Hearty food to battle the cold

With an old fashioned winter in our midst these recipes from Foodland Ontario will keep you content as you battle the rigours of ice and snow. In fact, if you are stranded at home because of the weather, these may act as an inspiration in the kitchen. Keep warm!

Muesli for Breakfast

In the pitch black of early morning it is hard to be inspired for breakfast. However, this make-ahead version of muesli allows you to have everything at the ready for a nutritious start to the day.

1/2 cup (125 mL) large flake rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) cinnamon
1 small apple
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped almonds or walnuts
2 tbsp (25 mL) dried cranberries, raisins or chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup (50 mL) plain or vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp (15 mL) honey or maple syrup

In medium bowl, combine oats, milk and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate at least four hours or overnight. Assemble the apple, almonds, raisins, yogurt and honey ready for the next morning.

Just before serving, dice apple. Stir apple, almonds and raisins into oatmeal mixture. Divide between two bowls; top with yogurt and drizzle with honey. Serve immediately. Makes two servings.

Stir-fried Cabbage with Bacon and Apple

Serve as a warm salad with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream for an accompaniment to a roast or as a simple lunch. Vary the cabbage with red, Chinese or savoy varieties; all are a source of calcium and lend a variety of flavours.

3 slices of bacon cut crosswise into thin strips
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups (1 L) thinly shredded cabbage
2 tbsp (25 mL) water
1 apple
1 tbsp (15 mL) white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp (1 mL) salt and fresh black pepper

In large frying pan or Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy, about five minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel. Drain all but 1 tbsp (15 mL) fat from pan.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook until onion softens, about two minutes. Add cabbage and water to pan; increase heat to medium-high and stir-fry until cabbage wilts, about five minutes. Add apple, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir until apple softens slightly, about two minutes. Sprinkle with bacon and serve. Serves four.

Thai Chicken Dinner for Two

Do ‘take out’ at home with this spicy main course, super simple and more economical than eating out.

1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, halved
Pinch salt and pepper
1/2 cooking onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp (15 mL) Thai red curry paste
1 can (400 mL) light coconut milk
1 lime
2 tsp (10 mL) fish sauce
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch (1 cm) pieces
1 cup (250 mL) sliced, cleaned mushrooms chopped fresh coriander

In large wide saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until golden all over, about five minutes. Remove and set aside.

Add coconut milk to pan. Remove a couple of wide strips of peel from lime; add to pan along with 1 tbsp (15 mL) lime juice. Add fish sauce and sugar; bring to boil. Return chicken to pan along with sweet potato and mushrooms; stir. Cover and stir gently, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender and juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 15 minutes. Stir in another 1 tbsp (15 mL) lime juice. Sprinkle with coriander. Serves two.

Pan Roasted Peppered Steak with Caramelized Leeks

What could be better on a frigid winter’s night than succulent steak and mashed potatoes? Of course, add a bottle of your favourite red wine.

3/4 tsp (4 mL) black peppercorns or very coarsely ground pepper
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt (preferably) Kosher
12 oz (375 mL) strip loin or rib eye steak (at least 1 inch/ 2.5 cm thick)
1 tbsp (15 mL) each butter and olive oil
2 tbsp (25 mL) balsamic vinegar
2 leeks, well washed and white part only thinly sliced
1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried leaf thyme
1 tsp (5 mL) granulated sugar

On cutting board and using bottom of frying pan, coarsely crush peppercorns. Sprinkle peppercorns and salt over both sides of steak.

In large frying pan (preferably non-stick) melt half of butter with half of oil over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add steak and reduce heat to medium; cook until browned, two or three minutes per side. Transfer to small baking sheet.

Pour vinegar into hot pan, stirring to scrape up brown bits; pour over steak. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven until medium-rare, about 10 minutes. Let steak stand loosely covered with foil for about 10 minutes before thinly slicing.

Meanwhile, wipe pan clean; heat remaining butter and oil over medium heat. Add leeks; cook stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften and turn golden, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with thyme and sugar. Reduce heat and cook until bits of leeks are browned, about two minutes. Serve with steak. Serves two.


Jan Main is an author, cooking instructor and caterer – janmainskitchen@yahoo.ca

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