Any chef would agree the best ingredients for your recipes are always the freshest ingredients, so trying to plan your meal menus according to whatever produce is in its peak season in your local area is usually a good idea. To the right here is a chart that shows the availability of fresh produce in California. (If you hunt around online, you should be able to find one of these for your vicinity too).
I know, my east coast friends, you're jealous - we're extremely lucky because so many fruits and vegetables are available fresh year-round. You'll notice that squash is one them. Even though I can pretty much get it any time I have a hankering for it, I tend to eat it more in the fall because it's something I associate with this time of year - particularly Thanksgiving. In the past, that's always meant mashed squash and squash pie, but in recent years, it's meant delicious pasta dishes too. For instance, this next dish . . .
Butternut Squash Lasagna
This is a great meal for entertaining because 1) you can make it ahead of time and 2) it's all contained in one dish. You just build the lasagna layers and put the dish in your refrigerator or freezer until you're ready to cook it. No big mess to clean up while you've got guests over. While it's baking, it doesn't require a lot of your attention either, so you can focus on more important things - like your friends and a tasty hot toddy! As a single-dish meal, it is easy to transport if you're invited to a potluck, seems to be toddler-friendly (our friends' one-year-old loved it), is really good as leftovers, keeps well in the freezer, and will clean your gutters for you. (Okay, maybe not that last part, . . . but it is pretty great.)
Got any favorite vegetarian recipes?? Please share!
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