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Puttin' on The Mitts: Hearty dishes for a winter's night

We've lucked out so far with the winter weather. Only a bit of snowfall and temps have been tolerable. With that being said, it is December and there's still a chill in the air.

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We've lucked out so far with the winter weather. Only a bit of snowfall and temps have been tolerable. With that being said, it is December and there's still a chill in the air.

For me, there's nothing better than coming home from work to supper ready to serve right from the crock pot. A warm, hearty bowl of soup or chili will warm you from the inside out.

With this Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili recipe, you can turn up the heat with flavor as well and adjust the spices accordingly. For me, it has just enough of a kick to have great taste but not so much that you're grabbing for a glass of milk to cool down your palate.

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

From the blog unoriginalmom.com.

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2 chicken breasts (fresh or frozen)

1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (undrained)

1 can corn (undrained)

1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 packet ranch dressing mix

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1 8-ounce package cream cheese

Put the chicken in the bottom of the crock pot.

Add the diced tomatoes, corn, black beans, spices and ranch packet and stir.

Add cream cheese on top but do not stir.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 30 minutes before serving, stir cream cheese into chili. Use two forks to shred the chicken breasts before serving as well.

Serve alone or over rice.

-- DeLynn

When I think of warming winter dishes, for me, curry is the first thing that comes to mind. This curry shrimp dish I developed does not adhere to any particular regional cuisine; instead, it's more so a recipe borne from the multitude of curry dishes I've cooked over the years from both the Indian and Thai traditions.

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This curry came together quite quickly and is a good choice for a quick weeknight meal. From start to finish, the dish took me about an hour to prepare, including vegetable preparations. I would characterize this recipe as a "starter" curry, I suppose, and it should be fairly safe for those who may not be as adventurous in their food choices.

Any type of protein could be substituted for the shrimp, from chicken or pork to tofu. Cook the meats first in a separate saute pan before adding them to the curry. If using firm tofu, make sure to press the tofu first to release its moisture-this process helps it to take on the flavors of the sauce.

If you're not a fan of couscous, this could easily be served with pasta, rice or another grain.

Red Curry Shrimp with Couscous

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds

½ yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

¼ sweet bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 14.5-ounce can light coconut milk

1 tablespoon red curry paste

1 cup frozen green peas

6 ounces cooked shrimp, tails removed

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water

1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice to finish

Salt to taste

Couscous, prepared according to package directions

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

Add the carrots and onion, cooking for 4-5 minutes until softened.

Add the garlic and bell pepper and cook another 2-3 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and red curry paste. Stir to break up the paste.

Bring the coconut milk to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Add the peas and simmer another 3-4 minutes, until the peas are warmed through.

Add the cooked shrimp and the cornstarch slurry and cook for another minute or so, just enough to heat through the shrimp and thicken the sauce.

Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice to taste. Taste for salt.

Serve over couscous.

-- Chelsey

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Related Topics: RECIPESFOOD
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