Cozy Winter Recipes to Share With Your Family and Friends

Some people view winter as an opportunity to head somewhere like the Berkshires to hole up in a holiday rental and while away the hours gazing at the snow-capped mountains while others like to stay home and save their road trips for the yearly journey to the summerhouse. Either way, you have to eat, and the best way to enjoy the annual dip in temperature is to gather friends and family, wrap yourself in something warm and fuzzy, and enjoy some of these cozy winter recipes.

Breakfast

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls with Salted Caramel Glaze

Cinnamon rolls are a weekend tradition in many homes but this recipe is a little outside the box. Whole wheat flour adds heft while the salted caramel glaze is a frou-frou switch the kicks that old cream cheese frosting firmly to the curb. Yes, these take a little work, but part of the payoff is that they’re easy to grab and go so you can snag a couple for the road to keep grumbly tummies happy while you’re out sightseeing, walking around the pond, or hitting the bike trails – just don’t forget your gloves and a thermos of hot chocolate or coffee.

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Corned Beef Hash

Looking to make a hearty breakfast for a crowd? Before anyone goes out for a day of snowshoeing, fortify the troops with this stick-to-your-ribs corned beef hash. The spiced beef and potatoes provide heft while fresh herbs and mustard add zing. Silk poached eggs with their still-runny yolks contribute the perfect finishing touch – and you can even start your prep ahead of time in case you’re expecting a crowd.

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Snowman Pancakes

Pancakes are always a good idea, but shape your flapjacks like Frosty the Snowman and you’ll double the delight for adults and kids alike. This recipe gets creative with bacon scarves and blueberry buttons but feel free to let your imagination run wild to accommodate your guests’ taste or allergies. Swap out the blueberries for bacon bits or chocolate chips, try sausage links for boots or arms, and line up raspberries from some bright and colorful neckwear. The best part? If your snowman somehow gets disassembled between the stove and the table, you still have some pretty tasty snowballs and that’s not half bad.

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Banana Nut Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a nutritional powerhouse. Every bowl of oaty goodness is packed with everything from manganese to copper to chromium and a heaping helping of fiber will help keep you full until lunchtime, too. The only problem is that oats can be, well, pretty boring. Say sayonara to mid-morning tedium with this Girl Gone Gourmet recipe that adds bananas, walnuts, and a touch of maple syrup. It’s like spooning up banana bread or a coffee shop muffin but you’ll feel less guilty when you serve it to the kiddos. PS – don’t skimp on the nutmeg, it adds a warm undertone that really brings the entire dish to life.

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Baked Eggs, Tomato, Lentils & Whipped Goat Cheese

Cook outside the box with this recipe that turns simple staples into something your diners will rave about until spring finally pokes its head out from under the icy tundra. The lentils are filling thanks to tons of fiber and protein, the tomato adds much-needed acid and lightness, the whipped goat cheese is creamy and tangy, and the eggs are just begging to be poked so that yellow yolk breaks open and creates an irresistible sauce. Serve this family style with big hunks of crusty bread and let the conversation flow.

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Lunch & Dinner

One-Pot, 30-Minute Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta Bake

A lot of tummy-warming winter recipes require a stove full of cookware and several hours of your time to prepare, but this winning dish bucks both trends by reducing cook time to just 30 minutes and utilizing a single pot. Whether you’re tired from a long day of hiking or skiing or looking for a simple meal that you can make using the utensils already stocked in your luxury lakeside cottage, this inspired Italian pasta bake will satisfy appetites and help you keep your sanity to boot.

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Pepperoni Grilled Pizza

Grilling is usually a summertime activity but it can actually be much more pleasant cooking outside in cooler temperatures. You won’t have to deal with swarms of summer bugs or continually wipe the sweat from your fevered brow and it can be kind of nice to man the coals (or propane tank, as the case may be) with some now underfoot and a warm mug of mulled wine close at hand. Test out our theory with this delicious grilled pizza recipe and how-to from the Pioneer Woman. You can get fresh pizza dough from most pizzerias and gourmet grocery stores these days and toppings are totally interchangeable. Our recommendation? Offer up a ton of meats, veggies, and cheeses and let everyone make their own personal-sized pies.

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Easy Homemade Ramen

Forget those cheap, plastic-wrapped noodle blocks from back in your college days. Real ramen is infinitely more complex and definitely more delicious and ingredients like ginger, garlic, and umami-rich mushrooms pack a wallop that’s sure to chase away the winter chill. You can adapt this recipe adding in your own leftover vegetables (shred them or slice thinly and they’ll soften quickly in the hot broth) or pre-cooked proteins or by stirring in a dab of miso paste or sesame oil.

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Braised French Onion Chicken with Gruyere 

Deep, rich stock. The acidic hit of slowly reduced wine lurking in the background. Lovingly caramelized onions. Creamy-tart cheese that covers every bit in a blanket of ooey-gooey goodness. Everything you love about french onion soup is represented in this savory twist that swaps out the brothy bit for a heartier, chicken-centric approach. This version from thekitchn.com uses a heavy-bottomed oven-safe pot like a Dutch oven but this recipe could work very well in a slow cooker or Instant Pot, both of which are easy to pack and take on a wintery Western Massachusetts vacation should you want to come back from antique hunting to find dinner already cooked.

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Indian Butter Chicken

Lots of stellar winter recipes rely on heat to up the coziness factor, either literally (through roasting, for example) or through spices. This slow-cooked version of an Indian classic definitely goes the spice route with generous doses of garlic, garam masala, fresh ginger, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Luckily, most of those spices are probably already hanging out in your kitchen cabinet and if you have to spring for some garam masala you won’t mind one bit once you realize how tasty the blend truly is.

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Pork Soup Dumplings

Wintery nights are the perfect time to tackle new culinary projects. Chances are you’ve made soup dumplings before and you may have never even had the chance to snack on one but these Chinese treats are well worth the effort and learning curve. Imagine biting cautiously through the tender, doughy outside, slurping the soupy inside as it spills out, and then munching on the ginger- and sesame-infused pork nestled inside the bun. It’s part recipe, part adventure, and a whole lot of fun.

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Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

Another “set it and forget it” recipe that takes advantage of the all-mighty slow cooker. Chicken and dumplings is the ultimate comfort food and it doesn’t have to break the budget, either. A nice bit of chicken (this recipe calls for breasts but you could easily sub whatever’s on sale – just boost the cooking time if you’re using bone-in cuts), plenty of veggies, and shortcuts via the cream of chicken soup and store-bought broth. The result is a succulent soup that’s homey and full of nostalgia so you can spoon up the comforts of home even when you’re by the fireplace far, far away.

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Pureed Butternut Squash Soup

Ditch the boring, over salty canned soup and indulge in this luscious offering from everybody’s favorite hostess, Martha Stewart. Simple butternut squash meets ginger, onion, garlic, and a dash of orange juice to create a rich, decadent soup that’s good as a starter or a main course. Serve it on its own with a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream and a scattering of toasted nuts on top or spoon some into a cup alongside a tasty grilled cheese or wintery salad with blue cheese and poached pears.

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Desserts

Maple Walnut Cobbler

The Berkshires are definitely apple country and you can often find fresh apples in area stores. Maple syrup is also plentiful, making this recipe right in your wheelhouse when you’re looking for something to make for dessert during your Christmas vacation. All of the ingredients are easy to find and many you’ll already have in your cupboard, if you’re cooking at home, and it’s easy to make as well. The hardest part will be stopping yourself after scarfing down just one serving.

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Homemade Churros with Chocolate Sauce

There’s something about churros that conjures up memories of county fairs and carnivals, so these hand-held treats are a good choice if you’re finding yourself stuck in winter and missing the fun, outdoorsy activities from last summer. Each churro offers a crisp and crunchy exterior dusted with cinnamon sugar while the hot, fluffy inside is the stuff dreams are made of. They’re scrumptious all on their own but a quick dip in the accompanying chocolate sauce takes things way over the top.

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Chai Poached Pears with Whipped Cream

Coffee-flavored desserts are on menus everywhere but what about those of us who aren’t such big fans of java? Take a break from heady breakfast blend with this tea-inspired dessert that pairs exotic spices with pears for a unique, interesting dessert that is somehow both light and cozy – a rarity when it comes to winter recipes. If you have any vanilla beans on hand, scrape the inside of one into your whipped cream. The results will have you smacking your lips until bedtime.

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Cocktails

Slow Cooker Mulled Wine

No one wants to come inside from the cold to be faced with an equally cold cottage and no warm drinks inside. This recipe can be whipped up and dumped in the slow cooker before you head out to play and it’ll be waiting for you upon our return. What could be more welcoming than that?

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Earl Grey Hot Toddy

We’re not saying that hot toddies are medicinal… okay, we are. The soothing mixture of hot tea, bourbon or whiskey, and lemon juice seems to knock out sniffles and budding coughs before they have a chance to gain traction and that means you won’t get knocked back by winter cooties just when you’re really starting to enjoy yourself. The addition of Earl Grey here adds some distinct floral notes that both soften the bourbon’s punch and acts as a nice counterpoint to the tart lemon.

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Eggnog Martini

This intoxicating cocktail may be served cold, not warm, but there’s enough brandy inside to make your toes curl. If you’ve never had homemade eggnog, you’re in for a real treat and don’t let the idea of tempering the egg yolks scare you off. Just keep the whisk moving and moderate your heat – rushing is a dangerous idea here – and you’ll be serving drinks in no time.

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Still looking for Christmas vacation ideas? Interested in renting out a few Berkshire cottages for your holiday get-together? The Lake House offers luxury rentals with fully equipped kitchens with scenic views of the Massachusetts mountains – quite the gift if you’re looking for dinner with a view. To book your stay or get more information, contact our friendly team today.