With the winter season in full swing, and the cold, bitter temperatures and atmosphere, sometimes it is easy to fall into what is known as a “seasonal depression”. Sometimes the gray skies and gloomy weather can make people feel a bit down. However, one thing that is always able to bring some light to life, is food! Comfort foods are essential to get through the cold season! They help to make your life much warmer and much more enjoyable. I have compiled a few recipes of comfort foods that you can try if you're ever feeling down or even if you’re just looking for something yummy!
Chicken Noodle Soup:
Yield: 6 servings
Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
1 whole cut-up fried chicken
2 whole carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 whole medium onion, diced (optional)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. white pepper (more to taste)
1/4 tsp. ground thyme
2 tsp. parsley flakes
16 oz. frozen "homemade" egg noodles
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
Cover chicken in 4 quarts water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove chicken from pot with a slotted spoon. With two forks, remove as much meat from the bones as you can, slightly shredding meat in the process. Return bones to broth and simmer on low, covered, for 45 minutes.
Remove bones from broth with a slotted spoon, making sure to get any small bones that might have detached.
Add the carrots and celery (and onions, if using) to the pot, followed by the herbs and spices. Stir to combine and simmer for ten minutes to meld flavors.
Increase heat and add frozen egg noodles and chicken. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
Mix flour and a little water. Stir until smooth. Pour into soup, stir to combine, and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until broth thickens a bit. Test and adjust seasonings as needed.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup:
Yield: 10 servings
Total Time: 40 minutes
1 whole onion, diced
1 stick butter
1/3 c. flour
4 c. whole milk
2 c. half-and-half
4 heads broccoli cut into florets
1 pinch nutmeg
3 c. grated cheese (mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, jack, etc.)
Small dash of salt (more if needed)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 c. chicken broth, if needed for thinning
Melt butter in a pot over medium heat, then add the onions. Cook the onions for 3 to 4 minutes, then sprinkle the flour over the top. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute or so, then pour in milk and half-and-half. Add nutmeg, then add broccoli, a small dash of salt, and plenty of black pepper.
Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender. Stir in cheese and allow to melt.
Taste seasonings and adjust if needed. Then either serve as is, or mash it with a potato masher to break up the broccoli a bit, or transfer to a blender in two batches and puree completely. (If you puree it in a blender, return it to the heat and allow to heat up. Splash in chicken broth if needed for thinning.) Enjoy!
Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo:
Yield: 4 servings
Total Time: 25 minutes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces fettuccine
Olive oil, for tossing
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 2)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 cups heavy cream
2 pinches freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt generously. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente (tender but still slightly firm). Drain and toss with a splash of oil.
Meanwhile, slice the chicken into 1/4-inch-thick strips, and lay them on a plate or a sheet of waxed paper. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter melts, raise the heat to medium-high and add the chicken in 1 layer. Cook, without moving the pieces, until the underside has browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip the pieces, and cook until browned and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a medium bowl.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining 6 tablespoons butter. Scrape the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon to release any browned bits. When the butter has mostly melted, whisk in the cream and nutmeg and bring to a simmer, then cook for 2 minutes. Lower the heat to keep the sauce just warm.
Whisk the Parmigiano-Reggiano into the sauce. Add the chicken and cooked pasta and toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot in heated bowls.
Classic Mashed Potatoes:
Yield: 8 servings
4 large russet potatoes (about 2 pounds total)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground pepper
Peel the potatoes and rinse them under cold water. Cut each into quarters and place in a 3- to 4-quart sauce pan. Cover with cold water, partially cover the pot, and bring the water to a boil. Uncover, add 1 teaspoon of salt, and reduce the heat so that the water boils gently. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the milk to just below a simmer. In a separate pan, melt the butter. (Alternatively, use a microwave to warm the milk and melt the butter in separate containers.)
Drain the potatoes and return them to the warm pan over low heat for 1 minute to evaporate any excess water. Use a potato masher, ricer, or food mill to mash the potatoes. Stir the butter into the potatoes. Then add the milk, a little at a time, until the potatoes are as soft and moist as you like. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or keep warm in the top of a double boiler for up to an hour, or cover and rewarm in a microwave oven.
Chocolate Cream Pie:
Yield: 2 pies
Total Time: 12 hours and 30 minutes
Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust:
18 chocolate graham crackers
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups half-and-half
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, sliced into tablespoons
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped Cream Topping:
2 cups heavy cream, very cold
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Semi-sweet chocolate, shaved for garnish
Heat the oven to 325°F.
Add the graham crackers to a food processor and blitz until crumbles are fine like cornmeal. Add the melted butter and pulse a few times until the butter completely coats the crumbs. The crust should hold together when squeezed. Divide evenly between two 9-inch pie pans. Press the mixture evenly and firmly into the bottom and sides of the pie pan. Place on a sheet pan and bake for 13 minutes, until the crust is fragrant. Let the crusts cool while you work on the filling.
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. In a bowl, mix together the half-and-half and egg yolks until completely blended. Add to egg yolk mixture to the saucepan and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Turn on the heat to medium and cook for 15 to 18 minutes, constantly stirring, until the mixture thickens. The mixture should boil slightly.
Remove from heat and stir in butter, chocolate chips, and vanilla extract. If you have small lumps, strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Divide the pudding evenly between the pie crusts. Cool at room temperature for about 40 minutes. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 8 hours minimum or until the next day.
After the pies have set, combine the heavy cream, sugar, and salt with a hand mixer on medium-high speed for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until soft, swooshable peaks form. Divide and swirl the whipped cream, evenly between the two pies. Garnish with the shaved chocolate and serve cold. Pies will keep in the fridge for 3 days.
Chicken and Herb Dumplings:
Yield: 4 servings
Total Time: 40 minutes
-7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2/3 cup cold buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus more for topping
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus more for topping
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, skin removed
Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a large Dutch oven or wide pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, parsnip, bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons flour; stir until toasted, about 1 minute. Gradually pour in the chicken broth, stirring. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until slightly thickened and the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour with the baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Cut the remaining 4 tablespoons butter into small cubes and rub into the flour mixture with your fingers until pea-size pieces form. Stir in the buttermilk and chopped herbs with a fork until combined. Divide the dough into twelve 1 1/2-inch balls.
Stir the chicken into the pot. Arrange the dough balls on top. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the dumplings are firm to the touch and cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Top with more dill and chives.