Comfort Food Classics

Handed down from generation to generation on stained recipe cards and in tattered notebooks, comfort foods are staples for anyone wanting a hearty meal and a little taste of home. Try one of these comforting classics tonight.

Easy Brunswick Stew
Photo: William DickeyPhoto: William Dickey

3 lb. boneless pork shoulder roast (Boston Butt)
3 medium-size new potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (18-oz.) bottle barbecue sauce
1 (14-oz.) can chicken broth
1 (9-oz.) package frozen baby lima beans, thawed
1 (9-oz.) package frozen corn, thawed
6 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt

Trim roast and cut into 2-inch pieces. Stir together all ingredients in a 6-quart slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low 10 to 12 hours or until potatoes are fork tender. Remove pork with slotted spoon, and shred. Return shredded pork to slow cooker, and stir well. Ladle stew into bowls.

Related: Satisfying Slow-Cooker Recipes

Chicken Pot Pie
Photo: Jennifer DavickPhoto: Jennifer Davick

1/2 cup butter
2 medium leeks, sliced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 (14.5-oz.) can chicken broth
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups frozen cubed hash browns with onions and peppers
1 cup matchstick carrots
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 (17.3-oz.) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 375°. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add leeks, and sauté 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour, cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; stir in chicken and next 5 ingredients.

Roll each pastry sheet into a 12- x 10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Fit 1 sheet into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate; spoon chicken mixture into pastry. Place remaining pastry sheet over filling in opposite direction of bottom sheet; fold edges under, and press with tines of a fork, sealing to bottom crust. Whisk together egg and 1 Tbsp. water, and brush over top of pie.

Bake at 375° on lower oven rack 55 to 60 minutes or until browned. Let stand 15 minutes.

Related: 9 Shortcuts with Rotisserie Chicken

Classic Lasagna

2 medium onions, chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 (14.5-oz.) can basil, garlic, and oregano diced tomatoes
2 (6-oz.) cans tomato paste
1 (8-oz.) can basil, garlic, and oregano tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 1/4 tsp. salt, divided
3/4 tsp. pepper, divided
12 lasagna noodles, uncooked
8 cups boiling water
1 (16-oz.) container ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 (6-oz.) packages part-skin mozzarella cheese slices
Garnish: chopped fresh parsley

Sauté onion in 1 Tbsp. hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Add beef, and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until beef crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain beef mixture, and return to skillet. Stir in diced tomatoes, next 4 ingredients, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf; set meat sauce aside.

Place lasagna noodles in a 13- x 9-inch pan. Carefully pour 8 cups boiling water and remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil over noodles. Let stand 15 minutes.

Stir together ricotta cheese, eggs, and Parmesan cheese, remaining 1/4 tsp. salt, and remaining 1/4 tsp. pepper until blended.

Spoon half of the meat sauce mixture in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Shake excess water from noodles, and arrange 6 noodles over meat sauce; top with half of ricotta mixture and 1 package mozzarella cheese slices. Repeat layers once.

Bake, covered, at 350° for 55 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until bubbly. Let lasagna stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish, if desired.

Related: 15 Make-Ahead Casseroles

Fried Pork Chops with Gravy

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
8 (4-oz.) boneless center-cut pork chops
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
Vegetable cooking spray
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup fat-free milk
1/4 tsp. salt

Reserve 2 Tbsp. flour, and set aside. Place remaining flour in a shallow fish.
Combine Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, and pepper. Rub pork chops evenly on both sides with seasoning mixture.

Dip pork in buttermilk; dredge in flour. Lightly coat both sides of pork with cooking spray.
Cook pork, in batches, in hot oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Add reserved 2 Tbsp. flour to pan drippings in skillet; stir in milk and salt, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Serve immediately with pork.

Related: 17 Super-Easy Pork Recipes

Old-Fashioned Meatloaf

1 Tbsp. butter 3 celery ribs, finely chopped
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
2 lb. lean ground beef
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, divided
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tsp. Creole seasoning
1 tsp. Greek seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. ketchup
Garnish: chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Melt butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat; add celery and onion, and sauté 7 minutes or just until tender.

Stir together celery mixture, ground beef, 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs, and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Shape into a 10i x 5-inch loaf; place on a lightly greased broiler rack. Place rack in an aluminum foil-lined broiler pan.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Stir together remaining 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and 1 Tbsp. ketchup until blended; pour evenly over meatloaf, and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until no longer pink in center. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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