willowbrook farm

historic yellow springs

Hearty Winter Recipes

Who doesn’t love cooking with the seasons? There just seems something wrong with eating backyard BBQ food in the early dark chilly evenings of winter. Not to mention, it is best cooked on an outdoor grill which when covered in a bit of snow can be challenging, not to mention down right cold. Even though we have been sprinkled with a bit of warmer than average temperatures this season,  my hungering still focuses in on hearty foods, like soups, stews and stove top or roasting cooking. I think it goes back to our foraging days, when you had to eat with the seasons for there really was no choice! Given our busy days, it is often very difficult to get a good home cooked meal on the table with work, kids and everything else called life. Funny how eating is a big part of life but we so often consider it an annoyance, when we are super busy and grab for a quick  take out or not so healthy meal. Happens to us all the time! We are making a concerted effort to put a little more effort in our “gathering around the table time,” thus planning meals for the week, having the young men who are still living here at home, give their two cents on what they would like to eat and then helping to shop, prepare and cook. So far it’s going better than originally thought and in that vein, I would love to share with you some of our favorite recipes thus far this winter season.

The first three recipes came from Martha Stewart Magazine , one of my tried and true sources for delish recipes.

Chicken Voodle Soup ~ serves 6 ~ This is a twist on the classic chicken noodle soup

Ingredients and Instructions (read recipe through for ingredients are listed through out in the italicized font)

4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

4 cups water

1 pund boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 thinly sliced or diced celery stalks

2 peeled and thinly sliced or diced carrots

2 medium zucchini

1 diced small onion

1.Mix all of these together in a medium pot. Bring to a boil and then season with kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

2. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 10 mins; transfer chicken to a plate. Let cool slightly, then shred into bite size pieces.

3. Return broth to a simmer; add 5 cups voodles from 2 medium zucchini or buy them at the food market already cut into voodles

4. Cook until just tender, about 2 mins. Remove from heat. stir in shredded chicken and 1/4 cup fresh dill.

5. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. (Don’t skip this step for it makes the soup!!!) 


I served this soup with a slice of Trader Joes Spanakopita. In lieu of that, you could serve with warm hearty bread or a salad or both!

White Beans and Greens Stew ( for you meatless protein lovers ~ delicious, hearty and worth it!)


Ingredients ~ serves 4

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

4 slices (each one inch thick) ciabatta (from a 12- once loaf)

3 sprigs sage, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves (I freeze my herbs from the garden to have all year long or freeze your leftovers when you buy a big bunch at the grocery store, just make sure to label what it is and the date)

3 cloves garlic, peeled, 2 thinly sliced

Kosher salt and red pepper flakes

3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds (3/4 cup)

1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

2 cans (each 15 ounces) cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained

4 cups low sodium vegetable broth

4 cups assorted baby greens, such as kale, spinach and chard

grated parmesan cheese for serving

  1. Heat 3 Tbls. oil in a large straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread: cook, flipping once and adding sage sprigs halfway through, until toasted, 10 mins. Transfer to a plate, lightly rub one side with whole garlic clove. Season with salt. 
  2. Discard oil; return skillet to medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 Tbls oil, sliced garlic, carrots, and chopped sage, season with salt and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring until garlic is golden. Add wine; cook until evaporated, 2 minutes. Stir in beans and broth. Spring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender and liquid has reduced slightly, 25 minutes. 
  3. Transfer 1 cup of beans to a bowl; mash and return to pot. Stir in greens just until wilted; season with salt. Serve over toast, with cheese and a drizzle of oil.

Pork, Mushroom, and Artichoke Fricasse ~ serves 4…Yum…Yum…Yum!

Ingredients (I doubled the recipe below to make the amount in photo)

1 pork tenderloin (1 pound), cut into 2 inch rounds

Kosher sale and freshly ground pepper

1/4 unbleached all-purpose flour

3 Tbls unsalted butter

8 oz mixed mushroom blend, sliced if large (I used a bag of the Trader Joe’s frozen assorted mushrooms)

1 Tbls minced garlic (from 2 cloves)

1 Tbls Dijon mustard

2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 can (15 ounces) artichoke heart quarters, drained (about 1 cup)

1/4 heavy cream

Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for serving

  1. Pound pork between sheets of plastic wrap to 1/8 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper; dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Heat 1 Tbls butter in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add half of pork in a single layer and cook, flipping once, until browned, 2- 3 mins. Transfer to a plate. Wipe skillet clean and repeat with 1 Tbls butter and remaining pork; transfer to a plate. (This process takes some time but again is so worth it!)
  2. Add remaining 1 Tbls butter and mushrooms to skillet; season with salt. Cook stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 mins. Add garlic; cook, stirring 1 minute more. Stir in mustard and broth; cook until reduced by half, 10 mins. Stir in artichoke hearts and cream. Return pork and any juices to skillet; cook until thickened slightly, about 3 mins. Stir in parsley and serve.                             

The last recipe is a little lighter and could be prepared all year long for sure so I popped it in one night when we had a near 70 degree day in the winter. Yikes! You can serve all of the ingredients on a platter and let everyone serve themselves or make up a bowl for each person. We let our finicky eaters pick first and then my husband and I made up our own bowls with every ingredient. You do it however you see fit!

Super Greens and Grains with Roast Salmon ~ serves 4 ~ again, ingredients are italicized so read all the way through before making your shopping list! I have not done this in the past and it usually doesn’t work out for the best! 

Recipe was found in the small magazine section of the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper… yes, that is correct… the newspaper! The article was entitled “What America Eats”, Recipe by Alison Ashton

  1. Place rack in upper third of oven. Preheat to 400 degrees F. Combine 1-1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock/broth, 1 cup rinsed quinoa and salt and black pepper to taste in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 mins or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 10 mins. Fluff with a fork.
  2. Combine 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (can use regular if you do not have smoked), 1/4 tsp ground cumin, salt and pepper  in a small bowl. Rub over  4 (6 – oz) salmon fillets. Place fillets, skin side down, on a greased baking sheet. Roast 10 mins or until desired degree of doneness. 
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together 3 Tbls extra-virgin olive oil, 2 Tbls fresh orange juice, 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 grated garlic clove, salt and pepper.
  4. Stem, wash and tear 1 bunch Tuscan kale into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl. Add 2 Tbls dressing and massage into kale for 30seconds; let stand 10 mins. Add 1 thinly sliced head radicchio;  toss to coat. Stir 1 Tbls dressing into cooked quinoa.
  5. Arrange kale mixture on plates or shallow bowl. Divide quinoa evenly between each serving. Top evenly with salmon fillets, 1 sectioned orange, 1 peeled, pitted and thinly sliced avocado and 1/4 cup toasted walnuts. Drizzle with remaining dressing.

I hope that you try at least one of these recipes and if you do, please let me know how you liked them! If any of you have tried and true methods for serving up healthier sit down meals with your family… please do tell! 

Let’s raise a glass to more sit down meals together, more healthy cooking and more cooks in this kitchen! 





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