3 Summer Recipes That Prove Comfort Food Has No Season

Photographed by Ben Fink.
In our minds, comfort food doesn't exactly scream quick and easy — or hot weather appropriate. When we think of the types of dishes tied to this category, bubbling hot pots of chili and steaming stews come to mind. So, the idea of buckling down and working up a sweat in order to make one of these decadent meals, on a weeknight, during the summer isn't particularly appealing. We'd much rather just rustle up something fresh (read: cold and already cooked), kick back on the couch, and get comfortable. But, hey, comfort food is supposed to be just that! And who's to say that it can't be just as quick, easy, AND desirable during the warmer months? As it turns out, not us — at least not after Trisha Yearwood had something to say about it.
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If you haven't yet heard of, or tuned in for, Trisha's hit cooking show on the Food Network (Trisha's Southern Kitchen), don't worry. Ahead we're featuring three recipe highlights from the country music star turned chef's newest cookbook, Trisha's Table. Scroll on for proof that comfort food can be a year-round option that's equal parts quick, easy, healthy — and above all, delicious. From zesty pizza (a la her hubby, Garth Brooks) to no-bake PB pretzel squares and even some "unfried" chicken, Yearwood proves that comfort doesn't have a proper season.
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Photographed by Ben Fink.
Garth’s Taco Pizza
Makes 8 slices

Ingredients
1 (13.8 oz.) can pre-made pizza crust dough (Pillsbury)
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
½ cup mild picante sauce
¾ cup sliced green or black olives
8 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
Salt to taste
1 cup finely diced tomato (about 1 large or 30 grape tomatoes)
12 ounces shredded lettuce (about 1 large head)
¼ cup sour cream

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Roll the pizza dough out and fit onto a 15 in. pizza pan or baking sheet. In a medium bowl, mix together the beans and picante sauce until combined. Spread the mixture onto the crust, leaving a ¼ in. border. Scatter the olives over the crust, then top with the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned.

2. While the crust is baking, lightly salt the tomatoes, then, in a medium bowl, toss them with the lettuce and sour cream. Once the pizza is out of the oven, top it with the cool lettuce mixture.

Trisha Tip
"Garth likes extra-mild picante. I use medium to hot."

Reprinted from Trisha’s Table. Copyright © 2015 by Trisha Yearwood. Interior photographs copyright © 2015 by Ben Fink. Cover photograph copyright © 2015 by Peggy Hagopian. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
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Photographed by Ben Fink.
No-Bake Peanut Butter Pretzel Squares
Makes 24 squares

Ingredients
2 cups thin pretzel sticks
¾ cup (1½ sticks) salted butter, melted
1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup, 4 tbsp smooth peanut butter
1½ cups milk chocolate chips

Instructions
1. In a food processor, pulse the pretzels into fine crumbs, about 2 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix together the pretzel crumbs, melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, and 1 cup of the peanut butter until fully combined. Press evenly into the bottom of an un-greased 9×9 in. pan.

2. In a medium microwave safe bowl, melt the remaining 4 tbsp of peanut butter and the chocolate chips together in 30-second intervals, stirring in between. When the mixture is smooth, spread it over the peanut butter/pretzel layer. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares.

Trisha’s Tip
"Thin pretzel sticks have the perfect amount of crunch and salt for the bottom layer."

Reprinted from Trisha’s Table. Copyright © 2015 by Trisha Yearwood. Interior photographs copyright © 2015 by Ben Fink. Cover photograph copyright © 2015 by Peggy Hagopian. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
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Photographed by Ben Fink.
Unfried Chicken
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp hot sauce (Tabasco)
1½ cups multigrain panko bread crumbs
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
1 lemon, quartered

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a medium shallow bowl, combine the buttermilk and hot sauce. In a separate medium shallow dish, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

2. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and submerge in the buttermilk mixture. Remove, allowing the excess to drip off, then dredge in the bread crumb mixture, pressing to adhere. Lay the pieces flat on a nonstick baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Then bake the chicken until crispy and brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Squeeze the lemon over the chicken before serving.

Trisha Tip
"Don’t skip the step of refrigerating for 30 minutes before baking. If you do, all of your “crust” will fall off. Don’t ask me how I know!"

Reprinted from Trisha’s Table. Copyright © 2015 by Trisha Yearwood. Interior photographs copyright © 2015 by Ben Fink. Cover photograph copyright © 2015 by Peggy Hagopian. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
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Photographed by Ben Fink.
Trisha’s Table by Trisha Yearwood, $12.83, available at Amazon.
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