Winter Recipes {Tried and True Family-Favorite Meals}


I’m a new mom. And it’s winter in Ohio. So naturally, if there’s a warm, cozy, unique, and EASY dinner recipe, I am here for it!

When it comes to easy dinners, my husband and I LOVE our slow cooker.

recipesEspecially for preparing the most tender, juicy proteins. I can’t emphasize enough how great it is to throw stuff in there and know that a perfectly cooked meal will be ready by dinner time. A friend let me in on the secret of Mississippi Pot Roast. This recipe could not be easier, and it is so versatile. Make a true pot roast with carrots, potatoes, and onions, and then slap the tender meat between a brioche bun or even roll up some lettuce wraps for a keto-friendly version. My husband’s favorite way to eat this is over rice with a green onion garnish.

Recently, I was visiting my Aunt and noticed a handwritten note titled “Crock Pot Crack Chicken.” It’s not my aunt’s original recipe (she thinks she found it somewhere online), but this chicken, let me tell you, lives up to its name! It is crave-able. A favorite memory from our new life as parents is when my husband and I snuck upstairs for a midnight snack because we couldn’t get enough of this chicken. Again, this versatile preparation can be reiterated in so many ways! For example, I recently replaced the ranch packet with taco seasonings. From there, you just grab your favorite taco fixings, some tortilla chips or shells, and enjoy. Tastes amazing as nachos!

Crock Pot Crack Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion and garlic powder
1 teaspoon parsley
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch
16 oz cream cheese 

Instructions: Put all of the ingredients into the Crock Pot and cook on low for 6 hours.

My husband and I love shopping for fresh produce at Dayton’s local grocery, Dorothy Lane Market. Recently, DLM published two excellent winter recipes in their newsletter. Titled “Low and Slow,” these recipes fill your kitchen with that inviting, homemade aroma. My husband and I teamed up to create these meals and even shared a glass of wine along the way! If you want something a bit more complex than the above recipes, definitely give these a try. Cooking together at home is an excellent date night activity!

P.S. Be sure to try Dorothy Lane Market’s Flat Chicken, especially with the Jamaican Jerk and Southwest marinades. They are amazing! The Jamaican chicken especially is one that we seek out every time we go shopping. Be warned: it is spicy!

When I was in medical training, I used Blue Apron to simplify the process of cooking healthy meals. Having perfectly portioned ingredients and quality recipes delivered to my door made a lot of sense at the time. And I don’t regret it! Blue Apron actually taught me a lot about cooking! Here is a portion of one of my favorite Blue Apron recipes that I’ve made many times over. We’ve even made this for dinner with my parents in the past! It’s a winner!

Blue Apron’s Chipotle-Glazed Meatloaf

(Note: I usually double the recipe!)

10 oz ground beef
1 egg
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoon meatloaf spice blend (ground cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, ground coriander, ground cinnamon)
3 tablespoons golden raisins (I like to use chopped dates)
Sauce: 1 Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
3 tablespoon Ketchup (Note: I always make extra sauce! If you’re pressed for time, try mixing sriracha and ketchup to make it even more simple!)

Instructions: Preheat oven to 450 F. Finely chop the pepper, rough chop the raisins, peel and mince the garlic. In a bowl, combine the ketchup and pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, egg, garlic, breadcrumbs, raisins, and spices. Season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, gently mix until just combined. Place a large piece of foil or parchment paper on a sheet pan. Place the ground beef mixture in the center of the foil. Gently roll and shape the mixture with the foil until it forms a tightly packed loaf, about 10 inches by 3 inches. Flatten the foil to line the pan. (Or try using a meatloaf pan!) Evenly top the loaf with the chipotle ketchup. Place the meatloaf in the oven and bake 20-22 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through. (Use a meat thermometer!) Remove from the oven and let it rest for at least 2 minutes.

In each case, I’ve found great pleasure in taking what I learned from a recipe and applying it to new iterations and variations on the theme of “low and slow.” I’m currently working on fine-tuning my own recipe for one of my favorite dishes, chicken cacciatore! As I enhance my recipe repertoire, I imagine cooking with my daughter someday. That vision of the future warms my heart like a good meal, from the inside out.