During the hustle and bustle of holiday entertaining, the inspiration to whip up something new for dinner can be hard to find. We tapped Coloradan Tieghan Gerard, a self-taught recipe developer and the food blogger behind Half Baked Harvest, to share her ideas for deliciously comforting meals.
Most of these meals can be made using just one pot or pan, or a slow cooker, leaving you with more time to enjoy those cold, snowy nights with your family.
Tieghan says that this is one of her fallback meals because it’s “the easiest and best mac-and-cheese recipe.” Aside from the cheesy goodness that kids are sure to love, the recipe requires just one pot, and the ingredients and methods are simple.
If you love a good slow cooker meal, this is the recipe for you. A healthy mix of veggies, Italian seasonings, vegetable broth, and cheese tortellini bring this dish to life. Save your leftovers and serve for a couple of nights throughout the week.
Coq au Vin traditionally takes hours to make, but this recipe can be started early in the day before being cooked on low in a slow cooker. The dish looks and tastes elaborate, but it’s practical enough to make on a busy weeknight. Plus, Tieghan suggests serving it with parmesan mashed potatoes—y-u-m!
Only have 30 minutes to get a meal on the table? This sweet and slightly spicy plate is quick to make and dish up. It’s also a much healthier alternative to the always tempting Chinese takeout.
Limit your post-meal dish duties with this one-skillet chicken rice bake. Ask your kids to help with the prep work—from washing tomatoes to shredding cheese—before plopping this skillet into the oven and then serving. This recipe will help you get protein, veggies, and a healthy dose of comfort food (extra cheese, please!) into your child’s belly.
You can’t think about comfort food without chicken noodle soup crossing your mind. But after a while, it can start to feel bland. Give it a second life by making this savory and salty casserole instead.
Lasagna roll ups? Now that just sounds fun. Little foodies will love this family-style dinner, which only requires 30 minutes of simple prep. Another perk: You can swap out most of the veggies called for in the recipe with what you have on hand.
As Tieghan says, “Please just use my recipe as a guide, and swap in the ingredients you do have. Trust me, with pasta, tomatoes, and cheese, this is going to be great.”
Serve up another twist to the classic chicken noodle soup by adding flavors of ginger and peanut. This soothing soup will warm you and your kids on the coldest of nights, and ingredients like garlic, honey, and chicken broth will give your immune system a boost.
Caramelized onions, white wine, veggies, and fresh herbs make tater tots more adult-friendly in this recipe. While tater tots might not be your first choice for dinner, you likely won’t hear any complaints from your tiny food critics.
Yet another chance to use your slow cooker! The rich, flavorful sauce paired with classic rigatoni offers an easy-to-make pasta dish that isn’t mac-and-cheese. Top each bowl with breadcrumbs and serve alongside a slice of bread. If you don’t have a slow cooker, this can also be made on the stove-top.