Tag Archives: cozy

Comfort Foods for the Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s my favorite time of the year too! One of the aspects of the holiday season I love the most is simply having wholesome meals with my friends and family. For me, every meal with people I love during the holiday season is a celebration. I cook something warming and comforting, I turn on the Christmas lights, I play the Christmas tunes, and we have ourselves a merry time. So I wanted to share with you some of the comforting dishes I like to make around this time of year. Explore below!

Easy Bolognese

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As an Italian-American, I find few dishes more comforting than pasta with a chunky red sauce. Bolognese is a classic sauce you can use for pasta, gnocchi, polenta, spaghetti squash, or by itself with crusty bread. My recipe for Bolognese is simple and warms from the soul outward.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

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This is the one to make when you are looking to impress your guests. Sweet, savory, and spicy, Stuffed Acorn Squash is an indulgent, gourmet-style dish that has everything going for it. Get the recipe here.

Butternut, Brussels, and Bacon Pizza

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I love making seasonal artisan pizzas. For Fall and Winter, my go-to pizza is this Butternut, Brussels, and Bacon Pizza. Truly, this is one of the best pizzas ever. This is great for a weekend night in with friends while watching a Christmas movie. Get the dough here. 

Honey Roasted Carrot and Parsnip Soup

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This soup is a great easy weeknight meal served with salad and bread or can be used as an appetizer course. Both sweet and savory, this soup feels very seasonal and like something you would have in a Christmasy cottage somewhere in a fairy-tale. Learn to make it here. 

Johnny’s Tomato Soup

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Sometimes, tomato soup just cannot be beat. While tomato soup isn’t the fanciest of dishes, it is often a great choice on a busy weeknight or when your guests are wanting to still eat healthy while also eating cozy. My Tomato Soup is warming, earthy, and slightly spicy and is completely vegan. I will serve this with a nice winter salad and some crusty bread and before you know it you have a full holiday meal. Get the recipe here. 

Christmas Biscotti

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I am not much of a baker, but once a year I get in the kitchen and whip up a batch of my Christmas Biscotti. These biscotti have the flavors and colors of the season with cranberries, pistachios, orange zest, vanilla, Amaretto, and dark chocolate. These are an incredibly festive dessert and are also a great baked good to bring to potlucks or even present as a food based gift. Learn to make them here. 

Whatever you decide to cook for your loved ones this year, I hope that you have a very merry and tasty holiday season!

Slow Cooker Osso Bucco

Ciao friends! Today I am sharing with you a new recipe that utilizes the Slow Cooker to create a healthy variation of an Italian classic – Slow Cooker Osso Bucco! For those who are not familiar, traditional Osso Bucco usually refers to a specific cut of veal that is braised to fork tenderness in a concoction of wine, broth, vegetables, herbs, and spices, often served with a fresh herb gremolata. I typically do not eat veal because it is sad as hell, but luckily, you can achieve the warming and comforting qualities of Osso Bucco by replacing the veal with lighter, leaner, less sad protein choices like chicken or turkey, or even ¼ heads of cauliflower for a vegan variant. The next tweak to this Italian dish is to braise the protein in the slow cooker rather than on the stove or in the oven. By using the slow cooker, you guarantee tenderness and achieve greater freedom as you are able to allow the slow cooker to do the work all day so you can come home to fully cooked meal!

More or less a stewed dish with earthy herbs like rosemary and thyme and warming spices like cloves, Osso Bucco is a hearty, comforting dish that is perfect for fall and winter nights. I love making this dish with turkey around the holidays as it tastes and feels like a perfect holiday weeknight dinner. I recommend serving with a starch like mashed potatoes/sweet potatoes, risotto, or polenta to help soak up the sauce, and of course, lots of seasonal vegetables. Curl up with this dish and a Christmas movie and you are in for a cozy dinner treat!

Slow Cooker Osso Bucco

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 bone-in, skin-on chicken or turkey pieces (thighs and breasts)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ cup broth of choice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken or turkey on both sides with ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and the garlic powder. Sear the chicken on both sides until golden-brown, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place at the bottom of the slow cooker.

Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the skillet. Sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper. Cook till tender and onions translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and stir 1 minute until it coats the vegetables. Add the wine and deglaze the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook until evaporated. Pour the contents of the skillet into the slow cooker on top of the chicken.

Add the stock, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and cloves. Mix well and cover. Cook on low for 5 ½ – 6 hours or high for 2 ½ – 3 hours.

Plate the chicken or turkey pieces, spoon over some of the sauce, and if desired, sprinkle with optional gremolata.

Optional Gremolata:

  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Zest of half an orange
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • Pinch of salt and peper

Combine all in ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well.