(Family Features) - No matter what the latest taste trend or hot new celebrity-endorsed recipe, you can always count on a few classic home-style standards to make a comeback around this time every year. Typically known as "comfort foods" for their ability to soothe and warm the soul, these familiar dishes not only taste delicious, but also make us feel warm and fuzzy all over - and are especially welcoming during the chill of the colder months.
Perhaps Grandma's famed chicken noodle soup comes to mind, or Dad's special meatballs with marinara. Maybe it's Mom's ultra-gooey, rich mac 'n' cheese, your own fork-tender pot roast or delicious turkey and stuffing holiday leftovers.
Whatever the dish, though, all comfort foods have one thing in common - we turn to them for relief when we're tired, stressed, under-the-weather or simply looking for a taste of home. They are typically simple, hearty, uncomplicated meals, informal and inexpensive to prepare, yet immensely satisfying to those lucky enough to be served them.
Three comfort classics that never seem to go out of style are pot roast, shepherd's pie and beef stroganoff. The recipes included here require no extensive prep or unusual ingredients, so they're easy to whip up, even on a weeknight.
The slow cooker pot roast offers a particularly convenient alternative to last-minute cooking, since the prep all occurs in the morning, leaving the roast to cook to tender perfection all day. By using some convenient comfort food shortcuts on your ingredient list, such as Heinz® HomeStyle Savory Beef Gravy and Wyler's® Beef Bouillon cubes, you can add an extra layer of flavor to the roast, without the fuss of making gravy from scratch. The pot roast also includes a healthy helping of veggies, so it could easily become a complete meal with fresh bread or a green salad.
If you're looking for a comfort food that doubles as a one-dish wonder - shepherd's pie has it all. It includes the meat, vegetables and starch most of us associate with a complete home-style meal. Plus, using prepared Ore-Ida® Mashed Potatoes to top the pie eliminates the laborious task of making mashed potatoes from scratch.
Also, if you're craving a comfort food with some added interest, try this creamy beef stroganoff. It's simple to make and serves up a delicious plate of savory chunks of beef tenderloin, sautéed mushrooms and steaming noodles. And, if you want to add a little extra flare, try pairing it with a glass of merlot. That's sure to offer some added warmth and a new level of sophistication.
So, with these simple, home-cooking classics in your culinary arsenal this season, there's no need to rush out and purchase the latest "cookbook du jour." Just stick to the basics this season and you'll be sure to find some classic convenience, comfort and good taste.