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Got extra summer produce? Use them in these end-of-summer dishes

By late summer, many home cooks are staring down a gigantic pile of produce.

Perhaps you didn’t realize your tomato plants would be this…successful. 

Or maybe you went overboard at the local farmers market, hoping that the more oddly-shaped gourds and colorful peppers you plopped in your basket, the healthier you would be. 

Whatever the case may be, you’ve got fruits and veggies — a lot of them — and no idea what to cook.

Fortunately, we’ve rounded up three fresh dishes you can make right now with your produce and basic ingredients you probably already have at home. 

Quick Farmers Market Pasta
from The Food Network

Great way to use up your extra tomatoes, zucchini and basil.


  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, on the vine
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 pound loose pork sausage
  • 2 to 3 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered or 2 fresh globe artichokes, trimmed to the hearts, cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 bunch fresh basil leaves


  1. Cook the garlic and tomatoes in a large heavy pan over low to medium heat with some of the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. 
  2. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and falling apart, forming a sauce — about 35 to 40 minutes. 
  3. While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta and set aside. 
  4. Reserve some of the roasted tomatoes for garnish and squash the rest in the pan, making chunks of tomatoes in the sauce. Stir in sugar.
  5. Saute the sausage, set aside. 
  6. Saute zucchini for about two minutes, then add artichokes and cook for two or three more minutes. 
  7. Add the cooked sausage back to the pan, then toss in pasta and tomato sauce. 
  8. Mix well over high heat, then transfer to serving bowl or platter. 
  9. Serve with fresh grated Parmesan, basil leaves and a few of the reserved tomatoes.


Stuffed Zucchini Enchilada Boats 
from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe 

These tasty stuffed zucchini will fill up whoever you’ve got coming for dinner, says food blogger Mel. Even though zucchini is more often a side dish, she says this recipe is a meal in itself. 


  • 4 medium zucchini, halved
  • 8-12 ounces lean ground turkey or ground beef (depends on how meaty you want this dish to be)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped (seeds and membrane removed if you want less heat)
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-2 cups shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese (or a combination)
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Scoop out the center of each zucchini, discarding the seeds and leaving the outer zucchini flesh about 1/4-inch thick, forming little zucchini boats.
  3. Sprinkle the cut side with a little bit of salt and set aside.
  4. In a large skillet, cook the ground turkey or beef over medium heat with the salt and pepper and drain most of the grease.
  5. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the onion, garlic and jalapeno. Cook the mixture until the onion has softened and turned translucent, four or five minutes.
  6. Stir in the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, sugar, oregano, and coriander. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for five minutes.
  7. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Ladle in about 1/3 cup of the sauce and spread across the bottom of the pan.
  8. Stir the cooked meat and beans into the remaining sauce in the skillet.
  9. Scoop an even amount of the meat and sauce mixture into each zucchini boat, piling it on.
  10. Cover the baking dish with a layer of lightly greased foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and layer the cheese over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes more until the zucchini is fork tender.
  11. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro on top and let the zucchini enchilada boats rest for five minutes before serving.

Fruit Pie Filling
from The Kitchn

Instead of letting random fruits you may have sitting around go bad, use this recipe to make them into a tasty pie filling.


  • 4-6 cups of chopped fruit
  • 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup brown or white sugar
  • Lemon zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2-2 teaspoons spices
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


  1. Combine ingredients except butter in bowl, then place in pre-made or homemade pie crust. Cut tablespoon of butter into pieces and dot on top of the fruit filling. Cover pie with second crust if desired.
  2. Bake pie at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until crust is golden brown and fruit filling is bubbling. 

What are your go-to recipes to use up extra produce?

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