Have you ever thought about combining two different foods into one super food? Like putting a cheeseburger inside a ravioli? “Cheeseburger Ravioli Burger” looks really good and the recipe is here on pages 84-85. Or, maybe you have a craving for something like “Lobster Stuffed Fried Mac and Cheese Balls” (pages 94-95) or a “Mac and Cheese Stuffed Burger” (pages 100-101). The culinary possibilities are intriguing in Stuffed: The Ultimate Comfort Food Book by Dan Whalen.
If the author’s name is not familiar to you he is the founder of “thefoodinmybeard.com.” He is also a freelance food writer for General Mills and is a chef for Cafe Burrito in Boston. Instead of being formally trained, as noted in the introduction, Dan Whalen learned by doing in the kitchen. That led to a life of creating food delights that is reflected in the subtitle of the book: Taking Your Favorite Foods And Stuffing Them To Make New, Different And Delicious Meals.
After the brief and interesting introduction the book is broken into six chapters with “Stuffed Breads” starting things off on page 8. Along with a picture of various ingredients there is a small introduction to this chapter. It starts off with “Pepperoni Bread” on pages 10-11 before moving on to “Chicken Stuffed Waffles” (pages 18-19), “Cheeseburger Slider Steamed Buns” (pages 24-25), “Vietnamese Burritos” (pages 38-39) and “Bulgogi Calzones” (page 53) among others. Each recipe has an ingredient list and directions, the number of portions it makes, a heat scale as to flavor and a “Pig-Out” scale as how gluttonous you feel. There are not any specifics regarding fats, salts, etc., as the ratings are more of an unspecified personal scale. Some recipes have pictures, but most do not. This same format continues throughout the book.
“Stuffed Pasta and Rice” is the theme of Chapter 2 starting on page 55. “Caprese Summer Rolls” on page 57 are here along with “Loaded Potato Pierogi” (pages 60-62) and “Tamale Ravioli” (page 65). A number of recipes for various raviolis are here as well as “Korean Polk Mandu” (pages 82-83) and the “Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Blue Cheese Arancini” (page 93) among others.
“You can get really creative when stuffing meats. Stuffing meats means flank steak roll-ups, stuffed burgers and stuffed squid. Even stuffed eggs!” (Chapter 3, page 99)
Along with the aforementioned “Mac And Cheese Stuffed Burger.” There are others such as “Frank-In Burger” on page 102 (a hotdog in a burger along with bacon) as well as the “Queso Fundido Stuffed Burger” on page 103 among others. Other palate possibilities for you and your family in this section are the “Meat Wrapped Corn On The Cob” (pages 108-109), “Shepherd's/ Cottage Pie Meatballs” (pages 112- 113), and “Pork Stuffed Tofu With Noddles” (page 130). One would certainly expect a recipe for “Turducken” and it is found here on pages 118-119.
“Chapter 4: Stuffed Veggies and Fruits” begins in earnest with “Mac And Cheese Chile Rellenos” on pages 134-135. Also available here the “Jalapeno Popper Dog” on pages 140-141 (a hotdog inside the jalapeno incase stuffing a hotdog inside a hamburger is too tame for you), “Cheddar Sriracha Stuffed Mushrooms” (pages 149-149), “Bacon Avocado Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes” (pages 154-155) and “Meat Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes” (pages 158-159) among others. “The Meat Stuffed Twice Baked Potatos” uses the same idea as the twice baked potatoes, but adds in ground beef and sausage to make them meaty.
Of course, desserts have to be stuffed too and they are in “Chapter 5: Stuffed Sweets” beginning on page 170. You could go for “Avocado Éclairs” (pages 180-181) for one example. If that does not work for you¸ there are recipes for “Peach Habanero Stuffed Pizzelles” (pages 186-187) or a “Giant Peanut Butter Cup” on page 188 among a few others. Not surprisingly this is a very short chapter.
“Chapter 6” is all about the standard recipes that are used throughout the book. Along with spice blend of “All-Purpose Curry Powder” (page 191) and “All-Purpose Taco Seasoning” (page 192) author Dan Whaler also includes his recipes for “Fresh Pasta Dough” (page 193), “Cream Sauce” (page 195) and seven others.
That is followed by a 1 page of “acknowledgments,” a bio page about the author, and a nine page index.
Overall Stuffed: The Ultimate Comfort Food Cook Book is a good one featuring detailed and interesting recipes. Comfort foods stuffed together into a bigger, badder sort of super food is the theme and it works well. The only real drawback to the 200 page plus paperback book is the lack of real nutritional information for those who should limit their salt or fat intake. These recipes are designed for those who do not have dietary restrictions and are open to experimentation.
It is worth noting that this is a paperback book and is not particularly designed to lay flat for use. I recently picked this book up at the Haggard branch of my local library system. The copy has a “new” sticker on it dated “February 14” and already the binding is breaking in numerous spots with some pages already partially loose. Whether this is isolated issued with this copy or indicative of the biding of this print run is impossible to determine, but consumers should consider this issue as they would other factors in any book purchase.
Stuffed: The Ultimate Comfort Food Book-- Taking Your Favorite Foods And Stuffing Them To Make New, Different And Delicious Meals
Page Street Publishing Co.
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System
Kevin R. Tipple ©2014
Mind Slices and Carpathian Shadows, Volume II
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