December 15, 2013

Ten Days Before Christmas: My Favorite Hearty Dinners

The snow is falling again, here in Ohio. The football game is on and the little girls are playing with the art set my brother and sister-in-law gave Baby Bee for Christmas. I’m in my favorite spot, right next to the Christmas tree and if I turn just right, all I have to do is swivel my head to see the tree and the snow in turn.

We had an easy breakfast this morning to see my brother, sister-in-law and baby niece home. Homemade egg mcmuffins. So simple, you really don’t need a recipe, but far more tasty than anything you get from the golden arches.

Soon, we’ll have to start planning dinner and I know just what sort of food I’m thinking about making. It’s slow cooked and warm. It doesn’t have to be heavy or rich, but hearty. Something to fill up your belly and warm you up to your toes. Maybe a something that seems a little fancy or a little more special than something you’d normally make. This is such a special time of year.


Here’s my list of dinners that are just a little bit special as we slide into the holiday season.


1) Beef Burgundy.  This easy to make, slow simmered stew is just a small step up from a beef stew.  This is very much a meal your Grandma would have cooked herself for a Sunday family dinner.  You can eat it as a stand alone, but it’s lovely over mashed potatoes.


2) But, if you want a different beef stew option, Guinness Beef Stew has been mentioned on this blog about a million times and that’s because it’s worth the time, effort and expense to make.  Drop it in the oven at the start of the football game and by the end you have a wonderful stand alone meal.

3) Chicken Pot Pie.  Use a pre-made crust and spend your time and efforts on the filling. Creamy and delicious, I like to add potatoes to mine.  Wonderful to adapt to any cooked meat you may have as leftovers as well and since the recipe makes tons of filling, you can put together a second pot pie to put in the freezer for later.

5) Potato and Cheese Smoked Sausage Casserole. This is not high brow food. This is pure comfort for a cold night. It’s bubbly and cheesey and a little salty from the smoked sausage and paired with veggies, is something that just about everyone will eat. Cook your potatoes in the microwave until soft but not done (if I cook four potatoes, I use the two potato setting on my microwave) for easy slicing. And, you get to practice your roux making skills.

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