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Party Plan: Cold Weather Favorites

Even if the weather is frightful, you can stay warm and cozy with these great recipes.

With this party plan full of warm, hearty flavors, you’ll be nice and cozy during the colder months. For a start, whip up a mug of Coffee Vienna, a Caramel Coffee Toddy or sweet and rich Hot Chocolate. Remember to top it with a little whipped cream!

Soups and stews are a great way to warm up after coming in from the cold. Try hearty Mushroom and Green Lentil Soup, Chili con Cremini or Slow Cooker Pork and Vegetable Stew. For a lighter option, there’s Lightened Up Cream of Mushroom Soup too!

Finally, for an entrée that will warm you to the tips of your toes, there are lots of tasty options. Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup, Caribbean Fish and Sweet Potato Casserole, and Sausage-Pepperoni Skillet Pasta are all easy to make…and easy to enjoy!

Caribbean Fish And Sweet Potato Casserole

Caribbean Fish And Sweet Potato Casserole

Whip up this flavorful dish for a quick and filling meal that’s sure to warm you up!

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup basmati or jasmine (or regular long grain) rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1⅓ cup curry sauce
  • 2 cans (6 oz. each) tuna or salmon, drained, broken in large pieces
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) cut sweet potatoes in light syrup, coarsely cut
Directions:
  1. In a large frying pan, bring 1⅓ cups water to a boil over high heat. Stir in the rice until moistened.
  2. Stir in curry sauce.
  3. Scatter tuna and tomatoes evenly over top of the skillet mixture, and then arrange sweet potatoes on top. Cover and return to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently until rice is tender, about 12 minutes.

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Carrot & Dill Soup

Carrot & Dill Soup

This cozy combination is big on flavor, for a soup that will deliciously chase the chills away.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups jasmine rice, cooked
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 lbs. (about 5 cups) carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 Tbsp. dill weed, chopped, plus dill sprigs for garnish
  • ½ tsp. salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Directions:
  1. Prepare rice as directed.
  2. In a soup pot, sauté onion in butter until tender. Add carrots and sauté for 2 minutes. Add broth and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cook, covered, for 25 minutes.
  3. Transfer a little at a time to a blender; cover and blend until smooth. Repeat until all soup has been blended. Stir in dill and cooked rice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with dill sprigs and serve.

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Chili con Cremini

Chili con Cremini

Step up your chili game with mushrooms and a host of other flavorful ingredients, for a cold-weather meal that’s sure to become a favorite.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. unrefined peanut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, with some seeds, minced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. aged red wine vinegar
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) crushed roasted tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
  • 1½ Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1¼ tsp. sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 cans (15 oz.) red kidney beans, drained
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Directions:
  1. Heat oil in a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño and sauté until the mushrooms are cooked through and onion is softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and vinegar and sauté for 1 minute.
  2. Add the broth, tomatoes, chili powder, salt and cinnamon and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes. Stir in the beans and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until desired consistency, about 12 minutes. Adjust seasoning.
  4. Spoon chili into bowls, top with the remaining cilantro, and serve.

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Coconut Lentil Soup

Coconut Lentil Soup

Lentils and coconut combine perfectly for a soup that’s brimming with flavor.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups lentils
  • 4 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cans (14 oz. each) chopped tomatoes
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cans coconut milk, light
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 Tbsp. lemongrass, finely grated
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
Directions:
  1. Rinse the lentils and discard any that are discolored along with any stones.
  2. In a stockpot, combine the lentils, vegetable broth, olive oil, tomatoes, carrot, onion, celery, garlic, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, sugar, salt and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer, stirring frequently, for 20-25 minutes, or until the lentils are just tender.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk, ginger and lemongrass; cook until heated through.
  4. Garnish with cilantro and serve with a wedge of lime.

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Coffee Vienna

Coffee Vienna

For a decadent morning coffee, or for a warm treat any time of day, try this tasty beverage!

Ingredients:
  • 6 cups hot brewed coffee
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • 6 oz. chocolate, chopped or grated
  • Whipped cream
  • Cinnamon sticks
Directions:
  1. Heat half-and-half in a saucepan over low heat. Add chopped chocolate and stir until smooth. Fill coffee cups half full with coffee and half with chocolate mixture. Stir. Top with Whipped cream and Cinnamon stick.

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Easy for you! Seafood: Salmon

Easy for you! Seafood: Salmon

Created by: Elisabeth McKnight, Bella the Blog

Salmon is my all-time favorite food. My to-do list whenever we go and visit Ben's parents in California involves two things: salmon and beach (in that order).

But at home, when I try and cook it, I have failed pretty miserably. Remember this post from last year and our little friendsgiving? Well the seasoning on the salmon was good but the fish itself was dried out and dreadful.

 

So, when I found out Kroger has a new Easy for you! Seafood option in store, I was excited to give it a try (it HAS to be better than my attempts, right?). Right at the seafood counter they seasoned my filets at no extra cost. I opted for the Captain’s Pick (their recommendation) with the Atlantic salmon, which included a bourbon glaze with butter and a lemon garnish. The fish was put in a special foil bag with cooking directions. All I had to do when I got home was poke a hole in the bag, follow the directions, and enjoy the salmon. It was the best thing I've made in a long time, and we've already had it for a second meal because I'm all about easy and delicious these days.

To go along with the salmon I worked on a new side dish, whipped cauliflower, and it was a hit! I boiled the cauliflower and then added it to the blender with some butter, Parmesan cheese and a bit of milk for a mashed-potato-like dish that counts as a vegetable. Just add a bit of parsley for garnish and it’s the perfect addition to a light seafood dinner.

If you live near a Kroger, let me know if you try out the Easy for you! Seafood and which seasonings you like the best!

Whipped Parmesan Cauliflower
A healthy alternative to mashed potatoes, this whipped cauliflower is light, delicious and a perfect complement to seafood. It's hard to remember that you're actually eating a vegetable.

EasySeafoodSideDishRecipeSalmon3

10 minutes | Prep time: 10 minutes | Serves: 3
Ingredients:
  • 1 full head cauliflower
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • Parsley, for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
EasySeafoodSideDishRecipeSalmon2
Directions:
  1. Boil the cauliflower on the stovetop for 10 minutes or until it's soft. Remove the cauliflower from the water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Puree the cauliflower, milk, butter and cheese in a food processor. Serve warm with a parsley garnish.
    EasySeafoodSideDishRecipeSalmon6

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Lightened Up Cream of Mushroom Soup

Lightened Up Cream of Mushroom Soup

This savory soup, made with fresh mushrooms, is a simple and delicious delight.

10 minutes | Prep time: 10 minutes | Serves: 3
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup carrots, finely chopped
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 6 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ tsp. thyme leaves, crushed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
  1. Cook potatoes in just enough water to cover them until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Sauté carrots, onions and garlic in butter until tender. Add mushrooms and sauté until pale gold. Stir in sherry; cook 1 minute longer.
  3. Remove ½ cup mushroom mixture; set aside.
  4. In a food processor, puree remaining mushroom mixture until smooth. Pour back into pot.
  5. Add evaporated milk, diced potatoes, chicken broth, thyme, salt, pepper and reserved mushroom mixture; simmer until heated through and flavors blend, 10-15 minutes.
  6. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

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Mushroom and Green Lentil Soup

Mushroom and Green Lentil Soup

This simple soup is a healthy and delicious way warm up this winter.

10 minutes | Prep time: 10 minutes | Serves: 3
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of green lentils
  • 2 quarts of organic vegetable broth
  • 3 portabella mushrooms caps chopped
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
Directions:
  1. Rinse the lentils under cold water until the water runs clear.
  2. Boil the lentils in 1 quart of broth and cook until they have absorbed the broth and become tender.
  3. Add olive oil to a pan and cook down the mushrooms and onion until tender.
  4. Add the cooked mushrooms and onion to a food processor and pulse until fine.
  5. Transfer the mushroom mix to the pot of lentils.
  6. Add the other quart of vegetable broth, salt, pepper and garlic powder and bring to a boil.
  7. Stir and serve.

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Old School Beef Stew

Old School Beef Stew

This classic combination of hearty beef, potatoes, carrots, onion and celery makes for a crowd-pleasing dinner that’s just as delicious as leftovers the next day!

Ingredients:
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1½” chunks
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 lbs. stew beef
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 can (10.5 oz.) beef broth
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Italian flat leaf parsley, for garnish
Directions:
  1. Place vegetables in the bottom of a slow cooker. Add the meat on top, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and flour. Combine the beef broth and tomato sauce; pour over all. Cover and cook on LOW for about 8 hours or 4 hours on HIGH.

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Sausage-Pepperoni Skillet Pasta

Sausage-Pepperoni Skillet Pasta

Created by: Cathy Pollack, Noble Pig

Winter weather keeps me hunkered down in the house. The daylight is short-lived, but nonetheless I am busy as always. By the time daily activities are winding down and it's time to get dinner on the table, I am often looking for a quick and easy meal solution – especially one that will not keep me at the sink washing dishes after we have finished eating. Just knowing I won't have to scrub loads of pots and pans brightens my mood at dinner. And it also means I will be in my pajamas sooner than I expected!

Just like your family, mine loves pizza. I know if I take those flavors and incorporate them into a pasta dish, the husband and kids will gobble it down without any complaints. A meal like this also works great when sports practices and other events are scheduled in the evening. I have even scooped portions of this pasta dish into handy to-go containers, and the kids have eaten it on the run.

Comfort food is key during the winter months, especially when it can be made as simply as this dish. I have a feeling you are going to serve this pasta many times this season. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • 1¾ cups (about 6 oz.) fully-cooked Italian sausage (diced or crumbled)
  • 1 cup mini pepperoni, plus more for topping
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) petite-cut diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups Private Selection™ Penne Pasta
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
Directions:
  1. In a 12” skillet over medium heat, sauté onion in oil until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add sausage, browning the edges (I use fully-cooked sausage).
  3. Add pepperoni, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, pasta, chicken broth and Italian seasoning.
  4. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  5. Top with cheese and extra pepperoni. Place the lid over the skillet until the cheese melts.
  6. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Serve immediately.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

A winning combination of Mexican flavors will make this a favorite! Don't forget the squeeze of lime.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. chicken, cubed
  • 1 can (15 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz.) enchilada sauce
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can (4 oz.) green chili peppers, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) chicken broth
  • 1 package (10 oz.) frozen corn
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Directions:
  1. Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water, chicken broth and corn. Season with cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 6 hours or on HIGH setting for 3 hours.
  2. Crush tortilla chips in serving bowl; ladle soup over the top. Serve with a squeeze of lime, avocado, cheese and cilantro.

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Slow Cooker Pork and Vegetable Stew

Slow Cooker Pork and Vegetable Stew

This stick-to-your-ribs recipe blends juicy pork with yellow and red bell peppers.

Ingredients:
  • 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 3 lbs. boneless pork loin roast, trimmed and cubed into 1" pieces
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Sour cream, for topping
  • ½ cup green onion, chopped
Directions:
  1. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add pork and cook until browned. Remove from heat and add to slow cooker. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil in same pot and add onions and garlic. Sauté about 6 minutes, until softened. Add to slow cooker. Add tomatoes, pinto and black beans, red and yellow bell pepper, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook on high setting for 3-4 hours.
  2. Serve topped with sour cream and green onions.

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Vegetable Beef Barley Soup

Vegetable Beef Barley Soup

This hearty, kid-friendly soup is a delicious cold weather comfort food.

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¾ lb. beef stew meat, cut into chunks
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into ½" chunks
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • ½ cup pearl barley
Directions:
  1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add stew meat, salt and pepper. Brown for about 3 minutes. Add onions, carrots, celery, green pepper and potatoes. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add broth, tomato juice and oregano. Stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and add barley. Simmer for 1 hour. Serve.

View Party Plan: Cold Weather Favorites

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