Cozy weekend meals are perfect to cook when you’re hunkering down on the weekends in the fall and winter. These comfort food recipes are for nights when you have some extra time to spend in the kitchen to simmer, stir, roast, and braise for Saturday dinner or Sunday lunch.
When the air is cold and crisp, darkness falls early, and that achingly familiar smell of a wood burning fire drifts past my nose, I naturally find myself wanting to be inside, nose in a great pager-turner under a soft blanket in front of a warm fire, with dinner simmering away on the stove, braising in the oven, or stewing in the crock pot.
These are the kinds of cooking days I live for, don’t you?
These are my favorite longer-cook “cozy weekend meals” that make hunkering down during the cold and snowy months seem just a little bit easier.
And it’s the perfect list of Saturday dinner ideas or Sunday afternoon lunch inspiration to choose from when you have some extra time to cook!
This one-pot classic chicken and dumplings is winter food at its best right here! It's a hearty white chicken stew topped with fresh and fluffy melt-in-your-mouth dumplings. Comfort food lovers rejoice!
French beef stew is a classic Provençal meal that differs from American beef stew with its thinner, flourless sauce, and long oven braise, which leaves you with tender, almost shreddable beef. This is an excellent weekend meal for those cozy winter months!
Skillet baked chicken parmesan meatballs will be one of these easiest and most satisfying meals you'll make all year. Made in about 30 minutes, they're just as perfect for a chilly late summer or early fall evening as they are in the dead of winter. The meatballs can be cooked and frozen for easy meals on nights when you don't feel like cooking. Serve with your favorite crusty bread or make some garlic parmesan pull apart bread (see recipe below) to go with this meal!
Garlic parmesan pull apart bread is a fun side dish recipe to make for all kinds of meals. We love it with saucy pastas but it also is perfect for dipping in soup. It's like a savory monkey bread with layers of garlic butter pizza dough and parmesan cheese and I know it will be a big hit with your family!
Winter Roasted Veggie and Chicken Chopped Salad is one of those meals that you'll keep making again and again every year. The lemon vinaigrette recipe pulls the whole meal together and perfectly complements the deeply roasted veggies and chicken like you wouldn't believe.
Beef brisket tacos are a terrific twist on your regular beef tacos. Using a slow cooker brisket recipe, I transformed a fantastic brisket into these tacos and they just blew us away. Brisket is always better when made a day in advance to allow the flavors to meld. To make this more manageable, cook the brisket in the crock pot overnight and wake up with your stomach growling from the smell of the slow-cooked brisket. Chill in the fridge for the entire day, reheat later, and bam! Brisket tacos for dinner at night!
This is by no means a quick meal (risotto never is) but it's definitely a satisfying one, especially if you love risotto like I do. While the risotto simmered, I roasted some bone-in chicken breasts and made Dijon-braised Brussels sprouts (https://smittenkitchen.com/2011/11/dijon-braised-brussels-sprouts/) to round out the meal. A perfect Sunday dinner, indeed!
Chicken tikka masala is a simple and utterly delicious Indian meal you can make at home in your crock pot or Instant Pot (on the slow cooker setting). The sauce is thick and rich and the whole meal is a comforting one that will satisfy the whole family. Serve over rice or try zucchini noodles for a gluten-free option. And pair this chicken with some garlic naan bread, of course! (See recipe below!)
Garlic naan bread is easy to make at home with just a few pantry ingredients. Made with yogurt to keep it soft and pliable, this flatbread tears easily and scoops up all those delicious sauces from your tikka masala to butter chicken to curries of all types. This naan recipe will yield 16 naan so I've included freezer instructions below for the dough balls and the cooked naan.
Baked eggplant parmesan is easy to make at home and while it requires a little time to make, the effort is completely worth the result. My recipe features crispy edges of the baked eggplant that peak through light layers of a simple homemade tomato sauce and irresistible melted mozzarella cheese. One bite and this will be your family's new go-to recipe!
Roast chicken in a Dutch oven is a terrific way to cook a whole chicken. This recipe uses a novel method for roasting the chicken so that it cooks evenly on all sides and ensures a crispy skin without drying the chicken out. Carrots and onions caramelized as the roast underneath the chicken, picking up all the delicious flavors from the chicken juices, and cream cheese garlic mashed potatoes (see below) are the way to go for a side dish. This is my #1 way for roasting a chicken!
Garlic mashed potatoes with cream cheese is a fantastic and easy side dish to elevate everyday weeknight meals or for classic Thanksgiving dinners. Fresh garlic and cream cheese are the 2 secret ingredients to the best mashed potatoes and this is the recipe we've been almost exclusively making for over 15 years.
Cabernet short ribs ragu is the ultimate sauce to serve over parmesan polenta, buttered noodles, or creamy mashed potatoes. It's the best of a deep winter meal that simmers all day in the crock pot and is just about ready to eat when you walk in the door at night.
Black bean and beef chili will give you a terrific twist on regular beef chili. For the spicy-averse eaters in your life, this chili is full of flavor but low on the heat scale. It's one you'll want to make year after year!
Chicken pot pie is such a versatile meal and this pot pie recipe includes a savory crumble topping instead of traditional biscuits or puff pastry. Allow for extra time to make this recipe on a weekend and make it for a cozy winter meal.