Comfort dishes that taste like home
Chock it up to good old fashion nostalgia, but there are few things more comforting in life than mom’s home cooking. These recipes have a special something—no doubt the love and time that goes into its preparation—that warm the soul on the most stressful of days. From creamy mashed potatoes to gooey mac n’ cheese, these recipes shared by our staff are mom-made and children of all ages approved.
Mom’s Buttery Mashed Potatoes
Delightfully whipped and sinfully buttery, this mashed potatoes recipe is the last you’ll ever need. Naturally gluten-free and vegetarian, the creamy comfort dish is something everyone will enjoy at your next dinner party, or after a particularly stressful day. The recipe comes courtesy of Anton Media Group’s special sections editor Cyndi Zaweski’s mother, Dorothy Murray, who first whipped up this twist on the classic side dish more than three decades ago. Now, it’s a foolproof, go-to recipe from their family to yours.
5 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 cup whole milk
1 stick salted butter
Boil potatoes in salted water until fork-tender. Drain potatoes and add in butter. Allow butter to melt. To ensure a creamy texture, use an electric hand mixer on high while gradually adding in milk until potatoes are fluffy and free of lumps. Add a little extra milk and salt as needed to taste.
—Recipe submitted by Cyndi Zaweski
No offense to the blue box, but the recipe for truly great mac ‘n’ cheese is best left to Grandma. This baked version of the dish is smothered in liquid gold and topped with breadcrumbs.
1 pound elbow macaroni
1/2 stick unsalted butter
4 tbsp all-purpose flour or cornmeal
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups milk
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 cup grated gouda
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a two-quart casserole dish. Boil macaroni in salted water until tender. Drain. For the sauce, melt butter in a saucepan. Whisk in flour and salt for two to three minutes, until pale in color. Add in milk until mixture thickens. Then add in cheese. Stir until melted. Coat macaroni with cheese sauce and add to the casserole dish. To create the topping, mix bread crumbs with butter. Top the mac and cheese with breadcrumb topping. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the dish bubbles around the edges.
—Recipe submitted by Cyndi Zaweski
There’s nothing like a bowl of soup that warms your soul during the harsh winter. Editor Christopher Birsner’s mother received this bean and basil soup recipe from her grandmother and it serves as a healthy and hearty alternative to the cans sold in the supermarket.
1/2 pound dried white kidney beans
1 1/2 pound zucchini
3 medium white turnips (1 pound)
1 large potato
6 medium carrots (1 pound)
2 celery stalks with leaves
2 red onions
1 red onion, studded with 4 cloves
1 whole bay leaf
1 can (1 pound, 1 ounce) whole tomatoes, undrained
1 tbsp dried basil leaves
1/8 tsp dried hot red pepper
1 1/12 tbsp salt
2 tbsp olive or salad oil
2 tbsp chopped parsley
A day before serving, soak beans overnight in cold water to cover. The next day, drain the beans in a colander and rinse under cold water. Then, begin to chop the vegetables: dice zucchini; pare and dice turnips and potatoes; pare and thinly slice carrots; slice celery; and coarsely chop two onions.
Put the beans into a six-quart Dutch oven with six cups of water and begin to boil at a medium heat. Once boiling, add prepared vegetables and the rest of the ingredients, except oil and parsley. Return to boiling by reducing the heat to a simmer and keep the pot covered two-and-a-half hours, or until the beans are tender.
To serve, remove the clove-studded onion and bay leaf, then stir in oil. Taste for seasoning, then sprinkle with parsley.
—Recipe submitted by Christopher Birsner
This clam chowder recipe is the perfect dish to warm you up on a cold day. Just one spoonful will put your taste buds into overdrive, leaving you wanting more. Editor Caroline Ryan’s mother received this clam chowder recipe many years ago when she was on vacation in Nantucket. The dish has been enjoyed ever since.
2 cans or 8 oz. minced clams with liquid
2 medium potatoes (diced)
1 generous pinch of black pepper
1 medium onion (diced)
5 to 6 strips of bacon
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cups of corn starch or potato flakes
1 tsp. salt
3 cups milk
1 stick butter
This is intended to be a one pot recipe. Cook bacon in a 3-4 quart pot until crisp. Remove and drain bacon. Pour off all but two tablespoons of grease. Add diced onion and saute until translucent. Add the diced potatoes, water, clams and salt and pepper. Shake in corn starch, stir.
Cover the pot and simmer for 12 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Do not allow the chowder to boil. Add milk and butter and crumble in bacon. Heat, stirring occasionally until butter is melted. Serve hot and enjoy. Yields approximately 2 quarts.
—Recipe submitted by Caroline Ryan
Eating healthy is very important nowadays, so Long Island Weekly editor Anthony Murray’s mother, Laraine, has a great option.
6 (4 to 5 oz) sole fillets
1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon of squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup of dry seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
Position a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Season the sole fillet with pepper. Fold each fillet in half crosswise. Make sure to arrange the baking dish and drizzle the wine and lemon juice over the fillets. In a small mixing bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, parsley and oregano. Top each fillet with an equal amount of the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the fish flakes easily.
—Recipe submitted by Anthony Murray