Now that we are firmly in fall and the temperature outside has started to noticeably cool, it’s time to start thinking about the changing the dinners we make to fit the changing season. Sure, there’s never a bad time for some dishes (pizza comes to mind) but other dishes are just so much better when served hot on a cold night. These dishes are usually heavy, hearty dishes, often cooked in a crock pot. The kind of meals that make the whole house smell good while they’re cooking. Here are a few of my favorite cool weather recipes for you to try out on your families.
- Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup. Ingredients: 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds raw chicken pieces, 4 cups of water, 4 cups of chicken broth (homemade or canned), salt and pepper to taste (I use a teaspoon or so of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper), 1 small chopped onion,1 or 2 chopped carrots, 2 stalks chopped celery,1/2 teaspoon dried parsley, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1 bay leaf, 6 ounces egg noodles. Directions: Place everything in the slow cooker except for the noodles. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Remove the chicken and bay leaf from pot; take meat from bones, dice, and return to broth. Cook another hour on low. Cook the noodles separately and add them just before serving.
- Slow Cooker Beef Stew. Ingredients: 2 pounds of stew beef cut into 1 inch cubes, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, salt and pepper to taste, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce,1 chopped onion, 1 1/2 cups beef broth, 2 or 3 diced potatoes, 3 or 4 sliced carrots, 1 stalk chopped celery. Directions: Place meat in slow cooker. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt, and pepper; pour over meat, making sure to coat meat with the flour mixture. Add garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, onion, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery. Cover, and cook on low all day or overnight. If you want, you could add barley; cook that separately and add at the end.
- Chili. Ingredients: 2 Tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, 2 pounds ground beef, 2 chopped medium onions, 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, a big can of whole tomatoes, a can of your favorite beer, 5 Tablespoons chili powder, 2 seeded and chopped jalapeño chilis (if desired),1 Tablespoon cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon sugar, shredded cheddar cheese, 1 chopped red onion, 1 sliced avocado. Directions: Heat oil in 6 quart saucepan. Add ground beef, onions and garlic and sauté until meat is browned. At this point, you can continue on the stovetop, or transfer to the slow cooker. Stir in next 7 ingredients and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for about an hour. Or, simply set on low in the slow cooker and leave it for the rest of the day. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired. Ladle into bowl, then let everyone garnish his own with cheese, onion and avocado.
Any of these recipes will make for a warm treat on a cold evening, plus, when you use your slow-cooker for any of these recipes, it’s so nice to come in from a busy day and smell dinner waiting for you. What are some of your favorite cold weather recipes?