Chili for a New Jersey Winter

WhiteChili1.tif

WhiteChili1.tif

A white bowl containing soup thats sprinkled with shredded cheese

I'm writing this from the cozy comfort of a hotel room in a small town in New Jersey. Outside the trees are covered in snow. Having gone to college in Vermont, I'm used to the freezing temps and white-covered streets and sidewalks.

After I checked into the near-empty hotel, with only the small room service menu as my sustenance for the next 18 hours, I peeled off my puffy jacket and turned to the in-room dining page in the hotel binder. In seconds, I found exactly what I would order: the homemade chili and a green salad. (See my Starting a New Habit in 2014: Eat a Salad a Day post from last month — are you still eating salad? I am.)

Bundled up in my new pajamas (a Christmas gift from my daughters) and eating better-than-I-expected chili (and a salad) — all is right with my world. Why? Because there are certain foods that truly bring me comfort in the dead of winter: chili, onion soup and stew top my list. And while I can make those dishes any time, there is something magical about eating them on a snowy day. I think these comforting dishes remind me of my college years at The University of Vermont. My mom would visit me and we'd go on New England road trips, eating steamy soups and stews to thaw the chill (she went through a photography stage involving a lot of outdoor postcard-type shots, which she would subsequently frame and hang in our home).

I suppose the snow reminds me of that period in my life when I was young enough that I still had my mom, and yet old enough to be considered an adult worthy of joining my Mom on her photography haunts. According to her, the best photos were of untouched snow, which meant spending hours outside in the bitter winter. And a bowl of homemade chili would always hit the spot.

New Jersey isn't as frigid or snowy as Vermont, but it certainly is cold (I may be the only one who is happy about that). Before March comes and takes away the cold that makes winter stews and soups so warming, I'm pulling out some favorites to share:

—  White Chili with Quick Roasted Garlic for Food Network Magazine (pictured above)

What are your favorite cold-weather comfort foods?

Keep Reading

Next Up

Winter Activity Foods

Whether you’re hitting the slopes or building a snowman, being active in the cold weather is a workout. Come in from the cold and enjoy these bone-warming foods.

Beat the Winter Blahs with Steaming Bowls of Ramen from Coast to Coast

Ramen has established its place on the list of ultimate comfort foods. Here's where to find craveworthy bowls across the country.

5 Comforting Casseroles That Are More Vital Than a Winter Coat

If you're searching for a beacon of hope in this frosty weather, these comforting casserole recipes are it.

10 Pasta Dishes You Need in Your Life This Winter – Comfort Food Feast

Celebrate pasta's long-awaited comeback with these healthy recipes, from tender bow ties to deliciously twirlable spaghetti.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Comfort foods are found to be not so soothing; diet soda gets a gut check; and addiction programs quit with the sweets.

Easy Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Croutons — The New Girl

Make Ina Garten's Easy Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Croutons from her new cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof.

Best 5 Macaroni and Cheese Recipes

Check out Food Network's top-five recipes for decadent macaroni and cheeses from Trisha, Alton and more chefs.