I bet when I say things like “preparing” and “winter feast” you automatically think of a big, festive meal. You probably conjure up thoughts of the women heading down to the root cellar to gather up vegetables for a heart stew while the men head out to find a beast suitable to feed the castle.
Okay, maybe I got off on a medieval tangent there. My winter feasts usually include a store bought turkey with all of the accoutrements (but only on Thanksgiving) and a spiral sliced glazed ham sometime around Christmas Eve. Because of my brother and sister-in-law, I’m also trying to factor in some sort of vegetarian/Filippino options. Those are separate food categories, by the way. Most Filippinos I know never met a piece of meat they didn’t like.
Really, though, a winter feast isn’t a big meal for me. It’s warm, comfort food. It doesn’t have to be heavy or unhealthy. It just has to make me feel all toasty inside.
For example, last week, when we were all snowed in and I was going slightly insane, all the moms sent the kids out to play in the snow and then they inevitably ended up at someone’s house for hot chocolate. It’s a standard. You MUST have hot chocolate after you play in the snow.
And then comes time for lunch.
Peanut butter and jelly just doesn’t feel right after playing in the snow. So we usually resort to our old standby: grilled cheese and tomato soup.
I grew up with grilled American cheese sandwiches on Wonder bread and Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup made with a full can of milk. We didn’t care about carbs or calories. It was just comfort food for us.
As I got older, I switched to wheat bread, changed the number of slices of cheese I used, and switched to a half can of water and half can of milk (I still don’t understand people that make it with only water).
But there’s still a problem with this comfort food and the problem is my family.
Sean (my husband) has more adult tastes than me and isn’t always filled after a meal of grilled cheese and tomato soup.
Evan (my son) dips his sandwich in his tomato soup but never finishes the soup so he’s usually hungry as well.
So I’ve figured out how to fix this problem all on my own. First, let’s start with my husband.
I’ve been browsing the soup aisle more since that’s how I prepare for my winter feast and I’m surprised at some of the more gourmet options (and healthy options as well). The Thai Tomato Coconut soup is a “gourmet bisque” from Campbell. I haven’t tried it yet but I saw the words “thai” and “coconut” and I was sold. Then I saw Coconut Curry with Chicken and Shiitake Mushrooms soup and again, they had me at “coconut.” Plus, I loved the tagline on the pouch, Curry up already!
The other soups are for me. I love the low calorie Light Italian-Style Wedding soup. I always keep the Double Noodle soup on hand for sick days. And the Cheddar Cheese soup was just because I wanted to. Perhaps there’s a cheesy goodness recipe in my future.
In addition to the grown-up flavors of soup, I’ve upped my game with the grilled cheese. I now use a thin slice of light Swiss cheese on each side of the bread and sandwich the smooth melting American cheese on the inside. Delicious kid-friendly goodness with a touch of grown-up taste. And if my husband is still hungry? He can make another sandwich all by himself.
Now, how do I solve the problem of the kid that likes to dip but doesn’t like to eat his soup?
It turns out that eating tomato soup just isn’t his favorite. But I figured out how to get him to eat soup anyway.
After the snow days we had last week, he came down with a bout of strep throat. Perfect soup conditions. So I took him to the store with me, showed him all of the varieties, and let him pick out which broth-based soup he’d like to try. Perhaps it’s because he’s watched so many episodes of Martha Speaks but he picked Vegetable soup, the kind with the alphabet letters in it. I was reluctant, to say the least.
At home, I served up the soup for dinner along with small finger sandwiches. And waited. He ate his sandwich. AND he ate his soup. He would find a letter in the soup and we’d come up with words that started with that letter. And then he’d eat it. At one point, I realized that he was eating the vegetables too! I remained calm, did a happy dance in my head, and realized I probably should have just asked The Wisest Kid in the Whole World!
Tell me how you’re preparing your winter feast, for Christmas or just for the cold weather. I need more ideas!
I am working as a Campbell Soup Company Ambassador which involves compensation. All posts, thoughts, and opinions are mine. All mine.