Fall is a great time to shop the produce section of your neighborhood Food Lion. In a Food Lion Kitchen segment aired recently on Charlotte Today, culinary expert Heidi Billotto demonstrated ideas for cooking and serving the season’s fresh produce. View the segment here.
Sweet Potato and Chocolate Chip Bread
2-3 large sweet potatoes to make 2 cups shredded raw sweet potato
3 my essentials eggs
1-3/4 cups my essentials sugar
1 cup my essentials vegetable oil
2 cups my essentials flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tsp. Food Lion baking soda
2 tsp. Food Lion cinnamon
1 tsp. my essentials salt
2 tsp. Food Lion vanilla
1 cup Food Lion chopped pecans
1 cup my essentials semi-sweet chocolate chips
Shred the peeled sweet potatoes and place the shreds in a bowl of cold water so that they won’t discolor and to wash away a bit of the starch. Beat the eggs with the sugar and oil until smooth. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, pecans and chocolate chips, mixing just until all ingredients are combined. Add the shredded sweet potato. Mix well.
Pour into two greased and floured 8-1/2 x 4-1/2-inch loaf pans. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes at 350 degrees or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Allow the bread to cool in the pans before turning it out to slice and serve.
Lasagna with Winter Squash, Spinach and Béchamel
2 butternut or 3-4 acorn squash, roasted
2 bags spinach and or kale, shredded
1 recipe béchamel sauce (ingredients below)
2 lbs. uncooked dry Food Lion lasagna noodles
2-3 cup of grated Parmigiana-Reggiana
For the béchamel:
2 sticks my essentials butter
½ gallon my essentials whole milk, half and half or soy milk
2 Tbsp. my essentials extra virgin olive oil
Food Lion ground nutmeg (pinch)
My essentials salt to taste
½ cup my essentials all-purpose flour
To make the béchamel, melt butter in a large pot and add olive oil. Add flour, sifting it into the pot, and stir vigorously. Cook on medium heat until mixture turns golden brown. Then pour in milk (all at once) and add a pinch of salt and a pinch of ground nutmeg. Stir constantly so the mixture thickens but doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Set aside and let cool. If necessary, add more hot milk or hot water if the sauce is too thick.
For the squash:
Cut 1-2 butternut or acorn squash in half lengthwise, place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Roast at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or until tender, Scoop out and discard seeds. Scoop out pulp and mash.
Assembling the lasagna:
Pour the béchamel on bottom of a lasagna pan to cover the entire surface. Add a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. Then cover with sheets of pasta. Next layer in squash and spinach with a sprinkling of cheese and top with more béchamel. Repeat layers until the pan is filled, ending with béchamel and cheese. Cover tightly with foil and place in preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. Remove foil and return to oven, baking until top surface is slightly browned and crispy. Take out and let cool. Cut into single portions and serve, but don’t forget that lasagna is even better the next day!
Orange Scented Winter Squash Tempura
1 cup my essentials self-rising flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
Zest of two oranges
1 to 1-1/2 cups orange or citrus flavored sparkling water
3-4 cups my essentials canola oil for deep frying
Raw sliced acorn squash, pumpkin or butternut squash
Combine the flour and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Blend well with a wire whisk. Stir in the orange zest and enough sparkling water to make a smooth batter. Heat the remaining canola oil in a shallow saucepan. When the oil is hot enough to deep fry, dip the raw slices of squash in the batter and then carefully dip in the hot oil. Fry until the batter surrounding the squash slice is golden brown. Drain on several thicknesses of paper towels, allow to cool a bit and then enjoy.
Winter Squash or Pumpkin and Carrot Soup
3-4 acorn or butternut squash or one medium sized pumpkin
3-4 whole carrots and/or parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
4-5 (¼ inch) fresh ginger slices, minced
2-3 Tbsp. my essentials extra virgin olive oil
Water or my essentials chicken broth to cover
1 cup Food Lion heavy cream or fat-free half and half, more if needed
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Cut squash or pumpkin in half. Place cut side down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and roast at 375 degrees for 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of the squash. While squash is baking, sauté carrots and ginger in a large stock pot in 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil. Once carrots begin to caramelize, cover with water or stock. Once squash is tender and caramelized, scoop out of the shell and add to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to cook 10 minutes or so. Use an immersion blender or a food processor to puree the ginger, squash and carrots and stir into broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the heavy cream or half and half. Adjust seasonings. Serve hot. Freezes well. Thin with additional broth or water if desired. To serve, you will need one acorn squash per person – cut the top off of an acorn squash and scoop out all of the pulp and seeds. Cut a thin strip off of the bottom of the squash so that it will sit flat on a plate and use it for a bowl for your fall squash soup. The raw squash you scooped out of the “bowls” can be grated and used in your favorite carrot cake recipe instead of carrots, or use it in your favorite zucchini bread recipe instead of the zucchini or for Squash Tempura.
Spaghetti Squash with a Choice of Two Sauces
For the spaghetti squash:
Cut the squash in half width-wise and place cut side down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Add a bit of water to the pan and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30-45 minutes, or until squash is soft. Use a spoon to carefully scoop out and discard the seeds; then use a fork to pull across the flesh of the squash – you will see this squash pull away from the skin in noodle-like pieces. Once you get a bowl of spaghetti squash noodles, top them with a little butter and cheese or either of the two sauces that follow.
Asian Peanut Dipping Sauce
1 cup my essentials crunchy peanut butter
1/2 onion, minced
1 cup Asian coconut milk
1 Tbsp. Food Lion dark brown sugar
1 tsp. Food Lion red chili flakes
Zest and juice of 1 lemon or lime
1 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce (Nam Pla)
1 Tbsp. Food Lion soy sauce
Blend all of the ingredients together in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the peanut butter melts and the sauce becomes smooth. Adjust seasonings to suit your taste for a perfect Thai blend of sweet, salty, hot and sour.
Classic Marinara Sauce
2 Tbsp. my essentials extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, minced
1 medium carrot, finely sliced
2 Tbsp. Food Lion dried oregano leaves
2 (28-ounce) cans my essentials whole or diced tomatoes with juice
½ cup fresh packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onion, celery, carrot and oregano leaves until soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season if needed and add basil leaves just before serving. This sauce keeps one week in the refrigerator or up to six months in the freezer.
Recipes courtesy of Charlotte culinary expert Heidi Billott