Just because fresh strawberries and garden tomatoes aren’t in season, doesn’t mean you can’t eat like a king during the long winter months.
Produce is typically at its cheapest when it’s in season, and even though winter isn’t known as a particularly bountiful time of year, there are still plenty of cold-weather fruits and vegetables to enjoy.
To name a few: winter squash, potatoes, apples, cranberries, carrots and beets, as well as hardy greens including kale, chard and collards.
With that in mind, we asked chefs, food bloggers and other experts to send us their best winter-produce recipes.
Here are five to try:
Squash Apple Bake
“It’s sweet, but really wholesome,” says home cook Sarah Pendleton of her recipe, which usually makes it on the table for holiday dinners.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice and peel two large tart cooking apples and one hard squash, and place in an ungreased baking dish. (Pendleton suggests an acorn or butternut squash.)
Top with half-cup fresh or dried cranberries.
In a separate bowl, mix a tablespoon flour with a teaspoon salt, a half-cup brown sugar and a half-teaspoon nutmeg. Sprinkle mixture on top of the baking dish contents.
Finish with dabs of butter — about half a stick in total — and then bake uncovered for about an hour, until the squash and apples have softened.
Frugal Foodie’s grandma makes a version of this soup, which features a number of winter staples, including potatoes, carrots and beets.
To make, heat a large pot with 10 cups of water. Add a tablespoon olive oil, a large chopped onion, a chopped garlic clove and a bay leaf, along with a chopped rib of celery, two peeled and chopped carrots and a large peeled and chopped potato.
Add in three medium beets that have been peeled, but not chopped. Once beets are cooked through, after about 15 minutes, remove and let cool.
Grate the beets and add back to soup. Cook for another 10 minutes.
Add a quarter-bunch chopped dill, the juice of half a lemon and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or cold with a dollop of sour cream.
Slow Cooker Beef Roast with Red Potatoes and Butternut Squash
Erin Chase, author of “The $5 Dinner Mom One-Dish Dinners Cookbook,” describes this dish as an ideal one-pot meal because the ingredients can be assembled ahead of time and frozen until desired.
To make, place four quartered red potatoes and a small cubed butternut squash in a five-quart or larger slow cooker. Place a 1.25-pound beef chuck roast on top and sprinkle with a teaspoon each of garlic powder and onion powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
Set the slow cooker on low and cook for eight hours. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.
“My kids’ favorite way to eat kale is kale chips,” says home cook Claire Pearson. “We eat these as snacks while watching TV instead of junk food.”
Making them is simple: Take the leaves off of the stems, wash, and pat dry. Discard the stems. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place one layer of kale leaves on a baking sheet, giving them a little bit of space in between, and spray with cooking spray. Salt and pepper to taste.
”I check on them every 10 minutes and find that around the 20 minute mark is where I like mine,” says Pearson. “Although, I know friends who cook theirs longer,” she adds.
Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes and Apples
Chase’s “buy point” on sweet potatoes is $0.49 per pound or less. At that price, her recipe comes in at $4.27 — max.
To make, place a 1.5-pound pork shoulder roast in a five-quart or larger slow cooker. Place four small peeled, cored and diced apples around the pork and three medium cubed sweet potatoes over the top.
Pour a half-cup apple juice over the dish. Season with a few dashes of salt and pepper. Set the slow cooker on low and cook for eight hours. Serve with bread and butter.
Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie.