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.
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
- 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.
- Peel banana
- Measure wet ingredients
- Crack eggs
- Sift flour
- Set table
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?
- 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.
- 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.
- Butter pan(s)
- Help measure ingredients
- Beat eggs
Do you head for the kitchen when the weather outside is frightful? What are some of your family favorites?