Many Bergen County homeowners like to take advantage of seasonal vegetables, and as a leading Home and Garden business in Bergen County, New Jersey we’ve taken it upon ourselves to create a list of seasonal recipes so that all New Jersey residents are encouraged to enjoy homemade food. Perhaps you’ll even prepare them in an outdoor kitchen from the privacy of your own attractive lawn.
April Recipe of the Month
Cheesy Chicken, Bacon & Avocado Quesadillas
- 4 medium-sized flour tortilla shells
- 1 lb. chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup scallions, diced
- 8 strips of bacon, cooked & crumbled
- 1 avocado, diced
- mild cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 tbsp. butter
Arrange bacon on a cooling rack (like for cookies) and set it on top of the sheet pan.
If you don’t have a cooling rack, you can just put the bacon straight on the sheet pan or in a 9”×13” baking dish. Either way will work.
Place bacon in a cold oven, turn heat to 400, and cook 15 minutes per side.
Add 1/2 tbsp. bacon drippings to a skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions and saute about 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the chicken in a single layer, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes or until chicken is golden and cooked through, flipping just once during cooking. Remove the chicken and scallions to a plate and rinse out the skillet.
Add about 1/2 tbsp. butter to the skillet over medium heat. When foamy, add a tortilla and swirl it around to get it nice and buttery. Layer one side of the tortilla with chicken, bacon, avocado, and a little cheese. Use tongs to flip the other half of the tortilla over and press down. Cook the tortilla for about 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy.
Repeat with the rest of the tortillas, adding a little more butter for each tortilla as needed. Eat & enjoy it!
Makes 4 quesadillas
Recipe courtesy of kevinandamanda.com food blog
May Recipe of the Month
Yields 2 9-inch or 1 10-inch cake
- 5 medium beets (or enough for 2 cups pureed beets)
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
Trim stems and roots from beets. Quarter and place in a large saucepan filled with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 50 minutes, or until beets are tender. Drain liquid and remove the skin. Place beets in a food processor and process until the beets are pureed. Reserve 2 cups puree.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour baking pan(s).
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and beet puree.
In a separate bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir into the beet batter until well combined. Pour batter into prepared baking pan(s) and bake for 40-50 minutes (longer for the 10-inch cake) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan before removing to cool completely on a cooling rack. Dust with confectioner’s sugar.
Recipe found on: Pastryaffair.com
June Recipe of the Month
Cherry Almond Muffins
Adapted from Keep It Simple Foods
Yields 12 muffins
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup natural applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and halved
- 1 cup sliced almonds, divided
- Crystal or sanding sugar, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all the ingredients, except the cherries and sliced almonds, until smooth. Fold in the halved cherries and 1/2 cup sliced almonds.
Spoon batter into a well-greased muffin tin, filling the cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle remaining sliced almonds and a pinch of sugar evenly over the muffins. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool to room temperature before storing it.
Best served warm with a small pat of butter.
Recipe from: pastryaffair.com
July Recipe of the Month
Spicy Cherry Barbecue Sauce
Adapted from Taste of Home
Yields: about 3-1/2 cups
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 cups fresh or frozen dark sweet cherries, pitted and finely chopped
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons Siracha Sauce (or to taste for the spiciness desired)
In a large saucepan, sauté onion in butter until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until cherries are tender and sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.
August Recipe of the Month – Skinny Spaghetti Squash Alfredo
Yields: Makes 2 large servings or 4 side-dish servings
- 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk (I used fat-free)1 Tablespoon cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 Tablespoons extra for topping
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Crushed red pepper flakes and fresh parsley, for optional garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
First, prep the squash. Cut spaghetti squash in half using a large sharp knife, scoop out the seeds and place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet covered with water. Bake until tender, about an hour.
As an alternate way of baking: Poke a few holes deep into the whole squash with a paring knife. Bake for 60 minutes, remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 20 minutes before slicing in half with a large serrated knife. Scoop out the seedy inside leaving the spaghetti strands.
Once squash is cooked, use a fork to gently scrape the “spaghetti” strands into the center.
For the sauce, melt butter in a small pot over medium-low heat. Once hot, add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in flour, cooking for another minute while stirring. Whisk in milk until no lumps remain. Once hot, add cream cheese and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat. Stir in Parmesan, salt and pepper.
Spoon sauce equally into each spaghetti squash half. Gently pull up the spaghetti strands to coat as much as possible with the sauce. Top with extra Parmesan and place under the broiler of your oven for 2-3 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.
Top each half with a pinch of red pepper flakes and fresh chopped parsley, if desired. Serve hot.
Recipe from thecomfortofcooking.com originally adapted from fooddoodles.com
September Recipe of the Month – Italian Orzo Spinach Soup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) Whole wheat Orzo pasta
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 4 cups loosely packedspinach
- salt and black pepper
Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 4 minutes, until soft. Add carrots, celery, nd garlic and saute for an additional 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, orzo, thyme, oregano, rosemary and stir to combine. Bring soup to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente.
Stir in the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until it is bright green and wilted. Season with salt and black pepper to taste (if needed). Serve warm.
October Recipe of the Month – Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 1 to 2 lemons
- Coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
- 6 Lacinato kale leaves stemmed and thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup raw hulled sunflower seeds, toasted
- 1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
Note: If you don’t have Lacinato kale on hand, try using Swiss chard or regular kale instead.
Stir together mustard, lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and tablespoon and teaspoon of maple syrup; whisk in oil until emulsified.
In a salad bowl, toss together brussels sprouts and kale. Add sunflower seeds, raisins or dried cranberries, and dressing; toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Serves 2 as a full-sized salad.
Recipe from: PopSugar.com, by Susannah Chen which she adapted from Power Foods: 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients by the editors of Whole Living Magazine.
November Recipe of the Month: Pecan Pie Cookies
- 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) firmly packed dark brown sugar, divided
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together 1 cup brown sugar with the butter on medium-high, until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla, and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula between additions. Mix together until just combined.
Shape dough into roughly 1 1/4-inch ball. Place 2 inches apart onto the parchment-lined pans. Make an indentation in each cookie with your thumb, rotating your thumb to hollow it out into a round well.
Whisk together 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and cream in a small mixing bowl until smooth. Fold in the pecans. Fill the well of each cookie with a scant teaspoon of the pecan filling. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool for 2-3 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.
December Recipe of the Month – Maple Nut Truffles
- 1-1/2 Cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips
- 4 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
- 1-1/2 cups Confectioner’s Sugar
- ¾ teaspoon Maple Flavoring
- 1 cup Walnuts – Chopped
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips. Set aside to cool. In another bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Add melted chocolate and maple flavoring; beat until well blended. Chill for 15 minutes or until firm enough to handle.
While truffle mixture is cooling, spread chopped walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the preheated oven for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Be sure to keep a careful watch to prevent burning. Let walnuts cool.
Shape cooled chocolate filling into 1-in. balls; roll in walnuts. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.