Baby, it’s cold outside, and if you live in the Northeast U.S. you can’t go out even if you want to.
[bctt tweet=”Forget the snow. There’s a state of emergency in your KITCHEN.”]
So it’s time to crank up the oven and make some meals so amazing you’ll forget you’re buried under 50 feet of snow. If you haven’t already eaten through your entire pantry, you’ll already have a lot of these ingredients ready to go.
1. Creamy Squash Soup
Soup is a necessity for surviving winter. Add cream, and soup becomes a meal you can actually look forward to. This recipe by Chef Mario Batali calls for hubbard, butternut squash, or pumpkin, but you could probably substitute anything in the squash family, including zucchini. Or try mushrooms – as my dad likes to say, they won’t object.
2. Italian Wedding Soup
I’m a sucker for Ina Garten and her fairytale Hamptons lifestyle, and I like to think that as she sits in her beautiful house surrounded by mounds of snow, she’s making this recipe for Italian Wedding Soup. This baby’s got a little of everything: veggies, cheese, pasta, chicken – and if you don’t have ground chicken to make chicken meatballs (or just can’t be bothered) substitute chunks of roast chicken.
3. Fettuccine Alfredo
I personally think that tomato sauce makes the world go round, but there are times that call for the gooey, delicious comfort of cheese. The cold and gloom of winter is one of those times. Giada De Laurentiis makes a killer fettuccine alfredo, but if you don’t have fettuccine pasta you can always use whatever you have in the pantry. Break out the elbow macaroni! Giada will never know.
4. Chicken Curry
Mmm, curry. Chicken curry combines all my winter favorites: chicken, tomato sauce, spicy stuff. This recipe by Meera Sodha has an ingredient list about the length of my arm, but don’t let that scare you off.
The spices listed are pretty commonplace, and even if you don’t have something, you can just skip it. Trust me, the dish will still be delicious.
5. Beef Chili
Not everyone shares my passion for chicken. If your rumbling stomach cries out for the warm goodness of meat, chili is a classic winter meal. This recipe by Martha Stewart calls for chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – which, if you’re like me, you probably couldn’t find in a grocery store. But don’t let that stop you!
The rest of the recipe is really easy, and you can always replace the chipotle peppers for hot peppers you have at home, or even regular bell peppers. They won’t have the same spicy kick, but they’ll still give you that fresh flavor.
6. Mexican Hot Chocolate
Dessert time! And if you’re not going to have hot chocolate when you’ve got snow blocking your driveway, when will you have hot chocolate? Add a little cinnamon and cayenne pepper a la Ina Garten, and you’ve given it a Mexican twist.
Close your eyes, sip slowly, and imagine you’re in a fancy coffee shop instead of trapped in your living room, trying desperately to connect to the internet.
7. Chocolate Pudding
You deserve dessert, always. But when it’s cold out and you’re stuck at home with your family, you need dessert. This recipe by Pim Techamuanvivit is literally chocolate, eggs, and sugar in a bowl.
You do need individual ramekins to bake it off, but if you don’t have those you can always cook it stovetop, the old-fashioned way.
8. Pecan Bars
Not a chocolate fan? That’s okay, you make the world a more interesting place. This recipe for pecan bars by Claire Robinson is the answer to all your chocolate-free dessert questions.
Don’t have a mixer? You can use your hands to combine the ingredients for the crust – trust me, I’ve done this before to incredible success. You can also substitute honey for the corn syrup in the recipe. It’s just as sticky and healthier, and we all know what that means: double servings!