Winter calls for warm, hearty dinners full of strong flavors and delicious seasonings to fend off the cold nights. Here are some top picks for dinners that make the season brighter. When you’re all done, pack away the leftovers in a bento lunch box. Kangovou, a bento lunch box company, creates BPA-free and eco-friendly containers that can keep your food and the environment safer.
Root Vegetable Casserole
This recipe takes advantage of the season to cook root veggies when they’re at their best and create a comforting dish.
- 1 cup each peeled and chopped turnip, parsnip, and rutabaga
- 3/4 cup chopped carrot
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs or crushed crackers
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup grated cheese
Boil the veggies and simmer until tender, about 12 minutes. Saute the onions in butter and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 1 quart casserole dish.
When the veggies are done, add salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg, then mash. Gently mix in the onions, breadcrumbs, and eggs.
Spoon into the casserole pan and bake uncovered for 35 minutes. Sprinkle the top with cheese and bake until the cheese is browned.
Beef stroganoff may not be the healthiest meal, but this version is definitely better for you than the boxed kind. Indulge a little on a night when you could use some extra warmth.
- 7 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pound beef tenderloin, cut into 1 x 1 inch pieces
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 12 ounces egg noodles
- 3 tablespoons butter
Heat three tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and cook the mushrooms with thyme, salt, and pepper for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl. On high heat, cook the beef in two tablespoons of olive oil until browned all over, about eight minutes. Add to the mushrooms.
Reduce the heat to medium high and, in two tablespoons of olive oil, cook the onions and garlic for about 10 minutes. Add the broth and cream, then simmer and cook until reduced by half (25 minutes). Whisk in the sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, and pepper. When the sauce is thick, add the mushroom mixture.
Cook the noodles and toss with butter, then arrange them on a large platter and top with the sauce.
Sweet Potato and Chicken Chili
Potatoes and chili may not seem to go together, but this filling winter chili proves otherwise.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 cups cubed sweet potatoes
- 1 medium green bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 can cannellini beans
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 2 cups cooked chicken
- Salt, pepper, and toppings like avocado and cilantro
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Cook the garlic, sweet potato, onion, and bell pepper until slightly softened. Add the spices and cook for one minute.
Pour in the beans and broth and bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high and add the corn and chicken, cooking until heated through. Stir in the salt and pepper, then spoon into bowls and top with your favorite trimmings.
Slow Cooker Curry
A spicy curry can be the perfect way to warm up after a long day. It’s made in a slow cooker, so dinner will be ready as soon as you get home.
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1/4 cup curry paste
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- Zest and juice of one lime
- 1 stalk lemongrass or juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
- 1 pound small potatoes, halved
- 2 pounds chicken thighs
- Cooked white rice
Whisk 1/2 cup of water with coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce, ginger, and lime zest in the slow cooker. Smash the lemongrass, if using, and add it to the pot with peanuts and potatoes. Top with the chicken thighs and press down so they’re covered in liquid. Cover and cook for seven hours on low.
Skim off some of the fat and stir in the lime and lemon juice, if using, along with salt. Break the chicken into chunks and let stand for five minutes, then serve over rice.
Pear and Cranberry Crisp
A fruit-filled dessert can brighten up a dull day. This pear and cranberry crisp is light on the sugar and heavy on the flavor.
- 3 sliced medium ripe pears
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Topping: 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 cup granola
Toss the pears and cranberries with sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Place the skillet on a grill rack or in an oven to melt the butter, then stir in the fruit mixture and bake or grill (covered) until the pears are tender, about 20 minutes. Mix the melted butter, cinnamon, and granola, then sprinkle over the fruit and cook for another five minutes.
Bento Lunch Boxes for Storage
Use a BPA-free, eco-friendly bento lunch box from the bento lunch box company Kangovou to store your leftovers. Each bento lunch box is made from plastic that won’t contaminate your food with harmful chemicals and double-insulated, stainless-steel walls that keep food warm. Learn more about bento lunch boxes on Kangovou.com.