So exactly what are comfort food? Comfort food are those easy-to-make edibles that calm our minds and senses by reminding us of soothing thoughts, sometimes even as far back as childhood memories. These are not gourmet or fancy types of food, but rather are simple, often home cooked dishes. This kind of food have the ability to make us feel good, sentimental, safe and secure. Foods such as an easy peanut butter and jelly sandwich or grilled cheese are popularly recalled as top ranking American comfort foods, along with yummy homemade edibles like brisket pot roast, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, tuna casserole , fried chicken, and, spaghetti. Comfort food is nostalgia and taste rolled into one experience. Let’s take a look at some easy comfort food recipes that you can easily prepare.
Easy All American Comfort Food
Classic Chicken soup
1 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken
6 peeled carrots
4 stalks of celery
1 large yellow quartered onion
2 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
How to Cook:
Put the chicken inside a large pot. Slice 3 carrots and 2 celery stalks into 1inch parts. Now quarter the onion. Put the cut vegetables into the pot adding peppercorns, salt, and about 8 cups water then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, removing any foam that comes to the top. Do this until the chicken is cooked in about 30 minutes.
Once cooked, remove the chicken and place it in a bowl to cool. Strain the broth and remove the vegetables. Put the broth back in the pot. Thinly chop the remaining celery and carrots. Then add them to the broth and simmer until soft or for about 10 minutes. Once the chicken is cool to the touch, shred the meat and add it to the soup. It’s ready to be served.
Easy Macaroni and Cheese
8 ounces of elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
12 ounce can evaporated milk
1-1/2 cups of milk
2 large eggs
4 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoons of black pepper
How to Cook:
Put the cooked macaroni in a slow cooker coated with a spray of nonstick vegetable oil. Now add the eggs, 3 cups of cheddar cheese, milk, the evaporated milk and stir well. Sprinkle the remaining one cup of cheddar cheese and cover the cooker and simmer at low setting for 5 to 6 hours. Cook until the mixture is golden and firm around the edges, and do not remove the cover until the cooking is finished. Easy, right?
Old Style Meatloaf
1-1/2 pounds of ground beef
1/2 pound of ground pork sausage
2 lightly beaten eggs
1 cup fine bread crumbs
1 to 2 large cloves of pressed garlic
1 cup of diced sweet onion
1/4 cup of diced green bell pepper
1 teaspoon of crushed dried oregano
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 package of dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup of milk
6-ounce can of tomato paste
2 to 4 strips of bacon
How to Cook:
After preheating the oven to 350 degrees, combine the pork sausage, eggs, bread crumbs, ground beef, sweet onion, garlic, oregano, pepper, bell pepper, Worcestershire, milk, onion soup mix and half of the tomato paste. Mix them all gently until they marry together. Be careful not to over knead the meat as it may harden. Now form the mixed ingredients to resemble a loaf. Place the strips of bacon on top of the meatloaf evenly. Bake for approximately an hour and 15 minutes, and then allow resting for 15 minutes and then serve.
Vegan Comfort Food or Healthy Comfort Food
Vegans need not worry that they cannot have their versions of old classic comfort foods. There are many vegan versions that are adaptations of some popular dishes. Here is a couple.
Cream of Broccoli Soup
This variation of this much-loved hearty meal gets its creaminess, not from any dairy source but from mashed potatoes. Here’s an easy recipe you can follow.
2 tablespoons olive oil
Half a chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 large cubed potato
2 cups of broccoli cut into florets
2 cups vegetable broth
Salt and pepper adjusted to taste
How to Cook:
Heat the olive oil in a pot using medium high heat, cooking the onions and garlic until the onions become transparent. Now add the cubed potatoes and the veggie broth and boil until the potatoes are soft, which should take around 10 minutes. Now add the broccoli and heat for around 5 more minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. If you want to have it easy, you can also use a blender.
Easy Tofu Pot Pie
Almost any list of comfort foods will have a version of pot pie. This version does away with the chicken or the meat, and uses tofu for a truly healthy vegan comfort treat. Who knew vegan food tasted this good?
¼ cup olive oil
1 pound cubed tofu
4 diced carrots
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
¾ cups sliced mushrooms
4 chopped scallions
1/3 cup of flour
2 cups of water or veggie broth
2 vegan pie crusts
How to Cook:
Heat the oil medium high using a soup pot and sauté the tofu, spices and carrots. Add the scallions and mushrooms once the carrots become a little soft. Cook a few minutes more until the mushrooms also become soft.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the flour, while stirring the mixture for around a minute, and then add the liquid (water or veggie broth). Allow the mixture to boil and thicken, then turn it off and set it aside.
Now pour the filling into one pie crusts, and then cover with the second crust. Make sure to puncture the top crust so steam can vent.
Put the pot pie inside the oven, and bake it for 20 minutes at 350F or until the top browns. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes then serve.
These easy recipes only show how comfort food is both a gastronomic and nostalgic experience. The whiff of the simplest dish could bring back feelings and memories of years gone by that were filled positive sentiments and security. Go and treat yourself to your own easy comfort foods and relive those old gratifying feelings. It could only be a bite away.