Five Foolproof Meals

Kid-Friendly Recipes Image Gallery What's on your list of foolproof comfort foods? See more pictures of kid-friendly recipes.

­These five examples of comfort food favorites have some powerful things going for them. They have great flavor, use ingredients that are plentiful, are economical, freeze well, and can be scaled up or down as needed. They also have the advantage of being easy to make, and they contribute some tantalizing aromas to the kitchen. If you're looking for something to serve for dinner to­night, don't head to the drive-through; show your creative side by serving one of these offerings instead.

A big part of family life is eating together, and these meals create delectable aromas and delicious flavors that will make mealtime an event. Use your dining table for something other than paying the bills. Invest some time in creating Sunday dinner style meals and serve them any day of the week. Children who eat family meals are more likely to do well in school, steer clear of drugs and maintain healthier lifestyles, so mix up some good memories while you're making dinner tonight [source: Marino].

­While you're saving a few pennies, you can also explore your creative side. Cooking can be a relaxing pastime that will help reduce y­our stress level and put you in better control of your diet. Foodies know the value of creative cooking, and these basic menu items can be elegant and complex or classically simple, depending on the occasion. They can also reflect the regional flavors or special ingredients that interest you the most. Try making chili with black beans, or craft a homemade pumpkin soup with cumin and cilantro. You aren't limited by what's in the frozen case of your local grocery store if you're willing to put on an apron and do some chopping. With a little effort -- sometimes very little -- you can make a unique, hearty meal with all the fixings for a fraction of what it would cost to eat out.

First up, let's take a look at spaghetti. From coast to coast, this American favorite has been making us feel full and satisfied, even during lean times.