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. Jan in Waterdown says:

    OMG! a snack? comfort food? dinner? These chips may just be the best thing EVER…

  2. CathyB says:

    Here in Alaska, it has already snowed; but it has warmed up this week and most of the snow has now melted. Most days are still in the 30’s F however, so winter comfort food is sounding good! My go-to in the winter is soup or something in the crock pot. I love to cook down a roast all day in the crock pot with some beef broth au jus, shred it and make French Dip Sandwiches. You can use any kind of roast, but I will be using caribou this winter.

    Favorite soups are: Smoked Salmon and Corn Chowder, Sausage/Potato/Kale soup (a knock of of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana), and a Sweet Potato and Kale soup that is fabulous from Joy The Baker. Here is the link to that recipe: http://joythebaker.com/2010/11/kale-and-sweet-potato-soup/

    • Karen says:

      I love the sound of Sausage/Potato/Kale soup CathyB! Sweet potato and kale sounds good too. I’ll take a look at the recipe. ~ karen!

  3. Jim says:

    Home made Turkey Pot Pie using Thanksgiving left overs. Lot’s of thick gravy, fresh veggies and the “giblets” of course. Just to keep it simple, I use the premade pie crust. BTW, I live in Southern California where we have three seasons; 90% brown, 7% green when it rains and 3% black when it burns. We bundle up when it gets below 70.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I remember being in California several (many) years ago and someone there referring to how nice it would be to live in a nice cold climate, like San Francisco. I laughed until tears ran down my face. Which was handy, what with all the fires and all. 😉 ~ karen!

  4. Dana Studer says:

    My fall favorite is what we had last night after I ruined the gnocchi. Its cheese ravioli or pumpkin ravioli if u can find it, with browned butter, tons of fried sage leaves, parmiggiano reggiano, and crushed gingersnaps on top. Its heaven on earth. I also make a similar version w mashed sweet potatoes, fried sage, browned butter, parmiggiano reggiano, & crushed gingersnaps. Also heaven on earth.

  5. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Swedish Meatballs in gravy over noodles…sticks to your ribs…

  6. UrbanFarmKid Marti says:

    I love Thai chicken pizza…photo attached. The pickled onions are amaze-balls!

    I also make a great pot roast, Karen.
    You might consider filling some slits in your next pot roast: half with cloves of garlic. The other half with a piece of star anise. Pour in a cup of strong coffee. It’ll have deep, wonderful layers of rich flavor. MMmmmm!!

    • Karen says:

      I just can’t do it. I just can’t make good pot roast. Actually I did it once, never to be able to replicate it again. I’ll stick to making pizza, lol. LOVE pickled onions. ~ karen!

  7. Renee says:

    Delicious Meat – it actually has a name, Beef with Onion Mushroom Sauce, but my kids have called it that since they were little. They are all grown up and still call it that!

    Take a 3-4lb rump roast, cut the netting off, toss in crock pot with 2 cans cream of mushroom soup. add 1 1/2 to 2 packets Lipton onion soup mix, and either canned or fresh mushrooms. Cook on low about 8 hours or until tender, and serve with mashed taters or noodles. I like best with taters. Simple, but oh so good. My son used to leave his backpack in the kitchen, so the next day at school it would “Smell like Delicious Meat”

  8. Kelliblue says:

    A good ol’ grilled cheese with tomato soup, mac-n-cheese, or if I’m feeling particularly fancy, fall-off-the-bone potroast. Bring on those chilly temps! (or would that be *chili* temps?)

  9. Lauren says:

    She Crab Soup and “light roll biscuits” (which are a type of yeast rolls particular to my small corner of the world).

  10. Andrea says:

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/chile-chicken-posole-recipe.html
    This, but instead of canned hominy, see if you can find the dried stuff. Am going to try blue corn posole this year…it’ll probably look scary but taste good!

  11. m'liss says:

    Most of my favorites include chicken; roast chicken, chicken potpie, chicken & dumplings, matzo ball soup.

  12. Kim C says:

    Potato Corn Chowder or Scalloped Potatoes au Gratin or Turkey Dinner with Stuffing & homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce. A nice warm mug of hot chocolate works too.

  13. Eileen says:

    My Oma’s “Sunday dinner” roast chicken…not actually the chicken, but the rice served with it, drowned in the pan juices (lots of carrot and celery and onion in there, and the chicken was rubbed with butter and paprika before roasting) with a hearty sprinkle of curry powder on top – the yellower, Jamaican style. How our traditional German family ended up with curry powder on the table is still a mystery. 🙂

  14. Mark says:

    Wait…

    > “The heated floors in the kitchen were turned on”

    What!!! For real???

  15. Susan says:

    First cool snap in South Louisiana demands a gumbo, chicken and sausage or seafood. Second calls for chicken and dumplings.

  16. Leslie says:

    Trish MAgwood Mac and cheese swap out ham for pancetta (I make 4 at a time and freeze them) and stew slow cooked in my Le creuset in the oven – the best

    • Leslie says:

      OH and chili which I actually dislike but love to make – I add sides lime juice, nacho chips for dipping, feta or sharp cheddar over top, used to use sour cream now use Greek yogurt with fat vs low fat my husband and his cousins love it on their cottage boys weekend

  17. Berry says:

    In all honesty, my favorite comfort food is a plate with small amounts of crackers, 2-4 cheeses, grapes, figs, dates, a few slices of a seasonal fruit, a spoonful of honey and a spoonful of apple butter, and something with an acidic bite like pickles or dolmas or marinated artichoke hearts. If I feel like clogging arteries, I’ll also make cheese goo.

    But if I’m cooking, my lemon chicken soup or my shrimp lime noodles or the world’s best ever tomato soup. I have a great many favorite foods, but soup is the top of the list!

    • Karen says:

      O.K. grapes are not allowed as an answer, lol. I love a plate of doo dads too! I just don’t think of it as comfort food I guess. It’s delicious, late night, treat snacky food. But … O.K. I’ve given it some thought and you are allowed to use it as your answer. As you were. ~ karen!

  18. Natasha says:

    Right now I am doing a low carb diet so basically anything with carbs sounds dreamy!! But back when I used to be a vegan I stumbled across a wonderful comfort food recipe- even the meat eaters in my house will eat it until they are sick. The recipe is Chickpea Piccatta from the Post Punk Kitchen. It’s chickpeas over mashed potatoes and arugla with a lemony wine sauce. I know it sounds too healthy to be good, but it’s fabulous! http://www.isachandra.com/2010/09/chickpea-picatta/

  19. Noreen McKechnie says:

    Fish cakes, long soaked salt cod, mashed potatoes with sautéed onions,summer savoury and a beaten egg all smushed together and browned in butter served with green tomato pickles !

  20. Alexandra Sobran says:

    My 3 comfort food faves are: lobster mac and cheese (this is a big hit for many people in New England), a big hot bowl of Vietnamese seafood pho, and cheese ravioli with homemade tomato sauce or just butter on them.

  21. Merrilee says:

    Jamaican meat patties. A little work but awesome for lunches and to fill up 13 year old boys. Many variations but usually work from Emeril. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/jamaican-meat-patties-recipe.html
    They also beguile colleagues after you’ve heated them up in the break room microwave!

  22. Zala says:

    Both were already on the menu (and I do hope you don’t find them gross, as that would not serve them justice, lol): a Sauerkraut soup with beans and a chicken stew with buckwheat “žganci”. Yum.

    • Karen says:

      “žganci”Anddddd what would that be and where would it be from?!! I’ve never heard of it which means I want to make it immediately, lol. ~ karen!

      • Zala says:

        It’s a Slovene national dish and it’s basically boiled flour. Delicious boiled flour. This is the most true to heart recipe I could find. If you do make it – let me know what you think. 🙂

  23. mia pratt says:

    Oh Karen…I am definitely going to make your French onion soup! That could become a serious favorite. As to my favorite go-to comfort food, I have to agree with Ev…chicken pot pie (and beef pot pie, and turkey pot pie…). Baked in its own large, one-person ceramic bowl…filled with perfectly-sized chunks of meat and fresh veggies, topped with delectable wine-based gravy (Chilean white for chicken, marsala for beef), and baked with home-made butter-recipe pie crusts on the top and bottom…and extra little pie-crust leaves scattered on top to dunk into the gravy as you go. Gawd! Pull it out of the oven and give it 15 minutes for the bowls to cool down…and then curl up on the couch with a big towel on your lap, a Netflix movie and a big spoon. Sheesh, I think I need to make some this Sunday!!!

    • Karen says:

      I started making chicken pot pies last year and they turned out great! I made a bunch and froze them exactly like you say, in individual ceramic bowls. I forget how I did it but I think I lined the bowls with parchment, filled them, froze them, then lifted them out. When it was time to cook them I just fit them back in the bowl they came from and stuck them in the oven. I have NO idea why i’m telling you all this, lol. ~ karen!

  24. Jani says:

    I love love and love blue cheese. One evening while making the hubs his normal grilled american cheese sandwiches I pulled out my blue cheese crumbles and said to myself why not!! It was the ooziest gooiest bites of heaven. Truly grossed out the hubs but I was sure happy!!

  25. Peanutbutter toast is always the answer to all of life’s problems.

    Years ago we grew brussel sprouts and my husband liked them steamed with a blob of butter on top but I thought they were gross but cute….tiny baby cabbages. One day when I was making spare ribs and sauerkraut, I threw a bunch of those babies into the roaster figuring that it couldn’t hurt and hours later I had my first taste of brussel sprout heaven! They had soaked up the kraut juice and tasted krautty and oh, so delish!

  26. Carlene says:

    “and *just* like that my new life had begun.” What a wonderful way to describe the point where one season definitive changes into the next.

  27. jainegayer says:

    My favorite comfort food is your sesame noodles. I make them once a month (even in the summer) and I eat them from a bowl.

  28. Dawn says:

    Seafood Gumbo…1st you make a roux

  29. Ev Wilcox says:

    Thanks for the great recipes! I am a collector (frustrated cook is more like it) and I copied all of these.
    My best “go to” cold weather offering is homemade chicken pot pie. My spouse won’t eat it, but my adult children ask for it often (even in summer). It is hard to get everyone together, but when I pull out the pot pie “club”, it usually works. And my recipe is so simple it is kind of funny. I always make it double crust-don’t have any liking for the top-only ones! When I do roast chicken I usually make two- one to eat, one to strip and freeze for pot pie. Karen, your faves are perfect. Thanks for the post!

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