food

Insta-worthy meals to warm you up this winter.

San Remo
Thanks to our brand partner, San Remo

On those winter evenings when my bus home has malfunctioning heating and the person seated behind just sneezed on my neck, there is only thing giving me the will to carry on.

It is the thought of what delicious dinner I get to eat when I get home.

I enter my food-filled happy place, my delicious nirvana and not even the idiot playing music without earphones can break me.

So let these winter warmers that have served my sanity and my stomach so well, act as inspiration for both your transit survival and your family’s weekly meal plan.

But do try and keep your reactions G-rated while on public transport.

Slow-cooked rosemary and garlic lamb.

You know what will 100 per cent guarantee you a meal by the time you get home? Not a husband, boyfriend, roommate, child, dog nor even a pizza delivery guy. A slow cooker. That’s an investment you can rely on. Before you leave in the morning just bung in an economical cut of meat, some herbs and any leftover red wine (hahahaha – good joke) set it on low and you’re sorted dinner and lunches the next day.

Ingredients:

1 bone-in leg of lamb

1 onion, quartered

4 cloves of garlic, peeled

Salt

A few sprigs of rosemary or two tablespoons of the dried stuff

Roughly a wineglass full of red wine

Method:

If you have time in the morning, you can quickly brown the outside of the lamb in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil but it’s not a dealbreaker. Just place the meat in your slow cooker on low with the rest of the ingredients. When you get home boil some sweet potatoes for a mash and hash together another delicious winter side like brussel sprouts fried with bacon, onion and sultanas. Because everything tastes good covered with bacon… even brussel sprouts.

Serve with red wine. Image via iStock.

Seriously cheesy macaroni.

When a recipe requires more than one type of cheese most people don’t need much convincing and this one is as easily made as it is eaten. The biceps get a work out first up with the béchamel sauce but then the rest is a breeze. For parents, it’s also a great meal to hide broccoli, spinach and other greens from unsuspecting children. Because, you know, health.

Ingredients:

400g macaroni or wholemeal elbow pasta

50g butter

2 tablespoons plain flour

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2 cups (500ml) milk

2 cups (250g) grated cheese (go nuts with gruyere, tasty, parmesan, cheddar, maybe add a little blue cheese in if you’re feeling adventurous).

Method:

Cook your chosen pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. In the meantime, melt the butter in a separate saucepan; add the flour and stir together for one minute over medium to low heat. Slowly add the milk a bit at a time stirring until smooth. When the mixture comes together, reduce the heat and simmer for two minutes. Remove from the heat, add cheese and stir until melted together.

Once the pasta is done, drain it, place it in a large baking dish and add the white sauce stirring until well coated. Add your sneaky vegetables and even some cooked bacon or onion at this point. Top with breadcrumbs and extra cheese and place it under the grill until golden brown.

Good luck trying not to eat it straight out of the dish.

Add breadcrumbs on top for added texture. Image via iStock.

Jacked up jacket potatoes.

"When the weather outside is frightful, carbohydrates are so delightful… " At least I’m pretty sure that’s how the lyrics go.

Cover some baking potatoes in a little bit of olive oil and roast in the oven for around 45 minutes.  Once the skin is crisp and the insides are soft it’s time to load it up with toppings. You can always stick with the classic cheese, bacon, sour cream and spring onion combination, but why not try these delicious mixes:

- Sautéed capsicum and chorizo

- Caramelised onion, mushroom and goat's cheese

- Bacon, cheddar, avocado and egg

- Black beans, corn, chilli and feta

Need a towel for that drool?

Heaven, thy name is potato. Image via iStock.

Spicy prawn (or chicken) laksa.

Beat the winter chills by getting your sweat on with this spicy dish. It will negate the need for a hot water bottle for at least for the duration of your meal, if not longer.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup of Laksa Paste (plenty of brands to choose from)

400ml can coconut milk
1 cup of chicken stock
24 green prawns, peeled, tails intact (not a seafood fan? Replace with 500g of chicken thigh fillets)

200g dried rice stick noodles
120g green beans, sliced
80g bean sprouts, trimmed
Fresh Thai basil, leaves picked, to serve
Lime wedges, to serve

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Method:

Heat laksa paste over medium heat for 30 seconds, stir in coconut milk and water and let it simmer for three minutes. Then, add prawns or chicken and cook for another three minutes.

In the meantime, cook noodles following packet directions. To serve, place the noodles in a bowl, pour laksa over the top and add green beans, bean sprouts, basil and a squeeze of lime.

Too dang easy. Image via iStock.

Pumpkin and tortellini soup.

A hot bowl of soup is like hugging a puppy for your insides, it’s just so damn satisfying. Bulk up this simple, cheap and warming winter classic with a tortellini twist.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1kg pumpkin, peeled and chopped
1 litre of Chicken Stock

1 onion, diced
1 packet of spinach and ricotta tortellini

We love a tortellini twist. Image via iStock.

Method:
Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium. Add pumpkin and onion stirring, for two to three minutes, until well coated. Add stock and increase heat to high bringing the mixture to the boil.  Cover the pot and cook for a further 15 mins, until the pumpkin is tender.

Remove from the heat and using a stick blender, blend until smooth. Return to medium heat and add the tortellini, simmering for five minutes or until the pasta is cooked.

What’s your favourite winter meal?

Speaking of delicious pasta dishes, here's some we prepared (okay, collated) earlier:

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