Top Five Dinner Recipes for a Cold Night

I didn’t really start cooking until after I graduated college and moved to D.C.  I hate following recipes (I eyeball a lot of ingredients) and like to make easy, but hearty meals. These are my five favorite dinner recipes to make when you want to stay in, have a glass of wine and read a good book.  These are also from memory so please bear with me.

1.  Slow cooker roast

What you’ll need:
-Crock-pot
-Crockpot liners (makes it incredibly easy to clean up)
-2-3 lbs chuck roast (I usually go with a larger roast so I have leftovers)
-1 package of dry onion soup mix
-1 onion (I usually use sweet onion).  I slice onion and place on bottom and on top of roast)
-2 cans of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup
-dash of garlic salt
-medium size red or white potatoes

Preparation:
Throw everything into the crockpot and then put it on low (turn on in the morning before leaving for work).  Will fall apart by the time you come home.

2.  Chicken and Dumplings.

What you’ll need:
-1 whole roasted chicken (can pick up in your deli section at the grocery)
-1 roll of Pillsbury golden layer biscuit (make sure to get the plain kind, not one with honey butter… I made that mistake before)
-2 cubes of chicken bouillon
-2 cups of chicken broth
-4 cups of water
-salt & pepper

Preparation:
Take the roasted chicken and start shredding it (using your hands works the best).  In a large pot, bring the two cups of chicken broth, four cups of water and 2 cubs of chicken bouillon to a boil.  Add shredded chicken.  You can also add other things if you want (carrots, peas, fresh herbs).  I usually just stick to the basics.  Break apart each biscuit.  Then pound each biscuit out to make it flat.  Use a knife (I use a pizza cutter) to slice the dough.  You can either keep them as strips (one biscuit equals around 5 slices) or you can roll them into balls… it all tastes the same no matter how you cut it.  Drop dough into the boiling broth and let them cook for 5-7 minutes.  Serve immediately.

3.  Meatloaf.

What you’ll need:
-1 lb of meatloaf mixture (beef, pork and veal).  Eastern market has a great meatloaf mixture and a great place to roam around on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
-Worcestershire sauce
-1/2 cup of ketchup (for mixture)
-1/2 cup of ketchup (for glaze)
-1/2 cup of brown sugar for glaze
-salt & pepper
-1 cup of panko bread crumbs
-1 egg

Preparation:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, add meatloaf mixture, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, egg, bread crumbs, salt & pepper.  Use your hands to make sure it is mixed thoroughly.  I then cook it in a glass baking dish lined with foil (makes it easier to clean up).  Instead of putting the meat loaf in a bread pan, I shape the meatloaf by hand as best as I can to resemble a “loaf.”  Mix ketchup and brown sugar for glaze.  Pour on top of meatloaf.  Bake for about an hour.  I always check the temperature of the middle of the meatloaf to make sure it has reached 145 degrees.

4.  Bacon pasta.  

What you’ll need:
-1 package of bacon
-a box of your favorite type of pasta (I usually use thin spaghetti for this recipe)
-2 roma tomatoes, diced
-minced garlic (I usually buy it in a can)
-1 small diced onion (usually use a sweet onion)
-1/4 cup of red wine
-Fresh parsley (chopped) (a couple of tablespoons of fresh parley, if you’re using dried parsley, use less)
-Parmesan cheese

Preparation:
Cook pasta according to box (I always add salt to the water.  It’s the only time you can flavor the pasta- thank you Rachel Ray.)  Cut bacon into pieces.  Then cook bacon in pan until crispy.  Place bacon on a towel.  Keep some of the grease from the bacon and add diced onion.  Saute onion and add garlic.  Deglaze with red wine (usually use whatever I have open).  Add pasta, tomatoes, parsley and bacon (mix together).  Top with cheese.

5. Egg drop soup.  An easy recipe to make at home instead of having to order a $15 order minimum Chinese food delivery.

What you’ll need:
-1 can of chicken broth
-1 teaspoon cornstarch
-2 eggs
-1/2 teaspoon of chopped fresh chives

Preparation:   Pour most of the chicken broth in small pot and bring to a boil.  Add remaining broth in a cup and mix in cornstarch.  When smooth, add to the chicken broth.  Whisk two eggs together in separate bowl or cup.  Once the chicken broth starts boiling, slowly pour the egg mixture into broth while whisking it with a fork (this creates the separation of the egg so it will be “stringy” like it is in a Chinese restaurant).  Top with chives and serve.

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2 Responses to Top Five Dinner Recipes for a Cold Night

  1. Lynn Evans says:

    Thanks for sharing these great recipes! They all look super delicious and are perfect for the cold evenings we have been experiencing here in DC (brrr…). I love that these are simple recipes with basic ingredients. I really enjoy trying new things, but hate spending absorbent sums of money on new spices or speciality ingredients that I only use once (because the recipe is to labor intensive to repeat or I just don’t like it enough to make it again). I’ll definitely try these out, especially since I won’t have to spend hours trying to find another recipe that calls for Allspice Berries.

  2. NoTimeFor10 says:

    Thanks Lynn! I think the simpler the better… and I couldn’t stop laughing when I read your “Allspice Berries” comment. That’s so true… I find these awesome recipes that have some obscure ingredient where you need to go to a specialty shop just to pick it up!

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