As a person who could spend hours looking at healthy recipes, or going to restaurants with the healthy options (fancy turkey burgers and the like), I love indulging. Yes, winter is the time to be healthy, but what’s winter without hot chocolate and comfort foods?! Moderation is key to staying healthy and happy during this chilly season (or just eat all of the lava cake I mention in the article below, which is what I would do). Plus, making these delicious recipes will remind you of how magical winter is (or crappy if you don’t like winter, but the food can help with that). Use these recipes to cheer up a friend, or impress yourself with your cooking ability! Either way, these recipes will definitely put you in a winter spirit!
1. One of my favorite drinks of all time is hot chocolate. Who doesn’t like sweet, rich chocolate in liquid form? Though Starbucks makes a pretty good hot chocolate, it doesn’t compare to a homemade kind, where you can add whatever you want to make it the best drink for you! I personally love dark chocolate, because it gives a very down-to-earth, rich, and smooth flavor. If you don’t like dark chocolate, I recommend using milk chocolate, such as Ghirardelli or Lindt (don’t skimp on the kind of chocolate you get, it will make all of the difference!), or white chocolate. Also, adding peppermint, or chili powder, to this drink gives it a kick. I love adding peppermint oil, since it reminds me of Christmas cookies and walking around a light display.
10 oz dark chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 cups milk
1/2 cup water
1) In a crockpot, combine the chocolate and whipping cream at a low heat, stirring constantly.
2) Once the chocolate and whipping cream are melted together, add your milk and water.
3) Heat until it reaches your desired temperature and pour into your mugs.
4) Pile the whipped cream high! Sprinkle a bit of salt and chocolate shavings on top, and serve
2.Chili is one of the most heartwarming, comforting foods I have ever some across. I remember having it as a kid, and loving the sweetness and spiciness it brought to my mouth; I also love beans, and these are chalked full of them. Chili is very versatile; you can add whatever your heart (or stomach) desires, and you can make it as healthy or hearty as you want! This specific recipe reminds me of Thanksgiving, or the end of fall and the new transition into winter. Pumpkin spice might not seem the best thing to put in chili, but it adds a new depth to it that might surprise you. You can substitute a bunch of ingredients with this recipe, like ground beef or chicken for ground turkey, and using more spices instead of just pumpkin pie spice and chili powder (cumin, garlic, paprika, oregano). The biggest recommendation I can give you here is to make cornbread with this; these two dishes go together like two peas in a pod (food pun intended).
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
1 15 oz. can chili beans
1 15 oz. can seasoned black beans
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add ground turkey and chopped onion. Continue to cook until ground turkey is crumbly and no longer pink, and then drain and discard any fat.
Transfer cooked turkey and onions to a slow cooker and stir in all remaining ingredients. Set crock pot to the low heat setting. Cover and cook for 3 hours.
3.If you couldn’t tell by now, I absolutely LOVE anything and everything having to do with chocolate. My favorite dessert always includes some type of hot fudge, or chocolate. This recipe is my go-to when I am having a couple of friends over, or if I am cooking for my family. The best part about it is that you can leave it in the crockpot and cook dinner, which helps with time management. To make things simpler, you can use a prepared boxed cake, but if you have the time and resources, make the homemade version below and get ready to have the BEST cake you will ever eat in your entire life. This dessert is perfect for a cold day, when all you want to do is eat and watch cheesy Christmas movies.
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup smooth or chunky peanut butter
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups boiling water
Vanilla ice cream for serving
- Coat a medium round or oval slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center, add the milk, oil, and vanilla, and stir in widening circles, gradually incorporating the dry ingredients, until you have a smooth batter. Stir in the peanut butter. The batter will be thick. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spread evenly in the crockpot.
- Coat a medium round or oval slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center, add the milk, oil, and vanilla, and stir in widening circles, gradually incorporating the dry ingredients, until you have a smooth batter. Stir in the peanut butter. The batter will be thick. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spread evenly in the crockpot.
- To make the topping, in another medium-size bowl, combine the cocoa, and sugar; pour in the boiling water and whisk until smooth. Gently pour over the batter in the cooker; DO NOT STIR. Cover and cook on HIGH until puffed and the top layer is set, 2 to 2 ½ hours.
- Turn off the cooker and let it stand, covered for 30 minutes before serving.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.