Winter Pantry

For those of you not from ’round here’ before I tell you about our Winter pantry, I should probably start by explaining something about Winter in the South. It’s all based on a propensity of false hope. While I’d say we Southerners are regularly a pretty cynical people, when it comes to the weather we tend to be unusually optimistic. We dream of a White Christmas, which usually turns into a January and February full of grey, rainy days. People say “snow day,” and we’re all like…

Ron Swanson's Snake Juice Dance on Parks and Recreation

But the next day…

Rachel Dratch as Debbie Downer on SNL

*/sad trombone/*

So you can imagine our shock when this happened…

Winter in the South | Hannah & Husband

This time, the forecast was actually right! Sleet and freezing rain left everything enveloped in a shimmering armor of ice, which I like to call nature’s winter glitter. Hardly any snow to speak of until this morning, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Anyway, the most comical thing about winter weather in the south is really how Southerners choose to prepare themselves for inclement weather. When snow hit NYC at the end of January, all my New York friends hit the liquor stores. Their pantry may only have had a box of Thin Mints and a pack of Ramen, but you can bet there were a couple bottles of bourbon.

Around here, on the other hand, the stores are emptied of bread and milk. This always baffled me. Somehow we think having the two most perishable items we can buy on hand during an ice storm is going to help. This may be because our pantry and liquor cabinet is always stocked. (After all, we’re Southern. We grow and make our own–click here for our moonshine punch recipe.)

Snow Day Salmon Recipe | Hannah & Husband

Last night’s dinner. We prepped for the weather by picking up a salmon fillet at Earth Fare on Sunday.


Nevertheless, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share what we keep on hand in the kitchen this time of year, and ask you to do the same. I’m curious how this varies from family to family, region to region.

  • We keep a lot of fruits and veggies on hand regardless of the time of year. I recommend always having frozen veggies on hand, but when thinking about fresh stuff this time of year, try to stick to veggies with a longer shelf life. The absolute musts to have on hand are onions, carrots, & lemons because they’re just so versatile. Other favorites for us are squash, apples, and potatoes.
  • We always have ingredients for chocolate chip cookies. Always. No exceptions. (This includes the bourbon smoked sea salt to sprinkle on top.)
  • Bacon & eggs… obvi.
  • Vegetable, chicken, and beef broth are always in our pantry for homemade soups or roasting meats and veggies.
  • Garlic is a necessity, and then I try to keep 3 fresh herbs that mix and match well on hand at all times. For instance, before this weather hit, I had gotten parsley, rosemary, and thyme. I can roast veggies and make a nice gremolata. I can make a compound butter. Or I can just throw all 3 in a soup or on the fish.
  • Pasta is our version of fast food. Lately, we’ve been especially hooked on this recipe for Cacio e Pepe (Thanks, Smiths!).

So that’s our list, what about yours?

What foods do you stock up on to prepare for winter weather?

Clean Out the Fridge Recipe

Clean Out the Fridge Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup | Hannah & Husband

I have this tendency to get really excited at the market about all the pretty vegetables, buy said pretty vegetables, then eat about 2/3 of the pretty vegetables and have this weird assortment of stuff at the end of the week. Thus, my classic clean out the fridge recipe: Butternut Squash Soup.

Start with a simple base, add a couple more items of your choosing, and pick a spice palette. You’ll have a heart-warming bowl of winter goodness in no time that’s perfect for sipping as you binge-watch Netflix. Which, as you can see, we did just the other night…

Clean Out the Fridge Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup | Hannah & Husband

Clean Out the Fridge Recipe
Butternut Squash Soup

The Must-Have List of Ingredients:

one butternut squash (obvi)
1of any onion you have on hand
at least 2 carrots
chicken broth (enough to cover all your veggies, usually about 6 cups)

The Optional List of Additions:
(pick at least 2)

sweet potato


Pick one of the options and spice to taste. Start with a little, but I’m going to say that as a general rule, if you’re using dried spices, you’ll probably be using at least a 12  to 1 teaspoon for a big pot of veggies.

Spices (Option 1)
curry powder

Spices (Option 2)

Spices (Option 3)

If You’d Like a Creamier Soup:

If you want a creamier soup, simply stir in a dollop of Greek yogurt, sour cream, or heavy whipping cream just before serving. I’d recommend letting your creamy product warm up a bit on the counter as you cook so that it blends better with the hot liquid.

Clean Out the Fridge Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup | Hannah & Husband

Make It:

First things first: You want to chop all ingredients to roughly the same size, and throw them in a heavy bottomed pot.

Next, cover with chicken broth.

Cover and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once it’s boiling, turn your heat down to medium low. Let the pot simmer until the veggies are soft. (This can take 30 to 45 minutes depending on how much you have in the pot.)

Add a bit of spice towards the end.

Use an immersion blender to break down your softened vegetables.#

I was once throwing a dinner party and experimenting with soup. I didn’t realize that throwing hot liquid into a blender can be disastrous (not to mention dangerous). The hot liquid exploded all over the walls and cabinets in my kitchen and me. Lesson to be learned: Either cool the soup before using a blender or buy an immersion blender. They’re $30-$40 and worth every penny! 

Taste your soup. Do you need more spice? If so add some now.

If you’re using a cream ingredient, stir it in just before serving and be sure not to leave your pot on the heat.

We always serve this with cheese toast. You should too!