Three Easy Recipes for a Snow Day

What is the best way to spend a snow day? Around here we head straight to the kitchen, P.J.’s and all.

A snow day calls for comfort food, with recipes simple enough that the children can get involved. It is an ideal opportunity to teach your little ones that cooking can be more than a chore, it can be fun. There is no rush, no place to go, and anyway–the car is snowed in!

Here are three simple recipes that are favorites in our household. They are undoubtedly comfort foods, already with plenty of good memories attached to them, and popular with young and old alike.

Cocoa-Banana Pancakes

In our home there is no flipping through cookbooks or debating over what to make first on a snow day; it’s got to be pancakes and plenty of them.

This favorite recipe sounds a lot more decadent than it actually is! With the inclusions of whole wheat flour and wheat germ, and no added sweetener save the natural banana, it makes for a healthy start to the day.

You can add a few slices of banana in the middle of the pancakes, but be sure to dab more batter on top so they don’t stick to the pan when you flip them. Alternatively, toss in a handful of mini chocolate chips into the batter for an extra special treat.

Recipe: Cocoa-Banana Pancakes

Serves four

  • 1 cup plain, full-fat yogurt
  • 1 banana, the riper the better
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk or whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut (optional)

Combine yogurt, banana, milk and vanilla in a large bowl and pulverize with a hand blender until smooth. Crack in the eggs, add a pinch of salt and mix together thoroughly.

In another bowl, sift together flours, cocoa, and baking soda. With a wooden spoon, stir in wheat germ and coconut, if desired. Add entire dry mixture into the wet mixture and fold gently together. Pour in melted butter and mix just to combine.

Heat a cast iron pan (or nonstick) over medium heat and then grease with vegetable oil. Ladle a few tablespoons of batter onto the pan to make several small, round pancakes. Cook on even medium-low heat until bubbles start to form.

Flip pancakes and continue cooking.

 Remove from pan and serve warm with maple syrup or Nutella and fresh banana slices, if desired.

Batter may be refrigerated and kept up to two days. Beat well with a fork before using.

Kids can:

  • Peel banana
  • Measure wet ingredients
  • Crack eggs
  • Sift flour
  • Set table

Croque-Monsieur

This classic French grilled ham & cheese needs no embellishing, save a pickle or two. It is the perfect quick lunch for us and that is fortunate, because things are heating up with the Junior Monopoly game.

Depending on how many tens of the above pancakes were consumed during brunch, another option is to skip lunch and serve these sandwiches for a simple supper alongside a platter of raw vegetables. What is a snow day for, if not for bending the rules a bit?

Recipe: Croque-Monsieur

Serves three

  • 6 slices of whole-wheat bread, preferably with a good crust
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon grainy mustard or 1 teaspoon Dijon
  • 6 slices of ham
  • 4-6 oz cheddar, Emmental OR Gruyere cheese, sliced
  • green onions, sliced (optional)
  • cornichons or mini-dill pickles, for garnish

Begin by warming a cast iron skillet or non-stick pan over medium-low heat.

Combine mayo and mustard together in a small bowl. Lay out slices of bread and spread all 6 slices generously with mayo mixture. Place ham and cheese on three of the slices of bread. Sprinkle with green onion if desired.

Top the sandwiches with remaining three slices of bread and butter the outsides of the bread. Place in skillet and toast both sides over medium-low heat.

When bread is golden brown and cheese is melted, remove from heat and slice in half diagonally.

Serve with pickles.

Kids can:

  • Butter bread
  • Spread condiments
  • Assemble sandwiches

One Bowl Gingerbread

This dark, slightly sticky gingerbread just might top my list of comfort foods. The smell of spices that fills the house during the baking period is enough to make you forget that spring is still a long way off.

Perfect for serving alongside a cup of tea or glass of milk, this sophisticated yet simple gingerbread appeals to all ages. For a fancier dessert, slice into squares and serve with a dollop of applesauce and a mound of whipped cream.

Recipe: One Bowl Gingerbread

Yields: (1) 9 x 13 pan

  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs, well beaten

Preheat oven to 325°F

Butter a 9×13 cake pan or two loaf pans and line with parchment paper. Butter the parchment.

Cream shortening and brown sugar until fluffy, then add molasses, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Mix well. Add baking soda to boiling water and mix into molasses mixture.

Sift flour, baking powder, and ginger into the batter and fold together gently. Add beaten eggs and mix well.

Pour into pan(s) and bake about 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Serve warm with whipped cream.

Gingerbread will keep, well wrapped at room temperature for up to three days.

Kids can:

  • Butter pan(s)
  • Help measure ingredients
  • Beat eggs

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    Do you head for the kitchen when the weather outside is frightful? What are some of your family favorites?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites.

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Comments

  1. We definitely head to the kitchen on snowy days! The warmth from the oven and the delicious smells while everyone is forced to spend some good quality time together make all feel right in the world! Besides delicious smelling treats, soup and bread are tops for comfort food on a snowy day.

    http://noemptychairs.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/comfort-food-on-a-snowed-in-day-beef-bourguignon-and-100-whole-wheat-bread/

  2. We’re always in the kitchen together, especially in snowy weather. I have a nine year old who is now learning to make scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast, so that has been our winter weekend go-to. My eight year old likes to make “dessert creations” and hot cocoa for everyone.
    .-= Jan (Family Bites)’s last blog: Meal Planning Monday =-.

  3. Great choices! I always head to the kitchen:) I love baked oatmeal:
    http://twopeasandtheirpod.com/recipe-for-baked-oatmeal/

    It is very comforting and good for you too:)
    .-= Maria’s last blog: 2peas3-0 =-.

  4. Your chocolate banana pancakes are our “go-to” fancy pancake recipe. Somehow there are rarely any leftovers. The sandwich sounds like what I made for lunch yesterday on our pajama day. And I am printing out the gingerbread because it sounds yummy and easy. Thanks!
    .-= nopinkhere’s last blog: Dress Up =-.

  5. The pancakes are RIDICULOUS! In a really, REALLY good way.

    Love this site Aimee! You should be really, proud.

    xo
    C

  6. P.S. The tiny hands with the GIANT gingerbread! I can’t! too much cuteness!
    .-= Christina’s last blog: Fave Friday & Recipe for Slow-Cooked Carnitas Tacos =-.

  7. Being French, I am much more interested in the cocoa-banana pancakes and the one bowl recipe for gingerbread than croque-monsieur, but this looks perfect for a day where you want to stay home indeed!

  8. I love those pancakes! I have a couple bananas that need to be used and I should totally try these. Mr. NN would be happy I made breakfast for him :)
    .-= Nutmeg Nanny’s last blog: Green Velvet Cupcakes =-.

  9. These sound delicious! I tried to send you a message via the “contact us” page, but it said I was trying to spam you. I wasn’t. I promise! :) Here’s the message:

    Hi there!

    I am a working mom (teacher, so summers off…). I am (slowly) making strides to have a more natural and organic kitchen. There are a lot of recipes you’re putting out that I would LOVE to create but don’t know a lot about the ingredients. Could you guys put out like a “Pantry Primer” or something? The information I’m looking for that would help A LOT is what ingredients are the key ones to always have on hand and a little about their shelf life. Maybe even a short list of recipes (not the whole recipe, just the names of dishes) that these ingredients are key to (if it’s not obvious).

    I hope all that makes sense. I’m LOVING the new Simple Living Media sites. Keep up the GREAT work. :)

    Elizabeth
    .-= Elizabeth’s last blog: Delicious, Easy Dinner! =-.

  10. I head for the kitchen no matter WHAT the weather. It’s my default location. It’s my comfy zone. It’s my soul. (Okay, that might be going TOO far.)

    Fresh sourdough bread, hot coffee, beans and rice, popcorn, soups—they ALL make me happy.
    .-= Jennifer Jo’s last blog: Honks, chirps, and coughs, among other things =-.

  11. Found this post via ReadyMade. Love the snowy day recipes. Why do people of the South empty their grocery store shelves when a snowstorm is predicted? To make pancakes, of course!

  12. I love how you broke this down into adult and kid activities. Great ideas!
    .-= Joie de vivre’s last blog: Tuesday in Food =-.

  13. The banana-cocoa pancakes look delicious. Honestly they all look delicious, thanks for sharing :)
    .-= Charissa’s last blog: Healthy Travel Snacks =-.

  14. Bugger – we used all our over-ripe bananas this morning making a double batch of banana-chocolate chip bread. Baking is my go-to activity to fill a long day stuck at home (snow day, or in our case, a sick baby). My 2-year old LOVES helping in the kitchen and does all the mashing, dumping, and stiring (plus chocolate chip testing) for the bread. He even ASKED to do the dishes.
    For me, snow days mean grilled cheese and hot cocoa. Yum.
    .-= Alissa’s last blog: Hoarse of Course =-.

  15. These recipes *almost* make me wish for another snow day.. until I realized I can make them to celebrate the melting of the snow instead! :) They are definitely all perfect for a snow day though. Comforting and warm. Mmm..

  16. Love. love, love the recipes. One quibble, do you think I could sub butter for the shortening in the gingerbread recipe? We don’t use it and I not sure it’s even available in Switzerland.

  17. How about oil? Can I sub oil for shortening with the same results? I don’t have any shortening on hand and today feels like it might be a yummy gingerbread baking day.

  18. Can I rename this to Three Easy Meals I must consume right now and most likely that will be before 8:00am? Just sayin.
    Amanda’s last post: Peeking Baby Cookies

  19. Thanx for these recipes – yummy stuff I’m sure the kids will eat ! 8)

  20. Sounds like a lovely way to spend a snow day!

  21. Susan Smith says:

    I didn’t realize pancakes were such a universally comforting food! We had them just this morning (and, yes, it is a blustery day). I do overnight sourdough; 1/3 all purpose flour, 1/3 whole grain, and 1/3 rolled oats, plus sliced apples. We top them with spiced apple sauce and a dab of cinnamon whipped cream. Nothing better!

  22. I head for hot chocolate. Here is my recipe…
    http://peachfarmerswife.blogspot.com/2011/01/hot-chocolate-mix.html
    Nichola Files’s last post: Hot Chocolate Mix

  23. That gingerbread cake looks so fantastic! I am completely in the fall mood, so I am going to have to try this out! I enjoy reading your blog, keep up the great work!

  24. Those pancakes are great! They smell and taste great and I love that they have no added sugar. Thanks!

  25. The gingerbread looks great…have you ever swapped out the shortening for coconut oil? Just wondering. :)
    Emily @ Random Recycling’s last post: Why I Say No to Rainbow Colored Sprinkles

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