Tag Archives: Comfort food

Comfort Classic

Fall. The leaves begin to turn, there is a crispness in the air and almost an immediately my body begins craving “comfort food” {though my hips are never pleased}. With temperatures dipping into the 60s and 70s as of late, my cravings have been in the soup genre. I am a sucker for tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich; though I have never perfected my soup… until now.

Follow along, I promise you won’t regret it!

Here’s what you need:

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3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 – 14 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
1 – 14 oz. can of whole tomatoes
2 cups of stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 tsp of sea salt {to taste}
1 tsp of sugar {could go lighter on the sugar}
1 tbsp. garlic powder {to taste}
1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper {I ended up adding more to taste}
1/2 cup of heavy cream {I think you could sub with half and half}
6 tablespoons of fresh basil, julienned
Parmesan cheese shavings

This is how you do it:

In a saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil on medium heat for 1 minute – keep a close eye as you don’t want to burn the garlic. Next, add the crushed tomatoes then the whole tomatoes one at a time, squeezing them into the pan; gently breaking them up. After tomatoes have been added, be sure to stir in the juice/sauce from the whole tomatoes, as well. Add chicken stock, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook the soup on medium at a simmer for at least 10 minutes. At this point, I used an immersion blender to puree—if you wanted smooth and don’t have the immersion blender, you could purchase all crushed tomatoes–if you like chunky, no need for alteration or blender. To finish, reduce the heat to low and stir in heavy cream and basil.

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Serve topped with Parmesan cheese and a toasty grilled cheese sandwich!

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Cheers!

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Garlic and Rosemary Piggy

Work-wise, last week was a long one. So when Friday hit, I was less than thrilled with the idea of cooking but absolutely dreaded the idea of leaving my condo and entering the cold night in search of food. Plus, I had everything I needed at home sans motivation.

After some major vegging out on the couch I mustered enough energy to whip up a pork tenderloin and some quick mashed potatoes and salad. Pork tenderloins are so easy, just season and pop in the oven. But I find myself often doing the same prep each time. To switch it up, I looked around for ideas that other people were using and then jumbled a few together and came up with this bad boy.

Garlic and Rosemary Roasted Pork Tenderloin– here’s what you’ll need:
– 2.5-3lb pork tenderloin
– 6 cloves of garlic
– 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
– 2 tablespoons onion powder
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit. In a food processor or blender combine the garlic, dried rosemary, onion powder, olive oil, and s&p. This will look pretty green and smell wonderful.

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To prep the meat, pierce the meat with a knife then pour the garlic and rosemary paste over the tenderloin, working to cover the enter loin.

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Place the tenderloin in a baking pan and pop it in the oven– basting throughout the cooking process with liquids from the pan. Cook time will be about 1 hour– use a meat thermometor to ensure that the pork cooks to an internal temp of 145 degrees.

Once cooked, remove the tenderloin from the oven and place on a serving platter. In the baking pan, add 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth and stir to loosen the bits on the bottom of the pan– put in a gravy boat for drizzling!

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The paste keeps the meat nice and moist throughout the cooking process and the seasonings created a nice savory flavor. Full transparency, I used white wine rather than chicken or veggie broth as indicated above– too sweet for my liking, that is why I suggested the broth instead. Also, think next time I will “marinate” the meat in the paste for a few hours before cooking! With these few tweaks, I think I will love this dish even more! Hope you enjoy!

Cheers!

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Sammy with a kick!

I was recently inspired by 300 Sandwiches and set out to make what I hoped would be my favorite sandwich. Growing up, we didn’t eat a lot of sandwiches as my mom was not a fan. I am a firm believer that any sandwich grilled proves to be some of the best comfort food. So I tried to incorporate a few of my favorites into this little guy and make up for lost-sandwich time!

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What is it you ask? A hot grilled turkey sandwich on wheat–with a kick! I simply butter the bread as you would with a regular grilled cheese; the key, butter on the inside and outside of the bread. I then spread chopped garlic over the butter layered the smoked turkey, added hot banana peppers and topped with white horseradish cheddar cheese to hold those little suckers in place.

While I used pretty simple and straight forward ingredients, the smell while cooking was insane. The melding of the smokey with the heat of the horseradish and banana peppers was just perfect. And I always say add garlic to anything to put it over the top; and it did just that. This sandwich was divine! I would recommend pairing this with a savory and smooth soup if you are looking for a side but for me the sanwich stood on its own. Enjoy!

Cheers!

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Warming the soul… Minnesota style

A few weeks back I wanted to surprise my team with lunch to honor all of the hard work they have been doing. In a somewhat sly fashion, I determined that the only soup that all of my team members enjoy is Chicken Wild Rice. Of course, this is one that I have never made before but thought is appropriate for the chilly weather we have been experiencing.

With that in mind I dove into a million recipes on the internet, and drew from the front-runners to make up this batch.

Here’s what you need:
– 2 rotisserie chickens (I used Target’s Savory seasoned)
– 12-16 cups of water
– 5 large carrots; peeled, trimmed and cut into bite size chunks
– 3 stalks of celery; trimmed and cut into bite size chunks
– 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
– 3 bay leaves
– 2 tablespoons butter
– 1 whole yellow onion; chopped
– 1 cup uncooked wild rice
– 1 cup heavy cream
– 1 cup greek yogurt
– 4 tablespoons cornstarch
– 4 teaspoons thyme
– 1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less for taste)
– 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (more or less for taste)
Note: This was enough for 5 people at work and leftovers at home– easy to 1/2 the recipe

Prep chicken by pulling the meat from the carcass; put the bones, skine and meat and any juices from the container into a pot. Cut all of the meat and set aside for later use.

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Add water, celery, carrots, peppercorns and bay leaves to the pot. Bring the contents to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan and allow the broth to simmer for at least one hour.

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After an hour has passed, pour the broth through a strainer and into a large pot. Discard all the remnants.

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Add melted butter into the now empty pot and add chopped onion. Allow this to cook until the onion is tender but not to the point of browning.

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Then add the broth and wild rice. Bring the pot to a simmer and cover. Allowing the broth to simmer for about 45 minutes or until the rice is tender.

In a separate bowl, whisky heavy cream, greek yogurt and cornstarch. Ensure that the three ingredients mix into a smooth consistency. Slowly incorporate the mixture to the larger pot. Stir the soup until it thickens and return the contents to a simmer.

Next up, add the thyme, salt, pepper and chicken. Ensure that the chicken is heated through and serve with a loaf of crusty bread (yes, that’s a technical term).

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Cheers!

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Winter food… in May…ugh

Unfortunately yesterday was a chilly and blustery day. While those words are typically reserved for winter weather, I live in Minnesota so they can be used at any time. Due to the cold snap I felt the need for a comforting meal. So I stopped on by my “Feed Me-Soup & Salad” Pinterest board to see if I had “pinned” anything that looked appetizing.

One of the pins was for Anthony Bourdain’s mushroom soup. I always like to read the reviews, tips, and modifications that people often leave on a recipe post and from that I pulled some great ideas. Bourdain’s recipe is delightfully simple. (Mushroom Soup)

While I thought this sounded wonderful alongside a grilled cheese sandwich, my boyfriend had asked for a hearty soup (he must have been craving comfort food too). This is where my improvisation and those modifications came into play. I began with the mushrooms and instead of Bourdain’s way, I followed Pastor Ryan’s Pan Seared Mushroom recipe from the Pioneer Woman (Pan-Seared Mushrooms) My thought was that pan-searing the mushrooms would create a deep, rich flavor and really showcase the mushrooms.

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Slice the mushrooms about 1/4 inch thick…

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Next up I put a cast-iron skillet over high heat, on the stove. I added about a tablespoon of canola oil– though use whatever suits your fancy. Once the oil is hot, add a couple handfuls of mushrooms to the pan. SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSsssssiizzzllle.

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As the mushrooms begin to shrink from the heat, move them to the edges and add a little canola oil to the middle of the pan along with the remaining mushrooms. At this point, I added about 2.5 tablespoons of butter, and shallots as well as salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.

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Now, I am no Pastor but these are DIVINE on their own. Anyway, once the mushrooms were done, I set them aside and started browning 2 lbs of Jimmy Dean Regular Pork Sausage in a large stock pot.

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Once browned I removed the sausage from the stock pot and drained in a strainer. Don’t worry about the sausage drippings in the bottom of the pan– it only makes it better. I then added the mushrooms, 10 cups chicken broth and 6-8 sprigs of chopped parsley to the stock pot.

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I brought the mixture to a boil. Once boiling I reduced the temp to a simmer and allowed the soup to bubble it’s way to decliciousness for the next hour. At the hour mark, I used an immersion blennder right in the pot. All of the mushrooms and parsley will turn to little bits, and the soup will go from clear to cloudy. I then spooned the sausage into the mixture, added about 2 ounces of red wine and brought the mixture back to a similar.

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In a separate pot, I begin boiling Buitoni Mixed Cheese Tortellini

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Once cooked, I drained the pasta and added it along with two handles of spinach to the stock pot.

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I let the soup cook just long enough for the spinach to wilt and then served a few ladlefuls with a traditional grilled cheese sandwich. YUM!!!

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The soup was rich and dancing with mushroom flavor. The tortellini was the perfect touch with it’s creamy filling and and tangoed so gently with the wilted spinach. At my house, this was a hit– actually a homerun… all the way out of the ballpark!

Cheers!

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Corn, Bacon & Potato CHOWDOWN Chowder

Unfortnately it did not cross my mind to take pictures of this delicious dish until AFTER I had made it. What is it you ask?? Corn and Bacon Chowder; being that it is WeightWatchers I imagined that I would need to do some “spiffing up” in order to make this soup more tasty but that was not the case.

This soup is quick and easy to make but packed with flavor and provides wonderful tummy-filled comfort for these blustery winter evenings we have been having and the snow storms that are coming! Hope you enjoy as much as I did!

CORN BACON AND POTATO CHOWDER

1 medium uncooked Yukon gold potato(es)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup(s) uncooked celery, chopped
1/4 cup(s) uncooked onion(s), chopped (or 1 large shallot)
4 piece(s) corn on the cob, kernels removed with a knife
1 cup(s) sweet red pepper(s), diced
4 oz uncooked Canadian-style bacon, diced
2 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp hot pepper sauce, or to taste

Instructions:
Pierce potato in several places with a fork; microwave on high power until tender, turning over once, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool; peel and mash.

Meanwhile, in a large pot heat the olive oil. Add celery, onion, corn and red pepper; sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.

Stir bacon and milk into saucepan; stir in mashed potato and mix well. Season with salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce; stir to combine. Cover and simmer 10 minutes (do not allow to boil). Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving.

Notes
** I doubled the recipe to ensure that there were leftovers
** Topped with a teaspoon of chive and onion sour cream
**Feel free to substitute your favorite fresh vegetables like asparagus and broccoli for the red pepper. Or to save time, substitute 2 cups of frozen corn and 1 cup of frozen, diced bell pepper for the fresh corn and red pepper.

Seriously, DIG IN! This is so wonderful I am salivating just thinking about it. Next time, I won’t forget the pics; I promise!

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