This is an upgraded version of the classic comfort food sandwich. The incorporation of Korean red chili paste, gochujang, added the perfect amount of heat.
The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Hana Asbrink. I used ground turkey and modified the proportions. It was a great one-pot meal. Messy and tasty. 🙂
Yield: 6 servings
1 T canola oil
1 lb. ground turkey or ground beef (ideally 20% fat)
1 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 3/4 tsp Morton kosher salt, divided, plus more
freshly ground black pepper
1 medium green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
10 garlic cloves, finely grated or pushed through a garlic press
3 T gochujang (I used Trader Joe’s)
2 T ketchup
1 T soy sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T dark brown sugar
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
1 T balsamic vinegar
6 potato rolls
Kosher dill spears and potato chips, for serving, recommended but optional
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. (I used a 12-inch stainless steel sauté pan.)
Add ground meat, spreading out in a single layer; sprinkle with 1 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt and season with freshly ground pepper. Cook, undisturbed, until a light brown crust forms underneath, about 3 minutes.
Continue to cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until almost completely brown all the way through, about 3 minutes more.
Push meat to one side of pan. Reduce heat to medium and add chopped bell pepper, onion, chopped, grated garlic cloves, and 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt; season with pepper.
Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in gochujang, ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, dark brown sugar, and yellow mustard.
Add one 15-oz. can tomato sauce and 1/4 cup water and stir again to combine.
Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, until thick and saucy, 10–12 minutes.
Remove mixture from heat and stir in balsamic vinegar; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Spoon saucy meat mixture onto potato rolls. Serve with kosher dill spears and potato chips, as desired.
This simple and flavorful chili is a lighter version of a classic beef chili. It is wonderful healthy option. It was included on a list of Food and Wine magazine’s best chilis.
The recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Art Smith. In the article he said, “(this) turkey chili is a big favorite of Oprah’s.” I modified the proportions and added additional toppings. We ate it with corn muffins and green salad on the side- it was still “healthy-ish!” 🙂
Yield: 6 to 8
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 pounds ground turkey
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
6 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
three 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup beer (such as lager)( I used Negra Modelo)
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
sliced scallions or chopped chives, for garnish
sour cream, for serving, optional
shredded cheese, for serving, optional
In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add half of the turkey and cook over medium-high heat, undisturbed, until browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes.
Stir the turkey, season with salt and pepper, and cook until no pink remains, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the cooked turkey to a bowl.
Repeat with 1 more tablespoon of oil and the remaining turkey.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the onion to the pot. Cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, chile powder, cumin, oregano and chipotle powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Return the turkey to the pot.
Stir in the carrot, bell pepper, tomato puree, beans and lager and bring to a boil.
Stir in the stock and vinegar, cover and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.
Add the thyme, season with salt and pepper and serve, garnished with scallions or chives.
This is a crowd-pleasing, lighter, stovetop upgrade to a classic lasagna. It was also less time consuming to prepare. I loved the brightness from the incorporation of fresh herbs.
The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Shilpa Uskokovic. I modified the method and added garlic. The grated zucchini and panko in the meatballs made them very tender. Fabulous!
Yield: Serves 4 to 6 (5 in my house)
1 large zucchini (about 12 oz), finely grated (about 1½ cups)(I used a food processor)
1 1/2 cups panko
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
6 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt, plus more, to taste
1 lb ground chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped dill, plus more for serving
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 28 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes (I used San Marzano)
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
8 oz fresh whole milk ricotta
finely grated lemon zest from 1/2 a large lemon
10 oz lasagna noodles, broken into 2–3 pieces (do not use oven-ready noodles)(I used DeCecco)
grated Parmesan, for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Using a sturdy wooden spoon or rubber spatula, vigorously stir grated zucchini, panko, oregano, garlic powder, paprika, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, and kosher salt in a large bowl until combined and nearly paste-like. (I grated the zucchini medium-large because I used a food processor.)
Add ground chicken, chopped dill and parsley and mix until fully incorporated (you don’t need to worry about overmixing here; mixture will be soft). (I used a food processor to finely chop the fresh herbs.)
Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium to medium-high. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
Using a 3 tablespoon cookie scoop, portion out half of meat mixture (meatballs don’t need to be perfectly round; rustic-looking is good) and add directly to pot. (I did 2 batches of 8 meatballs.)
Cook, undisturbed, until well browned underneath, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Carefully turn meatballs over and cook until second side is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes (it’s okay if meatballs still look misshapen).
Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large plate.
Pour an additional 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil into pot and repeat process with remaining meat mixture. (the remaining 8 meatballs)
Return all meatballs to pot, the add canned tomatoes with juice, lightly crushing with your hands as you go, sliced garlic and shallot, and remaining 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; season with salt.
Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and cook meatballs and sauce, gently stirring occasionally (it’s okay if meatballs start to fall apart), until sauce is slightly thickened, 15–20 minutes. (After stirring halfway through the cooking time, I reduced the heat to low.)
Meanwhile, whisk together ricotta, grated lemon zest, and a large pinch of salt in small bowl until smooth; set aside.
Cook broken lasagna noodles in large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente, about 3 minutes.
Using tongs, drop noodles into pot with sauce and cook, stirring gently, until sauce coats pasta.
Divide pasta among shallow bowls and spoon dollops of reserved lemony ricotta over each.
Top with dill and grated Parmesan, as desired.
Do ahead: Meatballs and sauce can be made 3 days ahead; let cool. Transfer to an airtight container; cover and chill. Lemony ricotta can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
I loved the idea of transforming one of our absolute favorite comfort food dishes into a summer dinner made on the grill. The burgers were very moist and packed with flavor. We ate them on potato rolls with coleslaw, potato chips, pickles, and watermelon. Perfect!
This recipe was adapted form The New York Times, contributed by Ali Slagle. We grilled the burgers, increased the amount of garlic, and used sliced fresh mozzarella. Cheesy and delicious.
Yield: Serves 4
olive oil or cooking oil spray
1 pound ground chicken or turkey, preferably dark meat
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan, divided
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, finely grated or pushed through a garlic press
4 (1/4-inch thick) slices from a large ripe tomato
4 (1/-4 inch thick) slices fresh mozzarella or 1/2 cup grated fresh or low-moisture mozzarella
4 potato rolls, burger buns or ciabatta rolls
baby spinach or arugula, for serving
Lightly grease a large plate with olive oil or cooking oil spray and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil, tomato paste, garlic and 1 teaspoon salt.
Gently incorporate the ground meat into the cheese mixture.
Working the meat as little as possible, form 4 patties that are each about 4 1/2 inches wide and about 1/2 cup or 135 grams.
Transfer to the greased plate, cover, and refrigerate. (This helps maintain the shape and also prevents the juices and fat from leaking.)
On a rimmed plate, sprinkle the tomato slices with salt.
If using grated mozzarella, stir together the mozzarella and the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
Preheat a grill to medium heat. (I used a griddle on the grill and preheated it at this time too.)
Toast the buns on the preheated grill, if desired. (I omitted this step.)
Oil the grill griddle and add the patties. Cook until browned underneath, 3 to 5 minutes. (Reduce heat if the patties are burning.)
Flip the patties, top each with 1/2 tablespoon of the grated Parmesan cheese followed by a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese (or with the combination of grated cheeses, if using).
Cover the grill with the lid and cook until the cheese is melted and the patties are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Pat the tomatoes dry.
To each bottom bun, add a handful of baby spinach or arugula, followed by a slice of tomato, a chicken patty and its top bun. Serve hot with chips and coleslaw, as desired.
My mom and I absolutely love Greek avgolemono soup. Recently, I made this meatball version when she was visiting. Springtime in a bowl! Light, bright and fresh.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used homemade stock and modified the method.
Yield: Serves 4
1 pound ground chicken, ground turkey, or beef, very cold
3/4 cup chopped fresh dill or parsley, plus more for garnish, divided
1/2 cup grated yellow onion (from about 1 small onion)
1/4 cup grated carrot (from about 1 carrot)
1/4 cup uncooked long-grain rice, such as Basmati or Carolina, well rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, finely grated, pushed through a garlic press, or minced
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
6 cups chicken stock (I used 4 cups homemade turkey stock + 2 cups chicken stock)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
freshly grated nutmeg, for serving, optional
In a large mixing bowl, combine ground chicken, 1/4 cup dill, onion, carrot, rice, garlic, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Gently mix with your hands until well combined.
Gently form the mixture into 24 to 30 meatballs, each about 1 1/4 inches in diameter, placing them on a plate or baking pan. (I used a cookie scoop to evenly ration the meat mixture.)
Cover and chill for at least 20 minutes or up to 24 hours. This helps the meatballs keep their shape while cooking.
In a large pot, bring stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium and use a slotted spoon to carefully add meatballs to the pot. The broth should cover the tops of the meatballs by about 1/2 inch. If not, add a little water. Simmer gently, adjusting the heat so the broth doesn’t boil, until meatballs are cooked through and rice is tender, 25 to 35 minutes. (You can break open a meatball to test it.) Remove pot from heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and lemon juice until just mixed. Slowly add a ladle of warm broth to egg-lemon mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in another two ladles of broth to temper the egg mixture.
Slowly drizzle the egg-lemon mixture back into the pot with the meatballs, stirring gently so you don’t break apart the meatballs.
Return the pot to medium-low heat until it just starts to simmer. (Wait for a bubble or two to appear, but don’t let the pot boil.) The broth should be silky.
Remove from heat, stir in remaining 1/2 cup dill. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. (It may need quite a bit of salt if you are starting with unsalted broth.)
Garnish with nutmeg, if you like, and dill, and serve.
This comfort food dish was very well-received in my house. Everyone in my family was fighting over the leftovers! It was easy, full-flavored, and absolutely delicious.
The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Chris Morocco. I modified the proportions and substituted sour cream for the heavy cream. I also adjusted the consistency of the finished dish with pasta cooking water. Great.
Yield: Serves 8
6 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 3/4 lbs ground pork, turkey, beef, or chicken, preferably dark meat
2 medium onions, finely chopped
8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 Calabrian chiles in oil, finely chopped, or 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
7 T double-concentrated tomato paste
7 T sour cream or heavy cream
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs (20 to 24 oz) rigatoni, gemelli or other short pasta
2 oz Parmesan, finely grated, plus more for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
basil leaves, for serving
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium to medium-high.
Add ground meat in 12–14 pieces (patties), spacing evenly, and season with salt.
Let cook, undisturbed, until deeply browned underneath, about 3 minutes.
Turn over and cook until deeply browned on opposite side, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate. (It won’t be cooked through.)
Add remaining 3 tablespoons of oil to pot over medium heat.
Cook onion, stirring often, until softened and just beginning to turn golden around the edges, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add chiles/red pepper flakes and tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until paste is slightly darkened in color, about 3 minutes.
Return meat to the pot and break up into small pieces.
Add sour cream/heavy cream and 2 1/4 cups water.
Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat, and simmer gently until liquid is reduced by one third and flavors have come together, 15–20 minutes.
Season ragù with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.
Add pasta to ragù along with 1 cup pasta cooking liquid and Parmesan.
Cook, stirring and adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes.
Transfer to a serving dish or individual bowls. Garnish with basil and reserved Parmesan. Serve.
These Greek-inspired chicken burgers were juicy and flavor-packed. They were relatively healthy too! We ate them on Memorial Day with corn and potato salad on the side. Delicious.
This recipe was loosely adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Sue Li. I used freshly ground chicken thighs, added feta, and modified the proportions and method. The original recipe notes that in order to keep the burgers moist, it is important that the meat isn’t packed too tightly. I think that the exorbitant amount of spinach also kept the burgers moist.