Comfort Food (Food We Bring To Friends In Need)

We asked our readers to share the recipes that they found best (easiest, most convenient, most welcome) to bring to people in times of need. Whether it’s at a time of grieving or a time of stress, simple offerings of food are sometimes the most treasured gifts. Thanks to everyone for pitching in!


4 tbsp. butter (not all are necessary, just used to grease pan. Make sure sides get some, too, according to directions.)
3 eggs
1/2 c. milk
1 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 lb. mild-med sharp cheese (grated)
2 pkg. (10 oz.) chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
1 tbsp. chopped onion (We don't like 'em, but you can use 'em.)
Parsley flakes (yeah, but you know how necessary they can be. :P )

Melt butter in 9 x 13-inch pan. (Use pot holders and tilt pan around so butter gets on sides, too.) Beat eggs well, add flour, milk, salt and powder. Add cheese, spinach, onion.

Mix well and pour into pan.

Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes, until golden brown on top. (Can take 45-50 min. You want the top to be brown.)

Can let cool and freeze then reheat, or cut and serve. (Don't cut while hot. Cheese fights back.)

The more butter, the greasier, but, some say, tastier, too.


*Some people replaced the beef with ground turkey and said it was great.
Also, use regular crackers if that's what you have on hand.


1 teaspoon olive oil $
1 cup finely chopped onion $
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup ketchup, divided
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, extra lean (raw)
1 cup finely crushed fat-free saltine crackers (about 20)
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, chopped carrot, dried oregano, and minced garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Cool.
Combine onion mixture, 1/2 cup ketchup, and the remaining ingredients except cooking spray in a large bowl.
Spoon the meat mixture into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Top each with 2 teaspoons ketchup. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°. Let stand for 5 minutes.


6 chicken breasts quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped bok choy(the original recipe is mixed sliced bell peppers)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups uncooked instant brown rice
2 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons minced parsley

cook chicken in oil and set aside when done. In same skillet, sauté bok choy, onion and mushrooms until soft. Add garlic, rice broth corn salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

Transfer to greased freezer containers top with chicken. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes covered an additional 15 minutes uncovered. Sprinkle with almonds and parsley serve.

These both make two meals for a family of 4 so I would probably half the recipes or separate into 4 containers. If you’re wondering, I don't use peppers because I'm allergic.


A dozen chicken thighs trimmed of fat and sliced in strips
2 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 sticks celery, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
6 strips sliced pancetta(regular bacon works as well)
3 cloves crushed garlic
a dozen button mushrooms sliced
1/4 cup white wine
diced tomatoes (an 800g can or 3 cups freshly diced)
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs rosemary
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 cup sliced olives

Heat oil and cook chicken in large saucepan set chicken aside when cooked through.

Using the same pan add onion celery, carrot and pancetta and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms cook 1-2 more minutes.

The carrot/celery can also be replaced by 1 1/2 cups chopped bell peppers.

Return chicken to pan add tomatoes, sugar, herbs, wine and stock. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add olives cook 5 more minutes.

Transfer to foil containers allow to cool and freeze. Reheat by adding 1/4 cup of water and place in oven at 350 for one hour or defrost ahead of time and heat at 325 for 20 minutes.

Serve over rice also works well with mashed potatoes.


1 loaf bread, think sliced
1/2 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
6 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
1 4oz pack slivered almonds
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup mayo, light
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Remove crusts from bread and spread each slice with a mixture of all other ingredients, Cut into strips of and desired shape. If desires, freeze on and baking sheet, place in plastic bags and store in freezer. To serve, bake for 10 mins or until brown

CRAB BITES (my boys' favorite: Mary-Jo)

2 pkg English muffins, split in 2
2/3 of a 1lb jar Cheese Whiz
1tsp Lawrys' Seasoned Salt
1/2tsp garlic powder
4tbsp softened butter
1tbsp mayo
2 (5oz) cans crab meat, drained

Mix all ingredients, but crab meat, in bowl. Fold in crab. spread on English Muffins, cut in 4. Can freeze on cookie sheet at this point. Put in plastic bags in freezer. Put under broiler until golden brown and serve warm.


1 cup ripe olives, chopped
1/2 cup green onions chopped
1 1/2 old cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mayo, light
8 English muffins halved

Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine olives, green onions, cheese, curry powder, salt and mayo. spread on muffins and cut into 4 pieces. Can be frozen on a cookie sheet at this point and put into freezer bags. Bake for 10 minutes


3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
dash of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup chives, chopped
1 pound Edam cheese, grated
2 packages (each 12 ox/340g) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9"x13" cake pan well. in a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, add flour, milk baking powder, salt, mustard, cayenne and chives. Blend well. Fold in cheese and spinach. pour in to pan and bake for 35 mins or until almost set in the center. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, cut bite-sized squares and serve warm. These may also be frozen after baking and reheated in a 350F oven for 15 minutes at serving time.


1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
1 large Box Frozen Strawberries
1 small Can Crushed Pineapple -- drained
1 small Box Vanilla Pudding Mix -- instant
8 ounces Cream Cheese
4 Bananas -- sliced
Cool Whip
Shredded Coconut
Bake cake according to directions. Defrost the strawberries while cake is baking. Cool cake. Poke holes in the cake. Spread strawberries and can of pineapple on the cake.

Mix pudding according to directions. Blend in cream cheese. Spread over the cake. Sprinkle on the nuts. Arrange the sliced bananas on top of the cake, cover with Cool Whip, and sprinkle with coconut.
Banana Split Cake serves/makes 10

I am not a fan of coconut, so I leave that bit off, but that's the recipe! It's delicious! I am not generally a fan of cakes, but this is one that I never turn down!


700grams potatoes
2 carrots
2-3 sticks celery
1 onion
1 leek

For more flavour, you can add some bacon.

1.5 liters vegetable stock (or plain water)
tomato purée

Chop the vegetables (and the bacon), and put them into a large pot (with some oil). Roast gently. Flour everything. Add water, salt, pepper, tomato purée and chopped parsley.

Cook for half an hour.

You can leave it like that or puree everything.


“Dump Chili” (super easy and freezes really well)

I'm not sure how many "Deb's parents" servings this makes because I'm always dealing with a growing boy who REALLY likes this recipe and snarfs down epic portions. It makes enough for me to have a big serving and then a little bit seconds at dinner instead of dessert, kiddo to have 2 heaping servings at dinner, and me to have some at lunch the next day and maybe the next if I didn't have that bit of seconds on the first night. It's cheaper if you've soaked and boiled down dried beans, but I'm giving the fast/easy method. If you use generic canned goods, it's still super cheap for a big pot of food.

You've got 2 options:
1. beans and meat or 2. just beans
Most folks would use hamburger if making the meat option, but I always use ground turkey.
If you are not using meat, use 3 regular size (approx. 15 oz) cans of kidney beans, drained, and rinsed. If using meat, use 2 cans of beans and 1/3-1/2 lb. of ground meat (amount to taste).

It's Dump Chili because you just dump everything in!

Part 2:
2 or 3 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
If using meat, 1/3 - 1/2 lb. ground turkey.
Optional: some chopped up onion and green bell peppers
1 BIG can (It's, ummm, 23 oz, I think? The squat, fat cans that have a large enough diameter that you've got to pay a little bit of attention if picking them up with one hand but not the gigantic institutional cans) of stewed, whole tomatoes.
1 BIG can of crushed tomatoes
1 normal, soup can size can of tomato sauce
a big ole, heaping amount of chili powder
a big ole, heaping amount of powdered cumin (to taste --- but, err on the side of a lot vs. a little)
optional: a carefully moderate amount of paprika (to taste) You don't have to, but it does seem to add just a little something to the mix. *shrugs*

Note: If you have the time, groceries, and inclination to be a little bit fancy, finely chop up some onions and green bell pepper to cook with the meat or just to cook up before you start the tomato based stuff. The extra veggies make things yummier, and, of course, the smell of sauteeing onions and green bell peppers is absolutely divine.

Part 3:

If using the meat, fry it up into crumbly browned bits (draining the fat off) (go for smaller crumbles rather than big clumps that have delusions of being meatballs). While cooking it, from the beginning when it's still all pink and squishy, dust the heck out of that meat with the cumin and chili powder. By the time all the meat is browned, it should be a dark rust reddish brown because you've flavored it something fierce. The seasoning of the meat is NOT a stage in which you should exercise restraint. Season with abandon! Be excessive. It's fun. Keep the cooked meat warm.

Get your big cast iron pot/stainless steel stock pot/the great big pot you boil spaghetti noodles in. (This isn't a good recipe to use an Al pot.) First, open and pour in the big can of stewed tomatoes (juice, tomato guts, and all). Take a mashed potato masher and kinda squish the whole stewed tomatoes. You're not trying to destroy them. (After all, you're about to add crushed tomatoes.) You're just trying to smoosh the whole tomatoes into, roughly, forths or fifths of tomatoes -- substantial bite sized chunks. Be careful and/or wear an apron because the tomatoes squirt like arterial spray while you're doing this. If your kid's helping you cook, monster movie - zombie slaying sound effects are called for at this stage.

Crank the stove eye up to medium high heat.

Open and pour in the can of crushed tomatoes.

Open and pour in the can of tomato sauce.

Season the bajeezus out of all the tomato-y goodness in the pot with the cumin and chili powder. Really. A heavy hand IS called for here. If you don't have dragon-esque proclivities, tone down the chili powder component. But, there's no room for wimpiness on the cumin here. Sprinkle, then sprinkle some more. Go Muppets Swedish Chef crazy!

If you're going with paprika, more than a smidgen but less than a vat load goes in, now. Paprika in the style of a formal Presbyterian Sunday morning service rather than a Holy Ghost rolling Pentecostal Sunday evening prayer and praise service.

But, the chili powder and powdered cumin? You're full on sprinkling with the vigor of a church in the backwoods in the hollers passing snakes and drinking strychnine out of mason jars, OK? Especially, the cumin.

Give everything a good stir. Keep doing that on a reasonably frequent basis.

While you are waiting for everything to come to a nice bloop-bloop-bloop (cackling and quoting the witches from Macbeth when things start bubbling here is optional but encouraged), open up, drain, and rinse the cans of kidney beans. Add the beans to the pot, too.

Let it all get fully heated through, back to blooping. Grab a spoon and give it a taste. How's that seasoning? Throw in some more!

Throw in the meat and give everything a good stir. Grab another spoon or wash off the old one (but, don't you DARE double dip your spit into that cooking pot!) and give things another taste. All good? Yay! You can serve it, now. But, I'm telling you that it's only going to be better if you cut the heat down and let everything simmer for a while longer if you've got the time.

Serve, or divide it out into containers for freezing. Bonus prize: this chili is always better the 2nd day or when reheated after freezing.

Eddie would insist that you have unsalted tops saltine crackers crumbled into your bowl with your chili and then plop some shredded cheddar cheese on top. Eddie is a smart boy.

CREOLE GREEN BEANS (from Rigel, from Gooseberry Patch Christmas Book 8)

6 bacon slices, crisply cooked, crumbled, drippings reserved
1/2 c. green pepper, chopped
1/4 c. onion, chopped
2 T. all-purpose flour
2 T. brown sugar, packed
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/8 t. dry mustard
16-oz. can peeled whole tomatoes, cut into fourths
16-oz. can green beans, drained

In skillet with bacon drippings, sauté green pepper and onion until tender.  Blend together next 6 ingredients; stir into skillet.  Add tomatoes and continue to stir until mixture thickens.  Add green beans and heat through; sprinkle with crumbled bacon.  Serves 6.

Eddie doesn't like spicy things, and this was just right for him.  If I were making it just for myself, I'd've jazzed up the spices to make it hotter.  Still, I liked it A LOT.  And, the whole thing took less than 15 minutes.

What I did:
The recipe didn't give a heat setting, but I did most of the recipe over a little below med/high heat cutting down to medium when it was tomato adding time.
I used more onion, probably a little over 1/2 cup.
I used frozen chopped green pepper because I can get a big bag of Kroger frozen for less than the equivalent of one fresh pepper (bag = 80cents if I watch the coupons).  I don't use it that often, and it's nice to have the bag handy in the freezer.
I used a bit more than 1/4 t pepper, and I used fresh ground.
Neither Eddie nor I like mustard flavor so I didn't add the dry mustard
I used a 16-oz. can of sliced stewed tomatoes instead of cutting up the canned whole.  I found this worked superduper well.
I let it simmer on low/med for a few minutes while pulling cupcakes out of the oven because I'm a big fan of letting flavors blend.

It turned out DELICIOUS.  It says 6 servings, but that is if it is used as a side dish.  I made a big pot of rice and served it Cajun style as the main dish --- heaping scoops of rice in the bottom of bowls with spoonfuls of the bean mixture over it.  That worked REALLY well because the bean mixture has a thick, stewlike consistency.  It makes 4 servings if used as main dish over rice.  (With my bottomless pit of a 12yo boy, it worked out to be more like 3 - 3 1/2 servings. lololol)  There's enough left for each of us to have some for lunch tomorrow.  Although, I'm sure I'll have to add a sandwich or something to Eddie's portion.  (Good heavens, this growing boy is EATING!)

What I would do differently:
To healthy it up if I were just making a big batch for myself to freeze down portions for lunches over several days, I'd microwave turkey bacon instead and use drizzled olive oil for the sautéing.  But, I'm not gonna lie, using the real bacon and bacon drippings did WONDERFUL things for the flavor of the overall dish.  This is one of those cases where old school really is yummier.

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