Despite an unseasonably warm December, the cold snap is due any day now, that’s a guarantee. On Friday nights, the prospect of having to stand out in the unforgiving winter winds queuing for club entry or freezing yourself in the smoking areas of packed pubs is just not ideal.
Why not take this time of the year to socialise indoors with your nearest and dearest by cooking a hearty and simple meal for everyone to share?
Check out these four new takes on winter dishes that will certify you as the best host in your group with the help of BBC Good Food.
Starting with the least healthy of the lot, this simple twist on the basic lasagna requires minimal effort but rewards with maximum comfort. Combining spinach with ham, chicken and a plentiful spread of mozzarella – this classic pasta dish will warm and fill the stomachs of up to eight guests and still costing under £2 a serving, how could you go wrong?
Accompanied with delicious ciabatta toast, this carbohydrate based soup will keep your immune system running at full capacity for hours. The recipe will serve up to 10 but we recommend keeping some aside to bring in for work lunches. The only catch is that you’ll need a blender to create this particular dish but apart from that, this one is an easy and delicious way to keep your fridge stocked for those days when cooking from scratch feels like a burden.
Another Italian essential, the minestrone soup has been a staple for quiet evenings in since the dawn of the Roman empire. Now you can pay homage to this traditional dish by getting 3 of your friends together and enjoying a film over a boiling hot bowl of hearty vegetables, delicious streaky bacon and, for the final touch, a handful of homemade pesto croûtes.
This is one for the health conscious and vegetarians among your friendship circles. With three of your five a day featuring appearances from our old friend butternut squash, red onion and parsnips. The sweetness of the honey will bring all the colour and flavour of this dish putting to rest the convention that salads are just for summer.