Seasonal Meal Planning: Warm Weather Cooking at it’s best!
Seasonal Meal Planning: June Farmers Market Finds
What tastes better than minty herbs, voluptuous antioxidant-filled fruit or crunch-tastic green veggies, farm-to-table style? Nothing I could afford, that’s for sure. Lately I have really gotten in on the sustainable living/eating bandwagon and thought many of you may share the love of fresh fruits and leafy greens with me. I have forever been a fan of farmers markets and saving a few pennies while eating organic, tasty (yeah tomatoes actually DO have a taste!), healthy whole foods. Supporting the farmers is an added bonus that hits close to home (my hubster was raised on a farm in southern Illinois– mad props to soy farmers!). Girlfriends of mine consistently tell me that meal planning is the hardest part of the cooking process, so I thought I would create a creative seasonal meal plan for you, complete with healthy recipes. That is garden love straight from me to you, sisters.
Your week of meals: Strawberry and goat cheese salad with pine nuts and homemade vinaigrette,Chicken and fettuccini with an artichoke and green pepper sauce, Asparagus and crab pasta with peas and corn and Pureed carrot soup with honey, ginger and jalapeno
*Note: The meals come straight from my own creative process, which is exciting but does not typically include exact measurements. You may see quantitative amounts like “big ole’ handful” or “smattering.” These measures may not be scientific but it will make your dish its own beautiful snowflake in the world of cooked dishes. Fear not my recipe-following sisters, you will find the amount that suits your tastes best!
Grocery list for the farmer’s market:
•Kale or spinach
Meals made from nature, with love:
Strawberry and goat cheese salad with pine nuts and homemade vinaigrette
Big ole’ handfuls of spinach, kale or other leafy greens of your choice
¼ or so of Vidalia onion, sliced into thin pieces
½ container of fresh strawberries, sliced into pieces
Smattering of pine nuts (about 2 tablespoons)
Goat cheese, crumbled
Combine the above ingredients. To make the dressing, simply combine ¼ cup olive oil with balsamic vinegar (around 3-4 tablespoons) and a dash of brown sugar or monk fruit sweetener, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Dress your salad to taste and toss, girl, toss.
Chicken and fettuccini with an artichoke and green pepper sauce
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
One jar of artichokes or 2-3 large artichokes cleaned and steamed
One large green pepper, cut into small pieces
1 jalapeno, sliced into small pieces (seeds removed to limit the heat, optional)
Heavy cream (about 1/2 cup to 1 cup) or milk or half and half
Parmesan cheese, shredded
Dried fettuccini noodles, cooked according to package (two servings or half a package, typically)
Cook the chicken in small pieces according to your favorite method, buy a rotisserie chicken pre-cooked or try this: cube the chicken into small pieces before cooking and simply bathe the chicken in chicken broth or water in a sauté pan and cover. Turn the chicken pieces frequently and watch them like a hawk since this method will cook your chicken rather quickly while keeping it moist! (About 5-7 minutes). Once the chicken is cooked, set aside and drain pan. Sauté your chopped green pepper pieces until they are a bit soft. Take out your blender and blend up the cooked or canned artichoke with cooked green pepper and fresh or cooked jalapeno pepper. Add heavy cream or half and half (or even milk if you prefer) and puree. This will form the basis for your green sauce. Taste test! Add salt, pepper, Tabasco and red pepper to taste.
Now that you have your sauce and chicken, simply cook your noodles and in a sauté pan combine the cooked noodles, chicken and sauce to fully coat all in the pan. Heat through. Sprinkle parmesan on top. Bien!
Asparagus and crab pasta with peas and corn
One can of fresh crab meat, picked through or one package of imitation crab meat
One bunch of asparagus, cut into one inch pieces
Fresh or Frozen corn (about ¾ cup)
Fresh or Frozen peas (about ¾ cup)
Dried spaghetti noodles (2 servings or half package)
Chive cream cheese package (tub)
Milk or half and half (around 1 cup)
Mozzarella cheese, shredded, (around 1 cup)
Dried onion powder (to taste, about 2 tablespoons)
Cook pasta according to directions, el dente. Sauté asparagus in a pan with about one inch of water until blanched. Soften the cream cheese. Combine the asparagus, crab meat, corn, peas, onion powder and cream cheese together. Add milk or half and half to loosen up the sauce. Combine with noodles in a casserole dish. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cover the casserole with shredded mozzarella and bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese has browned slightly.
Pureed carrot soup with honey, ginger and jalapeno
One large bunch of carrots, peeled
One can of coconut cream (or equivalent in half and half or milk)
One Jalapeno, chopped and seeded (optional)
Chives (about 3 tablespoons, chopped)
Pure honey (about 4 tablespoons)
Beef broth or water
Ginger (pureed or fresh) around 2 teaspoons
Boil water and cook the carrots thoroughly. Transfer carrots to blender or food processer and add remaining ingredients. Add ginger, honey and jalapeno to taste. Add beef broth or water to thin out your soup. Place chopped chives on top with fresh ground pepper. Enjoy! Your eyes will thank you for all the beta carotene!