Our Most Comforting Recipes in Times of Sorrow

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Whether there was a death in the family, someone is in the hospital, or life has taken a difficult turn, we all face difficult challenges from time to time. A home-cooked meal can't fix a tough situation, but it can definitely provide comfort when it is needed most. This recipe collection recalls familiar favorites like old-fashioned mac and cheese and hearty chicken-noodle soup and new classics like sweet potato soup that will provide warmth and nourishment with every spoonful. If your friend, neighbor, or loved one is going through a particularly difficult time, ease the burden with one of these warm and nourishing meals.

01 of 20

Old-Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie

Old-Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie

There's something so comforting not only in serving this classic comfort food, but also in its preparation. There's no cutting corners here except when it comes to the piecrust. The recipe calls for the store-bought refrigerated variety, though you can certainly make your own if you're inclined.

02 of 20

BBQ Rub Roasted Chickens with Potatoes and Carrots

BBQ Rub Roast Chickens with Potatoes and Carrots
Greg DuPree

Recipe: BBQ Rub Roasted Chickens with Potatoes and Carrots

This is a full dinner on a sheet pan, and it comes together with just 15 minutes of active time. Make up a double batch of the sweet and smoky rub to take along with the meal as a little extra gift. It's great on pork too.

03 of 20

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Jennifer Causey

Recipe: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are true crowd pleasers, but don't go for the ho-hum store-bought version. This recipe calls on brown butter to kick the tried-and-true up to elite status. Give them a try and you'll never look back.

04 of 20

Million Dollar Pound Cake

Million Dollar Pound Cake
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Million Dollar Pound Cake

A good pound cake is a true chameleon. Sure, its roots are firmly grounded in the dessert category, but it can just as easily stand in as a comforting breakfast when served with a hot cup of coffee. Mark our words, no one will complain if you pull out this winner before the noon hour.

05 of 20

Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad

Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad
Southern Living

Recipe: Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad

This recipe will go down as one of our most popular of all time. It's fresh and light, and is the perfect stock-the-fridge meal for a family or friend who is going through hard times. Take along the bacon and pecans in zip-top bags so they can add just before serving. You'll want the last two ingredients to maintain their crunch.

06 of 20

Tarragon Chicken Salad

Tarragon Chicken Salad
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Tarragon Chicken Salad

Chopped pecans, Granny Smith apples, and celery keep the crunch factor high in this fresh and herby chicken salad. You'll love how the slight licorice-like flavor of tarragon kicks up every bite.

07 of 20

Lasagna Roll Ups

Tomato-Basil Lasagna Rolls
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Lasagna Roll Ups

Of course, lasagna will always be a favorite, but these roll ups make it even more convenient for serving—whether it's for one or for a crowd.

08 of 20

Mama's Fried Chicken

Mama's Fried Chicken
Southern Living

Recipe: Mama's Fried Chicken

This is our most shared fried chicken recipe of all time. It's simply perfection. The secret to its success is a two-hour soak in buttermilk, which tenderizes the meat and imparts it with wonderful flavor. Served with potato salad and coleslaw, this chicken will bring smiles all around.

09 of 20

Erika Kwee's Spiced Carrot Cake with Candied Pecans and Caramel Sauce

Erika Kwee's Spiced Carrot Cake with Candied Pecans and Caramel Sauce
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner

Recipe: Erika Kwee's Spiced Carrot Cake with Candied Pecans and Caramel Sauce

If you're willing to put in the time, you'll find that this recipe is well worth the effort. Candied pecans, a decadent caramel sauce, and pillowy cream cheese frosting take the spiced cake layers to new heights.

10 of 20

What to make when someone is under the weather

Soulful Chicken Soup
Iain Bagwell

Soup is the obvious way to take care of a sick family member or friend, and our slow cooker Soulful Chicken Soup is one of our favorite versions of this classic recipe. Or try a vitamin-packed Sweet Potato Soup, topped with toasted pecans. If your loved one can stomach something a little more substantial, our Chicken Bog is a comforting but not-too-heavy mix of shredded chicken, rice, and vegetables. Or blend up a batch of Yogurt-Fruit Smoothies to sip while recovering (and watching Netflix).

Recipe: Soulful Chicken Soup

11 of 20

Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet Potato Soup
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Sweet Potato Soup

This recipe calls for both sweet potatoes and Yukon Golds, with cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne adding a kick of spicy-sweet flavor. Serve with plain yogurt, pecans, and flat-leaf parsley and you won't find anyone around who can resist a second bowlful.

12 of 20

Chicken Bog

Greg DuPree

Recipe: Chicken Bog

This is chicken and rice like you've never had it, unless of course, you grew up eating chicken bog. It cooks up in a large Dutch oven and calls on store-bought rotisserie chicken to speed up the prep. If you have a crowd to serve and they're in need of something to warm them up, body and soul, this is it.

13 of 20

Best-Ever Brownies

Best-Ever Brownies
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Best-Ever Brownies

Cheer someone up with a batch of these brownies. Trust us, this is one treat that will never steer you wrong.

14 of 20

Coffee Cake Muffins

Coffee Cake Muffins
Photographer: Greg DuPree, Food Stylist Karen Rankin

Recipe: Coffee Cake Muffins

These Coffee Cake Muffins freeze beautifully. Just include instructions for microwaving to reheat. One minute on LOW should do the trick.

15 of 20

Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding

Recipe: Chocolate Pudding

Whip up a silky dish of our homemade chocolate pudding when you're feeling low or know someone else who is. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and you've just perfected the most comforting dessert of all time—arguably.

16 of 20

Deep-Dish Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

Deep-Dish Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Deep-Dish Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

This ooey-gooey cookie is designed to share, but rules don't apply when you're really in need.

17 of 20

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This three-step mac and cheese is designed to please. It requires no fancy cheese varieties or high-brow mix ins. It just plain good. And sometimes that's exactly what's needed.

18 of 20

Bacon-and-Cheddar Grits Quiche

Bacon-and-Cheddar Grits Quiche
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Bacon-and-Cheddar Grits Quiche

Don't forget breakfast. We love this hearty quiche recipe because it can work for any meal of the day, including a light dinner when served with a side salad. Bring along other breakfast mainstays like orange juice, a carton of hot coffee from the local shop, and fruit.

19 of 20

S'mores Pie

S'mores Pie
Jennifer Causey; Food Styling: Melissa Gray

Recipe: S'mores Pie

Nothing can quite top a decadent chocolate pie. This one comes together with twenty minutes of hands-on time and three hours setting in the fridge. Bring it along in a disposable aluminum pan or a pie plate that the receiver can keep (so she doesn't have to worry about returning your dish).

20 of 20

Sausage-and-Collard Greens Stew

Sausage-and-Collard Greens Stew
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Sausage-and-Collard Greens Stew

This warm, comforting stew can be made in just two steps with the magic of your slow cooker. It calls for sausage, leeks, collards, and pasta – so it's a Southern dish with some Italian flair. A little heavy cream brings richness to the broth. Serve up this family favorite with a warm loaf of crusty bread and a glass of red wine.

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