Janine Gilbertson's Granite Kitchen: Hearty meals to take the chill out of winter

By JANINE GILBERTSON January 09. 2018 11:36PM
Soba noodles with bone broth and vegetables. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

All the cold weather over the past couple of weeks made it a perfect time to come up with a few hearty, home-cooked meals.

One thing I’ve noticed recently while out shopping for groceries is the proliferation of bone broths. I often shop at a neighborhood health food store, where I notice it both in the fresh-to-go section of the store and also shelved with the chicken, vegetable and beef stocks in the grocery aisles. The regular supermarkets are also offering selections of bone broths. Some are sold like nutrition drinks or as an on-the-go liquid lunch.

With bone chilling temperatures outside, it seemed appropriate to try some bone broth in an Asian-inspired dish of soba noodles.

I chose a bone broth made from chicken and paired it with some pumpkin, ginger and rice soba noodles and some vegetables.

I did a little reading about bone broths and learned that their longer cooking process for bone broths allows for the collagen to steep out of the bones and joints, enriching the broth. (This is fantastic if you’re concerned about aging and skincare, since collagen is a building block for skin.)

This was a fast, easy and delicious dinner on a cold winter night, and seemed especially nourishing when everyones’ bones were aching from shoveling snow in freezing cold weather.

Another hit this week were some meatballs I baked in the oven and finished in the slow cooker.

I used some seasonings I would typically use for burritos or fajitas, such as cumin and coriander, then added some chopped cilantro, rolled up the meatballs and baked them in a broiler pan to allow the fat to drip out as they were cooking. Once the meatballs were baked, I set them in the slow cooker in some diced organic tomatoes. I especially liked that there was very little fat floating around and the sauce picked up some of the flavors from the meatballs. Served over some rice or pasta, this made for a hearty winter dish.

Another easy and nutritious dish for winter is rice and beans. In some parts of the country (not to mention the world), rice and beans are a staple, eaten several times a week. I love checking out the bulk section at grocery stores because they offer far more interesting kinds of rice than you see on a typical grocery shelf. I also like that you can buy as much or as little as you need, which allows you to try different types without purchasing a big bag, only to find out it’s something you don’t like. I especially like pink Himalayan rice, which I cooked with some small red beans, garlic, onion and seasoning. It was nutritious and tasty, and just right on a below-zero night.

Soba Noodles in Bone Broth with Leeks and Carrots

8 oz package soba noodles, such as pumpkin ginger

8 oz container chicken bone broth

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp salt

3/4 cup leeks, sliced

1 cup carrots, sliced

2 tbsp green onions, sliced

red pepper, thinly sliced, for garnish, if desired

Prepare the soba noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside. 

Add the butter to a deep skillet or sauté pan and set over medium high heat. 

Add the leeks, carrots , salt and green onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables have softened. 

Add the bone broth and bring to a boil, then remove from heat. 

To serve, add the desired amount of noodles to a serving bowl (I used about 3/4 of a cup), then use a ladle to add the broth and vegetables (about 1 1/2 cups). 

Garnish with red pepper slices before serving.
Red beans and pink Himalayan rice. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Red Beans and Pink Himalayan Rice

2 cups pink Himalayan rice, cooked

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

3/4 cup chicken stock

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

2 tsp all purpose seasoning, such as Camp Mix

15 oz can red beans

Add the olive oil to a deep skillet or sauté pan and set over medium high heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for about 3 minutes, until the onions have softened. 

Drain the beans and rinse well, then add to the sauté pan. Add the cooked rice, chicken stock, parsley and all purpose seasoning. Mix well, reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the chicken stock is mostly absorbed. 

Remove from heat and serve.
Spanish meatballs (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Spanish Meatballs

1 1/2 lb ground beef

3/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp green onion, chopped

1 tsp Kosher salt

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. 

Add the ground beef, bread crumbs, cilantro, 1/2 cup of green onions, salt, garlic, coriander, and egg to a large bowl. Using your hands, mix the ingredients and combine well. 

Shape the meat into golf-ball sized balls and set on a broiler pan. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until the meatballs are slightly browned. 

Remove from the oven and set the meatballs in a slow cooker. Cover the meatballs with the diced tomatoes and top with remaining green onions. 

Allow the meatballs to cook for 4 to 6 hours; serve over rice or pasta or in rolls for sandwiches.


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