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I Made A Ton Of Comfort Food Recipes This Year; Here Are My Absolute Favorites

From one-pot dinners to Airfryer favorites, I made these on repeat all year.

Whenever I think back on the year 2020, well... I think I'll just try to forget about it entirely. 😑

But there were a handful of saving graces this past year, including comfort food. Here are the cozy, heart- and soul-warming recipes I made most often to get me through quarantine.

1. One Pot Butter Chicken (Or Shrimp!)

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Where my family was quarantining together for six months, there was no Indian restaurant around (a cuisine we all love). So we tried replicating our favorite dishes at home — and this one-pot butter chicken was so easy. I've made it with shrimp as well, following all the same steps but just swapping the protein. It truly comes together in one pot with pretty minimal effort. You'll just need a few spices like garam masala, cumin, and chili powder to get the flavor right. I always heat up some Trader Joe's frozen garlic naan to sop up the delicious sauce.

Recipe: 20-Minute Butter Chicken

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2. Chicken Tortellini Soup

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When I was in high school, I used to pick up a quart of chicken tortellini soup from my favorite pizzeria pretty much every week. It is the definition of comfort food to me. And when restaurants had shut down, I decided to try to replicate my favorite soup at home. The only ingredients you really need are chicken, tortellini, chicken broth, carrots, onion, and celery. It's incredibly simple to make and it's one of the coziest, warmest recipes I know.

Recipe: Easy Chicken Tortellini Soup

3. Mushroom Bolognese

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Whether or not you're a vegetarian, this spaghetti "Bolognese" made with mushrooms and veggies in a red wine and tomato sauce is so satisfying. It's hearty and tender and meaty in texture, but there's no ground beef whatsoever. I'd recommend using a mix of different kinds of mushrooms for the best flavor and texture. (I love this recipe so much, I actually wrote a whole post about it!)

Recipe: Mushroom Bolognese

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4. Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Wings

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My husband is having a love affair with chicken wings. Seriously, he can't live without them. So he was very happy when we discovered the Airfryer is the ultimate appliance for making restaurant-quality wings at home. You don't need any fancy ingredients: just wings, baking powder, hot sauce, butter, salt, and pepper. You just air fry the wings for about 25 minutes, then them toss them in the hot sauce and chow down. With a little help from an Airfryer, anyone can make these at home.

Recipe: Air Fryer Chicken Wings

5. Homemade New York-Style Bagels

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As a New Yorker, there are certain things you take for granted. For example, how easy it is to roll out of your apartment and find a hot and chewy bagel just down the block. But take a New Yorker out of NYC, and any other bagels just won't do. So when I found myself quarantining out of state, bagels were one of the things I missed the most. I found a recipe for New York-style bagels with incredible reviews so I decided to give it a try, and It certainly didn't disappoint. Making bagels from scratch requires a little practice and patience, but after a try or two, you'll get the hang of it. Best of all, it's a fun activity to occupy a morning...and best of all, you get warm, fluffy, delicious homemade bagels as a result.

Recipe: New York Style Bagels

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6. Thai Coconut Mango Curry

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Whenever I go back to my hometown, my family always goes back to the same restaurant, a little BYOB Thai hole-in-the-wall in the town next door. The one dish that's always on our table is a mango chicken curry that now reminds me of home. When I'm away from home, I do the best I can to make a copycat version: this Thai mango curry made with red curry paste, coconut milk, mango purée, and chicken broth. It's the perfect mixture of sweet and savory and creamy. I alternate between making it with chicken and shrimp, and sometimes I just use tofu and lots of vegetables for a meatless version.

Recipe: Thai Coconut Mango Curry

7. Japanese Egg Sandwich

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I went to Japan for my honeymoon and I fell in love with the Japanese take on egg salad sandwiches, which is called tamago sando. What makes these sandwiches so special, you might ask? They're sold for about $2 a pop at convenience stores like 7/11, yet they are delicacies. It's a creamy as heck, light-as-air egg salad served on fluffy Japanese milk bread. Since my honeymoon, I've become obsessed with making this breakfast at home and I've gotten my whole family hooked, too.

Recipe: Japanese Egg Sandwich

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8. Air Fryer Sesame Chicken

Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

Like so many others, I got an Airfryer during quarantine, and it quickly became my favorite kitchen appliance. And of all the delicious recipes I've tried making in it, this sesame chicken might be the best of all. This recipe is simple and beginner-friendly, even if you haven't made Chinese food at home yet. You just coat bite-sized pieces of chicken in corn starch, air fry them until crispy, then toss the chicken in a sticky, sweet sesame sauce. So good!

Recipe: Air Fryer Sesame Chicken

9. Brown Butter Sweet Potato Gnocchi

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I am a sweet potato person through and through, including when it comes to gnocchi. That being said, you could make this recipe with russet potatoes too. And you don't have to have any pasta-making experience to whip up this recipe from scratch. All you need are sweet potatoes (or regular potatoes!), ricotta, Parmesan, egg, and flour. Of course, if you want to go the easy route, just buy a bag of the frozen stuff. A simple sauce made with butter, sage, olive oil, and garlic lets the flavor of the gnocchi shine through.

Recipe: Brown Butter Sweet Potato Gnocchi

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10. One-Pot Greek Orzo With Shrimp

Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

When I was younger and living at home with my siblings, my mom used to make this recipe all the time because it's easy (it comes together in one pot), it's hearty, and it's a crowd-pleaser. So during quarantine, when my family was once again living all together, it came back into our recipe rotation. It's basically orzo, diced tomatoes, garlic, onion, feta, and shrimp, plus some spices and herbs. You can cook it entirely on the stove-top, but I prefer to finish it in the oven.

Recipe: One-Pot Greek Orzo With Shrimp

11. Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps

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If you're skeptical that lettuce wraps could constitute as a comfort food, let me change your mind. This recipe is all about the spicy, Korean-inspired filling, and lettuce wraps just provide a crunchy and fresh vessel for eating said filling. This recipe calls for beef tossed in a mixture of gochujang paste, soy sauce, maple syrup, and sesame oil. But you could really use any protein you like best. In fact, I once made this recipe with mushrooms and it was one of my favorite versions. Fill lettuce cups with the the spicy beef, top it with some veggies like cucumber, carrots, and scallions, and drizzle it with more sauce. After that, you'll definitely understand just how comforting it tastes.

Recipe: Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps

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12. World's Best Lasagna

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My mother makes the world's best lasagna, so I've adopted her recipe as the only one I'll follow. The meat sauce calls for a combination of Italian pork sausage and ground beef, and it gets layered in between no-boil lasagna noodles with homemade tomato sauce and a creamy ricotta cheese mixture. Finally, it's topped with mozzarella cheese and baked in the oven until just golden brown and melty all over. Best. Lasagna. Ever.

Recipe: World's Best Lasagna

13. Chipotle Cauliflower Tacos

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I really, really love tacos. In fact, if there's a food I could eat on repeat without every getting sick of it, tacos would be my choice. That being said, I make tacos at least once per week filled with anything from carnitas or chicken tinga to shrimp or fish. But these smoky chipotle cauliflower tacos have become one of my all-time favorites. You might not expect a vegetarian taco to taste so satisfying, but the cauliflower gets crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and it's tossed in a sweet and spicy mix of adobo sauce, honey, lime, paprika, and cumin. Topped with some crunchy veggies and creamy garlic aioli, these tacos are a force to be reckoned with.

Recipe: Chipotle Cauliflower Tacos

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14. Best-Ever Potato Latkes

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This recipe is called best ever potato latkes, and as someone who has tried her fair share of potato pancakes, I can say these are truly the best I've ever had. They're delightfully greasy, perfectly crispy, and so flavorful. Now you might be inclined to think of latkes as a Hanukkah food, but the truth is that latkes are hugely underrated and should be eaten all year long, preferably with a dollop of crème fraîche and smoked salmon for good measure.

Recipe: Best-Ever Potato Latkes

15. Homemade Pizza From Scratch

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About two years ago, I took a pizza making class in NYC that pretty much changed my life. Since then, I've started making pizza from scratch on the regular. Not only is homemade pizza the tastiest, most satisfying food, but it's also an awesome family activity or date night idea. The most important part of good homemade pizza is the dough, and this recipe will walk you through it. And you don't need a fancy pizza oven to make excellent pies from scratch. Just use a baking sheet or opt for a pizza stone that retains heat from the oven and produces some seriously crispy crust.

Recipe: Homemade Pizza

What was the best comfort food recipe you made this year? Share in the comments!

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