Nostalgic, Comfort Food Recipes for Seniors

comfort food recipes

When cold weather rolls around, many of us crave a little bit of comfort. Thick socks, comfy quilts, and delicious food can make us warm inside and out. These nostalgic, comfort food recipes for seniors can make a dreary day feel much friendlier.

But before we dive into the comfort food recipes, let’s talk a bit about safety in the kitchen. There’s nothing like a fall to disrupt your feeling of comfort! There are other hazards too, especially the risk of kitchen fires. Age Safe America tells us that cooking is a leading cause of injury among those aged 65 and older, and many of those injuries are attributed to fire.[1]

Three million elderly adults visit the emergency department each year for injuries sustained while using household products, including kitchen appliances. The risk of clothing catching fire is 14 times more likely among adults over 65, which means that you should take extra care to wear clothing that doesn’t drag or overhang a hot pan[2].

When using knives, always use a cutting board, choose the knife of correct size for the job, and keep the knife handles dry to avoid your hand slipping on the utensil. And always use knives for their intended purpose-- never use them as a can opener or a way to pry something open.

Yes, these issues can be frightening to think about. But by implementing good safety procedures right now, you can make sure that your winter nights are cozy and safe, spent at home with loved ones instead of sitting in an emergency department!

Another great way to stay safe in the kitchen is with a medical alert system with fall detection. It can be quite easy to splash water or spill other substances on the kitchen floor. That leads to an immediate trip hazard. As you clean up the spill, you’re at greater risk of falling. Alleviate the worry with a fall detection system from Alert1. Knowing help is just a button push away is the peace of mind every senior needs to cook up a storm in the kitchen with confidence.

So without further ado, let’s look at the nostalgic recipes that will warm your heart and excite your tastebuds!

Chicken Biscuit Pot Pie

This lovely recipe provides a wealth of veggies, protein power from chicken and a quick prep time to get it on the table fast. To be heart-healthy, use a lower-sodium condensed soup for this dish. If you want a different flavor try using thyme in place of the rosemary or even use turkey instead of chicken.

·         1 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

·         1 ½ cups cooked chicken, cubed into bite-size pieces

·         1 can cream of chicken soup

·         1/8 tsp. dried rosemary

·         1 cup biscuit mix

·         ½ cup milk of your choice

·         1 large egg

Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the thawed veggies, cubed chicken, can of soup (do not dilute it), and rosemary. Pour the mixture into a deep-dish pie plate. In a small bowl, blend the biscuit mix, milk, and egg until you have soft dough. Spoon the dough over the chicken and veggie mixture.

Bake the dish for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Shepherd’s Pie

This is an old standby for those who have plenty of leftovers and no clue what to do with them. It’s a hearty way to clean out the fridge and create something delicious that tastes a little different every time. Remember that you can substitute almost anything here, including the meat selection and all the veggies. We’ve made this one with a theme of “Thanksgiving leftovers.”

·         2 cups cooked turkey, cut into bite-size cubes

·         ½ cup turkey gravy

·         ¾ cup shredded or finely chopped carrots

·         2 cups prepared stuffing

·         ½ cup whole kernel corn

·         ½ cup green beans, cut into bite-size pieces

·         2 cups mashed potatoes

Heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a generous amount of cooking spray on a 2-quart baking dish. Layer the turkey, gravy, carrots, stuffing and corn in the dish. Warm the potatoes in the microwave until they are steaming but not hot. Spoon the potatoes over the dish, making sure to spread them across the whole pie. Bake the dish uncovered until the potatoes are browned, about 45 minutes.

French Onion Chicken Skillet

Looking for a savory meal in a skillet that is a snap to prepare? This dish might taste like it took forever to cook but surprisingly, it can be on the table in 20 minutes.

·         1 tbsp. olive oil

·         6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

·         1 can condensed French onion soup

·         1 bag of plain salad croutons

·         6 thin slices of provolone cheese

Pour the olive oil into a skillet over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the chicken thighs to sear them in the oil. Cook on both sides until the chicken is lightly browned. Pour in the can of French onion soup (do not dilute it). Turn down the heat and allow the chicken to simmer in the soup for five minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Pour in the bag of croutons, shaking the pan to get the croutons into the crevices between the chicken. Top each chicken thigh with a slice of provolone cheese. Cover the pan and let it sit for five minutes until the cheese is melted.

Broccoli and Cheese Soup

This delightful soup is easy to make, warms you from the inside out, and keeps very well in the fridge for several days. You can double the recipe and freeze the soup in individual containers for a ready-made, hearty meal anytime during those long winter days.

·         1 tbsp. butter or olive oil

·         2 cups broccoli florets, chopped into small pieces

·         1 cup diced white onion

·         3 cups chicken stock or broth

·         One 15 oz. can evaporated milk

·         2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

·         Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil or butter in a medium saucepan. Add the broccoli florets and the onion; sauté until the onion is tender and the florets are slightly wilted. Pour in the stock or broth and bring the pot to a boil. Allow the soup to gently boil for five minutes to meld the flavors. Pour in the evaporated milk and bring the mixture back up to a slow simmer.

Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the cheese in small batches until it is all melted and smooth. Season the soup with salt and pepper to your liking.

Beef Stew

When it comes to comfort food, we would be remiss to ignore the wonderful recipes you can make in your slow cooker. For this version of beef stew, you can use any vegetables you prefer. It goes great with a loaf of crusty bread. For a healthier version, go low-sodium on all the seasoning and soup.

·         2 tbsps. olive oil

·         1 pound stew meat

·         ¼ cup flour

·         2 large potatoes, cut into small dice

·         1 large carrot, cut into small rounds

·         1 white onion, cut into pieces

·         1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

·         1 sleeve dry onion soup mix

Pour the flour into a Ziploc bag. Add the stew meat and shake the bag well to flour all the meat. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, then add the stew meat, one piece at a time – don’t crowd the pan. Gently brown the meat. You don’t have to cook it through.

As the meat is browning, place the vegetables in your slow cooker. In a bowl, blend the cream of mushroom soup and the onion soup mix. Add enough water to make it pourable.

Place the stew meat on top of the veggies and pour the soup mixture over all the ingredients. Cook the stew on low for 5-6 hours. If you’re in a hurry, cook it on high for 3-4 hours.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta

This delicious pasta dish feeds a crowd and comes together in less than 30 minutes. If you want a healthier version, opt for low-sodium bacon and low-sodium soup. You can also substitute the ground beef with ground turkey to lighten up the calories and cholesterol.

·         One 8-oz box of penne pasta

·         1 pound ground beef

·         ½ pound of diced bacon

·         1 can condensed tomato soup

·         1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. In the meantime, prepare the pasta according to package directions. Set the bacon aside on a paper towel to drain.

In the same skillet, cook the ground beef until browned. Drain the beef. Gently add the pasta to the pan, then the bacon, mixing it all together. Pour over the tomato soup and blend all ingredients well. (Add a bit of water if the mixture is a bit too thick.) Heat the dish through until just barely bubbly. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the cheese on top. Wait a minute for the cheese to melt a bit, then serve. 

Peach and Pecan Cobbler

A list of comfort food recipes simply wouldn’t be complete without the ultimate dessert for cold winter nights – peach cobbler. But this one is a bit different as it includes plenty of pecans too. Complete this taste of the south with a nice scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

·         ½ cup butter, cut into cubes

·         1 cup plus 2 tbsps. all-purpose flour

·         3 tsp. baking powder

·         ½ cup sugar

·         ¼ tsp. salt

·         ½ cup milk of your choice

·         1 tsp. vanilla extract

·         2 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced

·         1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

·         ½ cup brown sugar

·         ¼ cup toffee bits

·         1 cup boiling water

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the butter in the oven in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. While the butter is melting, combine the flour, regular sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the milk and vanilla to create a smooth batter.

Pour the batter into the pan on top of the melted butter. Arrange the sliced peaches on top of the batter. Sprinkle all with pecans, brown sugar, and toffee bits. Pour the boiling water over the top, taking care to not stir or disturb the other ingredients.

Bake the cobbler for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool the cobbler for at least 30 minutes. It will thicken as it cools.

Make Kitchen Work Easier

When you’re creating these delicious recipes in the kitchen, you want to do so with the peace of mind that you’re safe and secure. Food just tastes better when you have fewer worries!

To that end, consider aging in place solutions that make your kitchen safer and easier to work in. These solutions are great not just for the elderly, but for anyone who uses your kitchen. Here are some great tips[3]:

·         Side-by-side refrigerator/freezer unit with slide-out shelves

·         Slide-out shelving in the cabinets

·         Lazy susans on the countertops to help you reach smaller items

·         A stove with controls at the front rather than the back

·         Lever-handles on everything, especially the faucet

·         Pull-out sprayers on kitchen sink

·         A low apron-style sink

·         A kitchen island filled with all the things you need for easy cooking

·         Utensils with larger, user-friendly handles

·         Large, easy-to-use drawer and cabinet pulls

These changes can help keep you much safer in the kitchen. To enhance your safety even more, consider a medical alert pendant or watch from Alert1. This handy device can help if you do suffer any sort of injury, accident or emergency. This priceless peace of mind can allow you to move around the kitchen more confidently and continue to live independently and freely as you make those amazing recipes that you and your whole family can enjoy.

Bon appetit from Alert1!