We first published this post at a time the world was hurting so many hearts — the pandemic, politics, wildfires — and here we are again, the same time of year, turning to food for a bit of “normal.”  Next week, I am planning to start baking homemade bread again (these yeast bread recipes are fantastic even for beginners!), and plan out these five dishes for dinner, each designed to provide a warm hug from the inside out. Hopefully you’ll find some good choices for your family too and I’ve included some alternates as well.

Every single one of us is dealing with so much right now, let alone looking out for our kids’ mental health and overall well-being. Cooking aside, be kind and patient with yourself and be sure to manage your own stress. It’s okay to be human.

And hey, remember there is not one thing wrong with throwing your entire meal  plan out the window and ordering take-out or grabbing something pre-made. A single rotisserie chicken can provide plenty of nights of belly-warming meals — and no shame in that.A meal plan of comfort food recipes for tough weeks: fall and winter family favorites | coolmomeats.com

Butter Cauliflower from Dishing Out Health: A vegetarian comfort food favorite adapted from savory Butter ChickenMONDAY
Butter Chicken is a favorite comfort food around my home, so I’m thrilled to find this recipe for Butter Cauliflower from Jaime at Dishing Out Health. It’s a comfort food twist that’s great if you are a fan of Meatless Monday, and terrific over rice, quinoa or one of these 5 kid-friendly grains. My tip: Don’t be overwhelmed by the recipe’s long list of ingredients – you probably have most of them in your pantry already and garam masala is handy to have for all kinds of uses. Alternate Recipes: Try these 8 Curry Recipes that are better than take-out

7 Layer Burrito recipe from Honey What's Cooking is a fun way to change up Taco Tuesday -- and an excellent comfort food for fallTUESDAY
One of my favorite comfort foods when I was pregnant was the 7-layer Burrito from Taco Bell and as the kids got older, it became one of those late evening drive-thru dinners we looked forward to after the kids’ sports practices. Since it’s been gone,  I found this amazing 7 Layer Burrito Taco Bell copycat recipe from Honey, What’s Cooking and now I make them at home for a nostalgic Taco Tuesday dinner. Alternate Recipes: Spice things up with these 8 flavor-packed Mexican dinner recipes that aren’t tacos.

Schinkennudeln is better known as Ham & Cheese Pasta in English and this recipe from What's Gaby Cooking is a fabulous comfort food recipe for cool nightsWEDNESDAY
This recipe for Schinkennudeln (Ham & Cheese Pasta) from What’s Gaby Cooking is so easy and so dang good that it’s is my son’s most requested meal. A big bowl of pasta is pretty much like getting a warm hug right? Alternate Recipes: 11 easy and super fast pasta recipes you can make in minutes.

Kristen's Mom's Asian Pepper Steak is a hand-me-down recipe that's just 15 minutes to prep and perfect for family meal planning | recipe: the kitchnTHURSDAY
Our co-founder Kristen shared this beautiful personal essay about her mother’s Pepper Steak on The Kitchn and I can not wait to make it. Bringing your own family recipe into a tough week is a sure way to make dinner time that much more filled with love. (Photo Credit: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell) Alternate Recipes: 5 easy dinner ideas for the family including our favorite fall comfort food classics

Doritos Chicken Casserole from Call Me PMC is a kid-favorite, easy to make, and a nice surprise to work into your weekly meal planFRIDAY
A warm bubbly casserole has always been comfort food for me, so you can see why I was drawn to this dinner recipe for Doritos Chicken Casserole from Call Me PMC. I’m guessing my teens aren’t the only ones who squealed when they saw their favorite chips…for dinner. Balance out the creaminess by serving with a big green salad. Alternate Recipes: 7 amazing nachos recipes that will turn every day into nacho day

The Best Homemade Hot Chocolate recipe: The perfect way to cap off any dinner that needs a cozy, comforting finish…AND A TREAT.
From time to time, we all need to take a moment to just stop and re-center. It’s nice when a favorite recipe can be a part of that. My suggestion is to gather the kiddos and whip up a batch of homemade hot chocolate from scratch together. t’s really so easy. Then grab a board game, or turn on a good movie, snuggle up with together (if they let you) and just…breathe and be grateful for one another.

I put these weekly meals plans together based on recipes I am actually cooking for my family, and with you in mind.  If you have suggestions, tips or recommendations for recipes or other food bloggers I should check out, please comment here, or shoot me a message in our Recipe Rescue group on Facebook.  – Lisa

Top image: Bruno Thethe on Unsplash