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Comfort Food

In spite of global warming, the entire Continent is freezing...which brings up the subject of Comfort Food.
Macaroni and cheese seems to be a popular comfort food. My wife prepares it with several types of cheese which will vary from time to time and lately has added carmelized onions to the recipe. Mmmm!
What's your fave comfort food?

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  1. When I was a university student, someone introduced me to a really cheap meal that I still make occasionally that I think of as "comfort food". It is disgusting but oh so good. Fried spam on toast with HP sauce. Ah....the memories.....

    When I was a kid, we lived in Germany for a couple of years so my go to comfort food is schnitzel and spatzle with Hunter Sauce. Yummmm.

    1. I like to make a boxed chicken noodle soup...and add dumplings. Add butter and salt on top of the dumplings and serve. I used to call it "feel better soup." But I've changed the title to "feel bigger" soup. :(

      2 Replies
      1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

        That sounds like it's in the same theme as the soup I make that my family has dubbed "sick soup." I start with two packages of Lipton's Chicken Noodle or a couple of cans of Campbell's Chicken Rice soup. To this I add either some couscous, rice or small pasta such as orzo. When the whole thing is done, there's usually very little liquid and mostly just a mush of noodles and whatever other starch I added. If I'm needing protein, I'll stir in a couple of beaten eggs at this point. Also, to add a bit of Vitamin C, I usually add a couple of teaspoons or more of lemon juice to each bowl before I eat it. This has gotten me through quite a few times when I had no appetite.

        1. re: CeeQueue

          That sounds good. I have a terrible cold right now. Or maybe it sounds particularly good because I've been on the South Beach diet all week. Any carbs sound good.

      2. i happen to be in San Diego - the only place in the country that isn't stuck in a deep freeze right now - and comfort food is the last thing on my mind when it's 72 degrees and sunny!

        but when i was sick last week i wanted comfort food despite the weather, and the things i was craving most were chicken soup when i was feeling really crappy...and meatloaf, stuffed cabbage, and brisket (or a really good beef stew or ragu) with carrots and potatoes when i started to get my appetite and sense of taste back. oh, and matzoh brei (most likely due to a thread about it here on CH).

        as good & comforting as REAL mac & cheese is, i try not to think about it anymore since the gluten-free stuff isn't worth eating.

        7 Replies
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I went to a potluck a few months back, and someone brought in a great casserole that could probably sub in for mac/cheese in a pinch. It was a rice, cheese, and spinach casserole. The kind of thing that is the farthest possible from gourmet, but such a guilty pleasure. If I couldn't have pasta, I'd probably give it a run.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Losing your sense of taste and smell is the worst! I keep canned soups on hand for that calamity so I won't feel like I'm missing out on something really special when I can't taste anything. For me it's steak or lamb chops, mashed potatoes with plenty of butter mashed in, and spinach with butter. I just got a huge bag of baby spinach at a great price from Costco and I'm really enjoying it. My friend doesn't generally enjoy spinach but this baby spinach is hooking him. Helps that I let him cook it, kinda fun to watch it simmer down so fast.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              GHG, really? Mac and cheese was the very first dish I mastered gluten free, no doubt in part because I had no intentions of giving it up. I think I make pretty fabulous mac and cheese. I don't use any of that tinkyada crap, though, and I take extra extra care with my cheese now.

              1. re: Vetter

                i just think all the GF pasta i've tried is crap, and if the pasta isn't good, the entire dish suffers. then again, it's been a couple of years since i bothered with it. grains in general have been giving me digestive trouble for a while now, even the GF ones, so i've been forgoing all of them except quinoa (which technically isn't a grain!) anyway. but out of curiosity in case i decide to go back to starches, what's your preferred GF pasta brand? one caveat - it has to be soy-free. soy flour is yet another ingredient i can't tolerate.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  I think my favorite is the Ancient Harvest quinoa/corn pasta. It holds its shape very well, and the corn flavor is easily lost when you use an interesting blend of cheeses (taleggio, aged cheddar, real fontina, etc--whatever blend I'm taking a whack at). It doesn't turn to sludge like the rice pasta when reheated, either.

                  1. re: Vetter

                    great to know, thanks. i had a box of that stuff sitting in the cupboard for ages, and after moving it from LA to NJ to San Diego, i finally tossed it :) but at least i know what i'm looking for if i decide to give it another go!

                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I tried a few gluten-free pastas in an attempt to find some good alternatives for my granddaughter. I tried the Tinkyada Fusilli - but I didn't use it as a base for a traditional pasta type dish. I used it as a base for a spicy dal and it was fantastic. I loved it.

              2. Macaroni and cheese is for sure a fave comfort food. I like Stouffer's when I'm not feeling like cooking. Another is grilled cheese sandwiches (real cheese, but on white bread); often eaten with tomato soup.

                Another comfort food for me is potato pancakes. My mother makes them best, but in a pinch I'll get them at Vienna Meats on Birchmount, in Scarborough (Ontario, Canada). They only serve them on Wednesdays, though. I'm not at all fond of what is called "latkas" in many restaurants, but looks more like a potato muffin (thick and solid). I like them thin and crispy.

                1. Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and tomato gravy served with peas and carrots. Then you mix the peas and carrots into the mashed potatoes. Grilled cheese and tomato soup- dunk your sandwich into the soup. Soup beans (brown beans) and cornbread with chow-chow and chopped onions.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: vafarmwife

                    Meatloaf is one of my favorites too. I make a BBQ meatloaf with smoky bbq sauce mixed in and brushed on top.

                  2. I am in Montana right now. Last Tuesday it was 31 below, right now it is +42 the sun is shining and there is no wind. I'm going to fire up my weber with some natural mesquite charcoal and grill some chicken thighs and veggies, got pintos going in the crockpot. I find this very comforting after last week's deepfreeze. I'd rather be in Tucson.

                    1. French onion soup or chicken fried steak and mashed potaotes with cream gravy and green beans. Yum.

                      1. potato soup
                        chicken soup

                        1. Just about any kind of dumpling or noodle is to me a good start on comfort. Besides mac'n'cheese there's the skillet dish my mom used to make with hamburger, tomatoes, onion, kidney beans and macaroni. Then our school cafeteria started making a version of that with cheese added and called it Marietta. I passed the suggestion along to Mom and she tried it, we liked it, and so Marietta it was after that.

                          I loved stewed chicken dishes, too, either with homemade egg noodles or big fluffy drop-biscuit dumplings, and still do. Last night a bunch of the LA-area 'Hounds did a semi-impromptu meetup at a Northern Chinese noodle/dumpling restaurant, and along with soup dumplings and steamed or fried dumplings we had a beef-noodle soup. The noodles were kind of thick and nobbly hand-cut ones, wonderfully chewy, and though they weren't egg noodles they were so much like Mom's I almost wanted to cry... but I just ate a lot instead!

                          1. I made tuna noodle casserole for dinner on Saturday evening. corn muffins, red cabbage, lemon meringue pie. it was like the church basement suppers of my childhood.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: lulubelle

                              Omigawd, tuna-noodle casserole! Mom made it because it was easy and cheap; I thought she made it just because she loved me and wanted me to be happy. Noodles, tuna and cream of mushroom soup was all that was in hers. When I grew up I added cheese, egg and baby peas. Mrs. O grew up eating mostly French cookin' - her dad was serious about this stuff - so it was up to me to feed her her first TNC. She adored it, and still does.

                              1. re: Will Owen

                                OMG tuna noodle casserole! I haven't had it since i was a kid! But man i loved it. Tuna, cream of mushroom soup, peas, egg noodles, with a seasoned bread crumb topping? mmmmmm so not gourmet but still still pretty damn delicious in my book!

                                1. re: kubasd

                                  I dolled it up a little with an extra can of sliced mushrooms, about a cup of cream, some grated sharp chedder, and Kettle Crisps crumbled on top. It was so darn good, even my somewhat snobby British friend liked it.

                                2. re: Will Owen

                                  Tuna noodle casserole was a weekly staple in our roommate cuisine routine. Our pantry was well-stocked with Campbell's cream-of-whatever soups (we watched for the sales), and those little cans of tomato sauce (likewise snatched on sale). Then we laid in franks, chicken parts, and hamburger whenever they went on special. Along with rice, noodles, potatoes, beans and onions, we were ready for a variety of student-budget feasts.

                                3. re: lulubelle

                                  I know of no other "non-gourmet" food that generates as strong a reaction, positive or negative, as tuna casserole. 2/3 of my friends hate it, and the other 1/3 love it. Thankfully I'm in the love it category... maybe because my mom did a good job with it. I like to toss in sliced water chestnuts (they stay nice and crunchy) and sometimes furikake. Extra mushrooms are good too. On rare occasions (depending on whats in the house) I add sour cream or cheese.

                                  After 3 years in Seoul, fried rice is definitely on my comfort food list (especially good as "hangover" food).

                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                    I love it, too. My mom used to make it either with rice, spinach and diced hard-cooked eggs with parmesan on top (the green shaker can, it was the '60s after all), or with egg noodles and peas and cheddar. Both with cream of fill-in-the-blank cheese. I love them both although I haven't made either in years. Maybe tomorrow...

                                4. I adore creamy home made mac & cheese that's been baked with a crunchy crust...also mashed potatoes & gravy with a biscuit or roll, chicken & dumplings and a bowl of butter beans cooked with either salt pork or bacon & a side of fried cornbread (reminds me of my childhood)

                                  1. On their website, The American Heart Associatrion recomends Meatloaf, pizza and ice cream.

                                    1. A fresh baked baguette and if I want to go hog wild add some warm ham, caramelized onions and gruyere for a baked ham and cheese baguette.

                                      1. For me it's jook (Chinese rice porridge). It's salty, warm, filling, and is often one of the few things I find satisfying when I'm sick.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: PegS

                                          PegS- what is the difference between jook and con-gee?

                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                            No difference. FWIW, jook (specifically turkey jook) is also my family's comfort food of choice. My in-laws are Cantonese, and everyone liked the day after Thanksgiving even more than Thanksgiving because of the jook. My mom-in-law used to make kosher turkey for us when we first got married (it wasn't kosher because the person cooking it wasn't Jewish, but I felt I couldn't reject her when she was trying her best to conform to our needs), and I fell in love with it. When we finally began inviting everyone else to our house for Thanksgiving, and everything was truly kosher, the jook was still just as good, and it still is. Needless to say, it is no longer a once-a-year thing with us, more like once-a-month.

                                        2. Like it says in my profile, I go for cauliflower in cream sauce. I cook the cauliflower until it's soft but still holds its shape, and I thicken a cup of heavy cream with xanthan gum (I can't eat grains) and put in salt and plenty of pepper and put it on top of the cauliflower. My mom made this a lot when I was a kid--her cream sauce was made with milk, butter and Wondra flour--and I eat this a lot in winter as a meal.

                                          1. soup. all kinds, from all corners of the world.

                                            ptsss... i also like "Cozido à portuguesa", although it´s not a soup (the broth is good). hmm... mas para mim! :) (more for me!)

                                            1. Chicken Matzo Ball soup with the whole chicken left in the pot for serving, with carrots, parsnips, dill and celery.........................
                                              or
                                              Potted short ribs with caraway seeds, sauerkraut and sliced canned white potatoes, served with the heels of a good sour rye bread.

                                              1. depends . . . If I am sick, I usually just want an english muffin or toast with lots of butter. For cold-weather comfort, I often revert to shepherd's pie (ok, cottage pie, but you get the idea) or chicken and dumplings. Carbs are comforting, at least to me :) Sometimes I will make a quick soup of sauted onion/carrot/celery, chicken stock, and a small pasta.

                                                1. Thai food- drunken noodles, Tom Yum soup
                                                  Grilled Cheese
                                                  Meatloaf
                                                  Baked Sweet Potatoes with tahini or almond butter
                                                  Egg Sandwiches

                                                  Chewy/Carby/Spicy- usually one or a combo of the 3 does the trick for me

                                                  1. Garlic soup, with sautee'd garlic, worchestershire sauce, beef broth, bay leaves, and of course beer, all left to boil for an hour to reduce, served with buttered then pan-toasted sourdough bread.

                                                    Often times, I'll just have a slice of toasted sourdough bread, little better snack IMO.

                                                    Oh, pot roast and meatloaf, so warm and meaty, both served with potatoes of course!

                                                    Macaroni and cheese, naturally, as has been mentioned, with just a hit of hot sauce. DH's first ever encounter with home made macaroni and cheese was thanks to me :D

                                                    And who could suffer a cold without some sort of chicken soup? A garlic based one for me, and when I simply can't bear to eat, I'll add a couple of eggs to it to get something into my system without feeling like I'm really "eating" something. A bit of extra salt and the garlic help me taste it at least a little bit :)

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Popkin

                                                      that garlic soup sounds amazing. Can you let me know the amounts of the ingredients that you use?

                                                      1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                        Unfortunately, i can't give exact measurments. In a medium saucepan, I would add about 2 tb of butter, and probably a head's worth of diced garlic (enough to cover the bottom of the pan), though lately I've been cheating and use jarred diced garlic.. Once it's brown, I add a bit of four (for a bit of body in the final soup, not so much as a thickener). Then I'd add enough beef broth to come within a couple of inches of the top of the pan, two or three hits of worchestershire sauce, and probably a half cup of dark beer, and two bay leaves. Sometimes I'll add a hit of hot sauce, cayenne, or my favourite lately is to add a piece of a dried ancho chile while it reduces. I simmer it for an hour or two, until it is reduced slightly and the flavour is nice and strong. It tastes really good as an egg drop soup, where you just take the finished soup still over low heat, crack an egg in, and stir. The yolk incorporates really well, and you are left with egg white chunks floating in the soup.

                                                        I hope this helps a bit! Sorry I couldn't be more exact, but it varies a bit each time I make it :)

                                                        1. re: Popkin

                                                          That will work well enough for me to play with. Thanks so much!

                                                    2. Something hot with carbs would be my comfort food, unless it was warm outside. So in the winter, I guess sauerkraut w/ sausage and potatoes, bean soup, chicken with dumplings. I grew up eating the biscuit type dumplings and those are comfort food to me. DH and I have discovered mac and cheese at Panera, and we have trouble not ordering it. I didn't grow up eating mac and cheese, so for me it doesn't have a "meaning." But I do like Panera's version.

                                                      1. When I was a kid, in the winter my Mom used to make enormous pots of beef/vegetable soup... used shanks, or any cheap beef to make the stock, let it simmer down, after hours of cooking, refrigerated overnight, took off all the fat, and added tons of vegetables - usually a can or two of tomatoes, and then fresh onions and garlic, frozen corn, peas, green beans, squash. Seasoned with herbs, and small amounts of tabasco and Worcester sauce. After playing out in the snow for hours, coming in and having a big bowl of that with a hunk of good French bread and butter - ultimate comfort food.

                                                        Her big secret was adding beef bullion to the stock.

                                                        1. For me it is either cheese enchiladas with Tex/Mex style chili gravy with black or(but more often than not),pinto beans,rice and my hot sauce, or a huge bowl of chili . Black bean soup or something Indian can happen as well. Saag Paneer or Malai Kofta are my newest favorites to fix.

                                                          1. Sometimes nothing hits the spot besides starchy, gloppy Sweet Sue chicken & dumplings.

                                                            My husband also make me what we call "puny soup". It's chicken soup made with LOTS of onion, garlic and ginger plus noodles. Sometimes I pretend to be puny so he'll cook it!

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: BeaN

                                                              I like that Sweet Sue too! Something about those pasty dumplings with lots of black pepper does me good on a cold day.

                                                              1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                                                Where do you get Sweet Sue in Tucson? I've never even heard of it. Also, is it dry, canned frozen- can somebody please clue me in?

                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                  It's canned. I find it near the canned soup.

                                                            2. Try comfort food from England, Beans on Toast: Pour a can of hot pork & beans over a slice of hot buttered whole wheat toast and have some ketchup and a pickle on the side. If you have a mug of hot tea with this the meal is called a Bean Tea. So good.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Querencia

                                                                You really need the British-market Heinz beans for that; the American ones are much too gloppy and sweet, especially now they're using that ghastly corn syrup instead of sugar. As luck would have it, some of these companies sell their European formulations in Asia, as lots of folks there don't like their stuff too sweet either, so I've found I can get English-style Heinz beans (AND European-formula Ovaltine!) in Chinese markets here in LA County. Of course stores carrying UK foods would probably have those too.

                                                              2. Today it was pouring rain and the wind was howling so my husband and I headed out for some pho. He got delayed due to an unexpected work issue so by the time we got to the restaurant, we were cold and hungry. When that steaming bowl of noodles, beef and broth arrived, I was a very happy woman! It was the perfect thing for a day like today.

                                                                1. I love comfort food!!! Being my family is from the south there is an endless choice of comfort foods in my house (even thought I ive in Bermuda now) there is one that i can not get enough of....

                                                                  I am recovering from surgery I told my hubby I wanted comfort food this weekend, he knew exactly what I wanted, when he went shopping (since I can't leave the house) he picked up Chicken gizzards...after 17 years he should know my favorite comfort food!!!

                                                                  Fried Chicken Gizzards, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and corn nibblets topped with gravy.