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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Meal keeps giving!

As with most families, we have turkey leftovers from our Thanksgiving meal.  Of course I knew we'd have a bunch, considering I roasted a 24 lb. bird for 3 adults and 2 small kids!  But I have enjoyed reinventing different ways to use up our leftover turkey.  I had already made earlier, the stuffing patties.  Yummy!  Of course there are turkey sandwiches.  But this week I am using the last of my turkey in 2 different dishes as outlined below.  Of course the casseroles have been the accompaniments to our turkey creation meals.  Overall cooking has been easy these last few days!

Monday, November 28-  From Pampered Chef, I enjoy making this recipe with leftover turkey (it is also good with leftover chicken).
Turkey Cranberry Ring
2 packages (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
½ Cup Mayo
2 T. honey Dijon mustard
½ tsp coarsely ground pepper
2 Cup (12 oz) Chopped turkey
½ Cup sliced celery
3 T. fresh parsley
½ Cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 Cup (4 oz) Shredded Swiss cheese
¼ Cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 egg

Pre-heat oven to 375°

Unroll the crescent roll container and separate the rolls. Place 8 of the triangles in a ring, wide edge of the triangle facing inward, around a circular baking stone with the corners touching. The points of the triangle will hang off the edge of the stone a bit.

Arrange the additional 8 triangles in the center of the ring, seaming wide and to wide end, points inward. Do not seam the sides of the inside triangles, only the wide ends.

In a medium sized bowl mix together the mustard, mayo and pepper. Chop the turkey, celery & parsley and blend in with the mayo-mixture. Grate the cheese and mix in as well.

The original recipe calls to add the walnuts after the mixture is on top of the crescent rolls but you can add it right into the mix or omit entirely.

Scoop the turkey mix onto the center of the wide-end seams. Fold the tips of the crescent roll triangles over each other to make a wreath and seal together. When you’re done the crescent rolls should cover the turkey mix completely. Seam together the edges.

In a small bowl, separate the egg white and discard the egg yolk. Beat the egg white, then brush on to the top of the ring.

Bake for 25- 30 minutes or until golden brown
This recipe if from pampered chef

Tuesday, November 29-  With the onset of cold weather, I am taking the lead with Turkey Noodle Soup.
Turkey Noodle Soup
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups wide egg noodles
  • 10 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1 cup of peas or green beans
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 cups diced, cooked turkey meat


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil.  Add garlic, onion and celery.  Saute for 5 minutes.  Add remaining vegetables and continue sauteing for additional 5 minutes.
  2. Combine broth and poultry seasoning into pot. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add noodles.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water together until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Gradually add to soup, stirring constantly. Stir in turkey, bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or heated through. 
Wednesday, November 30- I never made the below risotto recipe over the summer as I had posted in an earlier blog.  Tonight I will make this meal and add sliced Italian sausage to the risotto for a fuller meal.
Risotto with Tomato, Corn and Basil
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 medium tomato-peeled, seeded & chopped (I will substitute a small can diced drained tomatoes)
  • 1 cups corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper to taste


  1. Combine the water and milk in a medium size pot or saucepan, heat the water and milk to a simmer. Keep the pan over low heat.
  2. Melt the butter in a large casserole or skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and the rice, stir constantly for 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir until completely absorbed.
  3. Begin to add the heated milk-water mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next. When the rice has cooked for 15 minutes and most of the liquid has been incorporated, add the corn kernels and tomatoes along with the end of the milk-water mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender but still slightly chewy.
  4. The risotto should take 18 to 20 minutes of cooking all together. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, most of the basil, and the salt and pepper. Spoon the risotto immediately onto plates, top with the remaining basil strands, and serve.
Thursday, December 1-  Since it's just us girls this evening, and my refrigerator is packed full with leftovers, tonight is leftover night (or better known as empty the fridge!).
Friday, December 2-  Pork Chops and Potato Pancakes.  Although I have included it in my menu recently, I haven't made it.  But tonight I will make my favorite, potato pancakes (will include recipe later).
Saturday, December 3- It is the annual Apex Christmas Parade.  We will arm ourselves with Bojangles, hot chocolate, muchkins, chairs and blankets to camp out a great spot along the parade route tonight.
Sunday, December 4- The NY Giants play at 4pm and we get it on the television.  That means pizza and wings!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Week Menu

Monday, November 21-  Since I had about half the spinach from my Box leftover I decided to make pork chops and Southern Living magazine's recipe for Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Creamy Spinach.

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes Recipe
4lbs potatoes
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 milk
1/4 butter
salt and pepper
5 oz spinach
5 1/2 oz buttery garlic and herb spreadable cheese
1/4 chopped pecans
  1. Peel 4 lb. baking potatoes; cut into 2-inch pieces. 
  2. Bring potatoes, 2 tsp. salt, and water to cover to a boil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; boil 20 minutes or until tender. 
  3. Drain. Return potatoes to Dutch oven, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes or until potatoes are dry.
  4. Mash potatoes with a potato masher to desired consistency. 
  5. Stir in 1 1/4 cup warm buttermilk, 1/2 cup warm milk, 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and 1 tsp. salt, stirring just until blended. 
  6. Mix into potatoes,1 (5-oz.) package fresh baby spinach, cooked until wilted; 1 (5 1/2-oz.) package buttery garlic-and-herb spreadable cheese; and 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans.  
  7. Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased 2 1/2-qt. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes.   Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Tuesday, November 22-  As of right now I still plan on tortellini but I am opting out with a simple meal of tomato sauce, a side salad and a loaf of bread.

Wednesday, November 23-  I will be baking a pumpkin pie and from William Sonoma their Deep Dish Apple Bourbon Streusel Pie for Thanksgiving dessert.  With the baking, cleaning and prepping for tomorrow, take out is in order tonight!

Dish Apple Bourbon Streusel Pie

  • For the filling:
  • 3 lb. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 lb. Pink Lady apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices 1/4 inch thick
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 Tbs. bourbon
  • 2 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • For the streusel:
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup roughly chopped pecans
  • 7 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, diced


On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 20-by-14-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Fold the dough in half and transfer to a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Unfold the dough and press into the bottom and sides of the dish. Trim the edges, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, and fold in the excess dough so it extends just beyond the rim of the dish. Refrigerate the pie shell for 30 minutes.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F.

Meanwhile, make the filling: In a large bowl, stir together the apples, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, cornstarch, bourbon and vanilla until well combined.

To make the streusel, in a bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pecans. Add the butter and work it in with your fingers, pinching to form pea-size pieces.

Pour the apple mixture into the pie shell and sprinkle the streusel on top. Decorate the pie as desired with decorative cutouts. Bake until the streusel is golden brown and the apples are tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes; if the top of the pie has browned after 1 hour, tent it loosely with aluminum foil. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 2 hours before serving. Serves 12 to 14.

Thursday, November 24- Thanksgiving!  Of course I will be baking an extra large turkey stuffed with my mother's stuffing recipe.  I will also be making my sweet potato casserole and my butternut squash recipes using the vegetables received in earlier boxes.  I will also boil up some of the frozen green beans I received from another Box.  There will also be cranberry sauce, gravy, hot rolls and wine.  And for dessert the pies I baked yesterday.

Butternut Squash Casserole- from Williams-Sonoma
4 cups butternut squash puree
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp orange extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup vanilla wafers, crushed
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Lightly grease a casserole dish (4 - 6 cup capacity).
2. Combine squash puree, sugar, milk, vanilla, orange extract, salt, flour, eggs and melted butter. Pour into the prepared casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until set.
3. Meanwhile, make the topping. In a medium bowl, combine crushed vanilla wafers, melted butter and the brown sugar. Sprinkle over top of the cooked casserole and return to the oven to brown for an additional 10-15 minutes. Serve warm.
Sweet Potato Casserole 7 WW Points  
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup margarine, melted
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and halved
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg white
1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk

1. Preheat oven 350 degrees
2. Combine first 5 ingredients in small bowl, stirring to form streusel. Set aside
3. Place potatoes in pot covered with water. Bring to boil, cover and simmer 30 min or until tender. Drain. Mash in large bowl.
4. Stir in 1 cup of streusel topping, sugar, vanilla, egg white and milk.
5. Spoon into 2-qt. casserole coated with cooking spray. Top with remaining streusel.
6. Bake for 45 min.
Serving: 3/4 cup
Calories: 376  Fat: 8.8g  Saturated fat: 1.4g  Monounsaturated fat: 4.1g  Polyunsaturated fat: 2.6g  Protein: 5.4g  Carbohydrate: 70.1g  Fiber: 3.8g  Cholesterol: 1mg  Iron: 1.9mg  Sodium: 115mg  Calcium: 97mg

Friday, November 25-  I not quite sure what culinary masterpiece I will dish up tonight just yet.  With all of the feasting from the night before, I may pass the baton over to my husband this evening.

Saturday, November 26- Thanksgiving leftovers.  A mom in my daughter's class shared a Thanksgiving specialty which graces her dining table every year.  It sounded so good and a great way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers, so I am giving it a shot. 

Fried Stuffing Patties

Leftover Stuffing
Leftover Chopped Turkey
Chicken Broth

Take leftover stuffing add chicken broth generously and chopped turkey and mix.  Form thin patties (make sure they are very moist) and fry in butter or vegetable oil til crisp and heated through.  Serve with heated gravy on top if desired.

I'll serve them along with any leftover cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole and butternut squash casserole.

Sunday, November 27-  With all the poultry consumed over the past few days, I think we will grill steaks or hamburgers served with home made macaroni salad.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Last Box this Season

Sadly, this was our last Produce Box delivery for the season until next Spring.  After this week, I will have to conjure up my weekly menus without the aide of my Box for inspiration.
This week we recieved:
  • Green Beans
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • 2 Broccili
  • Butternut Squash
  • 7 Granny Smith Apples
  • 5 medium Sweet Poatoes
The sweet potatoes and the butternut squash )along with another butternut from an earlier delivery) will be saved for our Thanksgiving Feast.  I will most likely blanch and freeze the green beans for future use.

Wednesday, November 16-  With the fresh spinach from my box I will try out a tweaked recipe I discovered on allrecipes.com.  I will serve this with mashed potatoes.
Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts WW 9pts

  • 1/2 (10 ounce) package fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup cream of chicken soup
  • 4 slices swiss cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded to 1/2 inch thickness (soaked in buttermilk)
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a frying pan.  Add pressed garlic and saute.  Add spinach and saute until wilted.
  3. Mix soup and sour cream.
  4. Remove spinach from heat and stir in 1/2 the cream mixture until combined.
  5. Lay the chicken breasts out on a clean surface, lay a slice of swiss cheese onto breast and spoon some of the spinach mixture onto each one. Roll up chicken to enclose the spinach and secure with toothpicks.  Arrange in a shallow baking dish. 
  6. Pour remaining cream mixture over chicken.
  7. Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes in the preheated oven. 
Thursday, November 17- We will be doing pizza and a movie at the Halle Cultural Arts Center tonight.
Friday, November 18-  I made Lettuce Wraps last time we had a head of romaine lettuce so I am thinking Asian Lettuce Wraps tonight.
Asian Lettuce Wraps WW 9 pts (2 wraps with 2 small scoop beef)
  • 16 lettuce leaves
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • Asian chile pepper sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Asian (dark) sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 T soy
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T chile paste
Mix ingredients and spoon desired amount over wrap before rolling.


  1. Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry, being careful not tear them. Set aside.
  2. In a medium skillet over high heat, brown the ground beef in 1 tablespoon of oil, stirring often and reducing the heat to medium, if necessary. Drain, and set aside to cool. Cook the onion in the same pan, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar, and chile pepper sauce to the onions, and stir. Stir in chopped peanuts, green onions, sesame oil, and cooked beef; continue cooking until the onions just begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.
  3. Arrange lettuce leaves around the outer edge of a large serving platter, and pile meat mixture in the center. To serve, allow each person to spoon a portion of the meat into a lettuce leaf. Add desired amount of sauce. Wrap the lettuce around the meat like a burrito, and enjoy!
Nutritional Information
Servings Per Recipe: 4 (2 wraps)
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 388 Total Fat: 22.3g Cholesterol: 69mg Sodium: 580mg Total Carbs: 24.3g Dietary Fiber: 4.7g Protein: 23.4g
 Saturday, November 19-  I think I will roast a chicken tonight.  I'll season it with garlic cloves, oregano and thyme.  I'll serve green beans from my Box and perhaps roasted or baked potatoes.
Sunday, November 20-  I think grilled hamburgers along with homemade macaroni salad and sliced apples will round out this evening's meal.
Monday, November 21- Pork Chops and my favorite, Potato Pancakes served with applesauce will be tonight's meal. (I'll post the pancake recipe later)
Tuesday, November 22- I am contemplating making again from an earlier summer post,  Chicken and Tortellini Salad which I found in my June issue of Southern Living.  If not this recipe I may just make tortellini with vodka sauce.
Chicken and Tortellini Salad
  • 2 (9-oz.) packages refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 cup frozen sweet peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
 1. Prepare tortellini according to package directions.
2. Process olive oil and next 4 ingredients in a blender until smooth. Toss olive oil mixture with tortellini, chicken, and next 3 ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

JUNE 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quick Sweet Poatoe Casserole or Twice Baked

Rather than make roasted sweet potatoes with the pork tenderloin, I try out the below recipe.
Quick Sweet Potato Casserole or Twiced Baked
  • 6 sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts- optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Bake sweet potatoes in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until soft.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine cream cheese, brown sugar, margarine, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  4. Cut potatoes in half and scoop flesh into the bowl with the other ingredients. Mix well and fold in walnuts. Spoon mixture into potato skins.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes, or until heated through. (If making as a casserole, remove skins and disregard.  Follow recipe except spoon mixture into a lightly greased casserole and bake 10 minutes or until heated through)

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7- November 13

I did get a Box last week but never composed a menu for the week.  Unfortunatley, that meant my zucchini and yellow squash spoiled before I remembered to use it.  Oh well, lesson learned.
This week our Box contains:
  • Green Cabbage
  • Red Radishes 
  • Butternut Squash
  • Pink Lady Apples 
  • Green Peppers 
  • Roma Tomatoes 
  • Zucchini 
  • Globe Eggplant
Between last weeks apples and this weeks bounty of apples, I will be making either apple muffins, an apple cake and/or an apple pie.

Monday, November 7- Steak Fajitas using the Voodoo Haitian marinade along with sauteed onions and peppers will make up tonight's meal. 
 Voodoo Haitian Marinade
  • 2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef sirloin
Dissolve bouillon in water. Stir in the garlic, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Toss the meat in the marinade, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Tuesday, November 8- I intend to grill a Marinated Pork Tenderloin and serve with roasted sweet potatoes (from a previous Box) and green beans.  I used this marinade recipe in the oven and the left over pork made excellent stir fry.  I will grill the tenderloin this time but plan on using the leftovers for a stir fry meal later in the week again.
Marinated Pork Tenderloin

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons sherry
  • 1/2 small onion minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 (3/4 pound) pork tenderloins (I will be using just 1)


  1. Place soy sauce, brown sugar, sherry, onion, cinnamon, olive oil, and garlic in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal, and shake to mix. Fork the tenderloin.  Then place pork in bag with marinade, seal, and refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours.
  2. Lightly oil grate. Place tenderloin on grate, reserve marinade. Cook over indirect heat for 45 minutes, or to desired doneness. 
  3.  Let rest 5-10 minutes covered in foil.  
  4. While meat rests, place reserved marinade in a saucepan and heat.  Dilute with some water.  Add cornstarch to thicken, bring to boil and let simmer until sauce has thickened.
  5. Slice into medallions, and serve with gravy.
 Wednesday, November 9- Since it is just the girls and I tonight, I am thinking pasta in a vodka sauce with diced roma tomato sprinkled on top along with a loaf of bread.

Thursday, November 10- Tonight is Spirit Night at Chick fil a, so that takes care of dinner for this evening.

Friday, November 11-  I am not quite sure what is happening with dinner tonight.  I may make Mac N Cheese for the girls and us adults will eat later or it will be breakfast for dinner.

Saturday, November 12-  I will stir fry tonight using the leftover pork tenderloin and incorporating chopped cabbage, julienne sliced zucchini and red radishes from our Box.  I hope to mimick my husband's wonderful stir fry he made for us a few weeks ago.

Sunday, November 13- If we don't get the Giants game on cable and my husband has finished is big weekend project, we'll go out to dinner at MacGregor Draft House to catch the game.  If we get the game at home, then I am thinking pizza and wings.