It's cold and flu season in East Texas, and if you're not sick you probably know someone who is. When you have a sore throat, head cold, upper respiratory virus or any other kind of illness, nutrition makes a difference in your healing time. You want comfort food, the kind you had when you were a kid. Here are some of my go-to recipes when I'm sick or I'm taking food to someone who is.

Sick and Bereaved Casserole

This dish had a different name once, but no one in my family knows what it is. My aunt made it every time someone had a baby, lost a family member or was "sick in the bed." I can't remember the first time I tried it, just that she always made extra so we could have some too.

Then, I felt a little guilty, because someone else's misfortune was the reason I got to eat one of my favorite meals. Now I carry on the tradition by making and taking this easy comfort food when someone I know needs a nutritious, hearty meal that's easy on the digestive system.  Here's her recipe.

  • 3 cups cooked chicken
  • 1 package Uncle Ben's Rice, cooked
  • 1 small jar of pimiento
  • 1 can diced water chestnuts
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 c mayonnaise
  • 1 can french style green beans
  • Sharp cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients except the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then sprinkle the cheese on top. Make it super easy when you start with a rotisserie chicken from Tyler or Longview Wal-Mart or Brookshire's.

Hot Tea/Hot Toddy

Piping hot tea soothes a sore throat and helps decongest sinuses. Lemon and honey also soothe the throat. Heat 8 ounces of water and steep a bag of herbal tea for 4-7 minutes. Add a tablespoon of local honey and a lemon wedge.

If it's close to bedtime, add 1 ounce of bourbon. Alcohol dilates blood vessels for easier breathing and will relax you into sleep.

Quick and Easy Chicken Soup

You know it's good for the soul, but when you're sick you don't feel like spending hours in the kitchen. Again, cut your cooking time by using a rotisserie chicken. This easy chicken soup recipe uses canned broth and only requires chopping onion, celery and carrots. Throw it all together and simmer for 20 minutes for a supper that really will help you get better soon.

Egg and Avocado Toast

Sometimes soup just doesn't appeal. If you have an Instant Pot, cook half a dozen eggs for two minutes and natural release. If you don't, follow these instructions for making hard boiled eggs that peel perfectly. Then, chop them in a bowl and add two avocados, halved and pitted. Mash it with a fork. Add basil, garlic salt, three tablespoons of Greek yogurt, lemon juice and pepper. Spread on toast and enjoy.

What about you? Do you have go-to favorites you make for yourself or share with sick friends and family members? Let us know in the comments.