Winter Recipes

Even though we have been teased by the weather recently, it is still winter as the recent snowstorm reminded us. ’Tis the season of soups and stews; chopping and long-simmering. Maybe add a salad and some good bread for a complete meal.

But who has the time for that?

Here are some quick meals that will please many palates. They can all be made vegan with easy substitutions.

I’m sure you’re aware that we eat not only with our mouths but also with our eyes and noses. Close your eyes and you’d think you were eating the real thing.

Chickenless Chicken Salad (serves 3-4)
15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 stalk celery, diced
2 green onions, chopped
½ cup red or green grapes sliced.
2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise or more to taste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon dried dill or 1 tsp fresh, or to taste
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning (don’t leave this out)
1. In a medium bowl, slightly mash the chickpeas with a potato masher or fork. (Some chickpeas should still be mostly whole.)
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Use just like chicken salad.
This will keep for a few days.
Red grapes add a little pop of color. The small slices won’t overpower the rest of the ingredients.
Don’t like grapes? Try another fruit or leave them out although they add a nice texture to the salad.
Add some chopped red onion.

Looking for something warm ? Try this fast food twist on a traditional Jewish dish.

Southwestern Potato Kugel (serves 6-12)
2 boxes Manischewitz potato pancake mix
4 large eggs
3 teaspoons chili spice
16 ounces diced green chilies (2 cans drained)
16 ounces corn kernels, fresh or canned (drained)
30 ounces black beans (2 cans drained)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Combine the potato pancake mix, eggs, and 4½ cups of water in a large bowl.
3. Add drained chiles, corn, black beans and 1¼ cups cheese to mixture.
4. Grease bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish (glass if available) with 2 Tbs. oil.
5. Pour potato mixture into baking dish and drizzle 2 Tbs. of oil on top of mixture.
6. Bake for 30 minutes.
7. After 30 minutes sprinkle remaining cheese on kugel and bake an additional 15 minutes.
This can easily be made vegan by using vegan cheese.
Serve with fish sticks or baked fish.
If you make this ahead and reheat, you’ll know it’s hot if you stick a knife in the middle and the blade comes out hot.

Looking for a super simple soup? Try this streamlined version of a classic. You don’t need much besides a can opener, a pot and a spoon.

Black Bean Soup (serves 4)
1 15-ounce can refried black beans
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained
1 10-ounce can tomatoes with green chiles, such as Rotel
3-4 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
Salt to taste
1-2 tablespoons lime juice or red wine vinegar
1. Combine beans, tomatoes and stock. Whisk until smooth. Heat to simmering.
2. Add seasonings.
3. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in lime juice at the end.
A hearty dash of chile lime seasoning perks this up.
Add frozen, canned or fresh corn kernels to the soup.
Top with salsa, sour cream, avocado, tortilla chips, sliced green onion or even feta cheese.

Every meal needs dessert- and fresh fruit counts. Here’s a new way to use pineapple which has been particularly good lately.

Grilled pineapple
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup orange juice
1 teaspoon Chili powder
¼ teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon lime juice or more to taste
1. Peel the pineapple and cut lengthwise into 8 wedges. Remove the core. Put the wedges on a foil-lined baking sheet. Set aside.
2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves.
3. Carefully stir in orange juice, then chili powder, salt, pepper and cloves.
4. Bring to a simmer and cook until the mixture reduces to about ½ cup and thickens into a thin syrup.
5. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.
6. Let cool a few minutes and pour most of glaze over the pineapple, coating all sides. Reserve rest of glaze for basting.
7. Grease a grill pan with butter or cooking spray. Heat over medium. Grill about 3 minutes per side or until soft with grill marks.
You can slice the pineapple in rounds if you prefer.
No grill pan? Bake or broil for a few minutes.
This is great on the grill.
Serve with vanilla or coconut ice cream, dairy or non-dairy.
Shortcut: Brush with some butter or margarine; sprinkle on seasonings- cinnamon is nice, too – and some orange juice or zest and bake or broil until warm.


image: “Three Snow Frosted Trees in Black and White” by Striking Photography by Bo Insogna is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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