Ramen has established its place on the list of ultimate comfort foods. Forget about those packets of instant noodles you ate in college — these craveworthy bowls are the real deal. You’ll now find this slippery noodle dish all across the country, not just in dorms and Japanese enclaves. Chefs are putting their spin on it, creating their own mash-up versions with everything from coconut curry broth to toppings like matzo balls or cheese. Check out the full gallery for all 12 steaming bowls that are sure to beat your winter blues.
Pizza delivery is a pipe dream right now for snowed-in East Coasters, and it may be a few days before many can get to the store for fresh provisions. Fortunately, you don’t have to subsist on frostbitten leftovers from who knows when. Food Network Kitchen worked up these six comforting recipes made exclusively with nonperishable pantry ingredients. At first the rules seemed daunting — no fresh produce, no dairy, no fresh herbs, not even a squeeze of lemon! — but these recipes turned out so delicious that your family will never know. Plus, they make fun and easy cooking projects to keep cooped-up kids and adults occupied.
Creamy Mushroom Pasta
If you’re snowed in, or just way too tired for a trip to the store on a busy weeknight, this comforting pasta (pictured above) is perfect. Think beef stroganoff meets chicken paprikash (without the meat). The sauce is uber-creamy without the help of cream. Instead, the combo of evaporated milk, flour and mustard does the trick.
It wouldn’t be the Winter Olympics without an inordinate amount of snow. Stay warm and cheer on your team with one of these winning hot drinks from around the world.
Glühwein — German mulled wine (often with a shot of aquavit or brandy added) — is a classic during the holidays and after skiing. Ina’s recipe is a hybrid between mulled wine and mulled cider.
Chai masala is an aromatic Indian drink that usually features cinnamon, ginger and other spices. Try Aarti’s classic recipe.
Brighten up even the grayest winter days and beat those winter blahs with these five fun ways to add more color into your life with sprinkles.
Whenever I’m at a loss as to what I should make for dinner, I make a pot of soup. I appreciate the fact that you can make something warming and filling with just a few ingredients and I love the fact that a batch of soup nearly always yields enough for lunch the next day.
In fact, we eat so much soup around my house that in late January, my husband asked for a soup break. Looking back, I realized that we’d eaten a batch or two every week since November. Once I figured out just how much soup I’d been feeding him, I was fine with taking a little rest.
Nearly all my soups start out the same way: I saute onions, leeks or shallots in a bit of olive oil and then start adding whatever other vegetables are in my fridge that need to be used. Then there’s the liquid. I use stock if there’s some to be had, or water with a little bouillon concentrate or a splash of wine for flavor.
Finally, salt, pepper, herbs and a long, slow simmer. Unless I’m working with tough cuts of meat that need a lot of cooking, the last thing I add is protein — like slivers of chicken breast, beans or little cubes of ham — to prevent it from overcooking or falling to bits.
I’m the librarian of the Food Network’s library. I am looking for winter, but struggling. I see Mindy Heiferling’s A Taste of Spring, Elizabeth David’s Summer Cooking and Rick Rodgers’ Autumn Gatherings. Nowhere do I find winter.
This seems odd. Without the luxury of hibernation, I find that we’re forced into the kitchen during winter — if only in search of warmth or light. Our kitchens slow down to the pace of a simmer, larders get rooty, meats get more stew worthy. Winter may be low season in the farm cycle, but it is high season for cooking. Winter’s true harvest is to be found in the kitchen.
Cookbooks may pretend to have an aversion to winter, but don’t believe them. To find winter, look for it in bowls. Because bowl foods, literally and spiritually, physically and metaphysically, radiate warmth. Cold hands like a warm bowl. And the soups, stews, braises and other slow-cooking one-pot dishes that belong to bowls are the foods that truly deserve the name “comfort food” (everything else is the comfort of nostalgia).
Meyer lemons are ripe and ready, in peak season now. Do not wait, they have no mercy for procrastinators – whether you have a collection of Meyer lemon recipes stashed away for the season or you want to try your favorite lemon recipe with this alternate citrus fruit, this is your chance, now is the time.
The famously allusive Meyer lemon is thought to be a cross between an orange and a lemon, so they’re sweeter and less acidic than your normal run-of-the-mill lemons. Look for them in grocery stores and produce markets – they should stick around until early Spring. And if you can’t find them, go ahead and cook up some regular lemon dishes and sweets (just add a touch more sugar to compensate) – all citrus is beautiful this time of year.
I knew that I was finally an adult when my mother let me have my first Brandy Slushie (#47 in Food Network Magazine’s 50 Holiday Drinks booklet) at our annual holiday party one year. I tried to recreate this recipe from memory for the booklet, and when I gave my mom a copy of the magazine, she approved, but said that something was missing. It turns out that all those years she had boiled her water and sugar with a secret bag of green tea! The difference with the tea is subtle; either way the slushes are yummy. Experiment with your favorite tea and start a family tradition.
Bring 1 cup each water and sugar to a boil; cool completely. Mix with 1-1/2 cups brandy, 2 cups orange juice and 1/2 cup lemon juice in a baking dish; freeze until slushy. Scoop into glasses, top with seltzer and stir to desired slushiness.
By Leah Brickley, Recipe Tester, Food Network Kitchens