Winter Food to Warm You Up

It’s winter and where I am, that means it’s cold and snowy. This makes me want to curl up and eat what I deem “winter food”–generally something that’s rich, yummy, filling, and frequently cheesy. Things like soups, stews, biscuits, and pasta with beans. The kinds of food that make you feel all warm inside. This weekend, I “winterfied” my favorite Risotto and also tried a new recipe for White Bean Chicken Chili. Both turned out super yummy so I’ve decided to share. One is veggielicious; the other is for the spicy carnivores out there.

Easy Veggie Parmesan Risotto

2 tablespoons of butter (+ one below)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion diced
1 cup carrots chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 cup rice (arborio preferred)
2/3 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup spinach chopped (i used baby spinach)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (+ more for the top if you want)

1) In a medium pot (I used a 3 quart) put the butter and olive oil on medium heat. When melted and well combined, add the diced onion. Allow the onion to cook for 2″“3 minutes on its own so that it begins to soften up, then add your cup of carrots, salt, pepper, and garlic. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. This will smell delicious.

2) Add the 1 cup of rice and stir so the rice is well combined with the veggies, spices, and butter. Allow to cook for 2 minutes without additional stirring. Add the 2/3 cup wine. Stir and let cook until the wine is absorbed.

3) Add 1/2 of the vegetable stock (1 3/4 cup), then stir until well combined. Cover and let simmer for 8″“10 minutes, stirring once, until the stock has been absorbed. Repeat with the other half of the stock and cook until the stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender.

4) Add 1 cup of chopped spinach. As mentioned above, I used baby spinach I had for a salad and chopped it into bite sized pieces. Stir the spinach into the cooked rice so that it is evenly distributed throughout.

5) Add the final tablespoon of butter (I liked to spread mine out on top before I stir it in so I know it is well distributed) and the 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. This is going to make your rice very creamy and cheesy. Serve immediately with a little sprinkle of Parmesan on top if you like.

Mostly White Bean Chicken Chili based on Cha Cha’s White Chicken Chili from

1 tablespoon oil (vegetable and canola both work well)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 (4-ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 (14.5-ounce) cans reduced sodium chicken broth
3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (i shredded a rotissary chicken from the grocery store)
2 (15-ounce) cans white beans (drained and rinsed)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 (15-ounce) can of creamed corn

Optional Garnishes:
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese (mmm cheese)
Diced tomato
Tortilla chips
Sour cream
A Fried Egg
Sriracha–if you want it really spicy

1) In a medium pot (I also used a 3 quart for this one), heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion. Slowly cook and stir the onion until tender and somewhat translucent.

2) Mix in the garlic, green chile peppers, cumin, oregano and cayenne. Continue to cook and stir the mixture until tender, about 3 minutes. This will be very fragrant. Those of you with sensitive eyes should consider preparing this recipe with goggles or avoid standing directly over the pot.

3) Mix in the chicken broth, chicken, beans, and corn. Cover and simmer 15″“20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4) Remove the mixture from heat. Serve warm with or without garnishes of your choosing.

Garnishes: tortilla chips, cheese, tomato and sour cream.
Garnishes: fried egg and sriracha

Hope you enjoy these recipes or feel inspired to make some of your own favorite winter foods. What do you crave when it’s cold outside?

16 replies on “Winter Food to Warm You Up”

I totally agree. I tend to be more on the vegetarian side in terms of what I like to eat but in the winter I just crave more meat. I never really thought about it until now…hmmm
And I am looking up the sausage cassoulet- I generally like Jamie Oliver’s recipes. Thanks for the reccomendation.

No worries, apparently it’s what I’m having for dinner, even though it’s the middle of summer. It is that delicious (also we only had sausages left in the freezer!). I recommend cutting up the sausages more than he does, trying to deal to a sausage that is cut length wise was a pain in the bum- particularly when getting it out of the dish.

Risotto is also really weirdly comforting to prepare. Some people consider it babysitting a pot of something and have no patience, but I just think of this Nigella Lawson cookbook I have where she mentions “the solace of stirring.” It’s a way to wind down and relax a little while cooking.

And this recipe looks so good. Must make asap.

When she said “Sometimes if I get home late and I don’t want a really proper supper” I was hoping, as I’m sure you were too, the words that would follow would be ‘I get in my jammies and eat out of the fridge with a lady friend”. This is the video that is on her home page now- I thought it was rather appropriate.

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