Valentine's Day Showdown: Comfort Food from the Thrifty Cook

Yesterday, Wynter Holden AKA The Virgin Cook gave you a Valentine's Day menu built on ease of preparation and maximum effectiveness...ahem...outside of the kitchen. Today, we're all about comfort foods courtesy of The Thrifty Cook.

These thrifty options are great because they make more then you need for one meal and you can freeze portions to serve up at a later date. Well, the mac and cheese and meatloaf anyway, the brownies may not last.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese (adapted from Alton Brown's recipe)

Ingredients: ½ Lbs elbow macaroni 6 TBLS butter 3 TBLS flour 1 TBLS powdered mustard 3 C milk ½ C yellow onion, finely diced 1 bay leaf 1/2 tspn paprika 1 egg 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded 1 tspn kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 C bread crumbs

Method: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F 2. Bring a large pot of water to boiling 3. Add in macaroni 4. In a sauce pan, melt 3 TBLSP butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and whisk for around five minutes. 5. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. 6. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf. 7. Mix in the egg. 8. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. 9. Add in salt and pepper. 10. Fold the macaroni into the mix, stir all together 11. Transfer into a a bread baking pan (should fill to pans) 12. Top with remaining cheese 13. Melt 3 TBLSP butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. 14. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Cook one and freeze one. 15. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest before serving.

Apple Crusted Meatloaf

Ingredients: 3 lb ground turkey 2 eggs 1 C onion ½ C Anaheim pepper 1 Tspn salt 1 Tspn freshly ground pepper ½ C Ketchup ½ C Brown Mustard 1 TBSP fresh Thyme 6 Apples, cored, peeled and cubed 2 TBLSP Olive Oil 1 TBLSP Garlic ½ c chopped celery ½ Tspn dry mustard ½ Tspn pickling spice 1 Cinnamon stick

Method: 1. Pre heat over to 375 2. In a large bowl, mix together turkey and eggs using your hands 3. Blend in onion and anaheim pepper 4. In a small bowl mix together salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard and thyme 5. Add in to the turkey mix 6. Transfer to two 9 x 3 x 5 loaf pans 7. In a pan heat olive oil 8. Add in onion, garlic and celery - cut until clear 9. Add in apples, salt, thyme, Freshly ground pepper (to taste), dry mustard, pickling spice and cinnamon stick. Simmer for 30 minutes until apples are soft. Remove cinnamon stick and scoop remaining apple mixture on top of meat already in loaf pans 10. Bake one meatloaf for 45 minute. Reserve the other one for another time by covering it in freezer paper and tin foil and freezing it for up to 3 months. After removing from the oven allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Valentine Brownies

Ingredients: Butter Flour 4 eggs 1 C sugar 1 cup brown sugar 11/4 C cocoa 2 tspn vanilla ½ C flour ½ tspn kosher salt Powdered Sugar

Method: 1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees 2. Rub butter over an 8-inch square pan 3. Lightly dust with flour 4. Beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy 5. Add in both sugars 6. Add remaining ingredients, and mix completely 7. Pour batter into pan and bake for 45 minutes 8. Check with a toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean 9. Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool 10. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving


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