18 Comfort Foods You'll Never Forget
We've collected the recipes for the dishes you've always loved, from a new twist on meatloaf to mac 'n' cheese just like your mom used to make.
Baked Pasta with Sausage and Spinach
In a perfect world, we'd all have a dish of baked ziti in our freezers at all times. This rendition includes sausage and spinach, and a 9-by-13-inch tray will feed at least eight (with plenty of second helpings allowed).
Get the recipe: Baked Pasta with Sausage and Spinach
Tatsutage Fried Chicken with Spicy Mayo Dipping Sauce
Japanese cooks know that a tiny bit of planning goes a long way when it comes to deep frying wings and drumsticks. If you take the time to throw together a savory marinade made from sake, soy sauce, garlic and ginger and let the chicken soak in all that flavor before cooking, you'll reap the rewards: juicy, intensely flavorful chicken.
Get the recipe: Tatsutage Fried Chicken with Spicy Mayo Dipping Sauce
Pigs in a Blanket
If you put out mini hot dogs and caramelized onions wrapped in rich butter pastry, we promise the plate will be empty within minutes.
Get the recipe: Pigs in a Blanket
Apple-Cranberry Crumb Pie
When chef Amy Loveless makes her variation on the classic American dessert, she prefers to use a mix of Northern Spy and Cortland apples, though Granny Smiths are a fine substitute. Don't worry if the filling is piled sky-high; the fruit softens and cooks down in the oven.
Get the recipe: Apple-Cranberry Crumb Pie
Biscuit-Topped Chicken and Root Vegetable Stew
There's no need to serve this heavenly dish with bread, since it's covered with savory buttermilk biscuits that bake right on top of the stew.
Get the recipe: Biscuit-Topped Chicken and Root Vegetable Stew
This version of the Italian-American classic feeds eight and doesn't take all day to prepare, making it a perfect dish for entertaining.
Get the recipe: Art's Chicken Parmesan with Artichokes
Macaroni and Cheese
Sure, you can gussy up this American favorite with ham, vegetables or even truffles—but there's something extra comforting about this traditional take, which requires just pasta, butter, flour, milk and cheese.
Get the recipe: Macaroni and Cheese
Making pot roast takes time but very little of your
time. It's just a matter of letting the roast simmer its way to tenderness. With this recipe, you'll get the meat plus a flavorful tomato sauce you can serve over pasta for another meal.
Get the recipe: Kitchen Workhorse Italian Pot Roast
Tacos with Black Beans and Sour Cream
Slow-roasted black beans make a savory, crunchy topping for these vegetable tacos. A chipotle sour cream is the ideal spicy yet cooling garnish.
Get the recipe: Vegetable Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream and Smoky Black Beans
Rather than the customary sautéing, this scampi is actually roasted in butter spiked with lemon, garlic and herbs. Serve it with crusty bread.
Get the recipe: Sizzling Shrimp Scampi
Beef Stew with Cognac and Horseradish Mustard
You won't necessarily taste the mustard in this stew, but it will bring all the other flavors—sweet onions, Italian plum tomatoes, thyme and horseradish—into focus.
Get the recipe: Beef Stew with Cognac and Horseradish Mustard
How do you turn a meaty manwich into a vegetarian delight? Sauté garlic, bell peppers, mushrooms and onions in tomato sauce, spoon onto hamburger buns, and add jalapeño slices and shredded Cheddar.
Get the recipe: Portobello Mushroom and Bell Pepper Sloppy Joes
This dish is all about the fixings—Cristina Ferrare likes to crush a few tortilla chips on top. You can also try avocado, bacon, sour cream, chopped scallions, cilantro, Cheddar cheese, crumbled cornbread or red pepper flakes.
Get the recipe: Kick-Butt Chili
Fish and Chips
Crisp, tender fish and chips are perhaps the most ubiquitous of all British comfort foods. This version is classic but with a refined twist: Chef Cathal Armstrong adds a dash of malt vinegar to the batter for a brighter flavor.
Get the recipe: Fish and Chips
We'd never cast aside our mom's recipe, but this one's worth trying because it's so different: Zucchini, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon and yogurt give it a Middle Eastern spin.
Get the recipe: Cardamom-Spiced Meat Loaf
Sweet Potato Biscuits
Spoon honey on these biscuits for breakfast or serve them for dinner with Smothered Chicken
Get the recipe: Sweet Potato Biscuits
Chef Eric Ripert stirs goat cheese and herbs into these potatoes to add creaminess and tang.
Get the recipe: Eric Ripert's Goat Cheese and Chive Mashed Potatoes
Photo: Diane Cu and Todd Porter
You can make this with frozen chopped spinach or fresh spinach. A touch of nutmeg adds depth.
Get the recipe: Creamed Spinach
Next: Casseroles for every taste