09/05/2013 09:33 am ET Updated Nov 05, 2013

Seasonal Ingredients: 12 Fresh and Healthy Recipes for Fall

When I was a kid, nobody set a table or stocked a pantry like my Mom. As a true Sicilian, her love of food was matched only by her keen sense of presentation. She always said, "The eyes eat before the stomach." And all these years later, I can still picture what our kitchen looked like every year at this time: big bowls and platters everywhere, filled with the season's fresh harvest of brightly colored fruits and vegetables.

Figs, grapes, parsnips, apples, corn and cranberries - they all conjure up such wonderful visions of cool-weather comfort foods. And the great thing is that there are lots of new recipes that fully embrace the flavors of fall -- and, in a light and healthy way.

For me, it's the unexpected and surprising combinations of produce that are the most exciting and lure me into the kitchen for a little bit of experimenting. Apples and sweet potatoes together? Who knew? Carrots with grapes? Okay. I may not be Julia Child, but I can do pretty well with a simple recipe and a lot of enthusiasm.

So, in the spirit of a new season, we've rounded up twelve wonderful recipes using the ingredients of fall that we think are well worth a try if you want to keep it fresh and healthy as we head into autumn.

Seasonal Recipes for Fall