Saturday, November 22, 2014

MY BOUNTIFUL BASKET MEAL PLAN - 11/22/14

I feel sort of like I'm on the show CHOPPED when I pick up my Bountiful Basket each week.  What can I turn this into?  What will the judges (my family) think of it?  Will they decide to make PB&J rather than eat my creation?

The upcoming week is one of my favorite weeks for food of the entire year - THANKSGIVING WEEK!  Honestly, what usually happens is that I cook for the first part of the week and then once Thursday hits, we mostly live off of Thanksgiving leftovers for the rest of the week.  Part of the reason is that there is a ton of amazing food at our fingertips -- and it happens to be some of our favorite food -- and the other part is that I don't want to cook for days afterward.  Even so, I came up with a meal plan for the week, in case I do decide to continue cooking once I've hit my food coma.  Other possibilities are to use some of the recipes as part of the Thanksgiving meal.

USING FENNEL
One of the first things you probably noticed in your basket this week was FENNEL!  There were other exciting things like PAPAYA, ASPARAGUS, and loads of CRANBERRIES!  However, fennel might be something new.  The entire thing is edible and we are going to use three different parts of the fennel in different ways.  Fennel is very aromatic, with a slightly sweet, somewhat spicy anise flavor.  The BULB is great shredded into salads or side dishes, braised, pureed, or roasted.  The STALKS resemble celery stalks and make a nice addition to a salad or stir-fries.  The FRONDS or FERN of the fennel are delicate and are lovely as a garnish, or sprinkled onto salads or vegetables.  Keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator and they should last through the week.

OKAY, on to the MEAL PLAN!  This plan is based on the current week's Bountiful Basket.  Everything you see here cost $15 plus a small fee ($2.50).  The meals can be made using basket ingredients, items from a well stocked kitchen, and minimal additional items from the store.  Click on the recipe names to be taken to the recipes.

MONDAY
QUINOA SALAD WITH FENNEL & PAPAYA
This would be great alongside grilled fish or chicken. 
TUESDAY
ASPARAGUS EGGS BENEDICT
I'll also prepare grits or cream of wheat to and serve it all with fresh fruit.  Another option would be to roast the asparagus and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  It's one of my favorites.


WEDNESDAY
ROASTED PAPAYA WITH BROWN SUGAR
This I'll serve with sauteed black beans and long grain wild rice.  I love fresh papaya and I fully intend to enjoy some raw, however I also love trying new things, so I'm going to try this recipe I found from Martha Stewart.  Don't let me down, Martha!


THURSDAY - THANKSGIVING DINNER
POMEGRANATE SEEDS AND CUCUMBER WITH HUMMUS FINGER FOOD
One of my favorite ways to make eating during the holidays healthier is to keep plenty of fresh fruits and veggies sitting around to munch on.  Pomegranates are a favorite holiday tradition.  There are easy ways to remove the seeds, too.  There are lots of healthy and delicious dip options and I'll keep hummus and cucumbers handy, as well as use the cucumbers for those coveted leftover turkey sandwiches.



FRIDAY
QUICK ALFREDO PASTA WITH ROASTED FENNEL
Served with sliced fresh papaya.  If I wanted to fancy it up, it would be good with crab meat.


SATURDAY
SIMPLE SALAD
I'll use the lettuce from the basket, along with the fronds/fern from the fennel.  I'll add sliced fresh strawberries, roasted pine nuts, and parmesan cheese.  I'll use the leftover turkey along with cranberry sauce and sliced cucumbers to make delicious sandwiches.


SUNDAY
CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP
And for dessert an Apple Cranberry Bread Pudding with Orange sauce.


PLENTY OF FRUIT LEFT FOR BREAKFASTS, LUNCHES, AND SNACKS
I even like snacking on fresh cranberries.  Have you ever tried it?




Monday, November 17, 2014

Play with your Produce

We all want our kids to love fruits and vegetables. Here are some fun ideas to use at holidays and all year round to make eating fruits and vegetables even more fun. 



Green olive, cherry tomato, and peppercorns for head. 
Try this fun idea from  CreativeKidSnacks.com: Place hummus in a zip-lock bag and snip one corner of the bag to making a piping bag. Pipe the hummus onto a plate in the shape of a turkey head and neck. Design vegetables for the feathers and feet, use a black bean or raisin for the eye, and a piece of carrot for the beak.

One half of a pear, grapes, blueberries, and cheese for beak and legs. Use poppy seeds or cut a piece of raisin for the eyes.

Leaf-shaped pizza spread with your favorite sauce, cheese, and then loaded with diced yellow, orange, red, and green bell peppers. For specific directions, see this recipe from HungryHappenings.com


 
 

Snowman banana kabobs: place three slices of banana, a triangle of red apple, and a grape on a skewer. Press mini chocolate chips into bananas for eyes and buttons. Slide a pretzel stick through the middle for arms, and tiny piece of carrot for the nose. 


Do you have any other ideas? Post them in the comments below!