No matter what the latest taste trend or hot new celebrity-endorsed recipe, you can always count on a few classic home-style standards to make a comeback around this time every year. Typically known as "comfort foods" for their ability to soothe and warm the soul, these familiar dishes not only taste delicious, but also make us feel warm and fuzzy all over -- and are especially welcoming during the chill of the colder months.
Perhaps Grandma's famed chicken noodle soup comes to mind, or Dad's special meatballs with marinara. Maybe it's Mom's ultra-gooey, rich mac ‘n' cheese, your own fork-tender pot roast or delicious turkey and stuffing holiday leftovers.
Whatever the dish, though, all comfort foods have one thing in common -- we turn to them for relief when we're tired, stressed, under-the-weather or simply looking for a taste of home. They are typically simple, hearty, uncomplicated meals, informal and inexpensive to prepare, yet immensely satisfying to those lucky enough to be served them.
Three comfort classics that never seem to go out of style are pot roast, shepherd's pie and beef stroganoff. The recipes included here require no extensive prep or unusual ingredients, so they're easy to whip up, even on a weeknight.
The slow cooker pot roast offers a particularly convenient alternative to last-minute cooking, since the prep all occurs in the morning, leaving the roast to cook to tender perfection all day. By using some convenient comfort food shortcuts on your ingredient list, such as Heinz HomeStyle Savory Beef Gravy and Wyler's Beef Bouillon cubes, you can add an extra layer of flavor to the roast, without the fuss of making gravy from scratch. The pot roast also includes a healthy helping of veggies, so it could easily become a complete meal with fresh bread or a green salad.
If you're looking for a comfort food that doubles as a one-dish wonder - shepherd's pie has it all. It includes the meat, vegetables and starch most of us associate with a complete home-style meal. Plus, using prepared Ore-Ida Mashed Potatoes to top the pie eliminates the laborious task of making mashed potatoes from scratch.
Also, if you're craving a comfort food with some added interest, try this creamy beef stroganoff. It's simple to make and serves up a delicious plate of savory chunks of beef tenderloin, sautéed mushrooms and steaming noodles. And, if you want to add a little extra flair, try pairing it with a glass of merlot. That's sure to offer some added warmth and a new level of sophistication.
So, with these simple, home-cooking classics in your culinary arsenal this season, there's no need to rush out and purchase the latest "cookbook du jour." Just stick to the basics this season and you'll be sure to find some classic convenience, comfort and good taste.
Prep Time: 5 minutes; Cook Time: 15 minutes; Serves 6 to 8
1 pound sirloin steak (cut into thin strips) or 1 pound lean ground beef
2 cups (8 ounces) sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, sliced
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 cup water
1 tablespoon Wyler's Beef Flavored Granules or 3 bouillon cubes
1/2 cup sour cream
8 ounces wide egg noodles, prepared according to package directions
Chopped parsley, optional
In large skillet, over medium-high heat, cook and stir steak, mushrooms and onion in margarine until steak is browned and vegetables are tender. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour to thicken, if desired; cook and stir 1 minute. Add water and bouillon; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in sour cream; heat through. (Do not boil.) Serve with hot noodles. Garnish with parsley if desired.
Savory Pot Roast
Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 8 to 10 hours; Serves 6 to 8
3 pounds bottom round beef roast
1 Wyler's Mrs. Grass Reduced Sodium Onion Recipe, Soup and Dip Mix pouch
1, 12-ounce jar Heinz HomeStyle Savory Beef Gravy
2 Wyler's Beef Bouillon Cubes or 2 teaspoons Wyler's Beef Granules
1 , 14-1/2-ounce can diced tomato with basil, garlic and oregano
2 cups water
3 cups mixed vegetables, such as sliced carrots, cut green beans, diced redskin potatoes, green peas, sliced celery
In large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray, brown beef over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally.
Combine soup mix, 1 jar of gravy, bouillon and diced tomato in 5-quart slow cooker. Add water and stir well. Add beef and turn until well-coated. Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 10 hours, turning occasionally.
Add mixed vegetables during last 2 hours, stirring occasionally. When vegetables are tender, remove beef from cooker. Slice or shred beef as desired, and serve with vegetables and sauce.
Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 25 to 30 minutes; Serves 4 to 6
1 pound lean ground beef
1, 12-ounce jar Heinz HomeStyle Savory Beef Gravy
1, 10-ounce package frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups prepared Ore-Ida Mashed Potatoes
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In large skillet, cook ground beef over medium heat until browned and thoroughly cooked. Carefully drain liquids and return to stovetop. Stir in gravy and vegetables and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes, or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
While beef mixture is still in skillet, spoon mashed potatoes onto it, forming 8 mounds, and top with cheese. Continue to simmer until potatoes are hot and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.