Chelsey’s Kitchen: 4 affordable comfort food recipes for spring

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With spring comes perfect weather, blooming flowers and fruitful harvest. Comfort food at an affordable price can be a great addition to the flowering season. From carb-inducing pasta and meatball dishes to warm soup, add these four decadent dishes to your food list for the spring. 

Creamy Italian Chicken Pasta

Photo courtesy of Chelsey Davis

This delicious recipe is very similar to classic chicken alfredo pasta tossed in a creamy white wine parmesan sauce and paired with juicy seared chicken. However, this dish has a couple of variations, such as adding yellow onion and red pepper flakes to make it more unique.

Step 1: In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning and mix well.

Step 2: Coat three chicken breasts in the seasoned flour mixture and set aside.

Step 3: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, place seasoned chicken breasts into the skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side.

Step 4: Remove the chicken breasts from the pan and set them aside.

Step 5: Create the sauce by adding 4 tablespoons of butter, 1 diced yellow onion and 2 tablespoons of minced garlic to the hot pan.

Step 6: Cook the onions on medium heat until they become translucent.

Step 7: Add 1 can of diced tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of flour to the pan and whisk to combine.

Step 8: Add 1 cup of heavy cream, 1 cup of white wine (or chicken broth), 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and red pepper flakes.

Step 9: Bring mixture to a simmer and add 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese and whisk until the sauce becomes smooth.

Step 10: Cook pasta according to package instructions.

Step 11: Assemble the dish by placing the pasta into the cream sauce, followed by the chicken breast and serve.

Decadent Taco Soup

Photo courtesy of Chelsey Davis

This recipe hits the nail for comfort food. It is flavorful in taste, rich in portion and super affordable. Though this dish calls for canned goods, taco seasoning, ground beef and toppings to spice things up, there are endless ways you can customize the ingredients. 

Step 1: Heat a pot on medium heat and fully cook 1 pound of ground beef according to the package instructions.

Step 2: Add in 2 taco seasoning packets and 2 ranch seasoning packets, followed by 1 can of sweet whole kernel corn, 1 can of pinto and black beans, and 1 can of diced tomatoes.

Step 3: Mix well and reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Step 4: Add toppings as desired and dig in.

Juicy Shrimp Scampi and Garlic Parmesan Rice

Photo courtesy of Chelsey Davis

This versatile plate is filled with juicy sautéed shrimp tossed in a mouthwatering garlic lemon wine sauce that will leave you wanting more. Aside from being flavorful, this recipe is a hearty reminder that just because it is affordable doesn’t mean it can not taste luxurious. Though this inexpensive recipe calls for shrimp and garlic rice, you can substitute this with any other protein such as chicken or steak.

Garlic Parmesan Rice

Step 1: Add 1 stick of butter, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes to a heated pan and sauté for 3 minutes.

Step 2: Increase the skillet temperature to high and add 1/2 a cup of white wine while stirring vigorously to emulsify into the butter.

Step 3: Add rice to the skillet and lightly brown for 3-4 minutes. Once browned, add chicken broth and bring the mixture to a low boil then reduce and cover for 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

Step 4: Sprinkle 1/2 a cup of parmesan cheese over the rice and set aside.


Step 1: Season peeled shrimp with 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, garlic powder to taste, Italian seasoning to taste, 1/2 a teaspoon of lemon pepper, and 3 teaspoons of minced garlic.

Step 2: Heat a pan to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and sauté the shrimp for 2-3 minutes, depending on size. Once fully cooked through, remove from heat and set aside.

Scampi Sauce

Step 1: In the same pan the shrimp was cooked in, add 2 tablespoons of minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

Step 2: Add 1/2 stick of butter to the pan, once melted add 1/2 cup of white wine (or chicken broth) and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.

Step 3: Whisk the mixture vigorously for approximately 5 minutes.

Step 4: Turn the heat to low and add cooked shrimp back in the pan with the sauce.

Step 5: Coat the shrimp in sauce and serve over the already prepared rice and enjoy.

Mini Meatball Marinara Sub Sandwiches

Photo courtesy of Chelsey Davis

Though small in size, these fulfilling sub sandwiches pack a powerful punch. To save time, you can purchase the meatballs frozen and already cooked instead of making them from scratch. To bring this carb-loaded dish alive, simply use your favorite tomato sauce, mini sandwich subs and cheese. 

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Slice hoagie rolls down the middle, be sure not to slice completely through the bread.

Step 3: Place the rolls in a baking dish and spread a couple of teaspoons of tomato sauce on the inside of each roll and sprinkle parmesan cheese over the sauce.

Step 4: Place 3 to 4 thawed out meatballs into each roll and top with more marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of dried Italian seasoning.

Step 5: Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let them slightly cool, serve and devour.

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