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    These 5 comforting dinner recipes for winter will help keep you warm when it's cold outside.

    You open the front door after a long day at school or work and a cold drive home, and it hits you: the wonderful smell of a winter dinner wafting toward you, just as your body starts to feel the comfort of a warm house. The smell of a savory casserole baking in the oven, or a stew with herbs and spices simmering on the stove -- those are some of the best moments of winter. With all that in mind, I've put together a collection of easy winter recipes for delicious dinners.

    Among these easy dinner recipes for winter are several casserole recipes. One recipe features pasta; another, beans; and a third, potatoes. You'll also find recipes for a tomato-based soup and a stove-top steak, in case you feel like having a nice, lean steak at a time when barbecuing outside is out of the question. And the best news? All are healthier than the standard versions of these comfort foods.

    In winter, some produce items might not be available or affordable, but fear not. Frozen vegetables will generally work well in these winter recipes. And as far as fruits go, choose from pears, apples, avocados, cranberries, grapes, oranges, and kiwi to complement your winter dinner.

    Chicken O'Brien Casserole

    Just buy a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket, and you can easily have your three cups of shredded skinless, boneless chicken.


    2 pounds frozen O'Brien potatoes (about 8 cups), partially thawed

    1 1/2 cups fat-free or light sour cream

    1 cup chopped sweet onions or green onions (use the white and part of the green)

    10 3/4-ounce can Healthy Request condensed cream of chicken soup

    1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half (or substitute low-fat or nonfat milk)

    2 cups shredded, reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

    3 cups shredded, roasted chicken breast and thigh (skinless, boneless)

    1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

    1/2 teaspoon pepper

    2 ounces baked potato chips, coarsely crushed (or use Light Ruffles)


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat the inside of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with canola cooking spray.
    2. In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except potato chips. Spread mixture into prepared dish; top with the crushed potato chips.
    3. Bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, until casserole is lightly brown and bubbling.

    Yield: Makes 10 entree servings

    WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as 1 portion frozen dinner light OR 1 cup "hearty stew" + 1 ounce low-fat cheese OR 1 serving lean meat with sauce

    Nutrition Information: Per serving: 280 calories, 22 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat, 3.7 g saturated fat, 58 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 350 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 26%.

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