27 Comfort Food Recipes We've Waited All Summer to Make
Cooler weather means it's time to make all the comforting dinners and sides we've been dreaming of since spring. Roasted chicken and gravy, hearty shepherd's pie and slow-cooked beef are all on the menu, so get ready to dig into these delicious dishes. Recipes like our Garlic-Parmesan Melting Potatoes and Chile-Spiced Shredded Beef with Cheesy Polenta are healthy, satisfying recipes that will keep you warm.
Quick King Ranch Chicken Casserole
Usually made by layering creamy chicken and tortillas (lasagna-style), this classic Tex-Mex chicken casserole gets speedier for an easy weeknight dinner when we mix everything together in a skillet, then pop the whole pan under the broiler to make the cheese topping gooey.
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili
Make a double batch of this quick vegetarian chili, full of black beans and sweet potatoes, and eat it for lunch the next day or freeze the extras for another night. We love the smoky heat from the ground chipotle, but omit it if you prefer a mild chili. Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread and coleslaw.
Slow-Cooker Garlic Mashed Potatoes
This simple slow-cooker mashed potatoes recipe skips tedious peeling and boiling and helps save precious stovetop space by letting the slow cooker do the work. It's a great timesaving set-it-and-forget-it side dish recipe to round out any hearty meal. Buttermilk makes the mashed potatoes creamy while garlic and shallots add flavor.
Easy Italian Wedding Soup
Forget the marble-size meatballs you find in many versions of this soup. In this easy recipe, they're full-size, full-flavored and plenty filling.
Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
Fresh herbs, Worcestershire sauce and ground pepper carry the flavor in this quick-cooking shepherd's pie with a sweet potato topping. Ground beef adds a rich, savory flavor, but ground turkey or ground meat substitute would work well too.
Chile-Spiced Shredded Beef with Cheesy Polenta
Let your slow cooker do the heavy lifting to make a Sunday dinner that yields leftovers for another night. Tuck the rest of the spiced beef and your favorite fixings into corn tortillas or spoon over baked sweet potatoes.
Beef & Mushroom Stew with Mashed Potatoes
This hearty beer-spiked beef stew is served with creamy mashed potatoes for a shepherd's pie vibe.
Roast Chicken with Cider Gravy
Tucking fresh herbs and garlic between the skin and the breast infuses the meat with flavor. We use thyme here, but you can also use fresh rosemary or parsley. If you have a rack, place the chicken on it to allow the hot air to circulate. You can also improvise a rack (as we do here) by setting the chicken on the neck and giblets.
Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup with Rotisserie Chicken
This rich-tasting but better-for-you creamy chicken soup has a delicious chicken pot pie feel to it. We call for rotisserie chicken to streamline your prep time--look for a nice big one with lots of breast meat on it. Pair this comforting and easy soup recipe with a green salad, or, if you're really hungry, a grilled cheese sandwich.
Classic Mac & Cheese
No sneaky ingredients here, just delicious comfort food. You can enjoy this super-cheesy mac and cheese in the same time it takes to cook the boxed version. Whole-wheat noodles add fiber, while sharp Cheddar adds richness. A hefty twist of black pepper balances the cheese's salty tang.
Creamy White Chili with Cream Cheese
This rich, yet healthy, white chicken chili comes together in a flash thanks to quick-cooking chicken thighs and canned white beans. Mashing some of the beans acts as a fast thickener when your soups don't have a long time to simmer. Cream cheese adds the final bit of richness and a hint of sweet tang.
Garlic-Parmesan Melting Potatoes
Crispy, buttery, cheesy, garlicky potatoes--what else could you ask for? Serve these melt-in-your-mouth potatoes alongside steak, pork chops, chicken or fish. If you have leftovers, throw them into a breakfast scramble the next morning.
Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers
Mounding a classic Philly cheesesteak mixture in a colorful bell pepper and melting cheese on top is an easy way to skip the bread and cut the carbs.
Slow-Cooker Braised Beef with Carrots & Turnips
The spice blend in this healthy beef stew recipe--cinnamon, allspice and cloves--may conjure images of apple pie, but the combo is a great fit in savory applications too. Serve over creamy polenta or buttered whole-wheat egg noodles.
Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Casseroles make perfect meal-prep dinners--this enchilada version is so easy to prep ahead. The whole casserole can be built and left to hang out in the refrigerator for up to three days. Then all you have to do is bake it off on a busy night and you have a healthy dinner on the table in a jiff. The quick homemade enchilada sauce in this recipe is great when you don't have any of the canned sauce on hand--just season crushed tomatoes with spices and salt for an instant enchilada sauce.
Skillet Chili Mac
Poblanos add a kick of heat to this chili mac recipe. If that's not your thing, swap in green bell peppers to tone down the heat in this easy pasta dish, which mashes up mac and cheese and chili into a seriously satisfying skillet dinner.
Chock-full of shrimp, chicken, sausage, okra and tomatoes, this flavorful stew is a staple in Louisiana. Make it a meal and serve with Real Cornbread (see associated recipe).
Braised Chicken & Fall Vegetables
A rustic chicken dinner doesn't get much easier than this. You can make the entire meal in one skillet, which makes cleanup a breeze. We've used a combination of parsnips and carrots to give this dish a variety of colors and flavors, but you could replace the parsnips with additional carrots if you'd like.
Slab Chicken Potpie
Slab fruit pies are all the rage for summer parties, so why not give classic chicken potpie the same treatment and create buzz at a cool-weather gathering as well. Premade pie crusts and frozen veggies make this chicken dinner easy to prepare without sacrificing flavor.
Ratatouille is a type of veggie-forward, Provençal-style stew. Our sheet-pan ratatouille features tangy goat cheese and sweet balsamic glaze that complement the tender charred vegetables. Bake the tomatoes on a separate pan so that the steam from the tomatoes won't steam the other vegetables.
Cream of Turkey & Wild Rice Soup
Got leftover cooked chicken or turkey? Cook up a pot of soup! This recipe is a healthier twist on a classic creamy turkey and wild rice soup that hails from Minnesota. Serve with a crisp romaine salad and whole-grain bread.
Butternut Squash Soup with Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Layering apple slices into grilled cheese sandwiches adds a little crunch to a favorite soup dipper. And creamy butternut squash soup with ginger, cumin and turmeric is a nice change of pace from grilled cheese's usual tomato soup partner. Serve the duo for a comforting and easy weeknight dinner for the family. The soup keeps well in the fridge, so save leftovers for lunch or dinner later in the week.
Skillet Ravioli Lasagna
This easy inside-out ravioli lasagna is the ultimate weeknight comfort food--no layering or mixing bowls required. Feel free to swap in ground turkey for the beef. Look for fresh mozzarella balls (also called "pearls") in the specialty cheese section of your grocery store.
This is the macaroni and cheese recipe that would have been used in the kitchens at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. The popularization of this iconic American dish can be traced to Black cooks who helped spread the dish throughout the United States.
Acorn Squash Casserole
This acorn squash casserole is smooth and creamy. The Parmesan cheese gives it the perfect amount of savoriness, while the breadcrumbs add an herby crunch. This easy casserole would be great with any fall meal, and is sure to become a new Thanksgiving favorite.
Spatchcock Chicken with Maple-Tamarind Glaze
Removing the backbone from a whole chicken and flattening it—aka spatchcocking—helps it to roast in about half the time. Serve with grilled seasonal vegetables.
American goulash, also known as old-fashioned goulash, is the perfect economical family meal. The pasta cooks right in the sauce, so this satisfying dish can cook in just one pot.