A lot of stories claim that mac and cheese was created by Thomas Jefferson, Marco Polo or the cooks of China. My favorite theory? An Italian housewife invented it to introduce non-Italian Americans to macaroni. —Stephanie Sorbie, Glendale, Arizona
The pleasing flavor of this golden corn pudding side dish makes it real comfort food. And because the recipe calls for a packaged corn mix, it’s easy to prepare. —P. Lauren Fay-Neri, Syracuse, New York
This dish is a crowd-pleaser with its creamy sauce, chunks of ham and potato slices. I always enjoyed it when Mother made it. I added the parsley and the thyme, and now my husband and five children request it. —Wendy Rhoades, Yacolt, Washington
Whenever we get together as a family for major holidays, my kids, nieces and nephews literally beg me to make this dish again. It goes together in minutes with canned sweet potatoes, which is ideal for the busy holiday season. —Sue Miller, Mars, Pennsylvania
The outstanding barbecue taste of these beans makes them a favorite for cookouts all summer and into the fall. It's a popular dish with everyone—even kids. Having meat in with the beans is so much better than plain pork and beans. —Donna Fancher, Lawrence, Indiana
Mom loves sweet potatoes and fixed them often in this creamy, comforting casserole. With its nutty topping, this side dish could almost serve as a dessert. It's a yummy treat! —Sandi Pichon, Memphis, Tennessee
If I ask our two girls (ages 7 and 14) what to fix for a special meal, this dish is always requested. I discovered this slightly sweet and crunchy-topped casserole at a church dinner about 10 years ago, and now I take it to potluck dinners and come home with an empty dish!
-Julie Jahn, Decatur, Indiana
Looking for a different treatment for cabbage? Try this spicy cheese-topped dish that I adapted from a friend's recipe. I added a little of this and that until it tasted the way I wanted. Not only do my husband and kids like it, I get rave reviews when I make it for company or church functions.
-Bobbie Soileau, Opelousas, Louisiana
It's easy to add variety to this dish by stirring in cooked, crumbled bacon. since my husband likes spicy foods, I frequently sprinkle chopped jalapeno peppers over half of the casserole for him.—Carrina Cooper, McAlpin, Florida
Onion and cheddar cheese perk up the rich flavor of summer squash in this comforting casserole from Katherine Metz, Jacksonville, Florida (with husband Chuck, at right). A crispy cornflake-crumb topping adds a little crunch.