We’ve all done it. One day, you are innocently gliding around the grocery store, trying to get some innovative ideas for the annual Thanksgiving feast. Scratch-made gravy? YES! Fresh green bean casserole? Absolutely!
Right before your eyes, an entire Thanksgiving meal unfolds in all of its pre-packaged glory!
In this moment, you can give into the prospect of ease – just open, heat, serve. OR, you can forge your own trail, making interesting, seasonal dishes (and yes, still easy!) with fresh ingredients. We’ve put together some ideas to help you get started.
For your daily “DUH” moment, there is pumpkin. With a mild flavor, you can dress this ingredient up or down, depending on your culinary goals and prowess.
Soup always makes us think of fall flavors. AND it’s an easy way to make something simple, simply delectable. Here is a great recipe with ONLY TWO preparations steps!
Pumpkin and Leek Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks (white and light green parts), sliced 1/4 inch thick and rinsed
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 medium pumpkin or 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
kosher salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin cubes and canned puree, then the broth. Simmer until the pumpkin is tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in 1¾ teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Working in batches, ladle the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Divide among individual bowls and top with the rosemary.
A surprising ingredient that is in season right now is spaghetti squash.
If you’re like many families, and consider Italian food to be the very epitome of cozy, cold weather food, spaghetti squash is a great tasting alternative to pasta. Here is one of our favorite recipes:
Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Cheese
1 large spaghetti squash (about 5 pounds)
4 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
3/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for serving
- Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Brush the flesh with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Place the squash halves cut-side up on a baking sheet and roast until fork tender, about 50 minutes.
- Remove the squash from the oven and let sit at room temperature until cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes. Scrape the flesh with a fork to make long strands; set aside.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and shallot, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
- Add the reserved squash, toss with tongs to coat thoroughly, and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cheese a handful at a time while tossing the squash to evenly coat. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and extra cheese.
There are so many fun recipes out there to enjoy with the cooler weather upon us! Get out to the Georgetown Farmers market or our nearby HEB and explore your options.
PS: Don’t worry, if you’re just not the cook from scratch type, you can always serve ready-made meals on your finest china! No one will be the wiser
Find all of the ingredients you need at one of the grocery stores in the area!