During the cold months of winter we often crave the “comfort foods” which usually consist largely of meats and pastas and other foods high in simple carbs. We seem to have less energy and may tend to eat fast foods and/or pre-prepared foods more during the winter. All this puts an immense strain on our immune system. Disease causing bacteria proliferate during these cold winter months and our depleted immune systems soon succumb to colds, flu, bronchitis etc.
We can still have some of those comfort foods, but we need to enhance our normal recipes with lots of garlic, onions, peppers, tomatoes and bacteria fighting herbs like thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil and ginger. Are you thinking Mexican and Italian recipes? They’re perfect examples of healthy, immune building foods, as are many Asian dishes featuring peppers and ginger.
Here’s an easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole to get you started.
Line a 9X12 baking dish with corn tortillas. They will overlap and you should be able to get six to a layer.
Heat one can cream of chicken soup, one can of cream of mushroom soup, and one can of water or chicken stock, stirring until it’s nice an smooth. Add a can of roasted chopped green chilis, or a chopped fresh pablano or anaheim pepper and one or two chopped cloves of garlic (according to your taste) and about 1 cup of diced chicken. Use leftover chicken, or boil or roast a chicken breast or a leg quarter, debone and dice. If you boil it, use the broth to mix with your soup, or save it for your next stew or casserole.
Spread the soup mixture over the bottom layer of tortillas, top with a nice Mexican blend cheese, and add another layer of tortillas, soup mix and cheese.
Pop it into the oven and heat until the liquid is nice and bubbly and thick. Allow to stand 10 or 15 minutes before serving.
You can substitute tortilla chips for the whole corn tortillas for a quicker and easier dish. You may need to add a little more water if you use the chips.
Make your favorite beef stew recipe and add extra onion, garlic, and maybe some chili peppers. Make a chicken stew and add sage and rosemary. (Don’t forget the onion and garlic)
Make your meals colorful! Remember the color of vegetables denotes the nutrients in them, so if you have some red, (tomatoes, red peppers, beets) green, (leafy greens, peppers, green onions) orange (carrots, sweet potatoes, squash) in your meals you have a wide variety of nutrients which helps with your over-all health and immunity.
If you never seem to have enough time, (I think that includes most everybody) cook enough at one time to make two or three meals, and freeze the left overs. Then you can just reheat for the next time (your own home made pre-prepared meals).
These are just a few suggestions to help get you through the winter. Check out these two links for more.