Cold Weather Culinary Comforts


Breakfast Cookies – A great grab and go, guilt free breakfast item.  Or, it’s simply a great treat for when a cookie craving hits! (forgot to snap a pic – oops)


Roasted Tomato Soup with Oven Baked Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches  – This is where it’s at when it comes to tomato soup. When you add the Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich, your life will be complete.  I’m not even kidding!

Pan Seared Balsamic Marinated Chicken and Lemon & Garlic Roasted Broccoli  – This dinner option may not seem all that interesting at first read. At first bite, you’ll appreciate its flavor and simplicity.  #30minutedinner

Indian Summer Chili – I don’t know why this is a “summer chili.” It is fantastic year round.  Get used to this recipe…it’s on repeat in my house often.  If you don’t like spicy chili, cut back on the hot sauce – it’s definitely spicy!

Arugula and Feta Farro with Pan Seared Chicken Sausage – This is a repeat recipe too.  It’s also a quick, impressive dinner option -great for entertaining.  It’s crazy easy, yet it tastes like hours of kitchen time was spent creating it. I usually double this recipe to ensure we can enjoy it all over again at lunch.  

Hope something makes your belly smile.

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 Breakfast Cookies

Adapted from Weelicious

Dry Ingredients
1 c. whole white wheat flour
2 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. sea salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. flax seeds

 Wet Ingredients
1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (alternative: soften coconut oil)
1/2 c. organic, unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 c. pure maple syrup (alternative: honey)
1 large organic egg
2 t. organic vanilla extract

 Stir In Ingredients
1/2 c. organic raisins (alternative: dried, unsweetened cranberries or cherries)
1/2 c. shelled pistachios, optional

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.  In a larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. You can do this by hand or alternatively in a mixer.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir a few times by hand.  Finally, fold in the stir in ingredients by hand.  Use a large scoop to create individual cookie dough mounds. Bake on a silicone lined baking sheet or baking stone for 12-15 minutes (slight browning at the edges = done).

Roasted Tomato Soup with Oven Baked Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Adapted Food Network  

1 lb. organic vine-ripened tomatoes
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil (1 T. + 2 T.)
1/2 c. finely sliced fresh basil leaves
sea salt and black pepper, freshly ground
3 garlic cloves, minced
1(28 oz.) can crushed or whole tomatoes (preferably, San Marzano tomatoes)
28 oz. water (tip: refill the can of tomatoes)
1/2 loaf 100% whole grain sourdough bread, broken into bite sized pieces
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional topping)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Quarter the tomatoes and place on a baking sheet.  Drizzle the tomatoes with 1 T. of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  Toss the tomatoes with your hands to evenly cover with oil and salt.  Roast in the oven for approximately 15 – 20 minutes until the edges are browning slightly.

In the meantime, heat a stock pot to medium heat.  Add the remaining 2 T. of olive oil, fresh basil, minced garlic.  Sauté the basil for one minute, stirring constantly.  Add the canned tomatoes and water (refill the tomato can with water to get all of the tomato and their juices).  With a wooden spoon, break up the tomatoes (if using canned whole tomatoes).  Season with freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Stir in the bread.  When they are ready, add the roasted tomatoes.  Scrape the baking sheet to get all of the roasted bits and remaining oil.  Allow the soup to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. (I like to use a hand held immersion blender to puree the soup just a bit).   Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.


  • Reserve a few roasted tomatoes for the Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (see recipe below)
  • The original recipe calls for “day old” bread. This is not essential.  You can use bread straight from the bread bag.  It won’t impact the recipe in the least.

Oven Baked Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches


Sandwiches Ingredients
100% whole grain sourdough bread
Organic mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded
organic tomatoes, very thinly sliced (alternative: several roasted tomatoes from the soup recipe)
fresh basil leaves

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Assemble the sandwiches as if you were making them for the traditional skillet version.  Sandwich order: bread, cheese, basil leaves, tomato slices, a bit more cheese, bread).  Place buttered side down on a baking sheet.  Bake for approximately 8 minutes on each side. Check the sandwiches a few minutes early to ensure the bottoms are not getting too dark.

Balsamic Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts with Lemon & Garlic Roasted Broccoli

¼ c. balsamic vinegar
1 T. Dijon mustard
Freshly ground sea salt and pepper
3-4 organic chicken breasts

Directions: Seal chicken breasts in a large Ziploc bag with marinade ingredients.  Marinade for at least 4 hour (preferably overnight).  Pan sear the chicken on both side until thoroughly cooked.

Note: If making to serve with Lemon & Garlic Roasted Broccoli (recipe below), begin pan searing the chicken once the broccoli has begun roasting.

Lemon & Garlic Roasted Broccoli

1 bunch of broccoli, separated into florets
2-3 T. olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Parmesan cheese, grated (topping)
Fresh lemon juice (topping)

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 (bake, NOT convection). In large bowl, toss the broccoli, olive oil, salt/pepper, & garlic.  Arrange in a single layer on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes (at 10 minutes, flip the veggies with a spatula).  After removing from the oven, sprinkle with cheese and freshly squeezed lemon. Serve immediately.

Indian Summer Chili 

Adapted from Rachel Ray


3-4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 lbs. organic ground turkey breast (not 99% fat free)
4 T. chili powder (check ingredients to avoid preservatives)
4 T. grill seasoning blend (check ingredients to avoid preservatives–Kroger’s Grill Time Chicken is a good option)
2 T. ground cumin
2 T. Worcestershire sauce, optional (alternative: balsamic vinegar)
1 – 3 T. hot sauce, medium to extra-spicy (several ingredients add heat – start slow and add more when tasting at the end)
1-2 large organic onion, chopped
2-4 large organic green or other color peppers, chopped
1 bottle of stout beer
2 (14 or 16-ounce) cans organic tomato sauce
1 can organic diced tomatoes (Carly: organic fire roasted tomatoes)
1 c. organic smoky barbecue sauce (or make your own – recipe below)
2-3 c. organic, frozen corn, optional
plain Greek yogurt (optional topping)
crumbled organic tortilla chips (optional topping)
organic cheddar, shredded (optional topping)

Directions: Heat large, stock pot (or large Dutch oven) to medium heat. Add olive oil to coat bottom of pan. Add turkey, chili powder, grill seasoning, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce.  Mix ingredients and break up the turkey into tiny bits.  Continue cooking until turkey is no longer pink (approx. 5-7 min.). Add onions and green peppers and cook until softened (about 5 min.). Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil.  Immediately reduce heat to barely simmering.  Cover and allow to simmer for at least 20 min.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Adapted from The Gracious Pantry
1 (15 ounce) can organic tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can organic tomato paste
1 t. low sodium soy sauce
2 t. cumin
1 t. paprika
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 T. garlic powder (alternative: 3-4 garlic cloves, minced)
1 T. onion powder
4 T. unsulfured molasses
3 T. raw honey
5 T.  balsamic vinegar
Directions: In a medium bowl, add all ingredients and stir to combine. Store unused BBQ sauce in the refrigerator.

Arugula and Feta Farro with Pan Seared Chicken Sausage

Adapted from Organize Yourself Skinny  

Lemon Garlic Dressing Ingredients
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
2 lemons, juiced
¼ t. sea salt and pepper

Farro Ingredients
2 c. farro (whole grain)
4 c. organic chicken broth (alternatives: vegetable broth or water)
2 c. organic arugula (OR organic kale), reserve the remaining greens for the salad
1c. + ½ c. feta cheese, grated

(Tip: Buy a block of feta and grate it myself. Prepackaged feta crumbles have additives!)

Directions: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt/pepper and set aside.

(Note: One-half will be used for this recipe.  I reserve the remaining for a fantastic salad dressing.)

In a medium size stock pot, add the farro and broth.  Bring to a boil and then immediately reduce to a simmer.  Cover and cook per the package instructions.

Prepare the chicken sausage by pan searing while the farro is simmering.

Drain the farro and return it to the stock pot.  Mix in the greens (arugula or kale) and feta to the warm farro.  Once the greens have wilted, pour ½ of the lemon-garlic olive oil over the top and mix to combine.  Season with sea salt/pepper to taste.

Serve the chicken sausage alongside the farro.  Alternatively, slice the cooked chicken sausage and stir it into the prepared farro.


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