Comfort Rules


Comfort food sells. Here's how to keep it fresh while delivering on its promise of nostalgia and tradition.

"Restaurants that stay open forever and a day typically specialize in comfort food dishes," says Maeve Webster, senior director of Datassential. "It's feel-good fare and good value, and comfort food makes consumers feel satiated on every level." The challenge is to make your comfort food outshine their mama's meatloaf and grandma's Sunday stew. Give it culinary edge, but keep it familiar. "Try these comfort food recipes," says Trevor Williams, corporate sous chef for Kraft Foodservice. "We developed them to satisfy your non-foodie customers while adding just enough originality in flavour and format to make it interesting for your patrons who seek more adventure on the plate."

Clam Chowder "Pot Pie"

This recipe elevates a home-style bowl of chowder to a memorable entrée. Cornbread replaces pastry, keeping the profile rustic and pairing perfectly with the flavours in the chowder. "We add Philadelphia Light Cream Cheese Spread to give it that chowder reference of thick and creamy without weighing it down," says Chef Williams.

Alternate idea: instead of cornbread on top, go with a buttermilk biscuit; replace cod with haddock or bay scallops

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie Healthy Living

"English comfort foods that celebrate the pub culture of eating out and drinking are making their mark on menus," says Datassential's Webster. "Diners are looking for twists on those pub classics." Our chefs deliver a better-for-you twist with an on-trend ingredient. According to Datassential, sweet potatoes have enjoyed significant growth over the last four years. Philadelphia Light Cream Cheese Spread adds creaminess to the sweet potatoes and Kraft Calorie-Wise Zesty Italian Dressing deepens the flavour in the meat.

Alternate idea: replace the sweet potato with another root vegetable, like kohlrabi or turnip

Individual Beef & Marsala Pot Pies

Hearty and flavourful best describe this savoury pie. Marsala wine adds a touch of nutty sweetness. Bull's-Eye Bold Original Barbecue Sauce fortifies the savoury flavours. "It's also great with the beefiness of the shank," says Chef Williams. "This recipe uses a value cut of meat, and the barbecue sauce stands up to its big flavours really well."

Alternate idea: use a beef chuck roast instead of the shank

Creamy Herbed Chicken Pot Pie

Serve a comfort food classic in this charming individual serving. This recipe offers nostalgia and familiarity to your diners. Our chefs whisk low-sodium chicken broth with Philadelphia Herb & Garlic Cream Cheese Spread, which not only thickens the sauce beautifully, but adds great flavour to the pot pie.

Alternate idea: make it into a gratin by replacing the pie crust with a blend of seasoned breadcrumbs and Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese

Scalloped Potato Gratin

This recipe serves up a rich, satisfying comfort food side dish. For an easy, super-creamy cheese sauce, our chefs combine Velveeta Cheese with Philadelphia Light Cream Cheese Spread. "Philly raises the tang and punch in the Velveeta, and the cheese clings to the potatoes beautifully," says Chef Williams.

Other idea: add Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese to set the gratin

Reuben Soup

A clever take on the sandwich of the moment, this Reuben soup delivers those classic, much-loved flavours, but with a slightly mellower finish. Creamy, rich Kraft Thousand Island Dressing ties it all together perfectly.

Alternate idea: switch out the sauerkraut with finely chopped cabbage and carrot

BBQ Chicken Bowl

Our chefs layer comfort, flavour and texture in this eye-popping dish. Mashed sweet potatoes are silky and smooth, thanks to a blending of Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese with half-and-half. Chipotle peppers add smoke and heat. Next, shredded roast chicken tossed in Kraft Regular BarBQ Sauce pulls in a sweet and spicy dimension.

Alternate idea: use the BBQ chicken and coleslaw in a wrap

How do you combine the mega-trend of comfort food with an on-the-go platform? Ask That Pie Place, a wildly successful fast-casual concept in Atlanta, Georgia, that sells made-to-order savoury and sweet pies. Fillings are prepped ahead of time and chilled, individual pastry shells are rolled out and ready to go. Customers place their orders and watch their pies get filled and pinched closed. The pies are then baked to a golden brown in less than three minutes. That Pie Place sells about 2,400 pies a week. Eight-ounce savoury pies sell at $5.49 U.S.

Operator’s Challenge

"When we first opened, we were making a lot of different sauces to go with different pies, but it was not practical. We couldn't keep up. We needed one ready-to-go signature sauce that worked on a number of savoury pies."

Kraft Bistro Sauce
Back-of-House Solution

"A chef-friend introduced me to the Bistro Sauce. We never looked back. It's a well-rounded sauce that complements so many different proteins. Bistro has a mustard base with a bit of garlic, bit of tomato and a nice balance of sweet with spicy. It's great with roast beef, salmon and chicken. We go through a few cases a week. I don't embellish it at all. It's perfect as-is."

Todd Kazenske, Executive Chef, That Pie Place
Cordon Bleu Pie
Best Seller

Out of more than 20 savoury pies, the Chicken Cordon Bleu is among That Pie Place's top three sellers. Sporting smoked ham, Swiss cheese and chicken, it's served with their "signature" dipping sauce—Kraft Bistro Sauce.

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