If winter is all about fun, then good food must be central to the day. Instead of four stand-alone recipes, we put together a list of delicious, hearty meals to help you stay full and energized for a full day on the slopes, on the ice or in the woods.

Make the oatmeal the night before in a double broiler in your crock pot. Then in the morning, dump the water out and fill the pot with the night’s chili. It will cook while you play. Make your lunch days before and keep it in the refrigerator.

Slow Cooker, Pumpkin Pie Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Is anything better than waking up early on a cold morning to the smell of fresh pumpkin pie? This oatmeal gives you that, and starts your day of outdoor adventure off right.


  • 1-3/4 cups milk
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats (gluten-free, if desired)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (may substitute other preferred sweetener)
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (unsweetened,unflavored)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon ground chia or flax seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces (optional)
  • Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, apple, maple syrup, brown sugar, additional milk or butter


Place a heat-tolerant bowl inside the slow cooker; coat inside of bowl with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to the bowl; stir to combine. Pour additional water into the slow cooker on the outside of the bowl so that the water fills approx. halfway up the sides of the bowl. Put the cover on the slow cooker, and cook on low for up to 8 hours.

-- By Monica Matheny on The Yummy Life

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball

I know, your grandma makes cheese balls. But trust me, after skiing, riding, snowshoeing or sledding all morning, you’ll be happy for a filling, high-calorie treat. Bring along your favorite crackers and dig in. To spice it up, try adding a few red pepper flakes or a dash or two of your favorite hot sauce.


  • 16 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup cooked and chopped bacon
  • ⅛ cup dry Ranch dressing mix
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


In medium bowl combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, ranch mix, and green onions. Mix well and press into a Tupperware with a lid that seals. Sprinkle pecans on the top before leaving the house.

- Recipe from chef-in-training.com

Crockpot Sweet Potato & Black Bean Quinoa Chili

This recipe was intended to be vegetarian, and is just fine without meat. But I think it’s best with a pound or so of ground beef, elk, antelope or deer – whatever you have in your freezer.


  • 3 cups diced sweet potato (about 1 large)
  • 1 cup diced red onion (about 1 medium)
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers (about 1 large)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (15 oz) can organic black beans
  • 1 (28 oz) can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 pound ground elk, antelope, deer or beef
  • 3 – 4 cups vegetable or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa or rice
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (more or less to taste)
  • Salt & pepper to taste


Add all ingredients into a crock pot (starting with just 3 cups of broth). Turn on low and cook for about 8 hours. If too thick, stir in another ½ – 1 cup of water.

Serve with diced avocado

-- Adapted from simplyquinoa.com

Flannel Shirt 

At the end of the day, cozy up around the wood stove with a Flannel Shirt, a cocktail created by master mixologist Jeffrey Morganthaler of Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon and introduced to us by Jeremy Hugus of Casper. 


  • 1 3/4 ounce single malt scotch whisky
  • 1 1/2 ounce fresh-pressed apple juice or simply apple
  • 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce Amaro
  • 1/4 ounce allspice liqueur
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters


Vigorously shake all ingredients for 15 seconds (or stir in a tumbler if you don't have a cocktail shaker), strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass and garnish with an orange twist.

Follow managing editor Christine Peterson on Twitter @PetersonOutside


A Casper native, Christine Peterson started as a Star-Tribune intern in 2002. She has covered outdoor recreation, the environment and wildlife since 2010, and became managing editor in 2015. If not tracking bears or elk on assignment, she's chasing trout.

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