The Best Warm, Wonderful Comfort Food

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Chicken Fried Steak and Sides

A plate with chicken fried steak, macaroni and cheese, and vegetables. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

February may be a short month, but it often feels endless. The festive holiday fun is behind us, and spring still feels out of reach. Don’t let the cold, dreary last days of winter get you down! Instead, spend some time getting to know your apartment kitchen. There’s nothing quite like comfort food, and now is the perfect time to recreate those dishes that you loved as a child, whether it was your dad’s simple tomato soup and grilled cheese, your mom’s shepherd’s pie, or your grandmother’s chicken and dumplings.

Even if you live alone, don’t let that deter you – no, you can’t eat an entire tray of lasagna, but you can cut it into portions and freeze it, giving you quick and easy go-to dinners and lunches. This will save you time and money later on – you won’t have to order takeout on busy weeknights, and taking your lunch instead of buying is easy and economical. Most dishes will last a couple of months in the freezer, so go ahead and make that casserole! (If you plan to freeze pasta, make sure you cook it al dente to avoid it from becoming mushy when reheated.)

Stews, beef ragu, short ribs, baked potatoes – many of the comfort food classics can be made in your slow cooker. Put it on in the morning, and when you arrive home in the evening, your entire apartment will have that warm, wonderful, and inviting aroma of your favorite comfort food. If you’ve never tried using a slow cooker, don’t let it intimidate you – it is a fast and easy way to come home to a wonderful meal and clean-up is a breeze.

Perhaps it isn’t homemade macaroni and cheese or pot roast or tuna casserole that conjures up memories of a warm kitchen and childhood; perhaps it is dessert. Banana pudding, chocolate chip cookies, or old-fashioned homemade apple pie are all wonderful comfort foods, so go ahead and bake something sweet.

Meatloaf, fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, cinnamon rolls, chicken pot pie – they may be comforting, but comfort foods tend to be rich, often cheesy, and almost always carbohydrate-ridden. If you have your eye on spring fashions and don’t want to risk the temptation of your great-aunt’s amazing enchiladas, try these low-calorie versions of your favorite comfort foods.