(Family Features) When cold weather hits, it’s natural to seek comfort in a variety of forms: warm blankets, layers of sweaters and delicious, hearty meals. Winter is the perfect season for spending time indoors honing cooking skills to take your culinary creations to the next level.
Opt for Seasonal Produce
While the days of peaches and watermelons may be over, dropping temperatures bring a slew of seasonal produce made for cool-weather cooking. Think winter squash, apples, root vegetables and cauliflower. Try using a seasonal food guide to learn what produce is in season in any state at any time of the year. Cooking with seasonal produce helps ensure your food is in peak form at its most nutritional and flavorful state.
Simple Recipes for Shorter Days
With less daylight hours during the winter, many people tend to get sleepy earlier. Quick weeknight dinner recipes are usually ideal, especially when they take only 30 minutes or so to prepare. Easy dishes are perfect for those nights when you want something savory and delicious, but you also want to get into pajamas and onto the nearest couch as soon as possible. Few things are better than a warm bowl full of flavor like this taste-tempting curry recipe bursting with caramelized onion and roasted garlic notes.
Chickpea, Spinach and Coconut Curry
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
- 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) FarmToFork 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
- 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.
- 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.
The Perks of Passive Cooking
Wintry weekends call for warming meals that bring an extra sensation of coziness through the wafting aroma of slow-cooked dishes. Wintertime is the perfect season to break out your slow cooker or put your stove on low heat and let fragrant dishes such as Savory Harissa-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables simmer slowly and fill your home with enticing smells.
Savory Harissa-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
- 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) FarmToFork 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve each chicken thigh with roasted vegetables, dollop of herbed yogurt, carrot mixture and 1/4 cup warmed marinara sauce.
Find Comfort in Your Favorite Foods
Almost nothing beats pasta and sauce on a chilly night. When craving warm and filling meals during winter, a quality, jarred pasta sauce like FarmToFork can add simple goodness to hearty dishes like Gnocchi with Hearty Mushroom Bolognese. Made with sustainably grown, vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh garlic, basil and onions, the sauce brings rich, distinctive flavor to a variety of cool-weather favorites from traditional pasta recipes to soups and oven bakes. During the season of giving, comfort and warmth can also be found in doing good for others, which is why FarmToFork supports Big Green, a national nonprofit organization that partners with low-income schools around the country to bring garden-based learning and food literacy curriculums to children.
Gnocchi with Hearty Mushroom Bolognese
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 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) FarmToFork 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Cook gnocchi according to package directions; drain. Add to sauce mixture; mix gently. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley.