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Healthy Easy Meals for Winter Holidays - Cold Weather Recipes

Updated on November 23, 2014
Half-eaten bowl of chili with crackers and sour cream
Half-eaten bowl of chili with crackers and sour cream | Source

Recipe Ideas for Winter

What kinds of foods come to mind when you think of winter? Hot soups and chili are some of my favorites. Making them is generally easy, and a piping hot pot of one of these can feed a lot of people.

Being busy with holiday preparations, who wants to spend time cooking and cleaning? Yet everyone has to eat. Here are a number of recipe ideas that are quick to prepare, with quantities that are easy to double, if you need to. If you have a small family, you will even have some leftovers for the next meal. These cold weather recipes will save you time during the busy holiday season as well as warm you up all winter long.

simmering pot of chili
simmering pot of chili | Source

Chili Recipes for Cold Weather

A big pot of chili is always a great winter dish. Chili can be really easy to make, is filling, and can easily feed a hungry crowd. There are basic chili recipes plus more complicated ones, with few to many ingredients and a variety of spices. I'll list an easy, basic chili recipe that is quickly made and yummy, too!

With whatever chili recipe you decide upon, you might consider adding vegetables, such as spinach or bell peppers for added nutrition. For the skeptics, you will be glad to know that the spinach cooks up so that you can hardly tell it's there. I've also seen this done with spaghetti sauce. Working in some spinach is a great way to get in some extra nutrition.

You can also add more vegetables to this meal by serving fresh vegetables on the side.

Instructions for Chili

  1. Brown beef and onions. Drain.
  2. Stir in tomato products.
  3. Open up one or two cans of beans, depending on your preference. Add those into the mixture.
  4. Add chili packet and stir in.
  5. Let chili simmer on low until ready to serve.

Ingredients for Easy Chili

  • 1 pound ground beef, turkey, or venision
  • 1 or 2 cans chili beans, kidney beans, pinto or black beans, (or a mixture!)
  • 1 can or 1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 chili packet
  • water, add to desired thickness
Great comfort food: Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich
Great comfort food: Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich | Source

Hot Soups and Stews Recipes

Hot soups and stews are excellent comfort foods when the weather is cool. Look for healthy canned soups or make your own if you have time. Here are some delightful soups and possible side items:

  • creamy tomato soup paired with a grilled cheese sandwich
  • vegetable soup with crackers or sandwich of your choice (ham & cheese is always good!)
  • potato soup with cornbread and fresh sliced carrots and celery

You could branch out and try a simple cauliflower soup served with a sandwich or fresh veggies on the side.

One of my favorites is taco soup, a recipe that makes a huge pot that will feed a crowd. This dish can be made on the stove or in the slow cooker.

Another option is a chunky stew. Just throw in chunks of beef or chicken in the crock pot and add some vegetables. Pour in a little water and thicken with flour or cornstarch.

Any of these options are great in the winter to combat the cold. These recipes are easy to make in bulk to feed hungry kids and guests that drop in with season's greetings.

You could use canned beans in a pinch, but beans made from scratch are healthier.
You could use canned beans in a pinch, but beans made from scratch are healthier. | Source

Beans for Warm and Easy Meals

Beans are not only easy and healthy, but they are also cheap. Spend your money on parties and Christmas presents, not on your daily meals. For a small family, a large pot of beans will last for a few meals. You can make them on the stove, but you have to keep an eye on them and add water now and then to keep them from burning.

A better option for cooking beans is to cook them in your slow cooker. Many cooks soak their beans overnight, but I usually don't plan far enough ahead. Put in desired amount in crock pot along with ham or other meat, if desired. You can add onions, salt and pepper, and then cover with water. Cook on low for about 8 hours, and then check on them for tenderness.

Choose from an assortment of beans: Pinto, navy, northern, red, or black beans are favorites. You can also cook kidney beans or black eyed peas. Serve over rice with salsa if you wish. Add a side salad or green vegetable such as spinach or other greens.

Beans are easy to make, low-fat and healthy. They are a tasty, warm meal for winter.

Loaded taco
Loaded taco | Source
Awesome loaded baked potato
Awesome loaded baked potato | Source

Easy Food Buffet Bars

A food buffet is an excellent option. Although the preparation takes a little time with putting out all the different ingredients, it is worth the effort. These suggested food bars make a lot of food, and everyone can just help themselves

Set out a taco bar with ground beef, refried beans, tomatoes, lettuce, other vegetable options,and several toppings.

For the potato bar, potatoes can be topped with chili or a number of vegetables. Broccoli, onions, tomatoes, and celery are a few of the vegetables that can be loaded onto a baked potato. Add choice of cheese, sour cream, chives, or other herbs.

Even hot dogs can be dressed up. Sure, the ole frankfurter isn't the healthiest of meals, but it can be loaded up with tomatoes and onions. Compare packaging, as you can get a bit more nutrition out of a turkey dog, if the family likes them. Loaded hot dogs are one of the easier things to put together when you're in a hurry.

What do you think about these winter meal ideas?

5 stars from 6 ratings of Healthy Easy Meals for Winter Holidays

Stress-Reducing Meals!

Wintertime is the perfect time for making big pots of steaming hot soups, stews, chilis, and beans. These foods can, for the most part, be made fairly quickly. They can be loaded with healthy ingredients and can feed a bunch of folks.

The winter holidays are busy times, with decorating, shopping, and visiting with family and friends. You can make the holiday season a little bit less stressful by making some easy meals to help get you through the hectic holidays.

Some of the recipe ideas in this article are dishes that I enjoy all year long but especially throughout the winter months. Perhaps you have some favorite winter meals that you would like to share in the comment section.


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