MY ULTIMATE COMFORT FOODS COME WITH THE FIRST FROST.

My mother doesn’t believe in massage.  The same way one wouldn’t believe in unicorns or pimple cream.

I, on the other hand, do believe in massage and if push came to shove I could probably make a solid argument for unicorns based on a theory I have involving magic, hallucinogens and Neapolitan ice cream.

And even though I believe in massage I wouldn’t say I enjoy it.  This is probably because I’ve only ever had therapeutic massages, which are exactly as relaxing as walking through your local grocery store naked while being pummelled by canned hams.  But I do get a massage to break up the knots in my shoulders and neck every once in a while because like you I’m sure, come wintertime I can count on two things;  moving less and eating more. I spend more time typing away at my desk with my shoulders jammed up near my ears and less time moving and stretching my way through the garden.

Even if we get big snowfalls and I have to shovel a couple of times a week, and chop wood and jump up and down 25 times to get my jeans over my thighs,  the winter exercise doesn’t even come close to how often I’m moving around in the summer.  Even with The DIY walking desk I implemented last year I’m a bit of a lump.

And that’s O.K.

It’s part of what I love about living in an area of the world that gets 4 distinct seasons.  You have 4 distinct lives.  There’s spring life (happy and optimistic), summer life (sweaty and exhausted), fall life (exhilarated and nesting) and winter life (cocooning and lumpy).   Each also has it’s own clothing and food requirements.  For instance, thou shalt not feast on stew in summer.  Because, gross.  A thick, heavy, bowl of stew sitting in your gut makes it really hard to chase fireflies.  And yuck.  That’s meat sweats on top of humidity sweats and that’s just stupid.

But a warm, nutritious bowl of beef stew with root vegetables and steaming dumplings on a cold winter’s night?  That make sense.

comfort-food

 

And that’s exactly what I had the first cool night this fall.  I whipped up a bowl of stew and *just* like that my new life had begun.  The lightweight blanket on the couch got tucked away and the thick, fluffy one was pulled out.  The heated floors in the kitchen were turned on, the pumpkin scented candles lit and from the back of the pile I found my flannel pajamas which had been in hiding for 6 months.  They smelled like drawer.

I plan on filling the next 6 months or so with bowls of comfort food.  It’s a well known fact that comfort food almost always comes in a bowl.  At least true comfort foods do.  The 4 comfort foods making the top of my list are in no particular order:  Macaroni & Cheese, Spaghetti & Meatballs, French Onion Soup, and Beef Stew.  Honourable mention to Chili Con Carne with toast.

Those meals will be on rotation, interspersed with my favourite soups (you can read all my favourite soup recipes here) for the foreseeable future and I’m smiling just thinking about them.

As committed as I am to these comfort foods for myself, I’m open to suggestions (as long as those suggestions don’t include brussels sprouts because there’s nothing comforting about those satanic little cabbages).

Let me know … WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COMFORT FOOD?  If you have a picture, include a picture! If you have a link to the recipe, include the link!

Aw shucks.  If you’re convincing enough I may even be moved to try a brussels sprouts recipe.

And if you believe that, I have a unicorn for sale.

Have a good weekend, and I’m looking forward to hearing about what your favourite comfort food is.

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131 Comments

  1. Auntiepatch says:

    Creamy Chicken Soup with wide egg noodles

  2. Jennie Lee says:

    As a matter of fact, at my house comfort foods come in a Fiesta Ware gusto bowl. Or at least a jumbo bowl.

  3. TucsonPatty says:

    Mashed potatoes. Not very original, but – potatoes, am I right? Chili cook-off this weekend here, and vegetarian it will be. So no meat sweats. (Is that a thing?) 30+ years since I’ve eaten any meat. Well, except for last Christmas when someone brought in “Man Cookies”, and I had 4 or 5 of them before someone told me they weren’t pecans on the top – that was BACON!! They were good but they didn’t taste like bacon.

  4. Vicki says:

    Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Onions and Bacon.
    How much do you want for your unicorn? 🙂

  5. Jane S says:

    Spaghetti squash lasagna. The recipe says it’s low fat but I add way more cheese. Yummy.

  6. Patti says:

    Pioneer Woman Pot Roast w veg on a bed of garlic mash. Every winter Sunday. Then make beef sandwiches au jus with the leftovers. Heavenly…

  7. Ardith says:

    I’m looking forward to joining you for some cool to cooler weather. Texas just isn’t cooperating yet. Meanwhile, I dream of my recipes for stews and thick soups, fajita enchiladas, pizzas, roast chicken, quick breads (zucchini, pumpkin, cranberry)…and my foray into yeast breads.

    I’d just as soon circumvent the walking/running-naked-while-getting-pummeled-with-canned-hams experience, thank you very much. I’d like that as much I enjoy professional massages (I just cannot shake the image of “Friends” Ross’s reaction to massaging the hot model’s father. It always makes me wonder what goes on in the massage therapist’s mind, so I cannot relax).

    Have fun basking in the bliss of hot food, warm blankies, and scented candles. I envy you.

    Cheers, Ardith

  8. Karen says:

    Ha! ~ k!

  9. judy says:

    I love C****ken Divan-I have concealed a key ingredient because I have come to love the key ingredient (due to your influence) as interesting little life forms,kinda quirky,colorful and the babies are beyond adorable.

    AnyHoo- 3 large cans of cream of chicken soup- cup or more of sour cream- 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, and cumin and whatever other spice appeals to you.spray bottom of a large casserole dish and lay 6 Chicken Breasts on bottom layer- salt and pepper the breasts spread sauce mixture and then a layer of frozen broccoli-more sauce-grated cheddar cheese and I put those crispy onions on top. Serve over rice…This is very low cal..if you live in Siberia and use lots of calories not to freeze to death. This feeds sons for dinner and two old people for so many meals that I don’t make it again till next Winter.

  10. Karen says:

    I have a love/hate relationship with pot roast Patti. My father-in-law(ish) made a delicious pot roast but I never seem to be able to make a great one myself. :/ ~ karen!

  11. Karen says:

    Today is the first coolish day we’ve had! And really, it isn’t all that cold, lol. Yesterday or the day before it was 26 or so. (that’s almost 80 in American-speak) ~ karen!

  12. Karen says:

    When I first glanced at it I thought it was a much worse word than chicken, lol. Yeah. I don’t eat quite as much chicken as I used to, lol. ~ karen!

  13. sheryl Powell says:

    Best comfort food from my childhood. Chocolate syrup and toast. Made by Grandma for weekend breakfast, against mom’s wishes. (I’ve also heard of a similar treat called chocolate gravy and biscuits). Recipe? Use any fudge recipe, milk, sugar, cocoa vanilla. Just don’t cook it as long. Melt the sugar but keep it sticky. Any toast will do but the best is buttered bread in a skillet. Weird I know. Hey ladies. Ever hear of chocolate fondue? Huh? Nearly the same thing.

  14. Ardith says:

    Well, that’s not right. Today the high temp here was 75. Crazy. OK, let’s go agree to go ahead and eat stew anyway.

  15. Ardith says:

    My Dutch friend used to eat sandwiches of buttered white bread with chocolate sprinkles. And yes, she did get me hooked on them, so I’m onboard with you.

  16. Rod from Calgary says:

    My own home made cabbage rolls, from a recipe — adapted a bit — passed down through my Ukrainian grandmother! There’s nothing quite like a big plate of cabbage rolls and the Grey Cup game! Hmmm…that game is only about a month away…mmmmm!

  17. Ukrainian food, of course! My home made Sauerkraut perogies drowning in mushroom gravy and buttered onions. Doesn’t get any better!

  18. YvonneM says:

    My very own recipe which I’ve named Kitchen Sink Chilli. The usual basic recipe but then I add anything I find in the pantry that might taste good and add to the experience. Simmer low and slow. Always different. And always remember to add a couple of squares of good dark chocolate at the end, it mellows any bitterness from the chillies.

  19. Melissa says:

    You are SO lucky to have four distinct seasons, here in Texas, we have two! Real Hot and Really Hot, but we still force ourselves into sweaters and boots and scarves and pretend we live in the tundra. Being Southern, and having a mother, grandmothers and great grandmothers who cooked beloved Southern comfort foods, my all time favorite is Chicken and Dumplings (really pronounced dumplins). I know there are battles about what constitutes a dumplin, but my favorite was how my momma did it. Pop open a can of biscuits and just drop them in the last ten minutes of cooking. What you get is a big ‘ol fluffy ball of chicken-y goodness. Here is a recipe I use, sometimes I make the dumplins from scratch…but sometimes I like to bring myself back to the “pop open the can” feeling and make it like my momma. Yummee!

    http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/classic-chicken-dumplings

  20. Rod from Calgary says:

    Yes…that would be right up there on my list too!

  21. Phylicia M says:

    Well it has to be Beef Stroganoff and I use my grandmother’s cook book (which I added a photo of)
    It is just so yummy!

  22. Teri says:

    Pumpkin (or squash) and Pasta

    Reminds me of Fettuccine Alfredo only better.

    Makes: 4 servings
    · 1 Tbsp. olive oil
    · 1 large garlic clove, minced
    · 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
    · Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
    · 1/3 cup white wine
    · 1 cup fresh pumpkin puree, or canned pumpkin or any winter squash
    · 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
    · 3/4 lb (375g) linguini (or pasta style of choice)
    · 1/4 cup whipping cream (I use Philly instead of cream for extra zing)
    · Pinch ground nutmeg (I use a very generous pinch)
    · Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    · 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 
plus some for the table
    · 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
    · 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

    Cook pasta.

    Heat oil in lg skillet, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine, oregano and chili flakes. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the wine is reduced by half. Add the pumpkin and stock and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer, cook 2 minutes, and then remove from the heat. Whisk in cream (or Philly), nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.

    Add cooked pasta to sauce in skillet along with a little,of the pasta cooking water if mixture seems dry. Toss with Parmesan..

    Serve with toasted garlic bread.

  23. Karen says:

    Home made egg noodles and pot roast. Served with cole slaw. The mayonnaise kind.

  24. Catt in Kentucky says:

    Soups of almost any kind but I love Butternut squash soup with a drizzle of cream and frizzled sage and roasted vegetable soup with a bit of local beef and fresh herbs. Love a plain whole baked sweet potato with that lovely natural caramelized goodness.

  25. Steph H says:

    Sour cream enchiladas like my mom made them: all cheese and no redeeming good-for-you ingredients.

  26. Cynthia says:

    I get knots in my shoulders and neck in winter too. It helps cut down on massages if I remember to wear a soft scarf around my neck to bed at night. Try it. It might help. Not sexy but neither is looking like Quasimodo.

  27. Rita says:

    In our home, the arrival of firework season is greeted by the lightweight pale blue and silver duvet cover and fleece being replaced with the regal dark red and gold duvet cover and an actual duvet. And the electric underblanket. And my sexy silk négligé becomes a cow print fleece night shirt. Like Cinderella, at the stroke of midnight, if she’d be at a bordello instead of a ball….

  28. Jean Ann says:

    Braised short ribs and mashed sweet potatoes made with butter, s and p only.

  29. Claire says:

    Pumpkin mac n’ cheese with smoked bacon bits. My grandmother was from Tennessee and use to make the BEST mac n’ cheese…. adding pumpkin tricks my brain into thinking it’s a “healthy” comfort food…

    And for comfort drink — hot mulled apple cider served with a dash of honey whisky liquer.

  30. Ronda says:

    ox tails baked in broth for hours so the meat falls off the bones, served with mashed taters and any vegetable. I used to make them so often when my kids were little, they begged me to stop! then there’s lasagna, or oktoberfest sausages with sweet and sour red cabbage like my Oma used to make, with pan gravy and egg noodles, or beef stew baked with bacon, onion and red wine, or … or …. there are so many!!

  31. Rose says:

    After coming in from a cold day, fry up some chopped bacon, throw in some leftover spaghetti, lots of garlic, scramble an egg in there, then sprinkle some parmesan cheese. It’s really good!

  32. Ella says:

    Risotto. Any kind…but my particular fave is one made with farro, san marzano tomatoes, great lashings of shaven and grated parmigiano reggiano, basil and garlic, finished by baking in the oven. It’s nutty, chewy, gooey, garlicky. I try not to make too much because it’s so good, I keep sneaking back for a snick more. Hmmm….it’s looking good for this Saturday.

  33. Kim K. says:

    I “heart” you. Are we sisters? You put into words what I know in my heart. Except massage…massage is creepy. I’d rather dig a swimming pool…with a shovel.

  34. Marilyn says:

    Homemade tomato soup and a grilled cheese

  35. Wendy says:

    African Peanut soup, ratatouille, moussaka (without the lamb ?), seafood chowder….but usually numerous variations of grilled cheese.

  36. Danni says:

    Stifled beef, sort of a cross between stew and pot roast, dead easy and delicious.
    Cube up a couple pounds stew beef, toss in seasoned flour (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne are my go to, but this is where you can take it in another direction if you want)
    Brown in oil in oven safe pot, set aside
    Add a can of beef broth to pan and scrape up the browned flour a bit. (if it doesn’t look like there is enough to eventually thicken, add more flour to the bottom and cook it before adding the broth, but the coating on the beef usually is enough to finish thickening the pot.)
    Throw the beef back in the pot, add a sliced onion, button mushrooms, bay leaf, season if needed, and cover tightly.
    Low oven, 275 to 300, 4 hours or longer. The lower the longer it can stay in. Perfect for when you have stuff to do and can’t be tied to the kitchen. Mash up some potatoes to go under it and you’re good to go.
    I was wondering what to make this weekend! Boom! Done!

  37. Marie Anne says:

    Ha! So did I!

  38. maggie van sickle says:

    pasta anyway you serve it except for lasagna not a fan.

  39. pat barford says:

    ‘m already looking forward to making your grandmother’s spaghetti and meatballs. It’s on regular rotation for us. Sundays, when it all sits in the oven for a couple of hours and infuses the house with roasted tomatoey goodness. It’s like a hug when you walk in the door.

  40. NinaMargo says:

    Slow cooker chicken white corn chowder:

    Throw maybe 4-5 cups of home made frozen chicken broth into the slow cooker along with a couple packages of trader joe’s frozen super sweet white corn, 1 cup of medium, mild or hot chopped hatch chiles (your choice) and 2 frozen breasts. Cook on high for 4 hours. Walk away. Come back in about 3 hours. Pull out the chicken breasts, shred them, throw them back in. Add red pepper flakes if you want even more heat. Let it cook another hour. I was making this for a husband coming down with the flu, so I ratcheted up the heat! Found a box of cornbread mix in the cupboard. Yay! Made that too! Squirted honey and sprinkled some cinnamon on top when served it. Found a bottle of zinfandel! Now everybody’s happy, and even the hubster’ s fever is going down!

  41. Brook says:

    Pillowy soft ricotta-potato gnocchi with spicy arrabiata sauce. Perfect on a freezing cold winter’s day.

  42. Katie C. says:

    That sounds DELICIOUS!

  43. Kathi says:

    Me too, Marilyn! Brings back the comfort of childhood!

  44. Steve says:

    So about this unicorn you’re selling…..

  45. Jenny says:

    Clam chowder, chili, my mom’s meatloaf recipe (which is a secret and cannot be shared ^_^), and pot roast with gravy.

    My husband and I also finally found a recipe for mac and cheese that we both like (it’s been a years long struggle to find one that’s the right amount of creamy, the right amount of cheese to noodles, the right spices, etc.) so I’m thinking that will be on the menu a lot this winter.

    It’s getting pretty chilly here so I think we’ll be making chili and cornbread tonight (ours includes bacon, so you know it’s good!).

  46. Valerie says:

    Welsh Rarebit

  47. Mary W says:

    Hardee’s biscuits and sausage gravy. Drive thru, sit in car and eat while inhaling the aroma. I sneak that in when I “gotta run to the bank” – no noise, no kids, no dog begging for a bite. Just me, the car, and the gravy biscuit.

  48. Leisa says:

    One of my fave comfort foods is Ina Garten’s chicken pot pie and her spaghetti and meatballs, which I’m making today. Also, just bought “Thug Kitchen 101” and made the spaghetti pie and it wa incredible!!!

  49. bill keiser says:

    beer

  50. MountainWoman says:

    PA Dutch Corn Pie. I’m pretty sure it involves corn and pie. And lard. And I think some hard-boiled eggs (gahkies to the Dutchies). My mom, grandmother, and I used to make Chicken Pot Pie from scratch when I was a kid. It involves noodley things, chicken and corn. And lard. Oh, and Apple Dumplings too. Apples, dough, sugar and shockingly, lard. So all three are very nutritious.
    But really, since I’d rather use a tumble to carve my own eye into a detailed sculpture of a chicken than cook, most anything someone else makes will qualify as comfort food.

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