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Comfort Food
Now that most of the country is experiencing colder temperatures and hunkering down for winter, it’s the perfect time to share recipes for hearty food, from roasts and casseroles to soups and stews. In this two-part series, we’re revealing mouthwatering meals for both meat lovers and veggie enthusiasts. This week we’re focusing on recipes in which meat is the star. Get ready to cook some comfort food for the mind, body, and soul!

Meat-Based Dishes

Variation of “Easy Roast Beef”

Feel like a succulent roast beef? It does not get any easier than this way from ItalianMomof2!


3 to 4 pounds roast beef
1/8 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
Cooking time: 54 to 72 minutes (depends on beef size)


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Remove the beef from package and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Rub olive oil all over roast and put in roasting pan on a rack with the fat side up. Sprinkle garlic powder, salt, and black pepper all over roast.
Cook for 20 minutes at 500. (Do not open oven door during this step. The intense hot heat is supposed to sear the roast and keep in all the juices.)
After 20 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees and cook at that temperature for 18 minutes per pound.
Remove roast beef from oven and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Variation of “Perfect Roast Chicken”

Another easy and economical main course is roast chicken. You can usually find a whole chicken at the supermarket for just under $1 per pound to $4 per pound for an organic one. Some recipes will have you cook the chicken at a high temperature for 10 to 15 minutes and then a lower temperature for the remaining time. Ina Garten’s well-liked chicken recipe calls for a steady oven temperature of 425 degrees. If you want a visual of what to do, The New York Times has a great step-by-step guide to roasting chicken.


1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs (rub dried thyme inside if fresh not available)
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
3 celery stalks cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
Olive oil
Cooking time: about 1 1/2 hours


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.
Bake chicken for 1/2 hour at 425.
Toss all the vegetables with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Remove the chicken from oven and place the vegetables below the chicken in the roasting pan. Optional: If you think chicken and vegetables are becoming dry, consider adding a small amount (about 1/2 cup) of chicken stock to pan.
Bake the chicken and vegetables for 1 hour at 425 or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Transfer the food to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes.

Copyright 1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, All Rights Reserved.

“Shepherd’s Pie with Potato Crust”

This shepherd’s pie requires some prep time, but once you pop it in the oven, your work is done. And the result not only looks beautiful but, most importantly, tastes delicious. 


1 1/2 pounds lean ground chuck
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen English peas
2 sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and very thinly sliced
2 large Yukon gold potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and very thinly sliced
Vegetable cooking spray
2 tablespoons butter, melted


For the filling, cook ground chuck in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 8 minutes or until crumbled and no longer pink. Add wine and tomato paste and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until wine is completely evaporated. Remove mixture from skillet. Drain and wipe skillet clean.
Melt butter in cleaned skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onion and carrots for 4 to 5 minutes or until slightly browned and tender. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium; stir in Worcestershire sauce and next 4 ingredients. Simmer 10 minutes or until thickened. Stir in peas and beef mixture. Remove from heat.
To prepare the crust, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Microwave sweet potatoes and 1/4 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl covered with plastic wrap on high for 5 minutes. Repeat procedure with Yukon gold potatoes.
Use cooking spray in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Overlap two-thirds of potato slices in the bottom and sides of pie plate. Spoon in filling. Arrange remaining potato slices on top. Brush potatoes with melted butter.
Bake at 375 for 40 to 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Increase oven temperature to broil, and broil 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Variation of “Cheesy Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole”

Would you like to use up all that leftover turkey? Substitute turkey for the chicken in this tasty meat-based recipe from Picky Palate.


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast or turkey
2 cups steamed white rice
16 ounces prepared wild rice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt (if available)
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Top with 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat olive oil in a medium Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Sauté onion, celery, and carrots until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in chicken or turkey, both types of rice, salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Reduce heat to low.
To prepare the cheese sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat. Whisk in flour, salt, and pepper and then slowly pour in chicken broth, whisking continuously. Whisk until thick and nearly boiling; then stir in cheese until melted. Pour cheese sauce on cooked rice mixture and transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with additional cheddar cheese and bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 or until cheese is melted.

“Spicy Sausage, Kale, and Whole Wheat Orecchiette Soup”

Who says meat dishes have to be unhealthy? This soup from Jessica Merchant contains low-sodium stock, whole wheat pasta, kale, and turkey sausage, which tends to be leaner than sausage made from pork or beef.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 pound spicy Italian turkey sausage, preferably without casing
1 cup whole wheat orecchiette pasta
4 cups fresh kale, stems removed and leaves torn into pieces
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for sprinkling


Heat a large pot over medium-low heat and add the olive oil. Stir in the onion with the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook until onions soften, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute; then add the chicken stock, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring the liquid to a boil.
While the stock is heating up, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the sausage from the casing (if it’s in casing) and add it to the skillet with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until the sausage is browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Once the stock boils, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until it’s al dente. Add the kale and stir well, cooking for 2 more minutes. Stir in the cheese and season with more salt and pepper if desired. Turn off heat. You can add all of the sausage into the soup or serve the soup into bowls and add the sausage on top per serving. Serve with extra cheese for grating.

Some other meaty ideas:

What’s your favorite comfort food? Let us know below or share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.


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