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Michigan’s bone-chilling winters leave us longing for something to warm our spirits, and classic comfort foods are a hearty and delicious menu choice during these cold months.

Comfort foods are easy to make and — just as important — they’re easy to reheat as leftovers for lunch or a quick-serve meal.

Ready to get cooking? Here are three classic comfort foods that are must-makes this winter.

Meatloaf

Nothing says “comfort food” like meatloaf. Whether it’s served on its own or folded into freshly baked bread, meatloaf has been a favorite food for generations.

Ask anyone for a meatloaf recipe, and they’ll undoubtedly tell you theirs is the best. But to make your own great meatloaf creation, you simply need to combine a few essential ingredients before putting it in the oven: Beef, breadcrumbs, onion, ketchup, eggs and spices. Recipes vary, with some adding pork and veal, and others bringing in brown sugar and Dijon mustard. And for people with young children, meatloaf is also a great way to hide vegetables — just puree carrots and celery and mix them into the meatloaf. Kids will never know!

For an added dimension of comfort, serve meatloaf with mashed potatoes made from higher-starch potatoes, such as russets. Avoid red or white potatoes — they can turn into a paste when mashing (but they’re ideal for potato soups and salads).

When it’s time for leftovers, create a meatloaf sandwich using fresh, crispy bakery bread. Busch’s Fresh Food Market’s artisan Italian bread makes a perfect meatloaf sandwich: The bread soaks up the juices of the meatloaf, while its crispy outer shell balances the moist texture.

Busch’s Fresh Food Market’s meat department uses premium Creekstone Farms Beef and makes their own grinds in store, so if you’re crunched for time, it’s easy to pick up fresh meat on the go.

Chili

Whether it’s spicy, mild or somewhere in between, chili is a tried-and-true comfort food — an easy-to-make dish in the Crock-Pot or on the stove. Each chili recipe starts with beef, chicken, turkey or a meat-free alternative, and is simmered with onions, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and a range of spices that include cumin, cayenne pepper and garlic powder.

Of course, the real star of chili is the toppings — shredded cheddar cheese, fresh sour cream and thinly sliced green onions. For the ultimate indulgence, splash with Tabasco sauce and top with crumbled saltines.

And although a great chili can stand on its own, it’s even better when paired with a craft beer, such as Witch’s Hat Train Hopper or New Belgium Fat Tire, both available at Busch’s Fresh Food Market.

For leftovers, reheat the chili to eat on its own, or use it to top a plate of tortilla chips and freshly grated cheddar cheese for an instant nachos dish. Finish it off with sour cream and add tomatoes, jalapeno peppers and salsa.

Macaroni and cheese

Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, and recipes can be simple or truly decadent.

Whether slow-cooked in the Crock-Pot or brought to a roux on the stovetop, mac and cheese can range from classic — with elbow macaroni, milk, butter, flour, cheese and salt and pepper — to gourmet-inspired, bringing in ingredients that include Roquefort cheese, thick-sliced bacon and garlic-infused breadcrumbs. Short on time? Try making it in a pressure cooker. One popular recipe uses only elbow macaroni, chicken broth, butter, a blend of cheeses, milk, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook time is just five minutes.

No matter how you make it, macaroni and cheese is perfect when served on its own or when accompanied by simply prepared vegetables, such as fresh green beans or asparagus. For a fast and easy way to make the vegetables, drizzle them with a good extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then put them in the microwave for several minutes. To pack a protein punch, top your macaroni and cheese with grilled organic chicken, such as Miller Poultry boneless, skinless chicken breast, available at Busch’s Fresh Food Market. Butterfly the chicken and cut it into bite-sized pieces, then sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and cook it in a pan with a small amount of olive oil.

For leftovers, package macaroni and cheese in individual containers that are easy to take to work or school, or freeze your mac and cheese for up to six months.

Ready to fight the Michigan winter blues and warm up with delicious comfort foods? Visit your local Busch’s Fresh Food Market in-store or online to find recipes, ingredients and more.

Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.

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