5 Cozy Comfort Foods

This post is brought to you in partnership with Pioneer. Emergency gravy, opinions, and favorite recipes are the author's own.

Comfort food has the ability to evoke such strong memories, doesn’t it? With all that this year has brought us and the turning of the weather, all I want to make and eat is solid, good tasting, warm, memory-filled comfort food. Mashed potatoes, biscuits covered in gravy, warm one-dish bakes straight out of the oven, chili, or carne guisada simmering on the stove. Dishes that make me feel like everything will be ok after dinner and a good glass of wine.

Growing up, for every significant cooking event or recipe that involved gravy, my mom would make sure she had “emergency gravy” on hand. She liked to make gravy from scratch using the drippings from whatever she’d roasted. She’d start with the roux (that could easily get too brown or burn), crossed her fingers that the roasted portion yielded enough fat and flavor, separated the fat from the other pan juices, making the stock, etc etc.

But just in case she ran out of time, something didn’t work out right, or she was just plain tired of cooking by the time the gravy made it to the top of the to-do list, she always had gravy mix on stand-by aka “emergency gravy”. To be perfectly honest, more often than not the emergency gravy was what made it to the table. I didn’t realize there was a difference between homemade and her shortcut until I was in high school when I started hanging out in the kitchen more. Smart mom using shortcuts that I fully understand and appreciate now!

In my kitchen, Pioneer is my preferred comfort food short cut. I always have some “emergency gravy” on hand but also tend to choose Pioneer for my other comfort food ingredients and recipes. They’ve been around since 1851 – and I’d be willing to bet there are generations of kitchens that appreciated the ease of use and quality that the Pioneer mixes, seasonings, and baking products that were easy to keep on hand. In keeping with the time, Pioneer also has a variety of gluten-free products.

Looking to make memories and bring some comfort food to your kitchen? Here are my five favorite Pioneer recipes:

PIMENTO CHEESE SAUSAGE BALLS

The easiest, cheesiest sausage balls you’ll ever make — and the pimento cheese gives them a distinctive southwest flavor.

Ingredients

1 lb. Pork Sausage, ground
3 cups Pioneer Buttermilk Biscuit Mix
2 cups Pimento Cheese
1/2 cup Parsley, chopped
8 ounces Mild Cheddar Cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Preparation Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400oF
  2. In a large bowl, combine raw pork sausage, Pioneer Buttermilk Baking Mix, pimento cheese, and parsley.
  3. Form mixture into equally sized, roughly 2 ounces, patties. Place one 1/2 –inch cube into the center of each patty and form a sausage ball around the cube of cheese.
  4. Place prepared sausage balls onto a sheet pan and bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown.

CHICKEN POT PIE

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

1 package Pioneer Chicken Pot Pie Meal Sauce and Seasoning Mix
1 ½ cups water
1 cup diced onion
1 cup peeled and diced potatoes
1 cup frozen vegetables
1 cup cooked and shredded chicken
1 pie crust (frozen or homemade)

Preparation Instructions
  1. Whisk together the seasoning mix and water in a small container until a slurry forms. Set aside.
  2. Add a small amount of oil to a large saute pan, and saute onion until translucent.
  3. Add diced potatoes, and cook until softened.
  4. Add vegetables, chicken, and seasoning mix slurry. Mix well.
  5. Simmer until vegetables thaw and the mixture thickens.
  6. Pour into a 9-inch pie pan, and cover with pie crust, crimping the edges.
  7. Bake according to pie crust packages instructions.

I also like to add diced carrots and broccoli to my chicken pot pie. 

BISCUITS AND SAUSAGE GRAVY

Number of Serving: 6 – 8

For breakfast time or anytime, this biscuits and gravy recipe is the classic Southern dish of fluffy buttermilk biscuits topped with a creamy breakfast-sausage gravy.

Ingredients

3 cups Pioneer Buttermilk Biscuit and Baking Mix
1 cup Milk
1 lb. Breakfast Sausage
1 pkg. Pioneer Country Gravy Mix

Preparation Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450oF
  2. Prepare biscuits according to Pioneer Buttermilk Biscuit and Baking Mix packaging.
  3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, crumble sausage and cook until golden brown. Set aside.
  4. Prepare Pioneer Country Gravy Mix to package instructions.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, add crumbled sausage to the prepared gravy.
  6. Split open fresh-baked biscuits and spoon warm gravy on top.

CHICKEN, CHEDDAR, AND MACARONI BAKE

An easy-to-make, cheddar-cheesy casserole the entire family will love, ready in just 30 minutes with Pioneer Roasted Gravy Mix.

Ingredients

1 package Pioneer Roasted Chicken Gravy Mix
4 ounces Large Macaroni, cooked
2 cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 lb. Chicken, cubed and cooked
2 cups Mixed Vegetables
1/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

Preparation Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 420oF.
  2. Prepare Pioneer Roasted Chicken Gravy Mix to package instructions.
  3. In a large bowl, fold together Pioneer Roasted Chicken Gravy, macaroni, cheddar cheese, chicken, and vegetables
  4. Transfer mixture to a 9×9-inch baking dish and top with bread crumbs.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Instant Pot™ – FRENCH DIP SANDWICHES

Ingredients

1 package Pioneer Au Jus Mix
2 cups Water
2 lb. Beef, chuck roast (2-2.5 inches thick)
1 tbsp. Olive oil
2 pc. Onion, sliced
2 pc. Garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Thyme, dried
2 pc. French bread, cut into 6 portions
12 pc. Swiss cheese

Preparation Instructions
  1. Sauté using the sauté function add 1 tbsp. olive oil to pot and brown beef on all sides. Remove from pot, then add onions and garlic, along with salt and thyme. Sauté for 5 minutes, until onions have softened.
  2. Prepare Pioneer Au Jus by adding 2 cups of water to dry mix, whisking to combine, then add to pot with onion mixture. Stir to combine and scrape all bits off of the bottom of the pot then turn off sauté function.
  3. Place beef back in pot with Au Jus and onion mixture.
  4. Pressure Cook the beef, Au Jus and onion mixture on HIGH for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove cooked beef from pot and let stand for 5 minutes.
  6. Slice beef and set aside. Slice bread horizontally and place 1 piece of Swiss cheese on each half of the bread (2pc. per sandwich)
  7. Build sandwich by placing hot sliced beef on bread with cheese and then ladle Pioneer Au Jus and onion mixture onto beef and SERVE.

From breakfast to main dishes to baked goods, find more droolworthy recipes to enjoy this holiday season on the Pioneer Recipes page.