Happy Hygge Cooking for Winter
Fantastic, fool-proof, kid-approved recipes to keep you warm and cozy all season
The holidays are here, and it’s likely you’ll have a lot of mouths to feed this next week with family and friends visiting from out of town, or perhaps at those great AirBnb rentals you’ve reserved for a dozen of your besties. Fun! Well, yes, but also let’s be honest. Chaos is about to ensue because all of those people will need to eat. What to make? Well, I have some ideas that might help.
As you know, I eat out a lot, yes, but I also do a lot of cooking at home. I have two kids (ages 9 and 13 now), and they apparently rely on me for their meals. Since they do enjoy eating quite regularly, alarmingly regularly, I cook a lot.
That said, I am a huge creature of habit — when I find recipes that work and that my kids love (to be fair they are quite good eaters, especially Eiji), I make them again and again. What follows is a list of my faves. They are all relatively simple and quick, can be made in advance, and will make everyone at your table say, “More please!”
My sincere thanks to all the cooks and recipe developers out there who have created all these dishes so that I have a feeding plan at the beginning of every week!
Yotam Ottolenghi’s Curried Lentil, Tomato, and Coconut Soup
This is an amazing vegetarian lentil stew that will feed you and your family quite well on a chilly weeknight. Yotam’s recipe calls for adding quite a bit of water, but I tend to like this dish more like a stew than a soup, so I don’t add water at all. I like some extra heat so I double the red pepper flakes. Serve with some yogurt on top if you like and enjoy all winter long.
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Faith Durand’s Chicken Ragù with Bacon
This hearty, smoky, delicious ragu gets its flavor from rendered bacon and lots of fennel. It’s great over gnocchi, rice, or pasta, perfect for a chilly winter night with some crusty bread to sop up any remnants left in the bowl. I like to add greens in this instead of the peas.
Sarah DiGregorio’s Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore With Mushrooms and Bacon
This is another make ahead beauty, with so much flavor it’s almost like a chicken tinga. Ladle it over pasta, rice, or gnocchi and send leftovers for lunch the next day inside a loaf of French Bread. I don’t have a slow cooker (I know!) so I use a dutch oven in the oven for about an hour and a half at 350F.
Melissa Clark’s Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
This recipe is a simple one but a great one for kids who love meatballs and spaghetti. Don’t be deterred by the turkey, I know turkey meatballs can be sort of blah, but not these! They are tender and fluffy and full of flavor thanks to the parmesan and basil and garlic. Get ground dark meat turkey if you can!
This is one of my favorite cold weather recipes. It’s a huge crowd pleaser and tastes like someone with extensive experience making some marvelous mash-up of Chinese, Korean and Italian food is cooking in your kitchen. (Someone like Dave Chang, not me!) The only sort of unusual ingredient (if you can even call it that anymore) is the gochujang, but you can find this everywhere now so it should not be an issue. I would double the recipe because it’s going to go fast. Serve it over sticky rice and be prepared to have your guests go bananas. It’s SO GOOD.
Daniel Gritzer’s Tortilla Española
This Tortilla from Daniel Gritzer is just fantastic for dinner, for brunch, actually for always. I am not good at flipping so I don’t. I just bake it in the oven to finish and then slip it out of the pan onto a serving plate. Serve it with some aioli and a salad. Leftovers also taste great for lunch the next day.
Serious Eats’ Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice With White Sauce
This is a brilliant recipe, a near replica of your favorite street vendor chicken—spice- marinated thigh meat, white sauce, yellow rice, hot sauce, perfection. I add some toasted naan (the frozen naan from Trader Joe’s does nicely), and some Israeli chopped salad and pickles, and it's always a hit.
Colu Henry’s Kimchi Noodle Soup With Wilted Greens
Quite frankly, I love every recipe from Colu Henry, she just makes food I want to eat. So you're safe to just google her and cook whatever you find (or buy one of her cookbooks!). This simple stew is ideal for those bone-chilling nights when you need something to thaw you out fast; it all comes together in about half an hour. I like to add shrimp to the soup; I just toss them in with the greens toward the end of the cooking process because they only take a minute or so to cook through. Slurping is essential.