Winter Blizzard Comfort Food Roundup

As we survive the depths of winter, we tend to find ourselves cherishing the simplest sensations. Fingertips defrosting against a hot cup of cocoa; toes thawing near a freshly stoked fire. When the world slows and the bright light of spring seems far of out of reach, we crave warmth in all of its cozy comforting forms, especially in the glorious form of FOOD! When it comes to the winter blues, sometimes it seems like there’s no sweeter remedy than copious amounts of carbohydrates.  In honor of the “chili” winter season, we sat down with talented actress, mother, and foodie extraordinaire, Shiri Appleby, to dish about all things comfort and round up our list of the greatest winter comfort foods.

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Between preparing for her new role in the upcoming Lifetime show, Unreal, and raising a toddler, Shiri knows about the importance of finding those sweet moments of comfort. “Winter comfort food, more specifically, has the power to warm you emotionally and physically, and it often reminds me of my mother’s cooking or things I just absolutely loved as a child.” So what’s her winter comfort food of choice? Topping our list of the greatest winter comfort foods we bring you…

1. SHIIRI APPLEBY’S CHILI

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Some chili for your chilly?  (Sorry, we couldn’t resist the deliciously horrible pun or Shiri’s exceptionally yummy recipe). Shiri says she loves this meal for its effortless warming effects; “It instantly warms up the house. You just throw the ingredients into the pot and let them work their magic. And with a toddler, it’s super easy to make.”

Shiri’s Chili (makes 8 to 10 servings)

Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
4 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans with liquid

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Directions:
Combine the ground beef, onion, and garlic into a large stockpot. Cook and stir over medium heat until beef is brown. Drain.

Stir in chili powder, salt, oregano, tomatoes, and tomato sauce; break up tomatoes while stirring. Heat to boiling, reduce heat to simmer, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for one hour.

Stir in beans. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes; stir occasionally.

2. CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE WINTER SOUL

With a healing bone broth, this authentic recipe is packed with flu-fighting nutrients ready to squabble the cold, and a thoughtfulness brimming with comfort. Although the recipe may take some time, this classic, richly layered chicken soup is well worth the wait.

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3. MAC AND CHEESE

We’re pretty sure that most children before the age of eight solely survive on mac and cheese. Loaded with the nostalgia of childhood, whether it’s a simple box of Kraft or the gruyere-glory-gooeyness at your local gastropub, this hot bubbling mess has the power to carry you back to the comforts of the womb.

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4. PIE

Chicken pot pie, blueberry pie, apple pie, peach pie, cherry pie, pumpkin pie, rhubarb pie, pecan… whatever. Pie is pie! And anything coming fresh out of the oven in a hot, flaky, crust will lull you with its warm hypnotic aroma and send you straight into the arms of comfort.

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5. FRENCH FRIES (with gravy or cheese or both)

We’re pretty sure there isn’t a single person who doesn’t feel deeply comforted by french fries. If they don’t… they’re lying. They are, at the very least, stealing fries from their significant other, pretending they’ve got nothing to do with this guilty pastime. Seeking more comfort?  Do them smothered and covered with gravy and cheese. We dare you.COMFORT18

6. PIZZA

Umm, in one word: Pizza.

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7. CHEESEBURGERS

More than any other mouth-watering phrase, “I feel like a burger” seems to be echoed most often when trying to hit the comfort spot. The classic cheeseburger, topped with all things Americana, generates an irresistible amount of comforting nostalgia and tastiness. Truly, it’s something to rely on.  Who says food can’t be your friend?

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8. GRILLED CHEESE AND TOMATO SOUP

This dynamic comfort duo will instantly transform your home into a quintessential Campbell’s soup commercial. There’s just something about dipping already warm things into other warm things.

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Rustic Tomato Basil Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

9. MASHED POTATOS WITH GRAVY

Probably more of a vehicle to drink gravy, mashed potatoes are endlessly comforting. It’s food that you don’t even have to chew! Buttery, warm, fluffy clouds of comfort heaven. Yum.

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10. BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN

From the Colonel to the fanciest, that warm, crispy, breaded skin hits the comfort food jackpot every time. There’s no denying it: “It’s just finger lickin’ good.”  Annie Campbell, at Après Fete, adds a sophisticated buttermilk twist and loads up on the comfort aspect with some homemade waffles. Check out her rendition of the old-school chicken and waffle classic, served-up with all the fixings!

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Blizzard Warning: Sometimes it’s okay to eat your feelings, especially when they taste this good! What are your favorite comfort foods? Share your mouth-watering suggestions here.

-Agatha Nowicki is an actress and a writer. Read her bits of prose here or watch clips of drama here.