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Warming Meal Ideas

There's definitely nothing more comforting after a long day out in chilly weather than getting cosy and indulging in a big bowl of hearty food. With so many recipes out there to help fill us up and give us that warm fuzzy feeling, here are some of my favourite warming meal ideas:

Slow Cooker Recipes

If you have a slow cooker (or crock pot,) this can come in so handy in the colder months of the year. Mine literally becomes my best friend, especially at the weekends. You can prep your meal in the morning, then leave it all day, merrily cooking away. Then, when you come in from the cold, your food is there waiting to great you, tasting (and smelling) fantastic.

Image Source: GoodtoKnow

Image Source: GoodtoKnow

Chilli Con Carne: All you need are a range of your favourite veggies (my preferences are bell peppers, mushrooms, carrots, onions and celery) some mince -your meat of choice - spices, chopped tomatoes, kidney beans, and chickpeas. Brown off the mince in a frying pan first, then chop all the veggies in to bite-sized chunks, drain the kidney beans and chickpeas and add to the slow cooker along with a dash smoked paprika, fennel seeds, cumin, ground coriander, peppper, and - if you're feeling extra daring - chilli powder. Set cooking settings depending on when you prep your meal, et voila, cook up some rice as an accompaniment, whip out some nachos, guacamole and sour cream for dunking, and you're good to go. It's definitely a crowd pleasing meal in our house!

sausage casserole

Sausage Casserole: Using a similar method to that for the chilli con carne, simply switch the mince for sausages, mix up the spices (or buy a pre-packed mix) and you're good to go. Remember to brown off the sausages first of course - this not only ensures they will cook through, but will make them super-succulent too.

From Scratch

soup

Soup: If you love to cook, or have more time on your hands, how about whipping up a delicious soup? With so many flavour combinations out there, and recipes that are really easy to follow, they are a great alternative to something heavy, and can be taken as handy leftovers the next day too. One of my favourite soups is chicken, especially using leftovers from our Sunday roasts. It certain helps to warm those cockles.

Sausage & Mash: Pretty much a British institution of a meal, bangers and mash is so quick and easy to make. Whether it's veggie sausages or meat, gravy or none, on chilly nights, it's sure to hit the spot. Me? With lots of time on my hands I like to make my mash from scratch, with milk and cream cheese to boot. It makes the mash so thick and creamy. And gravy is a must, with finely chopped onions and a mound of peas on the side...Mmmm, delicious!

Desserts

pinwheels

Mincemeat Pinwheels: Switching up the mince pie tradition, a pud that's a particular party favourite is the mincemeat pinwheel. If you wish, you can make the puff pastry from scratch, but I always opt for the pre-made sheet variety. Roll out the pastry on to a floured board, spread on a thick layer of mincemeat, and roll up in to a swiss roll shape. Cut in to small spiral shapes,  brush the edges with milk, and bake until golden and gorgeously gooey. Then dust with sugar. Eat warm, or wait for them to cool. Either way, they are seriously scrummy.

Image Source: Winner Dinners

Image Source: Winner Dinners

Apple Pie: A classic pud and a goody too. There are recipes for seasoned bakers, or more simple steps to follow if you want an easy, yet still home-cooked finish. And if you don't like baking, apple pies can easily be picked up in your supermarket of choice. A thick, juicy slices always goes down well (especially after Sunday Lunch.) Only think you need to decide is ice cream, or custard?

Now snuggle down with a plate of your favourite winter grub, and get comfy and cosy.

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