Well, it is only day 6 in the New Year and I have already strayed from my resolution of cooking more for my family! However, I have a good excuse. This weekend I purchased enough groceries for the weekend plus two days into the week, but on Tuesday my daughter got sick and I ran out of food…and energy from being her nurse…to keep on cooking homemade meals all week!
Since this virus struck, I have been held hostage to my home unable to get back to the grocery store. My husband picked up our son every night from late hockey practices after a long day at the office, so I didn’t want to add the grocery store to his list either.
So we ended up getting takeout food last night, which reminds me of some warm winter eats that I especially enjoy this time of year. Read on to see several of my restaurant favorites that will warm your belly in these cool (can’t truly say “cold” in Phoenix) winter months. And the next time you are feeling chilly, tired and burned out cooking in your kitchen, treat yourself to one of my favs that are listed below.
1. AJ’s Build Your Own Pasta Night on Thursdays. Every Thursday night AJ’s Fine Foods in Chandler tempts shoppers with a huge assortment of mix-ins for several different types of pasta that they make fresh right there on the spot. My kids order the basic meat sauce, noodles and meatballs. One bowl is large enough to serve two adults, so save money and order one serving for two.
I can’t help but live it up as I quickly check off the majority of the veggie boxes and ask that they mix the red sauce with the alfredo to get that tasty tomato cream sauce that is to die for! My masterpiece creation is then prepared by the AJ’s chef right before my hungry eyes. I take home a bow tie cream pasta with asparagus, mushrooms, bell peppers, fresh garlic, spinach, diced tomatoes, onions, artichoke and parmesan cheese. Rationalizing Rachel says to ignore the calories in the cream sauce and focus on all of those good veggies that I’m getting with every bite, right?! AJ’s fresh hot pasta fills and warms me up every winter.
2. Miso Spicy Soup at RA Sushi. In the chilly winter months, I must have the spicy miso soup that is made hot, both in spice and in temperature. Shrimp, mushrooms, tofu and other healthy ingredients make this soup a nutritious and delicious choice. Plus it is served with a side of what looks like tator tots, but are actually rice balls meant to be dropped into the piping hot soup. In the cool winter months, it is just what the doctor ordered and it will clear your sinuses right up…or at least it feels that way!
3. Potato Cream Cheese Soup at Wildflower Bread Co. Need I say more?!
4. Chicken peanut curry with jasmine rice at Thai Basil. This is hearty, yet healthy with tasty ingredients like curry, coconut milk, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, green beans and Thai basil. I can’t get enough of this sauce and the restaurant will make it as spicy as you want leaving you satisfied and definitely warm from head to toe.
5. Peppermint Mocha at Starbucks. Although I really like unique and local coffeehouses like Lux on Central Avenue, I go back to Starbucks every December for the pleasing peppermint mocha. Order it with skim milk to save on the calories, but the dollop of whipped cream is worth it!
And something I recently discovered at home while warming up by our fireplace with our neighbors is coffee mixed with Godiva White Chocolate liqueur. And of course we top it off with a bit of whipped cream, nutmeg and a cinnamon stick. So tasty and toasty!
If you have a favorite warm winter eat, share here in the comments section. With only a few cold winter days in Phoenix, it is fun and delicious to revisit those seasonal favorites that warm us up from the inside out.
I am headed to the grocery store tomorrow to get back on my cooking New Year resolution, but I’ve got a few cold days left to enjoy my favorite foods that warm up winter.