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Outdoor Living - Menu Suggestions for Cooking Outdoors in Winter - Chilli and Soup

February 08, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 139

Do you enjoy outdoor activities in winter as well as in summer? Do you skate and play hockey on outdoor rinks, ski, snowboard, snowmobile, or just play in the snow with friends and family? If so, why not extend those activities to cooking and entertaining on your patio, deck or outdoor living area?

Here are a few suggestions for cooking outside in the winter months.

Remember, first, that the barbecue and charcoal smoker still work in the winter. Steaks, ribs, chicken, brisket and burgers are always an option. However, if you are looking for a few simpler options that are hearty and delicious and that can be simmering away while actively enjoying the season, here a few menu suggestions that require no more than a single burner propane cooker and a large stew pot.

Various forms of chilli:

The basic formula for a good batch of chilli is relatively universal but a number of variations are possible.

First, with respect to meat, beef, pork, turkey and chicken are all viable options; also, each of these meats can be used in a ground meat or cubed format.

Second, for beans choose from, or use any combination of pinta beans, romano beans, kidney beans, black beans, and garbanzo beans (aka chick peas). Some purists believe in leaving the beans out altogether for authentic chili con carne; this belief also extends to the vegetables.

Third, which vegetables to include is also a matter of choice but options include canned, diced or whole tomatoes, onions, peppers (green, red, yellow as preferred), celery, mushrooms and even carrots. For vegetarian chili just skip the meat and add more variations of beans and vegetables.

Basic spicing calls for chili powder, cumin, cilantro (optional) and extra chilies for more heat if desired; a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar can add flavor and stabilize the heat.

Finally, the directions are simple: simply brown the meat first then add everything else and let the batch simmer while other activities are enjoyed.

Various forms of soup:

A good bowl of hot and hearty soup is another welcome meal after a day of outdoor, winter activity. Excellent choices include beef barley, scotch broth, chicken or turkey lentil, and minestrone.

First, for beef barley, let the meat stew down for overnight first then add pearl or pot barley, carrots, potatoes, onion, celery, bay leaf and any other desired spices; add enough broth or bouillon to reach the desired thickness but remember that the barley will expand considerably and soak up a good deal of the broth during cooking. Again let the soup simmer most of the day while playing.

Second, for scotch broth the ingredients and directions are the same except use lamb for the meat and either chicken or vegetable broth instead of beef.

Third, for chicken or turkey lentil soup, use the same vegetables but substitute lentils for the barley and use chicken broth. Finely diced anise root or fennel, plus basil and parsley add an interesting flavor. To save preparation time, ground meat works quite well; just brown the meat first. For a vegetarian version, skip the meat and use vegetable broth.

Fourth, minestrone soup can also be made with or without meat; Italian sausage is a good meat choice here. The spices and vegetables are the same as for lentil soup, without the potatoes if desired. Also, use canned tomatoes instead of, or in addition to vegetable broth. Additional ingredients include kidney beans, fava or lime beans, chick peas and rotini pasta. However, do not add the pasta until the end; just turn up the heat and cook until the pasta is tender enough.

In conclusion, remember the goal here is to feed the family and guests a relatively easy to prepare, hot and healthy meal that can be cooked and eaten outside on your patio or deck, a meal that is ready to go as soon as the chosen outdoor winter activity is completed. Remember, there is no reason not to enjoy your patio, deck or outdoor living area once summer is over and the weather has turned cold.

Kenneth Watson, owner Quality Cedar Patio And Garden

Contact me at

Or visit our website at:

We offer high quality clear western red cedar patio furniture and garden accessories that will compliment and complement the outdoor living area of your dreams. Visit us for the cedar patio furniture and garden accessories that will finish your front yard patio with warmth and beauty.

Feel free to contact me for more detailed cooking directions, to ask questions or to make a comment. I will write again soon to offer even more winter menu suggestions.

Source: EzineArticles
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Cooking And Entertainig Outdoors In Winter


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