Tag Archives: comfort food

15-Minute Cheesy One-Pot Pasta to Reclaim Your Weeknights

The weather may be warming, but we’re still all about indulging in comfort food with a fresh, seasonal upgrade. This dish is a twist on mac ‘n’ cheese that literally takes the same (or less!) amount of time to cook as the boxed variety. Bonus: Though it features three different types of cheese, it also contains peas, which lighten the dish and really make it pop (in colour and flavour). This one-pot recipe is a great choice make on those nights when there’s “nothing to eat” in the house – all the ingredients are fridge and pantry staples!

15 Minute Three-Cheese Pasta with Peas

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
225g (1/2 box) medium shell dry pasta
2 cups vegetable broth, warm but not boiling
1/2 cup spreadable cream cheese
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups frozen peas
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients except peas, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a large pot.

2. Mix gently to start melting the cream cheese.
3. Place the pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
4. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly for 7 minutes.
5. After 7 minutes, add the peas and Parmesan, stir well and cook, continuing to stir, a further 2 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.

6. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The sauce will thicken as the pasta sits, so if you prefer it more thick and creamy as opposed to saucy, let it sit for a few minutes, stirring from time to time.

For more one-pot wonders, browse these 55 Quick and Easy One-Pot Recipes and 15 One-Pot Chicken Dinners Ready in 30 Minutes or Less.

Lasagna dish on a table

One Dish, Four Ways: Our Hosts Put Their Own Spin on a Classic Lasagna

Is there any dish more synonymous with comfort food than a good old fashioned lasagna? Fresh pasta, ooey gooey cheese, a rich sauce… It’s no wonder this dish is a fail-proof staple for beginner cooks and seasoned chefs alike. With the weather outside making us want to stay in and indulge, we’re thinking it’s time to gather around the table and put a spin on this classic meal. To get you inspired, we’ve lined up four irresistible variations on lasagna from our Food Network Canada hosts.

1. Anna Olson’s Roasted Vegetable Lasagna with Four Cheeses

This meatless recipe for roasted vegetable lasagna by Anna Olson, host of Fresh with Anna Olson, ups the ante on traditional lasagnas by including a four-cheese blend and delicious roasted carrots, parsnips and Roma tomatoes. You’ll be wondering how you ever managed with one-cheese recipes as you taste the distinct flavours of ricotta, Parmesan, Asiago, and Swiss Gruyere blended into a sauce and mixed with the vegetables between sheets of fresh lasagna.

2. Ree Drummond’s Slow-Cooker Lasagna

Plated lasagna dish

Chef and host of The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond offers up a delicious slow-cooker lasagna that’s heavy on flavor and light on prep work. A simple three-step recipe that has you combining your meat and cheese mixtures with layers of lasagna noodles (broken to fit your slow cooker), there’s little left to do but sit back in anticipation of this fool-proof dinner that’s sure to become a family favourite.

3. Giada De Laurentiis’ Spicy One-Skillet Lasagna

Lasagna in a skillet

Fans of easy-cook recipes will love this delicious one-skillet lasagna from Giada De Laurentiis of Giada Entertains. This recipe combines a medley of unexpected flavours ingredients like spicy Italian sausage, lemon zest and red pepper flakes to turn up the heat on this classic dish. With just one skillet needed to pull off this savoury spin on traditional lasagna, you’ll love the quick prep time – and easy clean-up!

4. Ina Garten’s Portobello Mushroom Lasagna

Portobello mushroom lasagna dish

Looking for a meatless lasagna recipe that doesn’t skimp on that hearty texture? Chef Ina Garten of the Barefoot Contessa has you covered with her Portobello mushroom lasagna . With rich ingredients like whole milk, butter, flour, Portobello mushrooms and Parmesan, this lasagna is every bit the indulgence you’d want from this classic dish, minus the meat.

Looking for more crowd-pleasing comfort food? Check out these must-try slow-cooker recipes and the cheese-stuffed recipes  that will have you drooling!

The Best Slow Cooker Chicken Breast Recipe has a Tasty Moroccan Twist

Do you feel like chicken tonight? We hope so, because we have the best slow cooker chicken recipe to share. Chicken for dinner is a staple in most households, including our own.  And, although there are many, many ways to cook chicken, often times it can end up dry and unappetizing. No one wants to sit down to a meal with an ill-seasoned, rubbery chicken breast staring back up at them. Here we’re going to teach you the ins and outs of juicy slow cooker chicken breasts that are perfect for salads, meal prepping for the week ahead or even for dinner tonight.

slow-cooker-chicken-breast

Go Skinless

Remove the skin from the chicken breasts before placing in the slow cooker. When cooked too long the skin will become rubbery and dry – think shoe leather. If you are planning to shred the chicken at all, this is a step you must follow.

No Need to Sear

Although searing adds major flavour, if your plan is to use the chicken shredded for chicken salad or tacos, there is no need to sear the breasts. Skip the step and save yourself time.

Set it to High

Chicken breasts don’t have very much connective tissues or fat, so cooking them for hours and hours in the slow cooker won’t get you the result you want. Really tough cuts of meat, with lots of connective tissue are perfect for slow cooking because they break down over time and become oh-so tender. When slow cooking chicken breasts, set to high for 2-2.5 hours, you don’t need to go beyond that. Of course, you can use your meat thermometer to check when the chicken is fully cooked on the inside when it reads 165°F.

Make it Easy and Saucy

The whole idea behind the slow cooker is to make things easy. If you have any sauces or marinades on hand like salsa, tomato sauce, pesto or BBQ sauce you can easily toss them in with the chicken breasts and voila you’re done. Remember to season the chicken breasts separately with salt and pepper before you start cooking to enhance flavours.

chicken-breast-in-slow-cooker

Go Light on Liquids

Chicken breasts will release quite a bit of liquid as they cook so go easy on adding liquids like broth or sauces.  You don’t want the chicken to be drowning.

Prep Ahead

Slow cooking chicken on a Sunday (or any day) is a great way to have your protein ready to go for lunches and dinners all week. You can make what we like to call “blank slate” chicken, which is chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper and slow cooked with broth. You then have tender chicken breasts that can be sliced, shredded or cubed and used for any dish like salads, tacos, pastas, sandwiches, wraps, and quinoa or rice pilafs. Simply add a marinade or sauce on top after and you’ve got yourself a meal.

Moroccan Slow Cooker Chicken is one of our go-to recipes when we want a nourishing and delicious slow cooked meal that can be warming in the winter and refreshing in the summer. Add rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice for a hearty dish or place it on top of a slaw or enjoy as is.

slow-cooker-chicken-breast-on-cutting-board

Moroccan Slow Cooker Chicken Recipe

Ingredients:
1 lb. chicken breasts (3 to 4 chicken breasts)
1 tsp coriander
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp sea salt
Pinch of black pepper
¼ cup chicken stock
¼ cup pitted green olives, sliced
¼ cup currants
½ lemon, sliced into thin discs

Directions:
1. Mix the spices, except for the salt and pepper, together in a small bowl.
2. Season the chicken breasts with sea salt and pepper.
3. Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker so that they are flat and not overlapping and pour in the broth.
4. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over top of the chicken breasts.
5. Add the chopped olives and currants to the slow cooker, they can be spread over top of the chicken breasts and alongside.
6. Place thin slices of lemon over top of the chicken breasts.
7. Cook on high for 2.5 hours.
8. The chicken breasts will be tender. Carefully transfer out of the slow cooker and onto a cutting board. You can slice the chicken into pieces with a knife or shred the chicken with your hands, whichever you prefer.

Looking for more great recipes? Try these Popular Chicken Breast Recipes.

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Win Dinner With These Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

A satisfying dinner with a real Tex-Mex vibe, these slow cooker sweet potato enchiladas might just become a part of your weekly menu. We’ve made our own enchilada sauce, which is smoky, silky and hits all the right flavours, but if you’re stretched for time, a store-bought version or your favourite salsa will do the trick. The enchiladas are topped with queso fresco, a fresh and salty Mexican cheese that holds up to the heat, keeping its shape without melting. If you can’t find queso fresco, swap in feta, cheddar or skip the cheese altogether. Any way you build them, serving these enchiladas with a big scoop of avocado to garnish is an absolute must!

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
Filling:
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp granulated garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp regular or smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Enchilada Sauce:
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp granulated garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne, to taste (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth

Assembly and Topping:
8 to 12 corn or flour tortillas, divided
1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled, divided
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1 lime, quartered

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Directions:
Filling:
1. Add red pepper, sweet potato, onion and beans to a large bowl. Toss with garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, cumin and salt. Set aside.

Enchilada Sauce:
1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes, until fragrant and starting to turn translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute longer, until fragrant. Stir in chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, to taste, if using, salt and pepper. Toast the spices for 30 seconds, until fragrant and sizzling, then pour in crushed tomatoes and broth. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
2. Carefully pour the enchilada sauce into a blender or food processor, or use a hand blender directly in the pot, and blend on low speed (low speed important for hot mixtures) until smooth.

Assembly:
1. Pour 1/3 cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom of your slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

2. Working on a clean surface, lay out 8 tortillas without overlapping. To the centre of each tortilla, add a scant 1/2 cup filling, tuck in two sides, then place the filled tortilla seam-side down in the slow cooker on top of the sauce. If you have extra filling, repeat this step with more tortillas, then layer them on top of the first round of filled tortillas. Or, skip the additional tortillas and scatter the additional filling over top.

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

3. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas and crumble 1/4 cup of the queso fresco evenly over top. Place the lid on the slow cooker and set to cook on high for 2 hours, until the filling is tender and sauce is bubbling.

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

4. When the timer runs out, remove the slow cooker lid and gently plate 2 enchiladas per person (they will be very soft and tender from slow cooking, so do this carefully). Top enchiladas with cilantro, avocado, remaining 1/4 cup of queso fresco and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy.

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Ready for more wholesome slow cooker solutions? Reignite your love for this retro kitchen appliance with our healthiest slow cooker recipes ever.

One-Pot Campfire Mac & Cheese is the Ultimate Camping Comfort Food

Mac and cheese is one of the easiest recipes to prepare, which is why it’s perfect to make on a camping trip. Perfectly al dente noodles, surrounded in creamy cheese it’s hard to improve on perfection. But the smoky, woodsy flavour from a roaring campfire takes the classic comfort food to a whole new level. This is a meal that feeds a crowd, is simple, fast and best of all, only requires the use of one pot!

Easy Campfire Mac and Cheese Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2-3

Ingredients:

2½ cups whole milk
1 cup water
2 cups macaroni noodles
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2½ cups grated cheddar cheese
½ tsp dry mustard powder
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Get your fire going or turn your grill to medium-high heat.
2. Pour milk and water into a medium pot and bring to a boil, then add the macaroni noodles and stir. Cook the noodles, stirring often, until tender, about 7 to 10 minutes.
3. Take the pot off the fire or grill and immediately stir in butter, grated cheese, mustard powder, salt and pepper. Mix well so the noodles are cheesy, gooey and delicious. Serve hot.

Looking for more camping ideas? Try our Brilliant Camping Food Hacks.

Instant Pot Turkey Chili is Healthy Comfort Food in a Flash

The Instant Pot, the electric pressure cooker,  allows you to create dishes that usually take hours, in just a matter of minutes. This easy turkey chili recipe is a weeknight dinner perfection. It has loads of hidden vegetables, lean protein and best of all, comes together in a snap without forfeiting that must-have slow-cooked taste we all know and love in a big bowl of comforting chili. It’s perfect for busy weeknights and weekends, and best of all, leftovers freeze well, too.

instant-pot-turkey-chili-1

Healthy Instant Pot Turkey Chili

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
2 lbs ground turkey
2 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp chili powder
1½ tsp salt
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups kale, destemmed and finely chopped
1 (19 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup Greek yogurt, for serving
¾ cup grated cheddar cheese, for serving
¼ cup sliced green onions, for serving
lime wedges, for serving

chili-turkey-instant-pot

 

Directions:

1. Set Instant Pot, (or your electric pressure cooker) to sauté. Add turkey, cumin, chili powder and salt. Break up turkey and mix with spices to combine. Let turkey and spices brown, about 8 minutes, stirring intermittently.
2. Meanwhile, add onion, celery, carrot and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until vegetables turn into a smooth paste. Add vegetable paste to turkey and spices and stir to combine. Stir in tomato paste, followed by crushed tomatoes and kale.
3. Close lid and set Instant Pot to “Chili;” cook for 30 minutes. Allow pressure to release for 10 to 15 minutes until fully released or quick release using the vent. Stir in beans and allow to heat through.
4. Ladle chili in bowls and garnish with yogurt, cheddar cheese, green onions, and lime wedges for seasoning. Serve.

Slow things down in the kitchen and use your multi-cooker to make a warming Slow Cooker Irish Stew.

4 Comforting Sheet Pan Dinner Recipes for Easier Cooking and Clean-up

When we’re in a rush and looking for shortcuts in getting dinner on the table, sheet pans are a life saver. They let you roast your main and sides together (like in this Glazed Chicken and Broccoli Sheet Pan Dinner) saving you time and clean-up.  What if we told you that economy-sized sheet pans can also be used to bake up some of your favourite comfort foods, and in some cases even give them a slightly healthier twist? Think classics like lasagna or meatloaf, all baked up to perfection in a short enough time to get dinner done on a weeknight.


This eggplant parmesan is baked, saving you the mess and stress of frying. 

Okay, so you may have to do a couple of extra dishes during prep, but considering how hearty and wholesome these recipes are, we’d say it’s worth the extra effort. Check them out:

No-Fry Sheet Pan Eggplant Parmesan

Trade in your fryer for a sheet pan and whip up this easy comfort food with a healthier twist. Crispy eggplant is topped with a quick, homemade marinara sauce and then smothered in mozzarella and Parmesan until it bakes up into a bubbly pan of yum.

All-Crust Sheet Pan Lasagna

If you’re a fan of those crispy lasagna edges then this recipe is most definitely for you. Pre-cooked noodles are assembled on a sheet with delicious ricotta, sausage and a homemade sauce. It all culminates in not just the perfect lasagna flavour, but it also allows the edges to cook evenly, giving you crispy perfection with every bite.

Extra-Crunchy Sheet Pan Mac and Cheese

Want to take your regular old bowl of macaroni and cheese to the next level? Spoon it out into a pan sheet and cover it with deliciousness like panko and butter. In the oven, the top will crisp up and the noodles will bond together in all of their cheesy glory, creating little squares of mac ‘n’ cheese heaven that will have you coming back for more.


Sheet Pan Glazed Meatloaf
What’s not to love about savoury, caramelized meatloaf the way your mom or grandma used to make? What we enjoy most about this sheet pan version of the comfort food staple is that thanks to its wider surface area, you’re guaranteed that each bite comes with that glazed goodness from the top that we all know and love.

 

Looking for more easy dinners? Try these Hearty Sheet Pan Dinners That Make Clean-up A Breeze.

squash-risotto-in-pot

No-Stir Baked Risotto with Chicken, Mushrooms & Squash Was Made For Weeknights

There’s nothing I love more than a home-cooked meal at the end of the workday. But spending a lot of time in the kitchen isn’t exactly what you’re looking for after a long day. What to do then? Comfort food for cold weather without all the fuss. Can it be done? I say, yes! Risotto, for example, is one of my favourite comfort foods, but many people are put off the idea of making this for a weeknight meal, placing it firmly in the category of Too Time-Consuming.  All that stirring and the need to stand by the stove the entire time it cooks is off-putting. The good news is that this recipe, while not the risotto of a purist, will change your mind.

Risotto on a weeknight is made doable when it’s oven-baked. There are a few minutes’ prep at the start (even easier if you have pre-chopped squash on hand), but the bulk of the work is done in the oven, leaving you around 30 minutes to prepare a salad, or just relax before dinner is on the table. I’ve chosen chicken and mushrooms to go with the classic fall flavour of squash, though this is a very flexible recipe and lends itself to many different interpretations. Once you’ve oven-baked one risotto, you’ll be a convert.

Squash Risotto

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves: 6 

Ingredients
Roasted Squash
1/2 butternut or red kuri squash, peeled and seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme or Herbes de Provence
1/8 tsp flaky sea salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Baked Risotto
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 clove garlic, minced
500 g boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
1-1/2cups white mushrooms, finely sliced
1-1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups warm chicken stock, more as needed
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only, stems discarded
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
3/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan
Fresh thyme leaves
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

Directions

DSCF4436

Roasted Squash:

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
2. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and spread the squash pieces over the tray evenly. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with thyme or Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper and toss to combine.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, or until your risotto is ready to go in the oven, whatever’s fastest, until squash is just starting to get tender. The squash will go back in the oven alongside the risotto and will finish cooking at the same time.

Baked Risotto:
1. Heat oil in a large ovenproof dish or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until it’s just starting to get soft (remove from heat if garlic is browning).
2. Add chicken pieces and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until beginning to brown. Mix in rice and stir to combine until the rice is glossy and coated in oil.
3. Add wine and cook until evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes, then add stock and thyme. Stir well.
4. Bring mixture to the boil, then cover, remove from the heat and place in the oven. Bake risotto in same oven as tray of squash for 25 minutes.

Baked Risotto

Serving:
1. Remove risotto and tray of roasted squash from the oven. If the risotto is looking a little dry, add up to 1/2 cup of warm chicken stock (you may need less), stirring until it’s no longer dry. To the risotto, stir in the Parmesan and lemon zest, followed by half of the roasted squash, stirring carefully (so it doesn’t, well, get squashed!)
2. Serve the risotto immediately, topped with remaining roasted squash, salt, pepper and fresh thyme leaves.

Keep the effortless Italian theme going and serve up this arugula and radicchio salad on the side.

Save

Cornbread Chili Pot Pie

Two Comfort Foods, One Glorious Cornbread Chili Pot Pie

Chilly weather calls for chili, and chili calls for cornbread. But doesn’t chilly weather also call for pie? Like a pot pie? Well, how about combining these three classic comfort foods into one with a cornbread-topped chili pot pie? It makes the ultimate in cold-weather comfort food, even better. You could even make the chili on its own, enjoy it one night and make the pot pie the next night – cook once, eat twice! 

Cornbread Chili Pot Pie

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:
Chili
1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb stewing beef cubes
2 small onions, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium  tomatoes, chopped
2 cups beef stock
4 Tbsp tomato paste
1 to 2 Tbsp chili powder, to taste
1 (540 mL) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Cornbread Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup corn kernels, drained if canned

Note: Chili Powder is a mix of chili pepper and other spices like garlic, cumin and oregano, not pure chili pepper

Directions:
Chili:
1. In a large pot or large Dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Cook the ground beef completely and drain on a paper towel-lined plate, about 10 minutes. Next, cook the stewing beef until just browned and drain on another paper towel-lined plate, about 5 minutes.
2. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp of oil in same pot (no need to clean) over medium heat, and cook onions until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant.
3. Add drained ground beef and stewing beef back to pot and stir to combine with onion mixture. Cook on medium-high heat until the beef is evenly browned, about 5 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes, stock and tomato paste and combine well, followed by chili powder. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Add the beans and continue to simmer, uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Spread cooked chili evenly into a deep ovenproof baking dish with a capacity of 4 cups (1 quart). Set aside while you prepare the cornbread topping.

Cornbread Chili Pot Pie

Cornbread Topping:
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, eggs and melted butter. Gently stir in the corn kernels.
3. Add the milk and corn mixture to the flour mixture and stir until dry ingredients are just incorporated.
4. Working quickly, spread the cornbread batter over top of the chili, trying to make the batter reach the edges.
5. Bake for 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the bread comes out clean. Scoop into bowls and serve.

Cornbread Chili Pot Pie

We’ve also got the vegetarians covered with our top 10 hearty meat-free chili recipes.