This is the lazy person's guide to making delicious comfort foods quick and easy. From meatloaf to mac and cheese and everything in between, we show you how you can enjoy the taste of your favourite foods without all the fuss!
Do we call it lazy cooking or easy cooking? There’s a strange connotation when it comes to the word “lazy” that can’t be shaken sometimes, but nowadays, what’s considered to be “lazy” is actually just easy and useful ways to do and cook things! Why stress about the exacts? (some bakers will probably disagree) When it comes to cooking though, there are those of us out there that just go by the feel of things; a little of this, a spoonful of that, a handful of something else, adding in a little pinch of spice, it’s the end result that counts because so long as it tastes good, does it matter how much time it takes, or how much sweat is on your brow by the end of it? In the name of the laze, we’re here to say we’re all here for it, and to prove it, here are a few easy and not to mention, soul comforting, feel-good foods that you can make any day you feel like taking it easy and rolling with the good vibes!
Mac and Cheese
With oodles and Goodles of cheesy (or plant-based cheesy) goodness, mac and cheese is one of those dishes that just sings to our spirits, y’know? Way back when, it was initially known as macaroni pie with the first iterations of this dish being noted in 1700 in Europe, and it was a highly expensive dish back then before the Industrial revolution. Afterwards, this dish became a widely known and easy way to use common ingredients like eggs, a variety of cheeses, bread crumbs and more! Nowadays, mac and cheese has become a classic comfort food for the soul, and can be conventionally purchased anywhere, it’s become a staple dish in many different households and there are so many different takes on making it, but for those of us who maybe don’t have enough time to make this dish from scratch, for this easy cooking sesh, we’d definitely go for a pre-made mac that you can whip up in no time! You can also spice up your dish by adding more cheese, spices, and vegetables like broccoli that pair well with your mac for your own unique take on this classic comfort food!
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
We all know it and we all love it! A lazy cooking menu wouldn’t be one without it; the classic grilled cheese sandwich! A grilled cheese sandwich is a simple but satisfying comfort food that anyone can make, and it can be made with any kind of bread and any sort of cheese! We, ourselves over here at Natura, love a cheddar and havarti blend for our sandwiches, but we’ve also had gouda grilled cheese sandwiches and they were still good-a! Cheesy puns aside, the grilled cheese was a dish that was invented sometime around the 1920s, and while it was probably around for a lot longer, the convenience of it came widely known around this time, when single slices of cheese were being produced, and soon it became a staple dish for any household! Nowadays though, with the modern diet nowadays, some have written off this dish as unhealthy, but here is where we disagree! Because of modern diets, companies are doing more than ever to keep old dishes alive and revamping them, while still maintaining that classic, unforgettable taste. Swap out that white bread for a lower carb, keto bread or a gluten-free bread to toast for your grilled cheese sandwich and pair with tomato soup for a cozy, easy lunch!
Let’s chill out with chili! The first iteration of chili came to light sometime in the early 1800s as a hearty stew of peppers and meat mixed together and has since been a staple, easy dish to make in many different households! If you really want to veg out when it comes to cooking, you can also get a pre-made chili where all you need to do is warm it up and serve with your favourite garnish and sides! Now if that isn’t easy cooking then we don’t know what is! But if you don’t have a pre-made chili on hand, but have the ingredients, to whip it up as a meal is almost just as easy too. Just throw together a protein of your choice (you can keep it vegan-friendly by excluding meat and stickin’ with beans for your recipe and still get a great boost of protein and fiber by throwing in other veggies like mushrooms, peppers, etc.) You can make chili with a variety of meats and beans to get that boost in protein and fiber, and it can be topped with cheese, sour cream, and green onions. Pair with biscuits or rice, and bam! An easy meal for a lazy day.
Get a load of this dish, it’s meatloaf! Made sometime in the late 1870s, and was made of finely chopped cold meat, leaving nothing to waste in a time where nothing could be wasted. It became a classic and cost effective dish to make when people wanted to re-purpose the leftovers of meat, grinding and mincing it up with spices, vegetables, breadcrumbs, anything that they wanted to use up before it spoiled, all finely chopped together to bake into meatloaf, a loved, and easy to make dish to many of us out there. You can make this classic comfort food with a variety of meats, such as beef; which is the most common iteration of meatloaf, pork, or even turkey, and can be seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices! Just pop in the oven set at 350 degrees and after an hour–cooking times do vary depending on the ingredients being used–you have yourself a big helping of meatloaf to share throughout your household or to section off into your meal prep because there’s nothing easier than not cooking unless you absolutely have to.
Hot potato, mashed potato, all the potatoes! There’s something timeless about this comfort dish, and not just because it was first pioneered sometime in the 1600s, but it’s a dish that, to this day, really hits the spot and it’s easily one of the best dishes to make when you’re feeling the grind of the day and you just want to wind down with something easy to make. All you really need to make this dish are potatoes, butter, milk, and herbs of your choosing to give it a unique twist! To further flavour your dish, it can be topped with cheese, gravy, or bacon bits; there’s also a meatless crumble that’s a great topper if you want to go meatless with your dish! Or if you find that you don’t have the ingredients to make mashed potatoes from scratch–or you do but you just don’t feel like making it, which we completely get because we all have those kinds of days–go for an instant kind, or if you want the convenience of instant mashed potatoes but are keeping to a keto or plant-based diet, a great substitute for mashed potatoes is mashed hearts of palm, which is a plant-based, lower carb style of creamy mashed potato! You can still get the comfort of this dish in both a healthier and more convenient way, and can still garnish with ingredients of your choosing to make it 100% your style of comfort food.
It’s crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, and almost everyone’s favourite when it comes to comfort foods; fried chicken! Hailing way back in the 1830’s or so, this classic comfort dish has been a hallmark for comfort foods to have when you’re feeling something crunchy, tender and filling, what’s not to love about it? Fried chicken has become so prevalent and so popular that you can find this dish in just about any fast food joint, restaurant, or in the frozen aisles at local grocery stores! Fried chicken is definitely the kind of food that’s comforting to the soul, though some may argue that it’s definitely not the healthiest choice considering how much oil is used to make it. Nowadays though, with air fryers, different oil derivatives, and other alternative means to make this comfort food just a bit more comforting for our tummies alongside our spirits, fried chicken is a dish that’s slowly changing with the times but still has that classic, comfort food feel to it! With how conveniently it can be sought out, or even made if you have the ingredients on hand and an air fryer, it’s definitely a dish that’s easy for a lazy day!
Did someone call for a pizza delivery? Yes, basically everyone did because this comfort food is so loved that pizza joints are easily on speed dial for some of us. From its first iteration hailing back around the 1800s in Naples, Italy, this dish has been revamped and revolutionized to a worldwide audience. Pizza is the ideal dish to have when you’re all out of options, or you do have options but you’re just craving some ‘za! But getting store-bought pizzas limit many of us to what’s on the menu and sometimes there are ingredients that may not agree with our diets, but therein lies the beauty of making your own pizza pie right at home! And now with tons of pizza crusts, pizza sauces, and other, healthier ingredients out there, you can create your own customizable pizza any time of the day! Pizza for breakfast? Sure, why not, it’s your ‘za, have it any way or any time of day that you feel like it and not to mention that it’s also real easy to make! No time for making dough from scratch? Get a ready-made pizza crust of your liking, slap on some sauce, cheese, and top with whatever you want and you got a meal to share or for yourself!
Casseroles are kind of like the sun, it can cover everything with a blanket of yellow, but in this case, it’s cheese that we’re talking about rather than sun rays, and like sunshine, everybody loves cheese! Well, a good majority of us anyways. If you’re not a cheese lover, you can still make your own casserole sans cheese. The beauty of casseroles is that it can include just about anything; there’s dozens of kitchen sink casserole recipes out there, and it’s easy to make! Including everything under the sun and easy to make, if that isn’t the hallmark of a comfort food dish then we don’t know what is! Instead of fixing over good side dishes with your meal, include those ingredients in a casserole! Have an abundance of broccoli, corn, and beans that you don’t know to do with? Casserole! Different pastas that have just been collecting dust on your shelf? Casserole! Beef, pork or shrimp just waiting to be used? Throw ‘em into a casserole dish and you got yourself an all-in-one meal that bakes itself to perfection! No mess (well some mess, but not a lot), no sweat, except maybe from the oven heat! Top with cheese or breadcrumbs for added texture and you’ve got yourself a pan of goodness to drool over.
We’ve got a separate stomach for desserts! While it’s not anatomically correct, the saying still stands because no matter how full we may be, I think everyone can agree when we say there’s always room for dessert! There are dozens of desserts that hit that sweet spot when it comes to food for comforts, like brownies, cookies, cakes, pies, and other sweet treats! When we’re in our feels, the first thing we gravitate towards are those comfort sweets, so much so that desserts have been associated with a sort of “guilt” or “cheat” day food, but we’re here to say that this isn’t always the case! Nowadays, desserts and confections are changing to align with more modern diets, from sugar-free brownies to gluten-free cake mix, there are so many different ways to enjoy your comfort sweets without an upset tummy and with the convenience of pre-made mixes, making desserts have become a whole lot easier for those days when you just want something sweet without the hassle, and with the time afforded with pre-made mixes, we can focus on other things, like sleeping!
And there you have it! A lazy cooker’s list of easy comfort foods! We hope this list allows you some extra time in your days so that you can do other things you enjoy, if cooking isn’t a fav activity, or if you do like cooking, we hope our list lets you explore the beauty of comfort foods on those easy days!