Lately I’ve heard a few people say that they’re in a dinner rut. They make the same go-to meals every week, and have run out of ideas.
This time of year can be challenging when it comes to cooking. For one thing, we’ve just come off of summer and are used to a variety of seasonal fruits & vegetables at our fingertips, and second, it’s pitch black & freezing at 5:30pm. All we want to do is make something easy, get cozy on the couch and watch Mad Men (or Boardwalk Empire, or Breaking Bad – BTW, I highly recommend these shows).
The fact is; there are a variety of seasonal vegetables available at this time of year that you shouldn’t forget about!
Spaghetti, acorn, butternut, delicata (also called potato squash – it’s small & yellow with green stripes)…they are in season, healthy, delicious & easy to prepare. Just roast them, top with some butter and salt & pepper, and voila! Or you can do something a little more advanced; the other day I roasted a delicata squash, pureed it with mustard, milk & nutritional yeast, and made a healthy “Mac N’ Cheese” – it was awesome (my husband was very skeptical – mac & cheese with no cheese, but he loved it).
Popular cruciferious vegetables include: broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and cabbage. I know what you’re thinking – boring & gross. Well these veggies are cancer-fighting, and can be yummy if you’re willing to get creative. The other night I pan-fried some brussel sprouts with organic prosciutto, and it was delish. Last night I made cauliflower mash, and my husband said: “I’d eat this over regular potatoes any day.”
Root veggies like sweet potatoes, parsnips & rutabaga are also in season. I make sweet potato, parsnip & rutabaga fries all the time. You can also chop them into cubes, and add them to chili, stew or stir-fry. If you have a mandolin; slice sweet potatoes really thin, bake them in the oven, and you’ve got sweet potato chips.
Here’s my recipe for Cauliflower Mash – get out of your rut, and give it a try tonight!
1 head cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup organic vegetable or chicken stock
1 tbsp. butter
Salt & pepper
½ cup parmesan or white cheddar cheese grated
Chop onions, garlic & cauliflower.
In a large pot, heat oil on medium heat, and sauté onions & garlic for about 5 minutes or until translucent.
Add chopped cauliflower and water or stock to the pot. Give it a stir, turn heat down slightly, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until cauliflower is soft and can be easily pierced with a fork. While cauliflower is simmering, grate cheese.
Once cauliflower is cooked, stir in butter and season with salt & pepper and scoop into a food processor or blender, and process until smooth (you can also mash directly in the pot using a potato masher – depends what texture you’re going for). Scoop into a large bowl, sprinkle grated cheese on top, and serve hot – enjoy!
Don’t fall into a cooking rut during the fall & winter months. Choose a seasonal vegetable, Google it, and look for a unique recipe to try!