As the days get shorter and colder, it’s all too easy to slip into longing for the summer and outdoor activities. The lack of daylight and sunshine doesn’t mean you have to curl up on the couch every night. We’re going to share our best tips and recipes for making your winter evenings cozy, full of flavor, and worth looking forward to!

Appetizers To Start the Evening

Winter and all its holidays provide the perfect opportunity to slow down and catch up with relatives or friends over a glass of wine and great recipes. Whether you’re planning a fun evening with friends around the fireplace or hosting the all-important holiday dinner, one of the basics of entertaining is to make sure that the food does not start with the main meal. Light and tasty appetizers provide an introduction to the celebration and allow guests to enjoy a snack while socializing prior to sitting down at the table. Plus, appetizers give you the freedom to try new bite-sized recipes and are the perfect way to keep hungry friends from wandering into the kitchen!

CheeseSticks make a quick and easy option; simply serve them with some dipping sauce, and guests will be able to enjoy this lead-up to the main course. If you want to get a little fancier, you can add them to a charcuterie board to complement your choice of cheeses. From Cheddar & Scallion to Garlic Romano, there’s a variety of gourmet flavors you can offer your friends or family.

If you are looking to level up your appetizer-making abilities, stuffed mushrooms are a perfect option; try this great recipe, which incorporates our Melting Parmesan CheeseSticks! Loaded with savory flavor, these are sure to make everyone hungry for dinner.

Cozy Comfort Foods

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

You can never go wrong with macaroni and cheese for holidays or weekend dinners with friends. Even though everyone has a go-to recipe for this age-old staple, this version has a unique seasonal twist. Butternut squash has a sweet flavor that pairs with its ability to absorb the flavors around, making it a perfect addition to macaroni and cheese. As a finishing touch, you can sprinkle crushed Original Cheddar CheeseSticks to give the top a delectable crunch. Your kids will love this dish and won’t even realize that a vegetable made their favorite food even better! In fact, they’ll ask for it time and again, so be sure you always have the ingredients on hand.

Roasted Garlic Sage Pesto Pumpkin Soup

If you really want to impress your guests (and yourself!), serve this creamy seasonal soup. The sage pesto has lots of tasty good-for-you ingredients and its many natural flavors come together to create a full flavor you’ll want to savor. Seasonal ingredients such as pumpkin, maple syrup, and thyme make this the perfect soup to come home to during these cold months. If you want to include a fun presentation, you can serve it up in hollowed-out sugar pumpkins. But, your guests will be blown away by the flavor no matter what kind of bowl you use. You can even jazz it up a little bit and serve the soup in shot glasses as an appetizer before dinner. Whichever way you choose to serve it, don’t forget to put out boxes of CheeseSticks and Melting Romano CheeseCrisps for dipping and topping.

Short Ribs Over Cheesy Polenta

Winter is the ideal time of year to pull out your slow cooker. Without the sunlight at the end of the day, having a hearty dinner ready can make all the difference in your evening. This simple and delicious dish of short ribs and cheesy polenta will satisfy all your comfort food cravings and make your kitchen smell amazing. The combination of melt-in-your-mouth short ribs and decadent polenta is so perfect that you won’t know which one to eat first. 

We hope these recipes and suggestions bring a spark of fun to the cold evenings that blur together, help you stay cozy and give you a reason to gather round. Don’t forget to add our CheeseCrisps and CheeseSticks to these rich and satisfying dishes! Happy cooking!

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