Baby it’s Cold Outside

baby girl snow 15Winter has finally made it here. The yo-yo continues with a tease of spring right before the next northern slaps you in the face.  I’m only good for one polar vortex, thank you very much.

Today was ACTUAL snow. Fluffy, flaky, snow. So pretty. So cold.

I’m cold.

I will be cold until April.
I am mourning my flip flops.
I’ve been wearing Man’s house shoes the past two days.
(If you don’t live in Texas and think I’m being a big baby.  Well…let me tell you something.  Cold is a different kind of beast down here.  And re-frozen slush is a whole new kind of inclement weather.  Just like in July, Texas HOT is just not the same kind of heat as everywhere else.  I digress…)

MUST FIND WARMTH.

You too?

Well, these dishes promise to add a little warmth and perk to your dinner table.

Spiced Tea
This was originally an iced tea recipe, but it works well served hot on those days when frigid wind pierces right through ya
Gather:
2c water
1/4 c honey (sweeten to taste)
1 bag black tea
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
1/3 cup orange juice
To Make:
Heat water with anise, lemon slices, and cinnamon stick to boiling. Steep tea bag. Add in orange juice. Sweeten to taste.

Share with a friend.
Y’all know what goes good with spiced tea?
Spiced rum.
Just saying.
In case your friend is cute.

Hot Chocolate
It has taken me years to figure out I like hot chocolate. Hot cocoa, not so much. It’s something about the dried milk.  Immediately takes me back to college intern days.
IMG_3478To make:
Heat 4 cups of milk to steaming over low to medium-low heat.  20140102-091024.jpg
Want a little spice and warmth?
Add 1 cinnamon stick to the milk.
Stir in 1 cup milk chocolate chips.
Feeling indulgent?
Toss in another 1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate.
Warm to melt.  Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Feel it starting to work?

Now just one question…whipped cream or marshmallows?

For more drink recipe ideas check out my Something to Sip board.

Need some cold weather comfort food?
Being stuck inside has had me cooking up a storm.
I’ve tried some pretty yummy recipes lately.
Here are a few.

Quick Chicken Noodle Soup
Gather:
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup water
1 good size chicken breast
1 – 1 1/2 cup egg noodles
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1 bouquet garni (thyme, rosemary, parsley, fennel ferns…whatever you have on hand)
salt and pepper, to taste
To Make:
Sweat onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in olive oil until they begin to soften.  Add stock, water, chicken, bay leaf, and bouquet garni.  Bring to boil.  Reduce to simmer for 20-40 minutes; until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken, shred or dice and return to pot.  Serve.

Super Yum & Super Simple One Pot Chicken and Rice – I found this beauty on Big Red Kitchen; it got fabulous reviews, made wonderful leftovers, and was gloriously easy with only one dirty pan to worry about.

Blueberry-Banana Streusel Muffins
IMG_6984A modified version of my Betty Crocker Bridal Cookbook recipe. Big fluffy bakery style yummy…without even having to leave the house.
Gather:
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 very ripe bananas, smashed to a puree
For Streusel:
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
To Make:
Mix streusel ingredients thoroughly in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Fill a muffin tin with baking papers or grease pan.
In small mixing bowl, beat milk, oil, egg, and banana.
In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk flours, baking powder and salt together.
Using a wooden spoon, make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until just moistened.
Fold in the blueberries.
Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. Top with the streusel topping. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the muffin.
Serve warm. Will keep at room temperature several days in an airtight container, but streusel will lose its crunch.

IMG_6995

Romanesco

IMG_3481Dutch Oven Herbed Chicken and Veggies
Another one-pot wonderful dish.  Full of flavor, hands off, and a great way to use up vegetables in our co-op basket this  week.   I served it with roasted romanesco IMG_3480(olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes & finished with pecorino cheese) and fennel and orange salad (thinly sliced fennel bulb, two segmented oranges, tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, salt, pepper and drizzle of olive oil).  It proved to be a fulfilling and light dinner. 
Gather:
2 large chicken breasts, halved crosswise and butterflied (this alone was about 2# of meat)
1/2 # trimmed green beans
1/2 bundle trimmed and cut asparagus
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1 thinly sliced red potato
drizzle of olive oil
salt, pepper, dried herbs de Provence (or rosemary), red pepper flakes, splash of white wine
To Make:
In a Dutch oven, sear the chicken in olive oil over medium high heat.  Add in the vegetables, drizzling with some additional oil, a generous sprinkling of dried herbs, salt and peppers.  Pour 1/2 cup or so of white wine over the entire mixture and cover.  Place Dutch oven in 400 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove the lid and continue cooking until chicken is done and potatoes are tender.  In all about 30 minutes. Remove chicken and vegetables to a platter, ladle over some of the wine sauce from the bottom of the pan and serve.

Swiss Style Venison Steaks
My rendition of the classic beef dish found in Joy of Cooking. I used the backstrap, but I’m sure tenderloins would work well too.
Gather:
approximately 2# of meat (usually blade steaks or rump is called for when using beef)
1 can 15 oz, sweet Italian peeled tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup beef stock (or water if you are like me and didn’t get out in sludge to get stock)
1/2 a beer
1 small bundle of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons brown sugar
salt and pepper
To Make:
Mix paprika, salt, and pepper with flour. Dredge the meat in the flour, shaking off excess. Heat oil in Dutch oven, and brown the meat.
Place to the side on a platter and in the same pan, soften the onions, carrots, celery, green pepper, and garlic. Add beer and stock to deglaze the pan.
Return steaks to Dutch Oven. Top with tomatoes and herbs. Pour beer over top and sprinkle with brown sugar, salt and pepper.
Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours. Remove to a clean platter and top with sauce.
I served it with mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.

Slow Cooker French Dip Style Sandwiches
Gather:
1 cup beef broth
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 onion, thinly sliced
2# beef chuck or bottom round roast
chili coffee rub (I found this premix spice in HEB Central Market’s bulk section – LOVE it!)
1 cup beer (I use Shiner Bock for cooking)
1 small bunch fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
To Make:
Sear the meat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic to the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the meat on top, and add the other ingredients.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the meat is easily shredded.
Ladle some of the cooking juice into small bowls to serve with the sandwiches. Buy me a fat separator if you want the fat separated.
Serve on hoagie rolls with sharp cheese and au jus.
Enjoy the simplicity.

Kelsey Nixon also has a turkey version we recently tried. Just delightful!

Ice Day Tip:  I always save cookie in a jar gifts that we receive over the holidays for inclement weather days.  They store great, are quick and easy, and they are one less sweet to eat over the holidays.  I am happy to report that my ICE Day BIN has worked wonderfully this week.

Find more recipes like these on my Slow Cooker Pinterest board!

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