Food Review: Best winter foods

This Oct. 12, 2015, photo shows cider-glazed sweet potatoes with fried sage, garlic and goat cheese in Concord, N.H. (AP)

With temperatures dropping and holiday merchandise flooding the retail shelves, which can only mean one thing - winter is coming. While the holiday season does a pretty good job of serving as a distraction from the harsh winter months ahead, there are also plenty of foods sure to warm both the heart and body in order to stay in good spirits. Here are just a few of what I consider to be the best foods to eat during the winter.

Chili

First up, chili - what I consider to be soup’s heartier, more delicious cousin. When it comes to chili recipes, there is no right or wrong. I typically make mine using either lean ground beef or turkey breast with a bunch of beans and vegetables, but omitting the meat altogether for a vegetarian alternative is also extremely satisfying.

The versatility of this dish doesn’t end with the recipe itself - there’s also plenty of fun to be had in the topping department. Scallions, sour cream, cheese and bacon: the possibilities are endless.

You can also make a lot of chili in a short amount of time. It only takes about a half hour to make, though for a top notch batch of chili it’s best to allow it to cook low and slow for a few hours. Once it’s done, the result is a pot full of fantastic flavors and aromas sure to be a mood booster in the dead of winter.

Spaghetti Squash

This next food goes out to anyone who has ever dreamed of a healthier way to enjoy pasta. Spaghetti squash is an increasingly popular pasta alternative that’s gaining a lot of praises for its resemblance to real pasta.

Once fully cooked, the inside of the squash becomes “stringable” and creates spaghetti-like noodles. In the same way that chili is very much an “anything goes” type of recipe, spaghetti squash is a blank canvas for any and all pasta creations. Any recipe that calls for the use of traditional pasta can be substituted with spaghetti squash for a much lighter meal.

Given both its high nutritional status to boost immune systems and its classification as a member of the winter squash family, spaghetti squash literally has winter written all over it.

Sweet Potatoes

Lastly, the unsung hero of Thanksgiving tables all across the country- the sweet potato. Not to be confused with the culinary travesty that is canned yams, the sweet potato embodies everything warm, nice and - if properly seasoned - cinnamon spice.

Aside from being delicious, sweet potatoes also pack significantly more vitamins and minerals when compared to other types of potatoes and are just as easy to make. For optimal taste, oven-baked is the way to go, but I’m usually too impatient to wait the full 45 minutes to an hour required to do so and end up microwaving it for six minutes to achieve comparable results.
Sweet potatoes can be enjoyed at any time for any meal, making them one of the ultimate foods to eat in the winter.


Joey Spagnuolo is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joseph.spagnuolo@uconn.edu.