Monday, February 11, 2013

Comfort Food: Weekly Menu 2/11/13

It's winter and even in L.A., we're turning on the heat at night these days, which means that the last thing we feel like eating for dinner is anything cold. This is a meaty kind of a menu, but as I've said before, there are at least three members of my family who could probably live on  meat and chocolate alone. So how could I not make some cookies for dessert with these dinners? This chocolate cookie recipe comes right from the bag of Gold Medal Flour and it is my absolute favorite. For those in town, come on over, I still have some.

If comfort food is up your alley these days, here are some favorites from past Weekly Menus that you might like:


All American Chili

All American Chili
The addition of sausage to this chili sets it apart. This makes a big batch and we found that the leftovers tasted great - maybe even better - a couple of days later. 

Sides: Toppings like shredded cheddar, sour cream, green onions and hot sauce; cornbread

  • Use pre-chopped onion from the produce section
Make Ahead Notes
  • Combine dry seasonings ahead and set aside for later
  • Chop onion and bell pepper and set aside for later 
  • Rinse and drain beans and set aside for later
  • 6 ounces mild or sweet turkey Italian sausage
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/4 cups Merlot or other fruity red wine
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained

  • Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage, onion, and the next 4 ingredients (onion through jalapeño) to pan; cook 8 minutes or until sausage and beef are browned, stirring to crumble.
  • Add chili powder and the next 7 ingredients (chili powder through bay leaves), and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, tomatoes, and kidney beans; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Uncover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard the bay leaves. Serve with toppings.
Adapted from this Cooking Light recipe

Crispy Pork Medallions

Crispy Pork Medallions
This dish broke us out of our usual go-to marinated pork tenderloin recipes.

Sides: Baked sweet potatoes, sauteed or steamed sugar snap peas

Make Ahead Notes
  • Combine dry seasonings and set aside for later
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 8 medallions
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (I used about a tsp of dried instead)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Rub mustard evenly over pork medallions. Combine panko, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Dredge pork in panko mixture. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pork; sauté 2 minutes or until golden brown. Turn pork. Place skillet in oven; bake at 450° for 8 minutes or until pork reaches 145°. Let stand 3 minutes.
 Recipe from Cooking Light


Mozzarella-Stuffed Pesto Turkey Meatballs

Mozzarella stuffed pesto turkey meatballs
You break into a meatball and melty mozzarella oozes out. It's hard to resist a meatball with pesto AND a gooey center. I halved this recipe and still had leftovers.

Sides: Spaghetti with marinara sauce, green salad

  • Use quality pre-grated Parmesan cheese
Make Ahead Notes
  • Chop parsley and onion and set aside for later  -  if you have a mini food chopper, throw the onion and parsley in together
  • Cut mozzarella into cubes and set aside in the fridge for later
  • 3 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup prepared pesto
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 (24 ounce) jars marinara sauce
  • Preheat an oven to 375 degrees.
  • Place the ground turkey, onion, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, pesto, milk, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Mix until evenly blended, then form into 1 3/4-inch meatballs. Make a hole in the meatball with your finger and place a cheese cube in the hole. Seal the meatball around the cheese and place on a nonstick baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the meatballs. 
  • Bake in the preheated oven until the meatballs are no longer pink in the center, about 30 minutes. Heat the marinara sauce in a saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer, and place the baked meatballs in the marinara sauce for about 2 minutes.
Recipe from

Extra Credit: Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies
 I'm not a fan of crispy, flat cookies, so these, in my opinion, are perfection. They turn out chewy and chunky every time. I recommend you only slightly soften your butter and then take some time to chill the dough before baking. If the dough is too warm, your cookies will indeed spread and be flatter than you might like.

Make Ahead Notes
  • Measure out dry ingredients and set aside for later
  • Set butter out to soften a bit 
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, slightly softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (24 ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • In large bowl, beat butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Stir in flour, baking soda and salt (dough will be stiff).
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by tablespoonfuls or a cookie/ice cream scoop 2 inches apart.
  • Bake 11-13 minutes or until light brown (centers will be soft). Cool 1-2 minutes, remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

Recipe from Gold Medal Flour bag and originally called "Extraordinary Chocolate Chip Cookies"

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