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5 Dancer-Approved Recipes to Keep You Warm This Winter

The post-holiday haze has faded, and now there's no denying it: Winter is here. If your reaction to below-freezing temps is to burrow inside a cocoon of blankets, emerging only to retrieve your hot beverage or warm comfort food of choice—well, we're right there with you. Here are five dishes perfect for banishing the cold (or at least making it more bearable) from some of our favorite pros.


James Whiteside's Chicken Pot Pie

James Whiteside stands in front of a packed stove, spooning chicken pot pie filling from a large skillet into a waiting pie crust.

Whiteside making his chicken pot pie

Jim Lafferty

The endlessly entertaining American Ballet Theatre principal learned to cook from his mom, and supplemented her chicken pot pie recipe with ones he found on the internet.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • dash of hot sauce (Whiteside uses Cholula)
  • 2 unbaked pie crusts (9 inches)
  • 1 egg, separated

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. In a large pot, combine chicken, bouillon cube, carrots, peas and celery. Cover with water and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside. Remove chicken, cube or shred, and return to pot.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Add a dash of hot sauce. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Add chicken/vegetable mixture and stir.
  4. Place the bottom crust in a nonstick pie pan and fill with chicken mixture. Cover with top crust, seal edges and cut away excess dough. Brush top crust with egg white. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
  5. Bake for 35–40 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes: One 9-inch pie

Leah Ives' Egg Strata

A breakfast casserole packed with veggies

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The Trisha Brown Dance Company member's egg strata recipe might be meant for breakfast, but who's judging? It's easy to swap out different fillings to suit your tastes, or to throw it in a Tupperware if you absolutely have to leave the warmth of your apartment.

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • basil and other herbs (to taste)
  • dried-out bread, torn in pieces (enough to line the bottom of the pan)
  • precooked chicken breast, torn in pieces
  • feta cheese, in chunks
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • spinach, sautéed

Directions

  1. Spray the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray, then line the bottom with the bread.
  2. In a separate container, beat the eggs and milk, adding salt, pepper, basil and other herbs (or Dijon mustard) to your liking.
  3. Evenly place the feta, tomatoes, spinach and chicken on top of the bread.
  4. Pour the egg mixture over the fillings and bread. Some pieces might float up—push them down.
  5. Cover with Saran wrap and leave in the fridge overnight.
  6. In the morning, bake at 350° F for 45 minutes or until set.

Erica Lall's Jamaican Curry Chicken

This family recipe from the American Ballet Theatre corps standout (and former "25 to Watch" pick) packs some serious spice.

Ingredients

  • 1–2 small potatoes, cubed
  • 2–3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 4–6 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
  • Lawry's seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp. Jamaican curry powder
  • 1 tsp. jerk seasoning
  • 2 tsp. ketchup
  • dried thyme
  • coconut milk (about 1/4 can for 4 thighs)

Directions

  1. Rinse chicken and place in glass baking dish.
  2. Sprinkle seasoning salt, curry powder (about a full tsp. for four thighs or enough to color all sides of meat a bright yellow).
  3. Add 1 heaping tsp. of jerk seasoning, or a little more for more fire.
  4. Add ketchup.
  5. Mix to evenly coat all surfaces.
  6. Mix in onion, thyme, coconut milk and potatoes.
  7. Cover with foil and marinate in fridge for one hour.
  8. Bake at 375˚F for one hour.
  9. Serve over steamed Basmati rice.

Ashley Murphy-Wilson's Lemon Turmeric Salmon

Green beans, cooked salmon with garnish and two lemon slices rest on a clean, white plate.

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This Washington Ballet dancer didn't leave her grandmother's penchant for Southern soul food behind when she moved to the East Coast. But she did figure out ways to make her cooking healthier without leaving the comfort food vibes behind—like with this high-protein, anti-inflammatory salmon dish.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup very cold or frozen salted butter, plus more for greasing pan
  • 4 fresh, skin-on salmon fillets, cut about 1 1/2 inches thick
  • 1 tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large lemon

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and butter the bottom of a baking sheet.
  2. Rinse the salmon, pat dry and place skin-side down on the sheet.
  3. In a small dish, mix the thyme, turmeric and salt. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the top of the fillets.
  4. Slice the lemon into 4 thin rounds, remove the seeds, then halve the rounds.
  5. Top each fillet with two lemon slice halves, then grate the cold butter evenly over the top of the fillets.
  6. Cover the pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. (Cut into center to check doneness.)
  7. Remove from the oven, uncover, spoon the butter sauce from the pan over the fish and serve.

Kevin J. Shannon's Vegetable Borscht

Kevin J. Shannon, out of frame except for his hands, chops carrots on a wooden cutting board. The rest of the table is covered in bright bowls with already-chopped vegetables, as well as a near-empty glass of white wine.

Shannon preparing ingredients for his vegetable borscht

Greg Birman

The Hubbard Street Dance Chicago member might use some homegrown ingredients in his take on the eastern European staple, but produce from your local grocery store or greenmarket will do just as well.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsps. vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 leek, top and bottom removed (diced)
  • 4 medium beets (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 3–4 carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 3–4 parsnips (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 tbsps. white vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 48 oz. beef, chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 small/medium head of cabbage (halved and chopped)
  • sour cream or yogurt
  • pinch of dill and splash of lemon juice (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in medium-sized pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and leek. Cook for 5 minutes or until soft.
  3. Add beets, carrots and parsnips. Cook another 5 minutes.
  4. Add vinegar. Sprinkle salt and pepper.
  5. Cook until beets are soft, about 10 minutes.
  6. Add broth.
  7. Lower heat to medium-low and cook for 15–20 minutes, then add cabbage.
  8. Cook another 20 minutes.
  9. Garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt. Add optional dill or lemon juice to taste.

Serves: 6–8 people

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