Maureen Fraîche

Mixing Business and Pleasure in the Kitchen

Archive for the category “Comfort Food”

Cheesy Tortellini and Sausage Skillet


I ate this bite and behold, it was very good.

The weather’s turnin’ cold, folks!  Time for something warm and cozy, says I.

Cheesy Tortellini and Sausage Skillet?  Yep.  That sounds about right.

I’ve seen variations of this dish all over the interwebs and decided to make my own rendition.  One thing I love about it is how easy it is to add whatever random veggies you’ve got in the fridge and no one will be the wiser.  Well, within reason.  And as for prep, who doesn’t love a one dish wonder?  This dinner comes together in about 30-45 minutes and the clean-up is a breeze.  Your family will love this one, so why not give it a try?

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Meaty Mac

Meaty Mac

Cooler temps are just around the bend and already I’m in the mood for some gooey comfort food.  The stick-to-yer-ribs type.

This recipe fit the bill splendidly.  Though it surely ain’t sexy, it is totally delicious.  We’re talkin’ perfectly seasoned ground beef folded into creamy, homemade macaroni and cheese and then baked until bubbly.  I kept it simple this time around, but you could easily add sauteed veggies, different spices–whatever your heart desires.  You could also swap in ground chicken or turkey for the beef and a whole grain mac, such as Barilla Plus, for the regular variety.

So next time you’re looking for something cozy–or just a new way to use that ground beef–give this recipe a whirl.  It’s sure to please anyone from your favorite football fan to those angelic children of yours.

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Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Oh, how I love cinnamon rolls.  Whether it’s Christmas with the family or just a rainy morning, there’s nothing quite as homey as a sweet and gooey roll straight out of the oven.  Of course, everyone’s got an opinion when it comes to the filling.  Raisins.  No raisins.  Nuts.  No nuts.  Glaze.  Cream cheese frosting.  Lucky for me, I’ll take one in just about any way, shape or form.  I’m easy like that.

For awhile now, I’ve wanted to try a cinnamon roll filled with apples.  I mean, how could you go wrong with that?  Seems like a stroke of genius, right?  Spiced Grannies rolled up in a sweet yeast dough and drizzled with glaze?  I drool.

So here’s the recipe I came up with.  I’ll just be straight with you and tell you these were amazing.  So.  Good.  The apples were a fantastic departure from the ubiquitous raisin and they were loved by one and all.  The Grannies really gave these rolls a wonderful flavor and, needless to say, made the entire house smell just heavenly.  Though they take a little work, these apple cinnamon rolls are most definitely worth it.

Oh, and did I mention these have half the calories you’d find in many similar bakery creations?  Nice.

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The Spaghetti Sub

Spaghetti Sub

Howdy folks.

So let me tell you about this beast of a sandwich.  You might be thinking to yourself, What sort of crazy person makes a spaghetti sub??  Honestly, I had never even heard of such a thing, though apparently they do exist and even have quite a little following at the restaurants that offer them.  I think the idea actually came to us one night over a spaghetti dinner.  We were sitting there happily slurping our spaghetti and wiping our plates with crusty bread when the husband had a flash of genius.  Why not stuff a loaf of garlic bread with the spaghetti? The conversation then quickly turned to a better garlic bread, great sauce, and–the crowning glory–bubbly mozzarella cheese.

So here it is.

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Lasagne al Forno


Lasagne al Forno.  So delicious.  Homemade ragu bolognese, fresh pasta, creamy balsamella, nutty parmigiano throughout with a sprinkling of mozzarella to top things off–this dish is so worth the effort and the leftovers are amazing.

If you’ve been following my posts leading up to this grand finale, you’ve had a sweet peek into each of the delicious ingredients in this authentic Italian lasagne.  Yes, this dish is a labor of love, but the results are nothing short of delizioso.

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Ragu´ alla Bolognese


I have had this serious desire for some real lasagne.  So serious that I made this delicious bolognese today and will make fresh pasta tomorrow.  Layered with besciamella (or bechamel, in French) and freshly grated parmigiano, this is a truly authentic lasagne al forno.  I will, of course, do a post for the fresh pasta as well as for the construction of the final masterpiece.

The recipe I use here is an adaptation from Saveur Cooks Authentic Italian.  What a beautiful cookbook!  The photography alone makes this one worth owning, not to mention the authentic cuisine.

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Jack-Studded Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey meatloaf

Nothing says homey comfort food like a good meatloaf.  Though decidedly unsexy, meatloaf certainly delivers an almost unparalleled stick-to-your-ribs satisfaction.  What I love about this recipe is that not only is it better for you, it is also packed with flavor and cheesy goodness.  I’d even go so far as to say that I like this particular recipe better than my favorite beef/pork meatloaf.  What makes this turkey meatloaf so great is the variety of flavors it offers.  Though the ground turkey alone may seem boring, a bit of fresh Italian pork sausage, minced aromatics, freshly ground herbs, and creamy Monterey Jack cheese take it to a whole new level.  Plus, the leftovers make fantastic sandwiches or even makeshift meatballs when diced and added to marinara.

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Deep Dish Cinnamon Buns with Grandma Hazel’s Creamy Glaze

Deep Dish Cinnamon Buns

Well now!  It has been several weeks since my last post and for that, I am sorry.  The holidays have a way of making the time fly, what with all the merry making.  I do hope you had a lovely Christmas and the new year is just around the corner!  If you happen to be one of the many who plan to shed pounds in 2013, stay tuned for future posts to help you with your goals.  In addition to waistline-friendly recipes, I’ll be sure to post tips, tricks, and commonsense recommendations for your nutrition and fitness resolutions.

In the meantime, however, let there be Deep Dish Cinnamon Buns!  Let me be clear, I have not tweaked or modified these to be a ‘health food.’  No, these are an indulgence, pure and simple: a potato-enriched yeast dough is shaped, dunked in butter and then rolled in a brown sugar-cinnamon coating, baked until glorious and finally drizzled with Grandma Hazel’s Creamy Glaze.  These are absolutely worth the effort and your family is sure to rise up and call you blessed.

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Italian Braised Beef

Nothing beats a delicious braise on a cold, rainy day.  And, though you might be tempted by the relative ease of a Crock Pot, nothing beats the performance of enameled cast iron.  Yes, there are often more steps involved and you can’t simply dump your ingredients and hit the ‘on’ button, but the exchange in flavor development is immeasurable.  Now, lest I be caught out on this one, I am sure that at some point, I’ll post a Crock Pot recipe.  But not today.  Vive Le Creuset!

This recipe is an adaptation of Giada’s Short Ribs with Tagliatelle.  Though I do enjoy short ribs, they can be rather fatty and I can’t say I relish getting a mouthful of fat goobers when I’m expecting a bite of meat.  Chuck offers nice flavor and is much leaner.  I’ve also adjusted the braising liquid to my taste–that is, more wine, less beef broth.  Finally I really prefer to braise in the oven versus on the stove top.  Not only does it keep my stove top clear for the cooking of other dishes, but the heat is much more even and consistent.

If you happen to be watching your waistline, definitely add this recipe to your line-up.  Forget about low-cal meals with lackluster flavor; though wonderfully rich and satisfying, this dish clocks in at a modest 525 calories when served with 1 cup of pasta.

Click here for the recipe!

Savory Supper Pie

Next time you need something cozy for dinner, make this.  Pretentious?  No.  Delicious?  Oh yes.  Sauteed onions and leek with ground beef baked beneath a cheesy scone crust…doesn’t that just sound good on a bleary day?  My particular take on this little number was very much inspired by Nigella Lawson’s Supper Onion Pie, found in one of my favorite cookbooks, How to be a Domestic Goddess

One thought–I used ground beef because it was quick, easy, and on hand.  What would take this dish to the next level would most definitely be some braised beef, perhaps leftover from Beef Burguignon?  That would truly be amazing and I have a feeling I’ll be cooking up some extra beef with that in mind next time Julia’s famous recipe calls my name.

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