Tasty Cold Weather Snacks

With Daylight Savings Time in full swing, it is officially time to begin embracing the idea that winter is right around the corner! Even if the weather is cold, that does not mean that you cannot find a ton of ways to be cozy in your own home. Delicious snacks can keep your energy up for a long night of studying or be a great addition to a fun movie night with friends! Here are a few recipes for both healthy nibbles and sweet treats.

Hot Chocolate

Nothing says “cozy night-in” like a big mug of hot chocolate with a mountain of whipped cream! Instead of using a packet mix, try making it from scratch for an extra-sweet delight! This recipe is from AllRecipes, and remember that regular milk can be substituted for dairy-free enjoyment.

Ingredients

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup white sugar

1 pinch salt

1/3 cup boiling water

3 1/2 cups milk

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup half-and-half cream

Directions

Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn't scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between 4 mugs. Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.

Butternut Squash Soup

Looking for more of a meal than just a quick grab-and-go? Have no fear! Butternut squash soup can keep you warm and full. Experiment with different spices and veggies to put your own twist on this classic dish. This recipe is from The Food Network.  

Ingredients

One 2- to 3-pound butternut squash, peeled

and seeded

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium onion, chopped

6 cups chicken stock

Nutmeg

Directions

Cut squash into 1-inch chunks. In large pot melt butter. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add squash and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove squash chunks with slotted spoon and place in a blender and puree. Return blended squash to pot. Stir and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Serve. Rice Krispie Treats

Putting a fresh spin on Rice Krispie treats can be the perfect way to brighten a dreary winter day! Think of all of the potential frosting and decoration ideas! Definitely a modern-take on regular cookie-decorating. This recipe is from Kellogg's.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 package (10 oz., about 40) JET-PUFFED Marshmallows OR 4 cups JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows

6 cups Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® cereal OR 6 cups Kellogg's® Cocoa Krispies® cereal

Canned frosting or decorating gel

Assorted candies

Red string licorice

Directions

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Use frosting to fasten stacks of two squares together. Decorate with additional frosting and/or candies. Tie bows on packages with licorice, if desired. Best if served the same day.

Apple Cider

Another warm beverage for the holiday season is apple cider! It is certainly easy to grab a bottle off the grocery store shelf, but making it on your own would be quite an accomplishment! Be sure you have plenty of time for this recipe and are cognizant of desired sugar content. This recipe is from Genius Kitchen.

Ingredients

8 -10 apples (use gala for a less tart or intense taste)

½ - 1 cup sugar

4 tablespoons cinnamon (or 4 cinnamon sticks)

4 tablespoons allspice

Directions

Quarter your apples (no need to remove peel or seeds). In a large stock pot add your apples and fill with water--just enough to cover the apples. Add your sugar. Wrap your cinnamon and allspice in a doubled up cheesecloth and tie, and add this to the apples and water. Boil on high for one hour (uncovered) checking on it frequently. Turn down heat and let simmer for two hours (covered). Take off the heat after two hours of simmering and let cool. Remove spices and mash up the apples to a pulp like consistency (a potato masher works well for this). Once cool pour into a strainer over a large bowl. When most of the juice has drained away, put the remainder of the pulp into a doubled up cheesecloth and squeeze over the bowl until no more juice comes out. (At this point you can either restrain the juice to get out the little bits of pulp that remain with a cheese cloth draped inside the strainer to catch them or just leave it). You can store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to a week or you can freeze it for later use if you like. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove

Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Too many sweets making you crave something more savory? Try a veggie! Crispy Brussels sprouts work as the perfect snack or appetizer, and you can get a tasty serving of vegetables. You just need access to an oven and basic spices! This recipe is from Well Plated by Erin.

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts — trimmed and halved

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil — plus 1 teaspoon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Optional flavor additions: garlic powder — 2 teaspoons; smoked paprika (1 to 2 teaspoons); dried thyme leaves or Italian seasoning (1 tablespoon); balsamic vinegar or lemon juice (about 2 tablespoons)*; bacon (4 thick slices, cut into 1-inch pieces)

Directions

Place a rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the Brussels sprouts in the center of a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and any other desired spice additions. Gently mix until the Brussels sprouts are evenly coated, then spread them into a single layer on the baking sheet. For even better crisping, flip the Brussels sprouts so that they are all cut sides down. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the Brussels sprouts are lightly charred and crisp on the outside and tender in the center.  The outer leaves will very dark too. Watch carefully towards the end of the baking time, as the cooking time will vary based on the size of your sprouts. Season with additional salt and/or pepper to taste. Enjoy immediately.