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From Our Family to Yours: 8 Comfort Food Classics

When it comes to a family recipes, you likely have a tried-and-true favorite that feeds your soul in more ways than one. The dishes featured here are Style staffers’ must-make meals that are sure to bring joy to your table, too.

Pineapple-Cranberry Salad

Submitted by Kathy Hurt, Accounting Manager
No matter what the main course is, this salad always refreshes and is a big hit with my family. Fresh cranberries really enhance the flavor.

Pineapple-Cranberry Salad, Submitted by Kathy Hurt


  • 1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple (undrained)
  • 2 pkg. (3 oz. each) Jell-O raspberry flavor gelatin
  • 16 oz. can whole cranberry sauce or fresh cranberries
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • Fresh mint, to serve

Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Remove 1 tbsp. of pineapple; set aside. Add enough cold water to juice to measure 3 cups; pour into saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then remove from heat. Add dry gelatin mixes; stir 2 minutes. Stir in cranberry sauce.  Pour into large bowl. Refrigerate 1.5 hours or until slightly thickened.  Stir in pineapple, apples, and walnuts. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Garnish with reserved pineapple, sliced apple, and fresh mint.

Vegan Mac & Cheese

Submitted by Taylor Gillespie, Staff Photographer
Mac & cheese is always a comfort food classic! Now, with so many great dairy-free alternatives at the grocery store, I’m still able to enjoy my favorite childhood meal as a vegan. Feel free to substitute with your choice of dairy/dairy-free products; the recipe can easily be doubled, too.

Vegan Mac & Cheese, Submitted by Taylor Gillespie


  • 8 oz. dried macaroni
  • ¼ cup margarine
  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups soy milk
  • 2 cups dairy-free cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain. In a large pot, melt margarine over medium heat. Stir in flour to make a roux. Add soy milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly. Stir in cheese and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick. Add cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce. Stir well to combine, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Shortcut Butter Chicken

Submitted by Tara Mendanha, Deputy Editor
Traditionally made, butter chicken is a somewhat arduous process. I found this recipe by Nadiya Hussain (winner of ‘The Great British Bake Off’) and while she calls it an easy chicken tikka masala (fun fact: The dish has its origins in the UK not India!), I’ve tweaked it a little to make it more of a butter chicken delicacy that I turn to whenever I want a luxurious Indian meal without the hassle.

Shortcut Butter Chicken, Submitted by Tara Mendanha


For the chicken marinade
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts or thighs, diced
  • 1 tbsp. ginger and garlic (paste or minced)
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 3/4 tbsp. lime/lemon juice
  • ½ tbsp. tandoori masala/tikka masala powder or garam masala/curry powder
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil or vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp. salt

For the gravy
  • 3 tbsp. butter (can substitute olive oil or vegetable oil but then it’s not “butter” chicken, is it?!)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tbsp. ginger and garlic (paste or minced)
  • 1 tsp. garam masala powder/curry powder or a combination of ground cumin and ground coriander
  • 2 cups creamy tomato soup (this must be the creamy kind; I use Pacific Foods Organic Creamy Tomato Soup)
  • Few sprigs fresh cilantro leaves, to serve
  • 1 tbsp. heavy cream or yogurt, to serve

Marinate the chicken in all the ingredients and keep covered in the fridge for 30 minutes or overnight. Cook chicken in a large pan until the moisture evaporates; remove from pan. Add butter or oil to the same pan. Once melted, add onions; cook on medium heat until lightly browned. Add ginger-garlic paste and stir for about a minute. Add garam masala (or curry powder) and fry for a few seconds. Add tomato soup, cover, and let cook for 8-10 minutes. Add cooked chicken, covering the pan and stirring occasionally, until the gravy starts to bubble and the oil rises to the top. Turn stove off and serve with cilantro, a drizzle of heavy cream or yogurt, and Trader Joe’s Garlic Naan or white long-grain (Basmati) rice.

Cheesy Spinach Casserole

Submitted by Megan Wiskus, Editor-in-Chief
If you like spinach dip and cheesy pasta, then you’ll likely be a fan of this comforting casserole. Try adding mushrooms to the mix and get creative with the types of cheeses or ground meat you use. It’s an easy, forgiving, halfway-healthy recipe that even my two-year-old adores.

Cheesy Spinach Casserole, Submitted by Megan Wiskus


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning or herbs of choice
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)
  • 16 oz. package frozen spinach (no need to thaw)
  • 3 cups cheese (I prefer Jack & cheddar), grated
  • 16 oz. dried whole-wheat pasta (macaroni or rotini)
  • Parmesan cheese, to top & serve
  • Red chili flakes, to serve

Preheat oven to 375F. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, combine the olive oil, onions, garlic, ground beef, and spices. Cook until meat is browned. Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Transfer to a 13x9 casserole dish coated with cooking spray (or keep in the Dutch oven). Top with Parmesan cheese and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the pasta is cooked (you may want to stir it after about 20 minutes).. Serve with more Parmesan and red chili flakes.


Submitted by Gary Zsigo, Art Director
Although this recipe is not a traditional Hungarian goulash, my mom used to make it for our family all the time growing up. My dad is the one with the Hungarian lineage, but he was not the cook in the family, so Mom adapted her own version of it. The smell of the paprika (the most important ingredient!) and hearty meat, veggies, sauce, and cheese made it a staple during cold Midwest winters.

Goulash, Submitted by Gary Zsigo


  • 3 cups dried pasta (any short shape will do—original recipe calls for macaroni, but I use gemelli)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped or quartered
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 32 oz. canned tomatoes
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 4 tbsp. Hungarian paprika
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup cheese, shredded (any melty type works; I use a combo of Jack and sharp cheddar)
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, optional, to top

Cook pasta to al dente or slightly before al dente; drain and set aside. Heat large skillet with olive oil at medium heat. When hot, sauté onions, garlic, peppers, and mushrooms until onions start to turn translucent. Add ground beef and cook until slightly browned. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and mix everything together so tomato paste is completely dispersed. Add pasta and stir. Add oregano, basil, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir. Add cheese, cover, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is completely melted. Stir to mix cheese in. Top with Greek yogurt.

Lokshen Kugel

Submitted by Debbie Newell-Juhos, Advertising Sales Representative
Traditionally, a kugel is associated with Chanukah and the sabbath. It can be prepared the night before and kept in a warm oven or served at room temperature for a snack or dessert. It also reheats perfectly and makes a great breakfast. If you serve it as part of a buffet table at a party, it’ll disappear in no time at all.

Lokshen Kugel, Submitted by Debbie Newell-Juhos


  • 16 oz. dried egg noodles   
  • 6 medium eggs   
  • 1 ½ cups milk   
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream   
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles until just tender, then drain. While noodles are cooking, beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add milk, cottage cheese, sour cream, sugar, and raisins (if using). Beat together and then add noodles. Mix well. Pour into a buttered 10x14 pan. Mix the brown sugar, nuts, and cinnamon together. Sprinkle evenly on top and bake for 1 hour until the center is firm.

Chocolate Cheesecake

Submitted by Emily Peter-Corey, Associate Editor
This dessert has been a staple at family gatherings for as long as I can remember. The question amongst us is always, “Who’s bringing the chocolate cheesecake?!” And it’s so easy to make!

Chocolate Cheesecake, Submitted by Emily Peter-Corey


For the crust
  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter

For the filling
  • 16 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

For the frosting
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Combine crust ingredients and press into bottom of a cheesecake pan, reserving about 2 tablespoons for topping. Preheat oven to 375F. Mix filling ingredients until creamy. Pour over crust and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Increase oven temp to 425F. Combine frosting ingredients and spread over cooled cake. Sprinkle with reserved crust and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool and then transfer to fridge. Best served chilled.

Maltese Baked Pasta

Submitted by Ray Burgess, Graphic Designer
This classic Maltese recipe is a staple in my family that’s easy to make, delicious, and sized to feed—and please—a crowd.

Maltese Baked Pasta, Submitted by Ray Burgess


  • 16 oz. dried pasta (penne or rigatoni)
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups spaghetti sauce
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 4 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350F. Cook beef until browned, breaking up the meat as you stir. Add onions and continue cooking until they’re soft. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute longer. While meat is cooking, cook noodles according to package directions being careful not to overcook (you don’t want soft pasta). Run pasta under cold water and drain. In a bowl, add pasta and meat mixture. Add spaghetti sauce and carefully stir together. Grease a 13x9 casserole dish and fill it with the pasta mixture, pressing down lightly to pack it in. Combine eggs, basil, and cheese with a dash of salt and pepper; mix well. Pour evenly over the noodles, pressing down lightly to ensure the egg mixture is distributed throughout. Sprinkle more pepper on top and bake for about 30 minutes until the noodles on top start having dark edges.