It’s winter. It’s cold. The small people in your home may or may not be covered from head to toe with the remnants of a snowball fight. The larger people may or may not have just returned from walking the dog in an ice storm. And it’s quite possible you need a cooking project to while away the many long hours indoors.
You, my friend, can be the hero of the snow day. The one who delivers the toasty-warm goods. The one who has the hot chocolate ready when they walk in the door. The one who fills their bellies with a hot breakfast before they head out, and a cozy dinner at the end of the day. The one who warms up the whole house and makes it smell amazing, all at the same time. (You’re the best!)
A Nice Hot Breakfast
This is the day to whip up a batch of pancakes or oatmeal. Oatmeal, whether made from steel-cut or rolled oats, happens to be a whole-grain food, as is the whole wheat flour in these pancakes, which means they’ll stick to your ribs so you can stay on the slopes or sledding hill a little longer.
Half the flour in this recipe is whole wheat flour. This makes for a more substantial breakfast, without dramatically changing the taste. You can make a big batch and rewarm them for a quick, nourishing breakfast during the week.
Coconutty rolled oats topped with blueberries and bananas make for one of the most delicious (and healthiest) ways to start your day. Best of all, it cooks in 5 minutes.
Nubby steel-cut oats spiked with cinnamon, drizzled with maple syrup, and topped with fruit and nuts of your choice. Morning perfection in a bowl.
Warm Drinks to the Rescue
Who’s everyone’s favorite cook? The one who brought that thermos full of hot chocolate or cider, that’s who! (You know who you are.)
Hot apple cider infused with hibiscus flowers and mulling spices.
Hot chocolate sweetened with Mexican piloncillo sugar and spiked with Ceylon cinnamon to evoke Mexican champurado, the classic chocolate atole beverage.
A frothy cup-full of ancient ingredients and traditions, made “from scratch” in this recipe with easy-to-find ingredients from any grocery store.
How to make Mexican hot chocolate from disks of store-bought Mexican chocolate.
Milk sweetened with a touch of honey and infused with cinnamon, warmed and frothed for a cup of soul-satisfying comfort on a cold day.
Batch Cooking to While Away the Hours
Use this snowy day to stock up the freezer, fridge or pantry for the days and months to come. To help you streamline future baking projects, you can keep this Mexican caramel sauce in the fridge for months, or freeze a double (or triple!) batch of pie crust, pastry cream or cookie dough. You can stash a dozen of these burritos in the freezer for future microwaveable lunches, or freeze a big batch of chicken stock or roasted chiles so you have ingredients for next month’s dinners. A big batch of granola will keep in the pantry for month. Or make a huge batch of this sauce, or this sauce, or these beans, so you have some for dinner tonight and can freeze the rest for dinner next month.
Traditional Mexican caramel sauce made from goat's milk. Surprisingly simple to make - drizzle it over fruit or Mucho Mango Tart, spread it on toast or between the layers of a cake, stir it into your coffee or just eat it with a spoon.
Beer-simmered seasoned ground beef and refried beans rolled into a burrito with cheese and herbs. You can make it ahead and freeze it. Or heck, just eat it now.
Classic Italian meat sauce. You can serve it over wide, flat pasta noodles or use it to make Classic Lasagna. Or better, make a huge batch and do both!
The traditional pastry cream filling in French tarts and pasties. Great between the layers of a cake, or just eaten like vanilla pudding. (YUM!)
A flavorful stock made from browned and lightly seasoned chicken parts. Use this in any recipe that calls for lightly-salted chicken stock or broth.
Possibly one of the world's best comfort foods.
A slow-simmering pot of pinto beans, super-simple, made in the Mexican style. Eat them with tortillas as a light meal, or as a side. Or use them as a soup ingredients, or to make refried beans.
My go-to cookie recipe for nearly 20 years. Very simple, not overly sweet, delicious. Feel free to gussy them up with the decoration of your choice (see suggestions).
Flaky, tender pie crust pastry.
Roasting peppers not only cooks the pepper, but also gives it a nice smoky flavor and allows you to remove the skin. This authentic method is perfect for any dish calling for roasted peppers or chiles.
Crunchy and delicious, as granola should be, with a hint of coconut. For a breakfast that feels as good as it tastes.
A Cozy End to a Snowy Day
If you’re the one who spent the day on the slopes, you can keep the cooking easy with apricot chicken, pan-braised pork chops or creamy kale pasta bowls. Or if you’re up for a bit more effort, you can make either this or this chicken, this lasagna or this casserole. And no matter what, grilled cheese with tomato soup is always a winner.
Easy baked chicken with the sweet tang of apricot juice and Worcestershire umami. Super simple prep, then nearly all the cooking time is hands-off.
A classic Italian lasagna, made with red wine Bolognese sauce and Parmesan bechamel, with a touch of pecorino Romano and parsley.
The classic French dish, with succulent chicken bathed in a rich, golden broth. All those cloves of garlic turn creamy, mild and spreadable in the slow oven braise. Be sure to have lots of crusty French bread nearby to sop up every last drop.
The world's best grilled cheese sandwich.
Um, the best tomato soup. Ever. (And simple, too.)
Ground beef and Swiss chard simmered together in beer, then combined with gruyere cheese in a casserole topped with breadcrumbs and more cheese.
Pork chops seared and braised on the stovetop in white wine and herbs. Simple enough for a weeknight, but sophisticated enough for any occasion.
Creamy, cheesy, pasta-y and really doesn't take much longer than the boxed version.
Sweet or spicy Italian-style sausages, braised in a little beer with soft, sweet peppers and onions. Easy weeknight dinner or football-watching crowd-pleaser.
Pasta with ricotta cheese, sauteed Tuscan kale, cherry tomatoes and lots of love. Quick, satisfying weeknight dinner or side.
Chicken thighs and potatoes, poached in an white wine herb broth with a hint of lemon.