Winter Warmers: Hearty And Healthy

Winter can be a depressing time. The poor weather means it becomes increasingly difficult to take care of your body and eat in a nutritionally balanced manner We’ve all read about Seasonal Affective Disorder and indeed as the nights draw in, it can be very tempting to disappear under a sea of blankets with a large bar of something comforting and fat-based. However, winter can also be a time to nurture yourself with food and there are plenty of nutritious, warming healthy recipes that can be pulled together with a minimum of fuss and expense. Here are a few of our favourites:

Turkey and White Bean Chilli
Turkey is legendary amongst healthy eaters for its low fat and high protein content. This chilli recipe provide all of the spice and substance of a much more calorific option. Haricot beans are also loaded with protein, fibre and Potassium, Calcium, an array of B Vitamins and Folate. To make this spicy little standby you need:

1 onion
1 red pepper, seeded
2-3 fresh green chillies, seeded (or, if you like it extra hot, retain the seeds)
2 tbsps of freshly chopped coriander and more for garnish
700g skinless turkey breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
25g cornflour
50ml cold water
700ml hot chicken stock
2 cans (approx 410g) haricot beans
Grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, lime wedges and diced avocado (all optional, all delicious)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (180 degrees if you have a fan oven).

Chop the onion, pepper, coriander and chillies and set aside.

Cut the turkey in 2cm cubes and fry, with the garlic, in the olive oil over a medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the meat has ‘sealed’ or turned white. Turn frequently to make sure it dosn’t go brown. Transfer to a baking dish.

In a small bowl, blend the cornflour with the cold water, stirring until it’s smooth. Gradually add the  hot chicken stock and stir continuously until it is thoroughly combined.

Next, open the cans of beans and rinse and drain them. Add them to the chicken stock mixture and then add the whole lot to the baking dish.

Cover the baking dish with aluminium foil and bake for an hour (or until the turkey is fully cooked) making sure to stir the mixture halfway through the cooking time.

Ladle into bowls and serve with the accompaniments, garnishing with any remaining fresh coriander.
Serves 6 as a main meal or 8 as a lunch or supper.

For dessert, why not try this most festive of healthy options: Bourbon Baked Apples!
6 large, tart apples
90g oats
75g unrefined brown sugar
30g flour
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
50g butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
250ml apple cider
75ml bourbon.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Carefully core the apples, but not all the way down. The idea is to remove the core seeds without boring a hole straight through.

Combine the cinnamon, oats, brown sugar, flour and salt in a bowl. Add the softened butter and vanilla and mix together until it is a lovely, clumpy mess. Stuff this mixture into the core hole of each apple.

Place the apples in a baking dish and add the bourbon and cider to the bottom of the pan and then bake for around 45 minutes, keeping careful watch of their progress. Every ten minutes, spoon the bourbon and cider mix over the apples and once the skin is wrinkly and darker in colour, you know they’re done. They are a treat on their own or served with a scoop of ice-cream. You’ll never acknowledge SAD again. Three cheers for hearty turkey recipes, boozy, cinnamony apples and winter in general!