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Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Making Cozy Comfort Foods … Cozier

The cold, short days of winter call for cozy comfort foods! What comes to mind when you think of comfort foods? Macaroni and cheese? Soups and stews? Chocolate and other rich foods? All of these have something in common: they are even more delicious when fruits and veggies are added to them.

Think of spinach macaroni & cheese, chocolate covered strawberries, apple cobbler, tomato soup – these are all foods that are comforting during the cold winter months but also add an abundance of special nutrients naturally found in fruits and vegetables.

Soup is especially comforting during the winter; it’s warm, satisfying and relatively easy to prepare. Consider soup recipes that are rich in vegetables such as Minestrone, Butternut squash and Tomato. If you prefer Chicken Noodle, add more carrots and celery than the recipe calls for and experiment by adding in your own favorite vegetables.

Spinach is one of my favorite comfort food add-ins – it can be added to macaroni and cheese, quiche, meatloaf and mashed potatoes. It is an excellent source of fiber, it’s high in vitamins A and C and, it’s high in iron and folate.

Making Chili? Try using less ground beef and more beans [use a variety such as white, red kidney and black]. Beans can help provide you with fiber, folate, potassium and antioxidants. You may not think of beans as vegetables, but they are!

Here are some other quick and easy ways to make your comfort foods cozier …

Fondue. Cheesy fondue is a rich and creamy party pleaser. Dip raw broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini and even apples.

Shepherd’s pie. Add more carrots, celery, onions, and peppers. Puree cauliflower with the mashed potatoes for a lighter topping.

Desserts. Apples, pears and peaches make delicious desserts such as cobblers or simply baked alone with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Enjoy your comfort foods this winter with the added health benefits of fruits and veggies!

Try this tasty recipe …

Sweet Potato & White Bean Chili
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Makes 2 (2-cup) Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans (Canellini or Great Northern), rinsed
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation

  1. HEAT oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. ADD onion and potato and cook, STIRRING often, until the onion is slightly softened, about 4 minutes. ADD garlic, chili powder, cumin, chipotle and salt and cook, STIRRING constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. ADD water, bring to a SIMMER, cover, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and COOK until the potato is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. ADD beans, tomatoes and lime juice; INCREASE heat to high and return to a simmer, stirring often.
  3. REDUCE heat to maintain a simmer and cook until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. REMOVE from the heat and stir in cilantro.

Nutrition Facts:
374 Calories; 6 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 67 g Carbohydrates; 14 g Protein; 15 g Fiber; 699 mg Sodium; 312g Carbohydrate

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