For many of us across the country, when February temperatures plummet, we look for ways to get cozy and warm. This is a time when I spend many hours in the kitchen cooking up lots of winter meals that take the chill off.
My favorite time is to spend a cold Sunday afternoon over the stove cooking a delicious soup that I have loaded with lots of vegetables. That is the ultimate comfort food for me. It is cozy and can be oh-so healthy.
We all know that that we need to eat more veggies - The 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that we eat 2 ½ cups each day. That can be very challenging for some of us although we don't want to miss out on all the nutrients, fiber and antioxidants that vegetables provide.
Soup is a perfect, easy solution for adding many different vegetables to your diet. And wintertime offers a wide selection of nutrition-packed options that offer a variety of benefits. The winter market has inviting vegetables like carrots,turnips,parsnips and winter greens like escarole and kale.
During the winter I love to make bean soups. Dry beans are a delicious source of dietary fiber and that is something we don't get enough of. High fiber beans have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and to help keep your digestive system healthy.
Here are a couple of cozy bean soups that you can make on a Sunday afternoon , but remember to soak the dry beans the night before. It is simple to make and the soup will keep you warm all the through of the week:
Another way to warm up and enjoy an easy- to make dinner are one-pot stews. Stews offer a chance to be creative and by adding a variety of vegetables to the pot you are adding the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy. There are many different variations of stews that are part of the culinary traditions of different countries. I love the stews of Hungary, Morocco, Italy and Ireland as starters. Most countries have a native stew that uses local ingredients in a traditional way and are simply delicious.
Here are a couple of winter stews that warmed up everyone at Ellen's Healthy Table:
What are your kitchen favorites for warm and cozy meal?
Published On: February 26, 2008