I love cooking and doing it seasonal is no exception. Every season brings new flavors and ingredients that make such amazing foods. My favorite should be no surprise. When fall shows up, I know good food is about to happen. After all, they make an entire holiday, that started as a celebration that involved food, about food. When you think of Thanksgiving you definitely think of family, but you also think of food. Turkey. Stuffing. Sweet potatoes. Pumpkin ANYTHING. I seriously love fall cooking! Anyways, I wanted to take today and share with you some tips on how to cook seasonal and what to take advantage of with the coming of every season!
FALL. Let’s start here since it’s my favorite and it’s also what season we’re in now.
*Sweet potatoes. I grew up NOT liking sweet potatoes and I’m not sure what I was thinking. Maybe it was the look of them. Maybe it’s because I was crazy. Either way, we love sweet potatoes at the Linkous house and eat them on a weekly basis and usually more. One of my favorite recipes is one of the most simple ones I’ve ever made and I wanted to share it with you today. All recipes will be listed at the bottom so enjoy!
*Pumpkins. Pumpkins just SCREAM fall. They are one of the best fall decorations but a lot of times, we forget how great they are to EAT. You can seriously use every part of them. If you want to decorate a pumpkin, be sure to save the insides to make pumpkin puree. While you’re decorating, you can put your pumpkin seeds in the oven to have a healthy and quick snack (recipe below). My awesome momma also buys an extra pumpkin every year to make a pumpkin stew. Talk about amazing. It’s one of my favorite parts of fall. One day I’ll get the recipe from here and share it with you.
WINTER. It’s coming, believe it or not. Winter will be here in just a little over a month so start planning and preparing now!
*Carrots. I love a good carrot. They are great to snack on raw and great to leave out for Santa’s reindeers on Christmas Eve. They are also great to cook for baby’s early on- we would always cook them in the Crockpot and then puree them for Emma. Another thing I like to do is cook them with a lot of yummy spices. One of my favorite dishes for carrots is listed below.
*Leeks. I have never had leeks until I went to France back in 2009. I still can’t believe I missed those for the first 24 years of my life. I’ve tried to make up for it these last 3. Leeks are definitely a seasonal item and hard to find when they’re not in season. They start showing up in the fall but really thrive in winter. If you’ve never had a leek the best way I can describe them is like a mix between onions and green onions but bigger and a little sweeter. We like to make ours simple- on the stove with some potatoes and spices. Recipe below. These make a great quick meal when you might not have hours to slave over a side dish.
SPRING. The beginning of wonderful cool, but not cold, weather and everything starting to come back to life after a long winter’s nap.
*Peppers. I absolutely love peppers of all kinds and colors. I’m not biased. I like having red, orange and yellow ones to spice up the look of fresh fajitas and green ones for stuffed peppers as well as salad and pasta fillers. One of my favorite things to make is stuffed green peppers and spring is the time to do it!
*Asparagus. This is another thing I grew up not liking. I think it was the name and look more than it was the taste. I could look at them and just determine they were not meant for kids. Once I got a little older and was willing to broaden my horizons, I found that I really do like asparagus and nothing is better than a yummy salmon dish with asparagus on the side. And a side tip- if you store them standing up in some water in your fridge they’ll last longer. Yes, you can thank me for that one.
SUMMER. The heat is on! I may not love hot weather but I do love summer food.
*Corn. We eat corn with everything. During the summer time, there is never a lack of corn at our house. Every meal calls for it. Our favorite way to cook corn is just to stick it on the grill. It goes great with just about every meal and what better way to use your grill that to make corn? Well, there are some other great things, but corn tops my list. I’ve put the recipe below for how to make some great corn on the grill.
*Apples. Apples are truly wonderful. They are great to snack on and great to bake with, too. There is no limit to what you can do and make with apples. They even make great center pieces if you’re trying to find something to do with them before eating them. Try doing that with some asparagus. It just won’t be the same.
Sweet Potato Chips
(1) sweet potato
(2) tbsp maple syrup (the real stuff is 10 times better)
(2) tbsp olive oil
(1/4) tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Take (1) sweet potato and cut it into ¼ inch slices (the smaller the better) and then spread out in a single layer onto a baking sheet. Make a mixture of the above ingredients and then brush onto each slice. If you don’t have a brush, just dip each slice into the bowl with the mixture. I won’t tell. Put in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove, flip, and bake for another 10 minutes. When you get them out they’ll be simmering, smelling delicious, and you’ll be ready to put one in your mouth. STEP AWAY for the sweet potato chips. For your safety, DO NOT eat until they’ll cooled for at least 5 minutes. Your mouth will thank me. This will serve a family of four. Enjoy!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Seeds from (1) pumpkin
(1) tsp olive oil (or more if you wish)
Seasoning salt (to taste)
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Rinse your pumpkin seeds and remove any strings or pulp leftover from the pumpkin. If you have time to dry these off real good before cooking them, they’ll taste so much better. We try to let ours sit out for a few hours drying thoroughly. Place dry seeds on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, and then mix around. Make sure the seeds aren’t so full on the baking sheet that they fly everywhere. After your done with this step, sprinkle with seasoning salt. Add more or less depending on your preference. I like to coat mine in it so where they come out of the oven they’re color has change to a spicy brown color. Yum! Bake for 25 minutes, or until toasted, and then remove. Allow time to cool and then enjoy!
Roasted Cumin and Lime Carrots
1 pound baby carrots
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice and fresh grated zest of 1 lime
1 tsp honey
½ tsp fine sea salt
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ teaspoon each ground coriander and smoked paprika
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Small handful fresh mint leaves, chopped (optional)
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Trim the tops off the carrots and put them on a baking sheet with the olive oil, lime juice and zest, honey, salt and spices. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are beginning to color. Take out of the oven, put on a pretty plate or platter and sprinkle with the green onions and mint before serving. It will look like you’ve been preparing this dish for days and seem so fancy. Who knew it was so easy and so good? This meal serves 2 -4.
Leeks & Potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
¼- ½ tsp herbs of Provence
Preheat the eye of your stove to medium heat. Cut up your leeks and potatoes in ¼ slices and put in saucepan with your olive oil. Let simmer and cook for about 5 minutes and then add herbs. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes then turn down to low and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Once tender, take off the eye and enjoy!
Stuffed Green Peppers
4 medium sized green peppers
1 box of Spanish rice (with all ingredients listed on box)
1 pound of ground meat
½ cup Mexican cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Following the instructions on your box, begin making the Spanish rice. Also, be sure to put some ground meat on the stove and cook until brown and drain if necessary. I like to cook mine in advance in the Crockpot so I don’t have to do this step. Cut off the tops of your peppers and pull out the insides. This part is always fun for me- I feel like I’m a surgeon. Once I finish this part, I rinse out the inside to make sure there aren’t any remaining seeds I’ve missed. Once your rice and meat are done, begin alternating them into the green peppers. I like to get 4 layers, 2 of each item. Cover the top of your stuffed peppers with your cheese and stick in the oven for about 20 minutes. When you remove them allow time to cool and then serve. You will usually have some leftover rice to garnish along the side of the plate. Serve by themselves or with other food. My favorite is to make 4 and have 2 leftover for lunch the next day. Yummy in my tummy! Everything is always better the second day.
1 pack of asparagus
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the asparagus with the olive oil and lemon juice until evenly coated. Sprinkle with sea salt and then black pepper (fresh ground is best). Roast for about 8-12 minutes, or until the tips begin to brown. Remove and garnish with lemon zest. Voila! A beautiful side dish to go with a yummy salmon dish and not to mention, you’ll look like a top chef!
2 large apples, cored (I used Red Delicious)
2 tbsp sugar (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Thinly slice apples crosswise about 1/8-inch thick. Arrange apple slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil.If using sugar, combine in a small bowl with cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over apple slices. Bake until apples are dry and crisp which will be about 2 hours. Remove from oven and let cool completely before eating or storing in a sealed container for up to 3 days. Makes about 2 cups of apple chips.
Sweet Corn on the Grill
Sweet (FRESH) corn
1 tsp of olive oil (per ear of corn) or butter if you prefer
Salt & pepper (to taste)
Start the grill going. Once it’s warm, set on low to medium heat. Shuck, rinse and clean your corn. Dry lightly and then place on a piece of aluminum foil, big enough to wrap around the entire piece of corn. Brush your oil (or butter) on your corn and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. I love my spices so I will sometimes go a little crazy and add other spices like basil or cayenne pepper sometimes. After about 15 minutes, give or take, your corn is good to go! Allow time to cool and then enjoy!