Let's Warm Up with Home Cooking

Looking for some savory winter dinner ideas?  Digging into a hearty meal that's hot out of the oven somehow makes cold nights a little more manageable. Here are some of our favorite easy dinner recipes we think you'll enjoy.  There are two schools of thought here.  This is not the night you really want a salad as a meal and calories give heat to the body.  So take the plunge and enjoy. If you're still on the fence and want to watch what you eat, we've also included a healthy version of comfort that is equally as tasty. You decide to add the biscuits or cornbread.     

30 Minute Shepheard's Pie

  • 2 pounds of potatoes such as russet, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons of sour cream or softened cream cheese
  • 1 large egg yoke
  • 1/2 cup of cream
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 3/4 pounds of ground beef or ground lamb
  • 1 carrot peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flower
  • 1 cup beef stock or broth
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (optional)


Boil potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl.  Combine sour cream, egg yoke and cream. Add the cream mixture into the potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth.

While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add oil to hot pan with beef or lamb.  Season meat with salt and pepper.  If the pan is fatty from beef or lamb, spoon away some of the drippings.  Add chopped carrot and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat, 5 minutes, stirring frequently. In a second small skillet over medium heat, cook butter and flour together 2 minutes.  Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce.  Thicken gravy 1 minute.  Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas.

Preheat broiler to high.  Fill a small casserole with meat and vegetable mixture.  Spoon potatoes over meat evenly.  Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are evenly browned. Top casserole dish chopped parsley and serve.

Penne a la Vodka

  • 1 large red onion thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 8 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 fluid ounces vodka
  • 12 ounces penne pasta

Cook and drain the penne pasta

In a pan or skillet, add thinly sliced onions, crushed garlic and bacon.  Deglaze (cook until alcohol has evaporated) with vodka, stirring all ingredients together.   Add crushed tomatoes and cream and stir.

Reduce sauce until thickened and season with salt and pepper. Add to pasta, toss and serve.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili - 4 servings

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium to large sweet potato peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili (see note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/2 chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add sweet potato, onion and cook, stirring often until the onion is beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, chipotle and salt and cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds.  Add water and bring to a simmer.  Cover, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the sweet potato is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.  

Add beans, tomatoes and lime juice; increase heat to high and then return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Serve with rice, couscous, biscuits or cornbread 

Note: Chipotle peppers are dried, smoked jalapeño peppers. Ground chipotle chile pepper can be found in the spice section of most supermarkets or online at penzeys.com

Credit: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili -  eatingwell.com

Coco & Cyd are all about finding warmth and comfort, especially as the months grow colder. We value looking and feeling our best, and as you know, we never want to compromise our style. We also never want to compromise our favorite and most warming meals; sometimes it’s important to enjoy and share a hearty, home cooked dinner. Enjoy!  


Thank you so much for joining us today! 

Stop by Tuesday for our next blog post

Quote to take with you for the week:

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

 -Albert Einstein 



Gail KhanComment