Winter is the season of comfort food, because nothing stokes the inner fire and boosts morale like a warm meal. Here’s a sampling of traditional favorites (and a few non-traditional) that are sure to satisfy whether the weather outside is frightful or delightful.
Bacon Cheddar Burger
2 pounds freshly ground chuck
(at least 80% lean, a.k.a. 80/20)
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
6 thick slices cheddar cheese, at room temperature
12 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and drained
6 large Hamburger buns, preferably homemade
- In a large bowl, mix ground beef, onion powder, salt and pepper until just combined. Do not over mix, or your patties will be tough.
- Divide into six portions and form patties, without pressing too hard. They should be uniform in thickness. Smooth out any cracks using your fingers. Make these right before you grill them, so they stay at room temperature.
- Preheat your grill, grill pan or cast iron skillet to high heat and add burger patties. If using a grill, cover with the lid.
- Cook until the crust that forms on the bottom of the burger releases it from the pan or grate — about 2 minutes. Gently test, but don’t flip it until it gets to this point. When burgers lift up easily, flip, add a slice of cheese to each, close lid if using a grill, and cook on the other side for another 23 minutes for medium to medium rare.
- Remove burgers with a sturdy metal spatula and transfer to a plate. Allow to rest for several minutes, then transfer to buns, top with bacon and serve.
Black Bean Chili
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey
3 (15 ounce) cans black beans, undrained
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat; cook onion and garlic until onions are translucent.
- Add turkey and cook, stirring, until meat is brown.
- Stir in beans, tomatoes, chili powder, oregano, basil and vinegar.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 60 minutes or more, until flavors are well blended.
Baby Pumpkins Stuffed with Andouille Sausage, Heirloom Grains & Canaveral Shrimp
4 each Jack Be Little Pumpkins
6 oz Fresh Canaveral Shrimp, peeled and deveined
3/4 cup Anson Mills Farro, cooked
1/4 cup Carolina Gold Rice, cooked
1/4 lb Andouille Sausage, casings removed, diced small
1/2 cup Onion, diced small
1/4 cup White Wine, dry
1 sprig Thyme, washed,
de-stemmed and minced
1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
- Cut the top quarter off of the pumpkins. Scoop seeds and the loose insides out. Clean underside of pumpkin lid. Lightly season insides and lids, and place in 350º F oven for 20 minutes.
- When cool enough to handle, scoop about half of the meat out, being careful not to break through the outside. Chop up scraped pumpkin and reserve for filling.
- Saute sausage in oil until slightly crispy.
- Add garlic and cook 3 minutes until lightly golden.
- Add onion and continue cooking until translucent. Deglaze with wine, stirring bottom of pan, and cook until dry.
- Add farro, rice, cranberries, thyme, reserved pumpkin and stock and stir everything together well. Cook for 7-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cut shrimp into a small sized dice. Fold into sausage mixture. Gently fill pumpkins with mixture until slightly overflowing.
- Return stuffed pumpkins to oven for 15-20 minutes, or until shrimp are cooked through.
Magic Beef Stew
1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
2-3 lbs. Chuck roast, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup onion, diced
5 stalks celery, chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) canned tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 cup beef broth
½ cup red wine
salt and pepper to taste
5 potatoes, peeled and quartered
5 carrots, rough chopped
- Fry bacon in a large Dutch oven until brown. Remove bacon pieces and set aside.
- Working in batches, add stew meat to bacon drippings and brown over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in onion, celery, tomatoes, garlic, sage, thyme and marjoram.
- Blend in beef broth, red wine, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.
- Add potatoes and carrots. Cook an additional 30 to 40 minutes. Top with crumbled bacon (optional).
Serves aprox. 6-8 people.
Shrimp & Grits
1 cup coarsely ground grits
3 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups half-and-half
2-3 pounds uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt & Pepper to taste
¼ tsp cayenne pepper,
or to taste
1 lemon, juiced
1 pound andouille sausage,
cut into 1/4-inch slices
6-8 slices bacon
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Bring water, grits, and salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan with a lid. Stir in half-and-half and simmer until grits are thickened and tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
- Sprinkle shrimp with salt and cayenne pepper; drizzle with lemon juice. Set aside in a bowl.
- Place andouille sausage slices in a large skillet over medium heat; fry sausage until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.
- Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Retain bacon drippings in skillet. Transfer bacon slices to paper towels, let cool, and crumble.
- Cook and stir green, red, and yellow bell peppers, onion, and garlic in the bacon drippings until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes.
- Stir shrimp and cooked vegetables into the andouille sausage and mix to combine.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; stir in flour to make a smooth paste. Turn heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is medium brown in color, 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully, mixture burns easily.
- Pour the butter-flour mixture into the skillet with andouille sausage, shrimp, and vegetables. Place the skillet over medium heat and pour in chicken broth, bacon and Worcestershire sauce, cooking and stirring until the sauce thickens and the shrimp become opaque and bright pink, about 8 minutes.
- Just before serving, mix sharp Cheddar cheese into grits until melted and grits are creamy and light yellow. Serve shrimp mixture over cheese grits.
Greek Omelet with Feta
1 cup tightly packed baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons chopped red onions
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped seeded tomatoes
2 tablespoons fat‐free milk
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, divided
into 3 tablespoons for inside omlette,
1 tablespoon to sprinkle on top
- Cook spinach, onions and garlic in small nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium heat 4 min. or until onions are crisp‐tender, stirring frequently. Stir in tomatoes.
- Whisk eggs and milk until blended. Add to skillet; tilt skillet to evenly coat spinach mixture. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until eggs are almost set, occasionally lifting edge with spatula and tilting skillet to allow uncooked portion to flow underneath. Top with 3 tablespoons cheese; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until eggs are set but top is still slightly moist.
- SLIP spatula underneath omelet, tip skillet to loosen and gently fold omelet in half. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; cut in half.
Banana Nut Waffles
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 large eggs, separated
2 cups nonfat buttermilk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas + more slices for garnish
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (more for garnish)
Sliced almonds for garnish
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients; stir until combined.
- In yet another bowl, mash bananas and lemon juice; stir into batter along with the walnuts. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites with a hand-mixer until stiff but not dry. Fold into the batter.
- Ladle about 1/3 cup batter onto each section of the waffle grid; spread batter almost to the edges. Close lid; bake until no steam emerges from waffle iron, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Garnish with sliced banana and extra nuts
Slow Cooker Pot Roast
1 tablespoon cornstarch
8 medium carrots, cut into thirds
2 medium onions, each cut into wedges
coarse salt and ground pepper
3 lbs chuck roast (give or take,
can be a bit smaller or larger than 3 lb)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- In slow cooker, stir together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water until smooth. Add carrots and onions; season with salt and pepper, and toss.
- Sprinkle roast with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; place on top of vegetables, and drizzle with Worcestershire. Cover; cook on high, 6 hours (or on low, 10 hours).
- Transfer roast to a cutting board; thinly slice against the grain. Place vegetables in a serving dish; pour pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve, if desired. Serve roast with vegetables and pan juices.
Oreo Chip Cookies
8 tablespoons of salted butter
½ cup white sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1/2 pkg coarsely chopped
“Double Stuf” Oreos
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Microwave the butter for about 40 seconds to just barely melt it.
- Using a stand mixer or electric beater, beat the butter with the sugars until creamy. Add the vanilla and the egg; beat on low speed until just incorporated, 10-15 seconds. (Do not over beat egg.)
- Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until crumbles form. Use your hands to press the crumbles together into a dough. It should form one large ball that is easy to handle (right at the stage between “wet” dough and “dry” dough). Add the Oreo chunks and incorporate with your hands.
- Roll the dough into 12 large balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes until the cookies look puffy and dry and just barely golden. Take them out even if they look like they’re not done yet, they’ll be pale and puffy.
- Let cool on the pan for 30 minutes.
Raw Strawberry Cheesecake with cashew Sweet Cream
For the cashew cream layer:
2 cups cashews, soaked
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water
For the strawberry layer:
2 cups strawberries, chopped
5 medjool dates, soaked & pitted
For the crust:
1 cup almonds
1 cup walnuts
6 medjool dates, soaked & pitted
1/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of sea salt
- Place almonds and walnuts in food processor and process until crumbly. Add dates and process until sticky. Add the rest of the crust ingredients and pulse to incorporate. Place crust mixture in the bottom of a large spring pan or 3 mini pans. place in freezer.
- Add all cashew cream ingredients in processor and process until smooth. Add a little bit of water if needed. Add cream layer on top of crust layer and freeze for 1 hour.
- Place all strawberry layer ingredients in processor and process until smooth. Add strawberry mixture on top of cream layer and freeze until hard, about 5 hours.
Also published on Medium.