December 8, 2023

From Our Kitchens to Yours: Winter Recipes from BWBR

For the 2023 BWBR Winter Card, some of our staff shared their favorite recipes for the cold weather, holidays, and gatherings with loved ones. The result is an amazing assortment of recipes, from main courses and appetizers to desserts and drinks, that we’re certainly looking forward to cooking up this season!

We asked those who submitted recipes to tell us what makes the dish meaningful to them. Read on to hear the stories, memories, and traditions they shared, then click to download all the recipes to help create unforgettable moments at your own tables this winter.


Isabel Fernandez shared her family’s signature Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes, a holiday treat with a long-standing history. Isabel’s mom was born on a snowy Thanksgiving Day, making it her favorite holiday, and this dish is one she’s helped prepare since childhood. Now it’s been passed on to the next generation, with Isabel and other family members participating in the kitchen. “It’s simple enough for kids to help with,” she says. These sweet potatoes have some special twists, with pineapple slices and chili powder as the finishing touches. “The ingredients may sound strange, but they combine for a delicious dish that somehow only makes sense when the family is all together for the holiday season.”

Meanwhile, Maddie Smith’s recipe for Grandma Snookie’s Oyster Crackers goes back to her Great Grandmother Fernie, who served the crackers with soup and chowder at their family-owned supper club in Wisconsin. The recipe for the delicious snack once called for butter, but during the Great Depression, oil was substituted since butter was heavily rationed at the time. The recipe was passed along to Maddie’s grandma, who always had a bowl on her kitchen table available for snacking. “Making this recipe is always a reminder of her and the cozy little cottage on the river in Kiel, Wisconsin that she called home,” Maddie says.

Plenty of our other staff members’ recipes also have a well-established history as family traditions, like Megan Rollwitz’s Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins, which she brings to her sister’s house for Thanksgiving each year. “They remind me of family get-togethers and slow, calm winter mornings,” says Megan.


Of course, traditions must start somewhere, and some of our staff shared dishes that sparked new memories to carry forward for years to come. For Melanie Kiihn, cooking Autumn Vegetable Hash became a tradition in 2009 when she read the Bon Appétit Thanksgiving Issue that year. “Unemployed during the Great Recession, I was learning to cook and decided to make a really amazing Thanksgiving meal for my family from scratch with all new recipes,” she says. “We’ve made this pretty much every year since!”

Putting her own twist on a classic tradition, Allison Christoffels provided a recipe for cut-out cookies — each year, she and her family pick out a new cookie cutter to add to the collection as a fun spin on the annual event. “They remind me of my childhood, and I love making this new memory with my family now,” she says. “It’s a day filled with laughter, flour on every surface, creativity, and lots of cookies!”


Sometimes, recipes act as a signal that the winter season is finally upon us, like Rebekah Erler’s Squash Soup with Parmesan Croutons, which her husband has been making to kick off Minnesota’s cold weather for 15 years. Meanwhile, Devin Little’s Non-Vegetarian Venison Chili with Bacon signals the end of deer hunting season — the only time his family makes it, he says.

Our cocktail recipe comes from Peter Nagel, who serves his Spiced Cranberry Old Fashioned once winter is in full swing. “We love hosting friends and family in the winter for cocktails when there’s nothing else to do, and in Wisconsin that generally means old fashioneds,” Peter says.

As you cook, bake, and mix your way through our recipes, we hope they not only warm your kitchens but also fill your homes with the laughter and love that make the season so special. Cheers to a winter filled with gratitude, togetherness, and the joy of shared meals!

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