4 Absolute Best Weeknight Comfort Foods- with recipes!

Hi friends! Its mid-October now and there is definitely a chill in the air this week.  If your kids are anything like mine the transition to layers and coats can be well, challenging.  Meanwhile, I am already bundled up in 3 layers and just pulled my mittens out for the walk to the bus stop.  With the shift to chillier temps I have moved into making more comfort food.  Dishes that warm the house with the oven and yummy smells!  I have four dishes to share with you this week.  Hopefully, they will warm your house and your bellies, too.  One more thing, if you make any of these dishes or any of the others I have posted, let me know here in the comments or on Facebook and Instagram, or all 3, and tell your friends!!  I’m enjoying doing this, but want you to enjoy reading it too, so feedback is helpful! xoxo, K

  1. Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken
  2. Skillet Pasta with Ham and Peas
  3. Cathy’s Chicken Pot Pie
  4. Turkey Meatloaf Parmesan

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

vietnamese lemongrass chicken

This recipe from Nom Nom Paleo is one I LOVE to have in my back pocket.  It’s so good that you could feed it to dinner guests or to just your family on a weeknght! It makes 8 chicken thighs so you will have leftovers too!  You can make this marinade the night before and then just throw it in the oven.  Easy peesy!! The lemongrass can be difficult to find occasionally.  Wegman’s always has it, but I have sometimes had a harder time finding it at other grocery stores.  The 5 year old ate a whole piece of chicken by himslef so you know it has to be good! Click here for the original recipe.

¼ cup minced shallots
1 large lemongrass stalk trimmed and minced (about 3 tablespoons)
3 garlic cloves minced
½ teaspoon ground ginger fresh ginger contains an enzyme which can break down the chicken
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
zest from 1 lime
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon honey or 1 tablespoon of orange juice if you’re doing a Whole30
8 chicken thighs bone-in and skin-on (~3½ pounds)
Lime wedges fresh herbs, lettuce, and pickled vegetables (optional)

What to do…
1. First, you have to make the marinade. Mince the shallots and toss them in a large bowl.
2. Trim the fresh lemongrass stalk and grate finely with a microplane or very fine grater. Add the lemongrass to the bowl.
3. Toss in the minced garlic and ground ginger
4. Crack some black pepper into the bowl, and then grab a lime and zest off just the outermost green layer of the fruit. If you’re grating the white pith, you’ve gone too far.
5. Lastly, add the salt, olive oil, fish sauce, and honey.
6.  Stir the marinade to combine all the ingredients.
7.  Plop in the chicken thighs and massage the marinade all over the bird parts.
8.  Cover the bowl and let it marinate for at least one hour and up to 24 hours in the fridge.
9.  When you’re ready to cook the chicken thighs, preheat the oven to 400°F.  Use the convection roast function because the circulating hot air cooks the chicken more evenly. If you don’t have convection add 5 more minutes to the cooking time and rotate the tray a few times to ensure even browning.
10.  Place the chicken skin-side down on a wire rack placed on top of a foil lined baking sheet.
11.  Pop the chicken in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Flip the chicken skin-side up and rotate the tray 180 degrees. Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the skin is evenly browned and the thickest part of the meat registers 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.
Serve the chicken with lettuce, pickled veggies, fresh herbs, and lime wedges.

Skillet Pasta with Ham and Peas

skillet ham and bow ties

I stumbled upon this recipe in an Easter edition of Food Network Magazine on how to use your leftover ham.  I didn’t have any leftover ham but you can use a ham steak so that’s what I did.  The star of the show here is definetely the leeks!!  It gives the dish this amazing flavor without being over powering.  I was really hoping to have leftovers of this but we ate EVERY. SINGLE. BITE. Here’s the recipe, but if you want to see the original click here.


3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 small leeks (white and light green parts only), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
8 ounces ham steak (or leftover ham), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 2/3 cups half-and-half
2 cups shredded fontina cheese (about 6 ounces)
6 ounces bow-tie pasta (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 cups frozen peas
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

What to do…

  1. Melt the butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring, until the leeks are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the ham and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until moistened, 1 minute. Add the half-and-half and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup fontina until melted.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs for al dente, adding the peas in the last 2 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta and peas.
  3. Add the pasta and peas to the skillet and toss to coat, adding the reserved cooking water as needed to loosen; season with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining 1 cup fontina and the parmesan. Broil until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes.

Cathy’s Chicken Pot Pie

chicken pot pie

I called this Cathy’s Chicken Pot Pie because the recipe comes via my good friend Cathy.  Years ago she made it for us on a snowy weekend and we all loved it.  My daughter took to just calling it chicken pie and it is her favorite meal! At the first hint of chilly weather she begins asking for it. Which is exactly what happened this week.  Some hints, use store bought pie crust to help it to come together quickly.  I have doubled the recipe and stuck half of the filling in the freezer to pull out for a super easy dinner one night in the future.  You can make this ahead of time and stick in the fridge until you are ready to bake.   I use the Costco rotesserie chicken that I have mentioned before, which also helps to keep this easy.

2 pie crusts at room temperature. I use store bought.
6 tbs butter
6 tbs flour
2 big pinches of kosher salt or to tatse
several twirls of cracked pepper
1 tsp of ground thyme – I add more than this but taylor the seasoning to your taste
1 3/4 cups chicken stock or broth
⅔ cup milk (whatever type you typically have in your fridge)
2 cups chopped or pulled cooked chicken (best from rotisserie but you can just use leftovers or boil/bake your own to use)
1 cup of frozen mixed veggies… whatever kind you like!

What to do…

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Pour chicken broth and milk in a measuring cup or microwavable bowl and heat on high for 2-3 minutes. You could also put it on medium high heat on the stove top if you prefer. This is not completely necessary but it helps when you add warm liquid to the rue.
  3. While that is heating, make your rue. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat and then whisk in the flour.
  4. Once combined, gradually add heated broth/milk mixture to saucepan and cook slowly until thickened and bubbling around the edges.
  5. Remove from heat and add salt, pepper and thyme. Taste to test seasonings.  Add more to taste. Stir well.
  6. Add chicken and vegetables and stir to combine.
  7. Pour into pastry lined pan (preferably pie pan). Cover with the remaining crust and pinch edges together. Cut several slits or holes on the top to vent the pie.
  8. If you have a pie ring to cover the crust, use it. If not, try to cover the crust with folded up tin foil pieces so that the edges don’t burn. If you dont do this it will still be just fine.
  9. Bake at 425 for 35 minutes or until the pastry is nice and brown. Let it rest before digging in!

Giant Turkey Meatball Parmesan – really it is a turkey meatloaf

turkey meatball parm

This is the recipe that I don’t have to plan for.  Generally speaking, I have all the ingredients on hand.  I try to always have ground turkey in the freezer for when I want to make this on a whim.  It comes together quickly and easily and is perfect for a busy weeknight! If you have a large family or large appetites you might want to double this.  This makes just enough for the five of us with no leftovers.  For the original recipe from Skinnytaste click here.


1 lb ground turkey
1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, Can substitute gluten-free breadcrumbs
3 tbsp grated pecorino romano cheese or parmesan
1 large egg
1 clove crushed garlic
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tbsp fresh minced parsley, or 1 tsp dried
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup of your favorite jarred tomato sauce
1 oz 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
grated parmesan, optional for topping

What to do…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl combine turkey, breadcrumbs, percorino or parm, egg, garlic, tomato paste, parsley and salt. Mix to combine.
  3. Put turkey mixture on a non-stick baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper.
  4. Using your hands form into an oval.  Press down lightly at the top.
  5. Bake uncovered for 50-55 minutes or a temperature of 160 degrees farenheit is reached.
  6. Top with sauce and cheese and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until sauce is warmed and cheese is melted.





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