i ♥ comfort food!

this week has brought with it a significant drop in temperature – hello low 30’s at night! i am finding the cooler weather absolutely heavenly!

captain had wrangled one of his cohorts into coming over after work to help bring some furniture down to storage. knowing that they had a PT test stupid early the next morning, i wanted to cook something comforting, but not heavy, to help them feel their best for the early morning ahead and to say ‘thank you!’ to captain b for coming over to help. {this is not the first time he’s had to come help move furniture, bless.}

i found this recipe for a broccoli cheddar soup {more of a chowder really} and all i can say is make it. make it now. it totally fit the bill of being comforting & hearty, but not too heavy. perfect for a cold autumn evening.


some amendments: i used skim milk rather than half & half and honestly, cannot imagine using anything but. the soup was SO thick and lovely with the milk; i feel using half & half would have made it… gloppy {for lack of a prettier phrase.} another edit, i did not serve the soup in bread bowls. rather, i crisped some onion rolls in the oven and served for dipping.

the guys seemed to love it! and though i didn’t have any last night, i enjoyed leftovers for lunch and can attest to its deliciousness.

has it gotten chilly in your neck of the woods, yet? if yes, what comfort foods do you most love to create?


unpredictable, but delicious.

t’was an unpredictable weekend down south for a number of reasons.

the first being that, the captain came home *yippee!*, yet he came home a bit more battered than his resident counterparts with a sprained right ankle. i knew of his condition coming home, but wasn’t quite sure what to expect in terms of his mobility. turns out, he’s walking, albeit with some new swagger, but walking all the same.

the second being the weather. mama nature was on a tear this weekend. though we were spared the terrible twisters that plagued our neighbors, we did not escape some extremes.

it was the perfect weekend to stay inside and try my hand at some new comfort food. i found a recipe for Bobotie (South African Meat Pie), was intrigued by the combination of spices and gave it my best shot. the verdict: ya-yum-ee.

what you’ll need: {it looks like a pretty intense ingredient list, but many you likely already have on hand)

1-lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1 granny smith apple, peeled and finely chopped
1/2C carrots, finely chopped
1/2C raisins
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic, minced

spice mix:  
1 TBSP curry powder
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp black pepper

other essentials:
1/4C dry red wine
3TBSP mango chutney
2 large egg(s)
1/2C low-fat milk

what you’ll do:
1. preheat oven to 375°. coat a 12-muffin tin with cooking spray.

2. in a large nonstick skillet, over medium-high heat, cook meat until no longer pink, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 3 to 5 minutes. drain meat;
set aside.

3. in same skillet (do not wipe out pan), over medium-low heat, combine onion, apple, carrot, raisins and bay leaves; cook, stirring frequently until soft, about 10 minutes. stir in garlic and spice mix; cook for 2 minutes.
4. stir meat into vegetable mixture; pour in wine and scrape bottom and sides of pan with a spoon to loosen any stuck pieces of food. simmer for 5 minutes.
5. remove from heat. remove bay leaves; stir in chutney. spoon meat mixture into prepared muffin tins.
6.  in a small bowl, whisk together eggs and milk; pour over meat mixture.
7. bake until egg layer is set, about 20 to 25 minutes. let cool slightly to allow individual servings to set. serve & enjoy!

i served with steamed broccoli florets & rice pilaf. the flavors were really delicate and played well with each other. overall, while a bit labor intensive, this is absolutely a dish i would be excited to make again.

good luck on your mondays!

{original recipe here}

mary had a little…

“What do you mean, you don’t eat no meat? … That’s okay. I make lamb.”
– My Big Fat Greek Wedding

i did it! i did it! i did it! {pats self on back} i conquered my fear of cooking with lamb
and the results were incredibly worth it! i gathered inspiration from the lovely
ms. brioche over at manhattan pug {http://manhattanpug.blogspot.com/} and
her non-intimidating recipe for lamb tagine.

i am proud to present my very first, but definitely not last, foray into the wonderful world of lamb.

Lamb Tagine
what you’ll need for the marinade:
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 two-inch strips of lemon peel
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 TBS salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 cinnamon stick or 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

2-lbs. lamb leg, cut into 1-inch pieces

what you’ll cook:
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced into 1/4 inch half-moons
juice from 1 orange
(1) 2-inch strip of orange peel
14.5-oz. can of diced tomatoes
2C reduced-sodium chicken stock
1 medium carrot, diced
1/3C green olives, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4C chopped parsley

what you’ll do:
1. combine all ingredients for marinade in a big ole bowl. {they’re beautiful
AND beautifully fragrant – bonus!}

2. add lamb; make sure each piece is well coated.

3. cover with plastic wrap & marinate in the fridge for 4-6 hours.
{yes, this is a plan ahead kind of meal}
4. combine stock, tomatoes, onions, orange peel & juice & lamb.
{scrape in all the leftover marinade into the pot as well.. get all the good stuff!}

5. bring to a boil
6. reduce heat to simmer; cover and cook 1.5 hours.
7. add carrot; cook 30-45 more minutes.
8. add olives & parsley…

et voila! lamb tagine.

i served this with an herbed couscous and steamed asparagus. the sweetness from the asparagus really helped pull out the flavors from the cinnamon and orange components.

after several ‘hoorays!’ and ‘woo-hoos’; i proceeded to mmm-mmm all over this dinner.

have you ever conquered a cooking fear and come out victorious?

pics: moi
recipe: adapted from manhattanpug.blogspot.com


i recently re-discovered my love of broccoli rabe, or as my husband calls it,
‘the fancy broccoli i made up a name for.’

in search of recipes that incorporate aforementioned vegetable du jour, i stumbled across this gem and quickly fell in love with its ability to meet my three criteria for week night dinners… supa healthy, supa flavorful and supa fast!

Rigatoni with Sweet Sausage & Broccoli Rabe
what you’ll need:
3C rigatoni
8-oz. sweet italian sausage (casing removed)
2 bunches broccoli rabe (ends trimmed of the dry part)
1C reduced sodium chicken stock
1/2C parmigiano reggiano
salt & pepper (to taste)

what you’ll do
1. cook rigatoni (duh!); set aside

2. cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat,
breaking up sausage as it cooks, about 3 minutes.
3. add broccoli rabe cook, stirring frequently, about 3 to 5 minutes {note: i actually steamed the broccoli rabe about 8 minutes before adding it to the sausage}

4. add broth to skillet and scrape up browned bits on bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon; season with salt and pepper.
5. cover skillet and reduce heat to low; cook until rabe is tender, about 5 to 10 minutes.
6. stir in rigatoni; add parmigiano; heat through… and faster than you can say ‘i heart rabe.’ dinner.is.done.

the stock made a delightfully light sauce and scraping up the brown bits added a ton of flavor. adding this to our repertoire? check.

i hope you enjoy!

pics: moi
recipe: adapted from weightwatchers.com

portobell-oh my!

remember a certain portobello lasagna i was going gaga for? well, i attempted this weekend and… oh.my.word delicious.

the portobellos filled my kitchen with the most amazing earthy aroma. add some rosemary and what i had was an absolutely to-die-for combination.

it seemed at first glance to be a bit labor intensive (it’s really not. cook the noodles. carmalize onions, cook bellos, make sauce, assemble, bake.) hubs sat at the breakfast bar and read me the directions as i chopped and sliced and assembled away, and before i knew it, voila! ’twas fini!

i hope you try this out and that it’s as rewarding for you as it was for me!

Portobello & Carmalized Onion Lasagna
what you’ll need:
3/4 pound(s) dry lasagna noodles (false! you only use 9 noodles!)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 large spanish onion, peeled, cut in half and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 Tbsp rosemary, fresh, chopped  (i used 1/2 Tbsp of dry)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup Diet Coke, or other brand  (i used Pepsi Max)
1 spray(s) cooking spray (was all out – used a fat free spray butter)
6 medium portobellos, stemmed, sliced (i used one full container of baby portobellos)
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed, sliced (again, i used one full container)
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cup(s) skim milk
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese, fresh, divided

what you’ll do:
1. Place a large pot of water over high heat; bring to a boil. Add noodles; boil for 10 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Drain noodles and briefly rinse under cool water to prevent sticking; set aside.

2. Place a very large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and onions; cook, without stirring for 3 minutes, and then continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 7 minutes. Add rosemary and water; scrape up any food from bottom of pan using a wooden spoon. Cook until water evaporates, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add soda and cook until onions are nicely browned and soft, about 3 to 4 minutes; remove to a large bowl and set aside.

3. Coat same skillet with cooking spray; place over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, without stirring, until they start to brown, about 2 to 3 minutes; sprinkle with salt and stir. Continue to cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are browned, about 3 to 4 minutes; add to onion bowl. (If mushrooms are too cramped in skillet, either use 2 skillets or cook them in 2 batches.)

4. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

5. To make sauce, place same skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and butter; allow butter to melt. Add flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until combined, about 1 minute. Add milk, a little at a time, stirring to prevent lumps; bring to a boil. Stir in garlic and cook, stirring continuously, until thick, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add nutmeg and 2 tablespoons of cheese; stir to combine and set aside.

6. To assemble lasagna, spread 1/3 cup of sauce over bottom of a 9- X 11-inch lasagna pan or baking dish. Place 3 noodles over sauce in a single layer; spread with 1/3 cup of sauce and about 1 1/2 cups of onion-mushroom mixture. Top with 1/4 cup of sauce and then 3 more noodles; spread with 1/3 cup of sauce and about 1 1/2 cups of onion-mushroom mixture. Top with 1/4 cup of sauce and then 3 more noodles; spread with 1/3 cup of sauce and about 1 1/2 cups of onion-mushroom mixture. Top with 1/4 cup of sauce and then top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese.

7. Bake for 20 minutes; change oven temperature to broil. Broil until top of lasagna is crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 to15 minutes before slicing into eight pieces.

i served this slice of amazement with a simple green salad dressed lightly with olive oil.

you may remember, i was loving smittenkitchen’s recipe. however, i used a lighter one since i am currently immersed in an epic weight loss battle.

happy cooking!

post script: i’m posting this beginning-ish of the week because there will be lots ‘o leftovers to enjoy all week long.

pics: moi
recipe from here: http://www.weightwatchers.com