Comforting Classics

We tend to turn to comfort foods as the days get shorter and the chill permeates the air.  You want something that sticks to your bones and warms you from the inside out as you eat it.  Having the oven on to heat the house doesn’t hurt either.  Something cheesy, something filling, you want something that soothes the soul as it fills your belly. 

I am sure it’s a little different for all of us, but somethings are consistent.  It is usually something Mom or Grandma made, something made from scratch and baked or cooked on the stovetop for at least an hour or in the slow cooker all day.  For me, it means something loaded with cheese and probably heavy cream for added richness.  Comfort food means it warms you to smell it cooking.  It can be loaded with memories of family or just one of your favorite things to eat. Regardless, it feels like home and it brings peace and comfort as you eat it.

This week, I made a few classics with a low carb twist.  These are all still comforting but they avoid the carbs that make me feel blah.  If you want the carbs, feel free to put the cheesesteak casserole on a bun, add the fajita casserole to a tortilla or just add bread as a side.  Make your grocery list and meet me in the kitchen for comfort foods!

Chicken Fajita Casserole

2 lbs. chicken, cooked and shredded (about 3.5 - 4 cups)

1 Tbsp. real butter

2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced

1 large onion, sliced

1 8oz pkg. cream cheese, softened

¼ cup taco seasoning, more or less to taste

1 cup Queso Blanco Velveeta, more or less to taste

2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese, more or less to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray. In large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onions and peppers to skillet, cooking over medium-high heat and stirring occasionally until softened. Remove from heat. To skillet, add shredded chicken, cream cheese, taco seasoning and Velveeta. Stir to combine.  If needed, return to low heat until cheese is melted. Transfer to prepared baking pan. Top casserole with Mexican blend cheese.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling.  Top with sour cream, salsa, avocado, etc. as desired.

Recipe adapted from mymontanakitchen.com

 

Cheesesteak Casserole

½ cup real butter

1 ½ cup mushrooms, sliced

1 yellow onion, finely sliced

2 bell peppers, finely sliced

2lb ribeye steaks, shaved or very thinly sliced

salt and pepper, to taste

1 garlic clove, minced

1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning

12 slices provolone cheese, or shredded if you can find it.

1 Tbsp. hot sauce, optional

Preheat oven to 450°F and grease 9 x 13" pan.  In large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onions and peppers to skillet, cooking over medium-high heat and stirring occasionally until just starting to soften. Add meat to skillet and cook until slightly pink. Reduce temperature to medium-low and add garlic, seasoning and pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes stirring well to coat. Place everything into baking dish and place cheese on top. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until casserole is bubbling and cheese is melted. Drizzle hot sauce on top, if desired.

Recipe adapted from dietdoctor.com.

 

Broccoli Cheese Soup

2 Tbsps. real butter

1 large onion, diced

3 cups diced broccoli florets, more or less as preferred

1 tsp minced garlic

salt and pepper to taste

2 tsps. paprika

2 cups low sodium chicken stock

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups Velveeta Queso Blanco cheese

Melt butter in large pot.  Add onion and sauté 5 minutes.  Add broccoli and cook until starting to soften.  Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes.  Add salt and pepper and paprika and stir.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add chicken stock to deglaze pan.  Cook 10 minutes.  If you prefer a creamier soup with less chunks, add pot ingredients to blender and pulse until desired consistency is reached.  Return to pot.  I don’t do this step.  I like having substance in mine so feel free to leave this out as you may desire.  Add heavy cream.  Feel free to add more if desired until desired creaminess.  If it feels too thick for you, add more chicken stock.  Add cheese and cook until melted, stirring frequently.  Serve hot. 

 

Cheesy Meatloaf

8oz fresh mozzarella cheese

2 large eggs

1 cup almond flour

2 Tbsps. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsps. onion powder

1 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

2lbs lean ground beef, pork, or a blend

Arrange rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Dice mozzarella cheese. Refrigerate while you prepare meat.  Place 2 large eggs in large bowl and whisk with fork. Add almond flour, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, salt, garlic powder and black pepper, and stir to combine. Add meat and mix with your hands until combined (don’t overwork mixture).  Place about two-thirds of the meat mixture on baking sheet and shape into a rough 9x5-inch loaf. Make a rough 7x3-inch well in loaf, leaving a 1-inch border. Place diced mozzarella in even layer in well. Place remaining meat mixture over cheese and press into an even layer, completely sealing in mozzarella.  Bake until well browned all over and center of loaf registers at least 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, 55 to 60 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing.

Recipe from kitchn.com.