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Farm Share Week 21 (Oct 23-25, 2013)

This is the second-last week of farm share, and the last week for some of you with biweekly boxes. It’s hard to believe another season is over, but admittedly my motivation go harvest out in the fields cools off with my frozen toes. On a warmer note, this week’s bin is just crying out for some good soups. I believe everything in your box would be delightful in one of 3 soup ideas listed below. This week there are some back to back frosts happening, so the fields are pretty much empty now, save a few frost-hardy crops. Delightfully, there are still many different items available and I didn’t have a need to desperately hoard things to have enough for your last few boxes. This time of year I get very possessive of everything grown on the farm that’s in limited quantity. I don’t want to end up giving you 3 types of kale in your box at once, and I won’t need to. Phew!

Perhaps you are eager to pick out your own comfort food staples from the grocery store after a season of creatively cooking the farm-fresh variety we sent your way. For those faced with a limited organic selection (especially in Durham), one of the farm’s owners, Ted has opened up Teddy’s Organic Market in downtown Uxbridge, (www.teddysorganicmarket.com). Those of you from urban areas still wanting home delivery and as much of local produce as you can get through the winter and spring may wish to check out https://toronto.greenearthorganics.com . I have long wanted to create a winter share myself, but desiring to put my best into both home and work life means keeping farm share seasonal for now.

 

Half Shares

  • red swiss chard
  • green kale
  • jerusalem artichokes (not sure about this new tuber? Learn to love it for all the good stuff in it- see a nutrition profile here on this iron and potassium powerhouse http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2456/2 ). Mash it together with mashed potatoes for an easy nutrition boost. No need to peel the skin, just wash well). I’ve even eaten mine in a twist on shepherd’s pie.
  • Buttercup, butternut or delicata squash
  • carrots
  • red beets
  • garlic chives
  • red radish
  • celery
  • green peppers

Whole Share

  • red swiss chard
  • green kale
  • jerusalem artichokes (not sure about this new tuber? Learn to love it for all the good stuff in it- see a nutrition profile here on this iron and potassium powerhouse http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2456/2 ). Mash it together with mashed potatoes for an easy nutrition boost. No need to peel the skin, just wash well). I’ve even eaten mine in a twist on shepherd’s pie.
  • Buttercup, butternut or delicata squash
  • carrots
  • red beets
  • garlic chives
  • red radish
  • celery
  • green peppers
  • red cabbage
  • leeks
  • baby bokchoy
  • eggplant
  • coloured peppers

 

Recipes

This one’s been circulating around facebook and it made me happy to see a recipe with in-season produce! From www.mindbodygreen.com

Harvest Minestrone With Quinoa and Kale

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet onion (or sub one leek- save greens of leek and add later in cooking)
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 3 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp. Olive oil (or enough to cover the bottom of the pot)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh zucchini (sub for chopped radish)
  • 2 cups green beans- cut in 1 in. pieces
  • 1 bell pepper- medium diced
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 28oz cans water
  • 1 15oz can chickpeas
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups kale, stems removed
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric (or to taste)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garnish with parmesan to taste and chopped garlic chives

Directions

1. Place a large stockpot over medium heat heat and add onions, carrot and celery. Cook for about 5 mins or until softened. Add the garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes and cook for about 1 min or until garlic begins to colour.

2. Add the zucchini and green beans, season with salt and pepper, add the turmeric, stir and cook for about 3 mins. Add the tomatoes and water, raise heat to high and bring to a boil.

3. Lower the heat to medium-low and allow the soup to gently boil uncovered for 20 mins. Add quinoa and cover for 15 mins. Remove the cover, add kale and canned beans (more water if needed), bring back to a gentle boil and cook for another 5 minutes or until the kale is tender.

  1. Grate the parmesan, add garlic chives and serve (or do in individual servings).

 

Creamy Dairy-Free Jerusalem Artichoke and Leek Soup

An easy and amicable soup that eats a potato soup’s heart out nutrition-wise.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. Coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. Chopped garlic
  • 1 medium leek, chopped with greens separated from whites
  • 1 lb. Jerusalem artichokes (scrubbed, not peeled, sliced ¼ in. thick)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (or 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup plain unsweetened milk alternative)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. Chopped garlic chives

Directions

  1. Melt the oil in a medium-sized saucepan over high heat, add garlic and leek whites and cook until soft, about 2 mins. Add jerusalem artichokes and sautee about 2 mins. Add stock and leeks and simmer until chokes are tender. Add milk substitute (if using) and bring back to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Puree in blender until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve (I never remembered doing this and it tasted fine to me). Keep warm. Sprinkle with chive and serve.

 

Enjoy your last (or almost last) taste of this year’s harvest!

Farm Share Week 15 (Sept 11-13, 2013)

Phew! So summer’s having a little comeback this week. I hope you are enjoying the sun while we have it.

Half Share

  • Spinach
  • Beefsteak or Campari tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Red beets
  • Savoy cabbage
  • Red or green scallions
  • Green peppers
  • Zucchini (yellow or green)
  • Turnip greens or green kale
  • eggplant

Whole Share

  • Spinach
  • Beefsteak or Campari tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Red beets
  • Savoy cabbage
  • Red or green scallions
  • Green peppers
  • Zucchini (yellow or green)
  • Turnip greens
  • Eggplant
  • Campari tomatoes
  • Black or green kale
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Red sheppard or yellow bell peppers
  • Cantaloupe
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Strawberries or apples
  • Leeks or garlic

 

This week I wanted to give you some ideas of how to use all of your veggies for the week, based on some of the tasty meals I’ve made with our veggies lately. I do not follow any specific diet except for the more veggies and unprocessed foods, the better, but I think most of these ideas could be adapted to vegetarian or gluten-free diets.

Monday:

Roasted chicken (legs and wings) and roasted veggies (beets, carrots, potatoes or squash). Roast whole chicken and save the breasts for tomorrow.

Tuesday:

Spinach, chicken, avocado and strawberry salad with mango chipotle dressing. A five-minute meal if you pre-roasted the chicken!

Wednesday:

Eggplant Parmesan with turnip green and beet green salad

Thursday:

Sweet and Sour Chicken (green peppers, carrot, cabbage and scallions)

Friday:

Burgers with tomato (reg or veggie) with savoy cabbage salad (carrot, savoy cabbage)

Saturday:

Fish filets and zucchini fries

Sunday:

Ground chicken chili (green peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, scallion) with cheese, plain yogurt, and scallions to garnish.

 

Hope these ideas get the wheels in your head turning. Here’s a tip if you are overwhelmed with tomatoes. Wash and put in the freezer in a bag, and simply pull out and use in your cooking later. I made a large watermelon and a few very ripe bananas into juice by throwing it all into a blender, doing a quick blend, seeds and all, and simply straining out the seeds and pulp. I also froze some juice for popsicles for my son.

Farm Share Week 19* the last week for biweekly odd weeks

Greetings all! This week is the last week for those who receive their order every second week since June 15th (odd weeks). So, if it is your last week, thanks for supporting our farm through our csa box.

Hopefully you discovered a new vegetable favourite and some recipes that make your mouth water when a new vegetable comes in season. While many of the winter vegetables I was anitipating have been taking their time to be ready (celery root) or not looking so good (brussels sprouts), everyone will get either Jerusalem artichokes or parsnips this week. There are two different recipes in this post for parsnips, and the Jerusalem artichokes make a great substitute for potaotes in mashed potaotes or in shepherd’s pie. They also make a delicious creamy soup. Here is your list:

Half Share
-rainbow carrots
-Jerusalem artichokes or parsnips
-spinach
-green onions
-green kale
-delicatta squash
-eggplant
-sweet peppers
-green cabbage
-green leaf lettuce

Whole Share
-rainbow carrots
-Jerusalem artichokes
-parsnips
-spinach
-green onions
-green kale
-delicatta squash
-eggplant
-sweet peppers
-green cabbage
-green leaf lettuce
-red leaf lettuce
-golden beets
-leeks
-baby bokchoy
-grape tomatoes

Savory Tempeh and Vegetables (vegetarian main dish) from “Simply in Season”
I have not been able to make this yet because I need to shop for some tempeh. I was excited to find a recipe using carrots, parsnips, squash, green onions, sage and garlic (you may have some left over). While I am not one to tout soy products, tempeh is more nutritious and less processed than tofu, and if you can find organic, then it will not be made from GMO soy.

Ingredients
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
four 3-4 inch strips kombu seaweed (broken into 1 inch pieces)
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. ginger root (peeled and minced)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary or sage

1 lb. tempeh (cut into 1 inch squares

1 cup water
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. maple syrup

2 medium onions
1 1/2 lbs. winter squash (such as delicatta) (seeded and cut into 1 in. chunks)
2 medium parsnips (peeled and cut into 1/2 in. slices)
2 large carrots (peeled and cut into 1/2 in. slices)

1 1/2 cups cold water
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. arrowroot powder or cornstarch

Directions
1. Melt butter and olive oil in oven-safe pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add seaweed, garlic, ginger root and herbs and sautee 2 minutes.
2. Arrange tempeh on a layer on top.
3. Whisk water, soy sauce and maple syrup in a small bowl and pour over tempeh.
4. Layer onions, squash, parsnips and carrots in that order on tempeh.. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Cover, and bring to a boil. Transfer to preheated oven and bake at 400 degrees until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
5. With a slotted spoon, transfer vegetables and tempeh into a serving bowl. Drain back any juices into the dutch oven and place over medium heat.
6. Combine cold water, soy sauce and arrowroot powder or cornstarch and mix until dissolved. Whisk into the juices. Simmer, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Pour sauce over the tempeh and vegetables. If desired, gently fold in 2 thinly sliced green onions. Serve immediately over rice or bulgur.

Winter Vegetable Crumble (another vegetarian choice- yay!)

Ingredients
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup cashews (finely chopped)
2 tbsp. whole wheat flour
2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed, or 1 tbsp. fresh

2 lbs. root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, turnips, potatoes (scrubbed and peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces))

1 medium onion (finely chopped)
2 tbsp. cashews
2/3 milk
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. dried rosemary
salt and pepper

Directions
1. Combine oats, cashews and flour in a medium bowl. Mix in oil and rosemary with fingers to form a crumble topping. Set aside.
2. Steam root vegetables for 10-12 minutes until just tender. Reserve the steaming water for stock. Transfer vegetables to lightly oiled 2 L baking dish.
3. In a large saucepan, saute onion in 2 tsp. oil until soft, 4-5 minutes. Stir in milk and vegetable broth. In a cup mix flour with a little milk to make a smoothe paste. Stir into saucepan. Add rosemary. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper. Cool sauce slightly, then puree until smooth. Pour over steamed vegetables, then sprinkle with oat topping. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Farm Share Week 18

Three weeks remain and I’ve received numerous emails from customers thinking the season is over. This is understandable, as many grocery stores stop carrying Ontario produce at this point because consmers are used to the local options being phased out in early September. Even things like lettuce are being harvested into early October, although a heavy frost could wipe them out. We are still harvesting carrots, beets and kale and still waiting for the Jerusalem artichokes and parsnips to grow a little before harvesting. The brussels sprouts do not mind the frost at all, so I normally wait until the last weeks to harvest them, when I am grateful for a new item to put in your boes. Even sweet peppers and eggplants are living on happily under a frost cover we put up. So, despite the chill that’s in the air, October is still a busy month for harvesting vegetables.

So what’s on the menu this week?

Half Share
-carrots
-red beets (storage tip: cut off leaves one inch from the beets and store seperately to keep beets fresher longer)
-butternut squash
-baby bok choy
-red radish
-red leaf lettuce
-rainbow swiss chard
-sweet peppers
-green onions
-leeks

Whole Share
-carrots
-red beets
-butternut squash
-baby bok choy
-red radish
-red leaf lettuce
-rainbow swiss chard
-sweet peppers
-green onions
-leeks
-celery
-green leaf lettuce
-garlic bulbs
-spinach
-red cabbage

And for the recipes, now is the time for confort-food. And by comfort food, I don’t mean deep-fried! Some homemade soup is one of the best comfort foods in my opinion. I made a nice potato leek soup which I could have done with more of, with a tweak to the original recipe.

Potato Leek Soup (adapted from simplyrecipes.com)
Nice and creamy without all the fatty cream!

Ingredients
1 bunch leeks including green tops, chopped (the original recipe called for no green tops-what a waste!)
2 tbsp. butter
2 cups water
2 cups chicken, vegetable or beef broth
2 lbs. potatoes (also could use leftover potatoes, just don’t cook for as long)
1-2 tsp. dried italian herbs, or fresh herbs to taste (I used a spice mix but the recipe calls for parsley, thyme and marjoram
salt and pepper (if desired- I think I omitted these altogether)
cayenne pepper to taste (great for your immune system)

Directions
1. Cook leeks in butter in soup pot. Cover and cook on low about 10 mins. Check often and do not brown!
2. Add water, broth and potatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook 20 minutes or until tender. Spoon about 1/2 of the soup into blender, puree and return to pot. Repeat with other half. Add spices. Serves 4-6 as a side.

Roasted Winter Veggies
My favorite way to prepare beets- makes a colourful side and a great-pleaser.

Ingredients
1 bunch beets, peeled and cut into quarters (for mid-sized beets)
1 bunch carrots, peeled and cut into short carrot sticks
1 large delicatta squash or 1/2 large or 1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1 1/2 inch cubes, seeds and insides discarded
1 onion or leek, coarsely chopped
4 medium potatoes, chopped into quarters
(Any of these vegetables could be omitted or another root vegetable added, although the more colour the better)
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Salt, pepper and rosemary or other savory spices like thyme, sage, parsley, etc.
1-2 tbsp. olive oil

Directions
1. Wash, peel and chop vegetables and place in baking dish (Corningware is perfect). Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Add olive oil and spices and mix together lightly. Cover and bake about 40 mins or until vegetables are tender (carrots and beets seem to take the longest so check them).

As the variety of vegetables diminishes a little with the cooler weather, it’s a good time to try out new recipes. You never know when you’ll find your next classic!

Thanks for embarking on your local organic food adventure. It’s people like you that have kept agriculture strong in Ontario. I hope it’s been tasty!

-Jennifer

Farm Share Week 14

Well, it’s a week of brilliant colour, and I think a good part of that can be attributed to the sweet peppers finally taking on their red and yellow hues. We also have the attractively striped delicatta squash, which has a more “potato-like” texture than other types of squash.

So here are the items for your local cooking challenge this week:

Half Share
-celery
-coloured sheppard and bell peppers (mostly red & yellow, and a few that are still partially green- don’t fear the novel shape of the sheppard peppers- they are sweet and not hot)
-delicatta squash (yellow and green stripes)
-campari tomatoes
-watermelon
-romaine lettuce
-red leaf lettuce
-rainbow carrots
-green beans
-dill

Whole Share
-celery
-coloured sheppard and bell peppers (mostly red & yellow, and a few that are still partially green- don’t fear the novel shape of the sheppard peppers- they are sweet and not hot)
-delicatta squash (yellow and green stripes)
-campari tomatoes
-watermelon
-romaine lettuce
-red leaf lettuce
-rainbow carrots
-green beans
-dill
-green cabbage
-red swiss chard
-green kale
-eggplant
-garlic chives
-red radish
-field/heirloom tomatoes (heirloom tomatoes can be all different colours and naturally have some gashes on the top)

This week’s veggies with fresh dill dip!

So what to do with this week’s box? Again, veggies and dip would be an excellent choice- here is an example of all the great colours you could use. How about making the fresh dill into some tasty dill dip? Just add to some sour cream, finely chopped and stir along with some onions and garlic. I tried making some with some plain yogurt and a little lemon juice and cream cheese and putting it in the blender but it turned out extremely runny. I still took a pic so the blog would look pretty!

Another idea to incorporate your carrots and celery is chicken pot pie. It’s really not as intimidating as it sounds. I normally just chop up some carrots, celery potatoes and cauliflower (if you happened to save some from before) and mix them with a can of low sodium cream of mushroom soup mix and just enough milk to make it sauce-like. Savory herbs like thyme, rosemary and sage along with good old pepper are delish to add some flavour. I put it all in a greased corningware pot (or multiple little ones) and bake on 375 for about 25 minutes with the lid on. Then I take it out and carefully roll out some pie crust dough (not too sweet) to the size of the container(s) and then pinch the sides closed and poke with holes to let steam escape. It’s about another 25 mins. till the crust is ready (lightly golden and firm but not hard). Here is a simple recipe for the crust- feel free to use your own or even a bought one http://allrecipes.com/recipe/best-ever-pie-crust/ . My chicken pot pie recipe may not stay together like the commerical ones, but it sure is tasty. Feel free to comment on suggestions for improvement.

Enjoy the bounty!

-Jennifer

 

Farm Share Week 13

Happy Back to School Everyone!

Ok, maybe it’s happier for the parents sometimes, but I suppose the structure of school makes the freedom of summer all the sweeter for the kids. Here is what will be greeting you on your porch this week:

Half Share
-field tomatoes
-campari tomatoes
-eggplant
-red cabbage
-carrots
-romaine
-red leaf lettuce
-black kale (York and Toronto) and Swiss Chard (Durham and Pickup)
-yellow beans
-green peppers

Whole Share
-field tomatoes
-campari tomatoes
-eggplant
-red cabbage
-carrots
-romaine
-red leaf lettuce
-black kale (York and Toronto) and Swiss Chard (Durham and Pickup)
-yellow beans
-green peppers
-okra
-saladette tomatoes
-beets
-spaghetti squash
-red watermelon

So, what to do with your veggies this week? The peppers are just starting to turn, so we have mostly green peppers with only a few coloured ones. Some of my favorite ways to enjoy them is in fajitas or sweet and sour chicken or pork. Also, green peppers are great for dipping…and may I recommend baba ghanouj (which will find a use for that big and beautiful eggplant as well). Consequently, they are perfect for lunches, along with carrot sticks and mini tomatoes. Consider also how a rather blase sandwich is elevated by a slice of fresh, organic and local tomato and the crunch of fresh lettuce.

You might wonder about apples since it is indeed apple season. Sadly, the warm snap in March followed by the heavy frost has spoiled most of the apple crop. So, likely we will only have enough apples for the whole shares this year. However, it has been a treat to have beans this late in the season and they are looking lovely. We are hoping for another crop of raspberries soon- hopefully they will bear well and we’ll have enough so all can enjoy their sweet-tart deliciousness.

Super Simple Baba Ghanouj (no scouring the grocery store for tahini required)
from www.straightfromthefarm.net

Ingredients
-1 ½ lbs eggplant
-3 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
-1 tbsp. Fresh lemon juice
-1 clove garlic, finely minced (I’m sure you could add more if you are a garlic fanatic!)
-1 tsp. Coarse sea salt

Directions
1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees f. Wash and dry eggplant and prick all over with a sharp knife (to let steam escape). Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray lightly with nonstick spray. Lay eggplant (s) on a single layer on the sheet and place in the oven to roast for about 45 minutes or until eggplant is soft and looks deflated.
2.Allow eggplant(s) to cool completely. Cut the stems off and slice lenthwise. With a spoon, scrape out the flesh (like you do for squash) and place in blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend on high until creamy. Serve with raw veggies, pita bread, or as a spread for a sandwich. Makes 1 cup.

Farm Share Week 5

Good morning Farm Sharers!

I hope you’ve been able to enjoy our hot summer outside, perhaps with some day trips to the lake or other summer standby’s. As we get further into summer, new vegetables are becoming ready each week, and the substancial quantities of leafy greens that occupied your box in the early ways are making way for new textures and colours. This week we all get to enjoy some skinny carrots– we just couldn’t wait any longer! Remember, for young carrots, you can get away with a good scrub and skip the peeling altogether. Your new adventurous item this week is fennel. Smell it or taste a leaf and you will see that it tastes like licorice. The good news is, the bulb (white part) is much more mild in flavour. Also, this is the first week for green beans. They too are still thin, but very tasty. I was only able to get enough cucumber and tomatoes for the whole shares this week, but next week there should be tons. See below for some recipe ideas. But first, your list of box contents:

Half Share
-green leaf lettuce
-green zucchini
-raspberries
-snow peas
-green beans
-carrots
-black kale
-fennel
-chinese cabbage
-green onions

Whole Share
-green leaf lettuce
-green zucchini
-raspberries
-snow peas
-green beans
-carrots
-black kale
-fennel
-chinese cabbage
-green onions

-cauliflower
-cucumber
-garlic scapes
-red leaf lettuce
-green swiss chard
-red beets
-mini field tomatoes (simply leave in the sun if some of yours are not fully ripened yet)

Easy Raw Black Kale Salad (Don’t be fooled by the name-One of our customers passed along this recipe & managed to get her 3-year old to gobble kale!)

Kale: anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, lowers cholesterol, fights cancer, and supports the body’s detoxification system. Not bad for a little bunch of greens!

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of black kale, washed and leaves torn into pieces
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2- whole lemon (or to taste)
  • 2-3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • black pepper to taste

Directions
1.massage kale leaves with olive oil.
2. When fully covered, add lemon juice, pepper and nutritional yeast flakes. Toss and serve immediately.

Here is one of Helen, our summer packing staff’s favourites. She also happens to be Greek, so needless to say, she knows a thing or two about good Greek cuisine.

Grecian Delight Casserole Recipe (from www.caloriecount,about.com)

Makes 8 servings

This casserole is a cross between two of my favorite Greek meals, moussaka and pastitsio. For the most traditional flavor, use ground lamb rather than turkey, and use authentic feta cheese made from sheep’s milk. Serve it with Honey-Glazed Carrots., may use lamb or vegetarian ground meat. Helen recommends the beef or turkey and to use more zucchini than this recipe calls for.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 yellow or white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions
1. In a medium saucepan, bring about 4 cups of water to a boil. When the water is boiling rapidly, add the orzo and cook it for 6 – 8 minutes until it is al dente. Drain it.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a large (2-quart) casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray,

3. Heat 1 Tbsp. of the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and onions and cook them until the onions are translucent and the zucchini is tender-crisp, about 10 minutes. Stir in the dill and put the vegetable mixture in the casserole. Stir in the cooked orzo.

4. Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet and brown the meat, breaking it up with a spatula. When it is almost browned, add the cinnamon, salt and garlic powder and mix evenly, then add the tomato paste and tomato sauce, and stir it until the mixture is bubbly. Pour the meat mixture over the vegetables and orzo, and top it evenly with the cheese.

5. Cover the casserole tightly and bake it for 20 minutes (alternatively, you can refrigerate it for up to 2 days or freeze it for up to 3 months at this point). (Meanwhile, prepare the carrots, if you are serving them.) Serve it hot, making sure to get some of each of the layers in each serving.

Scramble Flavor Booster: Add ½ tsp. dried oregano to the sautéed vegetables.

Honey Glazed Carrots

To make Honey-Glazed Carrots, heat 1 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add 1 lb. of sliced carrots and 1 – 2 tsp. honey, and stir to coat the carrots with the butter and honey. Sauté the carrots, stirring occasionally, for 8 – 10 minutes until they are tender and slightly browned. If the carrots are getting too browned, reduce the heat. Season the carrots with up to 1/8 tsp. salt before serving, if desired.

Green Bean, Mushroom and Fennel Salad (from CanadianLiving.com)

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1clove garliccloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1lb small cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 lb green beans , trimmed
  • 1/2 fennel bulb , thinly sliced

Preparation

In large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, dill, garlic, salt and pepper. Add mushrooms and toss to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, halve green beans diagonally. Blanch in saucepan of boiling water until tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and cool in ice bath. Drain well and pat dry with towel.

Add beans and fennel to mushrooms; toss to coat well. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Enjoy your new discoveries this week.

Jennifer