They say "variety is the spice of life", but where does that leave spice, huh? We say that spice is the spice of life, and by "spice" we actually just mean "flavor", whether it happens to be spicy or not, and speaking of flavor, let's talk food. Comfort food. We hope you read that in kind of a Daniel Craig as James Bond voice, but if not, it's whatevs. And since this little intro is starting to get away from us, let's just move on, shall we?
Life is pretty hard, but it would be a darned sight harder without the many dishes that warm us up from the inside and make us feel all tingly and nostalgic. All of the classic foods we enjoyed as kids—all of the meals and desserts we grew up craving and have only come to love even more as the years go by—it's those iconic foods we're discussing today, and we figured we'd make this a little game, so here's the deal. Take a gander at these classic comfort foods, and try to resist the urge to go make them. Pick or pass on them, and in the end, we'll reveal a Disney hero and Disney villain combination.
If you don't have a serving of fried chicken on Sunday afternoon after church, what are you even doing with your life? Chicken was nothing—NOTHING, we tell you!—until that light bulb appeared over that mad chef scientist's head and they got the bright idea to batter it and deep fry it. Dark meat or light meat, fried chicken is irresistibly savory and satisfyingly crunchy.
Layers of ruffled pasta with tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, spinach and/or any other variety of Italian-y ingredients, lasagna has wormed its way into all of our hearts. So warm, so carb-filled and soothing. Is there any ill in this world that a serving or two (or three) of lasagna can't fix? We don't think so.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Oh, good, merciful sandwiches. Sticking a slice of prepackaged American cheese between two pieces of white bread and browning it to buttery perfection in a pan on the stove. It sounds so simple, doesn't it? And yet, this uncomplicated series of steps is all you've got to follow in order to whip up one of the best sammiches the world has ever seen.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Someone even mentions the world "noodles" and we start to get excited. We'll be all over that pasta like ugly on an ape because we're carb lunatics. But when you top those noodles with tomato sauce and some meatballs, we don't know how we could possibly be expected to resist that. Throw in some grated parmesan, and you've got a dee-licious deal!
Okay, okay, you caught us. So maybe mashed potatoes aren't really a meal (at least, not if you're trying to maintain a balanced diet like a responsible adult should, but, hey, who ever said we were responsible adults?). But they're still a delightful side dish perfect for Thanksgiving or just any old day.
Chicken Fried Steak
Chicken fried like chicken is pretty darn rad, you guys, but have you ever had...wait for it...STEAK fried like chicken? Because, let us tell you, that is one experience for the books. As crispy and crunchy as its chickeny cousin, the chicken fried steak is tender and juicy, and it gets even better when it's topped with gravy.
Beef Stroganoff has got it all. It's always delicious, what with the beef tips and the gravy and all, to say nothing of the noodles they sit on top of, but this dish is also so flipping easy to make. You can whip it up real quick on the stove top, or let the ingredients do their thing in a crock pot. So easy and so good.
Tortillas are the pasta of the Mexican food world and, personally, we are *big* fans. Enchiladas in particular are always a hit with us. Filled with meat and cheese, topped with sauce and sprinkled with even more cheese before being baked in the oven, if this doesn't sound like dinner heaven to you, then we're afraid we can't be your best friend. Sorry.
Chicken and Dumplings
Biscuit dough dropped by the spoonful into a pot full of boiling chicken soup, dumplings are soft and chewy on the outside and fluffy and light on the inside, and we would like to see you try and say no to that. Another great soup to enjoy on a rainy day, chicken and dumplings never ceases to satisfy.
Macaroni and Cheese
Pasta and cheese held together with butter and milk. How could that possibly be anything other than amazing? Whether you prefer this dish baked in the oven with crunchy crumbled crackers on top, or whether you like yours served up smooth and creamy straight from the stove top, macaroni and cheese is an undisputed classic and a welcome dish on any table.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Classic comfort foods aren't just breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes, they're also desserts! Oh, we're so happy we live in a world where there are chocolate chip cookies, because if we didn't have these little guys to fall back on, we don't know what we would binge-eat in our pajamas while watching Disney movies alone at home. Thanks, chocolate chip cookies, for always being there for us.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken noodle soup for the soul isn't just the title of a series of sappy books, it's a truism. Chicken noodle soup really is for the soul.This stuff is a staple for anyone who's feeling under the weather, but it's so warm and soothing, it's perfect for a lunch on a rainy day, too. Yum!
Stuffing, sometimes called dressing, is crunchy on top and soft, chewy and fluffy on the inside. Sure, it's a popular Thanksgiving side dish, but this stuff(ing) deserves to be loved all year round, if you ask us. With its buttery, herb-y flavor, people tend to have hard feelings about this dish. Where do you stand?
Back in our day, our ravioli came from a can. In fact, even today, back in our now, our ravioli still comes from a can in the form of Chef Boyardee. But, we hear some people actually make this stuff from scratch. Meat and cheese filled tiny pasta pies? Can there be any other answer than a wholehearted "yes"?
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Let's be real, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are more than a tasty lunch. Sure, we were all pleased as punch when we opened up our lunch kits in the school cafeteria to find one of these puppies, but they make a super satisfyingly savory yet sweet snack, too. PB&J, you never let us down, and we salute you for that.
If you've never had cornbread, then please, take this. It's our condolences. We feel sorry for anyone who has never experience the sheer soulful delight of a fresh piece of cornbread, right out of the oven. Do yourself a favor. Slice a piece of this stuff open and stick a pat of butter in between. You'll be glad you did.
Yeah, in our family, we always celebrate Taco Tuesday. And We have an encore performance called Taco Wednesday, which was followed by Taco Thursday and Taco Friday. Also, we have tacos on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and, yeah, okay, so we eat tacos a lot. Can you blame us? They're so crunchy and perfect, how could you not eat them all the time?!
Meatloaf is a funny thing. Parents insist on making it, in spite of the fact that most little kids absolutely hate it and refuse to eat it. But eventually, as the kids grow, they come to love meatloaf because, ironically, it reminds them of their childhood, and when they become parents themselves, the cycle continues.
Want a taste of the southwest? Then chili is your main man. It's got the beans, it's got the meat, it's got the peppers and onions. It's got both heat and savoriness working together to pack a zesty, warming punch that you won't forget. Throw in a slice of cornbread on the side, and this is one dish we just can't turn down, we tell ya what!
Another holiday classic, most people only enjoy roast turkey two times a year: on Thanksgiving and on Christmas. And that's fine, it's cool if people want to associate this deliciousness with two beloved holidays, but all's we're sayin' is roast turkey makes a good dinner any day, whether you're celebrating a seasonal occasion or not.
Can we get a "heck yeah" for tomato soup? Thank you. You know how you pair fine wine with fine cheese? Well, pairing tomato soup with a grilled cheese fresh from the pan is like the less refined/little kid equivalent of that. If we could only eat this stuff for the rest of our lives, we think we'd be perfectly happy with that.
Broccoli and Rice Casserole
Broccoli and rice tango in this sumptuous casserole fit for a budget king. Seriously, this stuff is so cheap to make and it couldn't be easier to put together, either. And yet, in spite of its inexpensive simplicity, it's always a big hit—most especially when it's been topped with a thick layer of shredded cheddar cheese.
Chicken Pot Pie
Look, we'll level with you. You could put anything between two pie crusts—chicken and vegetables in a bechamel sauce, fruit filling, creamy custard, car keys, old bottle caps, scraps of fabric, whatever—and we would be happy to eat it. But, we will be honest, of all of those things, chicken pot pie is still our favorite.
If you've never broken up with someone only to go back to your apartment and pig out on a few loaves of frozen garlic bread, are you truly living your best life? This stuff makes the perfect appetizer and the perfect accompaniment to spaghetti, lasagna and other Italian foods, but it's also pretty darn good all on its own.
Great, now we've done it. We're so impressionable, not to mention hungry, all we have to do to start craving something is look at a picture of it. And since we've just laid eyes on this stack of pancakes, it looks like we're gonna have to call in sick to work today so we can pig out on a stack of homemade pancakes then fall into a carb coma—but, don't get us wrong, we're not complaining.
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Tuna isn't just for making sandwiches that no one will eat and that eventually gets thrown away, it's also perfect for whipping up this classic kid unapproved dish. To be sure, tuna noodle casserole is an acquired taste. Not everyone likes fish, and we get that. But this underdog of a dinner deserves some love, too. Or does it? You decide.
We've never met a person who didn't like brownies and, to be honest, we never want to. Why would anyone want to have anything to do with someone who dislikes these chocolate squares of pure deliciousness? We don't need that kind of negativity in our lives. We've got enough to deal with!
Sweet Potato Casserole
Should sweet potato casserole be relegated to Thanksgiving and Christmas only? We say no, but there are some out there who would beg to differ. To each their own, that's what we always say! Well, we don't *always* say it, but we're saying it now. In any case, this stuff is sweet and tasty, but not a hit with everyone. Do you like it, or nah?
Potatoes Au Gratin
Potatoes are like pasta. They're super versatile, there's essentially no limit to what you can do with them! And the best part is, no matter what you choose to do with potatoes, the result is sure to be incredible. Potatoes au gratin, AKA sliced potatoes in a bechamel sauce with Gruyere cheese, are fancy yet comforting all at once. So versatile. So tasty.
Easy, breezy, beautiful. Pot roast. Wait, that's not how it goes, is it? Alright, maybe this dish isn't Maybelline, but that doesn't mean it can't be as fabulous, does it? No matter how much time you invest in the preparation of this dish, whether you pour your heart and soul into it or just toss it in the crock pot last minute, it never fails to deliver MAXIMUM YUM.
We remember our first bowl of clam chowder. It was quite the experience. We took one bite and suddenly, we were sitting in a cafe in the Pacific Northwest, wearing a fisherman's sweater, waiting for the fog out in the bay to dissipate so we could get back to spotting whales. It was an oddly specific feeling...and yet, we didn't mind it. Anyway, 5/5, would recommend.
If you've never had a tamale, stop reading this and go get one. You haven't lived until you've tried one of these traditional feats of Mesoamerican cuisine. Made with masa flour and pork, beef or chicken, then wrapped in a corn husk and steamed to perfection, we've never regretted eating a tamale—except for those canned tamales we bought from the dollar store one drunken night out. Boy, THAT was a mistake.
Baked potatoes are wonderful, and we've got a few bullet points we'd like to hit to illustrate why. For one thing, they're super easy to make. These are one of the first meals most kids learn how to whip up on their own. For another thing, they're a great vessel for other things—butter, sour cream, cheese, ranch dressing, bacon and oh, so much more!
We can't all be in Louisiana all the time. Unfortunately. But, what we can do is bring the taste of that soulful state to us in our very home, no matter how far away we are and no matter what time of day. Hooray! Shrimp gumbo tastes like the South. It's got seafood, spice and everything nice. Who could turn a bowl full of this down, we ask you?
Apple Pie a la Mode
You say "apple pie" and we'll be there. You throw in the words "a la mode" and we'll be there even faster. Apple pie with a side of vanilla ice cream might seem like a boring dessert to some, but we prefer to call it a classic. Tantalizingly sweet, this traditional hot and cold duo is a winner winner after any dinner.