By: Denile Doyle
Wintertime is the season to be jolly, to wear cute boots, and to indulge in your favorite comfort foods. You can even do all three at the same time, because multi-tasking duh. Nothing warms you up better on a frigid day than a warm, rich dish and winter is the perfect excuse to indulge in such hearty meals. The deliciousness of it all is just a bonus. Whether you’re enjoying your comfort food with friends, family, or solo, you can never get enough of the warm and satisfying feeling it provides. Here are six foods that will bring you comfort this winter:
1. Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut squash is one of our favorite winter vegetables. It’s delicious on its own and tasty when added to other dishes. Vegetarians and meat eaters alike will enjoy this soup because it’s creamy and amazing. The soup is usually made with cooked, butter-soft butternut, vegetable stock, butter, and seasonings like garlic, red pepper flakes and ginger. Even the most unskilled cook can make this soup. It’s that easy. Tip: Add coconut milk for extra creaminess, and for a vegan version, substitute olive oil for butter.
2. Chicken and Dumplings
Chicken and dumplings is a dish that comforts you in every way. It’s not the type of meal you can make in 30 minutes, but when you’re finished, you know it was worth the time and effort. If we’re giving a dish the “comfort food” label, it needs to be something we won’t mind eating again and again until it’s gone. Something that tastes even better on the second and third day. If your mom or grandma doesn’t already have a go-to recipe, you can find your inspiration online. Good chicken and dumplings consists of fluffy dumplings, carrots, peas, and moist chicken. The seasonings and slow cooking process brings it altogether. Tip: To save time, use store-bought biscuit dough for your dumplings.
3. Macaroni and Cheese
Mac and cheese can, and will, satisfy most peoples’ comfort-food cravings. The warm, cheesy, gooey goodness of this dish makes it the perfect cold-weather meal. As far as comfort foods go, mac and cheese is very versatile. You can adapt it to your taste, diet, mood, or fridge/pantry ingredients. Make it with white cheese if you prefer the white version; add ham or bacon for a salty mix-in; or substitute almond milk and vegan cheese for the dairy.
4. Tomato Soup
Tomato soup is a classic comfort food that’s simple, but yummy. A childhood food that brings you as much comfort now as it did back then. Even leftover soup tastes perfect, which explains why you’re still not tired of eating it. Tomato soup is delightful on its own, but when paired with a grilled cheese sandwich, it becomes even more luscious. After you make it at home, you’ll never go back to the canned stuff. Tip: Add sour cream at the end for a yummy finishing touch.
Chili is another comfort food that you want more of after it’s been refrigerated, because the flavors only get better over time. This dish can fit any lifestyle, whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian or carnivore. And there’s no one recipe that trumps all others. Once you have the ratios down, you can play around with other ingredients and seasonings to make the flavors your own. When it comes to beans, pick whatever you like, combine a few different ones, or stick with the classic red beans. Make the beef, turkey, chicken, or vegetarian version. You’ll get to delight in the same heartiness and rich flavors because all chili is good chili. Tip: Don’t forget the cornbread, it’s the essential complement for a chili’s deep flavors.
6. Beef Stew
Beef stew is delicious and flavorful and can warm you up in no time. The main requirements for a yummy beef stew are a lean cut of beef, lots of veggies, stock and red wine (optional), plus herbs and seasonings. It’s the perfect slow-cooker meal, and of course your house will smell great while it’s cooking. The comforting smell alone will make you hungry. Chili is a good winter standby for when you need to eat, but you don’t have time to make a more hands-on meal, because life’s too busy.