By Betha Merit
Houston, we had snow! And what a year it was. We started with hosting the Super Bowl, went on to survive Hurricane Harvey, won the World Series and then had snow that delighted hearts with our winter wonderland morning after. Bottom line for this column is that we got to enjoy some cold weather. And now we need some warming up.
There are a great variety of hot drinks to be enjoyed, and a touch of hooch make them especially fun to be shared with friends or when entertaining. One of my favorites is heating up eggnog and sprinkling with nutmeg then adding a shot of whiskey or rum. Many hot drink recipes can be made without the alcohol if you have minors in the crowd.
My friends know me for cooking healthy, simple one pot dinners, a lot. They are easy, filling, feel warm in the hands while eating, and have been dubbed as, “pure sustenance.” The basic recipe is to brown a pound of ground meat (chicken, turkey, beef, bison, lamb, etc.), add spices and herbs to the browning with a dollop of olive oil. Then cut up and toss any veggies from the fridge into the pot, or add bags of frozen veggies from the freezer. Additional items might be quinoa, wild rice, potatoes or sweet potatoes. These last additions may be pre-cooked or added raw to the browned meat and veggies; you just adjust the water amount for what you add. If pre-cooked, you may add the veggies and any of the extras with a few tablespoons of water and cover with a lid.
One-Pot Bison Bowl
- 1 pound ground bison
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion (frozen or fresh)
- 1 Tablespoon dried minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1-2 Tablespoons of your favorite dried green herb (thyme, dillweed, basil, etc.)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
- 3 small Mexican gray squash, chopped (any green squash will work)
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice blend
- 2-4 Tablespoons water or any broth
- 1/2 bag of frozen kale
- salt and pepper to taste.
In a large skillet sized pan, drizzle olive oil as pan heats. Brown bison, onion and garlic on medium to high heat until crumbly. Add herbs and spices and optional tomato paste. When blended, lower to medium heat and move the meat to the edges of the pan to form a circle with an open middle, add the squash and frozen kale to the pan, pouring the liquid over the top and covering with a lid. After about 20 minutes of good simmering, add the cooked rice and stir everything together. Cook another few minutes, adding liquid if needed. Salt and pepper to taste.
Tequila Hot Chocolate
- 1 ounce tequila
- 6 ounces hot chocolate (your choice on how you make it)
- 1-3 Tablespoons whipped cream
- dash of chili powder for garnish.
Add tequila and hot chocolate to a glass. Garnish with a hearty dollop of whipped cream and a dash of chili powder.
Warm-You-Up Hot Toddy
- Boiling Water
- about 5 whole cloves per drink
- 1 lemon wheel
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 3-4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 ounces scotch (or any whiskey)
Fill a mug with boiling water and let stand to heat up. Meanwhile stick the cloves in the lemon wheel. Now empty the mug and fill just over half way with fresh boiling water. Add the brown sugar, stirring to dissolve. Add the lemon wheel and stir. Now add the lemon juice and scotch and stir once more. May remove the lemon wheel and attach to side of mug.