11 easy, cheesy recipes that taste like comfort

It doesn't get much cheesier than this

By Michael La Corte

Deputy Food Editor

Published January 21, 2023 4:30PM (EST)

Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti (Getty Images/LauriPatterson)
Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti (Getty Images/LauriPatterson)

There's a National Cheese Lovers' Day, but this food "holiday" shouldn't be regulated to one fleeting day. We deserve cheese pulls galore every day — am I right, fellow cheese lovers?

If you're hoping to make this weekend a cheese extravaganza, why not try some of Salon Food's stellar, uber-cheesy dishes? They're all immensely, deliciously cheese-laden — and we couldn't recommend them more.

To really up the cheese factor, you could pair one (or more than one) of these recipes with a cheese plate or cheese-centric dessert. On Netflix's superb new show "Pressure Cooker," one of the chef-contestants states during a cheese challenge that "you've never heard of pecorino ice cream." But, frankly, why not?

When it comes to cheese, does the limit exist? Without further ado, here are 11 easy, cheesy recipes from Salon Food that taste like comfort:

Pizza with chopped meat, spinach and cream saucePizza with chopped meat, spinach and cream sauce (Getty Images/Eugene Mymrin)Image_placeholder
If you're in the mood for amping up the cheese quotient but a standard plain pie isn't your desired vibe, then this pizza is a top-tier option.
With plenty of verdant kale to bulk up the nutritional component, a choose-your-own-crust, a mountain of not one but three separate cheeses and the inclusion of a ground, browned protein option, this pizza is your new super-cheesy go-to.
Cheesy Hamburger and Macaroni DinnerCheesy Hamburger and Macaroni Dinner (Getty Images/LauriPatterson)Image_placeholder
Toss that old box in your pantry out and make this instead. While you can customize, mix-and-match or swap as you see fit, the end result will be delicious, definitively cheesy and tailored precisely to your own tastes. With the unique inclusion of buttermilk powder, lots of cheddar and interesting notes of smoked paprika, you'll be amazed by this super-comforting dish.
As deputy food editor Ashlie Stevens writes, "This recipe takes a one-box convenience meal and turns it into a multi-ingredient dinner. Packed with surprising punches of flavor, it belongs in your winter recipe rotation." Sounds like an A+ option, no?
Cheesy Chicken Reverse NachosCheesy Chicken Reverse Nachos (Mary Elizabeth Williams)Image_placeholder
Nachos are pretty unquestionably terrific, but in this case, senior writer Mary Elizabeth Williams takes some inspiration from Mark Bittman and makes a cheesy, spicy and flavorful "reverse nacho" dish, complete with lime, cherry tomatoes, ground turkey and heaping amounts of tortilla chips.
If that hasn't sold you yet, perhaps this will, as told by Williams herself: "I made this on a recent evening after a rough day of blood work at the doctor, and I felt comforted and fortified after only one bite. I can't guarantee it will fortify you in the same way, but I do know there aren't too many days that can't be made better with cheese and chips for dinner."
French onion soupFrench onion soup (Getty Images/Anastasia Dobrusina)Image_placeholder
There's no need to wax poetic about French onion soup. It's an iconic dish and a stalwart for all of the right reasons. This version eschews beef stock and soggy bread, instead focusing on the highlights: a rich, sumptuous, dark broth and cheese atop of cheese atop of cheese, with some crispy, toasted bread (and lots of onions) to tie it all together.
Rush to your kitchen and start chopping because this is one seriously impressive soup.
Home made freshness beef lasagna with fine chopped parsleyHome made freshness beef lasagna with fine chopped parsley (Getty Images/haoliang)Image_placeholder
Lasagna is a true beacon of a dish. A perfect one-pot meal, it's an easy dish to make and then wrap up with foil to deliver to a new neighbor or grieving friend. While lasagna doesn't require any sides, a green salad, some crusty bread and some extra sauce and grated cheese on the side are certainly welcome at dinnertime.
Moreover, you can tweak the flavors, ingredients or inclusions as you see fit. I also love lasagna because it's a built-in leftover machine. If you make this recipe, you'll be having lasagna for lunch for the next few days. I don't know about you, but lasagna for lunch sure sounds lovely to me.
Dutch baby pizzaDutch baby pizza (Mary Elizabeth Williams)Image_placeholder
As Williams writes, "I like this Dutch baby pizza in an easy to manage small portion, because it says 'dinner is served' when you don't even want to wait for takeout. The only trick is to show some restraint; this is a baby after all, it can't handle a heavy hand with toppings."
While many often go the sweet or breakfast-y route with a Dutch baby, who says it shouldn't be a cheesy, savory pizza
Mashed potato in cooking panMashed potato in cooking pan (Getty Images/Anjelika Gretskaia)Image_placeholder
The culinary equivalent of a plush, warm pillow, this dish is a dependable standard at every one of my holiday meals. Lush, soft, deeply cheesy and redolent with butter and cream, these mashed potatoes will never, ever go out of style.
While these potatoes are a holiday go-to for me, who says you can't enjoy them on a particularly frenzied Wednesday afternoon? If you don't have mascarpone or chives on hand, no worries. All you really need here are potatoes, cheddar, cream, butter, water and salt.
Pumpkin PizzaPumpkin Pizza (Mary Elizabeth Williams)Image_placeholder
Williams writes that she "discovered my very favorite pizza in the world several years ago, on an autumn visit to a friend in Missoula. Normally, I would be skeptical of Montana as a pizza destination, but my friend is a former New Yorker and full-time Italian, so I trusted her. At Biga Pizza, we ate a magnificent creation of squash, caramelized onions and two kinds of cheese. I returned home determined to have as much of exactly that in my life as possible."
In her iteration of the pizza, Williams utilizes a can of pumpkin purée in a marvelous manner, combining it with two cheeses, some herbs and a batch of caramelized or sautéed onions. While some might lean into pumpkin (or pumpkin spice) only in the fall, there's no reason to limit your intake or minimize your pumpkin love to only one season. We eat butternut all year long, don't we?
Conchiglie pasta with pumpkin stuffingConchiglie pasta with pumpkin stuffing (Getty Images/VICUSCHKA)Image_placeholder
This stuffed shell recipe utilizes brown butter, pesto, cream and pumpkin seeds, along with butternut squash, herbs and ricotta to bolster your stuffed (and baked) pasta love to new heights. This recipe has a ton of different cheeses, herbs and flavorings, which will impress and tantalize even the most pasta-averse (if people of that ilk even exist).
On the recipe page, I write that "there's something deeply comforting and reassuring about stuffed shells: perfectly cooked, pliable pasta shells filled to the brim with the creamiest ricotta mixture imaginable, doused in sauce and cheese galore and baked until perfectly golden. It doesn't get much better than that, especially on a holiday." It doesn't get much better than this.
Mozzarella BallsMozzarella Balls (Mary Elizabeth Williams)Image_placeholder
A smaller version of a mozzarella stick? We're in.
As Williams writes, "You can buy regular, low-moisture supermarket mozzarella, cube it up and fry it pretty effortlessly any night of the week. But there's something really cute — and really tempting — about those little cheese balls known as bocconcini. Round stuff is just fun."
Enjoy some piping hot, freshly fried mozzarella at home with this stellar recipe. The cheese pulls will be truly Instagram-worthy.
Chicken Parmesan Baked in Tomato SauceChicken Parmesan Baked in Tomato Sauce (Getty Images/Lauri Patterson)Image_placeholder
Alas, the piece de resistance!
I worked really hard to develop this approach to classic chicken parmigiana, swapping the sauce-chicken-cheese parameters and instead going in a slightly different direction, which helps to place the focus on the crispness of the fried chicken cutlets and the sheer amount of cheese used.
This is one of my favorite recipes of all time. I hope you will say the same after making it.

By Michael La Corte

Michael is a food writer, recipe editor and educator based in his beloved New Jersey. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, he worked in restaurants, catering and supper clubs before pivoting to food journalism and recipe development. He also holds a BA in psychology and literature from Pace University.

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