Hearty Winter Meals

On chilly, dark winter nights, we all want to eat something hearty.  We need comfort and simplicity, but without spending an entire evening in the kitchen.  One-pot meals and casseroles are the answer and Denver Public Library has plenty of helpful cookbooks!  Need some titles to satisfy your hunger and keep you warm?

Recent years have given us many new cookbooks that emphasize convenience, with a focus on one-pot meals and spending less than an hour on family dinner.  On the other hand, casseroles may require some assembly, but these new cookbooks have given us fantastic updates to old-fashioned classics.  It's hard to beat the all-in-one combination of vegetables, grains, and protein- especially when the flavors touch on all of our tastes.  The leftovers are nice, too!

How about a recipe that uses up day-old rice and is a snap to prepare?


Green Rice Casserole

adapted from Crazy for Casseroles, by James Villas

 2 1/2 cups cooked long-grain rice

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar

1 cup ricotta

1 cup sour cream

1 garlic clove, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach

4 scallions, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 2-quart casserole or baking dish.

2. In large bowl, combine rice, cheeses, sour cream, and garlic, reserving about 1/3 cup cheddar.  Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste.   Stir in spinach and scallions.  Spread mixture into prepared casserole, and sprinkle over remaining cheddar.

3. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.

Variations: Along with the spinach and scallions, add a cup or two of chopped green vegetables of your choosing.  Either brown or white rice can be used.  Steaming and chopping ten ounces of any other leafy green should work well, too.  Just be sure to chop the greens well and allow excess moisture to drain before adding them to the rice mixture.

Some other great cookbooks from DPL collection for one-meals and casseroles:

Bake Until Bubbly, by Clifford A. Wright

Casseroles: From Gumbo to Coq au Vin, by Sonia Stevenson

Not Your Mother's Casseroles, by Faith Durand

Simply Ming One-Pot Meals, by Ming Tsai

The Best Cover & Bake Recipes, by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated

Ciao Italia Slow & Easy, by Mary Ann Esposito


Written by Becky on January 9, 2011


Becker on January 10, 2011


Thanks for the suggestions--you're right, it's a great time of year for these! I broght home Elizabeth Yarnell's Glorious One Pot Meals this weekend & made 2 of them--they were great! She'll be visiting Schlessman as part of the Colorado Authors Series in May!

Faith Durand on January 12, 2011

In reply to by Becker


Thanks so much for mentioning my brand new book! (And on my birthday, too...! :)

We're actually running a contest at The Kitchn, looking for readers' best healthy casseroles. Winners get a copy of the book and (what else!) a new casserole pan.

Enter here: http://bit.ly/f9OqFb

Thanks again!


Happy Late Birthday!  I'm so happy that you got to see the post!  I have your book at home and can't wait to try out some of the recipes- the seafood on the cover looks amazing.  I hope there were a lot of entries for the contest!


This is great!  I'm looking forward to the programs she'll be doing in our own branch!

simi on July 21, 2011


The winter meals recipes and photos of the dishes are really tempting!!! Thanks for sharing.

Sameer on August 11, 2016


Awesome recipes. Had food just 1 hour ago but started feeling hungry after going through this page.

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