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Friday, September 25, 2020

My favorite midwinter dishes

Photo by Molly Todd

By Molly Todd

Calling all those who are looking for easy, cozy tasting, healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan meals during these cold months. Welcome, you’ve come to the right place.

Finding the motivation to cook your own meals every single day can be challenging, along with making those meals somewhat healthy whenever you get around to grocery shopping during those busy college student schedules.

For me, one of my priorities is cooking satisfying meals for myself and I oddly love grocery shopping more than most people I meet. However, I’ll admit I sometimes have a 10 o’clock dinner of honey nut cheerios and some ice cream.

If you’re still reading and can relate to these dilemmas while also trying to thrive as a college student, then you’re in for a treat. I will show you four of my favorite meals this season. These are easy to make, all gluten-free and dairy free and one is vegan.

Yams and sweet potatoes have been my all around favorite vegetable lately (are potatoes still considered vegetables?). The easiest and most delicious way to cook them is to dice the yam into pieces about ¼-½ inch thick and place them on a pan, drizzled with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), salt and pepper. It’s that simple. Pop those in the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees, remembering to flip them over halfway through.

Photo by Molly Todd

While those are roasting and glistening with olive oil, I grab a few kale leaves and cut out the stems of the leaf and throw them into the compost. With a pan on medium heat with vegan butter melting, toss the chopped up kale pieces in. Saute those pieces with light salt for about 8 minutes or until crispy (crisp to your liking).

Photo by Molly Todd

This is where the magic happens. Once the yams have finished, I check to see if they’re finished and if the edges of the potato are a little brown, but the center can easily be broken by a fork, it’s perfect.

Then place the roasted yam pieces on the plate and toss the sauteed kale on top. Boom. Done. A recipe that can be used as a side or as a main with other veggies added in or tofu for those who are seeking a vegan option that is filling.

Photo by Molly Todd

When I decide to roast yams, I go ahead and use the whole potato so I’m working with leftovers for breakfast the next morning.

With a few extra minutes set aside between waking up and rushing to class, I grab some leftovers out of the fridge and start with a couple scrambled eggs for breakfast. While the eggs are warming up, I saute some fresh kale, using the same process as above. Next, I simply grab my roasted yams from the night before, dice them into cubes and toss them in with the egg scramble for a more crunchy texture.

Voila, there you have it. In just under 10 minutes, you have a egg scramble (add on toppings as you like, I suggest salt, pepper and garlic powder) with crunchy roasted yams and sauteed kale.

Photo by Molly Todd

For those who know me, know I’m a fan of the “Bon Appetit” food magazine. While it remains as one of the only popular food magazines centered around quality and the art of making food, the recipes are to die for.

For this post, I will be introducing two of their recipes. Both are easy, and both are the type you want to enjoy while cozied up next to a fireplace.

Fast forward to dinner: chicken rice soup with garlicky chile oil from “Bon Apetit’s” extension called “Basically,” which includes easy to make, minimal ingredient recipes.

To start off, I want to note I made some modifications to this recipe just because I make soup almost every week and know what I like to add in for that extra flavor. Go ahead and follow this recipe as you like, but one of the major things I changed from the recipe was that the original asks for 8 cups of water for the main liquid of the soup and I added chicken broth and coconut milk.

Photo by Molly Todd

Coconut milk makes the soup creamier without having to use cream (note I’m sticking with the dairy-free concept) and chicken broth adds a stronger flavor and not to mention the health benefits as well. (Photo below is the finished soup, topped with fresh dill.)

Photo by Molly Todd

This next recipe is sweet but can be modified to make less sweet for those who want more of a normal bread to eat with dinner; but I prefer this as dessert. What “Bon Appetit” calls their best banana bread ever, is what I call one of the best I’ve ever tried. The trick to making this is using the most ripe bananas you’ve ever seen in your life (we’re talking almost all the way black), this makes the bread sweet enough so that you don’t need to add so much brown sugar.

Photo by Molly Todd

Although the recipe asks you to make things in separate bowls, I’m a one bowl type of person when it comes to breads like this because it’s going to all end up together anyways. Adding in walnuts or any type of nuts and dairy-free chocolate chips is optional but I highly recommend it. I also added a couple modifications to make it gluten-free and dairy-free.

The recipe asks for butter, yogurt and chocolate chips, but I used almond milk yogurt, dairy-free butter and chocolate chips that just included cocoa so no dairy there. Pop this bread into the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

While following recipes can make the process of cooking easier, it’s always fun to add in or take out things for your liking. If any of these recipes sound like something you may enjoy, try them out. I encourage others to try new dishes, even if at first glance they seem different. As always, happy cooking and happy eating.

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