Our 7 Most Popular Meal Plans for Cozy Winter Cooking

updated Feb 23, 2021
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Credit: Olive & Mango

After the blur of distinctly different autumn holidays, take time this winter to cozy up at home with a pot of something warm and comforting simmering on the back burner. The cold weather may be just the spark you need to invigorate your cooking. Whether that means hearty casseroles, thick stews, or veggie-packed grain bowls, you can try it all this season. And we have some inspiration to help you get started.

Here are seven of our most popular cold-weather meal plans full of everything you want to eat this winter. Each plan is full of hearty casseroles, comforting soups, and other family-friendly meals.

Credit: From Left to Right: Yossy Arefi, Joe Lingeman, Justin Bridges, Joe Lingeman

1. A Week of Cheap and Easy Instant Pot Dinners

This one-week meal plan leans on the Instant Pot for cooking up totally comforting dinners like creamy mac and cheese, lentil soup, and burrito bowls. And as an added benefit, you can be sure that this week’s meals are quick, low-effort, and keep the dirty dishes to a minimum. 

Get the plan: A Week of Cheap and Easy Instant Pot Dinners

Credit: From Left to Right: Joe Lingeman, Olive & Mango, Joe Lingeman

2. A Week of Big-Batch, Family-Friendly Winter Dinners

Stacked with an easy lasagna, chicken noodle soup, and weeknight chili, this week’s dinners are everything we’re looking for in cozy winter cooking. The best part about these recipes is that each big-batch meal makes enough to feed eight, so be sure to stash half in the freezer for another week of dinners.

Credit: From Left to Right: Shauna Sever, Maria Siriano, Jenny Rosenstrach, Shauna Sever

3. 5 Must-Make Midwestern Winter Dinners from Shauna Sever

With a mix of cozy classics and hearty veggie-centric dinners, this week of wintery meals is a welcome change from carb-heavy casseroles. Need meals that hit the table in a hurry? Serve one-pot orecchiette with sausage and peppers one night and toss shredded rotisserie chicken with slaw and a zippy dressing the next. Round out the week with an easy dinner from the slow cooker and a lemony chicken dinner baked on a single sheet pan.

4. 5 Healthy and Comforting Winter Dinners from Amanda Paa

Looking for comforting classics with a healthy twist? Amanda Paa of Heartbeet Kitchen has you covered with this meal plan that skips the processed ingredients and leans on seasonal produce instead. Fill your bowl with sesame Thai rice noodles one night and creamy yogurt whipped polenta another. Use your Instant Pot to make a silky white bean soup that gets its rich flavor from tahini. No Midwestern meal plan would be complete without hotdish, and Paa’s is a cheesy tater tot version that you’ll want to make again and again.

Credit: From Left to Right: Joe Lingeman, Christine Han

5. A Week of Cheap and Healthy Slow Cooker Dinners

This meal plan is easy on effort and on your budget because it leans on healthy pantry staples and affordable proteins. The best part? All of these recipes are made in the slow cooker! Assemble slow cooker stuffed cabbage rolls the night before, then let them cook all day. The rest of the week is filled with hearty meals you can eat from a bowl like golden chickpea soup, chicken posole, and black bean chili.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. 5 Cold-Weather Family-Friendly Favorites

When the temperature drops, these five meals are exactly what you’ll want to serve. With lasagna-inspired soup, hearty vegetable-packed grain bowls, black bean burgers, sheet pan nachos, and a twist on breakfast for dinner, there’s something for everyone on this week’s meal plan.

Get the plan: 5 Cold Weather Family-Friendly Favorites

Credit: Melissa Ryan

7. 5 Chicken and Winter Greens Dinners

Chicken and hearty winter greens are staples on my grocery list each winter, and there’s no better way to use them up than this set of meals. Mix and match collards, kale, spinach, or cabbage with braised chicken and beans one night and pasta the next. Swap the tortilla for a leaf of collard greens to wrap chicken salad for sandwich night, and finish the week with a veggie-packed minestrone soup to use up the leftovers.