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, June 26, 2012

June 26- July 2

I am volunteering at VBS this week and couldn't deliver for The Produce Box, which means I didn't get a box this week.  But I decided to try out DJ's Berry Patches CSA Boxes.  I ordered a half share of their produce box and picked it up Tuesday.

The Box consisted of:
  • 1 Tomato
  • 4 ears of Sweet Corn
  • Zucchini
  • Squash
  • 2 Cucumbers
  • 10 Pickling Cucumbers
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 lb. Red Potatoes
  • 1 white Eggplant 
  • 2 Bell Peppers 
  • 4 Jalapeno Peppers
  • 2 Banana Peppers
  • Okra
  • 1/2 lb. Green Beans
I also purchased a quart of Peaches, a quart of Plums and a Cantaloupe.  I think I will make some Zucchini Bread with the zucchinis from my Box.  If I don't get to serving the fresh green beans then I will blanche and freeze them for later use.  My husband will pickle the pickling cucumbers this week.

 Zucchini Bread

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Sift together flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, baking powder.
  3. Beat eggs. Add and mix well sugar, vanilla, and oil. Add zucchini to egg mixture. Add dry ingredients, mixing well. Stir in nuts if desired. Pour into 2 ungreased loaf pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour.

Tuesday, June 26-  I plan to grill some sausage and serve it with some cooked peppers and onions from my Box.  I'll also cook of an ear of corn to serve along with it.  While I was at DJ's Berry Patch I also picked up some fresh fruit which will accompany our dinner tonight as well.

Wednesday, June 27- I intend to make one of my favorites, homemade Eggplant Parmigiana.  I will defrost some homemade sauce which I made with the previous season's stock up tomato box.  Perhaps, a basil oil and vinegar tossed cucumbers and tomatoes from my box along with a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine will round out tonight's meal.

 Basil Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Combine ingredients and whisk well.  Serve over greens or other fresh produce.

Thursday, June 28-  Although it's just the girls tonight I still intend to create a homemade meal (this was usually an excuse for take out or breakfast for dinner).   I'll cook up some of the corn from my box and serve it along side grilled chicken breasts.  I will take any leftover vinaigrette from last night and marinate the chicken breasts in it!

Friday, June 29-  Since I have to drop my order daughter off with my husband for a Durham Bulls game, I think the little one and I will use this as an excuse to go out for dinner.

Saturday, June 30-  With all the peppers in my produce box, it is just screaming for steak fajitas!!!

Sunday, July 1-  I came across a recipe in my Southern Living magazine which used Okra (a veggie I am NOT fond of) in an unconventional way.  Tomato and Okra Cornmeal Patties!  I found a similar recipe on allrecipes.com and merged the best of the two into the one found below.  I am thinking some grilled sausages would make an excellent accompaniment to this meal. I'll also create grill packets for some of the squash and zucchini.  I will add a few dabs of butter, minced garlic and salt and pepper. .

Tomato and Okra Cornmeal Patties
  • 1 cups plain yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/2-1 pound fresh okra, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound tomatoes, diced
  • Fresh basil leaves, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
  1. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the garlic, okra, jalapeno, onion, salt, pepper, water and egg. Combine the flour, baking powder and cornmeal; and stir that into the okra mixture.
  3. Carefully drop spoonfuls of the okra batter into the hot oil, and fry on each side until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. 
  4. Combine diced tomato and basil sprinkle with olive oil mix well.  Serve tomato mixture over okra patties. 
Monday, July 2- I'll make up Camper Potatoes with the red potatoes from my Box.  I will make Peachy Pork Chops and perhaps serve some green beans along with it.

Simple Peach Sauce

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sliced peeled fresh peaches
  1. In a saucepan, bring water, sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon to a boil; boil for 1 minute. Add peaches. Bring to a boil; boil another 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Serve warm over pork chops. 
Camper Red Potatoes

  • sliced red potatoes, dabs of butter, sliced onion or onion powder- Make foil packets and grill until browned and crispy about 30-40 minutes on low heat

Monday, June 25, 2012

Time to Get Back to Homecooking June 20-25

After being on vacation for 2 weeks.  It's about time to get back to cooking and creating meals at home.  This week's Box is filled with scrumptious fruits which will make delicious smoothies my girls adores.  In addition to the summer fruits, there are a number of veggies that make great grilling accompaniments as well as delicious grilled themselves!

My Box consists of:
  • Raspberries
  • Peaches
  • Blueberries
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Assorted Squashes
  • Sweet Corn
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Sweet Onion
In addition, I got the following add ons to my Box:
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Red Potatoes
Wednesday, June 20-  Grilled Sausage sandwiches served with peppers and onions (from my Box) will be our main entree.  Along with Camper Potatoes, made with my red potatoes.  Of course the girls will drink fruit smoothies with their dinner! 
Camper Red Potatoes

  • sliced red potatoes, dabs of butter, sliced onion or onion powder- Make foil packets and grill until browned and crispy about 30-40 minutes on low heat

Thursday, June 21-  Tortellini in vodka sauce with fresh cut cherry tomatoes (from my Box) and a loaf of bread will round out tonight's meal .

Friday, June 22-  Plans changed and a last minute dinner was thrown together of pancakes!

Saturday, June 23-  The girls went to the pool for some Daddy time and ordered dinner there.  I get a night off.   I intend to bake a Blueberry Pie this week.  I will use the same recipe as last year with the alterations, using 1 cup of sugar and 5 TBSP of cornstarch. This is very good warmed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
Blueberry Pie
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon, and sprinkle over blueberries.
  3. Line pie dish with one pie crust. Pour berry mixture into the crust, and dot with butter. Cut remaining pastry into 1/2 - 3/4 inch wide strips, and make lattice top. Crimp and flute edges.
  4. Bake pie on lower shelf of oven for about 50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

Sunday, June 24-  We will treat ourselves to dinner out.

Monday, June 25- Well this wasn't the best week of making dinners from scratch but at least I am planning and trying.  Tonight I am doing chicken fajitas with corn on the cob (using the remaining ears from my box).
The fruit is almost gone except for the blueberries which will become pie tomorrow!  I am not delivering this week for The Produce Box, which means no box for me :(  BUT I decided to "try out" DJ's Berry Patch CSA Boxes.  Tomorrow I will pick up their half share box and prepare my menu for the week accordingly!