After one of the coldest, snowiest winters we’ve had in years, February is about to pounce. It’s time to break out the comfort foods to get us through that bleak gray month standing between us and Spring.

Remember when you were a kid and February was just part of that wonderful season, winter, with frosty designs on the windows and snowfalls that canceled—yay—school and all the kids in the neighborhood ran outside and licked the air borne swirling snowflakes and made angels and fat, lumpy snowmen. And remember how warm it was afterward in the kitchen drinking hot chocolate. And For lunch, eating grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or tomato or chicken soup. And after a day sledding and defending the fort with snowballs, remember how satisfying your meatloaf and mashed potatoes tasted, or maybe you had pot roast or macaroni and cheese or spaghetti at the dinner table where the whole family gathered and sat in seats that belonged to each member forever…And any bad things that happened to you that day vanished at the table. You were safe there. No big bad wolves could touch you.

So this February let comfort foods recall the carefree, secure atmosphere of those early Februaries. Dig in to that beef stew or fried chicken or tuna casserole. Ditch your calorie chart and dip into some apple pie and ice cream for desert, or banana pudding or rice pudding or chocolate chip cookies (remember them warm out of the oven?). And for any twinge of guilt brought on by these soul satisfying carbs, just toss an occasional broccoli spear or string bean into a pot to silence your inner calorie cop.

A lot of comfort food requires little or no cooking skills – right up my alley. Composed of simple basic ingredients, it’s inexpensive too – also up my alley.

Here are three recipe collections of comfort foods to warm your spirits and help you coast through February with nostalgic pleasure:

More at the Food Table: