Why I Joined the Produce Box

The Produce Box brings the farmer’s market to your doorstep!Image-5
Disclosure: I am a member of the Produce Box and have been asked to participate in the blogger program  “join The Produce Box”. I have been compensated for this post. Opinions are my own.

You never know what good fortune attending a health fair will bring, no matter who you are! For me, it was meeting Robyn Arthur, an area manager of the Produce Box and learning  how North Carolina residence can have fresh local produce (pictured above)  delivered to their doorsteps!

Initially,  doorstep delivery seemed superfluous.  I am, however, passionate about eating local, eating seasonal, and  supporting North Carolina farmers. But let’s face it,  all of the above can be achieved by shopping at any of the numerous farmer’s markets in my area.

However, after my first few delivered boxs from the Produce Box, and getting in the routine of ordering, I am finding the convenience of delivery is one of the BEST reasons for being a member! Prior to becoming a member of the Produce Box, I would set aside time during the week to shop at  one of farmer’s markets in Wilmington. Going early was always smart, as goodies sold out quickly and were often picked over by noon. I generally bought what looked good, and figured out what to prepare with it after I got home.

Now the process of ‘shopping’ for fresh, local produce is simplified. It not only saves me time by eliminating a trip to the market, it has also improved my efficiency with meal planning.  On Friday afternoons, I log into my Produce Box account and view the menus. It looks like this..IMG_3536TheProduceBoxScreen Shot_edited-1TheProduceBoxScreen Shot

TheProduceBoxScreen ShotTheProduceBoxScreen Shot

There are generally 5 to 8 different varieties of North Carolian farmer-grown fresh fruit and vegetable produce boxes. Contents vary depending on what’s in season. Specialty items  from local artisans are also available, including: honey, local meat, seafood, bread, cheese, butter, peanuts, peanut butter, jams and desserts. I can make my selection online immediately, but generally I think about the choices over the weekend , considering what I have going on in the coming week and plan meals around one of the  boxes offered.  I place my order by Sunday night at 9 p.m. Deliveries are Wednesday; right to my front door. All I need to do is unpack my box and refrigerate the produce. This week I selected the Harvest Box. Here’s how I  plan to use it:

Green beans will be steamed and used in my light and healthy Salad Nicoise.IMG_2006 copy_edited-1

Yellow squash will be prepped into zoddles in  this easy recipe for  Cod, Pasta and   Zoddles with Lemon Pesto .IMG_codwithzoodles_edited-2

The corn will be cut off the cob and made into a  Roasted Corn, Black Bean and Mango Salad  that’s a perfect accompaniment for just about anything I put  on the grill this week.

Field tomatoes  and bibb lettuce will be the base of the salads I make  for lunch or dinner.

Strawberries will be gobbled up in between meals (with  a little whipped cream). YUM!

I never realized how much time I spent shopping and planning meals until I streamlined the process with doorstep delivery made possible via the Produce Box. Join me in making healthy eating easy, sign up for local produce delivered  to your doorstep today!

 

Beef & Eggplant Lasagna

Eggplant is the hidden vegetable in this  terrific meaty lasagna; make two, one for now and one for later. Freezer Friendly Beef & Eggplant Lasagna
What do you do when you encounter foods that you DON’T like? I’m asking , because I sometimes face this situation. Take for instance, theseEggplant to be used in my freezer friendly beef & eggplant lasagna

American globe eggplants. They are, to my eyes, lovely.  But to my taste buds, not so much.  I don’t care for their spongy texture.  So I follow the  advice I give parents of children who dislike vegetables: keep on trying, but  prepare them different ways. Today, I’m taking  eggplant outside of where we’ve ever been.  First, I ‘m thinnly slicing them lengthwise, then roasting to get a roasty charry goodness going. Now, into my lasagna… btw I am making two because if I’m going to the trouble of making lasagna, I ‘m going to get an extra meal in the freezer for that day when I don’t want to cook.  Talk about a #twoforone, this month’s Recipe Redux theme just happens to be: Fantastic Freezer Meals.  September is the  perfect time to remind those of us with gardens and  those who chose to eat according to the seasons, that tomatoes, summer squash, corn and eggplant are starting to fade.  If you want to enjoy the bounty of summer longer, use them in dishes you can freeze for later. Here is the result of my lasagna made with my  not so favorite summer vegetable.. and the taste testing begins..Freezer Friendly Beef & Eggplant Lasagna

Can you hear my sigh of relief over the internet? It  tastes as good as it looks! Be sure to visit the links at the bottom of this post to find more recipe ideas for heat -and -eat freezer meals.

 

Beef and Eggplant Lasagna

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (make 2 pans of lasagna, each pan 6 servings)

  • 3 pounds eggplant, thinnly sliced lengthwise (1/4 inch)
  • cooking spray
  • coarse salt and ground peppger
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2/3 cup fresh basil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 10 cups prepared marinara sauce
  • 16 oven ready lasagna noodles
  • 2 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Arrange sliced eggplant on a single layer on 2 sheets pans. Spray  both sides using cooking spray  and season with salt and pepper. Roast the eggplant until it is soft and golden. Turn slices halfway through, about 15 minutes. Let sheet cool on a wire rack.

3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet coated with cooking spray, add beef and cook, stirring occassionally until no longer pink. Add basil, oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant, 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Turn oven down to 375 degrees F. Spread 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of an 8 inch baking dish. Top with 2 noodles. Layer with one quarter of the beef, then 1 cup sauce and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Top with 2 more noodles, one quarter of the  eggplant, 1 cup sauce and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers with the remaining ingredients, reserving the last 1/4 cup Parmesan. Cover lasagna loosely with foil and and bake on top rack until sauce bubbles, 35-40 minutes. (Place a rimmed baking sheet on middle rack to catch any drippings.) Remove lasagna from oven and heat broiler. Sprinkled with reserved Parmesan and broil until cheese is browned and bubbling, 3 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before slicing.

For second lasagna: Line an 8 inch baking dish with non-stick heavy duty foil allowing several inches to extend over sides. Prepare lasagna as direct above but DO NOT BAKE. Remove lasagna from baking dish by holding edges of foil and lifting out of pan. Fold foil over lasagna and wrap with additional foil, making sure it is tightly sealed to keep air out. Freeze for up to one month.

TO BAKE SECOND LASAGNA: Remove from the freezer. Take out of foil wrap and place in an 8 inch baking dish coated wtih cooking spray. Cover and thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bake, covered, in a 375 degree oven for about one hour or until heated through and sauce begins to bubble.

Powered by Recipage


Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial