Whipping up family favorites all winter long is a perfect activity to keep loved ones warm in the kitchen while avoiding the bitter chill outdoors. Delicious, heartwarming snacks offer a simple and savory way to bring everyone in from the cold while enjoying comforting flavors together. 

Lean on beloved ingredients like go-to RAG⁄ sauces when it’s time to come together for quick bites. The possibilities are nearly endless with delicious recipes using classics like the RAG⁄ Old World Style Traditional or RAG⁄ Simply Traditional options. 

Hearty flavors can take away the chill of winter in recipes like Snowman Pizza Bombs, Polenta Bites and Baked Tomato Goat Cheese Dip. Easy to make and fun to create together, these simple snacks are perfect for a cold afternoon spent together in the kitchen or watching a family-movie marathon.

Originally started by an Italian mother more than 80 years ago, RAG⁄ sauce, known for its distinctive yellow cap, is the perfect have-on-hand pantry staple to help you create easy and delicious home cooking. As an invaluable resource and family favorite since 1937, RAG⁄ sauces easily allow anyone, regardless of gender or culinary skillset, to “cook like a mother” and serve up delicious, homemade favorites. The brand’s rich heritage and array of sauce choices ensures that your next cold-weather day spent inside will be elevated with family-favorite snacks and easy and taste-tempting meals made with RAG⁄. 

Find more recipes perfect for warming up this winter at Ragu.com.

Baked Tomato Goat Cheese Dip

Recipe courtesy of Marzia Aziz of “Little Spice Jar” 

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4-6

Nonstick cooking spray

2 cups RAG⁄ Simply Traditional Sauce

3 cloves garlic, divided

¼ cup fresh basil, chopped, divided

⅛-¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 log (10-10 1/2 ounces) goat cheese, softened at room temperature

2 teaspoons olive oil, plus additional for brushing, divided

¼ teaspoon fresh thyme

kosher salt, divided 

pepper

1 large baguette, sliced on bias

blistered tomatoes, for serving (optional)

Position one rack in the upper third of the oven and one in the lower third. Preheat the oven to 375०F. Spray a small, round baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. 

Add sauce to a small bowl. Grate in two garlic cloves then add ⅛ cup basil and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine then pour sauce into the baking dish.

Smash goat cheese log into ball. Place ball between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using hands, flatten cheese into thick, round disc about 1-inch smaller in diameter than the baking dish. Remove goat cheese from plastic wrap and place in the center of the sauce. Drizzle cheese with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh thyme, kosher salt and pepper. Bake on lower rack, uncovered, 20-25 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is warmed through. 

Place baguette slices on a baking sheet. Drizzle or brush with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake crostini on upper rack 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through. When bread is done, remove from oven, cut last garlic clove in half and rub cut side on bread.

Top dip with remaining basil and blistered tomatoes, if desired, and serve with crostini.

Note: To make blistered tomatoes: Heat skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add 1 pint cherry tomatoes to dry skillet and let sit for 1 minute. Lower heat to low, toss tomatoes with 2 teaspoons olive oil and cook 2-3 minutes, or until tomatoes are about to burst. Remove from heat; sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Polenta Bites

1 tube (18 ounces) polenta

1½ teaspoons olive oil

1 jar (24 ounces) RAG⁄ Chunky Tomato, Garlic and Onion Sauce

1 package (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella

2 sprigs, rosemary, destemmed and chopped

3 basil leaves, chopped

1 block (8 ounces) hard Parmesan cheese

Cut polenta into slices. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat; fry polenta slices for 10-12 minutes on each side until crispy and golden brown. 

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm sauce. 

Place polenta slices on a tray and sprinkle with mozzarella. Place 1/2 teaspoon warm sauce on each slice then sprinkle with chopped rosemary and basil. Grate hard Parmesan onto each slice for topping.

Snowman Pizza Bombs

1 tube (11.8 ounces) pizza dough

1 jar (24 ounces) RAG⁄ Old World Style Traditional Sauce

1 package (6 ounces) pepperoni slices

1 package (6 ounces) Canadian bacon slices

1 package (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

4 tablespoons melted butter

1 teaspoon garlic powder 

1½ teaspoons Italian seasoning

1 package (8 ounces) mozzarella cheese slices

Decorative vegetables (optional):

multicolored sweet peppers

olives

spinach

mushrooms

cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 400० F.

Cut pizza dough into 12 squares. On each square, place ½ teaspoon sauce and evenly top with pepperoni, Canadian bacon and cheddar cheese. 

Pinch corners of dough together to round into balls then place in muffin tins. 

In small bowl, mix melted butter, garlic powder and Italian seasoning; brush generously over dough balls. 

Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. 

Remove from muffin tin and carefully shape dough balls into circles; place on baking sheet. Cover with mozzarella slices and bake until melted. 

Create snowman faces by decorating each with peppers, olives, spinach, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, if desired. Use remaining sauce for dipping.

(Family Features)

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