The Transition of Seasons

Welcoming Fall Through Fresh and Healthy Dishes

It’s starting to feel like Autumn during the morning hours. The temperature is brisk, and the air has a different scent to it than it did a few weeks back. And, as hesitant as I am to admit it, I think it may be time to unpack the sweaters and embrace summer coming to an end. *Sigh*

As I’ve preached about before, eating healthy is a series of consistent healthy food choices that you make throughout each day. The hardest part about this, for me at least, is eating healthy on-the-go. Luckily, during the work week I have LeanBox that makes it simple to choose healthy even when I’m nose deep in piles of work, or running in and out of the office. Problem is, I don’t have LeanBox in my house (yet ☺). That said, when I get home from work, cooking is the last thing I want to worry about. I need something simple, flavorful and definitely healthy.

One great thing about Autumn approaching is all of the produce that’s in-season. We’re talking crisp, juicy apples, hearty tubers and fresh gourds. Mmmm Mmmm, yum. To welcome fall, my friend and I experimented with some fresh summer and fall produce and created the perfect end-of-summer, start-of-fall dinner. It took all of 30 minutes, and was chalk full of flavor and nutrients and now, it’s time to share it with you.

Warning: salivating will likely occur


Alright, to get started, we kicked it off with putting together an arugula, watermelon (cut in bite-sized chunks), and fresh parmesan cheese salad that we tossed with a home-made lemon & olive oil vinaigrette

For the vinaigrette: Squeeze the juice out of one lemon, combine it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and add some pepper and salt to taste.

How to do it: Take the ingredients, mix them in a bowl, the end. So easy, so delicious

Arugula, watermelon & parmesan cheese salad, dressed with a lemon vinaigrette

We then went in for the main course which was ah…mazing. The main ingredient was spaghetti squash, which is such a versatile vegetable and is naturally full of a variety of vitamins and nutrients. It’s delicious, fresh and filling.

How to cook it: cut the squash in half vertically. Spoon out the seeds, pop it in the microwave for 10 minutes and walk away. When it’s done, remove it and simply take a fork to it. If it looks like miniature spaghetti noodles, then you did it right.

Preparing the summer spaghetti squash

While the squash was in the microwave, we prepared our protein.

How to cook it: Sautee the chicken on the stovetop using just a little bit of olive oil and Italian dressing. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Remove from the skillet and cut into bite sized pieces. (note: the tomatoes pictured here are also used in this dish-simply cut with no seasoning)

Preparing the bite-sized sautéed chicken

As the chicken is cooking, prepare the sweet potatoes so they are ready when the chicken is complete.

How to cook it: Wash two medium-sized sweet potatoes thoroughly and poke holes with a fork. Wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in the microwave on medium for about 5 minutes. Remove from microwave, cut in half, peel off the skin and cut into bite sized pieces. (I think I ate a whole potato just during preparation…whoops)

Preparing the sweet potato bites

Alright, now you’re ready to have your ingredients party together. Take the bowl of the spaghetti squash and take 2–3 tablespoons of pesto (fresh or store bought) and mix in (amount will vary by taste preferences). Then, take the remaining ingredients and place in the bowl. Gently fold them in as to not squish the sweet potato or tomatoes. Chunky=good.

Summer squash, tomatoes, sweet potato and grilled chicken, mixed with fresh basil pesto

And, there she is-the finished product. It’s a delicious combination of summer and fall produce to prepare your taste buds for the change of seasons. It’s the perfect, easy dish to whip up and is quick enough to complete worry-free on a week night.

List of ingredients you’ll need (this fed 4 people):

Salad:

1 bag of arugula

1/4 watermelon, sliced into bite-sized chunks

1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese (thickly grated)

1 lemon (juiced)

2 tbsp olive oil

Main Course:

1 spaghetti squash

4 thinly-sliced chicken breast (1 per person)

2 sweet potatoes

1 fresh tomato

Pesto


And, that’s a wrap. I guess I should pull out my sweaters and continue to mentally prepare for summers end. How do you prepare your palates for the change of season? Share with us your secrets and let’s start to welcome Autumn!

Healthy and happy wishes,

Becky

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