What I’m Making For Dinner This Winter

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Anyone else in a dinner rut? Or is it just me?

We’ve always been a family that primarily eats at home. But when COVID initially shut down restaurants this spring, I got very burned out (pun intended) from constantly having to feed so many people, every single day. It turns out having six people home all day long means people are basically eating all day long.

That said, I wanted to share some of my family’s favorite wintry meals with you. Yes, I categorize my meals and these are ones we prefer on a cold, dark evening rather than during another famously hot Columbia summer. All three of these recipes reheat well so they make for great leftovers.

Beef Stew

Get out your crockpot! This is such an easy meal to throw together in the morning and enjoy later. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs. beef chuck/stew meat, cut in 1 inch cubes
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • .5 tsp pepper
  • 1.5 cups beef broth
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

Place meat in the slow cooker. Mix flour, salt and pepper and pour over the meat. Stir. Add remaining ingredients. Stir again. Cover and cook on low 10-12 hours. (High: 4-6 hours.) Grab a loaf of fresh bread from the grocery store and there’s dinner!

Change Your Life Chicken-Ish

I enjoy listening to The Lazy Genius Podcast. The Lazy Genius is well known for her Change Your Life Chicken recipe. I tried her recipe, and then tried a similar recipe from Skinnytaste. Then I had an “ah ha!” moment and combined parts of each recipe to create this crowd pleaser. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-6 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • whatever veggies you have on hand
  • garlic powder
  • fresh rosemary (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 425 and spray a 9×13 pan with oil.

Next, prep your veggies. The Lazy Genius recommends two handfuls of vegetables per person, and you can use whatever you have. She suggests onion, carrot, potato, green bean, asparagus, leek, sweet potato, and cauliflower. (Avoid mushrooms, zucchini, squash, and broccoli with this method.) Toss the vegetables with oil, salt and pepper to taste and place it in the pan.

Now it’s time to season both sides of the chicken thighs with 1 teaspoon salt and garlic pepper. Here’s a trick: pull the skin back, season it and then fold the skin back over. It’s gross but totally worth it. Place the chicken thighs on top of the veggies, skin side down. Place a sprig of rosemary in the dish.

Bake 30 minutes, set the chicken aside and stir the veggies.

Place the chicken back, skin side up, and cook 30-35 more minutes. Then broil for 2 minutes for crispy skin.

Spinach Cheese Soup

A good friend of mine made this for me and my husband often when we lived nearby and would have dinner together. It’s kid friendly and tastes like it’s from a restaurant. And it is so good! It makes a ton, so consider yourself warned.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 8 oz. uncooked linguine or angel hair
  • 1 10 oz. package frozen, chopped spinach
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 6 cups milk
  • 3 cups (12 oz) shredded Swiss cheese
  • 3 cups (12 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Note: Don’t stress about the cheese. This is a very forgiving recipe. You can toss in whatever cheese you have. I’ve made it with all kinds of cheeses and it’s delicious every time. I’ve found it’s most delicious with homemade chicken broth but I don’t always have that on hand.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Sauté the onion and garlic in oil in a large soup pot.
  2. Add broth and bring to a boil.
  3. Add linguine/angel hair and cook 8-10 minutes, or until tender.
  4. Reduce heat and add spinach and chicken, heat through but do not boil.
  5. Stir in milk.
  6. Add cheeses and stir until melted.

More Favorites

Those three recipes will be on a regular rotation for the foreseeable future! But here are a few honorable mentions:

What’s for dinner at your house?

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Kate is a self proclaimed news geek who has worked in radio, on the air and behind the scenes, for the last 17 years. She and her husband moved to Columbia in 2011 with the intent of staying just five years...but they never ended up leaving. Originally from upstate NY, Kate has also lived in Chattanooga and Los Angeles. (Notice the theme? She moved away from the snow and never wants to deal with it again.) Kate stays home with her three children and homeschools the oldest two. Her work from home gig includes editing audio for a radio program that airs worldwide. She is active in her church, is passionate about orphan care and will never turn down chocolate. When stressed, you can find her baking or crafting while singing along to the Hamilton soundtrack.

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