Superfast Comfort-Food Recipes

Whether it's soup, stew, sandwiches, mashed potatoes, or mac 'n cheese, if it puts a smile on your face, there's a 20-minute recipe for it here.

Sirloin Steaks with Mushroom Sauce and Chive-Garlic Potatoes

Beau Gustafson

Sirloin Steaks with Mushroom Sauce and Chive-Garlic Potatoes

It doesn't get heartier than a big piece of steak topped with savory gravy and paired with creamy mashed potatoes. And our version manages to keep calories in check: The whole meal has just 326, with just 3.4 grams of saturated fat. For the full steak house experience, add this 86-calorie-per-serving Creamed Spinach.

View Recipe: Sirloin Steaks with Mushroom Sauce and Chive-Garlic Potatoes

Sausage and Chicken Gumbo

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Sausage and Chicken Gumbo

Prefrozen chopped veggies makes this flavorful stew a breeze to prepare. You can easily vary the proteins to create different gumbos―try replacing chicken with crabmeat or shrimp to make a seafood gumbo. Make it a New Orleans meal with bread pudding for dessert.

View Recipe: Sausage and Chicken Gumbo

Bacon Mac

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Bacon Mac

No collection of comfort food recipes would be complete without a great mac 'n cheese. Our version adds smoky bacon to the decadent cheese sauce for a whole new dimension, but still manages to keep the calories under 400 per serving. Serve with a green salad with a nice tart dressing―the acidity will help balance the creaminess of the sauce.

View Recipe: Bacon Mac

Quick Chicken Noodle Soup Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Quick Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup in just 20 minutes? Absolutely! Heat the broth mixture in the microwave to jump-start the cooking. Meanwhile, sauté the aromatic ingredients in your soup pot to get this dish under way. Though we like the shape of fusilli, you can also make this soup with wide egg noodles, rotini, or even orzo.

View Recipe: Quick Chicken Noodle Soup

Chip-Crusted Fish Fillets Recipe

Photo: Johnny Autry

Chip-Crusted Fish Fillets

The tang in the salt and vinegar chips mellows as the fish bakes in the oven, creating a crunchy spin on fish and chips. Look to hook-and-line-caught Atlantic or Pacific cod for the most sustainable choice.

View Recipe: Chip-Crusted Fish Fillets

Steak Tips with Peppered Mushroom Gravy Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Steak Tips with Peppered Mushroom Gravy

"This was YUMM-Y! This page in my Cooking Light magazine has definitely been dog eared. Goes great w/ a nice red wine and good company!" —LADYAMC

Briefly cooking the gravy with thyme sprigs saves the time of stripping the tiny leaves from the stem, but still gives you the herb’s woodsy flavor. Serve this rich and hearty beef mixture on a bed of egg noodles and you will find that this comforting meal is just the thing you had in mind.

View Recipe: Steak Tips with Peppered Mushroom Gravy

Speedy Chicken Potpie Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Speedy Chicken Potpie

Though you have to hustle, you really can get this comforting chicken potpie on the table in 20 minutes. Start browning the chicken and bringing the broth to a boil right away, and get the pie dough in the oven as soon as it reaches 425°. Strips of pastry are a quick stand-in for the traditional crust on top.

View Recipe: Speedy Chicken Potpie

Linguine with Easy Meat Sauce Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Linguine with Easy Meat Sauce

For picky eaters, try serving this meat sauce over whimsically shaped pasta, like bow ties, rotini, or wagon wheels.

View Recipe: Linguine with Easy Meat Sauce

Barbecue Pulled Chicken Sliders Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Barbecue Pulled Chicken Sliders

Didn't think pulled chicken was possible in less than 20 minutes? You'll become a believer once you try your first bite of this delicious sweet and savory sandwich. For a less sweet option, use sliced dill pickles.

View Recipe: Barbecue Pulled Chicken Sliders

Salmon Croquettes Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Salmon Croquettes

"I love this recipe. I made it as a Saturday early dinner and got rave reviews. Will make this over and over and over!!" —TAMMYRVC

Salmon Croquettes are packed with fresh flavors from lemon juice, green onions, and red bell pepper. Easy to prepare and even more easily devoured, if the question around your house is centered on what’s for dinner, then the answer is Salmon Croquettes.

View Recipe: Salmon Croquettes

Ham and Swiss Egg Sandwiches Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Ham and Swiss Egg Sandwiches

This delicious handheld breakfast will get you going in the morning and out the door without delay. Warm and cheesy, it will truly start the day off right.

View Recipe: Ham and Swiss Egg Sandwiches

Fettuccine Alfredo with Bacon Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Fettuccine Alfredo with Bacon 

When you’re short on time and the ingredient list is short, make every ingredient the freshest and best you can find. A real wood-smoked bacon imparts lots of flavor: Applewood is mild and slightly sweet, while hardwood, such as hickory, is more assertive.

View Recipe: Fettuccine Alfredo with Bacon

Three-Bean Chili

Beau Gustafson

Three-Bean Chili

Using canned beans reduces the cook time on this vegetarian chili from hours to mere minutes. Thick, chunky, and hearty, this is a very traditional chili, though inveterate carnivores can add half a pound or so of ground or chopped beef or turkey. Store-bought corn muffins or bread are convenient, but if you have an extra half hour, make it yourself.

View Recipe: Three-Bean Chili

Quick Fall Minestrone

Randy Mayor

Quick Fall Minestrone

Fall produce, with its powerful flavor and heartiness, is a frequent presence in comfort-food recipes. Butternut squash, potatoes, kale, and carrot make this soup soul-warming, and pasta and white beans give it traditional Italian flavor.

View Recipe: Quick Fall Minestrone

Pork Chops with Country Gravy

Beau Gustafson

Pork Chops with Country Gravy

Bet you never thought you'd find Southern-style white gravy from Cooking Light. This easy recipe makes for tasty pork with a rich and indulgent gravy, but has just 252 calories per serving. That means you don't have to feel guilty when you serve with buttery mashed potatoes to create the ultimate comfort-food plate.

View Recipe: Pork Chops with Country Gravy

Quick Chicken and Dumplings

Beau Gustafson

Quick Chicken and Dumplings

With its thick and creamy texture and abundant warmth, chicken and dumplings is a near-perfect comfort food. By using tortillas instead of biscuit dough for the dumplings, we cut way down on the cook time; you can have a steaming bowl of this dish on the table start-to-finish in less than 15 minutes.

View Recipe: Quick Chicken and Dumplings

Steak and Cheese Sandwiches with Mushrooms

Howard L. Puckett

Steak and Cheese Sandwiches with Mushrooms

Biting into a Philly cheesesteak is a sublime joy―drippingly melty cheese, juicy beef, and flavorful veggies packed into a chewy bun really can't be beat. Our 11-minute version is a weeknight savior. For more Philadelphia authenticity, freeze the meat for an hour and slice paper-thin.

View Recipe: Steak and Cheese Sandwiches with Mushrooms

Ham and Cheese Hash Browns

Randy Mayor

Ham and Cheese Hash Browns

This made-in-the-microwave casserole has all the elements of a great comfort food―starchy potatoes, salty and smoky ham, and creamy cheese. This dish works in just about any situation―it makes a quick breakfast or weeknight dinner, you can take leftovers to work for lunch, or you can double or triple the recipe and bring it to a potluck party or serve at a brunch.

View Recipe: Ham and Cheese Hash Browns

Creamy Herbed Mashed Potatoes

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Creamy Herbed Mashed Potatoes

Great creamy mashed potatoes shouldn't be a Thanksgiving-only treat when they're this easy. Buttery Yukon gold potatoes lessen the need for added fat, making this 10-minute dish a convenient part of a healthy diet. A little fresh chive and parsley add a subtle element, but you can add other herbs to match the flavor of whatever you serve these with.

View Recipe: Creamy Herbed Mashed Potatoes

Chicken-Orzo Soup

Randy Mayor

Chicken-Orzo Soup

Traditional chicken noodle soup has to be on everyone's comfort-food list. Using orzo pasta makes a slight improvement over the original; you don't have to worry about long noodles falling off your spoon! With its absolutely classic flavors, this dish is great for a rainy day, a cold day, a sick day, or any day.

View Recipe: Chicken-Orzo Soup

Baked Mozzarella Bites Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Baked Mozzarella Bites

Serve this quick after-school snack to your kids as an alternative to traditional fried cheesesticks.

View Recipe: Baked Mozzarella Bites

Pan-Seared Shrimp Po' Boys

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Pan-Seared Shrimp Po' Boys

Don't think a po' boy is comfort food? Wait until you bite through the crusty, chewy roll and taste the creamy homemade tartar sauce―we promise it'll put a smile on your face. Proper bread is key here―the crustier the outside and fluffier the inside the better.

View Recipe: Pan-Seared Shrimp Po' Boys

Shepherd's Pie

Karry Hosford

Shepherd's Pie

Seriously, what could be better on a rainy night than a pile of saucy beef and beans covered with creamy mashed potatoes and cheese? Our simple recipe tweaks the traditional version a bit by adding subtle Mexican flavors. To make the dish even more tasty, assemble in an oven-safe dish and broil until the cheese and potatoes just start to brown.

View Recipe: Shepherd's Pie

Chipotle Sloppy Joes

Randy Mayor

Chipotle Sloppy Joes

Some comfort foods are messy fun to eat; others remind you of childhood. This one does both. The saucy mixture of beef and tomato gets a smoky-spicy kick from the chipotles, while a topping of sweet caramelized onion keeps the heat under control. Corn, whether creamed or on the cob, makes an excellent side.

View Recipe: Chipotle Sloppy Joes

Grilled Turkey and Ham Sandwiches

Randy Mayor

Grilled Turkey and Ham Sandwiches

Simplicity is the key to these easy sandwiches: Bread, mayo and mustard, deli meats, cheese, and tomato are all you need for a quick meal anytime. But toasting them in a skillet turns them into a gooey, melty, comforting classic. And of course, they need to be paired with tomato soup for full effect.

View Recipe: Grilled Turkey and Ham Sandwiches

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup with Chicken

Randy Mayor

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup with Chicken

The deep earthy and savory flavors of mushrooms warm the soul, while this soup's temperature warms the body. Paired with hearty bread, it's perfect for a cold night. It's also easy to turn into a just-as-satisfying vegetarian dish: Just swap vegetable for chicken broth and tofu for chicken.

View Recipe: Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup with Chicken

Sausage, Pepper, and Mushroom Pizza

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Sausage, Pepper, and Mushroom Pizza

Fresh veggies and sausage atop a store-bought crust makes for a very tasty pizza that cooks really fast. You can use whatever toppings you like to make this pizza your own; you can also up the ante by using sauce or crust made from scratch.

View Recipe: Sausage, Pepper, and Mushroom Pizza

Sausage, Escarole, and White Bean Ragout

Randy Mayor

Sausage, Escarole, and White Bean Ragout

Don't be put off by the French name; this is a home-style stew that's easy as pie to make. The beans add a creaminess that's a great addition to the hearty potato and sausage. Bitter escarole provides a nice contrast, but you can use spinach or kale if you prefer something milder. Serve with crusty bread, or over a cooked whole grain like barley or farro.

View Recipe: Sausage, Escarole, and White Bean Ragout

Spicy Sweet-and-Sour Pork

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Spicy Sweet-and-Sour Pork

American-takeout-style Chinese food, with its thick, sweet sauces and tender meats, makes great comfort food. This simple dish coats pork, green pepper, and pineapple in a gooey, cornstarch-thickened sauce with a nice kick of heat. Serve with white or brown rice, or, better yet, fried rice.

View Recipe: Spicy Sweet-and-Sour Pork

Straw and Hay Alfredo with Roasted Asparagus

Straw and Hay Alfredo with Roasted Asparagus

Straw and Hay Alfredo with Roasted Asparagus

The contrasting colors of whole-wheat and regular pasta give this dish its unusual name, but the creamy sauce is pure classic. We use a combination of milk and cream cheese to lighten our alfredo, which adds a nice tangy element to the sauce. Fresh asparagus, roasted very simply, provides color and texture contrast and also lends great springtime flavor to the dish. You can substitute broccoli if asparagus isn't available.

View Recipe: Straw and Hay Alfredo with Roasted Asparagus

Sausage and Black-Eyed Pea Hash Recipe

Photo: Johnny Autry

Sausage and Black-Eyed Pea Hash

This simple one-dish meal is made even more delicious with a fried egg on top of each plate; the yolk creates its own creamy sauce. If you can find fresh peas, use them in place of canned.

View Recipe: Sausage and Black-Eyed Pea Hash

Mom's Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Cindy Barr

Mom's Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Traditional creamy chicken casserole can have more than 800 calories per serving, but we’re serving up this classic comfort dish with a fraction of the calories.

View Recipe: Mom's Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Crisp Cauliflower Fritters Recipe

Photo: Jason Wallis

Crisp Cauliflower Fritters

These light, golden-brown fritters are a delicious vegetarian dinner alternative. Prepare a colorful Spinach with Garlic Vinaigrette side to complete this comfort-food delight.

View Recipe: Crisp Cauliflower Fritters

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