The colder it gets outside, the more warmth we crave—especially when it comes to our food and drinks. The holidays are the perfect time to serve up our favorite radiant comfort foods, whether it’s to feed a giant roomful of hungry relatives, or to erase the scarlet flush from the cheeks of children who are coming in from an afternoon of frosty fun outdoors.
So when the urge strikes for a cozy treat to thaw your stress away, check out these recipes for refreshments that will satisfy anyone on a chilly day.
(For adults only!)
Serving: makes 1 drink
2 tablespoons brandy
1 cup hot cocoa
1 tablespoon graham cracker liqueur
Graham Cracker Liqueur
1 liter white rum
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
½ cup honey
To make graham cracker liqueur, allow four days before preparing drink.
Mix rum, cinnamon stick and honey in large jar. Cover and place in a sunny window. Shake 1 time every 4 days.
To make Gimme S’more: Whisk together graham cracker liqueur, brandy and cocoa in a large microwave safe mug. Heat. Toast marshmallows, garnish and serve.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
Butternut Squash Soup
3 butternut squash
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 white onions, diced
About 10 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream (optional)
Fresh dill (optional) to garnish
Peel, seed and cut 3 butternut squash into 2-inch cubes. Spread onto sheet pan(s) in single layer. Lightly drizzle with 1-1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Roast at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Edges should be browned.
Sweat onions in another 1-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in large soup/stock pot. Add roasted squash. Fill pot with chicken or vegetable stock to cover vegetables. Simmer for 45 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender.
Season with salt and pepper. Add up to 1 cup heavy cream (if desired). Garnish if desired.
Recipe from Giovanni’s Restaurant in Munster
Five-Way Mini Meatloaves
1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1/3 cup saltine or butter cracker crumbs, or Panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Ketchup or barbecue sauce, shredded Cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients (except toppings) in a large bowl, mixing lightly, but thoroughly.
Shape beef mixture into 12 equal portions. Place into 12-cup standard muffin pan, lightly patting beef mixture to level top. Back 19 to 20 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
Remove from oven. Garnish with toppings, as desired. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Italian Mini Meatloaves: Add ½ cup chopped mushrooms, ½ cup pasta sauce and ¼ cup chopped fresh basil to base meatloaf ingredients. Bake 22 to 24 minutes. Evenly top with shredded Parmesan cheese. Serve with additional pasta sauce and garnish with additional chopped basil, as desired.
Greek Mini Meatloaves: Add 3 tablespoons chopped Kalamata olives and ½ teaspoon dried oregano to base meatloaf ingredients. Bake 22 to 24 minutes. Evenly top with crumbled feta cheese. Serve with prepared tzatiki sauce. Garnish with sliced cucumber, as desired.
Asian Mini Meatloaves: Add ¼ cup chopped green onions and 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger to base meatloaf ingredients. Bake 22 to 24 minutes. Evenly top with hoisin sauce or teriyaki glaze. Garnish with chopped peanuts, sliced green onions or chopped cilantro, as desired.
Spanish Mini Meatloaves: Add ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper, ¼ cup chopped Spanish olives and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika to base meatloaf ingredients. Bake 22 to 24 minutes. Evenly top with shredded manchego cheese. Garnish with sliced Spanish olives, as desired.
Recipe courtesy of the Beef Checkoff and BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.
Bartlett’s Mac and Cheese
1/2 onion, diced
1 stick melted butter with salt & pepper
3-1/4 cups flour
4 cups milk
3 cups heavy cream
2-3/4 cups of your favorite cheese (we use 4 different kinds!)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons hot wing sauce (we use our secret recipe)
2 pounds orecchiette pasta
Saute onion in butter with salt and pepper. Add flour. Cook on medium and whisk consistently to avoid scorching.
Add milk and heavy cream. Keep cooking on medium for 5-6 minutes to cook flour; stir often and leave whisk in pot to avoid scorching. Remove from heat.
Add your favorite cheese, nutmeg and hot wing sauce.
Boil 8 quarts water, add 4 tablespoons salt, and cook pasta. Spray your favorite 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, pour sauce over noodles until “saucy”; you may not use all sauce. Place in baking dish, top with breadcrumbs and more cheese, and bake in oven until bubbly and light brown.
Recipe from Bartlett’s Gourmet Grill & Tavern in Beverly Shores
Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cobbler
29-ounce can pumpkin puree
12 ounces evaporated milk
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Yellow cake mix (or butter pecan cake mix)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
¾ cup butter, melted
Caramel sauce, ice cream, or whipped cream topping (optional)
Beat eggs slightly. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, granulated sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla. Pour mixture into a greased slow cooker.
Top with powdered cake mix, sprinkle with brown sugar, and drizzle melted butter evenly over the top.
Cook on low 4 hours, or high 2 hours. Remove cover, and continue cooking on high until set, depending on your slow cooker.
Serve warm, plain, or with toppings.
Recipe adapted from TheGunnySack.com.