On Your Table: Warm up the last of winter with these tasty dishes

By Cathy Branciaroli, Food Correspondent, The Times

slow cooker white chicken chili

Slow cooker white chicken chili.

Ok folks.  I’m officially done with winter after this lovely week of ice and snow.  With daylight savings time taking effect this past weekend, it just doesn’t seem right to now receive the gift of snow along with ice and “wintry mix” this week.

But there is a bright side.  Now, while we are trapped at home is the perfect time to make hearty dishes that are the edible equivalent of a roaring fire and a cozy blanket.

There’s nothing more comforting on a cold, winter day than a steamy bowl of chili, soup or stew. It’s like  wearing snuggly woolen socks on a frigid day.

Here are thre reasons why this kind of dish is perfect for right now.

First, they usually involve ingredients that are already at hand in the kitchen pantry, and in many cases are healthy ones as well.  It can be a smorgasbord of whatever you have on hand.  Think broth, carrots, celery, greens and protein like beans, chicken, pork or beef.  I like to think that I am preparing a healthy dish packed with nutritious ingredients, even if the dish in question is chili, which can be primarily meat-based.  The beans provide that aura of healthfulness

Second, they are fix it and forget it dishes in that once the ingredients are chopped up and combined in a big pot or slow cooker, the cook can walk away for some period of time and come back to a finished dish.  Most folks think of stews as being long-cooking, but in fact they can be quickly prepared, sometimes in thirty to forty-five minutes.

Finally, making a big pot of anything provides the opportunity to freeze the leftovers in small containers for future meals when there’s just too much going on to cook dinner.


Hunters Stew

I love making soups and stews for so many reasons, including that they are a great way to feed the family inexpensively.  They provide comforting, warm meals on cold winter days.

After a bowl or two of these, we’re sure that winter chill won’t stand a chance.


Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Courtesy of Danielle Nichols of “Peaceful Cooking”

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cup into bite sized pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
1 recipe for Homemade Basic White Sauce (recipe below)
6 oz green chilies, chopped
4 oz jalapenos, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dried Great Northern beans
2 ears of corn, kernels cut from the cob
1 zucchini, chopped
4 cups chicken broth (or water)
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Avocado and cilantro to garnish (optional)

Combine all of the ingredients into your slow cooker. Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 8 hrs. Garnish if desired and serve.

Homemade Basic White Sauce
4 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk the flour into the butter until a paste is formed and it bubbles.

Whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until the butter and flour have dissolved. Cook and stir for about 5 or 6 minutes, being sure that nothing sticks to the bottom or sides. The sauce will thicken a bit as it cools.

Hunters Stew

Adapted from Gwen Wilson of “Simply Healthy Family”


8 cups (2 quarts) chicken broth

1 pound ground chicken or other meat

large yellow onion, chopped

2 cups cooked white beans (cannellini or navy)

2 cups cubed butternut squash

2 cups brussel sprouts, trimmed

1 heaping spoonful tomato paste

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Prepare the vegetables in advance. Combine in a pre-heated dutch oven. Add olive oil. Add onion and sauté for 5-8 minutes. Add ground meat and cook till browned, 6-8 minutes lowering heat a bit if necessary. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Pour in broth while scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden or plastic spoon to remove browned bits. Add squash, brussel sprouts, beans and salt.  Lower heat and cover. Simmer 15 minutes. Add freshly cracked pepper to taste.

Cathy Branciaroli also writes about her adventures in the kitchen on her blog Delaware Girl Eats

   Send article as PDF   

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment