Recipes To Brighten Up These Gloomy Days

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When cold weather hits, it’s natural to want to bundle up and stay warm in a multitude of different ways: warm blankets, thick, wool sweaters, and delicious, hearty meals. Winter is the perfect season for spending time indoors with your family and sharpening your cooking skills to take your holiday cooking to the next level.

Choose Seasonal Produce

While the days of strawberries and watermelons may be over, the plummeting temperatures of winter bring an abundance of seasonal produce made for cold-weather cooking. Try making some soup or chili to incorporate some winter squash, root vegetables or cauliflower into your winter diet. Use a seasonal food guide to learn what produce is in season in any state at any time of the year to ensure that your food will have the most flavor and nutrients.

Simple Recipes to Brighten Darker Days

With the sun setting earlier and limiting daylight hours, many people tend to get sleepy earlier.  Wintertime and the holiday season are a busy time for everyone, which makes fast, 30-minute, healthy dinners an appealing option. These easy dishes are perfect for nights when you crave something rich and tasty but want to get to your cozy spot on the couch as soon as possible. If you are looking for delicious, fast dinner options this winter season, try a few of the hot, savory recipes listed below.

Chickpea, Spinach and Coconut Curry

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 1          tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
  • 3          cloves garlic, minced
  • 1          large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1          tablespoon turmeric
  • 2          teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon crushed red pepper, plus additional, to taste
  • 1          can (29 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1          jar (24 ounces) caramelized onion & roasted garlic sauce
  • 1          can (15 ounces) light coconut milk
  • 4          cups baby spinach
  • 1/2       cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt, stirred
  • 1/2       cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 2          naan flatbreads, toasted and sliced
  1. In large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil, ginger, garlic, onions, turmeric, salt and 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Cook 6-8 minutes, or until onions begin to brown, stirring frequently. Add chickpeas, sauce and coconut milk; cook 3-4 minutes, or until heated through. Add spinach; cover with lid. Simmer 3-4 minutes, or until spinach is wilted. Mix well.
  2. Spoon mixture into six serving bowls and top each with spoonful of yogurt, pinch of cilantro and additional crushed red pepper, to taste. Serve with flatbread slices.
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The Perks of Passive Cooking

Cold, frigid weekends call for meals full of savory aromas that bring an extra level of warmth into your home. Wintertime is the perfect season to break out your crockpot or let your delicious concoctions such as Savory Harissa-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables simmer on the stove to let their fragrance slowly and fill your home with delicious, enticing smells.

Savory Harissa-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1/3       cup harissa paste, divided
  • 1/3       cup olive oil, divided
  • 1          large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slivers
  • 1          small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1          jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce, divided
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4       teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4       teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 6          bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
  • 1          pound rainbow carrots, trimmed and peeled
  • 1          lemon, juice only, divided
  • 1/4       cup finely chopped fresh herbs such as dill, mint or cilantro, divided
  • 1 1/2    cups plain Greek yogurt
  1. Heat oven to 425° F. In large bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons harissa and 2 tablespoons oil. Add onions and cauliflower; toss to combine. Spread vegetable mixture in single layer on 17-by-12-inch foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  2. In same bowl, whisk remaining harissa, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 cup marinara sauce, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken; toss with tongs until well coated. Arrange chicken atop vegetables on baking sheet. Bake 50-55 minutes, or until chicken is deep golden brown and internal temperature reaches 165° F.
  3. Use vegetable peeler to create long ribbons of carrots. In bowl, toss carrots with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons chopped herbs and remaining oil, salt and pepper. In separate bowl, mix yogurt, remaining lemon juice and remaining herbs.
  4. Serve each chicken thigh with roasted vegetables, dollop of herbed yogurt, carrot mixture and 1/4 cup warmed marinara sauce.
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Find Comfort in Your Favorite Foods

Almost nothing beats a nice warm pasta dish on a chilly night. There are so many different varieties and pasta dishes are easy to manipulate and change based on diet, allergy, or preference. They make great slow-cooked, or oven-baked options that do not require lots of preparation. If you are looking for a new pasta recipe, try this Gnocchi with Hearty Mushroom Bolognese as it just might be your new holiday favorite.

Gnocchi with Hearty Mushroom Bolognese

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1          yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1          carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 2          ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2          cloves garlic
  • 3          tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2          pounds button, cremini or portobello mushrooms
  • 1          jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce
  • 3          tablespoons butter
  • 1          pound refrigerated or frozen gnocchi
  • 1/2       cup pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1/4       cup Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  1. In food processor, pulse onions, carrots, celery and garlic until finely chopped. In large pot over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add chopped vegetables, salt and pepper. Cook 10 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.
  2. In food processor, pulse mushrooms until coarsely chopped. Add to large pot with vegetables. Cook 10-12 minutes, or until most liquid is evaporated, stirring occasionally. Stir in marinara sauce and butter.
  3. Cook gnocchi according to package directions; drain. Add to sauce mixture; mix gently. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley.

Author
Olivia Salzwedel

InnoVision Health Media reports on health content that is supported by our editorial advisory board and content published in our group of peer reviewed medical journals.

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