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When the weather outside is frightful enough to keep you indoors, it’s the perfect time to spend the morning or afternoon in the kitchen. Our favorite winter comfort foods are nourishing, warming, and delicious. Even better, you can enjoy some quality time with your loved ones preparing one — or all — of these dishes for lunch or dinner.
There’s nothing quite like a bowl of beef stew and freshly baked bread to warm you up on a cold winter afternoon. Our favorite recipe keeps it simple: 3 pounds of beef cut into cubes; 1 pound each of onions, white potatoes, and carrots; six cloves of garlic; two bay leaves; tomato paste; and some salt and pepper are all you need. For more complex recipes, having a bar prep sink is handy, so you and your cooking partner can work at the same time in your own spaces.
Season the beef, and brown it in a stock pot. Add the vegetables, tomato paste, and a couple of cups of water, along with more salt and pepper. Cook in the oven (at 350) until the meat is tender. As the potatoes cook, they release starch that thickens the broth and gives it a velvety texture. Serve with some freshly baked bread or cooked noodles to round out the meal.
Chicken pot pie is comfort food for the whole family — tender chicken and savory vegetables in a velvety sauce under a flaky pie crust. It’s also a great way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken and veggies. (Bring them directly from the refrigerator to the sink, and you can rinse the storage containers with the side sprayer to make clean-up easier.) You’ll need about 3 cups of shredded chicken, 1/2 cup each of your favorite root vegetables (onion, carrots, celery, or leeks), 3 cups of chicken broth, and 1/4 cup of cream.
Start by sautéing the vegetables in butter until the onions are translucent. Add the shredded chicken and stir. Pour in chicken broth and add salt, pepper, and other seasonings. Add the cream and let the mixture simmer until it starts to thicken. Pour the mixture into a baking dish, and cover it with pie crust dough. (Use a pre-made pie crust or make your own.) Bake at 375 until the crust is golden brown.
Lasagna is more than comfort food. Preparing a tray of the classic pasta casserole can be an interactive experience. Grab your favorite cooking partner and set up two prep stations in the kitchen. Use a pot filler faucet to fill a tall pot with water for the pasta, and gather the rest of the ingredients while you wait: lasagna pasta, your favorite tomato sauce, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, spinach, ricotta, and shredded mozzarella cheese. For a meaty version, choose a meat-based tomato sauce made from scratch or store-bought.
Season the pasta water generously with salt, and bring it to a boil. Slide the lasagna noodles into the boiling water, and let it cook until they are al dente. While the pasta cooks, wash and slice the vegetables. Place a layer of noodles on the bottom of a large cake pan or casserole dish. Top it with ricotta, sauce, and sliced vegetables. Repeat until you have three or four layers in the pan. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and bake at 375 until the cheese browns.
A bowl of rich, creamy potato soup with golden cheddar cheese quickly warms you up on a cold, gray afternoon. Start by peeling and dicing 3 pounds of potatoes — try peeling and rinsing them over a stainless steel sink grid to make the job easier. Place them in 4 cups of boiling water generously seasoned with salt, and let them cook until a fork easily slides through the potato chunks.