cold weather recipes

Our family LOVES great food!

Regardless of the season, inside at the table or outside at the pool, our family loves to eat well!

Below you'll find some of my most favorite recipes that have satisfied friends and family for years, and sometimes decades. 

When the weather turns cold, we enjoy hearty, tasty foods that not only fill our bellies, but nourish our family ties and backgrounds. The dishes are simple to prepare and can be "adjusted" to your particular liking - heck, I've done it myself! Cooking is not a chore, it's a bit of artistry... the colors of the ingredients, the blending of flavors. Every pinch is important! 

Here's a list of what you'll find here:

Tuscan stew

Ron's Seafood Chowder

Siberian Borscht

Easy Family Chicken

Thanksgiving Stuffing

Barbara's Chili & Cornbread



Tuscan stew (zuppa Toscanan)

Tuscan stew... something for everyone!

Nice & hearty on that cold night. Rich, smooth, meaty. 

1/2 lb. Italian sausages (use spicy to get that hearty flavor)
8 med sized frozen meatballs
1/2 to 3/4 cup ham or pork, cubed

1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken breast, cubed

1/2 to 3/4 cup steak or lamb, cubed
4-6 all-purpose potatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
½ red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms (I like portabella)
4 slices REAL bacon (thick sliced is better)
2 tbsp. minced garlic (about 3-4 cloves)
5 cups chicken broth or stock
1 cup kale or Swiss chard or baby spinach, coarsely chopped
¾ cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
½ cup sour cream
¾ cup milk
3 tbsp. flour
Butter or margarine
Vegetable oil
Olive oil
Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

1. Brown sausage links, bacon & meatballs in a sauté pan. Reserve about 2 tbsp. drippings to the side.
2. Cut links in half lengthwise, then cut slices. Cut meatballs into quarters or eighths.
3. Lightly sauté onion, garlic & red pepper in 2 tbsps. vegetable oil & 2 tbsp. olive oil.
4. Sauté mushrooms (until soft & golden brown) in 2 tbsps. butter or margarine & 2 tbsps. vegetable oil. Add small amounts of water to steam as needed.
5. Place sausage, bacon & meatballs, chicken broth, garlic, potatoes, onion, peppers & mushrooms, in slow cooker. Add just enough water to cover the vegetables and meat. Add bacon & sausage drippings.
6. Cook on high 3-4 hours (low 5-6 hours) until potatoes are soft.

30 minutes before serving:
1. Mix flour into milk removing lumps. Stir into soup. Stir in sour cream.
2. Add tomatoes & spinach to the crock pot, stir.
3. Cook on high 30 minutes or until broth thickens slightly.
4. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste.
Allow to cool slightly then serve. Garnish with cheese. 

Tuscan Stew
Tuscan Stew

ron's seafood chowder

Seafood Chowder... An absolute favorite of mine

I saw this recipe years ago & it's always been a cold weather favorite! Looks complicated but it's really easy to prepare. Even better the second day.  

2 bell peppers, 1 red & 1 green
2 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 potatoes, diced
1 ear of corn (kernels removed) or 1 cup frozen or canned corn (not creamed)
1 - 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
3 cups water
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 lbs firm white fish (cod works well), cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 lb medium shrimp
1/2 lb bay scallops (optional)
1/2 cup light cream or half & half
1/2 cup parsley flakes
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp Thyme
1/4 tsp Anise seed
1 Bay leaf
salt & pepper to taste

In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil, then carefully add peppers, onions, garlic & celery. Sauté until limp about 10 minutes. Turn down heat & add tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Add potatoes & corn. Let simmer 20 minutes. Add water & wine.

Add orange zest, thyme, cayenne, anise seed & bay leaf. Bring back to low boil & allow to simmer another 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through. This may be left to cool before finishing, flavors will intensify. Add salt & pepper to taste.

About 30 minutes before serving, bring back up to boil. Add fish & shrimp. Boil about 10 minutes or until fish turns opaque white. Remove from heat. Add cream & parsley.

Let cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Remember that when cooking with wine, use one that you would actually drink as opposed to a so-called cooking wine. If it's not good enough to drink on its own, it's not good enough to cook with. 

Ron's Seafood Chowder
Ron's Seafood Chowder

siberian borscht

Siberian Borscht

This is the meal that my sons crave when the weather turns cold!


When Barbara & I were in  Russia adopting our sons, we finally had REAL Siberian Russian borscht.  And boy was it delicious!  It's not just beet soup, it's a hearty stew in a beet broth.  Give it a try, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

2 quart jars of Gold's Russian Borscht
1/2 lb ground beef or mild sausage cut into bite sized pieces
3 potatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 stalk of celery, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 onion, diced
Salt & pepper to taste
sour cream

Brown the ground beef or sausage in a Dutch oven.  Add all remaining ingredients.  Bring to boil, then lower to simmer for 1 hour or until the vegetables are done.  Let stand for a couple of hours for the flavors to intensify.  Reheat before serving.  

This recipe can also be done in a crock pot. Low heat for about 4 to 6 hours. 

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream (makes it taste creamy & good).  Serve with a hearty whole grain bread.