6 Delicious Comfort Food Favourites

Photo: Jason Leung on Unsplash

There’s something to be said for simple and satisfying food, especially in these trying times.

1. Tomato Soup with Parmesan Dumplings

Photo: Pixabay

Looking for the perfect quick and easy tomato soup recipe? Here it is, a delicious tomato soup that can be made in under 30 minutes, but, don’t let the speed fool you. This quick bowl of comfort not only offers up depth of flavor, but also is elegantly topped with Parmesan dumplings to make it a perfect entertaining first course.


Tomato Soup

2 tbsp butter
1 large white onion, chopped
1 tbsp shallots, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 small carrots, peeled and chopped
2 small celery stalks, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
3 sun-dried tomatoes, not oil-packed, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained

Parmesan Dumplings

1/3 cup flour
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp chopped fresh basil
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp vegetable oil

Thinly sliced fresh basil, for garnish


For the soup, in a large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion, shallot and garlic, cooking 4-5 minutes until tender. Add carrots, celery, red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, lime juice, sugar, salt, pepper and cayenne. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4-5 minutes to soften vegetables. Add chicken broth and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat and either puree directly in soup pot using a handheld blender or place half of the tomato soup mixture in a countertop blender. Cover and blend until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with remaining tomato soup. Return all of the soup to the saucepan. Reheat when ready to serve.

For the Parmesan dumplings, combine flour, Parmesan, basil, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, lightly whisk together the egg and vegetable oil. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture with a wooden spoon until combined. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Using ½ tsp measuring spoon, drop slightly rounded dough into boiling water. Cook 4 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Serve with soup. Garnish soup with sliced basil
Yield: 25 dumplings

Serves 6

2. Crispy Baked Potato Skins


We love bar food, finger foods and easy appetizers. Unfortunately, those usually mean unhealthy and grease-laden. Not anymore, thanks to this recipe for Crispy Potato Skins, addictive skins baked (not fried!) to crisp perfection and mounded high with crunchy turkey bacon and melted cheese.


4 medium russet potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 turkey bacon slices, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 cup sour cream, for topping


1) Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Scrub potatoes, pat dry and pierce with a fork several times. Rub each potato with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 50-60 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from oven, allowing potatoes to cool just enough to handle comfortably.

2) Turn the oven up to 450°F.

3) Cut each potato in half lengthwise and scoop out the cooked potato leaving a 1/2-inch thick layer of potato along the sides and bottoms of the skins. Discard scooped out potato or use for mashed potatoes.

4) Brush the hollowed potato skins (inside and outside) with melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place potatoes skin-side-up on baking sheet and return to oven for 10 minutes. Flip the skins and bake another 8 minutes.

5) Remove from oven, sprinkle skins with crumbled turkey bacon, cheddar and Monterey Jack. Return to oven and bake 2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Serve warm, topped with sour cream.

Yield: 8 potato skins

3. The Best Beef Chili


This Blazing Beef and Bean Chili is hot stuff. A dynamite mix of chili powder, red pepper flakes and cayenne, mingled with intense cocoa powder, sweet tomatoes, fiber-rich beans and well-seasoned meat, it can rival any Lone Star chili joint. In a big bowl or piled atop a hot dog or fries, this one is a Chilympic winner.


2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium white onions, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp brown sugar
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

2½ lbs ground beef

1 (28oz) tin diced tomatoes
1 (5.5oz) tin tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2½ cups canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained


Sour cream
Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
Sliced jalapeno pepper
Corn tortillas


1) In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and stir often, cooking 4 minutes. Add diced red pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cocoa powder, salt, oregano, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Cook for 1 minute to combine spices, stirring continuously. Add the ground beef and cook 10 minutes until no longer pink. Break beef up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth and cider vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add kidney beans and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes more.

2) Serve topped with sour cream, cheddar on Monterey Jack cheese, sliced jalapeño and/or fried tortilla strips (cut corn tortillas into thin strips, fry in 1-inch of oil for 1-2 minutes and season with a little salt).

Serves 8-10

4. Chicken Lasagna in a Bowl


Lisa sometimes calls me Garfield for my lazy, lasagna-loving ways. When cravings strike, and I don’t have the time or patience for layering, this cheese-topped pasta delivers quick-fix happiness in a bowl of tender noodles, succulent chicken and sweet vegetables.


1 tbsp olive oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 cups chicken broth
1 (28oz/796ml) can diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

6 oven-ready lasagna noodles, broken

1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 cup ricotta cheese, for topping
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, for topping
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for topping


1) Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté chicken for 4 minutes until lightly browned. Stir in carrots, mushrooms and onions, cooking an additional 4-5 minutes.

2) Add broth, diced tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered for 5 minutes. Turn heat to high and return to a boil. Add lasagna noodles and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or until tender.

3) In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and a ladle of liquid from the soup pot. Mix to combine and stir into pot, thickening the broth.

4) Spoon the stew into bowls and top each serving with ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan.

Serves 6

5. Spicy Spaghetti & Meatballs


How do you turn tender meatballs into great balls of fire? Simple…just stop, drop and roll. As in, stop what you’re doing, drop the grocery bags and start rolling out these marvellous homemade meatballs. Paired with this robust and spicy spaghetti sauce, this easy dinner is going to get everyone fired up!


Spicy Tomato Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 small garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 (28oz) tins San Marzano whole tomatoes
1 small bunch fresh basil, tied together
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper


2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ lbs lean ground beef
½ lb ground veal

1 cup olive oil, for browning meatballs


1) For the tomato sauce, in a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes, until softened. Add tomato paste, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon to create smaller chunks. Once sauce comes to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer. Add basil, salt and pepper and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove basil and set sauce aside until meatballs are ready.

2) For the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Add ground beef and veal, mixing thoroughly by hand until well combined. Shape into 2-inch meatballs.

3) In a large skillet, heat 1 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown meatballs in batches, being sure not to overcrowd the pan, about 4-5 minutes per side until both sides are browned. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Place meatballs into simmering tomato sauce and cook covered for 15-20 minutes more.

Yield: 30-32 meatballs

6. Creamy Macaroni & Cheese


When does out-of-the-box thinking pay off? When it comes to this Macaroni and Cheese recipe, the easiest, cheesiest way to cook up the ultimate comfort food. To get the creamiest noodles, we melt everything together on the stove, transfer the cheesy mixture to a baking dish and finish it in the oven with a tasty golden cover of crunchy breadcrumbs.


Creamy Macaroni & Cheese
2 large eggs
2¼ cups evaporated milk
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp hot sauce

1 lb elbow macaroni
4 tbsp butter
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Breadcrumb Topping

8 slices white bread, crusts removed
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp kosher salt
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, for topping


1) Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 13×9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, evaporated milk, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Set aside.

3) Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add macaroni and cook until pasta is tender. Drain pasta well and return to pot. Add butter over low heat to melt. Stir in egg mixture, cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack cheese. Continue stirring until creamy, about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish.

4) For the breadcrumb topping, pulse bread in food processor until coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, toss breadcrumbs with melted butter and salt. Evenly top macaroni with remaining cheddar cheese and buttered breadcrumbs.

5) Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Cool 5 minutes and then serve immediately.

Serves 6-8 as main course, 10-12 as side dish


Authors of bestselling cookbooks Bite Me, Bite Me Too and Lick Your Plate, saucy sisters Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat love eating, feeding, entertaining and dishing up easy recipes at BiteMeMore.com



Classic Comfort Food: 6 Perfect Potato-Centric Recipes

6 Egg-Cellent Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Just Desserts: 5 Cookie Dough Recipes