5 Easy comfort food recipes

Reader's Digest Editors

Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated. To craft these five delicious, comforting meals just follow our step-by-step recipes and expert tips.

1. Corn and squash quesadillas

quesadillas

Look for firm yellow squash that has bright skin with no spots or bruises. Store it in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to five days.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium ears sweet corn, husks removed
  • 2 medium yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 small sweet onion, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
  • 1. tsp. minced fresh oregano
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 6 flour tortillas (8 in.), warmed
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil

Method

  1. Grill the corn, covered, over medium heat for 10 minutes; turn. Place the squash, onion and jalapenos on grill; cover and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side. When vegetables are cool enough to handle, remove corn from the cobs, chop the squash and onion, and seed and chop the jalapenos. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in the basil, oregano, garlic, salt and cumin. Place 1/2 cup filling on one side of each tortilla; sprinkle with cheese. Fold tortillas over filling. On a griddle or large skillet, cook quesadillas in oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side or until heated through. Cut into wedges.

NOTE: Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.

 

2. Sweet and spicy Asian meatballs

asian meatballs

Meatballs need to be the same size so they cook evenly. Use a 1 or 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop to measure the meat mixture and level off the top. Gently roll into a ball.

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup sliced water chestnuts, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh gingerroot
  • ⅔ cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
  • 2 lbs. ground pork

For the sauce

  • 2 cups sweet-and-sour sauce
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup duck sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1. tsp. minced fresh gingerroot
  • Thinly sliced green onions, optional

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients; stir in bread crumbs. Add the pork; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 1 and 1/4 inch balls. Place meatballs on a greased rack in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake 18-22 minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. Transfer meatballs to a 4-qt. slow cooker. In a small bowl, mix the first eight sauce ingredients. Pour over meatballs. Cook, covered, on low 3-4 hours or until meatballs are cooked through. If desired, sprinkle with green onions.

NOTE: Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.

 

3. Pecan bacon

pecan bacon

Crispy, crunchy, divine bacon. Need we say more? It bakes in the oven so it won’t splatter on your stovetop.

Ingredients

  • 12 bacon strips
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • ⅛ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp. pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Place bacon in a single layer in a foil-lined 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake until lightly browned, 16-18 minutes.
  2. Remove bacon from pan. Discard drippings from pan, wiping clean if necessary.
  3. In a shallow bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Dip both sides of bacon in brown sugar mixture, patting to help coating adhere; return to pan.
  4. Bake 8-10 minutes longer or until caramelised.
  5. Remove immediately from pan.

 

4. Mushroom-stuffed cheeseburgers

mushroom burger

You can stuff these burgers the day before so all you have to do on cookout day is slap ‘em on the grill. They’re quick to make and taste delicious.

Ingredients

  • 2 bacon strips, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 2 Tbsp. steak sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 4 slices provolone cheese, halved
  • 8 kaiser rolls, split

Method

  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Cook and stir mushrooms, onion and peppers in bacon drippings until tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a small bowl; cool completely. Stir in bacon.
  2. In a large bowl, combine beef, steak sauce and seasoned salt, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 16 thin patties. Top eight of the patties with cheese, folding cheese to fit within 3/4 inches of edge. Spread with mushroom mixture. Top with remaining patties, pressing edges to enclose filling.
  3. Grill burgers, uncovered, over medium-high heat or broil 4 in. from heat 5-6 minutes on each side or until a thermometer inserted in meat portion reads 160°. Serve on rolls.

 

5. Lemon-basil grilled prawns and couscous

prawns with couscous

Basil and lemon pair nicely and add bright flavour to shrimp. Basil grows well in containers; put a pot on a sunny windowsill so you can enjoy it all year.

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups uncooked pearl (Israeli) couscous
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh basil, divided
  • 2 lbs. uncooked large prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon peel

Method

  1. Cook couscous according to package directions; remove from heat. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk lemon juice, oil, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper until blended; stir in 1/4 cup basil. Stir 1/4 cup dressing into cooked couscous; reserve remaining dressing.
  2. Thread prawns onto metal or soaked wooden skewers. Grill on an oiled rack, covered, over medium-high heat 2-3 minutes on each side or until prawns turn pink.
  3. Remove prawns from skewers; toss with reserved dressing. Serve with couscous. Sprinkle with lemon peel and remaining basil.