Comforting Winter Dinner Ideas

Perfect winter day

Hello friends.

Here are some links to some comforting dinner ideas from some other blogs/cooks that I think have a good handle on cooking.  I haven’t had time lately for recipe development and blogging so I’m sending you all some links that I hope you will find useful.

Don’t forget to check the ‘soup’ section of this blog – all of my recipes are very soothing and easy to follow with minimal fuss and ingredients.

I hope these soothe your soul, and warm you up. Remember when you are cooking to use your instincts and add some love and positive energy as you go.

Chicken Pot Pie  http://annies-eats.com/2009/11/11/chicken-pot-pie/

Louisiana Chicken Pasta http://annies-eats.com/2009/07/10/louisiana-chicken-pasta/

Meditteranean Orzo Chicken Bake http://www.fortheloveofcooking.net/2012/01/mediterranean-chicken-and-orzo-bake.html

Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken Curry http://www.simplebites.net/coconut-ginger-chicken-vegetables-slow-cooker-challenge/?doing_wp_cron=1327460623

Italian Chicken, Bean and Tomato Soup http://www.erinsfoodfiles.com/2008/11/soups-on.html

Beef and Green Bean Stirfry http://joelens.blogspot.com/2012/01/beef-green-bean-stir-fry.html

Bean and Pasta Stew http://www.thekitchn.com/cozy-winter-recipe-onepot-past-135992

Tandoori Chicken https://cookwithandrea.com/2011/06/09/tandoori-chicken

Ginger with her snow suit on

Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast Pizza

I made this last weekend when a few of the kids were home.  It is inspired by the many recipes for it that I have seen on the web.  It got a “2 thumbs up” response from the girls, and it was just as tasty the next day when it was reheated.  Like regular pizza, it’s totally versatile, so interpret this recipe and use what you have on hand.  I felt as though some feta or goat cheese blobbed on top would have made this even better and will add it next time.  This would also make a nice lunch with a side salad.

Breakfast Pizza

Serves 4

I premade pizza dough (usually available in the freezer section, near bakery in grocery store)

1/4 cup onion, finely sliced

1 large clove garlic, minced

4 cups baby spinach

2 tbsp water

1/2 tsp salt

6 large eggs

1 tsp worchestershire sauce

1/2 cup salsa

2 cups grated old cheddar

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Spray pan that you will be using. I used an 11″ tart pan, but feel free to use any type of pan with at least a 1″ side (to hold in filling).  A 9″ x 13″ would be fine.  Spread dough into pan, and up sides. Trim if necessary to desired thinness. *note* if your dough is cold and uncooperative, put it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to warm it up. Once spread into pan, place in oven and bake for 9 minutes. Remove from oven.

In large pan over medium heat, saute onion in a teaspoon of oil or butter.  When translucent, add garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Add spinach, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tablespoons of water and stir. Cover until spinach wilts, about 30 seconds or so.  Remove from heat.

Spread salsa over partially cooked pizza dough. Place spinach mixture over salsa, spreading evenly.  Mix up eggs with 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper.  Pour over spinach mixture, then top with cheddar.

Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until center no longer jiggles and cheese is melted and bubbly.

Let cool 5 minutes. Slice and serve. Enjoy.

Spread dough, the partially bake for 9 minutes.

Saute onions and garlic, add spinach and salt, cook until spinach wilts

Spread partially cooked pizza crust with salsa

Spread spinach mixture over salsa

Pour over mixed eggs, then sprinkle with cheddar

Bake until set, cool for a few minutes, then enjoy.

Gratuitous aerial view.

Almond Thumbprint Snack Cookies

Healthy Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookie

Use your favourite jam

 

When you’re feeling like eating some baking, but you really shouldn’t go too crazy, as in, you want to justify eating cookies because they are made with healthy ingredients — or you are looking for a nice snack cookie – these fit the bill perfectly.  I really like these because they taste like an excellent treat, but all the ingredients are essentially healthy. I made them with mostly organic ingredients as well, so all the better. You can customize them by adding your favourite jam for the centers. I have used raspberry here and they are so good.  I still ate 4 or 5 of them, but oh well, I threw caution to the wind. So sue me.

I imagine they would suffice for a breakfast on the run as well.  Super easy and they freeze well.

Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies

inspired by The Nourishing Gourmet

Makes about 24-30 cookies

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups whole or sliced almonds, ground coarsely in processor

3 cups oatmeal, ground finely in processor

1/2 cup melted butter or coconut oil

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup maple syrup

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

Directions:

Heat oven to 350F.  Prepare baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.

Grind almonds coarsely in a food processor  by using the ‘pulse’ button. You don’t want them too fine, you still want to see little chunks of them.  Remove from processor and place in large bowl.

Process oatmeal the same way, except you want it to be quite fine, so push the ‘run’ button for 10-20 seconds.

Mix all ingredients together in the bowl.  Form into 1 1/2 tablespoon size clumps. (a small cookie dough scoop works well for this).  Place on cookie sheet about an inch apart and bake for 9 minutes. Remove from oven to indent your cookies with your finger or a cylindrical spoon handle. Return to oven and bake for another 8-9 minutes until starting to brown on the edges. Using a tiny spoon, fill indents with your favourite jam. Cool. Enjoy.

Grind up your oatmeal in processor

After baking 9 minutes, remove from oven and make your indents. Return to oven.

When fully baked, add a dollop of your favourite jam

A delightful snack with a cup of tea

Delightful and healthy

 

 

Smashed Baby Taters

smashed baby potatoes with ketchup

Here’s a simple way to cook potatoes that everyone loves. Great on their own, or as a side with practically anything.  Excellent with breakfast too.

Smashed Baby Taters

makes about 4 servings

3 lbs baby white and red potatoes, cleaned and trimmed

1/4 cup butter

sea salt

Directions:

In a large saucepan,  place potatoes. Cover with water and a generous teaspoon of salt. Cook until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and cool for a few minutes until they are  easy to handle.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Between both palms, ‘smash’ potatoes gently until their skins break and the potatoes are flattened slightly. Place them in the pan without crowding them too much. Sprinkle very liberally with salt.  Let smashed potatoes cook until browned, then flip and repeat. Add more butter if necessary, bearing in mind that butter is good for you. Remove from pan when brown and crispy. Serve and enjoy.

Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender, about 8 minutes.

when cool enough, gently smash those babies

Saute over medium heat, don't foget to be liberal with the salt. Potatoes need salt.

 

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

As the frosty days of January settle in, it’s such a comfort to have some warm and soothing soup. I made a batch of this squash soup and enjoyed it so much.  I’m sure it tastes better the second day too.  This is an easy recipe and the addition of a bit of orange or apple juice and a grated apple at the end just balance it out perfectly. I added 2 tsp of curry powder when I cooked the onions…for those of you who know me, you know I love me some curry. If you love it,  add the curry too…but this soup stands up beautifully on it’s own as well. Here’s to keeping cozy.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Makes about 9 cups

1  2lb (approx) butternut squash diced (about 5 cups)

1/4 cup butter

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced

5 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2-3 tbsp orange juice or apple cider

1 large apple, grated

Directions:

In large saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and cook until softened, about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, stir and cook 2 minutes. Add squash and stock. (enough to cover).  Increase heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 minutes.

Using handheld blender, puree soup.  Add orange juice or apple cider, and grated apple. Taste and adjust seasoning – salt/pepper.

*this soup is also excellent with the addition of curry powder. Stir 2 tsp. in after adding garlic and ginger.

Saute onions, garlic, ginger - add squash and stock.

When squash is tender, puree soup with a handheld blender

Add orange juice or cider and grated apple. I like to use granny smith's.

So delicious and easy. And you can see me in the spoon. 😉

Quick Cheesy Drop Biscuits

cheesy tender delicious biscuits

Here’s a really good recipe to make – it’s a basic drop biscuit recipe but I’ve thrown in some old cheddar and a little garlic powder.  So, if you want plain biscuits, take those two items out. It’s a big recipe – I made small biscuits here (for a potluck) and I got about 45 biscuits (about 3 inch diameter after baking).  Alternatively, you may want big, fat drop biscuit and you can go right ahead. Adjust your baking times accordingly. These are fast and so easy.

Quick Cheesy Drop Biscuits

makes about 20 large or 40 mini biscuits

2 eggs

4Tbsp granulated sugar

2 cups milk

2 Tbsp melted butter

 

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

3 tsp cream of tartar

2 cups shredded old cheddar

1 tsp garlic powder (optional)

 

*additional melted butter to brush on tops

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425F.  Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

Mix 1 cup of the milk with the eggs and sugar until combined.

Add the remaining cup of milk and melted butter.

Mix dry ingredients together, stirring in shredded cheese and  garlic powder.   Add to milk mixture.  Stir until just combined. Dough should be wet and sticky.

Drop blobs of dough on baking sheets. Bake 7-10 minutes for small, 12-15 minutes for large or until bottoms are lightly browned.  Brush with

melted butter, if desired. Cool slightly, these are best enjoyed warm.

mix wet ingredients, add cheese to flour mixture, then combine

mix cheese in with flour mixture

mix until just combined. Dough will be sticky.

drop blobs on baking sheet. Small or large, you decide.

bake until bottoms are browned and tops bounce back when pressed with a finger

brush tops with melted butter if desired.

these are awesome with soup or stew or on their own