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From the Seasonal Kitchen (08/15/2010)
by Jenah Hensel

Its ok, I willfully admit that I am totally dependent upon technologies that were not even around five years ago. I just about die when I can’t take my laptop into my kitchen to get my favorite recipes from online. It’s also pretty great to watch tv on my mac while I cook large batches of freezer meals!

My most recent technological vice has to do with texting. I know, I know. It sounds like any respectable person’s worst nightmare. How does this have anything to do with what produce in season you ask? Well, let me explain. Everyday, I get a text sent to me from a food magazine I subscribe to giving me the title of what’s for “Dinner Tonight.” If it sounds like something I am interested in, I simply text back “cook” and the recipe is sent to my email and a shopping list to my phone. The best part is, every recipe is tailored to what’s in season! I am a full-time stay at home mom, but I can imagine that this would be a life-saver if I was sitting in an office at 3:30pm wondering what on earth I am going to cook for my family for dinner that night. Genius!

I also love perusing my favorite blogs for new things to make. The nice thing about this format is that most people who try out the recipe report back with a comment. This is great for trouble-shooting and tweaking. A lot of blogs also have an option to “search” so I can type in an ingredient that I happen to have a lot of. In a moment, I have bunches of recipe options to choose from.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love making recipes that I have made for years from a recipe on a real card someone handwrote out for me. I love seeing that person’s notes in their own handwriting- there’s nothing like it. But I love that I can get recipes in new ways, too. So today I am sharing recipes with you that include three main in-season ingredients (tomatoes, summer squash, cabbage) from three different sources (text, website, recipe box.) I am also going to challenge you to dust something off that you may not typically associate with cooking in August… your crock-pot!

Rigatoni with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Coarse salt

1 lb rigatoni or other short tubular pasta (I used fusilli)

2 lbs plum tomatoes, chopped

1 T balsamic vinegar

3 T olive oil

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 t red-pepper flakes

1/2 c fresh parsley, or about 1 T dried

1 T fresh oregano, or 1/2 t dried

8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese


1.In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions; drain.

2.Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine tomatoes, vinegar, and 1/2 t salt; set aside.

3.In a small skillet, heat oil over low heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring often, until tender and just beginning to take on color, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in red-pepper flakes.

4.Stir garlic mixture into reserved tomato mixture. Add parsley, oregano, mozzarella, and pasta; toss.

Serves 4-5.

Because I am gluten free, I used brown rice pasta, and not even my pasta connoisseur husband complained! I also used whatever smaller tomatoes I had on hand and had great results.

Adapted From Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Dinner Tonight by Text

Vegetarian No Noodle Vegetable Lasagna

1 26 oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce

1 small container of ricotta cheese (about 10-12 ounces)

8 slices of mozzarella cheese (or about 8 ounces shredded mozzarella)

2 cups shredded Italian cheese mix

1 large eggplant

3 summer squash

1 pound of sliced mushrooms

bag of baby spinach

2 T water


I used a 6 quart Smart Pot for this dish, it was the correct size pot to use. If you have a smaller crock-pot, you will need to scale back a bit.

Wash all of the vegetables. Slice the squash and the eggplant in long slices, about 1/4 inch thick. These are going to be your noodles! Do not peel the squash or the eggplant. In the bottom of your crockpot, pour about 1/4 cup of pasta sauce. Layer in a few pieces of squash and eggplant. Smear some ricotta cheese on top. (It works well to scoop some cheese out and make it into a “patty” to place on top of the sliced veggies.) Add a handful of baby spinach and mushrooms, and a few slices of mozzarella cheese. Pour in some more pasta sauce. Continue layering the ingredients until your crockpot is full, and you have run out of ingredients. Top with the end of the pasta sauce and the shredded Italian cheese. Put 2 tablespoons of warm water into the empty pasta sauce jar, cover, and shake. Pour the remaining sauce on top of everything.

Cover your crockpot and cook on low for 5-8 hours. The dish is done when the vegetables have reached their desired tenderness and the cheese is melty. If the lasagna seems very watery, you can vent your lid for the last hour of cooking.

Serves 6-8.

This is a really yummy dish! Even my 17 month old ate THREE SERVINGS. Yes, you read that right, three servings! And, even though this is a completely gluten free dish, not one of the gluten lovers in my house even missed the noodles a bit. We used a cheese slicer to perfectly slice the squash and eggplant. It was a perfect job for one of my bored grade schoolers!

Recipe from crockpot365.blogspot.com.

California Cole Slaw


A lot of shredded cabbage; green and purple (about 1 ½ lbs total)

1 small bunch green onions, chopped (just green parts)

1 pkg. chicken flavored ramen, smooshed up

Toasted almonds

1/2- 3/4 cup sunflower seeds


1/2 cup oil

2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp vinegar

1 tsp season salt

flavor packet from ramen

Combine cabbage, onions, ramen and pour dressing over. Put in fridge for 2 + hr., stirring occasionally. Add sunflower seeds and almonds just before serving.

Total time: 25 mins prep, 2 hr. chill time.

Serves 5-6.

No picnic is complete without this perfect take-along!

This one comes from my own personal recipe box via my mom, Lynn Gantner.

* This column of good eating is brought to you by members and friends of the Winona County EDA Local Foods Committee and UM Master Gardeners. Questions or comments? Contact us: elrs2626@hotmail.com



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