Paint Your Plate the Colors of the Season

Now that autumn has officially started, I’m in full “fall mode.”  I’ve got my house decorated for Halloween, my fall mums are planted and I’m incorporating all the fresh fall produce into my my meals.  I love how many of the season’s fruits and vegetables match the hues of the autumn leaves.  I feel like I’m decorating my dinner plate the way nature is decorating her landscape.

I’ll start with the obvious color associated with this time of year–orange!  Pumpkins aren’t just for decoration; there are so many delicious ways to enjoy them, both sweet and savory.  Winter squash, both acorn and butternut vary from orange to yellow and are tasty roasted, stuffed or pureed.  Sweet potatoes are in season right now and I love them either baked or roasted with a little rosemary and olive oil.

Moving on to the color red, the first fall produce that comes to mind are apples.  So many varieties are available and the ways you can use them are endless.  One of my favorite things to enjoy this time of year is fresh apple cider!  Cranberries are another fall favorite, both fresh and dried.  Venture outside the usual cranberry sauce and try using dried cranberries in salads or baked goods or making a chunky, fresh cranberry chutney.

One dinner staple I make is a mixture of veggies lightly coated in olive oil and roasted at 425 degrees for 35-40 minutes (stirring halfway through).  Depending on the time of year the mixture varies, but during the fall I use sweet potatoes, red bell pepper, butternut squash and onion.  About halfway through I’ll place some turkey sausages on top of the veggies and turn them after 20 minutes until cooked through.  Serve this with a fresh spinach salad topped with dried cranberries, red onion and a little gorgonzola cheese and light vinaigrette and you’ve got the perfect autum-themed plate!

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