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Winter Warmers

Layered Vegetable Enchiladas With the New Year a couple of weeks old now, some resolutions are sticking and others not so much. It is easy to stray from that resolution to eat healthier, especially during these cold winter months when we crave warm, cozy, familiar comfort foods! On these frosty days, when a salad just won’t cut it, you can opt for a satisfying dish that doesn’t have to sabotage your eating plan.

Comfort foods fill our homes with rich, delicious scents that evoke childhood memories. They calm our senses and fill our bellies. Oftentimes, these foods are not only rich in scent but heavy on the fat content, which can do a number on our waistlines. Yet we can still get that warm and fuzzy feeling from great healthy with that intoxicating aroma that we crave. From starters to hearty entrées and amazing desserts, you can create cozy dishes that satisfy your senses and your cravings.

Apple Scented Breakfast Oatmeal and BuckwheatYou may be surprised at how many wonderful nutrient-dense winter warmers you can create that meet our four pillars of healthy eating. For a delicious breakfast, try this great recipe for Apple Scented Breakfast Oatmeal and Buckwheat. This creamy favorite will warm you up and jumpstart your day.  Another one of my favorites is the Chicken and Brown Rice Soup. It is easily adaptable into a vegetarian recipe by substituting mushrooms for the chicken. It is both hearty and delicious - the perfect thing to cozy up to on those cold winter nights. Or try this great hearty recipe for Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup. The creaminess of the soup is outstanding. Heat things up with this wonderfully flavored curry dish.

Eggplant BologneseNothing says comfort food like a good old fashioned bowl of spaghetti. Try this fantastic recipe for Eggplant Bolognese atop spaghetti. The aromatic sauce will transform you to a warmer place for sure. 

There is just something about Tex-Mex that satisfies our cravings during the winter doldrums. This Layered Vegetable Enchiladas recipe is sure to cure your winter blues. It is great crowd pleaser, so you can warm up with some good food and good company with this one! For us desert fans, there is nothing better than the smell of something sweet and yummy lingering throughout the house.

If you are like me, and have major sweet tooth, you will love this divine recipe for our Banana-Cocoa Snack Cake. Something warm and chocolaty always makes me feel good when the temperature drops. This delightful treat lets you indulge without any of the guilt! Banana-Cocoa Snack Cake Another great one for you dessert fans out there is this recipe for Pumpkin Pecan Cookies. These spiced delights contain cinnamon, cloves and orange juice and zest. These are sure to envelop your senses (and kitchen) with a warm, sweet-smelling aroma. Cozy up and enjoy these with a hot cup of tea for the ultimate winter retreat!

For more great recipe ideas, check out our full index of recipes meeting our Health Starts Here guidelines. HSHRemember, we can still enjoy great comfort foods we love while staying on track. This gives us even more to love about these recipes! I hope you try some of these and that you are inspired to create some of your own. Do you have some favorite healthy winter warmer recipes? We’d love to hear what they are.

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Melissa says …

I tried the apple scented oatmeal and LOVED it! It really does fight the winter doldrums and warms you up without weighing you down. Thanks for all the suggestions - next up: curried cauliflower soup!

Susie Bee on Maui (Eat Little, Eat Big) says …

This is a great comfort food casserole, easy, tasty and just around 300 calories. http://eatlittleeatbig.blogspot.com/2011/01/recipe-for-turkey-broccoli-bake.html

Cooking4carnivores says …

I am loving this white bean & spinach soup these days - http://www.cooking4carnivores.com/2010/12/soupy-seconds.html

M.Sherice says …

Making Curried Lentils. Have been dying to make a brocoli and cauliflower soup. Will definitely have to try it now! Thanks everyone for the recipes.

Kari says …

I know it's selfish of me, but I really enjoy that you guys have recipes I can actually USE! I'm so tired of finding good ones that I have to substitute ingredients for because I don't eat meat. To be honest, even the thought makes me gag. I know, it's not normal, but after more than 30 years it's become a physical thing with me. Thank you so, so, so much for your focus on vegetarians! I appreciate it more than I can say. Kari