Warming Winter Recipes from Simple Green

Stay warm by cooking up these delicious treats

Baby it's cold outside! But that's okay, because you're inside where it's cozy and warm cooking up some of our favorite winter recipes.

From Christmas to New Year's, cold and flu season to Valentine's Day… we share our cold weather favorites. These easy-to-make soothing comfort foods warm our hearts, even on the coldest of days.

Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup:

Chicken noodle soup has been a longtime home remedy for colds and flus. The reason it's stuck around for so long is that there's some truth to the old wives tale. Warm, easy to digest foods (like soup) can be a great source of comfort when you're feeling under the weather.

Plus, the hot clear broth helps a sick person stay hydrated and can temporarily open nasal passages to ease congestion. It's the perfect soothing treat for stuffy noses and cold winter days!

This delicious chicken soup recipe is quick and easy to make in your Instant Pot (pressure cooker). In just 30 minutes you'll have a hot bowl of deliciousness, just like grandma used to make.

And when the inevitable spills, drips, and splatters happen – be sure to keep a bottle of Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner handy, along with this cleaning hack for kitchen counters. You take care of cooking soup for your loved ones, we'll make sure clean-up is a breeze.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 4 medium carrots (peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces)
  • 4 ribs celery (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 oz. egg noodles
  • chopped fresh parsley (optional, for serving)

DIRECTIONS:

STEP 1: Press sauté on your Instant Pot and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies start to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant (1 more minute). Turn off the Instant Pot.

STEP 2: Add the dried oregano, thyme, bay leaf, salt, pepper, broth and water to the pot. Place chicken in the broth. (If you want to add some heat, you can also toss in a pinch of red pepper flakes).

STEP 3: Close the Instant Pot lid and seal the valve. Cook on high pressure for 7 minutes. When the cook time ends, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release for 10 minutes.

STEP 4: Once the pressure is released, open the lid. Remove and discard bay leaf. Then remove the chicken and shred it on a cutting board.

STEP 5: Press "Cancel" to turn off the warm setting and then press "Sauté." Add the noodles to the pot and let them simmer for 5 minutes, until just tender.

STEP 6: Turn the Instant Pot off. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup. Taste soup and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Serve soup with fresh parsley, if desired.

No-Roll Sugar Cookies:

Winter means holidays, and the holiday season means cookies. These yummy sugar cookies are a crowd favorite.

Plus they don't require any rolling, which makes them super simple to make. Kids can even get in on the fun!

And when it's time for post-cookie making clean up, be sure to use our baking pan cleaning hack to make getting off all that baked-on goodness as easy as possible.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine softened
  • ¾ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar, colored sugar, or sprinkles for rolling dough

DIRECTIONS:

STEP 1: In a large bowl, beat granulated sugar, powdered sugar, butter, oil, milk, vanilla and eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed, or mix thoroughly by hand. Stir in the remaining ingredients (except 1/4 cup granulated colored sugar or sprinkles). Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.

STEP 2: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar or sprinkles in a small bowl. Shape dough into 1 ½ inch balls. Roll balls in sugar/sprinkles then place dough balls about 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten to 1/4-inch thickness with bottom of glass. Sprinkle cookies with a little additional sugar.

STEP 3: Bake for 13 - 15 minutes until cookies set and edges just begin to brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

Spinach Artichoke Zucchini Bites:

Looking for an easy-to-make New Year's appetizer that's warm, gooey, and delicious? Look no further than these oven-baked spinach artichoke zucchini bites!

These little bites are super yummy, and just a little bit addictive. (Don't say we didn't warn you). Plus, you get an extra serving of vegetables, which is not a bad way to ring in the new year.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 c. shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
  • ½ c. canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • ½ c. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium zucchini, cut into ½" rounds

DIRECTIONS:

STEP 1: Preheat oven to 400° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, artichokes, spinach, sour cream, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

STEP 2: Spread about a tablespoon of cream cheese mixture on top of each zucchini coin.

STEP 3: Bake until zucchini is tender and cheese is melty, about 15 minutes. If you want a little extra color on your bites, broil on high for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.

Lovers Vodka Cream Pasta:

Want to cook your sweetie something warm and comforting that tastes like a great big hug? Maybe something that's also super simple, and only takes 25 minutes to make from start to finish?

Then you'll definitely want to make our sumptuous vodka cream pasta! This italian favorite is perfect for Valentine's Day, or anytime you want to impress a loved one with a delicious home-cooked meal.

NOTE: This recipe makes enough for two couples. If more than two's a crowd (wink, wink) reserve half the sauce to freeze for another dinner before you add in the basil, and only cook ½ of the penne.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
  • Warm crusty bread, for passing and dipping in the sauce

DIRECTIONS:

STEP 1: Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently sauté shallots for 3 to 5 minutes. Add vodka to the pan and reduce by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

STEP 2: While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente per package instructions. While pasta cooks, you can prepare a salad or other side dish (if you desire).

STEP 3: Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain the pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves.

STEP 4: Plate pasta and serve with warm, crusty bread.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

Why pay big bucks for chocolate-covered strawberries when you can easily make them at home -- super fresh and at a fraction of the cost? The perfect Valentine's treat for the people you love.

For the prettiest completed look, try to find jumbo strawberries that still have the stems attached. This also make it easier to dip them in the melted chocolate.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 pound strawberries with stems (about 20), washed and dried very well

DIRECTIONS:

STEP 1: Put the semisweet and white chocolates into 2 separate heatproof medium bowls. Fill 2 medium saucepans with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat; set the bowls of chocolate over the water to melt. Stir until smooth.

NOTE: You can also melt the chocolates in a microwave at half power, for 1 minute, then stir and heat for another minute or until melted.

STEP 2: Once the chocolates are melted and smooth, remove from the heat. Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the fruit into the dark chocolate, lift and twist slightly, letting any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. Set strawberries on the parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries. Dip a fork in the white chocolate and drizzle the white chocolate over the dipped strawberries.

STEP 3: Set the strawberries aside until the chocolate sets, about 30 minutes. Then your beautiful chocolate berries are ready to enjoy!