FALL/ MAINS/ Sunday Supper/ WINTER

A Comfort Food Round Up

Hello, friends! Welcome to Djalali Cooks. Today I am really feeling the comfort food vibes. Maybe it’s because there is frost on the grass and my birdbaths have a layer of ice; or maybe it’s because 4 PM feels like 6 PM…either way, December (and its holidays) have us all gravitating toward those dishes that give us comfort, warmth and peace of mind. So let’s revisit some comfort food recipes.

Langostino and Pimiento Skillet Mac and Cheese

Let’s kick off today’s Comfort Food Round Up with everyone’s favorite comfort food: Macaroni and Cheese. But we are going to make it a little fancy. I found cooked, frozen langostino tails when I went to Trader Joe’s this week, and I thought they would be a perfect addition to this skillet mac and cheese. 

Macaroni and Cheese

What is a langostino you ask? Well it’s kinda like a tiny lobster. The word langostino is Spanish and it roughly translates to “prawn” or “little lobster.” Interestingly though, a langostino is neither a true prawn or lobster. It is actually more closely related to a hermit crab. The tail meat of the langostino is texturally more like shrimp, but the flavor is just like lobster. So langostino tails are a perfect way to make a “lobster-like” mac and cheese, for less cost and easier preparation.

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Chicken Noodle Soup

What Comfort Food Round Up would be complete without Chicken Noodle Soup? I asked Alex to smoke a chicken for this recipe and I am glad I did, because while I would have been happy with a store-bought rotisserie chicken, the smoked chicken really added a ton of amazing flavor. The other incredible flavor boost in this soup is dill. A lot of dill. If you’ve never had dill in your chicken noodle soup, you’re in for a treat. The savory, bright flavor of this soup will have you wanting to make it every week!

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Chicken Noodle Soup

Smoked Meatloaf and Cauliflower Mashies

This meatloaf is the best meatloaf I have ever had. Every time I have been to a barbecue joint that has meatloaf on the menu, I always think, “Yeah, right. Meatloaf. I am here for the ribs, or the pulled pork. Not something I can make easily at home.” Well, shame on me because it’s taken me 40+ years to realize that smoked meatloaf is something unto itself; separate from the rest. A revelation. Because we have mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes, you can feel pretty darn good about this classic comfort food.

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Not-so-Instant Instant Ramen

This comfort food is really high on my favorites list, because sometimes I really don’t feel like cooking. And that’s when I make this go-to: Instant Ramen. But, I don’t just boil some water, toss in the seasoning packet and the hunk of noodles and call it dinner. No, I like to make it a little more special. Sure, there are a few more steps, but they’re just as easy as sprinkling in a seasoning packet. Step one: throw away the seasoning packet (or save it for sprinkling on popcorn!). Let’s get to it: Not-so-Instant Instant Ramen!

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Instant Ramen

Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Mashies

This Shepherd’s pie is super flavorful and not at all heavy. While potatoes are not bad for you, cauliflower is less starchy with fewer carbs and calories. Cauliflower is a great source of fiber, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6 and potassium. To get the most health benefits of potatoes, you need to eat the skins; but to get silky mashed potatoes to top your Shepherd’s Pie you want to peel those potatoes! That’s why I think these Cauliflower Mashies are the perfect solution. All the comfort food flavor with the peace of mind that comes with eating a healthy meal!

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Shepherd's Pie

Easy Homemade Wonton Soup

I won’t lie, wontons take time, but if you have a helper it’s a fun activity to do together. If you don’t have a helper (I did not) it’s a meditative experience, so settle in and go with it! I promise that because you made the wontons yourself, this will be the best wonton soup of your life. Whether they are Asian Dumplings, Italian Dumplings, or Mexican Dumplings…most cultures have some kind of dumpling; dumplings are perfect little packages of flavorful ingredients all wrapped up in a dough; and steamed, boiled, fried or baked to perfection. To me, there are few things more comforting than dumplings.

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Wonton Soup

Spanakopita Pasta Bake

Like a Greek version of Mac and Cheese, this recipe is super easy and so satisfying! There is a ton of flavor from the variety of greens and fresh herbs. And of course, the cheese and creamy sauce! The Rigatoni noodles are perfectly al dente and the pasta that pokes out of the top gets crispy and delicious.

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Spanakopita Pasta Bake

Beef Tamales

My paternal grandfather was Mexican and I have very fond memories of having Tamales for holiday dinners. So it’s no surprise to me that I tend to gravitate toward Mexican flavors for comfort foods. Tamales are a process, much like wontons, it takes time. But if it’s time spent on a Tamale assembly line with family, it only adds to the association with Tamales being a comfort food. Even if you’re making these solo, you will no doubt be comforted by the meditative process and the fact that you will have plenty of leftovers to freeze and save for another time.

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Beef Tamale

How to Make Lamb Bolognese Sauce

This Lamb Bolognese is a rich and hearty sauce. Deeply flavored during its long, slow simmer; the lamb gives this sauce a very meat-forward flavor which, to me, is why this sauce feels so special. I like the idea of this dish as a Holiday Dinner alternative because it’s a long cook, creating hours of enticing aroma in the kitchen, which is an important part of preparing a feast. Classic Italian American Spaghetti and Meat Sauce might just at the top of this Comfort Food Round Up list!

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Lamb Bolognese

Thank you all so much for diving back through the archives with me today for this Comfort Food Round Up! What are your favorite comfort foods? Let me know here in the comments, or reach out on Instagram to let me know! I will see you here tomorrow for a great cookie recipe! Take care and be well, xo Kelly

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  • Sylvia Espinoza
    December 15, 2021 at 9:01 am

    Congratulations on the Special Announcement! You deserve every good thing that comes your way, Kelly. And thank you for the Comfort Food Roundup! So many selections, so little time, but very nice to have fantastic choices within easy reach. I hope to try a few when our children visit for the holidays. Hugs to you~

    • Kelly Djalali
      December 15, 2021 at 9:29 am

      Thank you so much Sylvia! It’s been quite a year for us and with this opportunity, the future looks very bright, indeed. Thank you so much for for your steadfast support over the years! ? xo Kelly

  • Arna
    December 15, 2021 at 9:18 am

    I have two of the yellow Dansk Dutch ovens. One was my mom’s. I use them quite often.

    • Kelly Djalali
      December 15, 2021 at 9:31 am

      Aren’t those Dansk Dutch ovens beautiful? I love the design. How cool that you have one handed down from your Mom. I love that multi-generational aspect of quality, well-made cookware. All the memories and love gets infused everything you make! Thank you so much for dropping me a line today! xo Kelly

  • Terry
    December 15, 2021 at 11:53 am

    Congrats to you, what a fabulous opportunity for you. I have made most of these dishes and I will say they are definitely comfort food and definitely delicious . Thanks for reminding us of these dishes to get us warm and cozy. Hugs to you ??? Mom

    • Kelly Djalali
      December 15, 2021 at 12:21 pm

      Thanks Mom, It is very exciting! Also, yes the comfort foods are calling now that we have such chilly temperatures! Talk soon, xo Kelly

  • Sandra
    December 15, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    Hi Kelly
    A great day for a Special Announcement! Congratulations!
    Also, love the comfort food recipes.
    I have a LOT of comfort food favorites — tamales, loaded baked potato, grilled cheese sandwich, tacos tacos tacos! I could go on and on. I think a big pot of spaghetti is always nice. Oh and have you heard of manapuas? I can’t remember their Chinese name but I grew up familiar with the Hawaiian version. Kind of a pork filled bun thing. Yum!
    Ok Kelly, have a great day and keep going strong with Djalali Cooks!
    Take care

    • Kelly Djalali
      December 15, 2021 at 3:00 pm

      Hi Sandra, Thank you so much! I should have added tacos to this list, but I couldn’t nail down just one version, lol! I haven’t heard of Manapuas, but they sound like bao buns – which I LOVE. Thank you so much for writing a note today, Sandra it’s great to hear from you! Have a wonderful day, xo Kelly

  • Celine Stanasolvoich
    December 16, 2021 at 8:30 am

    Congratulations Kelly! Wonderful that vendors recognize you and are willing to partner with you. These comfort meals are wonderful. I am looking forward to making the Spanakopita Pasta Bake. Best wishes this holiday season.

    • Kelly Djalali
      December 16, 2021 at 8:48 am

      Hello Celine, Thank you so much! You know, that Spanakopita pasta bake is one of our favorites! I am sure you will enjoy it. Thanks again and have a wonderful day, xo Kelly