What's for dinner?
March 9, 2009 5:59 PM   Subscribe

PlanMyMealFilter: I've had a fairly miserable couple of days and feel like cooking something soothing/comforting/delicious tonight, but am tired of my usual fallback, mac-n-cheese. What are your recipes for your favorite comfort foods? Nothing tooooo complex (it's getting late, after all) but I wouldn't mind concentrating for a while on something that isn't super-depressing. Only dietary restriction is no soy or cumin.
posted by coppermoss to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Grilled cheese sandwich and a mug of tomato soup.
posted by JujuB at 6:06 PM on March 9, 2009

Mashed potatoes.
posted by dilettante at 6:10 PM on March 9, 2009

Best answer: Easy risoto: boil 1 cup of short grained rice like pasta (ie, in salted water at a rolling boil) for 12ish minutes. Meanwhile, cook several sage leaves in a few tablespoons of butter. Discard sage and keep butter warm. Toss drained rice with 1/4-1/2 cup of parmesan (better, romano) cheese & sagy butter.

Serve with salad & perhaps light protein.

Yum. Double yum.
posted by shothotbot at 6:24 PM on March 9, 2009 [3 favorites]

Baked potatoes with a big load of cheddar, sour cream, and salsa on top?

On preview -- you just can't go wrong with starch, tomato, and cheese.
posted by kmennie at 6:24 PM on March 9, 2009


I use pesto in place of the fresh basil and parm in the filling, and cook the sausage with jar sauce to make it extra-fast.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 6:27 PM on March 9, 2009

If you have : potatoes, flour, milk, and butter - you can make scalloped potatoes, one of my favorite comfort foods.

Slice potatoes fairly thin. Put one layer in pan (bread pan, 8x8 pan, whatever. They all work)

Sprinkle salt/pepper over layer, then cover with a thin layer of flour. Take a couple of pats of butter, chop them up, and sprinkle that over the flour.

Repeat these layers until you get to the top of the pan. Pour enough milk in so that it comes up to just below your top layer.

If you have breadcrumbs to put on top, it's delicious, but not absolutely necessary.

Bake in 375 oven for about an hour. Mmmm....
posted by HopperFan at 6:27 PM on March 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Baked potato- yummm, but takes a while to cook (you can speed it up by starting them off in the microwave, but make sure to poke holes!)

Garlic bread pizza!! Mix olive oil, finely minced garlic (I use paste from the fridge if I don't feel like chopping) or garlic powder (easiest), and oregano/rosemary/pre-mixed Italian seasoning. Brush on favorite bread. Crusty is better. Soft bread probably won't work well. Spoon on a little jarred spaghetti sauce (or spiced-up tomato paste in a pinch). Sprinkle on shredded mozzarella (put on more than you think you'll need). If you have toppings you like, add those. Toast in toaster.

Chipotle grilled cheese! If you have canned chipotle peppers. Seed a few, toss them in a food processor with some oil or mayo. Spread on bread. Add cheese and toast or grill. Can add lettuce, tomato, onion, etc.
posted by fructose at 6:36 PM on March 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

For comfort food, I like extra-fatty sandwiches on good bread--BLTs with plenty of mayo, quesadillas with homemade guacamole, buttery Reubens--or Campbells soup casseroles. My favorite casserole is: mix 1 can cream of celery, 1 can cream of chicken, 1/2 c. mayo, juice of 1 lemon, and 2 tsp curry powder; layer 1-2 cups cooked cubed chicken and 1 bag frozen broccoli in a casserole pan; pour sauce over the chicken and broccoli; top with shredded cheddar cheese and bake for 30 min at 350 degrees and then serve over white rice. Is it classy? No. But it sure is tasty.
posted by Meg_Murry at 6:40 PM on March 9, 2009

Best answer: My favorite comfort meal is Marcella Hazan's pasta with bacon, peas, and ricotta cheese. Really easy. Boil the pasta water while you cook a half pack of bacon (I like it really crispy, almost burnt). Let the fat cool down and then dump most of it. In the fat that's left, put half a box of frozen peas and let them soak up the goodness. When the pasta is done, throw the bacon back in and heat that and the peas through. Then put in in with the pasta and add ricotta to coat. This has been my go-to comfort meal for nearly 20 years now. I guess it's fundamentally a form of mac and cheese, now that I think about it. Sorry.
posted by fiery.hogue at 6:52 PM on March 9, 2009

Comfort food, if you're poor and don't have staples in the house: white rice with sugar on top. A dutch treat.
posted by davejay at 7:09 PM on March 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

(oh, with butter, if you have it)
posted by davejay at 7:10 PM on March 9, 2009

For the next person looking for comfort food, as the OP has probably fed already:

Here's a thought: any time is the right time to treat yourself to a huge plate of bacon and eggs they way you like them, with or without extras like tomatoes, mushrooms, hash browns ...

But it's hard to work sweet, sweet, comforting cheese into the mix, so mine's another vote for risotto.

My easy risotto is a real What Have You dish, but the basic1 goes like this:

Start with a large (preferably) non-stick pan with a lid that fits well. Melt a large ball of butter (at least a tablespoonful, if no-one's watching, more) and pour in enough arborio (or whatever short-grain rice you have) to cover the bottom. When one side of the rice is golden brown, add chopped onion and bacon and stir. When these have softened, add whatever extras you have on hand - mushrooms?, peppers?, spinach?, and then add liquid - tomato juice and/or tinned tomatoes and/or chicken stock and/or tomato paste and/or boiling water - to cover the rice. Add ANY fresh herbs (even parsley), or the usual dried suspects like oregano.

Now put the lid on, turn it down to barely simmer,

**ten minute disco**

until the liquid is all absorbed and the rice is plump. Grate a double handful of a bland cheese, perhaps a little less of a sharp one, and stir it through just before serving.

1 Warning - I have no sense of portion control, but hey, it's great leftovers.
posted by Catch at 7:17 PM on March 9, 2009 [3 favorites]

Pesto Parmesan oatmeal. Cook your oatmeal the normal way, then stir in a spoonful of pesto and Parmesan--it couldn't be easier! Oatmeal also goes well with cayenne or dill.
posted by aquafortis at 7:22 PM on March 9, 2009

Catch said: "Here's a thought: any time is the right time to treat yourself to a huge plate of bacon and eggs they way you like them, with or without extras like tomatoes, mushrooms, hash browns ...

But it's hard to work sweet, sweet, comforting cheese into the mix, so mine's another vote for risotto."

Seriously? Scrambled eggs with cheese? Easiest meal in the world! And versatile! Feta with spinach and tomatoes and eggs; cheddar or swiss with mushrooms, spinach, bacon and eggs... the possibilities are endless!
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 7:30 PM on March 9, 2009

I tip my hat to you, LOLAttorney2009.
posted by Catch at 7:56 PM on March 9, 2009

posted by min at 8:09 PM on March 9, 2009

Best answer: This serves one.

Take about a quarter to a half pound of pasta. Start cooking that.

While that's cooking, first take one egg and a quarter cup of grated Parmaesan cheese and beat that together in a big bowl. Then take two or three slices of bacon, chop them into little pieces about a half-inch square, dump them all into a frying pan and fry them all up until crispy. Leave them in the pan WITH the bacon drippings for now.

When the pasta is done, drain it, and then dump it into the bowl with the egg and Paramesan, and then dump the bacon AND the bacon drippings into the bowl as well. Mix everything up like crazy and add lots of fresh pepper.

Pasta carbonara.

You're welcome.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:13 PM on March 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Cheesy omelette with red onion & garlic on fresh buttery toast. Quick & delicious.
posted by The Monkey at 8:37 PM on March 9, 2009

Eggs (either sunny side up, or scrambled) and buttered toast.

A can or box of soup, and toast.

Chicken fingers.

A big mound of garlicky cooked spinach with an oozy egg on top.

Pasta with pesto sauce.

A can of beans, tossed into a sauce pan with some garlic, onion, whatever other things you have that you think would taste good (frozen or fresh veggies, crumbled bacon, etc), a bit of liquid (water or chicken broth), simmered for a few minutes till warm and a bit mushy, and then sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Pasta, chicken or shrimp (if you have some in the freezer, this is a legit fast n' easy idea), and peas, tossed with some caesar salad dressing or pesto sauce or butter and parmesan
posted by Kololo at 9:42 PM on March 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Takes about 20 minutes:


Some seafood ie.
-can of clams
-Some prawns/shrimp (frozen/whatnot)
-Some frozen scallops
-random frozen seafood

Some veg like bell peppers, mushrooms, diced drained tomatoes, shallots, purple onions, whatever
~150ml of white wine
~150mL of cream (assuming 1 or 2 servings... depends on how 'juicy' you want this to be)

tapioca or corn starch

Boil up some pasta (rotini works well, penne works if you like/make thicker sauces).

If you have a can of clams, drain that into a large skillet/pan/pot, add ~equal volume cream and ~equal volume white wine. If not, and you have some junk seafood, cut up into small pieces, boil in minimum amount of water, discard the seafood if you desire before adding cream and wine. Reduce (ie., get it to softly boil, evaporate, and reduce volume). Sprinkle a little salt and white pepper (it's good to get this in early, you'll end up adding some near the end to flavour).

Once it's reduced to ~1/2 (by the time the pasta is ready), drain and rinse the pasta in cold water. Cook the seafood in the juice/cream/wine. When ~80% done, throw in veg. Stir around until the mixture is boiling again, toss in pasta, stir until boiling again, tasting.

Add salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, whatever (basil or oregano perhaps) to taste. Depending on how much liquid you have, dissolve a tblsp or two of tapioca or corn starch in water, mix in, stir. Add more (or less) until you get a consistency you like. The longer it heats, the thicker it'll get (to a point). It'll get thicker if you refridgerate it overnight (in case you're planning on saving some for lunch the next day). Get it a "touch" thicker than you like.

Before serving, splash a bunch of wine into the mix and stir a bit. Take of heat immediately and serve.

nom nom nom

Having high quality seafood ingredients is the main key to making this good. Barring that, add a tblsp or two of real butter. If you have time, marinate the seafood in a bit of sesame oil, salt, white pepper beforehand. If you have the time, you can sear the seafood a *tiny* bit first before cooking the rest of the way in the juice/cream/wine. Fresh frozen Hokaido scallops (if you can get them) are reasonably priced for their quality. If you have access to live prawns, cheap, freezing those will give you much better prawns than the frozen stuff you buy at Western supermarkets (there are some frozen prawns from equitorial Eastern countries that are ok). Frozen mussels from New Zealand tend to be ok, too, and reasonably priced. If you want to add zuccini, definitely brown them in butter (and white pepper and garlic) first before adding them to the mix. Mushrooms are good at soaking up flavour and wine.
posted by porpoise at 10:05 PM on March 9, 2009

Best answer: Old Jewish Comfort Food - Kasha Varnishkas (Bowtie Pasta and Buckwheat Combo)

It's been around for about a thousand years and has comforted many many people during that time. It's history , the recipe.
posted by watercarrier at 5:03 AM on March 10, 2009

Just reading this thread is making me hungry. My comfort meal: buttered noodles with poppy seeds sprinkled in or breakfast food at night.
posted by theora55 at 9:46 AM on March 10, 2009

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