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Artic Appetites: Three Courses to Warm Your Winter Soul

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NCSU chapter.

Holiday Season- we have arrived!

It’s officially the holiday season, and I couldn’t be merrier. This truly is the best time of the year (okay summer is an exception) and what’s better than a delicious meal to warm your body and make you feel all cozy on the inside? Every winter, my family and I love hosting our annual Christmas holiday gathering and the best part is the food! Today, I’ll share our family’s top 3 courses that leave everyone full and satisfied. 

~Every item has a specific serving amount- double the ingredients to double the servings~

Appetizer-Provencal Style Winter Vegetable Soup (16 serves)

Hearty and Healthy soup featuring winter vegetables


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped
  • 10 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 tsp. Herbes de Provence
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 16-20 mini red potatoes, halved
  • 2.5 cups green beans, ends trimmed, 1-in cut pieces
  • 2 cups of peas
  • (2) 14 oz can white kidney cannellini beans
  • (58) 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes
  • 6-8 handfuls fresh baby spinach


  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot (5.5-6 quarts). Add onions and stir till softened. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Add celery, carrots, and parsnips and cook/stir for 4 minutes. Next add chicken stock, thyme sprigs, and Herbes de Provence mixed with salt and pepper. At this point, raise the temperature to medium-high to allow the stock to boil. Then lower the heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer for ~10 minutes. Add potatoes and green beans and allow it to simmer for another ~10-15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Add peas and kidney beans, letting it simmer for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes by hand-crushing them into the soup (add the juice as well). Add spinach. Simmer again for ~10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend together. At this point, if the soup appears to be too thick- add a bit more chicken stock to thin it out. 
  3. Stir, stir, stir! Taste it and add additional salt and pepper if needed! Enjoy:)

Entrée- Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells (4 serves) 

Hearty and comforting 3-cheese Pasta Recipe


  • 16 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • 12 oz skim milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded skim milk mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp kosher salt
  • ½ tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/4 cups marinara sauce (or any preferred red sauce)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Boil, cook, drain pasta shells, and set them aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil shatters, add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until it turns brown. Add spinach and cook, stirring occasionally until leaves begin to wilt yet still bright green. Spinach should be reduced in size by half. Remove from the skillet and let it cool.
  3. In a bowl, stir together spinach, ricotta, Mozella, parmesan, egg, basil, salt, and pepper until combined thoroughly. Pour ½ cup of preferred sauce into the bottom of a shallow 8×8 inch baking dish. Stuff each pasta shell with a sizeable amount of spinach and ricotta mixture. Place shells in the baking dish.
  4. Cover with remaining sauce and bake it with aluminum foil for ~25 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until the top begins to brown and the sauce begins to bubble for another ~10-15 minutes. Serve with a dust of parmesan! Enjoy:)

Dessert- Vanilla Crème Brulee  (4 serves) 

Rich and elegant yet incredibly easy dessert option


  • 2 cups of heavy cream (or light or half-and half)
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 tsp of Demerara brown sugar (for topping)


  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. In a saucepan, combine the preferred choice of cream vanilla bean and salt and cook over low heat just until hot (not too hot). Let the cream cool down for a few minutes and discard the vanilla bean (if using vanilla extract, add it in now).
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat just the yellow yolks (discard the white) and sugar until light. Pour cream into the mixture and stir together. Pour mixture into (4) 6-oz ramekins and place ramekins in a baking dish. 
  3. Boil water and then fill fish with boiling water halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake for ~30-40 minutes. Cool them completely before placing them into the refrigerator for several hours up to a day or two (freeze them to flash cool them).
  4. When ready to serve, top each custard with a tsp of brown sugar as a thin layer. Place ramekins in a broiler ~2-3 inches from the heat source and let it cook until sugar melts and browns the top. Serve within 2 hours! Enjoy:)
  5. Another option is to use a small propane to achieve the same top coating result. In this case, you can serve or eat it immediately! Enjoy :)

These recipes should take no longer than 3 hours if prepped and cooked all together or no more than an hour for each individual recipe. A guaranteed explosion of tastes with these recipes !!! 

Tejal is a writer for Her Campus magazine, a Gemini, and lover of boho-chic fashion. Outside of Her Campus, Tejal is a fellow brother in the professional co-ed business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi currently holding the role of a Director of Marketing and has held a role in the Mental Health Committee and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She has created an impact by finding ways for other brothers to spread positivity, display acts of kindness, research mental health resources. She has also helped a few non-profits in her previous role as a consultant with 180 Degrees Consulting which has allowed her clients to advance business performances, boost social media engagement, and implement talent acquisition initiatives. She is a junior at North Carolina State University and studying Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. After graduation, she hopes to move to New York, back to the Bay Area or D.C., and work for a fashion-related or biopharmaceutical company as a Marketing/Sales campaign director. Tejal was born and brought up in the Bay Area in California and moved to North Carolina when she was 11 with her parents and younger brother. She enjoys painting, shopping, reading, listening to new music, cooking, and exploring around with her. She is an avid Lana del Rey fan along with The Weeknd. Her favorite movies are all 8 Harry Potter films!