Comfort Food Ideas

We all have favorite comfort foods or snack ideas that we rely on. They might be family recipes that date back a generation or two or they might be new concoctions of our own making. I asked the staff of Topsham Public Library to share some of their go-to favorite comfort foods. Below you will find their yummy ideas!

Pastries, doughnuts, cinnamon buns, cookies, pies, cakes, bars, breads and rolls. That’s where I find my comfort, but sometimes I’m so down I don’t have the energy or time to cook. When I need something quick my quick go-to comfort foods are: a good old bag of chips, and I’m not too picky about the flavor; a scoop of peanut butter topped with chocolate chips; Pepperidge Farm White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies and Twix bars.

Susan shares a breakfast idea that is easy to adapt to your own individual taste:

“Here’s a breakfast treat that we call “That Poofy Thing”  but normal people call it a Dutch Baby Pancake.

Heat oven to 425° Fahrenheit.  Melt 1.5-2 tablespoons of butter in a pie plate. Make sure it sloshes around the bottom of the pie plate so it is completely covered.   Beat 2 eggs with a hand whip or fork until completely combined.  Add ½ cup of milk and a “slosh” of vanilla (about a teaspoon-more or less.)  Combine well.  Add ½ cup of flour. (I take ½ cup of flour and fluff it with a fork in a separate bowl and then remeasure the ½ cup-who needs a sifter!)

Mix until combined—there may be a couple of small lumps in the mixture.  Pour it all into the pie plate and bake for about 20 min. (DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR or it will not “poof.”)  Take it out of the oven and play!  We put maple syrup on it or powdered sugar or jam or bacon or fruit or ice cream (yes—for breakfast.)  I know of someone who filled it with crab meat or lobster salad—they deleted the vanilla and added nutmeg instead.

It serves 2 in my house—you can cut it in half or in quarters—smaller if you have any self-control! When I had pneumonia a few years ago, it was the only thing I felt like eating.  I ate it as-is with no syrup or sugar and I am convinced that it restored my health and my spirit!”

Emma’s snack foods come from the store! Any type of chips and caramel M&Ms.

For those of you, and really, who isn’t, torn between healthy or unhealthy, Mariah has some suggestions:

“Unhealthy me is Swedish fish and all-dressed chips while binge watching New Girl on Netflix.

Healthy me is dried whole pitted dates filled with peanut butter, and my health tea (ginger tea, squeeze of lemon, spoonful of honey, 2 capfuls of apple cider vinegar) while reading a book on the couch.  I’ve been going back and forth between the two all week!”

Kettle chips and Helluvagood Onion dip are included in Julie’s comfort food prescription, but her favorite comfort food is fresh pasta (in the refrigerator section of the grocery store) with alfredo sauce (also in the refrigerator section) and chicken, “I pan-fry the chicken, usually those little strips, with some olive oil (flavored from Fiore) and Italian seasonings.  Nothing beats a good cup of hot tea with a cookie at night!  I like to snack on fresh pineapple too.”

If you’re looking for a meal that makes good leftovers, Dave has your covered:

“We were hankering for pulled pork. Easy enough in a crock-pot. Did not care for the smell of warm cider vinegar for the first 6 hours, but really liked the end result which gave us three different meals: pulled pork with veggies, pulled pork tacos, and finally, pulled pork sandwich.”

Lynne’s suggestions are all about comfort and she’s added a recipe for Butterscotch Nibbles :

“Soups, Stews and Chilis! I like to make a big pot of soup with whatever I have available. Start with a base (usually chicken or veggie broth) and then add stuff. Lentils are great with some carrots, celery and onions (add some ham if you’d like). Chicken soup is great. Vegetable soup is fun because you can add just about anything (except the kitchen sink). I like to add a can of tomatoes and then dice up whatever I have in the fridge. Add some rice or small size pasta and voila! Whatever you have leftover can be frozen. Stews are great with root veggies and spices (curry yum!). Chilis can be meat or meatless. Try adding sweet potatoes or butternut squash with a bit of grated dark chocolate, cumin and cinnamon! It’s fun to experiment. Grilled cheese and tuna! How about breakfast for Dinner?!”

Butterscotch Nibbles:

Melt 1 bag butterscotch chips and 1 cup peanut butter over low heat; remove from heat, stir in 8 cups rice chex cereal and 1-2 cups dry roasted peanuts. When all coated and a little cool add ½ bag chocolate chips. Stir until they stick but don’t melt. Pour on cookie sheet and refrigerate. Break apart and enjoy!

Linda has a love/hate relationship with Muddy Buddies: they’re yummy but she can’t stop eating them!

Muddy Buddies:

Measure 9 cups Chex cereal and set aside in a container with a tight lid. In 1 Qt microwavable bowl, stir together 1 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 cup peanut butter and 1/4 cup margarine. Microwave on high uncovered for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave about 30 seconds more and stir until smooth. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour over cereal and stir until cereal is evenly coated. Pour in 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Put lid tightly on container and shake well until cereal is evenly covered. Let cool and eat.

Not a big chocolate fan, Cyndi delights in peanut butter and what better than a good old peanut butter cookie?

Peanut butter cookies:

Mix together ½ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, ½ peanut butter, ¼ cup shortening, ¼ cup margarine or butter (softened), and 1 egg.

Then add 1 ¼ cup flour, ¾ tsp baking soda, ½ tsp baking powder, and ¼ tsp salt. Stir until combined.

Cover and refrigerate 3 hours (bummer, but necessary)

Heat oven to 375°, shape into 1 ¼ inch balls and place 3 inches apart on cookie sheet (do not grease the cookie sheet). Flatten balls in crisscross pattern with fork dipped in granulated sugar. Bake 9-10 minutes, cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet, remove to wire rack. Makes about 3 dozen.

If you’re disappointed that you can’t get to Disney World right now, at least you can eat like you’re there. Lindsey shared these two Disney recipes that she enjoys and finishes with a pasta recipe she loves:

New England Pot Roast from Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Tree Tavern

‘Ohana Bread Pudding


Garlic Angel Hair Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

 Heat a large pot of water and add a pinch of salt. Drop-in the Angel hair pasta (Any pasta will work!)

In a frying pan, heat olive oil on medium heat and drop in chopped garlic. Fry garlic until lightly golden brown. Add a spoonful of pasta water to the frying pan and continue cooking. Add chopped cherry tomatoes and fresh chopped basil.

Add the pasta into the frying pan and mix all the ingredients.

Add fresh chopped parsley and squeeze a fresh lemon over the pasta.


No matter your taste, I hope you’ve found some new ideas and recipes that inspire you and perhaps now is a good time to dig out those old favorite recipes of yours and share them!