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Many people see January as a time to start something fresh and new. In that spirit, the TODAY Food team is bringing you a rundown of our absolute favorite recipes, snacks, condiments and more that are getting us through this mid-winter month.
Whether you're trying to make mealtimes more marvelous or just hibernate and do anything at all, these are the foods you simply must try soon.
In case you didn’t already know, Ina Garten is the chicken dinner winner. She has mastered the bird in every possible iteration — but this recipe is TODAY Food Editor Emi Boscamp's absolute favorite of them all. It’s a magical combination of mustard and breadcrumbs.
The chicken, which is cooked in one pan with the potatoes (making for a super easy clean-up), is crispy and golden thanks to the butter and breadcrumbs. But this miracle dish is also tangy and bright, thanks to the Dijon and wine. You get your chicken, potatoes and salad all in the same dish. In other words, it's a weeknight miracle.
2. Ben & Jerry's Netflix and Chill'd
Yes, we know it's cold outside, but that obviously won't stop us from indulging in a pint or two of ice cream. Ben & Jerry's rarely makes a flavor we don't like but this creamy peanut-buttery base chock full of fudge brownie pieces and salty pretzel bits is a must-dig-in — even if you don't particularly like peanut butter.
The ice cream, which is now available in scoop shops and freezer aisles around the world, is (as the name suggests) a partnership with Netflix, so naturally it makes for a great binge-watching snack. We recommend pairing it with "Cheer" and "The Circle." Also, kudos to the Vermont-based creamery for releasing a dairy-free version made with almond milk at the same time so everyone can partake in a little icy indulgence.
3. Persimmon-Flavored Anything
Persimmons are in season from October through early February. This orange berry (yes, it's technically a berry, not a citrus fruit) can have a slightly bitter, tannic quality if eaten at the wrong time. It can be a pretty unpleasant experience. But enjoying a perfectly ripe persimmon is like biting into a honey-flavored apricot that nearly melts in your mouth. The fruit is often used to make jams, jellies and a variety of baked goods. This recipe, however, allows the sweetness of the fruit to truly shine alongside the creaminess of fresh mozzarella, finished off with a great tang from the balsamic reduction.
4. Amore Italian Tomato Paste and Anchovy Paste
One’s life can never have enough umami. That’s why Emi keeps these two tubes close by whenever she's cooking (she literally keeps them in her apron pocket). Even if a recipe doesn’t call for anchovy or tomato paste, a little squeeze of these babies will always take it to the next level. If you've ever tasted something and thought, “What is this missing?” the answer is likely in one of these tubes — or both! Add it to soups, stews, pasta, vinaigrettes, you name it! Dessert is probably the only limitation but, you know, to each their own.
5. Creamy Celery Root Mash
As far as vegetables go, celery root is often overlooked — or perhaps not even thought of at all. But now that it's in season, this is the best time of year to explore this incredibly versatile veggie that may even help you stick to a new diet if you're following a low-carb plan but still craving mashed potatoes.
Rich in vitamin K, potassium and vitamin C, this underrated food deserves a spot in your winter weeknight dinner rotation. We know it's a bit ugly (just give it a good scrub and peel before you cook it), but we promise its well-rounded taste will win you over — whether you create a fluffy veggie mash to go with pan-seared scallops or chop it up and roast it in the oven.
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