Adrienne Wolter shares local restaurant reviews, day trips and cooking adventures
Cold winds, snow-dampened scarves, bitter temperatures and short days: Winter has a plethora of qualities that inspire us to bar the doors and curl up by the fire. Yet those same traits that keep us indoors — away from our favorite bars, restaurants and travel spots — also make winter the best time of year for hearty, cozy, comfort foods.
Although your individual definition of comfort food will be unique, these delicious, easy-to-make favorites deserve a place in your winter recipe repertoire. Make it a happy start to December with any of these easy winter dishes.
Some nights you simply crave holiday-inspired food without the multi-day cook and prep time.
Pepperidge Farm’s One Dish Chicken and Stuffing Bake takes minutes to prep and a mere half an hour to bake, leaving you with creamy mushroom-topped chicken and stuffing in less time than it takes to find the perfect Christmas turkey.
The easy prep and no-fuss bake time means you’re free to whip up your favorite holiday side while you wait.
While salmon might not break the top three of winter comfort ingredients, the ease with which you can prepare and adapt this delectable Salmon Vegetable Bake should be enough to win salmon a place in your winter top ten. Prep time lasts only as long as it takes for you to chop and toss the titular vegetables and then there’s just a quick bake in a tin foil packet between you and a perfectly prepared seafood treat. The bake alone may not be enough to fill a heartier stomach, so pair it with a savory rice or garlic-flavored couscous.
Although it is not as quick as some of the recipes on this list, Chicken and Dumplings provides the perfect blend of warmth, comfort and nostalgia, making it worth the wait. If you want to cut down on your cook and prep time, get into the habit of keeping a stash of already cooked, already shredded chicken in your freezer. That way, when the urge strikes to make some of grandma’s famous chicken and dumplings, all you have to do is make the dumplings.
No winter comfort food list is complete without some variety of soup. If you want a break from the standard potato-heavy winter soups, try this Mexican-inspired Chicken Corn Chowder.
A generous amount of cheese and cream make the dish both filling and comforting, while cumin, chilies and hot pepper sauce add enough zest to keep it interesting.
Try it with some freshly baked corn muffins topped with generous pats of butter for an extra level of comfort.
Some days you just want a heaping plateful of cheesy, junk food goodness. When that urge strikes, break out Rachael Ray’s recipe for Bean Dip Nachos. A step up from greasy bar nachos, this dish makes it easy to satisfy your junk food cravings without leaving the warmth and comfort of your winter-fortified home. Curl up with a plateful and enjoy a football game, a seasonal movie, or an envy-inducing exotic travel program.
There is just something about pork chops and apples that complement each other so perfectly.
Add in sweet potatoes and cider, and you have an exquisitely paired winter comfort meal.
Coming in at only thirty-five minutes from the start of prep to serving up the first bite, these sweet and savory Cider-Dijon Pork Chops make it easy to enjoy classic winter flavors without hours of roasting.
They're wholesome, beautiful, delicious, and best of all - super easy to put together!
Childhood favorites make the perfect jumping off point for a warm winter menu. Of course, now that your taste buds have evolved, you can indulge a nostalgic favorite while making it new by adding a grown-up twist. This Spinach Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich adds a scrumptious new layer to a cheesy, tasty classic and can be ready in just a few minutes. If you want to turn your grown-up grilled cheese into a full feast, try whipping up a batch of Martha’s Creamy Tomato Soup to go with it.
Of course, this list is only the tip of the iceberg. If you’re looking for a quick and hearty winter meal, you can’t go wrong by taking inspiration from your well-loved favorites, whether that is a childhood dish or a wintery twist on your favorite cultural cuisine. What dishes would you put on a list of must-have winter comfort foods?