Bottom of the barrel? Use up your garden harvest

March 14, 2024 at 10:10 a.m.
Finding new ways to cook traditional items inspires excitement from common ingredients.
Finding new ways to cook traditional items inspires excitement from common ingredients. Katy G. Wilkens

In the fall, I am always so happy at the abundance that results from a little bit of work, sun and water. Last year my garden produced a 5-gallon container of squash, probably 300 apples and a whole bucket of potatoes. I was so excited.

Now it’s getting close to spring, and I am a bit tired of squash, apples and potatoes. I hadn’t been inspired to finish them off until I decided to use different cooking methods to change things up. Last weekend, I brushed off the barbecue and grilled the squash for an attractive, interesting and salt-free addition to dinner. I sliced and pan fried the apples and blasted the potatoes in the oven, along with some cauliflower.

My garden buckets are now empty and clean, waiting to be filled with spring produce like rhubarb, kale, Swiss chard and lettuce.

If you don’t have a garden, look for winter squash, apples and potatoes at your local market.

Barbecued Winter’s End Squash

1-2 acorn or butternut squash sliced in 1-inch thick slices, seeds removed.

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 tablespoons brown sugar

1-2 tablespoons butter

Heat grill until quite hot (about 400 degrees F). Brush squash with light coating of olive oil, place on grill about 5 minutes and turn. When fork-tender, brush with melted butter and brown sugar. Leave on grill 1 minute, remove and serve.

Nutrition Information: (per 1 cup serving or 2-3 rounds)

Calories: 99, Carbohydrates: 19 grams, Protein: 1 gram, Sodium: 6 milligrams 

Pan-Fried Apples with Walnuts

3-4 apples, sliced

1-2 tablespoons butter

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cardamom

½ cup walnuts

Half a lemon

Melt butter in frying pan and add apples and spices. Stir until fork-tender. Sprinkle nuts on top and cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Squeeze juice from lemon half over top and serve.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 218, Carbohydrates: 28 grams, Protein: 3 grams, Sodium: 3 milligrams

Oven Blasted Potatoes

3-5 potatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Set oven to 500 degrees F. Cut potatoes to about 1-inch squares and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and then toss. Put in oven and bake about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir and cook another 8 to 10 minutes. Test with fork. When done, remove from oven and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 191, Carbohydrates: 28 grams, Protein: 4 grams, Sodium: 58 grams

[Katy G. Wilkens recently retired as registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers. The National Kidney Foundation Council on Renal Nutrition has honored her with its highest awards for excellence in education and for significant contributions in renal nutrition. She has also been awarded the Medal of Excellence in kidney nutrition from the American Association of Kidney Patients.]


Eating Well, Living Well classes


Studies show that working with a registered dietitian can delay kidney failure and postpone dialysis for longer than two years. FREE nutrition classes taught by Katy’s former team of registered dietitians are available at convenient times and locations around Puget Sound.

Eating Well, Living Well classes teach people how to eat healthier to slow the progress of kidney disease and postpone dialysis. Learn more at

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