What’s For Dinner?

Never fails- as I pick my kids up every afternoon from school, our dialogue is always the same.

Me: “How was school today?”

My daughter: “What’s for dinner?”

Well then.

This week especially, as every one is trying out their ‘New year, new me’ lifestyles, we at TDD thought that we would continue the trend of the top 5 winter foods that we love! Keeping with the trends, too- a few of the dishes are gluten free and can accommodate your diet plans!

Below, we’ve set the dinner table for you!

winter foods

WINTER SQUASH SOUP

You will need:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon good olive oil

2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)

1 (15 – ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut in chunks

3 cups homemade chicken stock or canned broth

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup half – and – half

Croutons

Directions:

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy – bottomed stockpot, add the onions, and cook over medium – low heat for 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the pumpkin puree, butternut squash, chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer over medium – low heat for about 20 minutes, until the butternut squash is very tender. Process the mixture through the medium blade of a food mill. Return to the pot, add the half – and – half, and heat slowly. If the soup needs more flavor, add another teaspoon of salt. Serve hot with garnishes, if desired.

Cook’s Note: To serve with croutons, remove the crusts from 2 slices of white bread, cut them in 1/2-inch cubes, and saute them in 1 tablespoon of butter until browned. Season with salt and pepper.

winter foods

WINTER KALE SALAD

You will need:

1 small bunch of kale, stems removed, cut or torn into small pieces

1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

1 green onion, chopped

1 pear, peeled and sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Crumbled blue cheese, for garnish

Directions:

Toss kale, pecans, green onion, and pear together in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle vinegar then oil over the top. Toss and serve with a sprinkling of cheese.

Cheddar-Chicken-Quinoa-Bake

CHEDDAR CHICKEN QUINOA BAKE

You will need:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 green onions, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

1 8oz. can tomato sauce

dash of red pepper flakes

salt & pepper

2 cups cooked & shredded chicken

2 cups cooked quinoa

½ red bell pepper, chopped

1 green chili pepper, diced (optional)

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

1½ cups grated white cheddar cheese, divided

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease an 8×8 baking dish.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil, shallot, garlic and green onions. Saute for about 2-3 minutes.

Add chopped tomato, tomato sauce, red pepper flakes and salt & pepper. Stir and simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine quinoa, chicken, red pepper, chili pepper, cilantro and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese in a large bowl. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Add sauce to the bowl and toss to combine.

Transfer mixture to the baking dish.

Top with remaining ½ cup of cheddar cheese and cover with foil.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and garnish with additional green onions and/or cilantro.

mocha custard

MOCHA CUSTARDS

You will need:

1 envelope (1/4 ounce) unflavored gelatin

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon espresso powder

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 cups milk

Pinch of salt

Directions:

In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water, let soften 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring cream to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; whisk in sugar and espresso powder until dissolved, about 1 minutes. Whisk in chocolate until melted (be careful not to let it burn), about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisk softened gelatin into cream mixture until gelatin has dissolved about 1 minute. Stir in milk and salt. Strain into a large liquid measuring cup (for easy pouring). Divide evenly among six 6-ounce coffee cups or custard cups. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.

hot drink

Hot Coca-Cola Remedy

If this blast of cold air has got YOU feeling blue.. or if you’re like me and don’t like the cold and are in need of an extra dose of warmth, try this! This ‘tea’ of sorts- ironically, it doesn’t even have tea in it- was thoughtfully made for me a few weeks back when I was slightly out of commission and was the perfect remedy! Now just like all homemade goodies.. the amount of ingredients used is questionable. My suggestion is to just watch it while it boils and taste test along the way!

You will need:

1 can of Coca Cola

Honey

Cinnamon Stick(s)

Limes

Directions:

Bring the coca cola to a boil over high heat. Add in several tablespoons of honey (depending upon if you like the taste just for sweetness or if you are healing an ailing throat). Add in a cinnamon stick (again- I like cinnamon, so I would add two). Squeeze fresh limes into the mixture (at least three to four limes- seems like a bit much- but can cut down on the sweetness and/or assist in giving it a nice balance). Serve piping HOT!

I don’t know about you- but I can’t wait to put my culinary skills back to the test, now in 2016! What are some of your favorite comfort foods? Are you a foodie and enjoy trying new recipes? Let us know what’s for dinner at your house tonight!

Ashley

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