BRRR, IT’S COLD IN HERE! WINTER HAS US ALL RUGGED UP AND THE HEATER CRANKING. WITH NO SURPRISES, THIS CHANGE IN SEASON COMES WITH A SHIFT IN THE FOODS WE LIKE TO EAT.
Cooler temperatures, more time indoors and less daylight hours all impact on the types of foods we’re drawn to over the winter season. Light salads and refreshing dishes are often sidelined in favour of heartier dishes, with the promise of warming us up from the inside out.
But just because we’re more likely to crave bottomless mugs of steaming hot chocolate or mini mountains of pasta doesn’t mean we should necessarily indulge with reckless abandon - following on from our last blog post, everything is moderation friends!
Food satisfaction is important, however - so today we’re sharing three of our favourite winter recipes. Each are family-friendly, affordable and will totally nail the comfort factor on cooler eves.
A NOTE ON SEASONALITY - WINTER
With each season comes an abundant wave of tasty, locally-grown produce. When we eat seasonally we celebrate the types of fruit and veg that are available naturally, and locally, this time of year.
There are numerous fabulous reasons to consider eating with the seasons - firstly, produce is cheaper, mimicking local supply and demand. When fruit and veg are naturally surplus, they become more inexpensive, leading to savings on your supermarket bill!
Secondly, when produce has been allowed to ripen naturally, and hasn’t had to travel far to get to your plate, it’s typically more nutrient-rich and tastier. Out of season produce picked earlier abroad for transportation and quality purposes just won't be as fresh and delicious!
Thirdly, it’s better on the environment. Fruit and veg that has travelled to us from the other side of the world will have a far larger carbon footprint, compared to what has only had to travel within our home turf.
When shopping for seasonal produce, look at the sign underneath the item to see where it is from - aim to pick items grown in NZ as often as possible!
The recipes below celebrate a number veg in season over the winter months, like:
Dark leafy greens e.g. silverbeet
Remember, you can also make a recipe your own - substitute veggies for whatever is in the crisper, to help keep food waste low and get costs down!
HOMEMADE CHICKEN SOUP
There aren’t may dishes more comforting than a chicken soup on a cold day! Loaded with veggies, noodles and chook, this soulful bowlful is quite the balanced meal.
Makes six-eight servings
To make the broth
1 raw chicken
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
1 medium brown onion, cut into quarters
2 stalks celery, halved
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
Small bunch parsley (including stalks)
1 teaspoon dried dill
2 teaspoons sea salt
Place the raw chicken, carrot, onion, celery and garlic into a large soup/stock pot. Cover with cold water. This will roughly be about 5-6 litres. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1.5 hours with a lid slightly ajar.
Remove from the heat and use tongs to remove the chicken. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes or until it's manageable to handle. Remove all the meat from the bones ( as much as is possible) and return the bones and skin to the pot. Place this back on the heat at a simmer and cook for a further 1.5 - 2 hours. The chicken meat can be shredded and placed in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use for soup.
Add the parsley stalks and dill to the broth and cook for the final 20 minutes. Remove from heat and Ideally leave the broth to sit for 20 minutes before straining (don't worry if you don't have time). Strain through a sieve, discarding the bones and vegetable pieces or saving to make a second stock.
Add the salt and stir well. This broth can be stored in fridge for 5 days in an airtight container or frozen for up to 6 months. Most of the time I'll use half for dinner that night and freeze the other half to use later.
TO MAKE CHICKEN SOUP (WITH OR WITHOUT NOODLES)
Now that you've got your delicious broth you can turn it into some soulful chicken soup!
250g rice noodles (of medium width)
1 large carrot, grated or cut with a julienne peeler
1 large bunch dark greens (I love using de-stemmed silverbeet), sliced into very fine ribbons
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
Extra sea salt as needed
3/4 cup thawed frozen peas
1 small head broccoli, finely diced
3 cups finely shredded green cabbage (this makes a great substitute for noodles if you want to make it low-carb)
Additional herbs as desired; more dried dill & finely chopped fresh parsley
Cook the rice noodles for slightly less time than the package recommends (they'll continue to cook in the hot soup). Drain well and run until cold water to comletely cook. This stops them getting gluggy or over cooking.
Heat broth until boiling. Add the vegetables and cook for just 1 minute. Do not overcook as they'll continue to cook in the hot broth. The vegetables are also best when they still have a little bite and retain their bright colour. Add the noodles and cook for just 10 seconds before removing from the heat. Taste and season generously. A well salted chicken broth is the key to a delicious soup. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
PEANUT SATAY STIR FRY
Everyone needs an easy stir fry recipe up their sleeve - and here's a really tasty one, that’s nutritionally balanced, and will help you jump leaps and bounds towards your 5+ a day!
Makes four servings
GF, DF, option for vegetarian and lower-carb
600g chicken, beef schnitzel or tofu
2 heaped tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp olive/coconut oil
4 tbsp peanuts/cashews
1 head broccoli
1-2 large carrots
1 large white onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
Any other vegetables in the fridge that need to be used up! Right now there’s plenty of brussel sprouts, eggplant, leeks, and chilli available seasonally!
2 cups cooked rice noodles (simply add hot water to dry noodles and leave to sit for 5 minutes)
1/4 cup tamari sauce
1 tbsp liquid honey
Sesame seeds and coriander, optional to garnish
To make the satay sauce, combine tamari, peanut butter, and honey. Mix together and set aside.
Chop all non-starchy vegetable - set aside.
Dice chicken, beef or tofu on a separate chopping board - set aside
Heat oil in a non-stick wok (or a deep fry pan), and add the garlic, onion and chicken.
Sautee for 1-2 minutes and then add in the rest of the non-starchy vegetables and the peanut satay sauce.
Whilst the vegetables are cooking, boil a jug of water, and pour hot water over the rice noodles in a heat-proof bowl. Leave to sit.
Keep stirring the vegetables in the wok until the carrot is cooked through (approx 15mins). Then remove from the heat. Drain the rice noodles, and serve next to the stir-fry OR add the noodles the wok and stir everything together before serving.
Garnish with coriander and sesame seeds (optional).
Thank to our nutritionist Kimberly Bell for sharing this tasty recipe with us. For more on Kimberly head to her website here.
Spagbol - totally easy-breezy to whip up, beloved by the whole family, and a tasty way to get in a whole heap of veggies! This version uses courgette noodles for a lower-carb option.
Makes five-six servings
GF, DF and lower-carb (when made with courgette noodles and beef mince)
1 tbsp oil
1 brown onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 kg prime beef mince (or 2-3x 400g tin of brown lentils for a plant-based option)
2 tins of pureed tomatoes
1 small pottle/140g tomato paste
1 carrot, grated
1 courgette, grated OR a broccoli steam, chopped
2 handfuls of white button mushrooms, sliced
S&P, to taste
1 medium courgette/person (for courgetti noodles - as a guide) or pasta
1. Heat a large fry pan with a drizzle of oil. Stir-fry garlic and onion for around five minutes, or until soft and clear.
2. Add beef mince. Cook until brown all over. If doing a plant-based version, skip this step.
3. Add grated carrot, courgette/broccoli and mushrooms and cook for a further few minutes.
4. Add tins of tomato, tomato paste, and drained and rinsed lentils if using. Mix together well. Turn up heat until sauce begins to boil, then turn reduce to a simmer. Leave for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to thicken sauce.
5. Prepare courgette noodles using a spiraliser - this is a tool you can use to turn vegetables into faux noodes! If you don’t have a sprialiser, you could try using a veggie peeler, aiming to keep peelings as thin as possible, like ribbons.
6. Place the noodles into a colander, sprinkle with salt and leave for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes have passed gently squeeze any excess moisture out of noodles.
7. Add portions of courgette noodles to a bowl, top with cooked bolognese sauce, season with S&P.
NOTE: you can also serve this with regular pasta if desired, however serving with veggie noodles will keep it a lower-carb meal.
Thanks to our nutritionist Danijela for sharing this recipe with us. For more on Danijela head to her website here.
This blog was written especially for our friends at Westpac NZ, who we’re excited to be assisting with their workplace wellbeing this year. It’s thrilling to see a company go the extra mile for their staff!