Our CSA share is slowly morphing into cold-weather veggies. Gone are the juicy melons of late August — now we’re loaded with more carrots, parsnips, and squash than we know what to do with! That’s okay, though, because my own food preferences seem to align with the weather. As it gets cooler, I crave braised meats, hearty vegetable stews, and oven-roasted veggies. That’s why the week’s menu certainly felt satisfyingly autumnal.
I’m needing to be more strict about menu planning because I got away from it in during the summer. Without a plan, dinner prep becomes a mad scramble to put something together with limited ingredients, and there’s always something missing when I decide on what I want to make. Most significant of all, I notice a decrease in price when I plan ahead. I’m not as likely to make emergency trips to the grocery store when there doesn’t seem to be anything in the fridge.
1. Cider-glazed chicken legs
This was a yummy recipe from the latest Fine Cooking magazine that tasted delicious. I served it with roasted sweet potatoes and salad.
2. Pork chops with cranberry-maple sauce
Another Fine Cooking recipe from their very helpful ‘dinners in under 30 minutes’ section, this was probably my favourite recipe all week. It tasted so much like a turkey dinner, yet it wasn’t. I’ll be making this sauce again to use on pork and chicken.
3. Penne with sausage, broccoli, and Parmesan
Good, but I’m not a fan of whole-wheat pasta, which, in my opinion, seriously compromised the taste of this dish. My husband insists on it, and I cook it because I know it’s a lot healthier, but it’s one of those foods that simply doesn’t do the real thing justice.
4. Butternut squash shepherd’s pie
I found this recipe in Better Homes and Gardens and liked the idea of topping shepherd’s pie with something other than plain mashed potatoes. The butternut squash had a much smoother, lighter taste.
5. Fried chicken cutlets with cacciatore-style quinoa salad
Though a bit more labour-intensive than I needed at 5 pm one night, I managed to have a hearty, delicious meal ready with the help of my husband. (Sometimes I’m a bit too ambitious!) The quinoa salad, filled with roasted red peppers and other veggies, made a delicious lunch for the next couple of days because I made so much.
6. Leek, pumpkin, and feta tart served with green salad
I found this interesting recipe in the weekly brochure that accompanies our CSA share. Instead of feta, I put a layer of havarti and parmesan beneath the thinly-sliced pumpkin and sautéed leeks. It was delicious, and the pastry nice and fluffy. It was a perfect breakfast the next day.
I also discovered the amazing world of kale chips — huge fan now. They’re addictive. I made two cookie sheets and ate one entirely before dinner one night. My other culinary adventure was creme caramel, which tasted right but had a slightly lumpy texture; I think I’ll have to work on that.