Friday, July 19, 2013

Eat Fresh: A Four-Course Summer Meal

Nicole Brown, Marketing Intern Coordinator

In addition to plenty of hot, humid days, summer means tons of seasonal fresh fruits and veggies to enjoy—strawberries, blueberries, zucchini, squash, peaches, green beans, red potatoes and many more—including some of my personal favorites! In general, I love to cook. But there’s something even better about cooking during the summer. The food is fresher and just seems… better. With the abundance of fresh ingredients, I like to focus on simple recipes that highlight the flavors of summer produce. This four-course meal includes many of my summer favorites.

Appetizer: Caprese Salad
An easy-to-fix starter, this dish includes both tomatoes and basil.
You’ll need:
o  1 large, ripe tomato
o  16 leaves fresh basil
o  1 lb. fresh mozzarella
o  Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling, to taste (high quality balsamic vinegar, like from Stuarto’s Olive Oil Company, is the way to go—it’ll taste much better!)
Cooking Instructions:
Slice the tomato and fresh mozzarella. Layer 1 slice of tomato, 1 slice of mozzarella and 2 basil leaves. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.

Main Dish: Chicken Teriyaki
Besides being a quick-and-easy chicken dish, a teriyaki stir-fry is an excellent use of summer squash, zucchini and broccoli.

You’ll need:
o  Cooking spray
o  1 lb. chicken breasts, in strips
o  Teriyaki sauce
o  Teriyaki baste and glaze (thicker than the sauce—think BBQ sauce consistency)
o  1 small zucchini, in bite size pieces
o  1 small yellow squash, in bite size pieces
o  1 broccoli crown, in bite size pieces
o  Sesame seeds
o  Salt and pepper, to taste
Cooking Instructions:
Cook the chicken breast over medium heat in a skillet coated with cooking spray. Add approximately 2 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce and continue to stir to cook evenly. Add the chopped vegetables and cook, covered, for 5 more minutes, or until the veggies are tender. Remove from heat and top with salt, pepper, a thin layer of sesame seeds, and roughly ¼ cup of teriyaki baste and glaze. Toss and serve.

Side Dish: Sautéed Red Potatoes
Instead of serving the chicken teriyaki with rice, change it up and make this red potato dish as a side or base. It’s a quick way to work in some extra vegetables, and red potatoes are lower in calories than rice.
You’ll need:
o  ½ lb. of red potatoes
o  2 tsp. olive oil
o  1 tbsp. fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried)
Cooking Instructions:
Sauté all three ingredients over medium heat, stirring often to cook evenly. Continue cooking until soft, about 10 minutes. Serve plain, in place of rice or pasta, or with ketchup.

Dessert: Peaches
Peaches are one of my absolute favorite fruits and, for me, are sweet enough to be dessert on their own. Want something even sweeter? Make a peach ice cream topping.
You’ll need:
o  1 pint ice cream of your choice
o  3 large peaches, skinned and sliced
o  ¼ cup brown sugar
o  1 tsp. cinnamon
Cooking Instructions:
Combine peaches, sugar and cinnamon in a skillet on low heat. Stir constantly until the mixture is heated through and has caramelized. Serve over ice cream.

For more seasonal recipe suggestions, try the recipes in this slideshow.

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