Millions of recipes exist on the internet. They aren't all good and they don't all work. That's why it's important to learn to read recipes and imagine what they will taste like.

Here are some that will work this winter.

CREAMY CHICKEN PICCATA

from damndelicious.com

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

5 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

1/4 cup capers, drained

Season chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Dredge chicken in 4 tablespoons flour until evenly coated.

Heat canola oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.

Working in batches, add chicken to the skillet in a single layer and cook until golden brown and cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 4-5 minutes per side; set aside. Reduce heat to medium low.

Whisk in remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute.

Gradually whisk in chicken stock, wine and lemon juice. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced and slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in heavy cream, parsley and capers; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Return chicken to the skillet. Serve immediately.

MINESTRONE SOUP

from Cookieandkate.com

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

2 medium ribs celery, chopped

¼ cup tomato paste

2 cups chopped seasonal vegetables (potatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, butternut squash, green beans or peas all work)

4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, with their liquid (or 2 small 15-ounce cans)

4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth

2 cups water

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 bay leaves

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup whole grain orecchiette, elbow or small shell pasta

1 can (15 ounces) Great Northern beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked beans

2 cups baby spinach, chopped kale or chopped collard greens

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnishing (optional)

Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, tomato paste and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened and the onions are turning translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add the seasonal vegetables, garlic, oregano and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.

Pour in the diced tomatoes and their juices, broth and water. Add the salt, bay leaves and red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper.

Raise heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot with the lid, leaving about a 1” gap for steam to escape. Reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.

Cook for 15 minutes, then remove the lid and add the pasta, beans and greens. Continue simmering, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the the pasta is cooked al dente and the greens are tender.

Remove the pot from the heat, then remove the bay leaves. Stir in the lemon juice and remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Taste and season with more salt (I usually add about ¼ teaspoon more) and pepper until the flavors really sing. Garnish bowls of soup with grated Parmesan, if you’d like.

CLASSIC CHILI

from thewholesomedish.com

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow onion -diced

1 pound 90% lean ground beef

2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)

1 1/2 cups beef broth

1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes

1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

Add the olive oil to a large soup pot and place it over medium-high heat for two minutes. Add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the ground beef to the pot. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally.

Add the chili powder, cumin, sugar, tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and optional cayenne. Stir until well combined.

Add the broth, diced tomatoes (with their juice), drained beans, and tomato sauce. Stir well.

Bring the liquid to a low boil. Then, reduce the heat (low to medium-low) to gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pot from the heat. Let the chili rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnishes include shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, saltine or oyster crackers and diced avocado.

BACON CHEDDAR JALAPENO CORNBREAD

from fivehearthome.com

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup (½ stick) butter, melted and cooled

1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 egg, whisked

1 tablespoon honey

5 slices bacon, cooked and diced (1 tablespoon bacon grease reserved)

4 ounces (1 cup) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 jalapeño, seeds & membranes removed and minced (more or less, to taste)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place a tablespoon of bacon grease (or butter) in the bottom of an 8-inch cast iron skillet and place in the oven to melt.

In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the melted butter, buttermilk, egg, and honey. Mix in diced bacon, shredded cheddar, and minced jalapeño. Using a pot holder, remove hot skillet from the oven. Pour cornbread batter into center of skillet, allowing melted bacon grease to spread to the edges.

Smooth the top and bake for 20 minutes, or until surface is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool skillet for 5 minutes before slicing and serving cornbread warm.

TIP: Instead of a cast iron skillet, you may bake this cornbread in an 8-inch round pan or in 12 muffin cups. If doing so, generously grease the pan/muffin cups with butter or spray with nonstick cooking spray (in lieu of preheating in the oven with melted butter).

SLOW COOKER BEEF STROGANOFF

from tasteofhome.com

2 pounds beef top sirloin steak, cut into thin strips

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup water

1 envelope (1-1/2 ounces) beef Stroganoff seasoning for the slow cooker

1 pound sliced baby portobello mushrooms

1 small onion, chopped

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup port wine or beef broth

2 teaspoons ground mustard

1 teaspoon sugar

1-1/2 cups sour cream

Hot cooked egg noodles

Minced fresh parsley, optional

In a large skillet, brown meat in oil. Add water and seasoning mix, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Transfer meat and drippings to a 3-qt. slow cooker.

In the same skillet, saute mushrooms and onion in butter until tender. Combine the wine, mustard and sugar; stir into the mushroom mixture. Add to slow cooker; stir to combine.

Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until meat is tender. Stir in sour cream. Serve with noodles. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

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lward@dailyindependent.com

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