7 Warm Winter Menus
Chocolate Mocha Gooey Butter Cake
This dessert lives up to its name. "The center should be a little soft when done," says Kelley Lamm, owner of Chocolate Cafe and Coffee House in O'Fallon, Missouri, where it's served.
Menu #2: Unforgettable Chicken Pie
Start your meal with Unforgettable Chicken Pie, a from-scratch deep-dish chicken casserole from a Caledonia, Michigan, reader. Add Cranberry Cashew Salad for fresh flavor and crunchy texture. Double Chocolate-Cherry Cookies round out the menu.
Your menu: Unforgettable Chicken Pie
Cranberry Cashew Salad (next slide)
Double Chocolate-Cherry Cookies (slide 5)
Tip: For more great casserole and hotdish ideas, click on the link below.
Cranberry Cashew Salad
Sliced apples, roasted cashews and dried fruit combine with mango chutney, spinach leaves and curry for an exotic, fresh-tasting salad. The recipe comes from the New Albany (Ohio) Cooking with Friends community cookbook.
Double Chocolate-Cherry Cookies
Carol Schneider of Wausau, Wisconsin, brought home a blue ribbon when she entered these cookies at the Wisconsin State Fair some years ago. The recipe combines white and semisweet chocolate with dried cherries and walnuts.
Menu #3: Slow cooker pork dinner
The Cranberry Pork Roast slow-cooker recipe comes from Carolyn Sinclair of Grey Eagle, Minnesota. "When I serve it, I almost always have to give out the recipe," she says. "The tangy gravy is a good complement to pork."
Your menu: Cranberry Pork Roast
Hot cooked rice pilaf, rice or noodles
Buster Brown Cake with Delicious Icing (next slide)
Tip: A slow cooker works most efficiently when it's half- to three-fourths full. That's because the heat comes from coils around the sides of the pot, rather than the bottom. When using a recipe, make sure it's sized for your cooker.
Buster Brown Cake with Delicious Icing
A Canton, Ohio, reader contributed this recipe for a favorite brown sugar cake that is often served at family gatherings.
Menu #4: Bacon lover's menu
Bacon's irresistible scent warms up the kitchen on cold winter nights. Stir salty-smoky crumbled bacon into our cheesy potato soup and sprinkle some more on top. Serve the soup alone or with one of our Easy Bacon Sandwiches. Nibble on tangy lemon bars for dessert.
Your menu: Bacon and Baked Potato Soup
Easy Bacon Sandwiches (optional)
Fresh greens or fruit
Luscious Lemon Bars (next slide)
Tip: Cut down on splattering by placing slices on a microwave-safe rack or a plate lined with microwave-safe paper towels. Microwave on high (2-3 minutes for 2 slices, 3-4 1/2 minutes for 4, and 4-5 minutes for 6 slices), rearranging bacon once.
Luscious Lemon Bars
Menu #5: Quick-and-easy salad dinner
Sunflower seeds and dried berries give a burst of flavor to an easy main-dish salad that starts with rotisserie chicken. Heat up purchased refrigerated breadsticks in your oven, and serve a quick-fix chocolate mousse for dessert.
Your menu: Chicken-Romaine Salad
Mocha Chocolate Mousse (next slide)
Tip: Sprinkle fresh grated Parmesan cheese and dried basil on the breadsticks before baking.
Mocha Chocolate Mousse
Layer this delicious mousse over fresh fruit and top with your choice of miniature chocolate pieces, chocolate sprinkles or chocolate-covered espresso beans.
Menu #6: One-skillet supper
Create a quick-and-easy dinner with Simple Salsa Skillet, a recipe from a Westchester, Illinois, reader. "My mom and I love this recipe because it's easy, doesn't cost much to make and is low in fat," she says. "It's the perfect main dish for a cold Chicago night."
Your menu: Simple Salsa Skillet
Tortillas or corn muffins
Warm Apple Spice Crumble (next slide)
Tip: For a Mexican-style meal, scoop Simple Salsa Skillet into a warm tortilla and add shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese, sour cream and chopped lettuce.
Warm Apple Spice Crumble
This homey dessert lets you put a warm, fresh-baked treat on the table in less than half an hour. Canned sliced apples and purchased granola cereal make the crumble easy to assemble.
Menu #7: Steak dinner
We took an old favorite, steak with mushroom sauce, and boosted its flavor and colors with caramelized sweet onions, a medley of mushrooms, dried tomatoes and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Add simple sides and a from-scratch pie.
Your menu: Top Sirloin with Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Trio
Cooked green beans
Fantasy Chocolate Pie (next slide)
Tip: Caramelizing brings out the sweet, intense flavor of onions. Thinly slice onions and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Let onions cook long enough to turn golden brown, but remove them before they burn.
Fantasy Chocolate Pie
Dream about all the ingredients you'd like to see in a dessert, and you'll see why we named this Fantasy Chocolate Pie. It's made with three kinds of chocolate pieces (milk chocolate, semisweet and semisweet-and-white-chocolate swirled)—plus coconut, pecans and almonds. Top with whipped cream and chocolate curls.