7 Comfort Food Recipes – Easy & Hearty Meals for Cold Winter Nights
Winter is officially here and although you probably miss summer, this season has many perks too. Snow makes everything seem magical, holiday season leads us to New Year, and you also get to make wonderful meals during winter that just aren’t a good “fit” with hot weather. Bearing in mind one can never get enough of healthy comfort food recipes for hearty meals, this article brings seven ideas that will amaze you and your family.
Sweet Potatoes with Chicken Chili
If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy meal to make, then this comfort food recipe is perfect for you. Chili, found in this recipe, contains capsaicin which is a potent antioxidant. Capsaicin is linked to a number of health benefits ranging from weight management to pain relief and digestive health. Learn how to make the recipe below.
- Olive oil – 2 tbsp
- Onion (chopped) – 1
- Garlic (minced) – 3 cloves
- Sweet potato (cubed) – 2 cups
- Green bell pepper (chopped) – 1
- Chili powder – 2 tbsp
- Ground cumin – 2 tsp
- Oregano (dried) – 1 tsp
- Cannellini beans – 1 15-oz can
- Chicken stock – 2 cups
- Corn (frozen) – 1 cup
- Chicken (cooked) – 2 cups
- Salt and pepper – to taste
- Garnish: avocado, sour cream, cilantro
Heat oil in a pot over medium-high heat and add onion, garlic, sweet potato and bell pepper. Cook for 5-6 minutes before you stir in spices and cook for an additional minute. Add beans and stock into the mix and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Increase the heat and add corn, chicken, and cook for 2 more minutes. Add seasonings and serve with garnishes on top.
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna with Broccolini
Spaghetti squash is a rich source of antioxidants that improve your eye health, exhibit anti-inflammatory effects, among other things. Follow the instructions below to make this super delicious comfort food recipe.
- Spaghetti squash (halved lengthwise, seeded) – 1
- Olive oil – 1 tbsp
- Broccolini (chopped) – 1 bunch
- Garlic (minced) – 4 cloves
- Crushed red pepper – ¼ tsp (optional)
- Water – 2 tbsp
- Mozzarella cheese (shredded) – ¼ cup
- Italian seasoning – ¾ tsp
- Ground pepper – ¼ tsp
Position racks to lower and upper part of the oven and preheat to 450°F and proceed to microwave the squash with 2 cups of water for 10 minutes. Heat oil over medium heat and add broccoli, garlic, red pepper, into the skillet and cook for 2 minutes before you add water and continue cooking for 3-5 additional minutes. Transfer ingredients from the skillet into a bowl and proceed to make spaghetti from squash using your fork and add it to ingredients in the bowl.
Place potato shells on a baking sheet, combine mozzarella, Italian seasoning, and pepper with ingredients from the bowl, divide them between two shells and bake on the lower rack for 10 minutes. Then, place the baking dish on the upper rack for 2 minutes.
Carrots are abundant in fiber that your body needs for healthy digestion. They are also rich in vitamins A, C, K, B6, and others. This carrot soup is perfect for cold winter nights, and the process is easy.
- Coconut oil or unsalted butter – 2 tbsp
- Onion (chopped) – 1
- Red curry paste – to taste
- Carrots (chopped) – 2 lbs
- Milk – 2 cups
- Water – 1 ½ cups
- Salt and black pepper – to taste
- Lemon or lime – 1
- Garnish ideas: cilantro, toasted almonds, chile oil
Add butter or oil to the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and sauté until translucent and add curry paste and carrots. Cook for 1-2 minutes before you add milk, water, salt, and pepper. Let ingredients simmer for 10-15 minutes or until carrots are tender. Use a blender to puree the mixture until smooth. Add liquid where ingredients cooked until you reach desired consistency. Season with lemon or lime and sprinkle with garnishes before servings.
Red Wine Hot Chocolate
Red wine contains resveratrol and quercetin which act as potent antioxidants that protect the body from oxidative stress. Red wine improves heart health, regulates cholesterol levels, boosts brain health and so much more. This recipe is ideal for winter time; here’s how to make it.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder – 1/3 cup
- White sugar – 2 tbsp
- Salt – a pinch
- Milk – 2 cups (divided)
- Dry red wine – ½ cup
Combine and whisk sugar, salt, and cocoa powder in a saucepan, then add ¼ cup of milk and whisk again. When the mixture becomes smooth, proceed to add remainder of milk. Cook milk for 3 minutes over medium-high heat stirring occasionally. When you remove milk from the heat add wine and stir again.
Baked Rigatoni and Sausage
If you’re looking for a dinner recipe that will make you full without craving more food later, you will love this one. Plus, this is an ideal recipe for those nights when you’re too tired to cook anything else. Below, you can see how to make this delicious meal.
- Uncooked rigatoni – 3-3/4 cups
- Italian sausage links (sliced) – 5
- Spaghetti sauce – 1 24-oz jar
- Dry red wine – ¼ cup
- Italian cheese blend (shredded) – 2 cups
Cook rigatoni like you usually do. In the meantime, cook sausages in the Dutch oven over medium heat for a few minutes or until they aren’t pinkish in color anymore. When sausages are cooked, drain them and add wine and spaghetti sauce. Drain rigatoni and add them to the sausage and other ingredients. Combine ingredients thoroughly and transfer to a baking dish and top with cheese blend. Put the baking dish into the oven and bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until cheese melts entirely. If you want to save leftovers, wait until pasta cools off entirely and transfer it into freezer containers.
Romaine lettuce from this recipe is an excellent source of vitamin C which strengthens the immune system. This is particularly beneficial during winter time and flu season. Here’s how to make this tasty salad.
- Balsamic vinegar – ¼ cup
- Greek yogurt (plain, fat-free) – 2 tbsp
- Strawberry preserves (sugar-free) – 1 tbsp
- Olive oil – 1 ½ tsp
- Dijon-style mustard – 1 tsp
- Garlic (minced) – 1 clove
- Salt and pepper – to taste
- Baby spinach (fresh) – 3 cups
- Romaine lettuce (torn) – 3 cups
- Cooking apple – 1
- Blue, feta, or goat cheese (crumbled) – ½ cup
- Pomegranate seeds – ½ cup
- Walnuts (toasted) – ¼ cup
Combine vinegar, strawberry preserves, yogurt, oil, garlic, mustard, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Take another, larger, bowl and combine romaine salad, spinach, cheese, walnuts, and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle ingredients in a bigger bowl with a mixture from a smaller bowl. Serve.
Salmon is the best source of Omega-3 fatty acids that your body needs to function properly. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and they are vital for brain function, joint health, you name it. In addition, salmon is a great source of B-complex vitamins and since most people are deficient in this micronutrient, consumption of this fish becomes even more important. Here’s how to incorporate salmon into your winter meal.
- Salmon fillets – 2 ½ lbs
- Chicken stock – 1 qt
- Orange juice – ½ qt
- Grapefruit juice – ½ qt
- White wine – 2 cups
- Yellow onion (chopped) – 1
- Carrot (chopped) – 1
- Kaffir lime leaves (sliced) – 2
- Garlic (minced) – 2 tbsp
- Lemongrass (white parts only, chopped) – 1-2 cup
- Salt – 1 tsp
- White pepper – 1 tsp
- Garnish: zest of one orange, grapefruit, lime, or lemon
Take a large pot and combine orange juice, chicken stock, white wine, grapefruit juice, carrots, onions, garlic, lemongrass, and lime leaves and season the ingredients with salt and pepper. Bring ingredients to a boil and cook for 5-10 minutes. Decrease the heat and simmer the mixture. Place the fish into poaching liquid but make sure salmon is skin-side down. Cook fish for 5-10 minutes or until it’s tender. Garnish with zest of citrus fruits, if you like or you can use a topping of your choice.
In conclusion, during cold winter weather, we usually stay in and that’s not a bad thing. It’s nice to relax after work with a delicious and satiating meal and read a book or watch TV. Fortunately, there is a number of meals you can make without spending too much time in the kitchen. This article featured seven amazing comfort food recipes that you can make regardless of your cooking skills. Make sure your winter nutrition is well-balanced and abundant in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Dwayne Austin is a blogger & fitness instructor from Indiana, US, and associate with Consumer Health Digest and Performance Insiders. He has been writing blogs on Natural Ways To Increase Stamina and Virectin. He encourages people to live a healthy lifestyle. Connect with Dwayne via Facebook and Twitter.