Tag Archives: comfort food

Broccoli Rice Chicken Pesto Casserole

Sundays are usually a day where I take my time in the kitchen, but with the arrival of not-winter (as it’s not really spring here in Anchorage yet but the snow is mostly melted), we spent most of our day playing outside. I left very little time to prepare dinner.

This recipe was a clean-out-the-fridge type of meal. I had pesto, broccoli, chicken and pre-cooked rice hanging out in my fridge so I put them all together and it was delicious and comforting. It’s a one-stop shop for flavor and nutrients.

Broccoli Rice Chicken Pesto Casserole | A weeknight meal from Alaskaknitnat.com

I used my spinach pesto recipe but feel free to use the regular kind instead.

Broccoli rice chicken pesto casserole

Serves 6

For the marinade:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 7 chicken tenderloins or 2 small chicken breasts

For the casserole:

  • 3.5 cups warmed cooked rice (white, brown, farro, whatever grain you want really)
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 1.5-2 cups pesto
  • zest of one lemon
  • shredded mozzarella and pecorino Romano (or Parmesan)

Broccoli Rice Chicken Pesto Casserole | A weeknight meal from Alaskaknitnat.com

Directions:

Mix the marinade together in a zip top bag. Pound the chicken breasts lightly and place in bag. Marinate for 15-30 minutes.

Place the rice in a large casserole dish and set aside. Steam the broccoli until tender, about 5 minutes, and add to the rice along with the lemon zest.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over high flame and add a little drizzle of cooking oil. When pan is hot add the chicken with the marinade. Cook chicken until caramelizes and deep brown on both sides, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a cutting board and chop into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken to the casserole dish.

Add in the pesto and stir until everything is well combined. Smooth out the mixture with the back of a spoon and sprinkle lightly with cheeses. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Broccoli Rice Chicken Pesto Casserole | A weeknight meal from Alaskaknitnat.com

Mini meatloaves with mushroom marsala sauce

Growing up I rarely had the chance to eat classic dinner foods such as tuna noodle casserole and meatloaf. I absolutely love these dishes. My mom started making meatloaf after I had moved out of the house and it quickly became a favorite. I don’t know what magic she puts into her recipe, but I’ll never know because, like me, my mom just throws stuff together and doesn’t keep track. Well, tonight’s meatloaf was worth remembering.

I doubled the recipe so there’s plenty of leftovers for meatloaf sandwiches, which are almost better than fresh-out-of-the-oven.

Mini meatloaf with mushroom marsala sauce | An easy recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Mini meatloaf with mushroom marsala sauce

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios or cashews (optional)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 slices of good white bread
  • 2 Tbs. milk
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped pimiento olives (optional)
  • 2 Tbs. dried parsley
  • 1 Tbs. dried basil
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil

Mini meatloaf with mushroom marsala sauce | An easy recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

For the sauce:

  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup Marsala wine
  • splash of beef broth
  • up to 1 cup of reserved mushroom liquid (read recipe for details)
  • 2 Tbs. chopped parsley

Mini meatloaf with mushroom marsala sauce | An easy recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl with hot water. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. In another small bowl, tear up the bread and add the milk. Let sit for a minute and mash up with a fork.

In a Kitchen Aid bowl add the meat, nuts, yolks, soaked bread, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, onion, garlic, cheese, olives, dried herbs, salt and pepper. Finely chop the mushrooms and add them to the mixture, reserving the mushroom liquid for the sauce. Use the paddle attachment on a low setting until well combined.

Pour the bread crumbs on a tray or pie plate. Heat butter and oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Form four small loaves and dredge them in the bread crumbs. Brown the loaves in the pan two at a time.

Place the loaves in a casserole dish. Top each loaf with decorative olives if you’d like them to resemble a 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until the center of the loaf reads 140 degrees on a meat thermometer. Remove from oven, transfer loaves to a cutting board and let sit, covered, while you make the sauce.

The sauce: Reheat the pan that you used to brown the loaves. Pour any drippings from the casserole dish into the pan. When the pan is hot add the marsala and tomato paste and whisk until everything is well combined. Bring to a simmer and turn down the heat. Add about 1/2 cup of the mushroom liquid and a splash of beef broth. Add more mushroom liquid if it’s too thick. Add parsley just before serving.

Mini meatloaf with mushroom marsala sauce | An easy recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Slice loaves into thick slabs. Serve with egg noodles and green beans. Slather with delicious meat sauce.

mini meatloaves with mushroom marsala sauce
Yay, leftovers!

Shepherd’s Pie — Comfort Food at its Best

I love easy recipes, especially if I can use leftovers. Shepherd’s pie is no exception. If you have ground meat and leftover mashed potatoes, you are just a few steps away from a delicious, filling dinner the whole family will love.

Shepherd's Pie -- Real Comfort Food

Ingredients:

1 lb. combo of ground beef, pork, veal or lamb

4 cups or so of leftover mashed potatoes (or make some fresh)

1 egg yolk

1 tbs. olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 cup frozen peas

3 Tbs. fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme and rosemary, chopped

Salt and pepper

1 Tbs. tomato paste

1 cup chicken stock

Worcestershire sauce or red wine (optional)

 

Shepherd’s pie is versatile. Throw in whatever veggies you love. Use whatever meat you prefer.

Directions:

Season your mashed potatoes to your liking with milk, butter, salt and pepper. Heat up in the microwave if cold. Stir in the egg yolk. This makes the pie have a nice crust. Preheat oven to 375. In a sauté pan, heat some oil and add the meat, onion and carrot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook till meat is browned, about 10 minutes. Drain fat and add stock, tomato paste, herbs and a swig of red wine or Worcestershire sauce. Heck, I bet soy sauce would even make it pretty good. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the peas.

Grease a casserole dish and add the meat filling. Top with dollops of mashed potatoes. Spread the potatoes across the top, trying to create a seal around the edges. I recommend putting a cookie sheet under the dish when you bake it in case anything bubbles over.
Bake for 30 minutes and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Shepherd's Pie -- Real Comfort Food