All the parties are over, the resolutions have been made and the cold has set in for winter. If you’re like me, January is a quiet time; a recovery from the busy days of December. I’ve been enjoying cooking this week; getting back into our usual family meal habits after the big gatherings of food and fun over the holidays. Here are some of my favorite winter recipes, from my family to yours. Enjoy!
For the very happiest of winter mornings, prepare this Baked Oatmeal from the editor of Simple Bites. Do yourself a favour and use high quality old-fashioned oats – I use Bob’s Red Mill – they really make a difference! Top it with good organic plain yogurt (Krema 10% is my favorite) and you’re in breakfast bliss. Once you’ve fallen in love with this recipe go and bake everything else on her website – it’s all delicious! Especially the Best Muffin Ever recipe, my go-to oatmeal muffins. Don’t be afraid of the butter in these recipes. Use organic grass-fed when you can afford it (there are so many good, healthy nutrients in good quality butter) but regular butter will work too. But whatever you do, do NOT substitute margarine!
For easy winter salads and bowls I love the website and cook book Oh She Glows. The simple vegan recipes are so delicious and easy, not to mention incredibly healthy. One of my absolute favorites is the Protein Power Goddess Bowl. There are a few versions of this recipe and they are all awesome. I use the basics of the recipe and adapt it to whatever veggies I have on hand usually using quinoa instead of rice (or omit the grain altogether), baby tomatoes, a big healthy serving of spinach or kale plus a pepper and some garlic. The lemon-tahini dressing is wicked – but for a simpler version I reduce the nutritional yeast to 1-2 tsp and just shake it all up in a mason jar. You can also do it without cooking the vegetables. Just toss the cooked lentils with a bowl of chopped veggies. This recipe has the added bonus of being full of folate – excellent for pregnant or trying-to-conceive women.
Another lunch-time or quick dinner favorite is a peanut sauce and tofu noodle bowl. Whip up this wicked peanut sauce (I reduce the sugar to 1/2 Tbsp) and pour over rice noodles and sliced veggies (lettuce, red pepper, carrot and anything else you like). Top with cilantro, green onion, chopped peanuts and roasted or grilled tofu for a delicious and super quick meal. For the tofu: set oven to 400, slice tofu, douse with peanut oil and Bragg’s soy sauce (find it in the organic aisle) and then bake for 10 minutes each side. Or marinate in a mixture of 1 Tbsp peanut oil and 3 Tbsp Bragg’s and then grill 3-5 mins.
For slow cooking Sunday’s I’ve jumped on the Rock Recipes bandwagon (having avoided it in the past only because we don’t usually eat much meat). I’ve been playing around with making my own vegetable and chicken stock and Barry’s recipe for roasted stock is the absolute best tasting thing around. Use it to make a simple and traditional Chicken Noodle Soup for those cold days when the family is feeling under the weather.
In the evening when you want something warm and hearty, a delicious lasagna is a big family treat! I make my own chunky pasta sauce in big batches and freeze the leftovers for easy lunchtime pasta or another lasagna next month. Here’s the recipe:
1. saute a tablespoon or two of olive oil and one chopped onion for a few minutes
2. add two chopped cloves of garlic, cook a few minutes until fragrant
3. add one large tin of diced tomatoes, 1 tbsp of basil, 1/2 tbsp oregano, salt and pepper bring to boil
4. meanwhile, dice one medium sweet potato and add it to the pot
5. simmer for 30-60 mins (or longer) and then use a potato masher to mush up tomatoes and sweet potato (you could use an immersion blender for a less chunky consistency)
I love this layered with pasta, zucchini and mozza. Or replace the zucchini with whatever greens you have on hand (chopped kale or spinach work well) and serve with salad or fresh bread from Georgetown or Rocket bakery.
These are just a few of my favorites. I’d love for you to leave your favorite winter meals as a comment! An old-fashioned recipe swap may be just the thing we all need to jump-start our New Year nutrition.