It may be tough to wear enough layers to keep the cold at bay, but there are plenty of ways to turn up the heat in the kitchen: We’re talking hot chocolate, soups galore, and plenty of melted cheese.

15 Comfort Food Recipes That’ll Make You Forget All About Winter

The polar vortex strikes again! And it’s showing no signs of stopping—until late spring, that is. (Thanks a lot, groundhog). It may be tough to wear enough layers to keep the cold at bay, but there are plenty of ways to turn up the heat in the kitchen: We’re talking hot chocolate, soups galore, and plenty of melted cheese.

So shrug off those winter woes and fill up on these warming treats. They’re not only physically hot (consume with caution), but also comfort food to the max—ensuring even someone as grouchy as Oscar the Grouch himself cracks a smile.

Vegan Mexican Hot Chocolate Photo: Minimalist Baker

Drinks

1. Mexican Hot Chocolate With Coconut Whipped Cream

Sweet, spicy, piping hot… this vegan hot chocolate brings everything to the table (and palate). It’s also relatively healthy—especially in comparison to Starbucks options—meaning you can have a nice, hearty cup without experiencing sugar overload. Tip: Mix full-fat coconut milk with almond milk to make it extra decadent.

2. Spiced Bourbon Hot Toddy With Green Tea

The season for hot toddies expands well beyond the holidays. In fact, we can’t think of many better ways to recover from a long day of battling wind, rain, and snow than sipping a piping hot cup of tea—spiked with bourbon.

3. Paleo Chai Latte

A hot, delicious drink that doubles as a nutritious breakfast? Don’t mind if we do! This latte is also Paleo friendly—a quality few winter beverages can boast. We say brew it up, sip to your heart’s content, and enjoy momentarily forgetting that it’s frigid outside.

Salted Caramel Apple Oatmeal Photo: Oatgasm

Breakfast

4. Salted Caramel Apple Oatmeal

Eating dessert for breakfast is an easy way to brighten any day. But that can also lead to stomachaches and sugar crashes, which aren’t quite as fun. This oatmeal is the perfect happy medium thanks to its healthy grains, fiber-packed apples, and salted caramel topping. We recommend serving a nice, generous portion for maximum satisfaction.

5. Oven Baked Ham and Eggs

There’s just something comforting about baked eggs, especially when they’re layered with ham and topped with oozing cheese. And prepping them is a breeze: Simply crack the eggs into a ramekin, add whatever fillers fit your fancy, pop them in the oven, and voilà, breakfast is served.

6. Healthy Stuffed French Toast

Healthy French toast may sound too good to be true, but fortunately for every breakfast lover out there, it isn’t. Simply stick to whole grain bread, stuff with berries and heart-healthy nut butter, and try to go easy on the syrup. (Keyword: try.)

Veggie Miso Udon Soup Photo: Produce on Parade

Soup

7. Veggie Miso Udon Soup

We’re uber into udon. And not just because it’s delicious. The combination of the thick noodles, Asian flavors, and subtle spices are perfect for sick season. And the addition of steamed veggies makes it quite the well-rounded, nutritious meal. Even better: Just one serving will keep you feeling full for hours!

8. Low-Fat Turkey Chipotle Chili

Whether fueling up after hitting the slopes, enjoying during Sunday game day, or just looking for a tasty, filling meal, chili is tough to beat. It can be easy to go overboard though—after all, why wouldn’t you want to add a hefty handful of cheese and generous dollop of sour cream as a topper? However this recipe keeps it simple and healthy by opting for lean turkey, plenty of veggies, and enough flavor to satisfy without too much dairy.

9. Roasted Vegetable and Tomato Soup With Cheese Croutons

Chicken soup may be good for the soul, but we think tomato gets the job done just as well (if not better). Plus, this recipe is chock-full of roasted veggies, just enough spice, and one of our favorite additions: grilled cheese croutons. It’s so healthy you don’t even have to eat in moderation.

Veggie Pot Pies Photo: Naïve Cook Cooks

Dinner

10. Veggie Pot Pies

Let’s face it: Anything served in a puff pastry is pretty darn tasty. Take this veggie pot pie, which has loads of vegetables and a light sauce that only tastes like a splurge. Bonus: These mini delights offer built-in portion control (though we’re still tempted to have seconds).

11. Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake

Heavy cream and cups upon cups of cheese may not be the makings of the healthiest meal, but the decadent ingredients certainly deliver in the taste department. Plus, quinoa is a protein-packed superfood. (Everything in moderation, right?) So when howling winds get you down, we say turn to this meal of melted goodness—and serve with a green side salad.

12. Lightened Up Mac and Cheese With Cauliflower

From butternut squash sauce to broccoli breadcrumbs, mac and cheese seems to be on a mission to make a healthy transformation. The latest trend: Halving the amount of pasta and adding extra cauliflower. We love the addition of a little tender crunch, and a lot more nutrients!

Healthy 3-Ingredient Chocolate Fudge Sauce Photo: Top With Cinammon

Dessert

13. Healthy 3-ingredient Chocolate Fudge Sauce

Most things taste better with a drizzle of warm chocolate—it’s a fact. But that small spoonful can also mean extra calories and sugar, which isn’t always best for our bodies. Fortunately this sauce squashes those concerns (it’s sugar-free and vegan!). That may sound like a flavor buzzkill, but we assure you it isn’t. And hey, isn’t adding two spoonfuls better than one?

14. Banana Protein Soufflé Muffin

Soufflés may conjure up ideas of fluffy chocolate goodness smothered in sugary sauce (please pause while we drool), but they can actually be pretty healthy. So healthy, in fact, this recipe could serve as breakfast or dessert. We just might eat it for both.

15. Blueberry Ricotta Cups

Don’t let the ‘blue’ in blueberries fool you: This dessert achieves just the opposite of a downer affect (don’t all treats?). And they’re pretty good for you too! With low-fat cheese, egg whites, and honey, there’s no reason not to have seconds. You can also make the recipe gluten-free and substitute banana for honey or syrup. Bon appétit!

Originally published February 2014. Updated February 2015.

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