During the winter months, we can often find comfort in a warm bowl of soup or just a warm home-cooked dish. Many people think of soup as nourishment for when they are sick or not feeling well.  It is always so comforting when a family member brings us soup if we are not feeling well. Warm dishes like soups can bring a sense of comfort to the soul – maybe that’s why it’s called ‘comfort food!’ However, adding nourishing vitamins and minerals to those warm dishes with fruits and veggies can be a source of nutrition to add to the comfort.

As you stroll through the produce section of the grocery store, you may start to see soup bundles. These soup bundles usually have vegetable items such as cabbage, carrots, celery, parsley, onions, and potatoes. When combined with a stock or broth and simmered in a pot for a couple of hours, this can be such a nourishing warm soup. Adding chicken, lean stew meat, or even chickpeas can be an easy way to add protein to the dish.  This Cauliflower Herb Soup is a flavorful combination for a savory and satisfying soup.

Turn your favorite dishes into soups! Turn tacos into taco soup, fajitas into fajita soup. Soup can be a great budget stretcher! Adding vegetable broth, water, a side of crackers, or seasoned mix-ins, such as chili-ready tomatoes, can make a taco dinner-for-four turn into soup night for 8 to 10! It can also stretch the meal into a two-night dinner!

We can also warm our heart with warm beverages such as hot tea with lemon and honey. The soothing citrus of the lemon with the hot tea is a great way to perk up a wintery morning or afternoon.

Cooking fruit desserts such as a compote, cobbler, or a crisp is a mouthwatering way to warm your heart! The great thing about cooking fruit is that it can be a way to use fruit that is starting to over-ripen or use fruit that you have frozen during the year. Try out this Kiwifruit Cobbler for a delightful warm winter dessert!

Need a one-pan dinner? Vegetable pot pie can be just the dish you are looking for! Combining ingredients into one pan for a well-rounded family meal will have the family asking for more.  Keep it simple by buying a bag of frozen mixed vegetables and add your favorite add-ins such as broccoli, cauliflower, or kale. Preparing the pot pie to go into the oven can be a great dish to get kids involved in the cooking process.

Busy families looking to have a hot meal on a busy weeknight might be more apt to use the slow cooker or instant pot to have a quick hot meal. Soups, beans, stews can be prepared in the slow cooker during the day or the instant pot prior to dinner time. This Slow Cooker Stuffed Pepper Soup is perfect for those busy weeknights! Preparing the vegetables, such as slicing onions and peppers, the night before and storing the prepped items in the refrigerator can make these types of meals a breeze.

A Louisiana favorite, gumbo, can even be a source of vegetables in a shrimp okra gumbo. Growing up in Louisiana, I can say that the minute the weather is under 70 degrees, most people refer to it as “gumbo weather.”

No matter what time of year it is or what the weather is outside, we can always find ways throughout the year to have a plant to warm our hearts!

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