Winter can be kind of a drag. Shorter days and freezing temperatures aren’t exactly our favorite. But what we do like about this season is it gives us an excuse to stay indoors and enjoy warm, hearty meals that are simply good for the soul. This winter, try out some of our favorite cold-weather recipes that combine winter ingredients and the bold flavors of Texas Olive Ranch.
Texas Olive Ranch Winter Minestrone Soup
Minestrone is a classic Italian vegetarian soup that makes up for its lack of meat with savory white cannellini beans and plenty of pasta. We made this recipe even easier to make with the Italian Blend from the Texas Olive Ranch Regional Herb and Spice Blends. Serve this soup with warm, crusty bread for the authentic Italian countryside experience.
- 3 Tbsp Texas Olive Ranch Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small zucchini, sliced and quartered
- 1 large Yukon Gold potato, washed and cubed
- 1 bunch of Tuscan kale, stalks removed with leaves roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp Texas Olive Ranch Italian Herb and Spice Blend
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Parmesan rind
- 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, do not drain
- 1 32 oz container of vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 14.5 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 c water
- 2 c shell pasta, cooked for 5 minutes then drained
- Fresh ground black pepper & kosher salt to taste
- Heat the olive oil In a large, heavy bottom soup pot, heat Texas Olive Ranch Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots and celery. Stir frequently for about 10 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Add the minced garlic and continue stirring until fragrant. Add the zucchini, potato and kale. Sprinkle with pepper, salt, and Texas Olive Ranch Italian Herb and Spice Blend. Cook for another 3 minutes.
- Add the canned tomatoes with liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes. The kale should wilt and tomatoes soften.
- Add the broth, bay leaf, and Parmesan rind to the soup.
- Combine half of the cannellini beans with 1 cup of water and puree in a blender or food processor. Add the pureed bean mixture to the soup and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the soup is simmering, cook the shell pasta in boiling, salted water for 5 minutes. Stir the pasta to ensure the shells do not stick together. Drain and add the shells to the soup.
- Add the remaining half of the beans and cooked shells. Simmer until the soup thickens and is heated through.
- Discard the bay leaf and Parmesan rind and add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with grated or sliced Parmesan and chopped fresh parsley if desired.
Texas Olive Ranch Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are in season during the winter, so you should find the biggest and best at the farmer’s market this time of year. While some people like to pile on the sugar and marshmallows on top of this root vegetable, we prefer to contrast its innate sweetness with savory toppings and spicy notes courtesy of Texas Olive Ranch Rattlesnake Infused Chili Olive Oil. Twice baked spuds are a popular side dish to go with steak or pork, but this recipe is so hearty they are easy to enjoy on their own.
- 4 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and halved lengthwise
- 2 Tbsp Texas Olive Ranch Rattlesnake Infused Chili Olive Oil
- 8 oz bacon, cut into 1-in. pieces
- 5.5 oz crumbled bleu cheese
- 2 Tbsp buttermilk
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- Chopped chives
- Crema fresca
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Poke holes in the cut side of the sweet potatoes with a fork in a couple random places. Rub potatoes all over with Texas Olive Ranch Rattlesnake Infused Chili Olive Oil and place on a baking sheet with the cut side down. Roast potatoes for about 45 minutes or until they are tender. Set them aside to cool until you can handle them without burning yourself. Keep the oven on.
- While the sweet potatoes are cooling, cook the bacon pieces in a large frying or cast iron pan over medium-high heat, stirring the pieces to keep them from sticking to each other. Once the bacon is crisp, drain the grease on a paper towel.
- Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the skins. Place sweet potato flesh into a mixing bowl and reserve the skins. Smash sweet potato flesh with a masher or fork. Fold in bacon pieces, bleu cheese, buttermilk, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Spoon the mixture back into the sweet potato skins evenly and place in the refrigerator to chill and set for about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Once the potatoes are set, place back in the oven and bake again for 15 to 20 minutes. When ready to serve, garnish with chopped chives and crema fresca.
Texas Olive Ranch White Balsamic Chicken Stew
This rustic chicken stew tastes just like the French countryside in winter. It’s the perfect hearty meal to make when you are cooking on a budget because it uses affordable chicken thighs as its main protein. The addition of our Texas Olive Ranch White Balsamic Vinegar adds dry notes that add depth to the overall flavor of this soon-to-be household favorite.
- 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut in half horizontally
- 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/8” strips.
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 celery stalk, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 5 c chicken broth, divided
- 1 1/8 c Texas Olive Ranch White Balsamic Vinegar, divided into 1 c and 1/8 c
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
- Fresh ground pepper and kosher salt
- 3 Tbsp Texas Olive Ranch Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
- 1/3 c all purpose flour
- 1 lb. red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 325 F and with the oven rack at the lower-middle position.
- Cook bacon pieces in a large, heavy bottom soup pot over medium-low heat. Once the bacon is browned, transfer to a large mixing bowl, leaving the bacon fat in the pot.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high and in small batches, sear the chicken thighs in the bacon fat. If more fat is needed, add Texas Olive Ranch Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided. Once cooked, place seared chicken in the bowl with the bacon.
- Reduce heat to medium and place the carrots in the pot to cook until softened. Add the diced onion and celery and cook until onion is translucent and celery has softened. Add minced garlic and cook 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Increase the heat to medium-high. Add 1 cup Texas Olive Ranch White Balsamic Vinegar and 1 cup chicken broth. Add the Worcestershire Sauce. Scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan while you bring the mixture to a boil. Stir the mixture until the liquid reduces to about 1/4 cup and vegetables start to sizzle, this should take about 12 to 15 minutes.
- Add Texas Olive Ranch Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil and combine. Sprinkle the vegetables with flour and continue stirring.
- Gradually add the remaining 4 cups of broth along with thyme and smoked paprika. Whisk continuously until smooth.
- Add quartered red potatoes and bring the mixture to a low boil.
- Turn off heat. Taste the stew and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the pot to the oven and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking.
- Transfer pot back to the stovetop and scrape the sides of the pot with a spoon back into the stew. Stir well.
- Add chicken thighs and bacon and return the pot to the oven. Cook uncovered for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until chicken and vegetables are tender.
- Garnish with chopped parsley before serving.
Texas Olive Ranch Simple Shakshuka
Shakshuka is a popular dish in the Middle East and Northern Africa. It is perfect for winter because it tastes best when you used preserve tomatoes rather than fresh. While you may see “eggs” and think “breakfast dish,” shakshuka is a popular menu item for dinner as well. Use the Mediterranean Blend from the Texas Olive Ranch Regional Herb and Spice Blends to make this dish as easy as it is delicious.
- 1/4 c Texas Olive Ranch Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- Fresh ground black pepper and kosher salt
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. Texas Olive Ranch Mediterranean Herb and Spice Blend
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 3 oz crumbled feta cheese
- 8 eggs
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Crusty bread or pita for serving
- In a heavy, 12 inch frying pan with tall sides and a lid, heat Texas Olive Ranch Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add onion and red bell pepper along with a good pinch of the salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are somewhat tender.
- Add garlic, Mediterranean Herb and Spice Blend, cumin, paprika and pepper flakes and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for about two minutes more.
- Add the can of tomatoes and another pinch of salt. Simmer until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in the feta cheese and reduce heat to medium-low and.
- Working one at a time, use a spoon to make a small well for each egg and crack egg into it.
- Cover the pan and allow the eggs to cook for 10-15 minutes, until whites are set.
- Remove the pan from heat and sprinkle with parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crusty bread or pita.
Texas Olive Ranch Happy Jalapeño Enchilada Soup
Here in Texas, enchiladas are always a welcome addition to the menu. This winter take on the classic Mexican dish cuts the rolling work and instead serves it hot and ready as a soup that is easy to prepare even on the busiest of weeknights. We added Texas Olive Ranch Happy Jalapeño Olive Oil for a touch of flavorful heat that will warm you to the bones.
- 1/4 c Texas Olive Ranch Happy Jalapeño Olive Oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 c. Sliced Zucchini
- 1 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 28 oz can enchilada sauce
- 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz can corn, drained
- 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
- 4 Oz Green Chiles
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin
- 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
- Fresh ground pepper and kosher salt
- Over medium heat, add Texas Olive Ranch Happy Jalapeño Olive Oil, onion, zucchini, and ground beef. Cook until vegetables are tender and beef is browned.
- Add diced tomatoes, enchilada sauce, black beans, corn, chiles, lime juice, cumin, and chili powder and bring to a simmer. Cover and allow ingredients to mix and heat through about 30-45 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with toppings of your choice: cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream, avocado, jalapeños, etc…