(NAPSA) - Craving comfort food hasn't gone out of style. While it may be hard to find time to make a meal from scratch these days, that hasn't diminished the yearning for foods that have satisfying homemade taste, remind us of our childhood and family gatherings, or simply top our list of "most favorite" foods.
To find and share ways to make homemade meals more often, Nestle Carnation Evaporated Milk sought out 43,000 people who responded to a recent survey. They revealed a desire for homemade meals that don't take much time to prepare and offered practical tips:
Serve warm food: Most comfort foods have one thing in common-they're served warm. Creamy macaroni and cheese, buttery mashed potatoes and steaming soup topped the list of comfort foods most agreed warmed heart and soul.
Choose trusted recipes: Making something familiar and easy or choosing a recipe that's been shared between generations can be comforting all by itself. Find comfort foods to try by checking Web sites such as VeryBestBaking.com for classic and contemporary recipes including comments from other cooks who have already tried them.
Improve everyday foods with your own signature ingredient: A "secret" ingredient gives quick and simple recipes even more homemade flavor. Consider substituting evaporated milk for regular milk or water as an easy way to add rich, homemade flavor to a variety of convenience foods and classic staples like instant mashed potatoes.
Remember special touch-es: Create a beautiful dining environment. Add a vase of fresh flowers to the table, play relaxing music or light candles to add sensory pleasures that enhance the dining experience.
Prepare satisfying and memorable dishes: People tend to define comfort foods as either a bountiful meal or one remembered from childhood. Try combining both with a rich, hearty, baked macaroni and cheese.
Don't forget dessert: Even something fast like instant pudding completes the meal on a high note. To make pudding taste like it was made from scratch, substitute equal amounts of evaporated milk for regular milk in the recipe.
Make healthy substitutions: With the revival of comfort foods in recent years, concerns have also arisen about their healthfulness. There are many ways those delicious childhood foods (that tend to include high-fat, high-calorie ingredients) can be enjoyed while honoring the rules of good nutrition. As a substitute for regular milk, an easy alternative in homemade and packaged meals can be Carnation Lowfat 2% Evaporated Milk or Fat Free Evaporated Milk. They have twice the calcium and protein as regular milk. For recipes that call for half-and-half or other cream products, there's Carnation Evaporated Milk with a third less fat.