Hearty rainy day recipes

We all know that April showers bring May flowers, but in the face of endless spring rain, it can be tough to look on the bright side. The best way to cope with rainy day blues? Comfort food of course!

Banana-date breakfast cookies

A warm, fresh-baked treat is the perfect solution to a drizzly morning, and with no added sugar, these cookies make for an entirely justifiable breakfast.
The bananas and dates both provide a powerful dose of potassium, which can improve cardiovascular health. Plus, the oats are rich in fibre and protein, which will help keep you full all day.

Ingredients:
-— 2 cups oats
-—1 tsp cinnamon
— 1 tsp powdered ginger
— 1 pinch nutmeg
— 1 tsp vanilla
— 3 ripe bananas, mashed
— ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
— ½ cup slivered almonds
— 4 dates, chopped

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F
2. Mix oats with spices until well combined in a mixing bowl.
3. Add mashed bananas, applesauce, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth with no lumps.
4. Stir dates and almonds through the mix.
5. Use a spoon to drop the mix onto a cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden.
6. Tuck in and enjoy a warm breakfast. If it’s going to be miserable outside all day, you might as well make yourself comfortable.

Sweet potato mushroom risotto

Nothing warms you up after a long, damp day like a bowl of risotto. The ultimate comfort food, risotto is made by cooking rice in stock until it comes to a creamy consistency. Many recipes call for Arborio rice or other specific varieties, but any short-grain rice will work fine.
Risotto carries a bit of a reputation for being
labour-intensive, but this simplified recipe is easy to whip up and requires significantly less stirring than others.

Ingredients:
— Two small sweet potatoes (the batch pictured above used oriental sweet potatoes, but traditional sweet potatoes work)
— 4 tbsp olive oil
— 250 g small mushrooms
— ¾ cup rice
— 2 ¼ cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
— ¼ cup pine nuts
— 1 shallot, diced

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
2. Pierce one potato several times with a fork or knife. Dice the other sweet potato, toss with 1 tbsp oil, and spread on a cookie sheet. Slice the mushrooms thickly, toss with 1 tbsp oil, and spread on another cookie sheet.
3. Bake chopped vegetables for approximately 30 minutes, whole sweet potato for 10-15 minutes more. Veggies will be done when they begin to brown and the whole sweet potato when it’s soft and easily punctured with a fork.
4. Remove the skin from the baked potato and mash what remains.
Set aside.
5. Spread pine nuts on a cookie sheet and bake five minutes or until golden.
6. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan on the stove and add chopped shallots. Sauté
until translucent.
7. Add rice to pan. Stir until each grain of rice is coated in oil and heat for about two minutes.
8. Add 1 ½ cups of stock to rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and stir until the liquid is absorbed. It won’t be ready for more liquid until the bottom of the pan looks dry when you stir.
9. While you stir, add the mashed potato and mix thoroughly.
10. Add the stock in ½ cup at a time, adding when the rice looks dry, until none remains and the rice looks creamy and thick.
11. Spoon into dishes and sprinkle with pine nuts.

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