Stepping Out

Winter cuisine

Cozy up in the kitchen and bring our your chef skills


Winter’s recent blast reminds us that home is often the best place to be this time of year. So settle in for some cozy winter nesting and find some inspiration in the kitchen. Gather family and friends for some conversation and great food.

Bring everyone into the kitchen and see who has the chops to be a ‘Top Chef” in your group. Get inspired with some tasty, comforting foods to warm body and soul.

Keep warm with hearty dishes that satisfy appetites and comfort food cravings. By using natural ingredients, relying on veggies and lean proteins, you can create many tempting meals that are tasty and healthful.

The potato, for example, can be used as a starting point for a creative meal. From russets to reds, fingerlings to purples, the hearty potato comes in many beautiful varieties that add color and texture to beloved comfort dishes.

One Healthy Spud

Think beyond the French fry. Potatoes also boast many benefits to your diet. Here are few reasons to add this versatile vegetable into meals:

Potassium: Potatoes are a great source of potassium, which may help lower high blood pressure, making them a heart-healthy choice. In fact, potatoes contain more potassium than a banana or spinach.

Vitamins: A spud a day may keep the cold germs away. One medium-sized spud has nearly half the recommended daily value of vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin B6.

Dietary fiber: Potatoes are also a source of dietary fiber, a complex carbohydrate, which is known to increase satiety and help with weight loss.

Gluten free: Potatoes are a naturally gluten-free food, so those with gluten sensitivity can enjoy this flavorful vegetable.

Try out these recipes for inspiration.

Country Stew

5 pounds bone-in short ribs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 cups water

1 1/3 cups Zinfandel wine

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 beef bouillon cubes

6 large potatoes, washed, peeled and


1/2 pound small fresh mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed

1 package (10 ounces) frozen whole green beans

1 can (16 ounces) peeled whole tomatoes, undrained

Dredge ribs in flour to coat; reserve leftover flour.

Heat oil in 8-quart Dutch oven on moderate heat. Add half of ribs and brown on all sides. Once browned, remove ribs. Repeat instructions for remaining ribs.

Stir in the reserved flour. While stirring, add 1 cup water and wine and stir until thickened.

Return ribs to the pan. Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper and bouillon and bring to a boil.

Cover and lower heat to simmer for about 1 hour, or until ribs are tender.

Remove ribs with slotted spoon and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add potatoes, mushrooms and beans. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add ribs and tomatoes with liquid, and heat through.

Use slotted spoon to remove meat and vegetables to large serving platter.

Remove gravy to serving container and serve with ribs. Yield: 6 servings.

Healthy Potato Lasagna

2 links Italian turkey sausage (3 1/2 ounces each)

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon dried basil or Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 egg white

2 cups marinara sauce, divided

1 1/4 pounds yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced, divided

1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Remove sausage from casing and crumble into medium skillet with onion.

Cook for 10 minutes or until both are browned, breaking up sausage with back of spoon.

Stir together ricotta, basil, garlic powder and egg white in small bowl.

Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce in bottom of 9-inch square baking dish.

Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the dish, forming solid layer with no gaps.

Drop 1/2 ricotta mixture in spoonfuls over top and spread out just a little.

Sprinkle with 1/3 of mozzarella and 1/2 sausage mixture.

Add 1/2 cup more sauce then repeat potato, cheese and meat layers.

Top with last layer of potatoes, remaining sauce and mozzarella. Cover with plastic wrap and make small slit to vent.

Microwave on high for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Yield: 4 servings.

Turkey Green Bean Chili with Cheesy Corn Fritters

1 pound ground turkey breast

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 (14.5-ounce each) cans chili style diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 (14.5-ounce) can cut green beans, drained

Corn Fritters:

1 (8.5 oz.) package corn muffin mix

1 large egg, beaten

2/3 cup milk

1 cup whole kernel corn, canned or frozen

1/3 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

Cook turkey, onion, bell pepper and garlic over medium heat in a large pot for 8 to 10 minutes or until meat is brown and vegetables are tender; drain.

Stir in tomatoes, water and cumin. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in green beans. Serve with cheesy corn fritters.

For cheesy corn fritters, combine muffin mix, egg, milk, corn and cheese in a large bowl. Heat oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. For each fritter, pour about 3 tablespoons of batter into hot skillet. Cook 4 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Keep cooked fritters warm in a 200 F oven while cooking the remaining fritters.

Skillet Gnocchi with Chard and White Beans

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup water

6 cups chopped chard leaves, (about 1 small bunch) or spinach

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings

1 (15-ounce) can white beans, rinsed

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat, for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add chard (or spinach) and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, beans and pepper and bring to a simmer. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan.

Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes.