By Cora L. Diekman

Published on January 5, 2016

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slow cooker mac and cheese

Everything about this recipe sounds like cold weather comfort in a bowl—slow cooked cheesy pasta goodness requiring (almost) zero effort.

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Photography by yummyhealthyeasy.com

easy chili relleno casserole

This warm, gooey, slightly spicy Mexican treat makes a simple yet hearty meal for any cold winter day (and reheats well for leftovers, too). Prep requires no chopping if using pre-shredded cheese, and bakes in 30 quick minutes—a perfect dinner solution for busy weeknights.

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quick ramen noodle bowl

If you’re like most of us, you probably retired your ramen noodle bowl shortly after college graduation. But a recent surge of upscale comfort food upgrades (like gourmet burgers, mac and cheese) has forced ramen back into the spotlight. This is less about a recipe than a method, which starts with the thinking that packaged ramen is a blank slate (much like a store-bought pizza dough) ready to be topped with your favorite ingredients. We like this version with egg, mushrooms, and scallions, but it’s all up to you.

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Photography by marthastewart.com

slow cooker beef ragu

This recipe is wonderfully simple, but even better is the versatility of the finished ragu—serve over pasta, rice, polenta, or in dinner rolls for hearty dinner-worthy sandwiches. Simply pop everything into the slow cooker and wait until the meat is fork-tender and shreds easily, which is usually only around 4.5 hours on high.

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Photography by damndelicious.net

creamy tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons

A new take on a classic, with a simple recipe for skipping the canned variety and making soup from scratch. Total prep time is 10 minutes, and with a cook time of 25 minutes, this recipe can easily be made on busy weeknights when time is limited but comfort food is a MUST. Plus, we think that grilled cheese croutons are kinda genius. Just sayin’.

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Photography by David M. Russell

ina garten’s weeknight bolognese

Sometimes only pasta with meat sauce will do. On nights when hunger is high and time is limited, this weeknight bolognese sauce can’t be beat. The ingredient list seems a bit daunting at first, but prep time tops out at 15 minutes, and cook time is only 30. Lots of flavor additions (like white wine, crushed red pepper, basil, and heavy cream) create slow-cooked flavor in the time it takes to boil pasta and set the table.

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eggs in purgatory

Nigella Lawson is the queen of simply sexy comfort food classics, and this is no exception.  In typical Nigella style, this recipe is light on effort and heavy on soul-satisfying flavor.  Simply prep the tomato base with canned tomatoes, garlic, and a few other flavors, and then poach eggs inside and top with Parmesan.  Remove from heat while eggs are still soft for the ultimate runny yoke experience, and scoop up with your favorite crusty bread.

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Photography by Katherine Mcnaughton

mulled wine for a crowd

Yes, this is technically a drink, but it’s seriously worth a mention.  If you’ve never made mulled wine before, you may be surprised to discover how simple the process actually is. Or, if you’re really in a pinch, you can easily find ready-mixed spice mulling pouches at grocery and specialty food stores. Bottoms up!

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Photography by damndelicious.net

one pot chili mac and cheese

Don’t let the ingredient list deter you from trying this amazingly simple recipe. Total prep time is 10 minutes (all chopping), and then your stovetop does the rest. Every single melty, cheesy, swoon-worthy bite will be well worth it. And (BONUS!) this recipe is every bit as good reheated the next day for lunch.

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Photography by Jose Manuel Picayo Rivera

chocolate pudding cake

As homemade cakes go, this is as easy as it gets. This delectable cake-meets-brownie is surprisingly moist and requires no cake pans, frosting, layers, or fuss. Simply mix, pour into a casserole dish, and eat with a spoon to your heart’s content.

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Photography by skinnytaste.com

corned beef and cabbage soup

This recipe takes a little help from the supermarket with a fully prepped corned beef brisket, meaning all you need to do is pile everything in a pot and wait a few hours for delicious, meaty soup goodness. While the prep work is light, cooking time is a bit long, so this recipe is best suited for weekends. But (YAY!) it reheats beautifully for workweek lunches and dinners. Yes, please!

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Photography by gimmesomeoven.com

20-minute cheesy enchilada soup

This is another recipe with a long(ish) ingredient list, but comes together in a snap. The most time-intensive part of the prep work is simple chopping, and once finished, the soup cooks in 20 quick minutes. Eat as is, or top with a few fresh ingredients like avocado or fresh cilantro for heightened flavor.

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Photography by marthastewart.com

emeril’s kicked-up tuna melts

Grilled cheese is the traditional cold-weather go-to, but we think these kicked-up tuna melts deserve equal billing. Despite the serious flavor happening here (tuna, cheese, capers, lemon), there’s nothing more complicated about this recipe than chopping, stacking, and popping under the broiler. Everything comes together in under 10 minutes—including broiling time—making this a fantastic way to feed a hungry crowd in record time.

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Photography by bellofthekitchen.com

slow cooker loaded potato soup

No list of comfort foods would be complete without loaded potato soup.  This version comes together in the slow cooker, making it ideal for busy weekends and weeknights. Simply throw everything in the pot in the morning and cheesy potato goodness will be waiting for you come dinnertime.

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Photography by omgchocolatedesserts.com

peach cobbler dump cake

Some words—like ‘cobbler’—are synonymous with warmth and comfort. For a simple and satisfying homemade dessert that’s as easy as boxed cake, try this peach cobbler dump cake. Prep takes only 5 minutes and the ingredient list consists of only three simple pantry staples.

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Photography by homecookingmemories.com

oven baked meatball sandwiches

Feed a crowd of hungry peeps with a pan full of these delicious, cheesy meatball sandwiches in mere minutes! If you have the time, you can easily make the meatballs from scratch, but when time is limited, frozen store bought meatballs will do.

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Photography by spicysouthernkitchen.com

plain and simple chili

When all you want is a one-pot soul-warming classic, simple chili can’t be beat. This recipe is uncomplicated and yet packs all the punch of complicated all-day-long recipes. That slow-cooked flavor goodness comes together in 1.5 hours, which makes this chili ideal for busy weekends when you can’t spend all day stove-side.

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Photography by madefrompinterest.net

cheesy bacon ranch tater tots

For a quick comfort food snack or side dish, you can’t miss with tater tots covered in cheese and bacon.  Quick, simple, and delicious.  Enough said.

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Photography by southernbite.com

5-ingredient slow cooker beef tips

This simple recipe is way versatile. Swap rice for noodles or even serve straight up for a slow-cooked, meaty meal any night of the week. The ingredient list is short (beef, cream of mushroom soup, brown gravy mix, bullion cube, and onion) and cooks while you’re away at work or out running errands on a busy weekend day.

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Photography by averiecooks.com

easy pizza dip

This party dip covers all of the cold-weather comfort food bases—it’s hot, cheesy, fast, and easy.  Simply combine the ingredients and bake until melty and golden for a crowd pleasing dip that’s impossible to resist (hello, Super Bowl).

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