There’s no better time than winter to enjoy comfort food

As winter saunters along, I have learned to appreciate the beauty of the prairie landscape. Those cool winter mornings make for the most colourful sunrises over the sparkling snow. As the light shines through the windows, I appreciate the warm confines of my chair, curled up in a cozy blanket and the taste of my first morning coffee.

I love to add a sweet warm bread to my morning routine. Include a bowl of high protein yogurt and a few pieces of fruit on the side, and breakfast is served.

Apple cranberry bread

As well as being a comfort food, this loaf is a great way to use up apples that are overripe, and all the frozen cranberries that are in the freezer.

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c. sugar 175 mL
  • 2 tbsp. oil 30 mL
  • 1 1⁄2 c. flour 375 mL
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. baking powder 7 mL
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 5 mL
  • 1⁄2 tsp. baking soda 2 mL
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 2 c. peeled, cored and chopped apples (about3 apples) 500 mL
  • 1 c. fresh cranberries (or frozen, chopped or whole) 250 mL
  • 1⁄2 c. finely chopped walnuts or pecans 125 mL

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and oil.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

Add the flour mix to the egg mixture with a large spoon just until combined (batter will be thick).

Stir in apples, cranberries and walnuts.

Pour into a prepared loaf pan.

Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted near centre comes out clean. Cool, slice and enjoy. Source: www.food.com

After the morning routine, I organize our menus for the day. I like to be stocked up in the event of bad weather and roads. I fill the freezer with meats, frozen vegetables and fruits. I am also more conscious of my pantry and items that will store well in the refrigerator.

Enjoy the following recipes that take advantage of frozen ingredients that can be all prepared in the oven at the same time.

This way of cooking allows me to spread more time in my cozy chair. And the aroma…

Chocolate chip cookies with flaky salt

In the winter, my daughter often passes the afternoon with baking. Her specialty is cookies, most often with chocolate.

This recipe is from the cookbook All the Sweet Things by Renee Kohlman. This publication is filled with recipes, stories and beautiful pictures. Check out her food blog called Sweetsugarbean, for more amazing food information.

These cookies are decadent and used up some of our dark chocolate from the holidays.

  • 1 c. unsalted butter 250 mL
  • 3 c. flour 750 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda 7 mL
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 1 1/4 c. packed brown sugar 300 mL
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 7 mL
  • 1 c. sugar 250 mL
  • 2 c. dark chocolate chunks 500 mL
  • flaky salt (or sea salt) for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 F (190).

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. The butter will froth and bubble and then turn golden. Stir. When it starts to brown and smell nutty, remove it from the heat. Let it cool.

Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. With a mixer, beat the liquid butter with the sugars on high speed for two minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in all the eggs at once on high speed for one minute then mix in the vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.

Stir in the chocolate chunks.

Chill the dough for 30 minutes if time permits to ensure a crispy edge with a soft centre.

Using a 1/4 c. ice cream scoop, drop mounds of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets three inches apart. Lightly flatten the tops a little with your hand and sprinkle with salt.

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes (Renée’s suggested times are seven to nine minutes for soft cookies and 10 to 11 minutes for crispy cookies). Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.

The cookies keep well in an airtight container for up to three days at room temperature. The cookie dough can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week, and frozen cookie dough balls can be kept in the freezer for up to one month. Source: All the Sweet Things by Renee Kohlman.

Mixed frozen fruit crisp

You will know from past columns that I love these types of desserts. Using frozen fruit makes this dish so simple, but delicious.

For the topping:

  • 1/2 c. flour 125 mL
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar 175 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 1/2 c. cold butter, cubed into small pieces 125 mL
  • 1 c. rolled oats 250 mL

For the filling:

  • 5 c. frozen berries and fruit of your choice (I like peaches, cherries, blueberries) 1.25 L
  • 1.2 c. granulated sugar 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour 60 mL

Preheat oven to 350 F (180). Prepare a nine-inch round pie plate.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add in the cold pieces of butter and cut into the mixture with a pastry cutter (or two forks) until there are crumbles. Stir in the rolled oats and set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, add the berries, sugar and flour, and mix until all of the berries are well coated.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pie plate and spread it around into one even layer. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool. Source: adapted from www.livewellbakeoften.com/mixed-berry-crisp.

Quick and easy roast chicken from frozen

When you have not planned dinner and time is of essence, throw frozen chicken into the oven and enjoy a sweet and juicy protein entrée.

  • 2-6 frozen chicken breasts, 1 per person
  • 1 1⁄2 c. barbecue sauce, (this is a great way to use up the bottoms ofcontainers) 375 mL
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Grease the baking dish.

Line the bottom with sliced onions. Place frozen chicken breast in dish and pour the barbecue sauce over top.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, depending on how many chicken pieces are used. Source: www.food.com.

Now with this chicken, there are two options:

1. Do an oven-baked rice and a fresh green salad

Remember rice to water portion when roasting is 1:2, meaning that if you use one cup of rice then you add two cups of water. You can add a dollop of butter and a dash of salt to the mix for flavour, if desired. Adjust to servings that you need out of your dish. The rice will bake at 350 F for about one hour.

2. Do a vegetable roast dish

  • 6 potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 4 carrots, cut into pieces
  • 2 parsnips, cut into pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chopped dill greens or parsley 15 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper 1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. seasoning salt 1 mL
  • 1/4 c. water 60 mL
  • 1 tbsp. butter 15 mL

Note: it is important to cut the vegetables into similar-sized pieces so the roasting time is the same.

Spread sliced vegetables in a greased casserole or 9 x 13 inch (22 x 33 cm) pan. Sprinkle dill, parsley and seasonings over the top and dot with butter.

Cover and bake at 350 F (180 C) for 45 to 60 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Jodie Mirosovsky is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

About the author

Jodie Mirokovsky's recent articles

explore

Stories from our other publications