Warming Winter Meals For Those Not Fattening Up To Hibernate

johnliu_gwNovember 13, 2012

When the days grow short and cold, the sky gray and dripping, the nights bitter and dark, our thoughts turn to warming, comforting winter dishes.

At least, chez moi they do. Out come the cream sauces on fat pasta, slow-cooked meats in glossy reductions, thick spoon-standing chowders, crusty (gluten-free) meat pies, buttery mashed potatoes and sweet roasted yams.

I don't have a hard and fast definition for a warming winter meal, but I think that, like pornography, we'd all know it if we see it. And eat it.

And, trotting close after, out comes the pooch. Not a cute little puppy like those barnmom keeps showing us. Pooch as in fold, flab, poofy, puffy, and belly.

Here we are, not even officially in winter, still weeks from Thanksgiving, and I'm already getting padded up and ready for hibernation. Grump.

I'm reverting back to packing my lunches of fresh fruit, egg whites, lean meat, pickled beets and raw fish. Going to the gym for indoor spinning classes. Will start lifting weights again, if I can find a small enough dumbbell, like a paper weight - yeah, its been awhile.

But at home, for dinner, I still want to make proper winter meals. My poor family shouldn't have to eat air every night just because daddy is the Michelin Man.

Here, then, is my question. Can you please suggest a traditional - or non-traditional - "warming winter meal" that is also low calorie and dietetic? It needn't be a standard American type meal, I'm down with skinny world cuisine. Gluten-free would be very helpful too.

I'm hoping that if we all come up with one or two such dishes, then I'll be able to click open this thread over and over, and eat from it all winter, or at least for the next minus ten pounds of winter. You all can eat from it too, I'll share!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For me, winter is the time to cook some warm tasty curries. My first of this year was Kashmiri Rogan Josh. Traditionally, rogan josh uses lamb, but I had stewing beef on hand so I used that instead. It was sooooo yummy! The recipe I used was much like this one:

TOTAL TIME:1 hr 30 min
Prep:30 min
Inactive Prep:--
Cook:1 hr 0 min
YIELD:6 servings

* 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 7 black peppercorns, left whole
* 3 black cardamom pods, left whole*
* 5 green cardamom pods, left whole*
* 4 whole cloves
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 1 piece mace
* 1 onion, finely chopped
* 1 (1 1/2-pound) leg of lamb or mutton, bone intact, cut into pieces
* 6 garlic cloves, peeled, left whole
* 1 (3/4-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut in half
* Water, as needed

* 2 teaspoons ground coriander
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon red chile powder
* 2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds
* 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
* 2 tomatoes, blended to a pulp in a food processor
* 3 tablespoons plain yogurt [I used more like a cup of yogurt, fewer tomatoes, and no water, but had plenty of sauce - lots of moisture came out of my meat]
* Kosher salt
* Boiling water, as needed
* Handful chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
* *Can be found at specialty Asian markets.

A Kashmiri classic, Rogan josh, is a hearty lamb stew that is packed with flavour.
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the black peppercorns, black and green cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon, and mace, and fry for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the spices are sizzling and fragrant.

Add the chopped onion, and fry for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring regularly, or until golden brown. Add the lamb pieces, and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring continually, until the lamb pieces are golden brown all over.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend the garlic cloves, and ginger, with 1 tablespoon of water to a fine paste. Add the garlic and ginger paste to the lamb mixture, stir well to combine, and then reduce the heat, and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the ground coriander, cumin, red chile powder, fennel seeds, garam masala, tomato pulp, yogurt, and salt, to taste. Cover the pan with a lid, and then reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the sauce has almost completely dried out.

Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of boiling water to the sauce, stir well and simmer for a further 7 to 8 minutes, stirring continually and adding splashes of water as necessary, until the volume of liquid has reduced and the sauce has thickened.

Add enough boiling water to almost cover the lamb, and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the lamb is cooked through. [I simmered mine for several hours until the sauce had thickened, and the beef was meltingly tender]

Stir in the chopped fresh cilantro just before serving.
Cook's Note:
If you're worried about biting on whole spices, you can leave them out of this dish. Fry the spices first, and then fish them out with a slotted spoon, tie them in a muslin pouch and add it back to the simmering curry. The spice pouch will continue adding flavor. Do try the dish and add extra garam masala powder at the end if you feel it needs it.


This is an everyday meatless curry of black beluga lentils:


Prep time: 10 min : Cooking time: 30 min : Serves: 4
Special Cooking Equipment: Pressure Cooker

1/2 cup whole black lentils and a handful of dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium-sized tomato, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (I grind a cubic inch of peeled ginger with equal amount of garlic, plus a little water, in a mini-chopper)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp red chili powder
2 tbsp milk (or cream)
1 tbsp butter
2-3 cloves of garlic
fresh coriander leaves, chopped for garnish
water, as needed
salt, to taste

HEAT oil in a pressure cooker and saute onions till lightly browned. Stir in salt, chilli powder, ginger-garlic paste, and tomato paste and fry for a few seconds.

ADD in the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes to combine well. Add lentils and beans, and barely enough water to cover them. Pressure cook for 15-20 minutes till lentils are soft and done. Stir in milk and let it come to a boil.

IN a separate pan, make a tempering by heating butter and whole garlic cloves slit in the middle. Stir the tempering into the lentils and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

SERVE warm with soft, fluffy naans, or rice.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 12:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ah, John. You're just thinking incorrectly. That slow roasted meat doesn't have to be enormously fattening, my favorite pork loin recipe is from Eating Well and has apple cider, herbs, it's wonderful and only 200 calories for a 4 ounce serving. Also low carb and only 6 grams of fat!


3 cups apple cider
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup salt
1 tbls black peppercorns
1 tbls coriander seeds
1 2 lb. Pork loin, trimmed
2 cups cider
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh sage
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until salt dissolves. Remove from heat, cool, and pour into a Ziploc bag or container big enough to hold the pork loin. Add pork, seal and let marinate 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350, bring 2 cups cider to a boil over medium high heat. Boil until cider is thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 15 minutes. Set aside. Remove pork from bag or container and discard brine. Place pork on broiler pan or baking dish and lightly coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining herbs and bake about 1 hour, until pork is done, basting twice with the reduced cider in the last 20 minutes of baking. Remove from oven, baste with remaining cider reduction. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Serves 8

200 calories per 4 oz. Serving, 6 grams fat

Add veggies of your choice, I lean toward oven roasted winter vegetables with apples or a baked sweet potato with salt and pepper.

Vegetarian chili is really very good, low fat, low cal and healthy. I've also ground my own chicken, so I add that in place of beef sometimes, although my grass fed ground beef has approximately the same fat content as chicken.

I use Alton Brown's breakfast sausage seasoning recipe and make sausage with ground chicken. I grind my own and so can remove all skin, etc.

Soups are actually a very healthy alternative as long as you stay away from cream and cheese. Thick stews and vegetable soups can be simmed and some of the vegetables mashed for thickeners instead of creams, fats and flour.

Don't overlook eggs, they're cheap, readily avilable and 80 calories each, a great source of protein. elery likes them hardboiled, he gives the yolks to Cooper and eats the whites with the indentations filled with salsa. Beans, peas and lentils are also filling, cheap, nutritious and a good source of protein.

gluten free? I'm still working on it. I can make it gluten free or I can make it low calories but I seldom can make it both!


    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 12:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am cracking up...we were just talking about how we'd shifted from salads and grilled vegies to pasta with cream sauces and meat with gravy.

It snowed yesterday, so it was soup and bread. I had a roasted butternut squash so I threw together a pretty decent (I guess it's a) bisque. DH said I needed to write it down so I could make it again, but you know how soup is...it'll be different next time. We used creamed corn we froze this summer. I heated up leftovers for lunch at work today and thinned it with a little 1/2 & 1/2. Less healthy, but....mmmmm.....

Butternut and Corn Bisque

1 onion, chopped
4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2-3 c. chicken broth
1 roasted butternut squash, cubed
a handful of sundried tomatoes
1 - 1 1/2 tsp. ea. sage and thyme
a couple of shakes of cinnamon and cayenne
2 c. corn, divided

Saute onion, garlic cloves and celery. Add everything but 1 c. corn and simmer until vegies are tender. Hit it with a stick blender, adding more stock if necessary. Add remaining corn and heat. Top with a little sour cream.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 12:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think I've posted this before, but I make a "meat" loaf or meatball recipe with ground white meat turkey (I buy organic) made even more low cal, lean and moist by cutting it with a large amount of chopped fresh mushrooms (even mushroom haters won't know they are there). I don't have a recipe but it's approx:

1lb ground white turkey
2 c (or more) finely chopped (I use food processor) fresh mushrooms - white button or crimini, measure after chopping
2 egg whites or more if you want
some kind of binder, I use ww bread crumbs, but choose your gluten free option...if oatmeal, grind it fine first.
a tiny bit of milk (soy is fine) to moisten the binder
1/2 finely chopped onion (more to taste)
fresh minced garlic (optional)
1-2 tsp poultry seasoning or herbs of choice
2 tsp beef flavored better than bouillon concentrate
fresh ground pepper (there's plenty of salt in the buillon.

Mix well (I mix everything but the turkey lightly in the food processor - it looks gross and sloppy) then stir in turkey so it doesn't get too finely chopped. Combine really well.

Mixture will be very moist. Pat into loaf pan or form into meatballs and brown (they are delicate to turn). Bake at 350 for ??? 45 min or so. If meatballs, I brown, then add a bit of broth or water and a tiny bit more better than buillon. Simmer for 1/2 hour or so, covered.

It's really traditional tasting winter comfort food and very low carb/cal. Easy to double the amount.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 12:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ahhhhhh. You need a Hotpot. Staple food for those living in the cold north od England!
1 lamb steak per person all visible fat removed.
A large firm potato per person
A large carrot or two perperson
Chicken or lamb stock
Parsley, choppedt
Tomato paste

This is really simple and tasty.
Lightly brown the meat in low cal spray and put in a casserole dish.
Mix in sliced carrots, lots of parsley, enough stock to nearly cover the meat. Add a good spoon of tomato paste. Then top with thinly sliced potato. Bake covered fr abou 40 mins, then uncover and cook til golden.

Another that is really fast food : sticky chicken.
Mix equal quantities balsamic vinegar, honey and soy. Add some garlic and diced chicken. Boil thismess up until the sauce goes thick and sticky. Serve. Serve with plain rice. Surprisingly good.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 3:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I forgot to say add finely sliced onions and garlic too.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 4:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Seasonal eating was more common years ago, but these days, so many more foods are available year round. I can still remember when I saw my first watermelon in the store in the middle of winter. I thought, that's just not right. Why would anyone want a food nature designed for cooling and hydrating in the middle of a cold winter?

Nature has provided us with all kinds of warming foods to use during those cold days of late fall and winter:

-peanuts, nuts and seeds (such as pumpkin and sesame)
-warming spices: cinnamon, cloves, ginger and pepper
-honey is the warming sweetener (hot milk, honey and ginger)
-whole grains like barley, oats, buckwheat

According to the Macrobiotic dietary recommendations (which I followed a number of years ago), "seasonal cooking will help you stay attuned to the order of the universe, becoming stronger and more resistant to disease." The old YIN and YANG. Yin energy creates growth in a hot climate including foods containing more water, and foods with growth high above the ground. Hot, aromatic foods. Yang energy creates growth in a cold climate. Foods which are more dry, stems, roots and seeds. Growth is below the ground. Salty and sour foods. We avoided cooling foods like cold drinks, cucumbers and melons, and frozen desserts during cold weather and consumed warming foods instead. As the seasons changed, so did our diet and menu choices.

Buckwheat pancakes are saved for the coldest days of winter at our house.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 5:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This vegetable stew always makes me feel more healthy just eating it! I treat it as a one dish meal served over a grain.

Mixed Vegetable Curry

2-3 TB oil
1 onion, sliced
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. chile powder
2 t. ground coriander
1 t. tumeric
8 oz. potatoes, small cubes
6 oz. cauliflower florets
4 oz. green beans
6 oz. carrots, small cubes
4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped or 1 15oz. can
1 1/4 cups hot vegetable broth
fried onion rings, opt. garnish

Heat oil in large saucepan, add onion and saute 5 minutes. Stir in spices, cook 2 minutes. Add veggies, stir well in the spices. Add tomatoes and broth, cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until all veg. are tender. Serve hot over rice, barley, quinoa, or couscous. Garnish each serving with fried onion rings.

You can also add zucchini to the vegetable mix.

That is "chile" powder, or straight ground chile such as cayenne or New Mexico chile - not chili powder. You can make this dish as hot or not as you wish.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 7:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Cioppino for heavans sake! That's what folks on your side of Turtle Island invented to stay warm! And other soups of course. It is actually easy to make filling, warming ones that are low fat and calorie. Just use lofat cuts of meat and lots of vegetables and hold the oils and dairy! Also rice and barley are great in soups for gluten free! We love to make turkey soup with barley with the carcass leftover from Thanksgiving. I even make a chili with cornmeal dumplings but probably too carby for your taste since it is vegetarian and full of beans.

Here's my favorite warming healthy soup. Gonna make some soon since I have all the ingredients.

Chicken Stew with Kale

3 bonless chicken breasts (or whatver you want to use to make the stew/broth)
5 med. potatoes (I only use 4 potatoes, you can use a mix of colors, and you can sub other veggies for this like corn or green beans or cauliflower, yellow squash, barley, mushrooms . . . just don't use something bitter like eggplant or peppers or tomatoes)
1 tsp. fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
4 TBLSP olive oil (or less if you don't want to roast the meat and veggies first. It is not necessary but does add great flavor and depth to the soup)
Kosher salt
2 TBLSP olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped
1 large shallot, minced (I never have these!)
2 large carrots peeled and diced
6 cups chicken stock
2 springs fresh thyme or another pinch of dried thyme
2 TBLSP of finely grated Parmesean cheese (you can leave this out)
5 cups chopped kale
15 oz. can canelenni beans
salt and pepper to taste

Rub the chicken and potatoes with EVOO and salt, pepper and thyme. You can also toss in other veggies in place of the potatoes like celery, summer squash or zuchinni, cauliflower, carrots, all these do well roasted.
Roast at 350 degrees for 30-40 min. until everything is tender. Set aside to cool. When the chicken and veggies are cool, shred and cut them up into bite sized pieces for the soup.
Warm the EVOO (2 TBLSP or less) in a pan and add the onion, shallot and carrots if you are not roasting them, also mushrooms if you're using them. After onions are browned, add the chicken stock, the reserved vegetables and chicken, the addtional thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then simmer and add the chopped kale and beans, (and barley too if you're using instead of potatoes). Simmer for 20 min. or until the kale is cooked tender.
Serve topped with parmesean cheese, or if you're really into no dairy, I dunno, maybe some crumbled bacon?? Both are processed foods so I don't know what else to suggest. Is fine without them, but if I was going to leave out the cheese and bacon, I'd add a dash of sharp paprika or aleppo pepper or cayenne to the soup seasonings.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 8:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sometimes I can overcome the magnetic attraction of mac & cheese, pot roast with gravy and chicken alfredo with a pot of broccoli soup. It is surprisingly thick and creamy without having a week's worth of calories per serving.

Ded's Broccoli Soup

1 large bunch of broccoli
2-3 T butter (depending on how much you weighed that morning)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
4 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of milk (whatever fatness you desire, but at least 2%)
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 small lemon, thinly sliced

Cut off flowerets and cook until tender, but a little crunchy, unless you prefer droopy broccoli and then you can boil it to paleness. Drain, set aside. Peel and dice the stalks.

Heat butter in heavy saucepan. Add broccoli stalks, onion and garlic. Cook slowly, stir often, about 10 minutes. Add potato and broth. Bring to boil and simmer until potato is tender (15-ish minutes). Puree in blender until smooth.

Return to pot and add milk, salt, pepper, flowerets. Heat through. Garnish with lemon slices.

Do not serve with a nice crusty bread and butter.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here in Texas, the first cool snap of the year brings longings for chili. I use meat substitute, being vegetarian, but you could use a lean cut of beef or poultry, I imagine. I don't follow a recipe, I just add spices to taste. I'll try to write a recipe, but I really don't know the amounts. Here's the ingredients I usually use, though.

Cumin seeds
2 tablespoons Olive oilChile Powder
Rotel Chile Fixins (Okay, it's canned but I really like the stuff.)
Additional can of tomatoes, size depends on how much I'm making.
Black beans, if I want beans in it
1 onion, chopped
2 or 3 cloves garlic, chopped
Oregano, fresh or dried. I'll use Mexican Oregano if I have some on hand

Toast the cumin seeds in the pan, then grind them with a mortar and pestle, or in a spice grinder.

Heat the oil in a pan, add the cumin and chile powder, and dried oregano if using. If using fresh, wait till later to add. Saute the onions in the oil till translucent, then add the garlic and saute for a minute.
Add the meat or meat substitute, cooking until brown. Drain the fat if necessary. Add the tomatoes and Rotel, and let simmer until you can't wait any longer.

This is a weeknight quick recipe. I'm sure there are chili heads out there that would be appalled at me recipe, but I don't care. It's quick and tasty anough for me.

I like to serve it with cornbread, which is not low calorie, but crackers can suffice.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Traditional recipes almost always have ingredients that can be substituted or even eliminated. Added flavor, like a paste/puree of roasted garlic with olive oil and spinach, can go a long way toward replacing creamy and oily ingredients like mayo and heavy cream.

Fat = flavor, and is easy to substitute for other flavorful entities. And it's easy to sneak extra nutrition into foods. Pureed spinach is my favorite way to do this. Any savory dish that has "green herby bits" is a good candidate.

Whatever sauce you were going to put on pasta, put it on rice or mixed veggies.

Use applesauce instead of oil to make brownies.

Rub that turkey with olive oil instead of butter.

Make creamy soup with skim and add a little powdered milk if it's too thin.

Make meatloaf on the turkey roaster, so the grease can drip out, and put some oats or spinach or wheat germ in it.

Mac & cheese is an easy one, just don't put butter in it. Use a little olive oil instead and nobody notices the difference.

Turkey bacon is a great substitute in some recipes where bacon isn't the star of the show. Like German potato salad, or a loaded baked potato. But don't try to pass off turkey BLT's as the real thing.

There are so many ways to replace calories with healthier ingredients.

Gravy is perfectly delicious made with just broth instead of grease from the drip pan. If it's too bland or light-colored for you, add some herbs or a little Worcestershire sauce or wine.

I've been doing this for 20 years, when I got pregnant with my first child, remove the ingredient that's causing the calorie count to be too high, and replace with something healthy and tasty and of a similar texture. I've got 2 healthy kids and I still have many wardrobe items from high school. Take a look at the ingredients of the foods you like but think have too many calories and change it. I've found very few foods that can't be altered like this with no change in flavor or texture.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As other have said, soup is a great way to warm up without adding pounds. I find I want something warm, not filling, when it's cold outside. Even if you have something else for a main, a small bowl of soup first will take the edge off your appetite.

If that fails, take up x-country skiing. You'll burn it off PDQ.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One of the most important choices when trying to keep to a low fat low calorie diet is PORTION CONTROL. If you make the portions smaller, you eat fewer calories. Keep a food diary, there are some great ones online and they have huge databases of foods.

Measure your portions. Eat half a cup instead of a whole cup of whatever it is.

Be careful with cheese - it's so high in fat, cholesterol, etc, and paired with eggs or meat, it's just adding insult to injury. Mac & Cheese is to be eaten in very small quantities - consider it a garnish!!

Use veggie crumbles instead of ground beef. We use Quorn naked cutlets in place of chicken, and veggie burgers more often than real burgers.

My DD has made some wonderful cakes substituting applesauce for oil and Egg Beaters for eggs. The cakes are much lighter and still taste wonderful and have NO FAT.

Annie's Apple cake made with applesauce and Egg Beaters is still great.

As much as possible, we use Egg Beaters for whole eggs in recipes. If eggs are essential, many times we can split between whole eggs and egg whites. You can buy powdered egg whites if you need to whip them.

Sugar sweetened drinks, beer and wine, add a lot of empty calories.

Use hamburger rolls instead of 2 slices of bread for sandwiches. Fewer calories.

Use pickles and mustard on sandwiches, more taste, no fat.

Chopped vegetable salad
chopped tomatoes - about 1 small roma tomato per person
chopped cukes - 1 large
chopped peppers - red, orange, yellow, purple (not green - too bitter)
chopped onions - optional
Crumbled low fat or fat free feta cheese (about 2 T per serving)

Mix together, add favorite dressing. We like Brianna's Blush wine dressing. We eat it with pita bread.

American Chop Suey
1/2 box elbow macaroni - or your favorite shape, cooked
1 onion chopped and sauteed till soft
1 jar favorite spaghetti sauce or seasoned tomato sauce
1 bag veggie crumbles

Cook noodles and return to pot, add sauce, crumbles, onions. Heat through. Serve. Good with sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Enchilada Casser-ole

1 package veggie crumbles
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups salsa (I use Annie's Salsa, we make it every year)
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup reduced-fat Italian salad dressing
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium taco seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin - optional
3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

In a large skillet, onions over medium heat until soft, add veggie crumbles. Stir in the salsa, beans, dressing, taco seasoning and cumin. Pour mixture into baking dish, layer sour cream and cheese on top.
Cover and bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand for 5 minutes; top with tomato and cilantro.

Yield: 8 servings. About 198 calories, 19 grams carbs, 7 grams fat, 14 grams protein per serving.

NOTE: this recipe originally called for tortillas, but we like it better without the tortillas baked into the casserole. It would also make a great dip.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 11:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I like sipping on hot tea or bouillon pretty much all the time. It fill me up, feels toasty, and isn't high cal so I eat smaller portions of what I crave.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 11:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Waist-friendly warming winter meals for me include split-pea soup and senate bean soup. They are thick and hearty without a lot of fat.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 11:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There is one style of cooking that is specifically designed for winter cooking:

Chinese hot pot cooking is healthy, inexpensive, warms you body and heart, because there is no cooking for you to be stuck in the kitchen. Friends, family, fun ----.

You can get pre-made ingredients in a Korean or Chinese store. The butane stove also is inexpensive. Induction cook top works great also.


Here is a link that might be useful: Hot Pot

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 2:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Condiments are another area where calories can run rampant. Any creamy condiments you can part with or substitute, worth it. Raspberry vinaigrette instead of ranch is a change of at least half of the calories. I'd rather have unbuttered bread with dinner, that leaves room for a small piece of dessert - even steven.

Deprivation should be avoided, IMO. If you really want dessert, skip dinner. I do this once in a while. Obviously not as healthy, but why force down a meal when what you really want is 9-10 cookies?

Mac'n'cheese keeps getting bashed, but that's because people want some. So if it's going to show up, make it better (with fewer calories as mentioned above,) and add something - broccoli, Brussels sprouts, some onion, asparagus, carrots, cauliflower, ground turkey, shredded chicken, anything your crew will eat with cheese on it. Every bit of something more healthy going in is in place of a piece of pasta (which also is available in healthier choices.)

Anything you can make "scratchier" than from packages is almost certain to save calories. You have control over the individual ingredients and their proportions. (Plus you burn more calories working in the kitchen.)

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 2:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Islay, you're a recipe writer after my own heart. I like the looks of that British hot pot- I am often in the mood for shepherd's pie but making mashed potatoes first adds a lot of time and dirty dishes. Is that a standard 350 degree (er, 175 degree) oven?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 12:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jessica, i cook it at 180 c fan or 200c old oven!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 2:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well I don't know what kind of pornography you eat there johnliu, but.... back to food.

I was thinking the same as Annie. A good slab or pile of meat shavings doesn't have to be fattening if you're willing to forgo the cream sauces, sugar glazings, honey coatings and the like. Potatoes don't need to be overly fattening if you don't bury them in cheese, sour cream, etc. Other veggies don't have to be fattening if you don't bury with sugar, marshmallows, cheese, etc.

Comfort food? A BIG old plate full of bacon! (Without chocolate, marshmallows and honey glaze to keep it dietetic.)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 4:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

And I have a different opinion about weight loss plans Sugar is bad but fat is your friend. Starch is bad. Recent posters have outnumbered me. It's ok to bury a green veg in cheese, cream, butter but not a potato-.

Eat meats, proteins fat. Limited veggies and infrequent fruits. Its called low carb and it works. Off soapbox.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 3:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If low or no carb works for you fine. Eat warming broths filled with meat and a few veggies whatever you can eat. Cream of chicken soup. Plenty of those kinds of options here on this thread as well as recipes that can be adapted by leaving out any starchy ingredients.

As for me, I am mildly lactose intolerant so when I fill up on dairy products I get gas and mild indigestion and my respiratory tract fills up with mucus. When I eat a lot of meat I get a heavy groggy feeling, indigestion and if I eshew fruits and vegetables for long, a serious case of constipation and all that goes along with that!! All the "fibery" products that are supposed to help with that actually cause my irritable bowel syndrome to act up, since it is "sticky" fiber and not the rough fiber that helps soothe irritable bowel symptoms. So for me, "comfort" food is a big bowl of oatmeal with soy milk! Luckily I'm not allergic to soy, although I do stay away from the genetically modified versions. So far I have maintaned a healthy weight throughout my life, although I struggle at this point most likely due to inactivity. I eat a balanced diet, that is very low in processed foods, the carbs I do eat are balanced by protien and vegetable fiber. I don't totally eshew gluten, but I don't eat a lot of that either. So I find a bowl of chili that is full of good fiber and protein, along with a few baked corn chips on the side, to be comforting both mentally and physically.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 6:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

"Eat meats, proteins fat. Limited veggies and infrequent fruits. Its called low carb and it works."

This may be a way to lose weight, but I thought this thread was about eating well so this does not become necessary. Eating mostly fruits and veggies and eliminating unnecessary calories from other foods has accomplished that for me for decades. Size 3 jeans don't lie.

When I do want some sweetness in my food, I usually turn to honey or maple syrup instead of brown sugar, and fruits often offer more than enough sweet when added to some things. All sugars are not created equally, although I did have to eliminate most of them, along with starches, when I had gestational diabetes. That was tough!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 9:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For me, winter means more soups, glorious soups and stews, glorious stews. They can be made ahead and heated up for a meal in minutes.

Soups/stews are my favorite thing to cook and I have a repertoire of dozens of them. Here are a couple I particularly like.


2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (16 oz.) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbs. olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth, divided
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. dry sherry

Put oil, onion and garlic into a large pot. Cook on medium low heat until vegetables are soft but not browned.

Puree the beans and tomatoes with two cups of the broth. Add pureed ingredients, pumpkin, spices and other two cups of broth to the pot and stir to mix.

Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until soup is thickened, about 45 minutes. Stir in vinegar and sherry before serving.

Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds, if desired.


1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 medium carrots, halved and thinly sliced
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
2 cups defatted chicken broth
1 cup water
2 cups chopped cabbage
1/2 pound fully cooked smoked kielbasa, quartered and cut into 1/4 inch slices (can use turkey kielbasa, as in the photo)
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 can (15 ounces) white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
minced fresh parsley (optional)

In a 3-qt. Saucepan, saute onion and celery in oil and butter until almost tender. Add carrots, caraway seeds, broth, water, cabbage, sausage, tomatoes, and brown sugar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 35-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add beans, vinegar, salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley.
Yield: 6 servings.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 2:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ruthanna, that looks delicious.

My very wise old doctor told me that, absent health issues that require curtailing certain foods or groups, a person should eat a bit of everything, that's how our bodies are supposed to work. A glaring exception is sugar, our bodies do not need sugar, but that's one of the hardest things to let go.

I lost 80+ pounds eating anything I wanted but I only ate half of it. I was never hungry, never tired, never anemic. My blood pressure didn't go up or down, nor did my cholesterol levels or blood sugar or anything else. It was simple, it didn't require cooking one way for my girls and another way for myself.

Moderation is the key, really. No one needs 32 ounces of beef, or 2 tablespoons of butter on toast when a teaspoon will do the job.

Eat whatever your family is eating. (shrug) Fill up on the vegetables, lean meats, the stuff you already know is good for you. Stay away from the fatty meats and sauces in anything more than tiny amounts, no huge plates of pasta or slices of bread 2 inches thick. Reasonable portions of nearly everything and it's all good.

Move more and eat less, it always works. I even ate Oreos, but only one. If I really, really, really wanted a Maple Bun I could have one. However, I had to walk half a mile to the store to buy it and then walk home, and it was most often not worth it, so I learned to determine how badly I actually wanted something after all.

I've gained some back, Elery and I both really like to cook. I go up and down by about 10 pounds, I hit a certain number on the scale and then I cut back. If you check the What's For Dinner thread you'll see that I'm not starving by any stretch of imagination. Eat enough of everything to feel full, but learn to know when that is.

Oh, and I've found out they even have gluten free beer. You may have ONE.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 2:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bumblebeez SC Zone 7


    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 6:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

These are great ideas! I see things that I can start making this weekend. Assuming I can get the apron tied on. Strings might be too short, you know :-(

I'm going to an izakaya tasting tonight. Maybe I'll find some winter warming nibbles there too.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 6:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Annie Deighnaugh

My favorite fall time comfort food is mashed rutabaga...boil and mash with butter and a pinch of nutmeg...I've even had it instead of hot cereal for breakfast...low carbs and low calories.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 10:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The izakaya tasting was way too crowded. It would have been very fun otherwise. We ended up at a new Japanese restaurant that may become one of my haunts, based on this first sampling.

I learned that the following makes a pretty warming winter meal that isn't (too) fattening:
- miso soup
- black cod, marinated in sweet soy and yazu sauce, grilled
- yellowtail, marinated in teriyaki sauce, grilled and glazed
- warm sake

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 11:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh absolutely miso soup. Warming and oh so healthy. There are so many great broths with spices and accompaniments you can do. I have to watch my salt so I don't drink/eat broth as often as I could. There are so many ethnic takes on the great chicken broth soup! And beef broth too! Having a cup of brothy soup really fills you up without a lot of calories and carbs. Very comforting. I just don't make it that often, but if someone offered me a cup that they made, I would be extremely happy! You should become a Brothmeister John, your family will love you for it!!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 11:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Can your wife mange a little couscous?
Tagine of lamb, courgettes and peppers, perfumed with mint.
A chopped onion
4 garlic cloves chopped.
1 tsp cumin seeds, coriander seeds, dried mint
25g grated ginger
750g diced very lean lamb
2 courgettes sliced
1 red or green pepper, sliced
4 tomatoes skinned and chopped
Bunch flat parsley chopped
A lemon cut into wedges
S & p

With low cal cooking spray, cook onion, garlic, spices, herb and ginger.
Once the onion is soft, add the lamb. Add water to the level'of the lamb.
Cook gently fr about 1 1/2 hours.
Season, then add the courgettes, pepper and tomato. Add water if necessary.
Cover and cook for a further15 mins. Don't overcook the veg.
Sprinkle with the parsley.
Cook your couscous : 2 cups couscous, salt. Add 2 cups boiling water. No oil or butter!
Serve with lemon wedges. Bon apetit.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 3:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love a big cast iron pot full of Gigantes. A very lean and healthy dish. I follow Bobby Flay's recipe. We were in Greece this summer, and I was disappointed not to find them on a single menu anywhere.


1 pound gigantes (or big lima beans), soaked for 12 hours, drained
1/4 cup Greek olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) can chopped plum tomatoes plus their liquid
2 cups water
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


Add the beans to a pot with enough cold water to cover well. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer until just soft throughout but not quite cooked, approximately 50 to 80 minutes, depending on the beans. Drain and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Add onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and their liquid, 2 cups water, honey, cloves, salt, and pepper and boil gently for 20 to 30 minutes or until it begins to thicken. Stir in the parsley and remove from heat.

Place the beans in an oven-proof dish, pour tomato mixture on top, stir and spread mixture out evenly. Bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until beans are soft. (Check the dish during cooking and if needed, add a small amount of boiling water.) The dish will look crispy on top. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Serves: 6*; Calories: 380; Total Fat:10 grams; Saturated Fat: 1 gram; Protein: 17 grams; Total carbohydrates: 58 grams; Sugar: 14 grams; Fiber: 17 grams; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Sodium: 187 milligrams

Here is a link that might be useful: Bobby Flay's Gigantes

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 8:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Both of those sound good. I happen to have a pot of just-made ham stock, that would, I think, substitute nicely for the 2 c water in the gigantes recipe. And SWMBO loves couscous.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 7:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just a thought - I used up quite a bit of leftover roasted butternut squash and a few other veggies to puree into soup. Then I bloomed some high-quality agrodulce pimenton and some commercial chili powder in a little bit of EVOO, and added it to the squash soup. It added some nice warmth and gentle spiciness to it, friends and family really liked it.

Made a stewed pork with barley risotto last night for dinner, very 'comfort food' meal for our current rainy spell.

Personally, I'm fine with non-seasonal foods. Got some seedless black grapes in the store yesterday that were terrific, some of the best grapes we've had all year (our summer in CA was very cool this year). Out here it's not unusual to have a warm sunny 75-degree day in December or January; we eat big salads all year long.

Besides, winter is citrus season, when they are cheapest and freshest if you grow them yourself. Looks like we will get a fine crop this year from our Meyers. Nothing sunnier than lemonade when it's nice, or hot honey lemon tea when it isn't, regardless of temperature!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 1:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh that pumpkin black bean soup is going on my dinner plan this week- sounds wonderful, thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 5:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We eat low carb and this is one of our favorite new recipes. Everyone who tries it loves it! I double the fresh garlic and add a few shakes of red pepper flakes. I use a large head of cabbage and only 1 or 2 carrots. I increase the kielbasa because we eat high fat/protein but you could also add more of a leaner meat...I make almond flour biscuits with soups and stews in the winter to round out the meal. I use Elana Amsterdam's recipe which you may have if you bake gluten free, they are fabulous. The recipe is from the Penzey's catalog/magazine.

The last time I made this I threw everything in the crockpot in the morning and cooked it all day on low. My family thought it was just as good and I am not always a big fan of food cooked in the crock pot.

Parkey Stew
3 tbsp olive oil
4 carrots, peeled, ends removed and thinly sliced
3 leeks, thinly sliced, both ends removed
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/2 tsp minced garlic soaked in 2 tsp water for 5 minutes)
16 oz chicken broth (or 2 cups water with 1 1/2 tsp chicken soup base)
1-15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 small head cabbage, roughly chopped
1 lb kielbasa, sliced
1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp marjoram (optional)
1/2 -1 tsp salt
1/2-1tsp Penzey's freshly ground peppper

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots and leeks to the pot. Cook until tender, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the borth, tomatoes, cabbage and kielbasa to the pot, along with caraway and marjoram if using. Simmer until the stew is hot and the cabbage is tender, 20-30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 7:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I got an email asking me a question about the pureed spinach/roasted garlic I mentioned using above, in place of mayo. I can't respond to the email due to the GW settings of the person who sent it. Hopefully my reply will be seen here...

I don't really have a recipe for spinach/garlic sauce/paste but I'll try to explain. If you're got some picky eaters in your crew, this might not go so well because it's a much darker color sauce than what people expect from mayo. If they will taste it, they will probably like it.

About 1/2 bag spinach leaves.

1 head of roasted garlic cloves, removed from peels after roasting. (the ones I like to get are almost as big as a tennis ball. Roasting it takes the heat and sharp tang away, and turns it into a lovely texture to be the basis for a sauce.)

Around 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. (strong flavor, you might like less, or more, and may want to start with a teaspoon since you can add more after that if you think it would be OK for your taste buds.)

Add a little water, or some mayo if it's too thick, or dark.

Sometimes I add onion, or corn, whatever might go flavor-wise with what I'm going to put the sauce on, to help bulk it up, make it thicker or thinner, and still match the dish.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 9:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

lpinkmountain posted a recipe for eggplant stew in the eggplant link that I kept adding stuff to that was AWESOME!!

Because of allergies I can"t eat onions or garlic, so I had to get more flavor somewhere else. Her recipe had the cubed eggplant, tomatoes, onions, garlic, chickpeas & I can't for the life of me remember the seasonings or whatever else! (Old age!)

Maybe she will repost her recipe here.

This is what I did:

I peeled & cubed the eggplant (mine were the long skinny kind fresh from my garden) & browned with a little EVOO in a large frying pan, then added canned diced tomatoes as well as some chopped fresh, rinsed & drained canned black beans, a can of chickpeas, about 3 large handfuls of frozen corn, fresh diced red & green bell peppers, a little minced celery, a couple dashes of cumin, quite a few generous dashes of red pepper flakes & fresh chopped parsley from the garden. S/P to taste.

I added about a tablespoon of peach salsa to mine when I ate it. DH & DS used much more.

It was delicious! If I had more time I would love to use only fresh tomatoes as well as fresh cooked black beans & chickpeas.
The eggplant absorbed the flavors as she said it would. This is a keeper for us! I never would have thought to make an eggplant stew!

Thanks lpinkmountain!


    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 12:43PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Weird "guy food" that's actually delicious?
You know what kind of food I mean? Not the kind of...
What's For Dinner #338
#337 has reached over 100 posts. Jasdip, I love fried...
How to fix rock hard espresso powder? :p
I am VERY careful about trying to keep powders dry...
Please clarify this butter question......
Help! my brain isn't working on this one & I need...
Apologies to St. Patrick
Not even the corned beef was done the traditional way....
Sponsored Products
Area Rug: Sarah Brown 8' Square
Home Depot
Auburn Sunset Outdoor Wall Sculpture
$895.00 | FRONTGATE
Fort Mason 6 Drawer Sideboard
$899.99 | Dot & Bo
Bover | Lua 2 Luces Pendant Light
$908.00 | YLighting
angelo:HOME Mercer Table Lamp - Sugar Cane - 8520-TL
$118.00 | Hayneedle
Mackintosh Adjustable Oval Bowl by Hubbardton Forge
$830.00 | Lumens
Kenroy Home Piper Driftwood Table Lamp
Lamps Plus
Meticulously Woven Contemporary Brown Floral Flitwick Rug (5'3X7'6)
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™