I grew up tucked in the mountains of the the Pacific Northwest, where the mornings and evenings are chilly for most of the year. As many up there do, we had an old fashioned, iron wood-burning stove to warm our home. This stove was the perfect place to set wet boots to dry, warm cold toes and fingers and yep- set a pot of food to simmer all day long.
To me, cold weather sparks memories of this stove and the delicious meals my mom would set to cook on it: a big pot of beans with ham, slow cooked spaghetti sauce, homemade applesauce. And while I don’t have a wood stove of my own down here in Texas, I still pull out the heavy stock pots and set something warm and comforting to simmer on the back burner of my kitchen stove… especially when the weather cools down!
Here are some of my favorites; not all of these are slow-and-low one pot meals like mom used to make, but they’re all sure to warm you from your tummy to your toes.
Pinto Beans & Ham (Get the recipe here)
Simple, cheap and delicious! We like to serve this with a big slice of cornbread, with cheese and avocado on top. Leftovers can get turned into chili the next day with the addition of ground beef, tomatoes, black beans, corn and chili seasoning.
Old Fashioned Beef Stew (Get the recipe here)
Nothing beats a hearty bowl of beef stew on a cold winter night. This is one of those recipes I always tinker with- so get creative. I usually add potatoes and cabbage, and maybe a handful of barley if I’ve got enough broth in there. Don’t forget to serve this with biscuits (usually from a can in my house)!
Lasagna Soup (Get the recipe here)
This one is a little involved and requires a lot of ingredients, but it is SO worth it. We love to serve this with crusty sourdough bread on night one, and then on night two the leftovers have basically turned into a pasta which makes or a delicious second meal. We probably make this once a month!
Seared Achiote Chickpeas (Get the recipe here)
This recipe is good ANY time of year. Taken straight from Lambert’s BBQ downtown, this is a staple item on their appetizer menu, and to me the roasted tomato and goat cheese combo scream comfort food. If you don’t feel like cooking these at home, then head downtown, get a glass of wine and buy them for half off during happy hour 😉
Pot Roast (Get the recipe here)
I love this recipe for two reasons: one is it’s delicious and two is that it calls for wine… and the rest of that bottle usually ends up in my belly. 🙂 This calls for a single cup of wine or broth to deglaze the pan, but I usually use about 1.5c of red wine + another cup of stock- it just depends on how big your roast is. But wine > broth in my opinion. Serve it with mashed potatoes, and use the leftovers to make shepherds pie the next day!
Three Bean Chili (Get the recipe here)
This is my go-to chili recipe, and it doesn’t disappoint! I make a few adjustments, which you can take or leave. We like meat in chili, so I usually brown up a pound of beef to add in after the veggies are done. I also like to throw in a tablespoon or so of coffee grounds — just trust me on that one! This is also one of those recipes I love to double (or triple!) and then toss into the freezer for emergency “what’s for dinner mom?” nights.
Burst Tomato & Basil Risotto (Get the recipe here)
There isn’t much to say about this one other than OMG. The flavors in this risotto are well worth the pain in the butt factor, and it’s one of those meals that sticks to your ribs and leaves you warm and ready to cozy up under a blanket next to the fire. We like to serve this with Italian sausage links and a simple salad.
Overnight French Toast (Get the recipe here)
Perfect for cold mornings! It’s so nice to just pop breakfast in the oven when my toddler wakes me up at 5:30am, and then sit down to a plate of yummy goodness with my coffee. Tip: if you can find brioche for the recipe (they have it at Whole Foods!), do it — it is SO worth it. Also, I have never done the “let stand overnight” step (mostly because I can’t plan that far ahead), and it’s always worked out just fine.