As soon as we feel the first chilly breeze of the winter season, all any of us want to do when we get home is put on our comfy clothes and indulge in our favorite foods. Despite the temperature drop, winters have a cozy feel that sets them apart from the rest of the seasons.
Most of us associate that warmth with being closer to the people we love, having game nights by the fireplace, and eating our favorite comfort foods that sing to our souls. Winters are an excuse for us to hog on delicacies we try to avoid the rest of the year! These foods have the ability to stir up feelings of nostalgia and warmth and are able to put us at ease.
When the temperatures drop and the nights grow longer, there’s nothing quite like curling up with a warm, comforting meal. In this article, we’ll explore a selection of comfort food favorites that will bring a sense of comfort to your evenings and satisfy your cravings.
Macaroni and Cheese
Nothing makes people happier than macaroni and cheese. It is such a satisfying meal that can captivate even the pickiest of eaters. Besides that, it is the easiest thing to make and can be prepared in no time. You may use a traditional stove or use this slow cooker recipe for mac and cheese; either way, the results will be incredibly satisfying.
Start by cooking dried elbow noodles al dente. Add the cooked pasta along with some softened cream cheese (cubed) and freshly shredded white and yellow cheddar cheese in a crock pot. Pour in some milk. Gently stir everything together and cook on high heat for two hours. Top the mac and cheese with more shredded cheese for an extra touch of decadence. Place the lid back on to let the cheese melt. Serve immediately and enjoy! Regardless of how you make it, mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food to enjoy on a chilly evening.
Chicken Pot Pie
If you want to feel the sensation that you are being pulled into a bear hug by your food, there’s nothing better than a piping hot chicken pot pie. This classic cozy night staple combines tender chicken, crunchy vegetables of your choice, and a smooth, luxurious, savory sauce. All of that is covered with a golden, flaky, buttery crust.
Start by sautéing chicken chopped into bite-sized pieces and vegetables, including carrots, peas, and celery. Then create a creamy filling by whisking together milk, low-sodium chicken stock, and a tablespoon or two of flour. Introduce the chicken and vegetables together and combine the sauce.
Transfer the mixture into a ramekin (if you’re making individual servings) or pie dish, cover it with a layer of puff pastry, and brush it with egg wash or butter to add a further touch of flakiness. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. A well-prepared chicken pot pie is synonymous with comfort food on a cold night.
Among all the one-pot meals, beef stew remains a classic that adds a sense of warmth to every bone in your body. This hearty dish perfectly combines boneless beef that melts in your mouth like butter, root vegetables, and fragrant herbs and spices that lift the whole thing up.
You want to begin by browning your cubed beef in a large pot to add that rich flavor to it. Then proceed to add the onions, garlic, and any kind of vegetables that you have, but you can’t go wrong with carrots, potatoes, and peas. Add beef stock, a handful of herbs and spices, and a splash of red wine, and let it simmer until the flavors have emulsified and the beef becomes so tender that you can cut it with your fork.
The result is a comforting bowl of goodness that pairs well with a side of creamy mashed potatoes or freshly baked or store-bought crusty bread.
No comfort food list is complete without a classic dessert that makes you want to close your eyes and get lost in its magic, and an apple pie checks all those boxes perfectly. The distinct and powerful smell of those juicy Granny Smith apples getting baked under a lattice of pastry crust filling the kitchen is enough to take you back to your memories of home and childhood.
Begin by adding a mixture of cinnamon, sugar, and a few teaspoons of lemon juice to your sliced apples. Line a pie dish with a buttery pastry crust, fill it with the apple mixture, and top it with another layer of crust. Make a lattice out of your crust to give it a more appealing look and to feel like an accomplished baker! Bake until the crust is golden brown and the apples are tender.
Trust us when we tell you that the combination of sweet, tart apples and flaky pastry is pure bliss and true comfort for the senses. Add scoops of vanilla ice cream to take your pie to the next level. You can thank us later.
Comfort foods have high levels of fats and carbohydrates in them. When we turn to these foods, they increase the production of the serotonin hormone in our bodies. This helps in lifting our spirits and brings a smile to our faces, like someone is giving us a warm hug. This is why the foods mentioned above become an obvious choice for most of us when we feel down, especially during winter.
There are so many more cozy night staples, but these are at the top of our list. So, when the evenings become colder and you long for something familiar, turn to these cherished comfort food favorites and allow them to transport you to a place of warmth, contentment, and culinary bliss.