Mouth-Watering Recipes Using Fresh, Seasonal Produce

Posted: January 31, 2022 2:51 pm

We all get stuck in a cooking rut from time to time, and while we want to incorporate new, fresh cuisine into our lives, we may not always know what is in season and how we can best use it to craft delicious new dishes for our loved ones.

The benefits of using fresh, seasonal produce
As weather changes across the globe, so does the array of fresh fruits and vegetables that are available to us. Each season carries with it delightful new combinations of tastes and flavors; if you haven’t yet shopped the produce aisle of your local supermarket, it’s time to peruse. Here are some benefits to be had from shopping and eating seasonally:

1. Recipes taste better
Cooking with and eating fresh produce simply tastes better. Allowing fruits and veggies to mature fully, being picked and harvested at the peak of ripeness, ensures that you get the most vibrant flavor and power packed nutrition.

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2. It’s cheaper!
Believe it or not, choosing seasonal produce from your local grocer is cheaper, as prices tend to be lower when produce is ready to be harvested. Buying and using produce that is “out of season” requires that additional measures must be taken in order for it to be ready to eat. Additional transportation and preparation charges may be driving costs up on fringe produce as well; it’s better to shop and harvest locally to see significant savings on your grocery bill.

3. It supports your body’s seasonal nutritional needs
Isn’t it funny that oranges and clementines are in abundance in the cold winter months, when our bodies crave the most vitamin C? Winter veggies are filling and comfortable, and provide all that our bodies need to support our energy requirements through the winter months. Stone fruits and berries in summer provide us with antioxidants that protect us against sun and free radical damage. Nature knew what it was doing when it supplied our bounty; it’s up to take full advantage of it as we craft delicious, nutritionally-dense dishes for our loved ones.

Try these on for size!
The following recipes will be sure to change your outlook on shopping and buying seasonally; keep up with your local grocer as you see changes to the produce season over time, and look forward to using these dishes when you see these vibrant colors and delicious flavors in your local market. Enjoy!

Spring: Grandma’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie


Sweet and tart come together to form the perfect spring blend of mouthwatering flavor. Grandma’s strawberry rhubarb pie is every bit as good as you remember on a hot summer day; enjoy with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream to sweeten the deal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 3 tsp sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ice cold water
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped fresh red rhubarb
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp minute tapioca
  • 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp cubed butter
  • 1 egg white beaten with 1 tsp water
  • Large granule sugar

Directions for crust:
Using 2 pastry blenders, blend flours, sugar, shortening, butter, and salt. Whisk the egg, vinegar and water in a glass bowl and combine to the dry ingredients, being careful not to overwork the dough. Chill dough if needed; divide into two parts. Roll out one part on a floured cutting board to form bottom crust and lay into pie pan. Put dish in refrigerator to chill.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Directions for filling:
Mix fruits, sugar, tapioca, flour, zest and juice of one lemon; add a dash of cinnamon and vanilla. Mix well in a large bowl and fill bottom pie crust. Dot the top of the filling with cubed butter. Brush edges of bottom crust with egg white wash; roll out second piece of dough and lay onto filling. Brush with egg white wash and crimp edges of the two crusts together. Sprinkle with large granule sugar. Collar the edges of the crust with tin foil and bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Decrease temperature to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 50-60 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing and serving with homemade vanilla ice cream.

Spring: Creamy Chicken And Asparagus Pasta


Tender chunks of chicken breast combine with nutty, flavorful asparagus to form this easy weeknight dish. Add your favorite goat cheese for some extra zing, and watch your family’s eyes light up with delight as they ask for seconds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb asparagus spears, trimmed and washed
  • 3/4 bow tie pasta
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 lb boneless chicken breast chunks, trimmed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 5 oz goat cheese
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add asparagus and blanch for 1 minute. Remove with slotted spoon and place asparagus in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Set aside.

In the same water used to blanch the asparagus, add pasta and follow package directions for al dente. Remove from water and save 1/2 cup of cooking water to add to pasta if needed.

Heat butter in a large skillet on high heat. Add shallots and chicken cubes; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until shallots are transluscent and chicken is lightly browned on all sides.

To the skillet, add chicken broth, cream, nutmeg, goat cheese, thyme, oregano, and most of the parmesan cheese. Cook till the cheese is melted and fully incorporated into the mixture. Add the blanched asparagus and simmer for a minute; stir in lemon juice and garnish with salt and pepper.

Place pasata in a large bowl; pour chicken and asparagus mixture over the pasta and stir till well combined. Sprinkle pasta with parmesan cheese before serving.

Summer: Blueberry Banana Avocado Smoothie


Nothing says summer decadence quite like a thick, creamy smoothie. This one is packed with antioxidants that will protect against summer skin damage while filling you up with fiber and nutrients for hours after you sip and savor. Try this delicious, thick and creamy concoction on for size!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions: Place all ingredients in your blender or food processor and blend until smooth. For a thicker consistency, add ice to the mix, while those that like thinner consistencies should add almond milk to taste.

Summer: Classic Stuffed Bell Peppers


Bell peppers are at their most vibrant in the summer; no matter which color you choose, this recipe is bound to bring all of the flavor of that delicious summer vegetable out, making it a vibrant and colorful dish for any occasion.

Ingredients:

  • 6 bell peppers
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 ounces lean ground beef
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, finely diced
  • 4 roma tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 1 1/2 cups grated pepper jack cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut off tops of peppers and remove the excess rib tissue ane seeds. Place them upright in a baking dish as you prepare the filling.

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet, add ground beef and begin breaking up as it cooks. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook till beef is completely browned. Drain off excess fat and set aside.

Add remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil to the skillet and add onions. Cook till they are soft, then add garlic and zucchini, cooking an additional minute. Add tomatoes and a few red pepper flakes and a sprinkle of salt, stirring till heated through. Add ground beef and rice and 1 cup cheese; mix well.

Fill peppers with rice mixture, topping with additional cheese. Add 1/2 inch of water to the baking pan and drizzle peppers with olive oil. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and allow them to cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Fall: Apple Scalloped Potatoes


This stick-to-your-ribs dish is perfect with some meaty pork chops and a dollop of homemade applesauce. Fill up and enjoy a crisp fall evening with loved ones.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium Granny smith apple, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup sliced sweet onion
  • 4 medium red potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine apple slices, sugar and lemon juice; toss to coat. In an ovenproof skillet, melt butter and add onion. Cook onion for 3 minutes till crisp tender and set aside.

Alternately arrange potato and apple slices in a single layer in the same skillet. Combine 3/4 cup parmesan, cream, thyme, salt and pepper and pour over the top of the fruit/veggie mixture. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes, then remove from oven and garnish with bacon crumbles and additional parmesan cheese. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired. Brown for an additional 10 minutes or till cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving to thicken the cream sauce.

Fall: Amazing Butternut Squash


Squash is a versatile and delicious addition to any meal. Soups, roasted, baked, or stuffed, this veggie delivers on its promise of subtle flavor and creamy goodness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup crushed saltine crackers
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook cut squash until it is soft. Remove from heat and drain. Transfer squash to a large bowl and mash with a fork. Mix in mayo, egg, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Pour mixture into a medium sized baking dish.

In a medium bowl, mix together Parmesan, crackers, and butter. Sprinkle over the squash mixture. Bake uncovered in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or till top is lightly browned and bubbly.

Winter: Cranberry Orange Bread


This easy quick bread recipe is packed with flavor and nutrients. Serve up with scrambled eggs for a warm winter breakfast, or have friends over for coffee while you bust out this flavorful sidekick to your favorite beverage.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup fresh sliced cranberries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • Zest of one orange

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil spray. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Add cranberries and walnuts and stir to combine with flour mixture.

In a another large bowl, combine egg, orange juice, and orange zest. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir until everything is well blended. Transfer batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing and serving.

Winter: Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts


Brussels Sprouts have gotten a bad rap, and we’re here to set the record straight. They are simple to prepare, delicious, and packed with valuable vitamins and minerals your body needs. Add an air fryer to the mix and you have no excuse NOT to try this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • lemon slices
  • cooking spray or melted butter

Directions:
Heat an air fryer to 390 degrees and spray basket with cooking spray or brush with melted butter. Prep Brussels sprouts by trimming the ends and cutting in half so they can cook evenly. Place cleaned sprouts in a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well. Transfer the sprouts to the air fryer basket and shake till they are arranged in a single layer. Cook in two batches if necessary. Cook till golden brown and crisp, about 12-15 minutes for each batch. Just before serving, sprinkle with lemon juice for a pop of flavor and garnish with fresh lemon slices.

With these seasonal recipes in your arsenal, you can enjoy the benefits of cooking and eating seasonally fresh produce while impressing anyone who comes to your table. Bon Appetit!

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