By contributor Caylin Harris
New England later winter and early spring are tricky things. You sort of never know when the cold will end and most years it stays pretty chilly right through April and into May, meaning the hearty meals I make in February and March feel totally appropriate through the spring season. No matter the time of year, there’s nothing like a dish you make that has a ton of great flavor and feels hearty. Since we’ve been staying at home, I’ve been trying out more and more new options. Here’s a round-up of some of my favorites—with a mix of busy weeknight meals or treats you’ll want to whip up over the weekend.
Cozy Recipes for Winter and Beyond
Yup, carbonara is rich, so it’s not something you’re going to want to make once a week, but this is the perfect twist on the classic if you’re a fan of the original. The mustard gives it an interesting flavor and with the addition of salmon and peas I can pretend it’s healthy. It’s a comfort food recipe that feels fancy, so a perfect option if you’re doing date night at home, but it’s pretty low effort.
A different riff on a classic stir fry, one of the more recent issues of Bon Appetit had a lot of great tofu recipes so I’ve been experimenting with different ways to make it. This is a winner, I’m basically game for anything with a tahini sauce and it has a ton of flavor. I also love that instead of beef or ground beef, this made for tofu. It soaks up this tasty sauce wonderfully.
Tacos are a season-less food. They’re good any time of year, but I tend to get overwhelmed with recipes that want me to make three different components in order to fully enjoy the recipe. I don’t have time to mix a crema up during the week! Or pickle a bunch of extra veggies. So I love that this gives me a base that I can add to with pre-pickled jalapeños or the Stonewall Kitchen chipotle aioli. I might mixed up a quick guac but I’m all for easy with big flavor and this is it. A cozy winter recipe basically qualifies as anything I don’t have to leave my house for.
Whether you’re serving this for lunch or an easy dinner, this is basically the best upgrade ever for a tuna sandwich. It tastes fresh like a Niçoise salad but the addition of a crusty baguette makes it a little more filling. I’m pro sandwiches for dinner occasionally because they take less than 30 minutes and work just as well in cold weather as they do when it starts to feel a little more springy.
Scalloped potatoes are so tasty, but I love this sweet potato version—and all the extra nutrients that are packed into sweet potatoes. It’s kind of perfect side dish regardless of the season. Plus, it’s filling so you’ll have some leftovers. Instead of the mozzarella cheese that’s recommended I swap in more flavorful cheddar varieties instead. It gives it a little bit of a kick.
This recipe is great because it gives you the taste of risotto without all the work of making a risotto. Plus, it takes practically no time at all to cook and is made with mostly pantry staples. Ideal for a cold winter night or a spring evening post-gardening, it’s done in what feels like fifteen minutes. You can also add in some extras—smoked jalapeños in the tomato sauce give this dish an extra kick. Pour yourself a glass of red wine and enjoy!
Basically anything I make from Half Baked Harvest is always a win. Healthier and faster versions of takeout favorites are on a constant rotation in my kitchen. I love the spiciness and the umami flavors of this dish—I like to throw in some extra veggies too since this is a little saucy, it all works. If it’s wrong that one of my comforts foods is a takeout swap then I don’t want to be right.
I hate using the slow cooker, I know that’s an unpopular opinion but everything ends up tasting the same to me? This beef stew recipe is perfect for a weekend dinner since it does take awhile to cook, but it’s totally worth it. I also chop up the cipollini onions because I feel like eating a whole onion in a bite of stew is weird, sorry Jacques. Of all my winter recipes this is a favorite and I prefer it over a traditional noodle soup.