Something about wintertime makes us long for comfort foods. Maybe it’s the cold, or the big holidays, or the busy time of year, but homey foods that remind us of childhood family dinners reign supreme. If you’re looking for comfort food ideas, you can check out your favorite recipe mobile app, or start with this list.
Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken pot pie is warm and hearty, and it has gravy and a pie crust. What’s not to love? This chicken pot pie recipe will have everyone at your table sighing in contentment. If you’ve made homemade chicken pot pie before, you know the crust can sometimes get soggy. Here are a couple tips to seal your crust:
- Brush the crust with a beaten egg white to seal it and prevent the liquid from soaking in.
- Pour in the filling while it’s hot and immediately start to bake it. The heat will help to seal the crust.
The layers of tender pasta, gooey cheese, ricotta filling, and rich meat sauce make lasagna one of the best meals to take to someone else or bake for a dinner with guests. Be sure to start with a layer of sauce before your first layer of noodles to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. For an easier lasagna, try the no-boil noodles. They actually taste just as good and have a great, delicate texture.
Nothing says winter quite like beef stew. It’s old-fashioned stick-to-your-ribs meaty goodness. Don’t worry about cutting your vegetables and meat into small cubes. Hours of cooking will make them fork tender, and rustic chunks of beef and veggies add to the down-home vibe of this dish.
Chili serves a crowd beautifully, and it only seems to get better the longer it sits on the stove or in the crockpot. To add to the crowd-pleasing effect, be sure to have all the fixins’ along with it: cheese, sour cream, and green onions.
There are as many different variations of clam chowder as there are stars in the sky. Well, almost. The three main versions of clam chowder are New England, or white, clam chowder with a cream or milk base; Rhode Island, or clear, clam chowder with a broth base; and Manhattan, or red, clam chowder, made with tomato paste. This recipe is a classic New England version, and it will warm you right through on a cold winter evening. Saltine crackers on the side add the crunch and a pop of salt for a perfect taste.
Macaroni and Cheese
You can find many versions of macaroni and cheese out there, but it’s hard to get any better than this copycat recipe for Cracker Barrel restaurant. This starts with a roux, which is butter, flour, and cream–add cheese and pasta and voila, you have just about the most comforting food ever.
Chicken and Dumplings
The dumplings in chicken and dumplings are so good when they’re soft and tender, and they’re surprisingly easy to make from scratch. Give yourself a treat and try this recipe next time you’re wanting a little comfort.
The best part of the meatloaf is the ketchup-based sauce on the top, and this one has brown sugar to add sweetness and vinegar to add tanginess. You might be surprised by one change to the usual meatloaf recipe; this uses lean ground beef. The meatloaf still stays moist but is less greasy than meatloaf with a higher-fat ground beef.
Beef stroganoff blends the flavors of mushrooms and beef and makes it creamy with plenty of sour cream. It can be served over rice or any type of noodles, but egg noodles are a classic and give it that just-right flavor and texture. If you’re looking for a quicker, easier way to make beef stroganoff, you can use ground beef. However, the beef strips in this recipe elevate it to a dish you can serve to guests.
Ree Drummond, aka the Pioneer Woman, has a great pot roast recipe that is done in the oven. Be sure to sear the meat first for the best flavor. It’s a step that many home cooks skip, but it really makes a difference. If the roast isn’t fall-apart tender when you first check it, leave it in longer. The great thing about a pot roast is that the longer it cooks, the more tender it is.
Shepherd’s pie is a dish that many enjoyed as children. It’s fairly easy to make and inexpensive. Plus, with ground meat, vegetables, and starch in the potatoes, it’s an all-in-one meal. The warm, homey goodness of this classic recipe brings back childhood, and it never fails to please.
Cheese grits are a staple in the South. The creamy, cheesy goodness is a great base for meats with a spicy sauce or tangy sauce, such as spicy shrimp or beef ragu. The sauce covers the grits and adds a complexity to the flavors.
There have been entire television shows devoted to the correct way to make mashed potatoes. Is it that difficult? Not really, but mashed potatoes are so good when they’re perfectly fluffy, buttery, and creamy that anything else is a huge disappointment. Here is a great basic recipe for mashed potatoes that works like a charm.
“Funeral potatoes” is a rather gloomy name for such a happily pleasing dish. They get their name from being served at almost every funeral luncheon put on by the relief society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They have become a beloved part of tradition.
Some type of bread has to be on every list of comfort foods. For this list, it’s biscuits. With only six ingredients that every home cook probably has on hand, there’s every reason to make these buttery biscuits from scratch. The difference in flavor is worth the bit of extra time it takes.
We can’t forget dessert, and apple pie is one of the best desserts in wintertime. Don’t forget the ice cream for the side.
Chocolate is comforting in itself, and chocolate fudge takes it to a whole other level. This recipe is super easy, foolproof, and delicious. For the right consistency, no substitutions, please. Try to smooth the fudge quickly after pouring it into the glass baking dish, and put it in the refrigerator right away.
Eggnog is almost like a meal, it is so rich and creamy and satisfying. This recipe uses actual bourbon. It adds a great flavor, but let your guests know before serving.
There are so many great hot chocolate powders out there that many people have never tried to make it from scratch. Try it; it’s worth it. This homemade hot chocolate is a perfect treat after a day playing in the snow. Add whipped cream to the top for an extra boost of flavor. You might as well make the whipped cream from scratch as well; you’ll be glad you did.
Wassail is like hot apple cider, but better. Some versions are made with alcohol, but this is a non-alcoholic recipe, and it makes the house smell amazing. Once you try this, you’ll want to start it simmering in the fall and keep making it all winter.
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