RECIPES: Healthy comfort food tastes every bit as good the next day

Published: January 25, 2013


Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian chili can be as big a hit with the kids as grilled cheese sandwiches. Submitted photo

Between the cold and the fog, winter can seem endless. The only warmth and comfort I get is when I make my chili, stew and soup throughout the week. They provide hearty meals as well as much-needed nutrients to boost the immune system during cold and flu season. Enjoy these recipes with your family for dinner, then take the leftovers for lunches or freeze them for later days.

Spiced Beef Stew

Serves 4 to 6

I make this recipe on weekends. When I do, my kitchen is  filled with the aromas of coriander, cumin and cardamom. I use chuck roast meat for my stew. I prefer using the slow cooker for this recipe.

2 Tbsps cooking oil
2 Tbsps flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cardamom powder
2 lbs beef stew meat- cubed
8 garlic cloves-crushed
1 Tbsp crushed coriander seeds
1 Tbsp cumin powder
1/3 cup tomato paste
3 large carrots chopped into chunks
2 large potatoes-cubed
2 cups beef or vegetable broth
1 cup red wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet on medium high heat. Place flour, salt and cardamom powder on a plate and mix it well. Dip each cube of meat in the flour mixture and gently place it in the skillet and cook until the meat is golden brown all sides. Add garlic, coriander seeds, cumin powder and tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Stir it well.

Transfer the meat, carrots, potatoes, broth, wine, salt and pepper to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high temperature for 30 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 to 6 hours until the meat is tender and the sauce is thickened.

Vegetarian Chili

Serves 4 to 6

My nine-year-old son, Aaron, actually asked me for a vegetarian chili after his soccer game last weekend. I was over the moon that he didn’t ask for a grilled cheese. We cooked this recipe together and added mustard seeds, which was his idea because he likes how they pop out of the pot when they start cooking. He happily took the leftovers to school for lunch the next few days.

4 Tbsp cooking oil
1 medium onion- chopped
1 Tbsp garlic-crushed
1 Tbsp ginger grated
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 Tbsp paprika
1 large yam- peeled and cubed
2 large carrots-cubed
3 celery stalk- chopped
2 cups of water
1 can- 14 oz crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cans- 14 oz each red kidney beans-rinsed and drained

In a large pot, over a medium high heat, add oil, onion, garlic, and ginger and cook for 4 minutes. Stir regularly. Add mustard seeds and cook for 10 seconds. Turn the heat to medium low. Add garam masala, paprika, yam, carrots, celery, water, crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook until the yams are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add kidney beans and cook for another 5 minutes.

Chicken and Lentil Soup

Serves 4 to 6

When my daughter Anoop started to feel a tickle in her throat, she texted me from work to ask if I could make her some soup. She could not make up her mind if she wanted a chicken or a lentil soup. I decided to combine both. I use split lentils in this recipe as they cook much faster and are very healthy.

2 Tbsp cooking oil
1 Tbsp ginger-grated
1 Tbsp garlic-crushed
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp coriander powder
6 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1 large carrot- cubed
1 medium turnip- grated
½ cup split red lentils
6 cups of water
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded

In a large pot, add oil on medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add oregano, coriander powder, thyme, salt, pepper, carrots, turnip, lentils and water. Bring the soup to a boil and turn the heat down to medium-low and let it simmer for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are fully cooked.

Add the chicken and cook for another 2 minutes.

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