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Cooking for One: Fall Produce

By Jaye Joseph, September 30, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Jaye Joseph
As the dog days of summer come to an end and the air becomes crisp, it’s time for some great fall produce. Hard squash, leafy greens, cauliflower and fruits like apples, pears and pomegranates begin appearing in our stores and on our plates, and there are many ways to enjoy this bounty — even if you’re cooking for one person. Like a lot of people, to me fall means hearty stews and soups. But when cooking for one, you’ll be eating that stew for days to come, or freezing over half of it for later, so it’s nice to find some great ways to make use of fall produce that won’t result in squash overload. Cauliflower is in abundance this time of year, and one of my favorite ways to prepare it is roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper. Check to see if there is pre-cut cauliflower available in your produce department or on the salad bar, then get just what you need and take it home to roast! If you’re choosing pre-cut veggies from the salad bar, just add some chickpeas and sliced green olives to your cauliflower for a healthy meal that gives you loads of fiber and protein. Looking for a sweeter, more exotic touch? Substitute raisins for the olives and maybe add a dash of curry powder. Leafy greens are a healthy, tasty addition to any dish. Throw a handful of spinach into hot pasta for some fiber and iron, or sauté some Swiss chard and sliced mushrooms to add into an omelet. You can find bulk greens in most produce departments, which makes it easy to buy just what you need for your meal. Here are some other ideas to try:
  • Slice a Honeycrisp apple and toss with some balsamic vinaigrette, spinach, crumbled blue cheese and toasted nuts for a wonderful salad. Substitute sliced figs and goat cheese for the apple and blue cheese for a different twist.
  • Halve an acorn squash, dispose of the seeds in the middle, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast, skin side down, for about 20 minutes at 400°F (or until desired doneness), flip to cut side up and pop under the broiler for about 3 minutes to create a nice crust. Finish by filling with sautéed shrimp for a complete meal, or keep it by itself as a side.
  • Dice a sweet potato and finely chop some fresh rosemary, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400°F until golden brown and tender.
  • From the salad bar, toss some cooked quinoa, pomegranate seeds and slivered almonds along with a sprinkle of your favorite seasoning (I like Bragg’s Amino Acids or white balsamic vinegar) for a very different, and delicious, taste.
Now that I’ve given you some ideas for cooking for one with fall produce, what’s your favorite way to enjoy the bounty of fall on your plate?
Category: Food & Recipes




SusieBee says ...
I just made a delicious carrot soup. Could be made with butternut squash too. I think I'll try that next! http://eatlittleeatbig.blogspot.com/2010/09/rich-and-creamy-carrot-soup.html
09/30/2010 12:46:05 PM CDT
Suxi says ...
Good ideas here. My husband is away, so it's just my daughter and me at home right now. Cooking is difficult because so many recipes are for four servings or more. We don't eat that much and my daughter detests leftovers! So what to do if your are committed to eating fresh foods rather than going out to restaurants? Buying large amounts of items only to use a little is expensive. I did, however, just buy two fresh pumpkins for roasting and baking. I found that roasting a pumpkin is not that difficult, and the flavor of baked pies from my own prepared pumpkin is so delicious! What I don't use I can freeze and use for pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Also, while in Japan I loved the sweet flavor of pumpkin tempura (they love to grill pumpkin there too). So this year I'm planning to try tempura with sweet potato and other smaller squashes. We'll see how it goes!
10/03/2010 6:18:48 AM CDT
JoAnn Praught says ...
Yummy ! cooking as we speak ! Do you always feature cooking for one?
10/03/2010 12:21:23 PM CDT
Sheila says ...
Nice - acorn squash is in the oven now. I like to drizzle it with olive oil and then add a little cinnamon and cloves sometimes instead of the S & P.
10/04/2010 10:56:04 AM CDT
Cooking4carnivores says ...
Love this pear & apple crisp. It's easy & delicious! http://www.cooking4carnivores.com/2010/09/icrisp.html
10/04/2010 11:08:37 AM CDT
Arlene Crandall says ...
Consider adding pomegranate seeds to homemade cranberry sauce. I also use the sauce to sweeten and make my morning oatmeal more interesting. As navel oranges come into season I add orange zest into my oatmeal just as it finishes cooking. Homemade ratatouille or any type of vegetable stew can be used as a pizza topping. I use your whole wheat tortilla shells as the base, lightly coat with olive oil, spread on the pizza sauce, and then add the veggies. It is a great meatless meal for now and later for Lent.
10/13/2010 7:11:49 PM CDT
Karen says ...
I like to cut peppers, onions and baby eggplants into chunks. Place on a baking sheet, along with a few whole cloves of garlic. Roast at 425 degrees for about 26 minutes. Squeze the garlic out of its paper, and combine in a bowl with 2 T olive oil, 1 T balsamic vinegar and 1 T capers. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy with a loaf of crusty bread.
10/13/2010 7:40:58 PM CDT
Jennie says ...
So far, my favorite thing has been the pumpkin muffins I made. You can view the recipe here: http://www.shesveggingout.blogspot.com They were really amazing. I have been eating one every day and I'm not sick of them yet!
10/13/2010 9:00:24 PM CDT
Emily says ...
Great ideas, but don't waste the seeds from the acorn squash! Squash seeds can be roasted just like pumpkin seeds - I like to add a sprinkling of chili powder to mine, in addition to the usual sea salt/olive oil combo.
10/13/2010 9:19:58 PM CDT
Donna-G says ...
One old fashioned down home, home cooked meal-this can be for 1 or a family of 5, it just depends on the size of the squash piece you pick Baked hubbard squash. Clean out seeds if need be,add salt to taste. rub the inside with a thin coating of butter Drizzle with honey Place squash in 375 degree oven for 40 minutes or until tender As the squash begin to sweat, put the gathering syrup over the squash. This is REALLY good with garden greens, corn-on-the cob, hand breaded fried/baked okra, cornbread,seasoned baked boneless pork chopsgarden veggie relish and hot lemon tea.
10/13/2010 9:33:52 PM CDT
dasha says ...
Thank you for this article! There are lots of people who need to cook FOR ONE! I still make soups and stews. Just in small portions. And if there are any leftover veggies, i cook them for side dishes.
10/13/2010 9:34:57 PM CDT
Sue says ...
Where is the recipe for the Indian Cauliflower in the photograph?
10/14/2010 8:25:25 AM CDT
Tina Ramirez says ...
Good ideas. Please more of the same kind of things Tina
10/14/2010 9:53:16 AM CDT
paig292 says ...
@Sue You can get that recipe here: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/2433
10/14/2010 12:53:19 PM CDT