Fresh produce is the healthiest ingredient in celebration parties. There are at least a dozen vegetables in season in North Georgia now. Using fresh vegetables as the base of the meal, plan a good old fashioned gathering with Georgia's best and party guilt-free.
- Broccoli: This vegetable is so versatile. It can be steamed and served with lowt-fat cheddar cheese, served raw with a vegetable dip or used in a broccoli/rice casserole. Try the broccoli, olive pasta recipe.
- Brussels sprouts: People either love these 'baby cabbage' or hate them. Maybe they have never had them roasted. Try the roasted Brussels sprouts recipe.
- Cabbage: The outer leaves can be used to steam just about anything inside them. Cole slaw, stuffed cabbage, steamed or braised, cabbage is a delicious food. Add cabbage to a garden salad to up the nutrient value and add crunch.
- Cauliflower: This vegetable pairs well with broccoli, cooked or raw. Add cauliflower to a raw vegetable tray or try one of these recipes.
- Celery: Celery is a crisp, crunchy vegetable that can take its place on the vegetable tray or be served alone with peanut or almond butter. Use celery to season poultry and seafood dishes.
- Kale: The most popular way to serve kale is as chips. Cooking kale takes a bit longer, but is worth the time. Collards are also in season and mix well with kale.
- Lettuce: All types of lettuce are available to make a beautiful garden salad. Use lettuce leaves as an attractive base for serving taco, tuna or pasta salads.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms are in season year-round. They can be served stuffed, roasted or deep-fried. They add a fragrant flavor to broiled steak. Try this mushroom soup recipe.
- Sweet potato: Nothing is as sweet and nutritious as the sweet potato. Like the shrimp in Forest Gump, the sweet potato can be served in many different ways. Bake them and serve with a pat of real cream butter or bake, peel and cut into chunks for a casserole. Add brown sugar or honey, walnuts and marshmallows and bake until heated through. For the most diet-friendly way to serve this potato, try this baked sweet potato fries recipe.
Always rinse vegetables before eating. An easy way to make sure bacteria and pesticides are removed is to place the vegetable in a colander and pour lukewarm water and vinegar over the vegetable. Add one-fourth cup vinegar to one gallon of water.
With the fresh produce listed, many different meals can be planned for a winter get-together or party. Add a fruit tray to the vegetable tray and several types of dip. Cook the vegetables and make casseroles, bake a sweet potato pie or season a pot of kale and collards with a ham bone.
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