Brrrrrfect Winter Recipes

thedailygreenThis week's break from the bitter cold has been a promising glimpse into the future. Somewhat warmer weather is in the forecast, and what better way to celebrate than to cook up and bake those still-available winter veggies and fruits.

The Daily Green listed thirty delicious winter recipes, and we thought we’d highlight two of the freshest:

 They are regulars in our fruit bowls, and can always be found laying in our fridges, but the list of benefits of eating apples was news to me. Turns out, they reduce risk for colon, pancreatic and breast cancer and heart disease, and may even protect against memory loss. Remember though, most of the fiber and antioxidants are held in the skin.

There are 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States, so visit your local farm or market, and pick out the best. We suggest the fast-baked apple oatmeal streudel, the recipe serves 4.

4 large Rome or Cortland apples (about 10 ounces each)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats, uncooked
2 tablespoons chopped dates
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons margarine or butter

1. Core apples, cutting out a 1 1/4-inch diameter cylinder from center of each, almost but not all the way through to bottom. Remove peel about one-third of the way down from top. Place apples in shallow 1 1/2-quart ceramic casserole or 8" by 8" glass baking dish.

2. In small bowl, combine brown sugar, oats, dates, and cinnamon. Fill each cored apple with equal amounts of oat mixture. (Mixture will spill over top of apples.) Place 1/2 teaspoon margarine or butter on top of filling in each apple.

3. Cook apples, covered, on Medium-High (70 percent power) until tender, 12 to 14 minutes, turning each apple halfway through cooking time. Spoon cooking liquid from baking dish over apples to serve.

* Cooking apples in the microwave, rather than the regular oven, yields plumper, juicier, less shriveled fruit -- and saves a big chunk of time!

It’s important to consume enough vitamin C, especially during the winter months. Get your dosage from an unlikely and commonly feared veggie: Brussels sprouts. Give this excellent source of fiber a chance; just make sure they are fresh to avoid bitterness, and to guarantee firmness and tastiness. Take a leap of faith with us and try this roasted Brussels sprouts dish: (It serves 6--someone is bound to enjoy it.)

1 pound baby carrots, scrubbed, stem trimmed
1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and halved
1 1/2 cups pearl onions (fresh, peeled or frozen, thawed and drained)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine carrots, Brussels sprouts, onions, garlic, rosemary and olive oil; the pan should be just large enough to hold the vegetables in one layer.

2. Roast in upper center of oven, stirring or shaking the pan periodically through roasting, until vegetables are brown tender, about 30 to 40 minutes total. Season with salt and pepper, and toss or stir to combine. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil if desired.