Cozy Cold-Weather Bolognese

When I broke my fifteen-plus years of vegetarianism, this bolognese was one of the dishes I was most excited to enjoy again. I don’t have an Italian grandmother or any particular memory of it, but the experience of this kind of sauce is everything that makes cooking feel like magic. As the meat browns and begins to go from soft and pink to dark brown and crispy, the air is full of savory, buttery smells. You add the vegetables and the aroma becomes

more complex, then suddenly a rush of steam and a burst of bright sweetness hit you as the wine deglazes the pan. Then the tomato paste mixes with the fats, and suddenly it looks like sauce and smells almost illegally savory. Finally, the tomato and milk and parmesan simmer, and you take off the lid and it’s gone from soupy to a thick, red, oily sauce that smells like everything you could ever want. It’s not fast, but this is Potions Class and you are making magic.

This recipe is from Good Enough.

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My newest creation, Good Enough, is a self-care cookbook that offers personal and vulnerable storytelling, delicious recipes, and encouraging advice to teach you how to accept yourself, love yourself, and find peace through the act of cooking. Learn more! I have more cookbooks, too!

Cozy Cold-Weather Bolognese
Print Recipe
TL;DR: Brown beef and pork, combine with chopped vegetables, and cook for 20 minutes. Deglaze pan, add remaining sauce ingredients, and cook for 45 minutes more. As the sauce cooks, boil pasta, grate cheese, and chop parsley for serving.
Servings
8 to 12
Servings
8 to 12
Cozy Cold-Weather Bolognese
Print Recipe
TL;DR: Brown beef and pork, combine with chopped vegetables, and cook for 20 minutes. Deglaze pan, add remaining sauce ingredients, and cook for 45 minutes more. As the sauce cooks, boil pasta, grate cheese, and chop parsley for serving.
Servings
8 to 12
Servings
8 to 12
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt plus more to taste
  • 2 small red onions diced
  • 1 large carrot diced
  • 2 ribs celery diced
  • 1 (any color) bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and diced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste (3 oz)
  • 1 28 oz. can tomatoes crushed or diced
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 parmesan rind (see note)
  • 1 pound pasta of your choice such as tagliatelle (traditional) or orecchiette (pictured)
  • grated parmesan for serving
  • chopped flat leaf parsley for serving
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. If it begins to brown, that is just fine, but make sure it doesn’t burn. Add the beef, pork, and 1 teaspoon of salt and break up the meat with a wooden spoon. Let the meat cook, stirring occasionally, until it is no longer pink and has plenty of dark brown bits, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Add the onions, carrot, celery, and bell pepper to the browned meat and stir. Place a tight lid on top and let the vegetables sweat, stirring occasionally, until they cook down about halfway in volume and your kitchen smells incredibly savory, about 20 minutes.
  3. At this point you will probably have some dark brown sticky bits on the bottom of the pan. This is good! Pour in the white wine and stir to gently lift the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook until the mixture dries out a bit, a few minutes more.
  4. Add the tomato paste, mix it up with everything, and leave it until it loses its bright red uncooked color, a couple of minutes. Then add the canned tomatoes, milk, and parmesan rind—which will add a lot of savory saltiness! Stir it all together and put the lid on, just a little askew so a small amount of steam can escape. Turn down the heat to low and gently simmer for about 45 minutes.
  5. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the package instructions, but take it off the heat a minute or so before it reaches al dente. That way the pasta will cook through in the sauce, drinking in a little more of the bolognese flavor. Drain the pasta and taste the sauce; add more salt, if needed. Add the pasta to the sauce and cook until it is al dente and totally covered in sauce, a minute or so.
  6. Remove the parmesan rind and serve the pasta and sauce in bowls, topped with grated parmesan and chopped parsley. Any leftovers will keep in a sealed container for a week in the fridge.
Recipe Notes

Note: The white wine deglazes the pan, meaning it gets the delicious brown bits into the sauce instead of letting them burn.

Note: I make a lighter, warm- weather version of this by substituting finely chopped cauliflower for half the meat;
I add the cauliflower with the other vegetables in Step 2. It is still lovely and hearty without sitting quite so heavily in your tummy.

Note: The parmesan rind adds salty richness to the sauce. If you don’t have one, just add
1 extra teaspoon of salt in Step 4.

Spicy Ginger-Honey Blondies

This recipe is from Good Enough.

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My newest creation, Good Enough, is a self-care cookbook that offers personal and vulnerable storytelling, delicious recipes, and encouraging advice to teach you how to accept yourself, love yourself, and find peace through the act of cooking. Learn more! I have more cookbooks, too!

The intense, almost sharp sweetness of honey, cut by the spiciness of ground and fresh ginger, amplified by the slightest hint of cayenne, against a background of gooey brown-butter blondies
is quite the experience. I love making desserts because it really feels like play. With savory foods, I always feel like nature is the true cook. A basil omelet, for example, is the product of the chickens and the earth and gentle tending from the farmer. Desserts, though, are somehow authentic to the baker—a treat crafted for a highly specific experience, with sugar carrying that chosen flavor and presenting it to your tongue like a slap on the back. Desserts feel both human and reverent, like art.

Spicy Ginger-Honey Blondies
Print Recipe
TL;DR: Mix up batter and pour into a pan. Swirl spicy honey into the batter and bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes.
Servings
16
Servings
16
Spicy Ginger-Honey Blondies
Print Recipe
TL;DR: Mix up batter and pour into a pan. Swirl spicy honey into the batter and bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes.
Servings
16
Servings
16
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 heaping tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (plus a pinch)
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • vegetable oil (for oiling the measuring cup) optional
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • flaky sea salt for the top
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter an 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat. Take it off the heat and let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place the sugar, 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) of the ground ginger, the grated ginger, the salt, and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the cayenne in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. Gently pour the slightly cooled butter into the bowl with the sugar and whisk to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, and then whisk the mixture until it looks like a smooth caramel, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and whisk to incorporate it.
  5. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the caramel-colored batter and whisk until no floury pockets remain.
  6. Oil a glass measuring cup, if desired (see note), and add to it the remaining 1 teaspoon of ground ginger and a pinch of cayenne. Add the honey and gently stir to mix it with the ginger and cayenne.
  7. Pour the blondie batter into the prepared pan and smooth it to fill the pan evenly, all the way to the edges. Drizzle the honey mixture over the top and use a butter knife to gently swirl the honey into the batter in long ripples. Bang the pan gently on the counter to even out the batter. Sprinkle the top with flaky sea salt, as desired.
  8. Bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out with just a few little bits of batter on it, 35 to 40 minutes. You want the blondies a little underdone and moist, so you don’t want a perfectly clean knife here. Let the blondies cool to room temperature, then cut them into squares and enjoy. They keep for a week or so in a sealed container at room temperature (although you will probably have eaten them or given them away by then!).
Recipe Notes

Note: Oiling the measuring cup is optional, but it really helps the honey slide out of the cup easily, and you won’t lose a lot of honey sticking to the cup.

Cinnamon and Spice Cream Cheese Rolls

Snail-like rolls of golden brown dough bubbling over with a dark brown filling of sugary goo arranged in a baking tray with a red and green and black checked blanket nestled against the baking tray. Set at an angle.

This recipe is from Good Enough.

Good Enough cover

My newest creation, Good Enough, is a self-care cookbook that offers personal and vulnerable storytelling, delicious recipes, and encouraging advice to teach you how to accept yourself, love yourself, and find peace through the act of cooking. Learn more! I have more cookbooks, too!

I am so proud of these rolls. They were good from the start, but I kept finding excuses to make them again and again because “that recipe needs testing” one more time. No, it didn’t. I just really wanted to make them. They are exactly what I like all at once, both as an end product and as an experience. Kneading the dough and watching it go from shaggy to silky smooth, letting it sit and rise, knowing something exciting is happening. Smooshing together the filling and smelling all the spices and sweetness come together. The shaping and rolling and cutting of the buns. The way they rise and get fluffy and soft and gooey in the oven. It is comfort on comfort on comfort. I can feel my deeper breaths returning as I describe them. These are like cinnamon rolls, but with the cream cheese frosting baked into them, there is even more goo and spice and no sad, dry part in the middle, only a sublime final bite.

Snail-like rolls of golden brown dough bubbling over with a dark brown filling of sugary goo arranged in a baking tray with a red and green and black checked blanket nestled against the baking tray. Set at an angle.
Cinnamon and Spice Cream Cheese Rolls
Print Recipe
TL;DR: Make dough and let it rise for 21⁄2 hours. Mix up filling. Roll out the dough and spread the filling over it. Roll it up, slice, and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes.
Servings
12 rolls
Servings
12 rolls
Snail-like rolls of golden brown dough bubbling over with a dark brown filling of sugary goo arranged in a baking tray with a red and green and black checked blanket nestled against the baking tray. Set at an angle.
Cinnamon and Spice Cream Cheese Rolls
Print Recipe
TL;DR: Make dough and let it rise for 21⁄2 hours. Mix up filling. Roll out the dough and spread the filling over it. Roll it up, slice, and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes.
Servings
12 rolls
Servings
12 rolls
Ingredients
Dough
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus extra to dust the countertop
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (1 package)
  • 3/4 cup water at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted; plus more, at room temperature, for greasing the bowl
  • 2 large eggs
Filling
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (1⁄2 package), at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Instructions
  1. Make the dough: Place the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Give it a quick stir.
  2. Place the water, melted butter, and eggs in a medium bowl and whisk, breaking up the yolks, until the liquid becomes frothy and yellow, about 1 minute.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients: With a stand mixer: Using the paddle attachment, turn the mixer to low and slowly pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture until it comes together into a shaggy dough, about 2 minutes. Switch to the dough hook and knead on a low-medium setting until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. By hand: Lightly flour a clean countertop. Slowly pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix everything together until a shaggy dough forms. Dump the dough onto the counter and knead until it is smooth and elastic, 7 to 10 minutes.
  4. Grease a large bowl lightly with butter. Shape the dough into a ball, place it seam side down in the bowl, then turn it over so that every side of the ball is lightly greased. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a moist towel and let the dough rise in a warm spot until it has doubled in size, 2 to 21⁄2 hours. It can take more or less time depending on humidity and heat levels. The hotter and more humid, the faster it grows.
  5. While you are waiting for the dough to rise, make the filling: Place the butter, cream cheese, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and cloves together in a bowl and cream together with a mixer or wooden spoon to form a smooth paste.
  6. When the dough has risen, dust your countertop with flour. Punch down the dough and form it into a short log. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle about 1⁄4 inch thick.
  7. Using a spoon or palette knife for icing cakes, spread the filling evenly over the rectangle of dough. Roll it up lengthwise, like a carpet. Slice the log into 12 rolls as evenly as you can.
  8. Place the 12 rolls into a glass baking dish with the swirl facing up. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap or a moist tea towel and let them rise until they have puffed up just a bit and are getting chummy with one another in the dish, 20 to 30 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  10. Bake the rolls until the tops are golden brown and the bottoms are just golden, about 25 minutes. (You should be able to see the color of the bottoms through the glass baking dish.) You want them fully cooked, but not overcooked, or they won’t be as gooey as you want. Serve them as soon as they are cool enough to handle and not burn anyone’s tongue. They will keep, covered, in the fridge for a few days, or if you want to save some for later, wrap them up and freeze them for up to a couple of weeks.
Recipe Notes

Note: I like to prep this recipe in advance to make mornings a little easier. The dough can be made through Step 4, covered, and refrigerated. The next morning, put it on the counter, do your thing for 1 hour as it comes to room temperature, then make the filling and continue with the recipe.

Fast White Bean, Chorizo, and Hearty Greens Stew

This recipe is from Good Enough.

Good Enough cover

My newest creation, Good Enough, is a self-care cookbook that offers personal and vulnerable storytelling, delicious recipes, and encouraging advice to teach you how to accept yourself, love yourself, and find peace through the act of cooking. Learn more! I have more cookbooks, too!

It has taken maturity to embrace the glorious simplicity of this kind of dinner. My inner critic is prone to telling me that it’s not creative enough or new enough or whatever overachieving mark you might expect from a perfectionist fantasy. But this stew is made of pantry staples, comes together in 20 minutes, and is delicious, nourishing, and balanced. It’s a dream of a meal—fun to make, fun to eat, and proof that simple is wonderful. Like all stews, it gets better with a few days in the fridge. It also works well as a side dish for a larger barbecue meal and as a potluck dish.

Fast White Bean, Chorizo and Hearty Greens Stew
Print Recipe
TL;DR: Sauté vegetables, then chorizo and tomato paste. Add beans and water and cook until thickened and flavorful. Add greens and eat.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Fast White Bean, Chorizo and Hearty Greens Stew
Print Recipe
TL;DR: Sauté vegetables, then chorizo and tomato paste. Add beans and water and cook until thickened and flavorful. Add greens and eat.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 shallots (or 1 red onion) chopped
  • 1 bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt plus extra as needed
  • 5 ounces fresh chorizo or other sausage casings removed
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cans white beans or chickpeas 15.5 oz each or thereabouts
  • handfuls hearty greens, such as spinach, kale, chard, or collards
  • Farro, pasta, rice, or hearty bread, for serving
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, bell pepper, and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are translucent, 3 to 5 minutes
  2. Add the chorizo and tomato paste, using a wooden spoon to break up the chorizo. Cook until the chorizo is cooked through and beginning to brown, another 3 minutes. Then add the beans, 11⁄2 cups of water, and the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt. Put a lid on the pot and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. Taste the stew and add more salt if you think it needs it. Squish a few of the beans with the back of the spoon to thicken the broth. Turn off the heat, add the greens, and stir them into the stew until wilted.
  4. Dollop the stew into bowls over farro, pasta, or rice, or serve with bread for dunking.
Recipe Notes

FEELING ADVENTUROUS?

• Use any sausage, ground meat, or meat alternative in place of the chorizo in Step 2. Try sweet Italian sausage, finished with parmesan or romano, for a different experience, or lamb sausage with harissa, coriander, and fennel seed for a North african take on the dish.

• add chile powder and/or chopped chiles along with the chorizo in Step 2.

Leanne Brown

Hi, I'm Leanne Brown. I’m a bestselling cookbook author. I want to help you find peace, healing and freedom through cooking.

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My newest creation, Good Enough, is a self-care cookbook that offers personal and vulnerable storytelling, delicious recipes, and encouraging advice to teach you how to accept yourself, love yourself, and find peace through the act of cooking. Learn more here!

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