As we go through winter, we come to crave those comforting foods that we associate with happy times and loving relatives. Whether it's pecan cake, salmon croquettes, tuna noodle casserole, coconut pie or fried chicken, we all have favorite foods that comfort us when we need it the most.
Chicken cobbler casserole
6 tablespoons melted butter, divided
4 cups cubed sourdough rolls
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 medium-size sweet onions, sliced
1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup white wine
1 (10¾-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup drained and chopped jarred roasted red bell peppers
2½ cups shredded cooked chicken
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss 4 tablespoons melted butter with next 3 ingredients, and set aside.
Sauté onions in remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Add mushrooms, and sauté for 5 minutes.
Stir in wine and next 3 ingredients; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until bubbly. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 9-inch square baking dish or 3 (10-ounce) ramekins; top evenly with bread mixture.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
This recipe is from "Southern Living Feel Good Food: Simple and Satisfying Recipes With a Fresh Twist," by the editors of Southern Living magazine (Oxmoor House, $24.95).
Buttermilk fried chicken
Serves 6 to 8
1 (3½-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon creole seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 cups all-purpose flour
9 cups shortening
Place chicken in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag. Add buttermilk, seal and chill 2 hours. Remove chicken from buttermilk, discarding buttermilk. Sprinkle chicken with creole seasoning, salt and pepper. Place flour on a large plate or in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess.
Melt shortening to depth of 1½ inches in a heavy-bottomed skillet at least 10 inches wide and 3 inches deep. Heat shortening to 360 degrees using medium-high heat. Fry chicken, in batches, turning often, 15 to 20 minutes or until evenly browned and done. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels.
This recipe is from "Southern Living Around the Southern Table: Coming Home to Comforting Meals and Treasured Memories," by Rebecca Lang (Oxmoor House, $29.95).
1 can salmon
½ cup butter
1 cup fine bread crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder, mixed in with the bread crumbs
½ cup cream
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Beaten egg and cracker dust for coating
Mix all ingredients up to salt and form into pear shapes. Roll in egg and cracker dust, and fry until light brown.
This recipe is from "The Blue Grass Cookbook," compiled by Minnie C. Fox. First published in 1904, it was reprinted last year by University Press of Kentucky ($29.95).
Texas ranch chicken
Serves 10 to 12
6 tablespoons salted butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2¼ teaspoons chili powder
6 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup white wine
1¾ teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
½ cup sour cream
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 green bell pepper
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup thickly sliced mushrooms
2 pounds cooked, seasoned chicken breasts, shredded
2 (10-ounce) cans Rotel tomatoes and green chilies, drained
3 tablespoons sherry
1¼ teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons cilantro
1 cup chopped green onions
8 ounces sharp Monterey jack cheese, shredded
8 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
10 soft corn tortillas, cut into eighths
In a heavy medium stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add garlic and chili powder and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the garlic becomes fragrant.
Add the flour, stirring thoroughly. Immediately add the chicken stock, white wine, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper and the sour cream and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil, and just before it begins to bubble, add the diced bell pepper, onion and mushrooms. Sauté them until they are soft, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the chicken, tomatoes, the remaining 1¼ teaspoons salt, the remaining ¾ teaspoon black pepper, sherry, cumin and lemon juice. Continue to sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until everything has combined well. Turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro and green onions.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the vegetables and the sauce and stir well.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the jack and cheddar cheese.
In a 13-by-9-by-2 inch baking dish, arrange a layer of tortillas, then a layer of the chicken mixture, and then a layer of cheese. Repeat this process, topping the mixture with a final layer of cheese. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 20 to 35 minutes.
This recipe is from "My Beverly Hill Kitchen," Alex Hitz (Knopf, $35).
Quick pineapple upside-down cake
Makes 1 cake
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 can (15 ounces) unsweetened pineapple slices
7 maraschino cherries, optional
½ cup chopped pecans, optional
1 package yellow cake mix, without pudding
Melt butter in a large cast-iron skillet. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over butter in the bottom of skillet. Arrange 7 pineapple slices over brown sugar. Place a cherry in center of each pineapple ring and sprinkle with pecans, if desired. Set aside. Prepare cake mix according to package directions.
Pour batter over pineapple. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until pick comes out clean. Remove cake and invert onto large plate.
This recipe is from "Sew Many Recipes ... Sew Little Time," a collection of recipes from Quilter's Square in Lexington, Ky.