As much as we'd love to pretend that we're completely against the changing of the seasons, that's not entirely the case and we need to come clean: we love fall. We love it! Call us crazy, but the rich, cozy, calming dishes associated with cooler weather make us want to jump for joy (which also allows us to act as our own personal space heaters). The thing is, as much as we're anticipating the start of a new season, the weather hasn't actually changed yet. Moreover, we're still overloaded with a bounty of summer produce -- and we're running out of fridge space. So how do we connect our minds and our vegetable chillers? With these five recipes that take ripe summer produce and transform it into dishes that are perfect for sweater weather.
Zucchini Lasagna: If there's a dish that's more of a culinary hug than lasagna, we certainly haven't found it. In this version, no-boil noodles make for an even quicker meal.
Sauteed Tomato and Herb Pasta: There's no excuse for not always having pasta in the pantry. Same goes for Parmesan in the fridge. Now go pick up a few cherry tomatoes and you're more than halfway to a shockingly simple main course. If your kids (or, ahem, grown ups) don't like eating whole tomatoes, give them a quick whir in a blender to make an instant sauce.
Cucumber-Feta Toasts: This open-faced sandwich may look simple, but its flavors deceptively flavorful. Salty feta and crisp cucumber slices don't need any dressing up -- drizzle them with your best olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper and dig in.
Ratatouille: There are as many ways to make ratatouille as there are vegetables to put in it. This recipe is rich with our summer favorites, particularly eggplant and zucchini. If you have the time, set this up in the morning and let it simmer for hours. The end result may be reminiscent of vegetable jam -- which also happens to be completely irresistible.
Corn and Shrimp Chowder: Making this dish shouldn't take much arm twisting -- it takes already-excellent ingredients and combines them in a simple, yet incredible one pot meal. While frozen corn can bus substituted, use the fresh kind if you can find it. The difference in flavor will well worth any additional effort.