3 Kitchen Essentials You Need to Make the Coziest Dishes Any Night of the Week
Every now and then, we all crave ultra-cozy and satisfying meals that also happen to be family-friendly. Some of the most comforting meals are achieved from an all-day simmer, and while the deep richness that comes from cooked-all-day flavor is hard to beat, we don’t always have the hours required to achieve it. The good news is that just a few home-chef-approved finds can help you get that low-and-slow taste without the time requirement. That means cold weather comfort can be within arm’s reach any night of the week — without extra time or effort. Here’s how:
1. Start with Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes
Beginning with high-quality ingredients is the key to achieving deeply flavored dishes. That applies to the staples in your cupboard, not just the food in your fridge. And it’s why Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes should be a pantry essential. These tomatoes are steam peeled using simple hot water and never peeled with chemicals such as lye** like some other brands. They’re also 100-percent natural with no artificial preservatives, grown under the warm California sunshine by dedicated farmers since 1888. All of this results in canned tomatoes that have a rich taste and deliver the depth of flavor. We love using them as the base for a kid- (and adult-) approved Pizza Mac and Cheese, cozy One-Pot Tomato-Braised Chicken Thighs with Bacon and Kale, and satisfying Coconut Red-Lentil Curry.
2. Keep a Dutch oven within reach
If you don’t already have a Dutch oven, we think it’s a worthy investment for just about every kitchen. Seek out one that’s five to seven quarts, which ensures you can comfortably cook a meal for your family no matter the size, be it two people or six. It’s also wise to go with an enamel finish for easy cleanup. Whether on the stovetop or in the oven, cooking in a Dutch oven imparts deep flavor with ease. Combine that with the richness of Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes and the results are guaranteed to be a hit, whether you simmer a big pot of Hearty Hamburger Soup or bake Chicken Cacciatore with Stewed Tomatoes for the whole crew.
3. Amp up the flavor with a few star ingredients.
For more developed flavor, look to healthy fats like olive oil, avocado oil, and cheese, please. Using a bit in tandem with Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes can enhance the tomatoes’ already deep flavor, helping them taste even richer. These types of add-ins also lend a flavor of their own to the equation. You’ll get some smokiness from the bacon in this Smoky Chicken White Bean Soup, while a healthy sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese brings a salty finish to this One-Skillet Italian Sausage Pasta. Leaning into these ingredients a little more during chilly weather helps make mealtime feel extra luxurious and cozy — the culinary equivalent of a big, warm hug.
**Lye peeling is generally recognized as safe by the FDA and has no adverse effect on the healthfulness of tomatoes.