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Raining & Pouring

2013 January 16
by Becky

It’s been raining for what seems like a month.

The last week has given us fog so thick even the Washington Monument is barely visible from more than a block away. The rubber boots live by the back door, rain coats never quite dry. Even Ethan has announced “COLD!” on our short trips to and from the car, not even taking his usual interest in puddle stomping.

Give me snow, sun, wind, sleet…ANYTHING but more rain!!

I’ve been constantly freezing so my menu planning has been on a comfort-food kick, which usually means unhealthy. But by packing in the veggies, I’ve been able to keep things fairly light yet hearty.

So I thought I’d share! If you are also chilled to the bone, give these a try. Just looking at the pictures gives me a warm and cozy feeling all over.

Minestrone

This has been my hands-down favorite soup recipe for at least a year. It’s from one of my favorite recipe blogs, For the Love of Cooking and is a major crowd pleaser. Stuffed with veggies, even Ethan can’t resist a second helping!  (It’s a great way to get him to eat vegetables—I often freeze it in small portions for quick future meals) 

My (unnecessary but make-it-extra-good) edits: I sub a big can of crushed tomatoes for the diced ones and find subbing half the chicken broth with “miso broth” (a recent find at Whole Paycheck Foods) adds even more depth to the already full flavor. Don’t forget some shaved parm for a finishing touch! Perfection.

RosemaryBread

I found this recipe a few months back and for some reason it has become the sidecar to minestrone…we always make the two together. This bread is super easy to make, just takes a little planning. The end result is crisp on the outside, soft inside, and full of rosemary flavor. It’s great the next morning with some butter and honey!

It reminds me of Macaroni Grill bread…of which I’ve eaten dozens and dozens (maybe hundreds?) of loaves. Why? Because I worked there in college. As a table-side singer. Seriously.

StuffedShellsPhoto: MountainMamaCooks

I originally found this recipe while trying to figure out a freezable dish to take my veggie friend Shannon after she had her sweet baby Alister. Stu and I by no means eat meat every night, in fact we probably eat meat-free four out of five days a week. But when I have to make something vegetarian, panic sets in, my mind goes blank. So I was sold when this hearty-looking dish popped up in a search–a whole eggplant, kale, broccoli = must be healthy.

I doubled the recipe to make one pan for us, one for our friends. I almost bailed when I saw how amazingly gross eggplant looks after a roast in the oven…I’ve honestly never cooked with an eggplant before! And I was a little worried about how much kale I was sautéing when it was nearly overflowing my pan. But I persevered and the result was incredible. Hearty, warm, flavorful, and cheesy. No one would miss the meat!

Chicken&Dumplings

I actually made this last night. It’s one of my favorite hearty recipes and is quick to make. I know, not the “healthiest” sounding meal, but if you sub breast for thighs, watch the salt, and up the veg, a few yummy dumplings won’t hurt! And it makes great leftovers. Again, this is something Ethan will devour, so some usually makes it to the freezer.

LentilSausageSoupPhoto: Barefoot Contessa

How could I forget my favorite Lentil Soup!?? Thanks to my mom for reminding me about this oh-so-perfect cold weather meal. Leave it to Ina Garten (my all-time favorite cook) to perfect something as traditional as lentil soup. Sausage, a little red wine vinegar, and plenty of veggies makes for a wonderful soup with which you can even entertain (I’ve done it by adding a salad and crusty bread…YUM). 

I typically sub turkey kielbasa (I find it at whole foods) and extra carrots. Finishing each generous serving with a few shavings of fresh parm and a sprinkling of extra virgin olive oil makes for beautiful presentation. Huge mugs work great too—especially if you’ll be enjoying your soup in front of some new episodes of Californication or Girls. (AKA a perfect Sunday night)

Thanks for the reminder Mom!

Up Next on the schedule (not quite as healthy):
Crock Pot Tikka Masala
Green Chili Enchiladas
Butternut Squash Mac ‘N Cheese with Caramelized Onions, Bacon, and Apple

The great thing about bad weather is the challenge to find inside activities, like museums, lunch dates, soft play rooms, and mall carousel rides. I guess they aren’t so bad!

What is your favorite rainy-nasty-cold-weather meal? I need some more as the forecast is calling for major snow tomorrow!

 

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7 Responses leave one →
  1. Grandma Johnson permalink
    January 17, 2013

    The soup sounds and looks amazing!! Even I, part-time cook, could make this.

    As for the rain!! Send it our way!! We have had little snow and need the moisture.

  2. January 17, 2013

    Don’t forget your lentil soup. Could be vegetarian without the sausage and vegetable broth instead of chicken. Made it last week. Yum!

    Yes, send the rain and snow our way. It’s dry as a bone here.

  3. Lauren G permalink
    January 18, 2013

    Personally, I feel like if its going to be this cold, it should just go ahead and snow. BUT – your minestrone recipe sounds fantastic. And the bread seems delightful… I think we will be trying these next week, especially with the arctic blast coming on Tuesday!

  4. Patti Voboril permalink
    January 20, 2013

    After Becky made the Minestrone Soup and Rosemary Bread for us while we visited back in October, I’ve made them both. Thanks Becky for sharing your recipes, we love them both. Great food for the cold days of winter (which California has gratefully sent on it’s way). Loving our warm weather (70′s) again.

  5. Shannon permalink
    January 23, 2013

    Those stuffed shells were amazing! I’ve got to put them on the menu soon. (Thanks again for that amazing meal after Alister was born!)

    • Becky permalink*
      January 23, 2013

      So glad you had a baby to break me out of my vegetarian rut! It was my pleasure to cook for you!!

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