

20131015-211520.jpg

20131015-211618.jpg

20131015-211719.jpg

20131015-211804.jpg

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix BBQ sauce, meat magic seasoning, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and egg in a medium bowl. In a sauce pan heat olive oil over medium and heat, sauté vegetables with salt and pepper until tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a couple minutes. Add vegetables to wet mix and combine. Place ground turkey in a large bowl and pour wet mix over meat, add bread crumbs and mix with your hands. Separate into four equal sections and shape into oblong ovals on a non stick sprayed glass baking dish(es), not touching. Top all loaves with additional BBQ sauce. Bake for 30 minutes, add more BBQ sauce to the top of loaves, continue to bake for another 10 minutes or until cooked through.

I decided to make mine with my very favorite new mashed potato recipe by the Pioneer Woman- I honestly cannot get enough, and frankly what’s better with meatloaf than mashed potatoes?!

20131015-212206.jpg
I love this meatloaf because it’s so full of flavor, it’s moist, and frankly delicious!

The Dreamiest Rice Pudding

30 Sep

First, welcome October, I didn’t see you sneaking up on me… where did September go?? I love how everyone is stepping it up on the fall front, from decorating to baking to checking out the local farm’s Harvest Festival, which opened last weekend. I just wish it was slightly cooler out, it’s a tad too warm for my taste midday but the evenings are definitely starting to get chilly and that leads me to want more cozy dinners and treats.

I happen to be a big fan of comfort food, if you couldn’t tell. When you are in the mood for a sweet treat on a chilly evening (or pretty much any time) one of the most delightful desserts in my opinion is Dreamy Creamy Rice Pudding. This recipe is slightly adapted from my mom’s recipe, I added heavy cream to the recipe to make it that much more amazing.
In my last post I mentioned some of the things I do to help me get home cooked dinners on the table after work midweek. I used another to help me make The Pioneer Woman’s Spicy Stewed Beef with Creamy Cheddar Grits by cooking the beef (which takes 3 hours to prepare) on Sunday afternoon (yesterday) and storing in the fridge overnight and then reheating it on the stove top while I was making the grits.

20130930-220309.jpg
It was really tasty, I love the grits especially. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that Pioneer Woman, she really knows what’s up! I could only hope to be as clever and creative as her one day.
After a delicious dinner I was in a mood for dessert, the possibilities were nearly endless. I considered chocolate chip cookies, bundt cake, brownies, etc but the only option that sounded truly amazing was rice pudding. I love rice pudding with it’s gentle sweetness and creaminess that cannot be beat. I like this particular recipe because it doesn’t involve multiple pots and baking dishes like most, it’s relatively quick, and requires few ingredients. This dessert is wonderful chilled or served warm, it just feels like home.

Dreamy Creamy Rice Pudding
3-4 servings
Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup medium grain white rice
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon for dusting

20130930-222553.jpg
Directions:

 Add milk, rice, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt to a 3-quart saucepan.
 Over medium low heat, heat milk mixture until tiny bubbles  form around the edge, stirring mixture frequently (about 5 minutes).
 Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 40 minutes or until rice is very tender, stirring occasionally. (about every 10 minutes). Do not leave unattended, this can and will boil over and make a huge mess on your stove top if left unattended. If you see it bubbling up and starting to try to escape the pot remove the lid and stir. When done the rice should be tender, it should be thickened and not overly liquidy.
Transfer to a bowl, dust with ground cinnamon. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and serve warm.

20130930-223116.jpg
This is like a hug in a bowl, I love it and I hope you do too!

Savory Braised Beef Short Ribs

23 Sep

It’s been an interesting day… we’ll leave it at that. Interesting days require something extra ordinary for dinner, again what I call- cooking therapy. Tonight it’s braising therapy… I’m willing to wait a little longer to eat tonight if it means delicious braised beef short ribs, and I bet you would too!

Savory Braised Beef Short Ribs
Braised short ribs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
Kosher salt n ground black pepper
1.5-2 lb short ribs, boneless
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 carrots, peeled cut into large chunks
1 onion cut into large chunks
3 stalks celery cut into large chunks
2 cups beef broth
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup red wine (I used merlot)
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 cup V8 juice
1 bay leaf
1 pinch crushed red pepper

20130923-193158.jpg
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat large pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. In a medium bowl combine flour with salt and pepper and toss short ribs to coat, shake to dust off excess flour. Transfer ribs to the pan to brown on all sides (about 5 minutes).

20130923-193343.jpg

20130923-193356.jpg

20130923-193415.jpg
Layer vegetable on bottom of a large heavy bottom pot/Dutch oven, arrange browned short ribs. Add remaining ingredients and an extra couple dashes of ground black pepper and salt.

20130923-193510.jpg

20130923-193522.jpg

20130923-193533.jpg

20130923-193556.jpg

20130923-193610.jpg
Cover and transfer to oven, cook for 1 hour and then reduce heat to 365 and cook until fork tender for about another hour and a half to two hours.

20130923-193819.jpg
Once out of the oven remove meat and vegetables from liquid and place on a platter, reduce liquid over medium high heat for approximately 10 minutes (may need to add some gravy flour to help thicken). Serve gravy over meat and vegetables. I served mine with buttered egg noodles.

20130923-210301.jpg

20130923-210320.jpg
I am in love with this recipe, I could seriously drink this sauce, it’s that good! I think it’s going on my list of favorites.

My braising adventure also left me with plenty of time to browse my old holiday magazines.

20130923-210657.jpg

20130923-210717.jpg
And… since it’s been an ‘interesting day’ I finished it off with sharing a happy little chocolate bundt cake from Corner Bakery with my hubby. Corner Bakery is currently participating in No Kid Hungry‘s fundraising campaign too, so double points for them!

20130923-211003.jpg

Sunday Roast

19 Sep

We were lucky enough recently to have all of our schedules align so that we could have our good friends over for dinner this past weekend. I wanted to make sure to make something delicious and really special for dinner.
IMG_2415
I spent a better part of an afternoon figuring out what the perfect Sunday dinner would be for our guests. I settled on a recipe which I found on multiple blogs and every single one had nothing but rants and raves about how amazing Crock Pot Balsamic Pot Roast was. Now I am not one who typically uses my crock pot because I have this strange mistrust of it, like I have to watch it constantly to make sure that it’s not going to like burst into flames which I am constantly laughed at over. I know so many people who are in love with their slow cookers and use them all the time. I got mine 3 years ago and have only used it twice. Since I have been meaning to give it another try and have faith that it will not burn my house down if I leave the house while it’s on (I am someone who unplugs unnecessary things and turns everything switch off any time I am leaving the house) I thought this would be a great opportunity. I downloaded the recipe from My Chic Life With Rachel Hollis.

Balsamic Pot Roast

Ingredients:
4-5 lb chuck roast
2 cups beef broth/stock
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
3 cloves crushed garlic
zest of 1/2 orange

IMG_2342
Directions:
Place meat in slow cooker, combine all other ingredients in a medium bowl and pour over meat. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
*I omitted red potatoes like the recipes call for since all recipes also listed that they served theirs with mashed potatoes so I did as well.
IMG_2338
IMG_2340IMG_2341IMG_2348IMG_2350IMG_2358IMG_2362IMG_2365

While the pot roast was cooking away I had plenty of time to work on the other elements of my dinner: Roasted Carrots, Pioneer Woman’s Mashed Potatoes, and Rosemary Rolls.
The Pioneer Woman just knows her stuff- I have tried SO many of her recipes and not one has ever turned out less than perfection! Find her recipe here: Mashed Potatoes.

IMG_2397IMG_2405IMG_2407IMG_2408IMG_2417
I peeled and cut up my carrots, tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper and placed them in a preheated 400 degree oven until tender- approximately 25 minutes.
IMG_2391IMG_2418
I made rosemary rolls out of fresh pizza dough (Trader Joes is the best) cut into fourths, sprinkled rosemary and kneaded, then I spread olive oil and crushed garlic on the top and baked in my 400 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes.
IMG_2413
The finished product was delicious and I couldn’t have been happier with the results. I’m working on my trust issues with my crock pot, but if it can produce a main dish like this- it must be doing something right!
IMG_2421

IMG_2422

Comfort Food- Roasted Chicken and Nana’s Stuffing

12 Sep

During my kitchen therapy weekend, I needed comfort and found it in the form of baking and cooking nutritious and delicious food for me and my family, reading a good book, and snuggling on the couch with my kitty mama (the sassy lady herself- miss Colbie).

IMG_2991

If someone were to ask me what I think the ultimate comfort food is I would probably say 9 times of of 10, roasted chicken. Add my Nana’s stuffing to that and you have meal that can’t be beat! I started making roasted chickens after receiving my first Barefoot Contessa cookbook which featured the most amazing chicken recipe that I have ever tried. It is the very best! It is one of those things that you can count on being amazing every time and you don’t have to question it.

For the brilliant Mrs. Garten’s Roasted Chicken recipe please click here.

I like to make it with carrots, celery, sweet or yukon gold potatoes, and sweet yellow onions. This time I decided to cook bone in chicken breasts rather than a whole chicken so that it would be done a little quicker and make a little less food since it was only for my husband and I.

IMG_2244
My Nana’s stuffing is something I grew up eating and loving. It’s so simple and so delicious! I converted my husbands non-stuffing eating family to stuffing lovers with this recipe. It’s great for holidays or anytime you want a comforting meal.

Nana’s Stuffing
1 cup celery finely chopped
1/2 cup yellow or sweet onion chopped
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups 1 inch cubed bread (sourdough or Italian bread)
3/4-1 cup chicken broth

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Heat butter in sauce pan over medium heat, sauté celery and onion until translucent. Add poultry seasoning, salt & pepper. Put bread cubes in a large bowl, pour butter mixture over it & combine. Add broth to mixture and combine till moistened. Spray or butter a dish to avoid sticking and place the bread mixture in, dab butter on top. Bake for approximately 30-45 minutes or until golden brown.
*For holidays you may want to double the recipe.

20130910-174709.jpg

20130910-174727.jpg

20130910-174740.jpg

20130910-174753.jpg

20130910-180414.jpg

20130910-180456.jpg
It’s so delish! I hope you love it as much as we do!