Anyone get the produce box from Cusumano & Sons this past weekend in Albion? I based the recipes for this week’s column, celebrating National Fruit and Vegetable Month, on their box. It was so full of wonderful, fresh produce, and fit right in with my theme this week. Did you see those carrots?!

According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, “the goal of National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month is to increase daily consumption of fresh produce.”

The American Heart Association has a fruit and vegetable guide called “Add Color with Fruits and Vegetables” which is an excellent resource, as well as a plethora of information on the sidebar to help you add more fruits vegetables to your daily routine.

Recipes wanted! Submitted recipes will be accepted at [email protected], or you can stop by the Albion office and drop a copy off up front. If you don’t have a recipe to submit right now, but there is a recipe you’re desperately seeking, feel free to email or drop off a note for a “Recipe Request.” I’m now requesting recipes for your favorite baked beans and fair food recipes!


Peach-Mango Smoothie


1C peeled peaches, sliced, cold (thawed, if frozen)

1/2C peeled mangoes, chopped, cold (thawed, if frozen)

1/4C mango nectar, cold

1/2 of a banana

2 tsp sugar or honey, optional

2 ice cubes


Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and purée until completely smooth. Pour into a tall glass and enjoy cold.

***Recipe courtesy of Jenn Segal of “Once Upon a Chef” blog.***


Fruit Salsa


1C peeled mango, diced

1C pineapple, diced

1C peeled peaches, diced

1/2C sweet red/bell pepper, diced

2 plum tomato, seeded and diced or 12-16 grape tomatoes, diced

5 TBSP fresh cilantro, minced, plus some roughly chopped for garnish

1/2 C onions, sliced

3 TBSP lime juice

1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 avocado, sliced, for garnish

Tortilla chips


Prepare all ingredients. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except avocado and tortilla chips. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Serve with avocado, roughly chopped cilantro and tortilla chips.

***Recipe adapted from “Taste of Home” website, courtesy of Mary Gloede.***


Creamy Thyme Chicken with Sauteed Mushrooms and Apples


3 TBSP olive oil

1 10-oz. package mushrooms, cut into eighths (Cremini are used in original recipe, but any available mushroom will work)

Kosher salt


1 large shallot or onion, finely chopped

2 apples, cut into 1/2-in.-thick wedges (Gala were used in original recipe, but Fuji, Granny Smith or any other firm apple will work)

1 TBSP butter

4 chicken legs, thighs or breasts (about 2-lbs)

1/2C dry white wine or cooking sherry

1/2C chicken broth (low-sodium)

6-8 sprigs thyme, plus more for serving

1/4C heavy whipping cream

1 TBSP Dijon mustard


Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat 2 TBSP oil in large oven-safe skillet on medium-high. Add mushrooms and pinch of salt and cook, tossing occasionally, 5 minutes. Add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden brown, 2-3 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add apples and butter to the skillet and cook, tossing occasionally until beginning to turn golden brown, 2-3 minutes; transfer to a second plate and wipe skillet clean.

Return skillet to medium. Rub chicken with remaining Tbsp oil, season with 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper, and cook, bone side up first, until browned on all sides, 10-12 minutes; drain excess fat. Turn chicken skin side up, add wine and cook 1 minute, then add broth and thyme. Return apples to the skillet, transfer skillet to oven, and bake until chicken is cooked through (165 degrees), 7-8 minutes.

Transfer chicken and apples to plate, discard thyme, and return skillet to medium heat. Whisk in cream and mustard, then fold in mushroom mixture and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve with chicken and apples and additional thyme if desired.

Note: Some ingredients adapted for preferences.

***Recipe courtesy of “Woman’s Day Kitchen” website.***


Roasted Potatoes and Carrots


1.5-lb. potatoes, any variety (Creamer potatoes are recommended in original recipe, but you can use your preferred type)

4 large carrots peeled, sliced diagonally, 1-cm thick

1/3C unsalted butter, melted

1-2 TBSP garlic, minced

1 tsp dried parsley or 1 TBSP fresh parsley, minced

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1-1/2 tsp fresh thyme

1/4 tsp black pepper

Fresh parsley, to garnish


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the potatoes into quarters or halves (similar to the size of carrots) and place in a large bowl with sliced carrots.

In a small bowl, whisk together butter, garlic, parsley, salt, thyme and pepper. Spoon butter over potatoes and carrots in bowl, reserving some for serving later, if desired.

Stir vegetables to coat, then spread in an even layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 45-60 minutes until desired tenderness is reached. The exact cook time will depend on how thick your carrots are sliced and how big your potatoes are, so you may want to check at 30-45 minutes and then adjust if necessary.

Brush with reserved garlic butter and garnish with parsley before serving, if desired.

Note: Feel free to adjust the seasonings as you like, just be careful not to go too crazy! Add a pinch of cayenne if you like things spicy. You can also add a good sprinkling of finely shredded Parmesan cheese before baking for a rich, cheesy flavor, if you want.

***Recipe courtesy of Ashley Fehr, of “Recipe Rebel” blog.***


Garlic Parmesan Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms


2-lbs. spaghetti squash

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

2C mushrooms, chopped or sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 TBSP fresh thyme

1/4C Parmesan cheese, grated

Handful parsley, finely chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

1-2 TBSP butter, if desired


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a deep skillet or large pan, add olive oil, garlic and thyme. Cook for 2 minutes over high heat and add mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are golden brown, about 7-8 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Wash the spaghetti squash under water and dry it. You can removed the seeds now, or wait until after cooked. Put the spaghetti squash on a baking tray and pierce the skin a few times using a knife. Use butter and salt and pepper, if desired. Bake for about 1 hour, until squash can be pierced with a knife. Alternatively, you can microwave the spaghetti squash.

Take the squash out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature for about 15 minutes. Cut in half and get rid of the seeds, if you haven’t already. Use a fork to scrape the squash into strings.

Add the spaghetti squash strings to the skillet (or pan), turn the heat to high and quickly fry with mushrooms. Sprinkle parmesan while sauteing for a minute.

Turn the heat off, top with parsley, more Parmesan and season with salt and pepper to serve.

***Recipe courtesy of Caroline, of “Pickled Plum” blog.***


Waldorf with Avocado Salad


1/3C low-fat plain yogurt

1/4C walnuts, chopped

1 TBSP lemon juice

Salt and white pepper, to taste

2 celery stalks, diced

1 green apple, diced

1 red apple, diced

1 avocado, diced

Romaine lettuce, leaves separated

1 C red grapes, halved


In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until well combined.

In a large bowl, combine celery, apples, avocado, grapes, and walnuts; toss gently with dressing.

Top each lettuce leaf with the salad mixture and serve.

Note: Feel free to add some diced onion and/or julienned carrots, if desired.

***Recipe courtesy of “Avocados from Mexico” website.***