Every year, I look forward to fall. The cooler weather, changing of the leaves and shorter days are always a time for reflection and spending more time with family and friends.
It’s also usually a time for more cooking, but this year has been a bit different due to the pandemic. If you’re like most people, you’ve already been doing a lot of cooking at home — for months on end. Maybe you’re even tired of it at this point.
With that in mind, I’m sharing some of my very favorite classic comfort dishes that warm the body and soul. Hopefully you’ll find some new inspiration to get back in (or stay in) the kitchen, and your family will find some new favorites to look forward to.
1. Greek Festival Spanakopita
Cottage cheese gives this Greek classic an amazing creaminess, and the clarified butter creates a beautiful sheen that makes this a dish any Top Chef would be envious to replicate.
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2. Grandma Dorothy’s Potato Pie
Whenever I make this, it gets devoured. And while it’s not a pie at all — just some really cheesy delicious mashed potatoes — they’re some of the best mashed potatoes you’ll ever eat.
3. Chicken Francese
I’ve been making this recipe for years and it is always a crowd pleaser. If you want to get fancy, you can flour the lemon slices and fry them in butter as a garnish.
4. Lasagna Bolognese
My mother’s brodo (tomato sauce) pops up in many of her recipes, so I always have it on hand. First, I make a big batch of brodo on Saturday, divvy it up into Tupperware and store it in the freezer. Then, when I want to make a recipe, like Pasta Bolognese, I get fresh ground meat, pancetta frying up in the pan and add my brodo for a killer pasta sauce.
If I want to make an extra special dinner, I take it one step further, I make besciamella and roll out fresh lasagna sheets. These components come together for a truly stand out dish, Lasagna Bolognese.
5. Pasta bolognese
After years of making this, I prefer a shorter pasta like penne or my favorite, rigatoni. I love how the chunky meat sauce gets caught in the middle of each pasta piece giving you the perfect bite of pasta and meat. With the longer varieties, I find that I eat the pasta and the meat all slides to the bottom of the bowl. Any pasta will do, though, it’s just a matter of taste.
6. Crispy potato latkes
If you’ve never had them, potato latkes are a traditional side dish served for Chanukah. These small cakes of potato and onion are fried in oil and served with sour cream and applesauce. Personally, I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like. If you’re the same, you’ll find these a real treat.
7. Eggplant Parmigiana
I think I’ve created the perfect eggplant parmigiana recipe. Give it a try and I think you will too. Buon Appetito!
8. Beef stew
Once the cold weather rolls in, I always make beef stew served on top of some buttery noodles or even on its own. It’s the ultimate stick to your ribs, warm you up kind of food and, best of all, it’s a ‘one pot wonder.’ So, grab your dutch oven and go stew!
9. Pork Adobo
While the pork does require a few days in the marinade, once you are ready to cook, it couldn’t be easier! Everything gets tossed in the pot as the marinade becomes the rich, sticky sauce studded with soft onions and garlic. Another one-pot, international wonder I can’t live without!
Want more delicious recipes from grandmothers around the world?
Cooking with Grandmothers has become my passion. By transcribing these cherished recipes through the Nonna Project, my hope is that they will continue to be shared and loved for generations to come.
You can find more of my recipes in my cookbook, Heirloom Kitchen.
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