Cheesy Baked Pasta

I’m a sucker for homemade mac and cheese. But my mom’s original version is a perfect intro but just the beginning. Get mac and cheese recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Although my comfort food list includes a lot of nontraditional dishes, like crepes and Hot and Sour Soup, I’m a sucker for homemade mac and cheese. It was a household standard when I was growing up. As little girls, my sister and I sometimes begged for forbidden junk foods, but we were always willing to go homemade when it came to Mom’s baked macaroni. I’d take leftovers to school to eat cold for lunch, not caring what my friends thought. It was that good.

Over the years, I’ve come to love other flavors in my baked noodles: the bite of garlic and dry mustard, a burst of flavor from cherry tomatoes and basil, and always extra-sharp Cheddar. Since I started making cheese, it’s been my preferred way to use whey. But my mom’s original version is perfect for introducing kids—and adults—who’ve only had boxed macaroni & cheese to the real deal.
Learn to make Childhood and Tomato–Basil Mac and Cheese

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Feel-Good Soup

Soup is the ultimate comfort food. By planning ahead, you can have it in a flash—even when you’re sick. Get Hot and Sour Broth Base and Soup recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Soup is the ultimate comfort food. It warms you from head to toe, even reaching fingertips wrapped around a warm bowl or mug. It can be pleasantly light or satisfyingly filling. You can load it with your favorite ingredients and flavors, and it makes brilliant leftovers. What’s not to love about homemade soup?

Some days, the answer is, “That I have to make it.” When you’re sick, soup can make you feel better, but not if you have to get out of bed, gather and chop the ingredients, and monitor the pot. When I’ve got a bug, I crave hot and sour soup. But one of my favorite recipes, Padma Lakshmi’s Hot and Sour Tomato Broth with Shrimp from Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet, requires specialty ingredients and effort. So I’ve developed a version can be frozen as a broth base. The essential work can happen long before you want the soup. When you’re under the weather, you can simply defrost and mix it into homemade stock. On healthy days, you can fill it out to create a full meal for everyone at the table.
Learn to make Hot and Sour Broth Base and Soup

Hot Cereals

I never was a cornflake girl, and as a kid I wasn’t a hot cereal girl. Then I went to Russia. Get hot cereal recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
I never was a cornflake girl, and as a kid I wasn’t a hot cereal girl. I blame my dad: To this day, he calls his porridge “mush.” (If you want to get little girls excited about eating hot breakfast cereal, I highly suggest a different name.) Beyond the name, I disliked the taste and texture—or rather, the lack of both. Dad’s porridge was always bland oats or wheat, ground finely enough or cooked long enough that “mush” was an appropriate title.

It wasn’t until I lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, that hot breakfast cereals became comfort food. Part of it was stepping off the train in early January into –23°F—weather that will make anyone eat anything hot. But mostly it was because Russians know how to make simple porridge taste good. It starts with a mix of grains, improving both flavor and texture. Adding butter to the saucepan before the grains lets them toast slightly. I then take the un-Russian step of adding spices.
Learn to make Russian Kasha and Pearl Barley Cereal with Honeyed Nuts

Comfort Foods

Instead of satisfying, comfort foods might make us feel guilty or even queasy. Learn how to change that at TwiceasTasty.com.
We all have comfort foods—dishes we grew up with, meals based around favorite flavors, recipes that are filling and satisfying. Merriam-Webster defines comfort food as “food that is satisfying because it is prepared in a simple or traditional way and reminds you of home, family, or friends.” Oxford Dictionaries gives a more specific definition: “Food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being, typically having a high sugar or carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.”

The “high sugar or carbohydrate content” bit is unfortunate but all too common. It also seems to be the antithesis of comforting: Instead of being enjoyable, high-calorie meals and snacks can make us feel guilty or even queasy after the thrill of the initial bite. Many traditional comfort foods are now mass produced, giving only a faded memory of the family table. So I prefer to focus on the other defining element of comfort food: simple home cooking.
Read more about simple, homemade comfort foods