Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Unconventional Comfort Food

It's cold outside and there's a Winter Weather Advisory in effect. They say it will sleet tonight.

It's wet, damp, and, dreary outside because it's been drizzling all day

I'm tired and have the sniffles.

If there has ever been a night for comfort food, tonight is the night. Oh yeah, since I'm on vacation from work this week you would think I'd be relaxing. You would be wrong. I didn't get any sleep last night. Zombies. No rest. Just writing,and doctors, and teachers, and teaching. I need a break. I need some sleep. Or at least a little comfort food and then a nap.

Tonight's the night for a blanket too. I want to have something small and simple.

Thinking about comfort food gave me tonight's menu. The idea is to make it fast, make it good, and be comfortable. To "think sideways" let's try a couple of new ideas too. For our Meatloaf, lets make it in a cupcake pan.

MEMO from The
Mini-meatloaves? When I grew up, we called those "meatballs".
Please consider changing the name.

Open-faced Mini-meatloaf Sandwiches

  • 1 cups crushed saltines
  • 1 pound lean ground beef, reserve 2 ounces
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
  • 1/2 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 dozen dinner rolls


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix Saltines, beef, egg, parsley, 1/2 of onion, garlic, celerey, 1/4 teaspoon thyme, pepper, and salt together
  3. Using a cupcake pan, press into individual portions
  4. Bake for 20 minutes
  5. In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  6. Saute remaining onions until translucent
  7. Add remaining ground beef and brown
  8. Remove beef and onions but do not drain
  9. Add flour to make roux
  10. Deglaze pan with red wine
  11. Mix with water until smooth
  12. Return onions and beef to pan and bring back to a boil
  13. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  14. Split dinner rolls and place meat loaves on top, cover in gravy.
Twice Baked Potato Leak Soup


  • 32 ounces chicken broth
  • 4 large russet potatoes, each about 3/4 pound each, scrubbed and dried
  • Canola oil to coat
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 leek, sliced lengthwise, cleaned
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup sour cream


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash potatoes thoroughly, dry, then poke with a fork 6 to 8 holes all over the potato. (This will allow moisture to escape while it cooks.)
  3. Place in a bowl and coat lightly with oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and place potato directly on rack in middle of oven. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any drippings.
  4. Bake until tender, about 30 minutes more. Remove potatoes from the oven, and turn the heat down to 375 degrees.
  5. While potatoes are cooking, saute leek in butter with salt and pepper.
  6. When leek becomes soft an translucent, remove from butter.
  7. Add flour to butter and stir to create roux.
  8. combine Chicken stock into roux.
  9. Add leek back into soup and keep at low simmer until potatoes are ready.
  10. When potatoes are ready, remove from oven.
  11. Hold the potato with an oven mitt, trim off the top of the potatoes to make a canoe-like shape. Reserve the tops.
  12. Carefully scoop out most of the potato into a bowl. Take care to leave enough potato in the skin so the shells stay together. Remember, this will be used as a bowl for soup. (2)
  13. Take the potato, cheddar cheese, and black pepper and add to soup.
  14. With stick blender, puree soup.
  15. Set the potato shells and lids on a baking sheet, and bake until heated through, about 5 minutes.
  16. Move shells into soup bowls. Refill bowls with soup, top with sour cream, and cover.

Cream Cheese Brownie


  • 1 (20 ounce) package fudge brownie mix (13x9 size)
  • 1/4 cup water (or what mix calls for)
  • 1/3 cup oil (or what your mix calls for)
  • 2 eggs (or what your mix calls for)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions (water, oil, eggs).
  3. Pour into a greased 13x9-inch baking pan.
  4. Beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
  5. Add sugar and mix. Add vanilla and egg; mix until well-blended.
  6. Place cheese mixture in dolups over the whole pan, leaving some brownie showing inbetween.
  7. Cut or swirl through batter several times with a knife or fork for a marbled effect. It can be tricky to get a good marble effect so be careful not to over work it.
  8. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool; cut into squares.(1)
Wow, I'm so warm and comfortable right now, I'm almost asleep already. I'm glad I've got kids to do the dishes tonight.

Until tomorrow folks, here's wishing you peace, love, and hollandaise sauce.


(2) picture credit

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