15 Classic Comfort Foods Slideshow
Slow-Cooked Short Ribs
Tender, falling-off-the-bone meat just screams comfort food. This recipe is braised in a red wine, sherry, and tomato-y liquid that adds tons of flavor to the slowly cooked meat. Try serving with rice, pasta, or vegetables.
Crab and Corn Chowder
Chowder or (chowdah, depending on where you’re from) is a staple on the East Coast, especially during the summer months — which, when you think of it, is kind of odd with the hot weather and all. Served at clam bakes, lobster cook-outs, and the like, it is a staple that’s sure to conjure up family memories. If not, you can just drown yourself in the creamy decadence of it all.
Mac and Cheese
Perhaps the Holy Grail of comfort foods, mac and cheese can be one of the most satisfying and heavenly dishes to eat when prepared correctly — noodles that are just firm enough, coated with a gooey, cheesy sauce that brings it all together. To master it, check out this recipe for the World’s Best Mac and Cheese, plus our tips on how to perfect it.
Spiced Peach Pie
Who better than a Southern gal (by way of Charleston, S.C.) to cook up a spiced peach pie that’s to die for? Seasoned with ginger, cinnamon, and ground cardamom, this late summer pie will remind you of hot and humid days for years to come. (Try topping it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to cool yourself down.)
Click here to see the SPiced Peach Pie recipe.
While these make a fabulous side dish for holiday dinners, they can also be a shining star next to roasts, braises, or even quickly cooked fish dishes. Make it a day ahead to save time and turn leftovers into a cheesy, potato soup by throwing them in the blender.
Meat. Cheese. Pasta. What more could you ask for? Yes, you can always substitute in layers of eggplant for the noodles, and replace the béchamel with creamy ricotta or even cottage cheese like this recipe suggests. Either way, it has to be filled with delicious tomato sauce and lots and lot of cheese (please don’t leave that part out).
No spice is left untouched in this apple pie recipe. From vanilla bean and star anise to ground nutmeg and cinnamon, the spices infuse the pie with layers of flavor and depth — not to mention the many health benefits of spices (see story in the recipe).
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Twirling the noodles on your fork, perhaps with a splash or two of tomato sauce hitting your shirt/chin/hair or any combination of the three, might be one of my personal favorite memories of my childhood. The day my aunt and uncle let me eat spaghetti with my fingers (a freeing act of exploration, as they put it) is another story for another day.
For many Italian-Americans, Bobby Flay (creator of this recipe), and the rest of the spaghetti and meatball-loving population, this combo is the ultimate comfort food.
What backyard summer barbecue would be complete without a burger cooking on the grill? This variation spices it up with Sriracha, the heat-filled Thai hot sauce that adds a touch of magnificence to whatever it’s added to.
Another Italian-inspired comfort food, pizza is loved by many. And for good reason. It’s an incredibly versatile dish that can be topped with roasted vegetables, cured meats, or spicy sausage like in this recipe.
A favorite dessert that’s so popular they named a profitable restaurant chain after it. Whether you fall on the plain side or prefer an Oreo-filled cheesecake, there’s no doubt that any slices will quickly be gobbled up at your next dinner party.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
If the scent of freshly baked cookies wafting out of the oven doesn’t illicit some kind of Pavlovian response, then we need to get some top-quality cookies to your kitchen, ASAP. Whether you like your cookies crispy, chewy, or cakey, these classic chocolate chip ones are irresistible.
Sure, you can go the French toast route for breakfast, but why not combine the staples of your childhood together on top of waffles? Peanut butter and jelly shine atop these addicting sweet and creamy waffles.
Sweet Potato Fries
French fries are a favorite side dish and go swimmingly with a burger (see a few slides earlier) or as a snack, but baking these tubers offers a much lighter and healthier version that’s quite tasty. Sweet potatoes have a creamier and richer flavor than regular potatoes, but there’s no reason you can’t cook those as well.
Korean Short Ribs
For a twist on short ribs, try this Korean-inspired version that uses soy sauce, sugar, honey, rice wine, and sesame oil as flavor-infusers (aka the braising liquid). Fresh ginger brightens up the dish, adding a zing, while the mushrooms give it an earthy undertone.