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Warm & Delicious

November 12, 2012 | by Sharon Matten

Hearty dishes that drive the chill away and warm you inside and out.

With the colder days upon us we want some hearty dishes that drive the chill away and warm you inside and out. These are some of my favorite family dishes that I often prepare for weeknight dinners. You can even make extra to freeze for another busy winter night.

Note: All these recipes are great for the GFE (Gluten Free Eater) too!

Sweet Potato Soup with Candied Pecans (GFE)

Sweet Potato Soup with Candied PecansSweet potatoes are listed as one of Food Network’s top ten “Super Foods”! According to the article: One medium sweet potato contains more than 400 percent of your daily dose of beta-carotene and the antioxidant lycopene. It's also a good source of vitamin C, fiber and heart-healthy potassium. All that in one little potato! This thick and satisfying soup has lots of healthy sweet potatoes, is super easy to make and good for you too! Topped with Candied Pecans it’s a real treat for your family.

Note: If you don’t want to add the whipping cream, you can substitute one additional cup of soy milk.

  • 7 medium sweet potatoes, around 6 pounds
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (I use Manishewitz)
  • 4 cups vanilla soy milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (pareve)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

In a large stock pot with a lid cover sweet potatoes with water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, then simmer for 45 minutes until sweet potatoes are fork tender. Drain water and let potatoes cool slightly, around 10 minutes. Peel potatoes and return to the pot.

Add the vegetable stock, soy milk, and cream to the pot. Using an immersion blender or food processor, blend the potatoes and liquid until smooth. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg and blend until spices are evenly distributed. If the soup seems too thick add additional soy milk as desired. Serve hot topped with additional cinnamon and Candied Pecans.

Candied Pecans

  • 1 cup whole pecans
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside. Combine sugar and corn syrup in a medium skillet. Add pecans and stir until pecans are coated. Cook over medium heat, continuously stirring with a wooden spoon or heat resistant (silicone) spatula until sugar coating begins to brown slightly, being careful not to burn the sugar. Immediately turn pecans onto prepared baking sheet, spreading and separating with the wooden spoon or heat resistant spatula. When the pecans are completely cooled break apart any large clumps of pecans. These can be used to top the Sweet Potato Soup or your favorite salads.

Roasted Indian Eggplant (GFE)

Roasted Indian EggplantOur local mega produce store often carries cute little Indian eggplants. Smaller than baby eggplant, the Indian eggplants are around 2-3 inches long and when roasted are sweet and delicious! This recipe is based upon one of my favorite recipes from our day school’s awesome cookbook - “Arie Crown Hebrew Day School’s Crowning Elegance”. The long slow roasting brings out the incredible flavor of the combination of roasted tomatoes, sweet Vidalia onions, basil and eggplant.

  • 12-16 small Indian eggplant
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, thinly slice (or more if desired)
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced (or more if desired)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • non-stick vegetable spray

Line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with non-stick vegetable spray. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400° F.

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet or wok. Add onions and sauté until soft, around 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, parsley, basil, lemon juice, and salt. Stir to combine and cook for another minute until heated through.

Cut the eggplants in half, leaving the stem on, and place cut side up on prepared baking sheet. Evenly spoon onion and tomato mixture over the eggplant, then sprinkle with white pepper and sugar. Tightly cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove from oven, uncover and bake for an additional 45 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

Spicy Peanut Chicken (GFE)

Spicy Peanut ChickenI’m always buying too many tomatoes. They look so pretty and enticing in the store - it’s as if they calling out to me to buy them! I always seem to buy too many and I can never seem to use them fast enough. This is the perfect recipe for all your heart healthy (and possibly soft) tomatoes! It’s got great flavor because of the unique combination of peanut butter, tomatoes, curry, and crushed red peppers (we love it spicy!), and you can serve it on a bed of wholesome multi-grain rice or fragrant Safron Rice. Based upon a recipe from Cooking Light Magazine (August 2008), this recipe is perfect for a large family’s weeknight dinner or makes enough for you to freeze for another busy night.

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (or 4 frozen cubes)
  • 2 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 6 ounce cans tomato paste
  • 6 ripe plum tomatoes or 4 large regular tomatoes, diced – around 3 cups (or more if desired)
  • 14 ounces chicken stock/broth
  • additional dry roasted peanuts, chopped (optional)

Heat oil in a large wok or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic to the pan, then cook stirring frequently until tender around 5 minutes. Add chicken to the pan and sauté until chicken is cooked through. Stir in peanut butter, curry, salt, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and tomato pastes. Cook for an additional minute. Add tomato and broth to the pan, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for around 30 minutes until slightly thickened. Serve over brown or multi-grain rice, or Golden Safron Rice.

Golden Safron Rice (GFE)

Golden Safron RiceThis is one of the best smelling, prettiest, and easiest rice dishes I make. Sauté a diced medium onion in some margarine, add the rice, some vegetable stock, a few saffron threads, cover and cook. SO simple! The result is beautiful, golden rice that is a great accompaniment to any dish you make. For more information about this recipe go to

  • 1 medium onion, finely diced (around ¾ cup)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons margarine
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 ½ cups vegetable stock (I use Manishewitz)
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)

Rinse rice until water runs clear. Melt margarine in a large stock pot. Add onions and sauté until soft and clear. Add vegetable stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Add saffron and stir to blend. Add rice and stir to combine. Return stock to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Serve warm.


  1. If you don’t have vegetable stock handy, you can use water and 1-2 tablespoons of consommé mix instead. Omit the salt.
  2. This recipe is gluten-free! Great for the GFE (Gluten Free Eater) and everyone else too!

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