Next Level Winter Comfort Food

Staff Writer
Next Level Winter Comfort Food

Photo by Justin Shannin

Everyone has their go-to packaged comfort food that they start relying on two, three times a week to get through the never ending days of winter. But being in the cold weather and crossing the arctic tundra to get to class doesn’t mean your food should be bland. Rummage through your cabinet for a few simple ingredients and take your staples to the next level.

Breakfast
Frozen waffles:
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Photo by Karina Shedrofsky

Ditch the bland Wonderbread and nestle your bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich between two golden, crispy waffles. Add a gourmet touch with a smear of maple syrup and mustard.

Instant Oatmeal:
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Photo by Karina Shedrofsky

Replace the soupy, half-cooked oatmeal of your childhood nightmares with overnight oats. Mix 1/2 cup oats (or one microwaveable packet) with 1 cup (or 2/3 cup) of water or milk into a bowl or jar. Add in whatever you like: cocoa powder, cinnamon, chopped fruit, seeds or nuts and leave in the fridge overnight. Wake up, grab your creamy and thick oatmeal and dig in.

Lunch
Cup Noodles:
Photo by Justin Shannin

Photo by Justin Shannin

Embrace the Asian roots of your freeze dried noodles by turning them into home made Pho or Ramen. Cook your noodles first, then add soy sauce to taste, throw in some chopped scallions or a tablespoon of herbs, top with a fried egg and douse in Sriracha sauce.

Tomato Soup:
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Photo by Karina Shedrofsky

Replace the soggy goldfish floating in your soup with grilled cheese croutons. Prepare a grilled cheese, cut into cubes, and dunk into that reliable can of Campbell’s.

Canned Chili:
Photo by Kelda Baljon

Photo by Kelda Baljon

When your face is windburned from the cold, chili is the only cure. Pick up Tostito’s scoops on your way home from class, fill with shredded cheese and pop in the microwave for 30 seconds until the cheese is just melted. Use your mini tortilla spoons of goodness to shovel in the chili.

Dinner
Pasta:
Photo courtesy of wellbeing.com

Photo courtesy of wellbeing.com

You can only get away with calling your inevitable winter weight gain a “hibernation layer” for so long. Swap the spaghetti for zucchini or lasagna noodles for eggplant.  You don’t even have to peel the veggies, just slice/shred/cut into thin strips, boil or saute and cook like regular pasta. While you’re at it, replace basic red sauce for pesto or an easy peanut sauce.

Frozen Pizza:
Photo by the Mommy Gamers

Photo by the Mommy Gamers

Whether you chose to eat this at 3am after stumbling home or for a casual dinner in front of the TV, add chopped veggies, sliced deli meat or seasoned salts to your pizza halfway through cooking. The possibilities for amping up a basic frozen cheese pizza is endless.

Canned Tuna/Chicken:
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Photo by Karina Shedrofsky

Keep canned tuna and chicken on hand to add to salads, omelettes, sandwiches or anything else that requires protein. It’s pre-cooked, easy to store and a great addition to veggies and rice.

Microwavable Rice:
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Photo by Karina Shedrofsky

A little soy sauce, frozen veggies and a scrambled egg can turn your basic white rice into fried rice. Add hot sauce, canned chicken and veggies for a southern twist .

Fruit and Veggie Chips:
Photo courtesy of ebakerie.com

Photo courtesy of ebakerie.com

Take your leftover apple or a handful of kale that your yoga-obsessed, healthy friend somehow convinced you to spend $5 on and coat in a thin layer of oil. Spread on a baking sheet and cook at 350F for 20 – 40 minutes.

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