Tidings of Comfort Food & Joy – Grilled Cheese Steak, Bacon Mac, Chicken Soup ‘n More

Today, I am bringing you tidings of comfort (food) and joy in honor of National Comfort Food Day (December 5th). I believe it’s no coincidence that this feel-good food holiday is falling on a Monday. And, not just any Monday, but the day after I struggled through a cold, windy and rainy marathon.

jen-and-jonathan-san-antonio-marathon-2016Honestly, I’m still feeling a little chilled to the bone, depleted, and licking battle wounds, and embracing the opportunity to take a MAJOR rest day, hang out in my PJs and fuzzy slippers, and make comfort food my new best friend.

Y’all know I typically eat reasonably, mostly clean . . . but I’m never going to deny myself food I’m craving for comfort every now and then. Sometimes your body is telling you to eat these things for a reason, other times it’s strictly soul satisfying. Regardless, when you let go of the guilt and give your food worries a rest day, it tastes even better!

Brazilian Grilled Cheese Steak SandwichBrazilian Grilled Cheese Steak Sandwich – This is what happens when a Philly Cheese Steak meets an American Grilled Cheese meets a Brazilian Bauru sandwich? You can thank me later. Recipe originally developed for my friends at BeefLovingTexans.com, and shared for you at bottom of post!

Brazilian Grilled Cheese Steak Sandwich ith Jalapeno Chimichurri is a delicious lunch or dinner that they whole family will love.

Bacon & Blue Cheese Mac – Ahh, most any pasta dish is comforting, but mac and cheese is a like coming home after being away from loved ones for too long. The addition of blue cheese and bacon makes the reunion even better!

Bacon & Blue Cheese Mac

Comforting Chicken & Rice Soup – When it’s drafty and cold, and your feeling run down and even under-the-weather, this easy chicken and rice soup comes to the rescue in a snap. And, while slurping up a big bowl is comforting to the core, it’s also a healthy choice!

Comforting Chicken and Rice Soup

Simply the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies – They are not sugar-free, calorie-free nor carb-free, but these buttery, chewy chippers are a treat worth treating yourself to!

jennifer fisher thefitfork best chocolate chip cookie

Root Beer Float Fudge –  Imagine if you could have the yummy flavor of root beer and vanilla ice cream in fudge format? Well, you can thanks to this recipe I develop a few years back for the magazine Simple & Delicious. While, I wouldn’t eat the whole pan at once, I certainly say CHEERS to a piece for a sweet treat.

2013_07 rootbeer float fudge

So, what is your go-to comfort food? Do you prefer sweet or savory? What are you making for dinner tonight?! Please share in the comments, XOXO- Jennifer 

Brazilian Grilled Cheese Steak Sandwich
Tidings of Comfort Food & Joy – Beefy Grilled Cheese, Bacon Mac, Chicken Soup ‘n More
Print Recipe
Brazilian Bauru meets Pilly Cheesesteak meets an American diner grilled cheese -- this easy pannini style sandwich makes a delicious lunch or dinner.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Brazilian Grilled Cheese Steak Sandwich
Tidings of Comfort Food & Joy – Beefy Grilled Cheese, Bacon Mac, Chicken Soup ‘n More
Print Recipe
Brazilian Bauru meets Pilly Cheesesteak meets an American diner grilled cheese -- this easy pannini style sandwich makes a delicious lunch or dinner.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Pre-make chimichurri by adding all ingredients to small blender or food processor. Pulse on and off in 10 second increments to break up ingredients into coarse sauce. Set aside.
  2. Heat large skilled to medium-high. Add sliced sirloin and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes. Beef will be ready to remove from pan once lightly browned on edges and pink has been just taken off center. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.
  3. n same skillet (reserved with a tiny bit of beef fat and bits) add onion slices and cook over medium high, stirring as need, for about 6 to 8 minutes or until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add beef back into skillet with onions along with tomatoes, salt and red pepper flakes; stir to combine.
  4. Meanwhile, heat Panini press or clean skillet to medium-high heat.
  5. Butter outer sides of two slices of bread and layer each side with mozzarella. Place slice of bread, butter side down, on pan and top with ¼ of beef mixture. Add top piece of cheese and bread.
  6. Cook for approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side until bread turning golden brown and cheese melting. Repeat for remaining sandwiches.
  7. To serve, lift up tops of sandwiches and drizzle with chimichurri. Serve hot.
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Willpower Rest Day – Bacon & Blue Cheese Mac

Bacon & Blue Cheese MacI try to eat green and eat clean, but sometimes I need to give it a rest! And, now I have the science to prove that it’s okay to indulge in my Bacon & Blue Cheese Mac recipe every once in a while. A recent study says that our willpower is like a muscle, after use it becomes fatigued and is no longer able to perform at peak levels. After a lot of use, your needs to take a break, just like you need to recover after a hard run or workout!  The scientists studying decision making called it “self-regulation failure,” and people in the food and fitness world call it a “cheat day” when these decisions come to food – I don’t like those terms and am rebranding the idea a Willpower Rest Day!

 sauce for blue cheese mac

This pot of cheesy goodness is about to be poured onto noodles.

I first developed this rich and creamy recipe for macaroni and cheese for Litehouse Foods using blue cheese crumbles from their Simply Artisan Reserve line of cheese. It’s become famous with friends, family and readers of the Living Litehouse Blog. And, also beloved by the thousands of people who have sampled it at Fresh Summit in Atlanta and recently the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. I’m not trying to brag (oh, who am I kidding?!), but I’m heard exclamations like, “OMG, this is the BEST macaroni and cheese I’ve EVER eaten.”

BAco

Smoky, salty bacon complement bold blue cheese – there is a lot of umami action going on with this fancy mac and cheese. However, the flavors aren’t so over the top that the kids will be freaked out. However, maybe you WANT to keep them out of it (more for you) so just double up on the blue cheese! Have I convinced you to give your willpower a rest day and make up a batch of this delicious baked macaroni and cheese recipe?  This baked pasta recipe can even be made ahead and then popped into the oven an hour before serving.

Bacon and Blue Cheese Mac

 

Also, check out these macaroni and cheese making tips from from Cooking Light — everything you need to know to satisfy your mac madness!

What is your favorite comfort food? Do you rest your willpower every now and then? Fan of blue cheese? Please share in the comments below, XOXO — Jennifer 

Bacon & Blue Cheese Mac
Willp
Print Recipe
Treat yourself to this rich and creamy baked macaroni and cheese made with blue cheese and bacon -- delicious as a side dish to steak, a casserole for your pot luck or just straight out of the dish.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Bacon & Blue Cheese Mac
Willp
Print Recipe
Treat yourself to this rich and creamy baked macaroni and cheese made with blue cheese and bacon -- delicious as a side dish to steak, a casserole for your pot luck or just straight out of the dish.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Bring water to a boil and prepare pasta according to directions, but shaving 1-2 minutes off of the cooking time to keep al dente.
  3. Meanwhile, heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. When butter begins to sizzle, quickly add flour and whisk constantly until roux is golden, about 2 minutes.
  4. Pour in milk and whisk constantly, stirring until the mixture slightly thickens.
  5. Reduce heat to low and add in white cheddar and blue cheese a couple handfuls at a time until cheese melts and sauce is thickened.
  6. Stir in Blue Cheese Dressing. Stir in Instantly Fresh chives and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add cooked pasta to baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over top, tossing to coat all the noodles.
  8. Cover top in panko bread crumb mixture.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden and crunchy and sauce is bubbling. Top with crumbled bacon
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