Friday, December 19, 2008

Comforting Dishes on a Cold Day

It's snowing here in NY as well as in other areas around the country. On a day like today, all I feel like doing is cooking up a homemade meal and indulging in comfort food. But comfort food doesn't have to be rich and unhealthy.

Enjoy these three dishes that Dan and I make often. He's mastered the meatloaf while I love making the sides.

Dan's Turkey Meatloaf - Over the years, Dan has become an expert in making burgers and meatloaf. His recipe below comes from his mom, but he's borrowed and changed some things along the way. My favorite thing about it is how moist and flavorful it is. I love that he chops pieces of fresh pepper and onions and mixes them with the meat, making a traditional meatloaf feel more exciting. It's a relatively low-maintenance dish and prep time is very short.

Ingredients (serves 2-3)
1 - 1.5 lbs of ground turkey
1 egg
1 cup of breadcrumbs - or 1.5 generous handfuls. You be the judge of how much to put in by feeling the consistency of the breadcrumbs and the meat. If it feels doughy, you're right on, however, if it still feels like raw meat, put more breadcrumbs in.
2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed or chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 tbs of ketchup
1 tbs of Worcestershire sauce
A sprinkling of dried rosemary
Oil to gently grease the surface of the pan
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and incorporate them with your hands. Form into a loaf-like shape and place on a lightly oiled pan with holes and a drip pan underneath. Sprinkle the loaf with the dried rosemary or your favorite dried spice. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the top is golden brown.

Another way to test if the meatloaf is ready is by stabbing it with a knife, pressing it and seeing if it bubbles on top. If it does, it's ready. You can also cut a small piece out of it and try it.

Grilled Veggie Skewers and Veggie Cous-Cous - I wanted to make healthful sides with the turkey meatloaf. Veggie skewers and cous-cous were my choices and they complimented the meatloaf well. The grilled veggies provided earthy flavor while the cous-cous was a good pasta substitute.

Grilled Veggie Skewers (Serves 2-3)

Ingredients: (The below are just my favorites - you can use whichever veggies you like)
1 large sweet potato, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 - 2 small zucchinis, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 green pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
5 baby portobello mushrooms, quartered
A drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Italian spice mix or the spice mix of your choice
5-6 wooden skewers

Dip the skewers into lukewarm water and soak for a few minutes (about 5- 10 minutes). Pre-heat a grillpan or a panini press.

Skewer all the veggies on soaked wooden skewers. You might want to cook the sweet potatoes before doing this--it'll make your lives a lot easier. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and any other favorite spices. Grill for about 10 minutes or until the veggies have nice char marks. Let cool for about 5 minutes and serve.

Veggie Cous-Cous (Serves 2-3)

1 cup of instant whole-wheat cous-cous
1/4 onion, diced
1/4 green pepper, diced
1/2 mango, diced
2 tbs of butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the cous-cous according to the directions on the box. When removed from heat, add all the veggies and the mango. Season with salt and pepper. You can serve this warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy your comfort dishes!

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