Makeovers for Fall /Winter Dinner Recipes
It’s so easy in Spring and Summer to grill some meat on the barbeque, steam some corn, and put together a nice salad of greens and dinner is served. But for Fall and Winter dinner recipes it’s much more difficult. Once fall comes around, for some reason everyone in the family becomes extra ravenous. I blame the signs for pumpkin doughnuts and apple fritters everywhere we go, but I also blame myself because I have an affinity for hearty, comforting fall and winter meals like risotto, braised short ribs, cornbread stuffed Cornish hens, and basically any kind of warm streusel right out of the oven.
My family’s waistlines almost always suffer as a result of these Fall and Winter indulgences, and I’m making a concerted effort this season to make healthier options and leave the heavy, indulgent food for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.
My first step so far has been to purchase a high-quality slow cooker, and it has already drastically changed our seasonal eating habits. I found a Kitchen Aid slow cooker on http://www.frugaa.com/ for 20% off the regular retail price. Having this one product has turned me on to a whole new food adventure: soups. At least twice a week for the past month my family has enjoyed heart healthy and hearty soups and stews. From Korean style beef stew with cabbage to slip-pea and pumpkin soup, we’re getting our vegetables and protein and our taste buds are thanking us. Also, we’ve cut down on the last-minute take out runs and frantic snacking that go along with coming home hungry after a long day.
I’ve managed to find alternatives to some of my favorite dishes, like my fall inspired thyme and butternut squash risotto. A recipe that used to call for white rice, now replaced with orzo pasta, eliminating the cream and butter that goes into it during the cooking process. With a little parmesan cheese sprinkled within it, the orzo takes on the same creamy texture as a traditional risotto might (but don’t tell any Italians I said that). I’m still making Cornish hens, and short ribs, but I’m really turning up the flavor with added vegetables like carrots, celery, parsnips, sweet potatoes and greens like kale and collards.
As a working mom and wife I’ve taken on a three tiered rule for our meals for the remainder of 2014, here are my three rules for healthy living through these tempting food months:
- A Colorful Plate – encouraging everyone in the family to have at least three colors on their plate at every dinner time has made a huge difference in the way I see us all eat. It’s a fun way of tricking us into eating more of the good stuff.
- Bake It – Baking our meats allows us more quality time, as the cooking is being done in the actual oven and mom and dad don’t need to be standing over the stove. It also keeps us from pan frying and added unnecessary oil and butter during the cooking process.
- Fruity Desserts – In my family we are sweets people and have dessert almost every night. With the exceptions of Saturday or Sunday nights when we allow ourselves a sinful treat, I’ve been making apples or pears baked with a little olive oil and topped with chopped nuts or granola. Baking the fruit gives it the soft texture we look for in treats.