Three inspired recipes meet the challenge of dreary weather, in less than an hour from start to finish.

When it's cold outside, I crave old-fashioned stews and soups--the kind made with luscious, fatty cuts of meat that simmer for hours. But I can't afford the time or the cholesterol. Fortunately I've found that lean proteins make hearty low-fat stews that don't need to cook all day. Here are three speedy, satisfying combinations: sweet shrimp with tender beans in a tomato-spiked sauce; juicy chicken with an Old-World polenta; and savory pork with Portobellos in a porcini broth.