Tasty one-pot meals for a winter's eve, comfort food recipes - sausage, red beans, rice, pasta, soup

One day Mother Nature's giving us the cold shoulder combined with shouts of chilly wind, and the next she's sharing her hot flashes, leaving us questioning what happened to the four seasons of the year.

While we can't control her disposition, there are ways to comfort ourselves throughout her moody behavior -- and it's as simple as a one-pot meal.

For more recipes go to our Food section at http://bit.ly/kjrhfood

Yes, the food behaviorists will tell you never to eat for comfort, but, as in all things, moderation is the key. Besides, comfort food needn't necessarily be unhealthful.

From Southern Living's Pot-Likker Soup to McCormick's Tuscan Pasta, these recipes will help shepherd you through the winter weather's erratic behavior.


Yields 6-8 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups refrigerated pre-chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped carrot

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (1-pound) ham hock

4 (1-pound) packages fresh collard greens, cleaned, trimmed and chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onion and carrot, and saute 4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; saute 1 minute.

Place vegetables, 4 cups water, ham hock and remaining ingredients in a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for one hour. Reduce heat to low, and cook five hours or until ham falls off the bone.

Remove ham hock from slow cooker. Remove ham from bone, discarding bone. Chop ham, and stir into soup.

-- "Southern Living Big Book of Slow Cooking" (Oxmoor House)


Yields 6 servings

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound zucchini and/or yellow squash, sliced

1 package (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms

1 small onion, chopped

6 ounces spaghetti or linguine

Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Mix tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar and seasonings in medium saucepan. Bring to boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add zucchini, mushrooms and onion; cook and stir 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp. Stir tomato sauce into vegetables.

Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed on package. Drain well. Place pasta in serving bowl. Add vegetable mixture; toss well. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Nutritional values: 213 calories, fat 5 g, carbohydrates 34 g, cholesterol 0 mg, sodium 538 mg, fiber 3 g, protein 8 g

-- www.McCormick.com


Yields 8 servings

1 (16-ounce) package dried red beans

1 pound smoked sausage, sliced

1 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup chopped parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

3 garlic cloves, minced

Hot cooked rice

Hot sauce

Chopped green onions

Rinse and sort beans according to package directions. Cover with water 2 inches above beans; let soak eight hours. Drain and place in a 5-quart slow cooker.

Saute sausage and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until sausage is browned and onion is tender.

Stir sausage mixture, 5 cups water, parsley and spices into beans. Cover and cook on low eight hours. Mash beans with a potato masher or the back of a spoon to desired consistency.

Serve with rice and hot sauce; sprinkle with green onions.

-- "Southern Living Big Book of Slow Cooking" (Oxmoor House)


Yields 6 servings

4 cups cubed winter vegetables (cut into 1/2-inch pieces), such as carrots, butternut squash, parsnips or sweet potatoes

1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1-1/2 pounds boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes

3/4 cup chicken broth

3 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup dry red wine or apple juice

3 cups prepared mashed potatoes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss winter vegetables and onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil on large baking sheet. Roast 20 minutes or until vegetables are golden.

Meanwhile, cook and stir beef in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in large skillet on medium-high heat five minutes or until beef is browned. Add roasted vegetables, chicken broth, bay leaves, thyme, pepper, salt and wine. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Remove bay leaves from stew before serving. Serve stew over mashed potatoes.

Nutritional values: 406 calories, fat 18 g, carbohydrates 33 g, cholesterol 59 mg, sodium 745 mg, fiber 6 g, protein 28 g.

-- www.McCormick.com

(Contact Mary Constantine of the Knoxville News Sentinel in Tennessee at constantinem@knoxville.com.)

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