“Oh, the weather outside is frightful, and the fire [FOOD!] is so delightful…” There’s no better way to warm up from the bitter cold than old fashioned comfort foods and a taste of home; the types of foods that make you forget about all that is going on in the world, and brings you back to your roots. As my mom, Helga, says, “Es ist gut für dem magen” which means, “it’s good for the stomach.” When my stomach is happy, I am happy!
While we’re stuck in the dead of winter here in the D.C. area, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite comfort foods from right here at home, as well as from around the world, to help give you a little meal planning inspiration to get you through this winter. Guten appetit!
While recipes vary from vegetarian to meatball, and white lasagna to classic, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t love a good lasagna. That’s why it is one of Italy’s most iconic dishes, and it’s not uncommon to find spin-offs of this layered, cheesy pasta dish in many other cuisines!
Pot Roast with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
There’s nothing quite like the combination of pot roast with mashed potatoes and gravy to satisfy the ever comforting “meat and potatoes” craving. Tender and juicy meat, paired with buttery mashed potatoes and savory gravy, and you’ve got the perfect recipe to remind you of your favorite country kitchen cooking.
This Canadian favorite revamps the classic French fries by topping them with cheese curds and brown gravy for a delicious savory dish. It’s no wonder variations of this popular dish are commonly being created in sandwiches, flatbreads and more!
Macaroni and Cheese
Nothing says “childhood” like a bowl of creamy macaroni and cheese! Whether you prefer to stick to the classic, or doctor it up with various cheeses or fix-ins (lobster and gouda mac and cheese, anyone?), this is one dish that the adults and kids can always agree on.
This French favorite features beef braised in flavorful Burgundy wine and beef broth, with garlic, pearl onions and mushrooms to make a hearty beef stew a la Julia Child. Pair it with a glass of red wine and you’ll warm up in no time!
Chicken Noodle Soup
The quintessential “comfort” meal, chicken noodle soup is good for the body and the soul. That’s why it’s a go-to for cold winter days, or when you’re feeling under the weather, because there’s nothing like mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup to make you feel better!
Looking for another spin-off to classic beef stew? This traditional Hungarian dish features meat and vegetables seasoned with paprika and caraway seed to make a flavorful stew, and is often served over egg noodles or potato dumplings, making it a hearty meal for the coldest of days.
A casserole-style Greek favorite, Moussaka is typically made with eggplant, potatoes, and minced meat, layered with a creamy béchamel sauce. This delicious combination is one of our favorite Mediterranean comfort foods!
Old Fashioned Bread Pudding
When you think of comfort foods, there’s no doubt that bread pudding comes to mind. While there are tons of delicious renditions to this classic dessert, there’s something about a good old-fashioned bread pudding, complete with raisins and hot butter rum sauce, and served with vanilla ice cream that warms the heart (and stomach!).
Glühwein, or German mulled wine, is a delicious classic for the holidays, but great to warm you up anytime! Red wine, spiced with cinnamon, cloves and citrus makes this festive and heartwarming drink a favorite for many.
It doesn’t get more comforting than a warm cup of hot cocoa on a cold winter’s day! Creamy hot chocolate, topped with marshmallows or whipped cream, or spiked with Grand Marnier or peppermint schnapps, the versatility of this family favorite makes it a timeless crowd pleaser.
Keep warm with Helga’s Glühwein!
- 1 Bottle Red Wine
- ½ c. water
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 Tbsp. ground cloves
- 1/3 c. sugar
Boil water, lemon, cinnamon stick, cloves and sugar for 5 minutes. Strain. Add red wine and heat, but do not boil. Serve with cinnamon stick for garnish. Recipe serves 8-10.