Rainy day comfort foods

Apr 2, 2008 at 3:02 p.m. ET

After a long, cold winter, summer can't come soon enough, but before the sun shines, we must grin and bear a typically rainy April. Rainy days are opportune times to stay inside and cozy up to your favorite comfort foods. Keep your hopes alive, summer will be here soon, but in the meantime, enjoy the rain from the inside.

Woman Rainy Day


Chili with Cheese Dumplings


Makes 4 servings

12 ounces lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
Cheese Dumplings (recipe follows)

1. In a large stockpot, cook beef, onion, pepper and garlic about 10 minutes, beef should be browned and onion soft. Drain any excess liquid from pot. Mix in chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and let simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce and water. Let mixture come to a boil then lower heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Place tablespoons of Cheese Dumplings into chili and let simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Cheese Dumplings

1/2 cup white all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Combine flour, cheese, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper. Mix in egg, milk and oil until a soft dough forms.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Panini

Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup olive oil
1 whole garlic clove, peeled and crushed
8 slices thick French or Italian bread
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 plum or vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
8 basil leaves

1. Heat oil and garlic together in a small pot over low heat until oil is hot and garlic is lightly browned. Meanwhile, heat a skillet or grill pan over medium-low heat.
2. Coat slices of bread with garlic oil, on one side only. Place 4 slices of bread, oil side down in hot skillet or grill pan. Top with a few slices of cheese, tomatoes and basil. Place other half of bread on top, oil side up. Grill sandwiches until cheese melts. Place a heavy skillet or foil-covered brick on top to flatten. 

If you can't get enough of gooey cheese and crisp bread, try a Gourmet Grilled Cheese.

Hot Chocolate with Homemade Marshmallows

Makes 16 servings

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups nonfat powdered milk
1/2 cup powdered non-dairy creamer (plain or flavored)

Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. Store in an airtight container. To make one serving, mix 1/4 cup of the mix with 3/4 cup of boiling water. Store extra cocoa mix in a mason jar or another airtight container.

Homemade Marshmallows

2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Powdered sugar

1. Mix gelatin with 1/2 cup cold water in a large bowl and let sit for 30 minutes.
2. Heat granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup water in a small pot, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
3. Place a candy thermometer in the pot, not letting it touch the bottom, and let mixture cook until thermometer reads 244 degrees F. Take pan off of heat at this time.
4. Slowly beat syrup mixture into gelatin, then turn mixer to high and beat mixture is thick and white, for about 15 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
5. Dust a large glass casserole dish with powdered sugar and pour mixture into it. Dust the top with powdered sugar as well and let sit overnight, uncovered. When ready to use, slice into squares.

For more warm drinks, try these seven drinks to warm your week.

For more rainy day ideas visit:

Rainy day activities for kids and dogs

Spring rainy day activities

Have fun with food on a rainy day