Simple Healthy Meals to Keep You Warm this Winter
Looking for something nourishing to keep you warm while you’re wrapped up on the couch this winter? Laferla has just what you need with these simple meals that will fight the nasty flu and are guaranteed to be healthy and packed full of flavour. Which one do you want to try first?
Are you or your guests Gluten or Lactose Intolerant? We’ve got you covered with suggestions to make this hearty winter meals gluten free and lactose free!
Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Soup
This delicious, hearty soup is very healthy and easy to make. It’s sure to warm you up on those chilly winter days. For the soup, you will need:
- diced sweet potato,
- one diced butternut squash,
- chopped onions,
- 2-3 crushed cloves of garlic,
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 100ml cream
- Olive oil
Preheat your oven to 200°C, drizzle the sweet potato and the butternut squash with olive oil and bake for roughly 40 minutes. While this is cooking, you can make the stock by frying the onions until soft. Add in the garlic and the vegetable stock (why not add some ground cinnamon & nutmeg for a festive twist?), bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Once the sweet potato and butternut squash are ready, add it to the stock, blend until it’s smooth and then add the cream. Let it simmer for a few more minutes et voilà! Your soup is ready!
Make it Gluten Free: Just double check that your vegetable stock cube doesn’t contain gluten. If it does, you can easily find an alternative or make a fresh stock from home!
Make it Lactose Free: Substitute the cream with lactose free cream, such as soya cream. Your guests won’t be able to tell the difference!
Fish pie is something that’s very familiar to all of us. It certainly needs no introduction. But why not deviate a little from the traditional fish pie and use mashed potatoes as the topping instead of pastry? This option is much healthier and tastes just as good as the original. Don’t worry, your secret family recipe for fish pie will stay the same. All you need to do differently is boil about 1kg of potatoes until they are nice and tender. Drain them and mash them up with a splash of milk and some butter. Scoop the pie fillings into a ceramic baking dish, spread the delicious mashed goodness over it and cook until golden brown and bubbling. This nourishing dish will prepare you for anything winter throws at you.
Make it Gluten Free: If your fish recipe calls for flour to coat the fish or to use as a thickener, use a gum-free gluten free flour instead. Corn flour works great in these cases!
Make it Lactose Free: If your fish recipe calls for milk or cream, find a soya based product as a substitute. For those mashed potatoes, use chicken broth instead of milk and butter!
Another dish that’s healthy and very easy to make, aubergine parmigiana, will keep you full for hours. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the cold weather. For this great Italian dish, you will need:
- 2-3 aubergines (depending on how much you want to make)
- Chopped basil and oregano
- Tomato sauce (buy it in a jar or make it yourself from scratch)
- Buffalo mozzarella
- Grated Parmesan
- Dried breadcrumbs
Cut the aubergines into 1cm thick slices and grill them on both sides until they are slightly charred. Let the disks of aubergine cool for a while and then start placing them in a baking dish. Make one layer of aubergines and then follow up with a layer of tomato sauce, a teaspoon of oregano and basil, a slice of mozzarella over each disk and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Repeat this until you run out of aubergines or space. Garnish the top of the dish with the breadcrumbs and bake it until light brown.
Make it Gluten Free: Use gluten free breadcrumbs, or omit the breadcrumbs altogether.
Make it Lactose Free: Luckily, lactose free mozzarella is becoming readily available. Parmesan cheese on the other hand is naturally lactose free, or at worst, contains trace amounts of lactose which won’t affect most lactose intolerant people (avoid if you’re extremely sensitive).
Stew is the very definition of a hearty meal. There’s nothing quite like stew to warm you to the core and fill you up at the same time. Beef stew is one healthy dish you simply must try this winter. A very easy meal to prepare, you will need:
- 1kg of beef, cubed
- Corn Flour, around two tablespoons
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup of full-bodied Red wine (such as Syrah/Shiraz, Merlot or Cabernet)
- 1/4 cup of Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 ½ cups of Beef broth
- 1 small can of chunky tomato sauce (polpa di pomodoro)
- 3 potatoes, diced
- 4 carrots, chopped
- Thyme and parsley
- You will also need a large metal pot or casserole dish that can be placed in the oven.
Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper and then sear them in a pan until the outside is well-browned. Set aside in a large bowl whilst you prepare the vegetables. Next, fry the onions for 5 minutes or until soft and add the garlic. Add the carrots, thyme and parsley. Fry for a further minute and add the beef cubes (yes, including their juices!) and the red wine. Allow the wine to reduce for a couple of minutes and then add the beef broth and tomato sauce. Next add the potatoes and balsamic vinegar and stir until well combined. Allow to simmer for a few minutes and then place the stew in the oven. Cook for 2 hours at 160°C. To finish off the stew, add some water to the flour and mix into a paste. Add to the stew, mix in gently, and return the stew to the oven for around 15 minutes to thicken.
Make it Gluten Free: Make sure to use corn flour for a naturally gluten free stew. Also be sure that your beef stock and balsamic vinegar are gluten free. Gluten free stock is available at most stores!
This stew is also Lactose Free!
It can be difficult to stay healthy when the weather fluctuates so much this time of year. These dishes will keep you warm and full of energy, but do know that Laferla’s Health Insurance will cover you if you do get sick. Get a free online quote today!