Cold Weather, Warm Meals: A Bright Spot on Cloudy, Chilly Days

We knew it was going to have to happen sometime.

snowy-forecast-iowa-oct-27After a very mild September, and quite a few seventy-degree days in October, cold, wintry weather has returned to Iowa, with temps swooping down below freezing, and stiff winds blowing the autumn leaves right off the trees.

There’s even talk of snow across the state overnight on Friday!

When the weather turns chilly, our thoughts turn to making cozy evening meals at home, and warm weekend brunches with friends. If the thought of venturing out for supper in the freezing weather literally leaves you cold, here are five recipes that make staying in a real treat:

VanGogh-The-Potato-EatersPotato Soup. We never met a potato dish we didn’t like, but the perfect potato-based remedy for a cold and windy evening is Baked Potato Soup.  Reserve half of the cooked, cubed potatoes, and mash or blend the other half for a creamy, chunky, delicious soup. Substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth (and hold the bacon bits!) for a vegetarian version of the soup.

Meatloaf. Sure, it’s “basic,” but we mean that in the nicest way. This is traditional meatloaf, like our mothers used to make — but with the modern upgrade of AllSpice Homestyle Meatloaf Seasoning.

FineCookingCom_ChiliChili. We grew up on old-school red chili (pictured), made with ground beef, Chili Powder, tomato sauce, and canned chili beans. That’s what comes to mind when you talk about having chili for supper. Lately, though, our favorite is White Bean Chicken Chili – it’s slightly more spicy, thanks to the can of diced green chiles. Both types of chili can be prepared in the morning (or even the night before), and finished in your slow cooker.  Coming home to a good-smelling house (and a hot, ready-to-eat meal) is a wonderful thing.

Roasted-cauliflower-8Soup of the evening. (Beautiful soup!) A hearty soup (or stew) is a cold weather staple, inexpensive and easy – especially if you have time to prepare the vegetables beforehand. If you can make use of a slow-cooker, your soup will come together even more quickly. On the coldest night this week, we made this Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Soup. It was the perfect comfort food; it warmed the kitchen and dining room as it cooked, and helped us stay true to our pledge to not turn on the furnace until November 1. Don’t forget: we have dozens more soups and stews you can browse through in the AllSpice recipe database.

Breakfast casserole. What better way to escape having to leave the house on a cold day, than inviting everyone else to drive over to your house for the weekend brunch? Convince your friends to venture out into the cold with the promise of a hot breakfast at your place. Bourbon Pecan Over-Night French Toast is assembled the night before, baked in the morning, and topped with a homemade Bourbon Maple Syrup (or take the shortcut, and choose one of our Runamok Maple Syrups to top your French Toast). Find more Brunch recipes in the AllSpice recipe database.