This is my first blog which was inspired by joining The Produce Box, a local community supported agriculture group. With a weekly delivery of fresh produce, I have been challenged to create healthy nightly meals using ingredients I may not have purchased on my own.

Below is a compilation of weekly meals using the produce delivered by The Produce Box as well as some other recipes which have inspired me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 15- September 21

Today's Produce Box is the last box for the Summer season. In 2 weeks the Produce Box will be offering Fall boxes filled with local farm's Fall Harvests. I am excited to see what those offerings will include. This week I received 4 lbs. of Sweet Potatoes, 5 Cucumbers, 1.5 oz of fresh Basil, 2 large Onions, a pint of Grape Tomatoes, 3 Butternut Squashes and local Grape Cider.

I am thinking of using my Pumpkin Bread recipe and substituting the pumpkin with butternut squash. I'll let you know how that works.

Last week I used cucumbers in a tomato sauce. Something different to use up my abundance of cukes. My husband is not a cucumber lover so he didn't care for the addition of the cucumbers to the sauce. I however, thought the sauce was excellent. Of course I made a few alterations to the recipe. I added one can of crushed tomatoes, 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste and ground beef Overall I enjoyed this sauce and am wondering if I could shred the cucumbers to hide them from my husband? Here is the link for the Cucumber-Tomato Sauce.

Wednesday, Sept. 15
- Grilled steak served with Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries. (The recipe calls for making them chips but I plan on baking them as fries and adding a little garlic powder and ground pepper to the mixture.)

Thursday, Sept. 16- With our crazy Thursday schedule, I am either opting for sausage hoagies on the grill or take out.

Friday, Sept. 17- Butternut Squash Risotto using my old stand by risotto recipe, with a few additions. First, I will add 2 cloves of minced garlic to the onion. Second, I will add cinnamon and nutmeg to my mashed butternut squash. Lastly, I will use a 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. By the way my old and reliable risotto recipe can be found on the side of Harris Teeter Arborio Rice. I will add some cut up tomato to the risotto and some shrimp to round out the dish.

Saturday, Sept. 18- With yard work on the agenda all day, I would like to keep tonight's dinner simple. I plan to make the Cucumber-Tomato Sauce again using the shredded cucumber and a dash of chopped fresh basil over pasta along with a loaf of bread.

Sunday, Sept. 19- Seasoned Grilled Pork Tenderloin (I'll make up my own rub using some chopped fresh basil, lemon pepper, garlic powder, salt and chopped onion) with Grilled Sweet Potatoes. I made these potatoes a few week's ago and everyone (even the kids) ate these up!

Grilled Sweet Potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes, sliced
1 apple - peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp white sugar
drizzle of maple syrup
1/4 cup butter

1. Preheat an outdoor grill.
2. In a bowl, toss the sweet potato and apple slices with the cinnamon and sugar. Place on a large piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with maple syrup and top with butter. Tightly seal foil around.
3. Place foil packet on the grill, and cook 40 minutes, turning every 5 to 10 minutes, until potatoes and apples are tender.

Monday, Sept. 20- I'll break out the crock pot tonight for Chili. I enjoy crock pot meals for the ease of preparing a sumptuous dish. With a little prep work in the morning by evening I will have an awesome and hearty meal!

Tuesday, Sept. 21- Most likely tonight will be left overs however, on the off chance all the left overs were already eaten for lunches I am thinking of pork chops and potato pancakes.

Monday, September 6, 2010

September 8- September 14 Menu

My Box contains 6 Tomatoes, 8 Apples, 7 Cucumbers and 9 Peaches.

I will be making Freezer Jam with some of the peaches. My oldest daughter loves snacking on the fresh peaches too. I love quick breads and will make up Apple Bread with some of the apples. I didn't make the apple sauce last week. So I will use the remaining apples from last week and some of this week's batch to make up the Spiced Slow Cooker Applesauce.

I will be making Cool Cucumber Salsa, something different to do with these cucumbers. In addition to the Box's cucumbers, my personal garden has been providing my family and neighbor with an abundance of cucumbers. Therefore, I have been looking for new and different ways to use them up.

Dinner this week is very simple and basic. We have some extra activities which will keep us busy and away from the kitchen. So I have planned for a very easy menu. So I apologize that my weekly planning is not very creative or interesting this week.

Wednesday- I am finally using up some of the hotdog rolls from our Labor Day BBQ to make Italian Sausage Sandwiches with grilled peppers and onions along with macaroni salad (with diced up fresh tomato).

Thursday- Simplicity tonight, hotdogs and the remaining macaroni salad.

Friday- I never got around to making the Peach and Honey Chicken last week. I am going to do something a little different and a little less time consuming. I plan on making Baked Chicken with Peaches and serve it over rice.

Saturday- Pasta with ground beef and Cucumber-Tomato Sauce is on the menu tonight along with a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine. Yes I found a tomato sauce recipe that uses up some of my cucumbers. Sounds different and probably the only interesting recipe on my planner this week! I'll let you know how it went over.

Sunday- Steak Fajitas along with the Cool Cucumber Salsa will make for a simple dinner tonight. **picture for illustration purposes from allrecipes.com**

Monday- We are going out for dinner tonight. As much as I enjoy cooking, it is always nice when someone else does it (and cleans up the mess!).

Tuesday- It's my husband's Birthday so we will be doing something special for dinner to celebrate...but I can't tell you- he is probably reading this blog too! ;)