How to Make Elevated Comfort Food Like a Professional

No one does fancy quite like Geoffrey Zakarian. These are his best, most-perfected versions of grown-up takes on comfort food, from pizza to doughnuts.

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Buttery Brioche Grilled Cheese

Trust us: This isn't the grilled cheese you ate as a kid. In place of classic white bread, GZ opts for French brioche bread, and a three-cheese blend with Dijon and garlic takes the place of the usual American slices. The results are every bit as comforting as the original recipe, but they're served with complexity.

Get the Recipe: Buttery Brioche Grilled Cheese

Spaghetti and Meatballs

For the best flavor, Geoffrey uses a blend of ground pork, ground veal and pork sausage when making these moist meatballs. When it comes to the sauce, it's all about simple, classic ingredients there too: fragrant basil, garlic and high-quality canned tomatoes.

Get the Recipe: Spaghetti and Meatballs

French Onion Soup

Warm and gooey, the blanket of melted Gruyère cheese atop this sweet-onion soup adds a layer of rich flavor to the dish.

Get the Recipe: French Onion Soup

Game-Day Chili

After cooking up this hearty and meaty chili, set out a help-yourself toppings bar with cool creme fraiche, cilantro and shredded cheeses, so your friends can assemble their own chili bowls.

Get the Recipe: Game Day Chili

Spicy Kielbasa Dog with Stout Onions

Caramelizing the onions in a butter-beer blend turns them into a tender, sweet topping ideal for a bold sausage.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Kielbasa Dog with Stout Onions

Pan-Seared Chicken with Olives

On those nights when only a simple chicken breast will do, look to GZ's recipe to transform your meal routine. This top-rated dish features a tangy olive-studded pan sauce, which elevates the meat easily.

Get the Recipe: Pan Seared Chicken with Olives

Stuffed Crust Cast-Iron Pizza with Smoked Mozzarella

Not only is Geoffrey's pizza topped with smoked mozzarella, but the cheese is also tucked inside the edges of the crust, which creates a gooey surprise when you bite into it.

Get the Recipe: Stuffed Crust Cast-Iron Pizza with Smoked Mozzarella

Fettuccine Alfredo

A buttery bechamel sauce is the base of this 30-minute pasta. Just before serving, Geoffrey tosses the dish with two nutty cheeses to delivery super-creamy results.

Get the Recipe: Fettuccine Alfredo

BBQ Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Butter

Skip the bottle of blue cheese dressing, and opt for Geoffrey's homemade blue-cheese-laced butter to cool down these saucy wings. To keep the prep simple, use whatever BBQ sauce you like and happen to have on hand.

Get the Recipe: BBQ Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Butter

Classic French Toast with Strawberry Syrup

In place of the usual maple syrup drizzle, Geoffrey dresses up his cinnamon-scented French toast with a fruity topping of warm sweetened strawberries.

Get the Recipe: Classic French Toast with Strawberry Syrup

Truffled Mushroom and Cheesy Macaroni Casserole

This big-batch casserole fuses extra-special truffle oil with ingredients you'd likely find in Grandma's old-school mac and cheese, like grated cheddar and canned fried onions for a topping. 

Get the Recipe: Truffled Mushroom and Cheesy Macaroni Casserole

B.E.L.T. (Bacon, Egg, Lettuce and Tomato)

It's the "E" (aka the "egg") that turns this recipe into a next-level sandwich, built atop toasted bread and served open-faced.

Get the Recipe: B.E.L.T (Bacon, Egg, Lettuce and Tomato)

GZ's Ugly Burger

"The patties will not be perfectly round; they should look rustic," he notes in the recipe for his fast-fix burgers. These satisfying between-the-bun bites are built with what he calls Special Sauce, featuring spiced ketchup, tangy mayonnaise and horseradish.

Get the Recipe: GZ's Ugly Burger

Doughnuts with Chile Sugar

By dusting these fried yeast-based doughnuts in a mixture of spiced sugar laced with chile powder and Hungarian paprika, GZ achieves a craveable balance between sweet and spicy flavors.

Get the Recipe: Doughnuts with Chile Sugar

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Check out Food Network's Cooks vs. Cons headquarters for more of Geoffrey's pro-tested recipes, and test your culinary chops with our interactive quizzes.

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