7 Warm Meals for Winter Dinners

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After a long day at work during the winter, you just want to come home to hot food. You want something that will warm you up from the inside, so you don’t feel like your whole body is shutting down in the cold weather. That’s especially the case in recent years, as multiple snow storms are hitting the world.

Warm meals don’t mean you have to spend hours slaving over the stove. You can get some of them ready before you go to work, cooking them in the crockpot so they’re ready for you when you get home. In other cases, you can bulk make your meals, so you just have to throw them in the oven when you return to heat up.

Here’s a look at the best seven warm meals for winter dinners. They’re definitely ones you’ll want to do.

Start with a Vegetable Beef Casserole

Let’s start with a dish that isn’t just going to warm you up, but offers you plenty of substance and nutrients to end your day. This is a great option to get the taste buds fired up and give you something to look forward to at the end. You can also make extra to freeze, so you have something to just heat through towards the end of the long, dark week.

Ingredients:

  • 2 celery stalks, sliced thinly
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, halved lengthways and then sliced into chunks
  • 5 bay leaves
  •  2 sprigs of thyme, one with the leaves picked
  • 1tbsp oil of choice
  • 1tbsp butter
  • 2tbsp flour
  • 2tbsp tomato puree
  • 2tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 stock cubes, crumbled
  • 850g of stewing beef, cut into chunks

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F and then put the kettle on to boil water
  • Place the vegetables, bay leaves, and 1 whole sprig into a casserole dish with the butter and oil
  • Place over a heat and soften for 10 minutes
  • Add the flour and stir until it no longer looks dusty, and then add the puree, Worcestershire sauce, and stock cubes
  • Add 600ml of hot water, stirring gradually, and add in the beef
  • Simmer the mixture and then cover and place in the oven for 2.5 hours
  • Uncover and cook for another 30-60 minutes, making the meat tender

Garnish with the remaining sprig leaves. You can serve this with mashed or boiled potatoes on the side if you want, but it tastes absolutely delicious on its own.

Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup for Long Winter Nights

Soup is a great way to feel warm and popular if you’ve not got much time to cook. You can make a delicious powerhouse of a soup with butternut squash and sweet potato. You’ll be sure to get the potassium, vitamin C and many more nutrients that you can often overlook in the middle of winter.

Ingredients:

  • 500g of sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 butternut squashed, deseeded, peeled and chopped
  • 1tbsp honey
  • 1tbsp oil of choice, plus a drizzle
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1lt chicken/vegetable stock cube
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp grated nutmeg
  • 100ml double or heavy cream

Ingredients for the toast:

  • 1tbsp oil of choice
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 100g butter softened
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 2tbsp chives
  • 1tbsp thyme, chopped
  • 2 ciabatta loaves, sliced

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 470F
  • Place the squash and potatoes on a baking tray and drizzle with the oil and honey and roast for 45-50 minutes to soften and caramelize the edges slightly
  • Meanwhile, place the onions and oil in a pan and fry
  • Add the garlic, stock, cinnamon, and nutmeg and bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes
  • Remove the potatoes and squash from the oven and add into the pan with the stock and combine together with a handheld blender
  • Stir in the majority of the cream and simmer the liquid together, seasoning with some salt and pepper to taste
  • Meanwhile, make the lemon and garlic toasts by warming the oil and garlic in a pan on a low heat, until the garlic is soft but not brown
  • Remove the garlic mixture and mix with the butter and lemon zest
  • Allow the garlic and butter mixture to cool and then stir in the thyme and chives
  • Toast the ciabatta slices and top with the garlic butter and then serve with the soup

Drizzle the remaining cream over the top of the soup. You can make this soup slightly thicker by adding less water to the stock cubes. The choice is up to you.

Try a Persian Lamb Tagine for Something Different

Sometimes, you want to try out a different recipe for a dinner. This is a great option when you have a little extra time. You can replace your traditional Sunday roast with it one weekend.

Ingredients:

  • 2kg of lamb neck fillets
  • 5tbsp oil of choice
  • 3 onions, sliced into wedges
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4tsp ground cumin
  • 4tsp ground coriander
  • 1tsp hot chili powder
  • 1tsp ground turmeric
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 preserved lemons, chopped into wedges
  • 350g dried apricots
  • 250g dried and pitted dates
  • 100g pistachios shelled
  • 2tsp rosewater
  • 25g of corn flour
  • Bunch of coriander, chopped roughly

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F and trim the lamb of fat
  • Chop the lamb into chunks and then season
  • Heat a tbsp of oil in a casserole dish and place the lamb over a high heat, cooking for 1-2 minutes in 3-4 batches, until the lamb colors lightly; add a tbsp of oil between the batches and set the lamb aside
  • Heat the rest of the oil in the same dish and heat the onions for 5 minutes, until soften
  • Stir in the garlic and all the spices, cooking for a minute
  • Return the lamb to the dish and add 1.5lt of water, the saffron, cinnamon, and lemons, bringing the dish to a simmer and stirring
  • Cover the dish and cook in the oven for an hour
  • Remove from the oven and add the fruits and nuts, covering and cooking for another 30 minutes, until the lamb is tender
  • Mix the cornflour and water together with 3tbsp of cold water and then stir into the dish, cooking over a medium heat on the stove for 1-2 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Serve the tagine over basmati rice or some couscous. One of the great things about this dish is you can

Create a Chicken and Ham Lasagne

It’s time to do something different with your lasagne dishes. Rather than opting for the traditional Bolognese sauce, try out this chicken and ham dish.

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • ½ an onion, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 200ml of white wine
  • 100g of butter
  • 100g of flour
  • 500ml of milk of choice
  • 140g of smoked ham, chopped into strips
  • 200g of baby spinach
  • 225g of lasagne sheets (precooked is much easier)
  • 200g of mozzarella, grated
  • 25g of Parmesan, grated

Method:

  • Place the chicken breasts, onion, wine, and bay leaves in a saucepan and then add water to cover fully
  • Place a lid on the pan and simmer gently for 15 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked
  • Remove the chicken and place on a board and then strain the liquid into a jug
  • In a saucepan over a medium heat, melt the butter and stir in the flour and cook for a minute
  • Add the milk gradually, stirring in between each addition to keep the sauce smooth
  • Add the cooking liquid and cook for another 2-3 minutes, seasoning to taste
  • Heat the oven to 450F
  • Chop the chicken into chunks and place in the saucepan with the sauce and then add the ham and spinach, cooking until the spinach melts
  • Place the chicken mixture at the bottom of an ovenproof dish and top with the lasagne sheets; layer the dish and then top with the cheeses and season with a bit of black pepper
  • Bake for 25 minutes, until the lasagne, is tender and browned on the top

You can freeze the lasagne if you want. Do this before baking in the oven. Allow it to defrost fully and then bake for the 25 minutes to cook through completely.

Try Chicken with Root Vegetables Roasted on the Side

Winter is an excellent time for vegetables. You get a range of root vegetables, adding more sweetness than you would initially think possible. You can opt for a traditional chicken dish but opt for the root vegetables on the side with this popular dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small celeriac, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 400g of swede, chopped into chunks
  • 2 sweet potatoes, chopped into chunks
  • 2 parsnips, chopped lengthways and quartered
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
  • 2tbsp oil of choice
  • 1/2tsp cumin seeds
  • Sprigs of sage, to taste
  • 4 chicken breast fillets, boneless and skinless
  • 4 slices of prosciutto

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 430F
  • Place the root vegetables and garlic in a roasting tin and sprinkle with the oil and cumin seeds
  • Roast for 30 minutes
  • Meanwhile, lay the sage leaves n the chicken breasts and wrap with the prosciutto
  • Turn the vegetables over and lay the chicken on top, roasting for 30-35 minutes more, until the chicken is cooked

You can serve this as it is or adds some steamed cruciferous vegetables. The added vegetables will add more iron and calcium to your meal.

Make a Winter Beef Stew with Muffin Top

How about muffins and stew mixed together? Sure, this can sound odd but it’s something to try for the winter nights! It’s dumplings but healthier.

Ingredients:

  • 500g steak, chopped into chunks
  • 2tbsp flour, seasoned to taste
  • 2tbsp oil of choice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 450g carrot, chunked
  • 2 parsnips, chunked
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2tbsp tomato paste
  • 300ml red wine
  • 450ml vegetable stock
  • Ingredients for the topping
  • 225g of flour
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 140g cheddar, grated
  • 2tbsp oil of choice
  • 150ml of milk

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Coat the beef in the flour and then place in a casserole dish with the oil, frying over a high heat until browned and then set aside
  • Add 2tbsp of water with the onion to the pan and fry over a medium heat, scraping any of the leftover beef off the base
  • Fry for 10 minutes, until the onions soften and work the beef flavor in
  • Add the carrots, parsnips and bay leaves into the pan and fry for another 2 minutes
  • Add the beef back in and then stir in the tomato paste and red wine, bringing to the boil
  • Cover the dish and cook in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours, until the beef is tender
  • Remove from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 400F
  • For the topping, sieve the flour and powder together and add in half of the cheese
  • Mix in the milk and oil, stirring to make the flour into a soft dough
  • Spoon the dough over the top of the vegetables and then top with the rest of the cheese and bake for 15 minutes, until the dough rises

You can freeze the stew before you add the muffins. Do this after you’ve cooked the stew first and before you start making the muffins. The stew will last in the fridge for up to two days and in the freezer for up to a month. You can then just spend the 20 minutes or so to make the muffins and finish off the dish to serve on a night.

Make a Winter Vegetable Mash for Your Sausages

Sausages are popular options for the winter because they’re so easy to cook. While you could go for a traditional Bangers and Mash dinner, you could also do it with a twist. This winter vegetable mash is not to be missed.

Ingredients:

  • 4 sausages
  • 2 parsnips
  • 2-3 potatoes
  • 175g Brussels sprouts
  • 4tbsp milk
  • 1tbsp wholegrain mustard

Method:

  • Grill the sausages for 12 minutes, turning frequently
  • Meanwhile, chop the potatoes and parsnips roughly and place in salted boiling water and cook for 10 minutes
  • Shred the sprouts and add to the pan for the final 2-3 minutes, cooking until all vegetables are tender
  • Drain the vegetables and then mash with the milk and mustard

You can serve the sausages on top of the potatoes or on the side. This is also delicious with a gravy and topped with some onions.

What Winter Dish Will You Try First?

You can have delicious and hearty winter dishes without piling on the pounds. These meals are all packed with vitamins and minerals to see you through the cold, dark months. When you feel warmer on the inside, you’ll feel happier and healthier throughout the winter.

Try out one or two dishes to start and then add more to your repertoire. Remember you can always freeze some of them, so you can pull out on a night and quickly reheat or finish off!

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