Thursday, September 1, 2011

Modern, Fresh Twist on Comfort Food

How can I put a modern, fresh twist on your favorite food?
After reading your comments, I chose to put a modern,fresh twist on the comfort food- meatloaf. Sometimes meatloaf gets a bad rap. It doesn't have to be flavorless ground meat topped with ketchup.

After a lot of brainstorming, I came up with pesto and mozzerella cheese stuffed meatloaf topped with roasted tomatoes.

Pesto and Mozzarella Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf topped with Roasted Tomatoes

2 (1.2 lb.) packages ground turkey *can substitute ground chuck
1 whole egg, beaten
1/3 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
¼ cup milk
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. cracked black pepper
Pesto *see recipe below
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 medium tomatoes, sliced ¼“
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium bowl, combine ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, milk, ¼ tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Mix until combined.

Spoon half of the turkey mixture into a 8x8 glass baking dish and form into an oval loaf. Spread the pesto over the loaf then top with mozzarella cheese. Top with the remaining turkey mixture. Form the mixture over the pesto and mozzarella and seal completely.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and layer tomato slices over the turkey loaf. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Drizzle olive oil over tomato slices.

Bake for another 15 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Serve warm.

Spinach Pesto
1 cup packed fresh spinach
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. basil olive oil *can substitute extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. finely shredded parmesan cheese 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.

Place the spinach and basil in a food processor. Add the toasted walnuts, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Process until it begins to form a paste, about 2 minutes. With the processor running, drizzle in butter and olive oil.  Add the parmesan cheese and pulse two or three times. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Transfer the pesto to a small bowl.

Makes about 1 cup.

Being creative in the kitchen is what cooking is all about for me. Have fun in the kitchen! Serve my cauliflower mac n'cheese (from my cookbook- Modern Hospitality), a modern, fresh twist on mac n'cheese, with this meatloaf for a great comfort meal.