Using This Year’s Harvest
Posted by guest bloggers: Brittany Beaton, Brittany Knick, Lindsey Jones, Marywood University Nutrition Students
Fall is here again and with that brings fresh in season fruits and vegetables from our local farms. Apples, pumpkins, and squash are harvested daily for all of our enjoyment. We all know that during this time of year we can attend many fun fall festivities. The question on everyone’s mind now is: “What do we do with all these fresh, locally bought produce items?”
Some local farmers markets/farms may have recipes on hand to pass out, where as others you may have to be creative and use some experimentation. We have made it a little easier by giving you 3 quick, easy and healthy recipes for you and your family to enjoy all the flavors of fall.
First, is a delicious main entrée that incorporates squash with healthy baked chicken.
Squash Stuffed Chicken
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup finely diced acorn squash
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 small fresh onion, finely diced
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 2 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
- 2 cups all-purpose flour for coating
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. In a medium skillet, melt butter or margarine. Add the squash, green bell pepper, onion and celery. Sauté until slightly tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, add cheese and mix together.
Slice chicken breasts on the side about 3/4 of the way through. Stuff mixture evenly into each slit chicken breast until full. Dredge each breast in flour to coat completely, and brown coated chicken in skillet. Place browned chicken breasts in the prepared baking dish, cover and bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.
Next, use up the rest of your pumpkin in this decadent side dish to add to any main entrée.
Apple-Stuffed Baked Pumpkin
- 2 large baking apples
- 1 cup dark raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/2 cup honey (plenty locally this time of year)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 small pumpkin (3 to 5 pounds)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Carefully cut the top from the pumpkin, and trim and save it. Scoop the seeds and pulp out of the pumpkin. Pierce the inner cavity with the tines of a fork, place the pumpkin in a deep baking dish and replace the top of the pumpkin. Add about an inch of water to the dish to surround the pumpkin. Place the pumpkin in the oven for 10 minutes.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the apple cider. Add the honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and stir until well-mixed. Add the apples, almonds and oats. Stir well and cover with a lid. Allow to cook about 10 minutes or until the apples begin to soften. Remove from heat and stir in the raisins and orange zest.
Spoon hot mixture into the pumpkin, replace the top of the pumpkin and return to the oven for another 40 minutes or until a toothpick can easily pierce the side of the pumpkin.
Third, try a delicious home cooked dessert, which is low in fat and will also really accentuate the fall aromas.
Spiced Pears and Pomegranate
- 3 pears – peeled, cored and cut into wedges
- 1 pomegranate, skin and light-colored membrane removed
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped almonds (optional)
- 4 sprigs fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
Place the sliced pears and pomegranate seeds into a bowl. Toss with lemon juice to coat. Combine the brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a small cup or bowl, then mix into the fruit. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to blend the flavors. Serve in individual dishes, and garnish with a sprinkling of chopped almonds and a sprig of mint.