Fruit of the Week: Apple pt. 5

Preparation and Serving:
– Before consuming/using, wash your apples thoroughly to remove any pesticides or surface soil/dust
– When slicing or cubing, trim off top with a paring knife and cut apple in half. Cut out seeds/pulp with knife and then slice or cube into desired pieces
– A vegetable peeler, swivel peeler or paring knife can be used to peel an apple. For best results, start at the top of the apple and circle down the circumference
– The apple core can be removed easily by halving or quartering the apple and then using a paring knife to cut out the core
– Apples can be eaten raw, baked, candied, boiled or used to make cakes, pies, muffins, salads, jellies, jams, sauces, butters, juices, vinegar, apple cider beverages and many more

Butternut Squash, Apple, Sweet Potato Casserole

Butternut Squash, Apple and Sweet Potato Casserole:
Makes one 9” round baking dish

– 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1” cubes
– 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1” cubes
– 1 apple, diced into 1” cubes
– 3 tablespoons salted butter, melted (avocado oil, coconut oil or vegan margarine for dairy-free substitutes)
– 3 tablespoons maple syrup (or table syrup)
– 1 tablespoon coconut flour
– 1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Toss veggies and apples with the melted butter (or dairy-free substitute) and maple syrup and spread into a 9″ round baking dish
3. Sprinkle with coconut flour, sage and cinnamon.
4. Bake for 45 minute to an hour, or until casserole is tender, stirring halfway through cooking time.
5. Let cool and enjoy!

Veggie of the Week: Green Bean pt. 4

Preparation and Serving:
– Wash raw beans in cold water
– Just before using, remove the strings and trim the ends
– Green beans can be found canned, frozen, and fresh
– Can be boiled, stir-fried, battered and fried, used in tempura, fried with other vegetables, eaten raw, or baked in casseroles
– Can be used in stir-fry, stews, grilled-salads, steamed along with carrots, cauliflower, peas, tomato…etc.
– Mix well with cheese, nuts, mushroom, seafood, meat

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole
Makes 8 servings

6 tablespoons butter, plus more for dish
1 medium onion, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound button mushrooms, stems trimmed, quartered
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch nutmeg
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup canola oil
4 shallots or green onions, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch rings

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter.
2. Add onion, and saute until it begins to soften, about 4 minutes.
3. Add bell pepper and mushrooms, and cook until softened and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.
4. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
5. Set aside to cool.
6. Prepare an ice bath: Fill a large bowl with ice and water; set aside.
7. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil.
8. Add beans, and cook until bright green and just tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
9. Drain, and plunge into ice bath to stop cooking.
10. When cooled, toss drained beans with mushroom mixture; set aside.
11. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
12. Add 1/4 cup flour, whisk constantly until mixture begins to turn golden, about 2 minutes.
13. Pour in milk, and continue whisking until mixture has thickened, about 3 minutes.
14. Stir in cayenne, nutmeg, and the remaining teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
15. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
16. Pour over beans, and toss to combine.
17. Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking pan.
18. Spread half the green-bean mixture over the bottom.
19. Sprinkle on half the Parmesan, and spread with the remaining green beans.
20. Combine the remaining Parmesan and the breadcrumbs, and sprinkle over casserole.
21. Cover with foil, and refrigerate until just before serving.
22. Heat canola oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
23. Toss shallot or onion rings with the remaining 2 tablespoons flour.
24. Fry the shallots or onion in batches, turning frequently, until golden brown.
25. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
26. Place in an airtight container, and set aside until ready to serve.
27. Heat broiler, positioning rack about 8 inches from heat.
28. Cook casserole, covered, until mixture is bubbly and heated through, about 10 minutes.
29. Uncover, and cook until top is golden brown, about 30 seconds.
30. Sprinkle fried shallots or onions over top, and serve immediately.
31. Enjoy!

Veggie of the Week: Broccoli pt. 4

Prep and Serving:
– Broccoli can be boiled, steamed, or eaten raw!
– Rinse heads by dipping upside down in salt water for up to half an hour and then rinse with cold water
– Keep in mind that broccoli loses nutrients while steaming or boiling

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Makes 12 servings

3 heads broccoli, cut into florets
½ cup butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk or heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black or white pepper
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
2 cups crushed crackers

1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
2. Spray a 13 x 9 – inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Add broccoli florets to a large heavy-bottomed stockpot of boiling water.
4. Cook for 3-5 minutes and then drain broccoli from the water. Set aside.
5. Melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan.
6. Whisk in flour until well-combined, then whisk in milk, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and 1 cup of Monterrey Jack cheese.
7. Reduce heat to simmer and continue to whisk until sauce simmers slightly around the edges and has thickened slightly.
8. Stir in sour cream.
9. Arrange broccoli in casserole dish and then pour cream sauce over broccoli.
10. Top with cheddar cheese and crushed crackers.
11. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes.
12. Serve warm and enjoy!