Seasonal Sundays (Week 3) Winter Dinners

Seven cold-weather supper recipes, guaranteed to fill our kitchens with enticing aromas and feed our bodies simple whole foods. These are the recipes I'm not letting winter pass without making at least once ... you too, I hope?

Seasonal Sundays, a weekly newsletter ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

As ever, thank you for welcoming me into your InBox and RSS feed reader. It's your kitchens, your lives, conjured while writing ...

So far, our "dry January" is confined to snow: we waken not to a winter wonderland but a skiff of frost creating window views straight from Carl Larsson paintings. (Word Dancers! Word-wise, is meteorological frost related to culinary cake icing? If it is, let's keep up that light touch instead of veritable drifts ... )

But let me say the quiet part out loud: I LOVE JANUARY.

So I scoffed when opening a "decorating for spring" post from a well-known blogger this week. Really? I maybe spied daffodil fronds peeking out on New Year's Day but that's worrisome climate change, not spring. I'm maybe seeing fresh asparagus in the grocery but that's imported from Mexico, not even from California. It's that moment in mid-January noticeably minutes longer with sunsets notably brighter but #notspring.

Even more: I LOVE COOKING IN WINTER. Somehow, these winter meals, started just at dark, feel more like culinary alchemy than the easy assemblies of summer.

Perhaps it's the stamp of a long-time seasonal cook, embracing the succession of seasons.

So rather than wishing away these next few weeks and even months of cold-weather food, or getting distracted by an early Easter, today I've gathered some of the dinners I just don't want us (any of us) to miss. If you're of similar mind ... you're going to love this week's recipe collection.

About the Photo By Popular Request, a Little Insight into the Top Image: It's not just Robert Frost who appreciates walking through lovely woods dark and deep on a snowy evening ...

In Praise Of . ..

  • ... a dog who insists on love and scritches two or three times a day, refusing to acknowledge pleas for "later" or "I'm working now" and reminding us me to just stop for a moment and revel in another of life's great pleasures, canine and human.

  • ... pre-cut parchment for roasting vegetables, baking cookies, "slings" for quick breads, "bases" for charcuterie platters. I pooh-poohed anything but rolls of parchment for the longest time but oh, precut parchment is an $8.50 luxury ...

  • ... hot sandwiches to go with soup, just use a roll instead of bread for your sandwich, fill as usual, wrap in foil and bake in the oven at 425F for 15 minutes.


Chicken Curry ♥, one-pot supper reminiscent of London's best take-away curries. Great with beef, too!

Chicken Cacciatore ♥, the classic Italian dish, often called Hunter's Stew. Chicken in a wine-savory tomato sauce, one of my very oldest recipes.

Cast Iron Meatloaf ♥, my go-to meatloaf recipe, tender, moist and full of flavor thanks to milk-soaked bread crumbs and a pile of chopped vegetables that melt into the meatloaf.
  • THE RECIPE Cast Iron Meatloaf My go-to recipe for meatloaf.
  • ANOTHER TAKE Elk Meatloaf Adapted from the easy Quaker Oats meatloaf with ground beef, elk, bison, venison or even turkey.

Slow-Cooked or Slow Cooker Pot Roast ♥, four easy tricks for tender, moist and flavorful pot roast. Low Carb. Weight Watchers friendly.

Milk-Braised Pork Roast ♥, slow-cooked in milk with garlic and spices yielding tender, succulent meat with a milk gravy.

Split-Pea Soup with Sausage & Kale, another classic soup ♥ Gluten Free. Easy to convert to vegan.

Chicken Stew with Chickpeas & Kale ♥, a hearty, one-pot supper dish for the stovetop or slow cooker, with warm spices and fresh vegetables. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Carb. High Protein. Gluten Free. Great for Meal Prep.

What's New?!

Wondering about a recipe from the last while? Check Recent Recipes from Kitchen Parade and Recent Vegetable Recipes from A Veggie Venture.

The Homemade Pantry ♥, a special collection of recipes for ingredients and dishes we could easily buy but choose to make from scratch at home because they taste better, cost less, have fewer or higher-quality ingredients or are simply more convenient.
  • THE COLLECTION The Homemade Pantry Recipes for foods we could buy but choose to make from scratch.

A Quick Peek Into a Real-Life Kitchen

Since Christmas, I've focused almost entirely on cooking from the fridge, the freezer, the pantry, buying no more than milk, eggs and salad greens for quite awhile now. How long can I keep this up? We'll see!

But pantry cooking means our evening meals have been some times, well, let's call it "interesting".

My mom's Saturday Soup still appeals, decades later: she shopped for groceries on Saturday afternoon so used up all the odd bits and pieces in the fridge beforehand. The trick is to use it all up but to have nothing leftover. You definitely don't want "leftover leftovers" soup.

But me, to use up leftovers, I lean on three recipes that seem to take anything I throw at 'em and always taste wonderful, not like "leftovers" at all.

Useful? I hope so! Hello, a beef stew, a lentil soup and a meaty soup.

So let's call this ...

How to Use Up Leftovers In Ways That Don't Taste Like Leftovers

Winter Stew ♥, a master recipe for a wintry meat and vegetable stew, a concept recipe that's been much-tested with many combinations of meats and vegetables, liquids and more. Shown here, elk meat, butternut squash, sherry and dried apricots.
  • RECENTLY Our fridge is full of beef so I used part of a round steak, then threw in cranberry sauce, some cooked chickpeas, some roasted mushrooms, a sweet potato and some drying-out mini potatoes, used up the last of the summery Pimm's, the gin-based liqueur. My husband was all-over this!
  • THE RECIPE Winter Stew A master recipe, cook with confidence, no recipe required.

Hamburger Soup ♥, a hearty meat and vegetable soup, easy comfort food.
  • RECENTLY We had tons of sausage leftover from our New Year's (that Finnish tradition of sausage and potato salad, sooooo love that!) and so instead of using hamburger, I threw in a bunch of bits of different sausages, the favorite here was one we didn't actually like much at New Year's, a Polish bologna, here it was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I added an extra pepper or two, skipped the corn, threw in some cooked wild rice but definitely kept that bit of pasta, just a small amount, itself using up some leftover dried pasta.
  • THE RECIPE Hamburger Soup A hearty soup with chunks of meat and a cornucopia of bright-colored vegetables.

Oven-Cooked Lentil Soup, meaty and hearty, cooked in the oven on low heat. Weight Watchers Friendly.
  • RECENTLY More sausage, plus some of the leftover Winter Stew got used here. Plus I skipped the canned tomatoes and the tomato sauce and instead used an open carton of tomato soup (that Roasted Tomato and Pepper Soup from Trader Joe's that's so good). Plus more odds and ends.
  • THE RECIPE Oven-Cooked Lentil Soup Meaty and hearty, cooked in the oven on low heat.

Just Updated!

How to Save Money on Groceries ♥, a multi-part series packed with practical tips and ideas.

Oven-Baked Brown Rice ♥, one to make again and again, even brown rice turns out moist and almost nutty. Totally easy! Rave reviews!

Mediterranean Eggplant, another Quick Supper ♥, a quick, easy & tasty vegetarian supper, just eggplant, zucchini and tomato (fresh or canned) with a little feta stirred in. One Pot. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Carb. Gluten Free.

DIY Homemade Foot Lotion ♥, take care of your feet, just three easy-to-find and inexpensive ingredients.

Something to Read

I couldn't put down The Language of Flowers, a 2011 book that combines two favorites, something new (here, the Victorian practice of assigning meaning to certain flowers) and memorable characters (here, a cast of strong female characters of different ages).

So much so that once I finished, I skipped over my looooong to-read list to open up We Never Asked for Wings, her 2015 book which, hey! also combines something new (feather art) with interesting characters (again, a cast of interesting women, teens and children).

Diffenbaugh was born in 1978 so should have years of books ahead of her. That said, she's published nothing new in eight years and her own website is not just on life support but dead. Fingers crossed for new work!

Don't Be a Stranger ...

I'd love to hear from you. Comment, send me a quick e-mail (my current address is in the FAQs), dot-dash in Morse code, build a fire for smoke signals, launch a message in a bottle, send a Christmas letter, get the dog to yip, toss me a note wrapped in a rubberband, write a message in the sky, scratch a note in the sand, listen to a seashell, tuck a question into a plastic Easter egg, whatever.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. When you make my recipes, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below or better still, on the specific recipe's page.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.