Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Tag Archives: Salad

Although its botanical name Prunus Persica refers to Persia because the Persians introduced the fruit into the Western world, peaches actually originated in China, where they have been cultivated since the early days of Chinese culture, circa 2000 BC.  Peaches were mentioned in Chinese writings as far back as the 10th century BC and were a favored fruit of kings and emperors. Currently, the history of the cultivation of peaches in China has been extensively reviewed, citing numerous original manuscripts that date back to 1100 BC.

Its English name derives originally from the Latin malum persicum, “Persian apple”, which became the French pêche and peach in Middle English.

The peach was brought to India and Western Asia in ancient times. Peach cultivation went from China, through Persia, and reached Greece by 300 BC. Alexander the Great introduced the fruit into Europe after he conquered the Persians. Romans began cultivating peaches in the first century AD. Then it was brought to the Americas by Spanish explorers in the 16th century and, eventually, made it to England and France in the 17th century, where it was prized and considered a rare treat.

Although Thomas Jefferson had peach trees at Monticello, United States farmers did not begin commercial production until the 19th century, mostly in the Middle Atlantic States. California today raises 65 percent of the peaches grown for commercial production in the United States, but the states of South Carolina, New Jersey, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Washington also grow a significant amount. Italy, China, India and Greece are major producers of peaches outside of the United States.

Some Peach Facts:

A freestone peach is one where the flesh separates easily from the pit. When the fruit is cut in half, the pit can be removed by hand. It may even fall out if you tip the cut fruit over.

Clingstone peaches have flesh that clings to the pit. When the fruit is cut in half, it is very difficult to separate the two halves because the flesh sticks to the pit.

Peaches are a favorite fruit for snacking, for cereal, and for pies and jams. Peach ice cream is a summer favorite. Ripe peaches also freeze well for later use.

You can ripen peaches by placing them in a brown paper bag for two to three days. Sliced, fresh peaches should be tossed in lemon or lime juice to prevent browning.

You can do a variety of things with peaches.

Baked – Peach cakes, peach cobbler, and peach pastries

Pureed – Make peach chutney, peach salsa and peach sauces.

Poached – Peaches can be poached in sugar syrup to make a variety of desserts.

Sliced – Use for salads and desserts

Boiled – Cut the peaches and boil to make jams and marmalades.

How to peel peaches:

Step 1
Place peaches in a large pot of boiling water for 10-20 seconds or until the skin splits.

 

Step 2
Remove with a slotted spoon. Immediately place in an ice water bath to cool the peaches and stop the cooking process.

Step 3
Use a paring knife to peel the skin, which should come off easily. If stubborn areas of skin won’t peel off, just return fruit to the boiling water for a few more seconds.

How to make peach puree:

Yield: Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peeled and chopped fresh peaches or 1 cup frozen
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Directions:

Process peaches, sugar, and 1 tablespoon water in a blender 1 minute or until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl; cover and chill until ready to use.

Appetizer Cocktail

                                                                                                                                    

Peach Mojitos

Yield: Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 3 cups coarsely chopped peeled ripe peaches (about 1 pound)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 large limes)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed mint leaves
  • 2 cups white rum
  • 4 cups club soda, chilled
  • Crushed ice
  • Mint sprigs (optional)

Directions

Place peaches in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Press peach puree through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard solids.
Combine lime rind, lime juice, sugar, and mint in a large pitcher; crush juice mixture with the back of a long spoon. Add peach puree and rum to pitcher, stirring until sugar dissolves. Stir in club soda. Serve over crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.

Appetizer Course                                                                                                                                                                          

Crostini with Peaches and Blue Cheese

Yield: Makes 18

Ingredients

  • 18 thin baguette slices
  • Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled peaches , chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Brush baguette slices with olive oil; place on a baking sheet. Broil until toasted and crisp. Cool completely. Toss peaches gently with vinegar. Top crostini with peaches and blue cheese. Sprinkle with pepper. Broil until cheese is hot, soft, and very lightly browned.

Salad Course


 

Grilled Peach-and-Mozzarella Salad  

Makes 4 servings 

Ingredients

  •  5 Freestone peaches
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 (6-oz.) package baby arugula, thoroughly washed
  • 3/4 pound fresh mozzarella 1/4-inch slices

Directions

Peel and chop 1 peach. Cut remaining 4 peaches into 1/4-inch-thick rings. (Cut peaches inward from sides, cutting each side just until you reach the pit. Lift the rings off the pits in one piece.)

To make dressing: Process chopped peach, green onions, and the next 6 ingredients in a food processor 10 to 15 seconds or until smooth. Add oil, and pulse 3 to 4 times or until thoroughly combined.

Heat grill and grease grates. Brush both sides of peach rings with the peach dressing.

Grill peach rings, covered with grill lid, 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear.

Mix arugula and basil and arrange evenly on 4 plates. Alternately layer  grilled peach rings and  cheese slices over greens on each plate.  Drizzle with remaining peach dressing.

Entree Course: Grilled Chicken with Georgia Peach Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 chickens (2 1/2 to 3 pounds each), quartered, with backs removed
  • 1 recipe Georgia Peach Barbecue Sauce, recipe follows below                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Remove the backbone, split the breasts, and remove the legs and thighs in one piece. Or you can just buy chicken quarters.

Directions

Marinate the chickens in 2/3 of the barbecue sauce for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Prepare your grill for direct heat and indirect heat.

Lay the chicken pieces skin side down on the hottest side of the grill in order to sear the skin side well. Grill for 5-10 minutes, depending on how hot the grill is (you do not want the chicken to burn). Once you have a good sear on one side, move the chicken pieces to the cooler side of the grill, or, if you are using a gas grill, lower the heat to medium low. Cover the grill and cook undisturbed for 20 minutes.

Turn the chicken pieces over and baste them lightly with the barbecue sauce. Cover the grill again and allow to cook for another 30 minutes. Repeat, turning the chicken pieces over, basting them with sauce, covering, and cooking for another 20 minutes.

You can check to see if the chicken is cooked with a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each chicken piece. Look for 165° for breasts and 170° for thighs.

If the chicken isn’t done, turn the pieces over and continue to cook at a low temperature. If you prefer, you can finish with a sear on the hot side of the grill. To do this, put the pieces, skin side down, on the hot side of the grill. Allow them to sear and blacken slightly for a minute or two.
Serve with barbecue sauce on the side.

Georgia Peach Barbecue Sauce

Yields about 4 cups.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon onion salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cups ketchup or 1 cup ketchup and 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup peach, purée, see recipe in this post
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter or Smart Balance Blend, cubed and well chilled

Directions

In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the butter. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. With a whisk, blend in the butter cubes, a couple at a time, until incorporated.

Dessert Course: Peach Upside-Down Cake    

If you would like to make your own low-fat caramel sauce instead of using a store-bought product, I have included the recipe from Eating Well Magazine below.

Yield: 9 servings (serving size: 1 cake piece, 1/4 cup frozen yogurt, and 2 teaspoons caramel syrup)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups thinly sliced peeled peaches (about 1 1/2 pounds), see how to peel peaches in this post
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup sugar (or Domino Light or Truvia for Baking)
  • 1/4 cup butter or Smart Balance Blend, softened
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • Vanilla fat-free frozen yogurt
  • Fat-free caramel sundae syrup, warmed, recipe below

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Spoon into a 9-inch round cake pan coated with cooking spray.

Place 2/3 cup sugar and the next 4 ingredients (2/3 cup sugar through egg) in a large electric mixer bowl; beat at medium speed until well blended (for about 5 minutes).

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring well with a whisk.

Add the flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition.

Spoon batter over peach mixture in pan. Bake at 350° F for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Place a plate upside down on top of cake, and invert onto plate. Serve warm with frozen yogurt and the caramel syrup.

Low Fat Caramel Sauce

From EatingWell:  September/October 1991
This quick caramel sauce is made lighter with evaporated fat-free milk and uses molasses to give it rich flavor.
Makes 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup regular sugar or 1/2 cup Domino Light or Truvia for Baking
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup nonfat evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine sugar and water in a small, heavy-bottomed pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. After the mixture comes to the boiling point cook, without stirring, until the syrup turns amber, about 15 minutes. (Take care not to burn it.) Remove from heat and cool for 2 minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in butter. Gradually stir in milk. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, until the caramel has dissolved, about 1 minute. Stir in molasses and vanilla. Serve warm.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze in small portions. Warm slightly before serving.

 


Now it’s hot. The kind of hot that forces you to sit still, preferably under a ceiling fan, sipping a cold drink. You can almost hear the grass growing taller and the air conditioner spending money. Everyone slows down. It’s so hot you don’t want to cook – not for anybody! But you still have to eat! At least with the recipes below, you won’t have to turn the oven on.

Menu 1

Omelet with Summer Vegetables

This satisfying entrée for one or two is good for any meal, from breakfast to dinner. Serve with fruit or the salad below.
1-2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil plus cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 large egg whites plus 1 large egg or you can use ¾ cups egg substitute
  • 2 tablespoons shredded cheese of your choice

Directions:

Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray and add the olive oil. Add corn, zucchini and onions to the pan; sauté 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove vegetable to a bowl.

Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, water, pepper, egg whites, and egg, stirring well with a whisk. Return skillet to heat. Pour egg mixture into pan; cook until edges begin to set (about 2 minutes). Gently lift the edges of the omelet with a spatula, tilting pan to allow the uncooked egg mixture to come in contact with the pan. Spoon the corn mixture onto half of the omelet; sprinkle the corn mixture with cheese. Loosen the omelet with a spatula, and fold in half over the corn mixture. Cook 2 minutes or until the cheese melts. Carefully slide the omelet onto a plate.

Baby Greens with Oranges

Blood Oranges are attractive in this salad when they are available in your area.

Makes 4 (1-1/2-cup) servings.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups mesclun or other mild salad greens
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 thin slices red onion, separated into rings
  • 1 cup orange sections
  • 3 tablespoons mixed country olives or regular kalamata olives
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Place greens in a large salad bowl. For dressing, whisk together olive oil, orange juice, and vinegar in a small dish. Pour dressing over greens, gently tossing to mix.
Divide mixture into servings and top with onion rings, orange sections, and olives. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Menu 2

Linguine With Fresh Herbs

6 servings

This is a lean pasta dish, filled with flavor as well as color. Serve as a main entree with the Caprese Salad (recipe below).

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from cubed Italian or French bread, including crust, coarsely ground in food processor
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth, low-sodium canned
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped Italian parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1 pound linguine

Directions:

In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and toast until golden, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.

In same skillet, heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil over low heat. Add red onion and saute, stirring frequently, until soft but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until soft, about 30 seconds. Stir in chicken broth and simmer until heated. Season with salt and red pepper flakes.

Transfer mixture to a pasta bowl, and add basil, mint, parsley and thyme. Stir to combine.

Cook pasta in 6 quarts salted boiling water until al dente. Drain pasta, transfer to pasta bowl, and toss with herb mixture. Sprinkle toasted bread crumbs on top and serve.

Frugal Tip:  I keep a zip bag in the freezer and add any leftover pieces of bread I have from dinner.  When I need fresh breadcrumbs, I can pour out the amount needed and process them into crumbs.

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

4 servings
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • Freshly-ground black pepper and salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

Alternate fresh mozzarella slices with sliced tomatoes, overlapping, in a circular design on a serving plate.
Tear fresh basil leaves and sprinkle liberally over the slices. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Just before serving, drizzle with top-quality extra-virgin olive oil.

Menu 3

Chicken and Pepper Stew

This dish can also be cooked in your Slow-Cooker (about 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high).

Serve with Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes and Green Salad.

Frugal Tip:  Bell peppers are in season now, so take advantage of their lower price. I buy extra peppers, slice them into thin strips and place them in freezer bags for the winter months. Frozen peppers work very well in casseroles or omelets or in sauces.

Ingredients:

  • 8 chicken thighs or legs, skinned
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds (4 large) mixed green or yellow or orange or red bell peppers, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1-28-ounce container Pomi chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil or fresh basil leaves sliced thin

Directions:

1. Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, and brown the chicken pieces, in batches, on each side for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl or plate.
2. Turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze, until the onions begin to soften. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and sweet peppers, a bit of salt and the garlic, and cook, stirring, until the peppers begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir together until the tomatoes begin to bubble and smell fragrant, about 5 minutes.
3. Return the chicken pieces to the pan. Cover and cook 25 to 30 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring at regular intervals and turning the chicken pieces over so that the ingredients don’t scorch and the chicken cooks evenly. The peppers should be very soft and the chicken quite tender. Add  oregano, basil and freshly ground pepper; taste and adjust the salt.

Olive-Oil Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold  potatoes
  • Salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup skim milk or buttermilk

Directions:

  1. Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with cold water by 2 inches and add 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil; cook until potatoes are very tender and easily pierced with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain; transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Using a potato masher or fork, mash potatoes with olive oil and milk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with more olive oil before serving, if desired.

Menu 4

Italian Bean Salad With Tuna

Frugal tip:  Early in the week, grill fresh tuna fillets for dinner and include an extra half a pound to cook and save for this recipe later in the week.

Serves 4.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. fresh cooked tuna
  • 2 cans of low sodium white (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 red onion finely minced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry oregano 
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
  • Grilled Italian Bread slices

Directions:

In a large non metallic bowl combine all the ingredients, and mix well.

You can serve this dish right away or refrigerate for two to three hours and serve with the grilled bread.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley just before serving.

Menu 5

Steak Salad with Tomatoes, Peppers, Sweet Onions and Balsamic Vinaigrette

4 Servings

Ingredients:

For the balsamic vinaigrette:

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the grilled steak:

2 top sirloin steaks, about 8 ounces each

For the green salad:

  • 8 cups romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, rinsed and sliced in half
  • 1 green bell pepper stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onion

4 small whole grain crusty rolls

Directions:

For the balsamic vinaigrette:

Place the shallots and vinegar in a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Continue whisking and slowly add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

(This can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)

For the grilled steak:

Preheat the grill to medium-high.

Season the steaks with salt and pepper.

Grill the steaks on both sides until it is cooked as you prefer, about 5-6 minutes per side for medium and depending on the thickness of the steak. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board to rest for five minutes. (The steak can be grilled in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)

For the green salad:

Slice the steaks into thin strips and place them in a mixing bowl. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper and onion slices and half of the balsamic vinaigrette.

Place the romaine lettuce in a separate salad bowl and toss it with the remaining vinaigrette. Arrange the steak, tomato, bell pepper and onion mixture on top. Serve with a roll.

Tropical Sherbet

Last-Minute Tropical Sherbet

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups cubed mango or 1 (12-ounce) package frozen mango chunks 
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 (6-ounce) carton lemon low-fat yogurt 
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest

A common question today is : “What should I eat to be healthy?”

Here are some “tried-and-true” meal planning tips:

  • Entree. Here’s where you can put the dietary guidelines to work for you. Plan on fish twice a week and at least one meatless meal. You’re almost half-way done. For the remaining meals, plan one that’s fast and easy to cook, one big family-type meal and one meal based on leftovers. Remember that a serving of meat is only about the size of a deck of cards. The rest of the plate will be filled with other good things.
  • Vegetables. Begin to fill in vegetables according to the entree. Look for colorful ones and plan some variety throughout the week. Get out of the rut of the too familiar rotation of cooked peas, corn and green beans. How about sugar snap peas, broccoli or beets? Instead of the same old iceberg lettuce, how about spinach, tomato slices or shredded carrots?
  • Whole grains. Think of all the options: brown rice, barley, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain bread or rolls, couscous, barley, and kasha You can cook whole grains ahead and use leftovers the next day — especially in soups and salads.
  • Fruit. It’s not just for dessert anymore. Fruit can be a topping, a salad, a sauce, stuffed into chicken, and grilled or broiled on skewers. Think frozen bananas, grapes or berries for those hot nights.
  • Beverage. Water is perfect. Other good choices include low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice and a glass of wine or beer.
The following menus are formed around stuffed chicken breasts because chicken is a good dinner choice due to its versatility and popularity. The menus show you how to build a meal around this delicious entree.  I would, however, encourage you, if at all possible, to buy organic chickenChicken is one of the best places to spend your organic dollars, according to a 2006 “Consumer Reports” study. If you’re resolved to eat a healthier diet, consider the benefits of organic chicken and add it to your shopping list.
Yesterday’s health news is another reason to look for organic chicken in your supermarket. A growing number of medical researchers say more than 8 million women are at risk of difficult-to-treat bladder infections because superbugs – resistant to antibiotics and growing in chickens – are being transmitted to humans in the form of E. coli.  The Food and Drug Administration says 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States are fed to livestock and even healthy chicken to protect them from disease in cramped quarters. It also helps the chickens grow bigger and faster. http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/superbug-dangers-chicken-linked-8-million-risk-women-122809803–abc-news-health.html.
While health news recommendations can be confusing from report to report, it is standard industry practice to regularly use antibiotics in livestock production.  It is important for consumers to be aware of what goes into the production of their foods, so they can make wise purchase decisions.
Look for this label to be certain you are purchasing organic chicken:

Menu 1

Two-Cheese Stuffed Chicken

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup diced plum tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 cup part-skim, shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 4 boneless, skinless medium chicken breast halves (about 1.5 lbs)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning 
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Directions:
1. Heat oil over medium heat in a nonstick skillet. Add onion and cook, stirring until onions are tender, about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in tomatoes and garlic. Add spinach, cover, and cook for about 3 minutes until spinach is soft. Remove from heat.
3. Let mixture cool slightly; stir in Mozzarella and Parmesan.
4. Heat oven to 375°F.
5. Beginning in the center of the thicker end of the breast, insert a small knife horizontally, stopping about 1 inch from the opposite end. Open incision to create a wide pocket and pack 1/4 of the filling mixture into each breast.
6. Season chicken with Italian seasoning blend and place in 13″x 9″x 2″ baking dish.
7. Pour broth over chicken. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
8. Keep warm until served.

Brown Rice Pilaf With Hazelnuts                                                                                                                               

4 Servings

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 3 tablespoons (2 ounces) coarsely chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Alternate: Replace the hazelnuts with walnuts, pine nuts, or pecans.

Directions:

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the mushrooms and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushroom liquid evaporates, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the rice and nuts and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, thyme, and lemon peel. Bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the rice is tender, about 45 minutes. For best results, avoid stirring the rice while it cooks. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving.

Radicchio Salad

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 pounds radicchio, cut in 1-inch shreds
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

Put the fruit in a small bowl and pour the vinegar over them. Let soak for 15 minutes. Pour the fruit and vinegar over the shredded radicchio in a large serving bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with the salt. Toss well to coat the salad with the dressing.

Menu 2

Chicken Breasts With Lemon and Basil Couscous

Stuffed Chicken Breast:

Ingredients:

  • 4  (about 1 1/4 pounds) medium skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves
  • 1/4 cup (about half 4.4-ounce package) light garlic-and-herb spreadable cheese
  • 1/4 cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 8  whole fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, extra-virgin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Lemon and Basil Couscous:                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, extra-virgin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, coarse

Directions:

  1. Prepare Stuffed Breasts: With tip of knife, cut each chicken breast from a long side, keeping knife parallel to surface of breast, to form a deep pocket with as small an opening as possible.
  2. In small bowl, combine cheese, peppers, and basil. Spread 1/4 cheese mixture in each chicken pocket. Rub outside of chicken with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Prepare Lemon & Basil Couscous: In 2-quart saucepan, add oil, salt, pepper, and 1 1/3 cups water and bring to boiling over high heat; stir in couscous. Cover saucepan; remove from heat and let stand at least 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, place chicken on grill over medium heat and cook 12 to 15 minutes or until juices run clear when thickest part of the breast is pierced with tip of knife, turning over once.
  5. To serve, add basil and lemon juice to couscous, and fluff with fork to mix well. Spoon couscous onto 4 dinner plates and arrange chicken on top.

Cherry Tomato Cucumber Salad


Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup of chopped cucumber, peeled and seeded 
  • 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or green onions
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Gently toss the tomatoes, cucumber, onions and oregano together. Mix lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and drizzle over vegetables.
Serves 4.

Menu 3

Chicken Roll-Ups

   

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 11/4 lb chicken cutlets
  • 4 slices lean ham
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup of Progresso Italian Panko crumbs  

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lay cutlets on plastic wrap, pound until thin. Fold ham and cheese and half and lay over the chicken. You can add basil, rosemary  or any herb of choice.

Start at the narrowest end of cutlet and the roll up. Secure with a toothpick or be sure to lay them seam side down once breaded.

Dip pastry brush in extra virgin olive oil and brush on chicken rolls. Quickly put the entire chicken roll into bowl of Panko crumbs and use your hand or a spoon to press crumbs firmly onto chicken roll.

Transfer the rolled cutlets to a  greased baking dish. Then, using a teaspoon, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over each chicken roll.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes in the middle of the oven. In the last few minutes switch your oven to “broil” and move your baking dish to the rack closest to heating element. In 1-2 minutes, the high heat will brown up the crumbs.

Broccoli with Orecchiette                                                                                                                                                                         

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces orecchiette (ear-shaped pasta) or small shells, whole grain
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch (about 1 1/2 pounds) broccoli stalks, peeled and trimmed, stalks and florets, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon each coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Directions:

Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Set pasta aside.
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; saute until golden, stirring to avoid burning, about 2 minutes. Add broccoli and reserved cooking liquid; cook, stirring, until broccoli is tender and bright green, about 3 minutes. Add the salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
Add reserved pasta to pan, and toss well to coat. Transfer to four serving bowls; drizzle each with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, and garnish each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

Menu 4

Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breast

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin
  • 6 oz low fat softened cream cheese
  • 12 sliced mushrooms
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 slices Proscuitto

Directions:

In a skillet, saute mushrooms in oil until browned on medium heat stirring often to avoid burning. Add shallots and cook for an additional minute. Mix with cream cheese.

Divide the filling so that you have enough for 4 breasts. Put filling in the middle and roll tucking in the side ends so that you will not have the filling spill out later.

Do the same with the rest of the chicken pieces.

At this point wrap with prosciutto ham to encase the roll. Place in a greased baking dish and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Spaghetti with Roasted Zucchini

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz spaghetti, whole grain
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 small zucchini (about 1 lb total), sliced 1/4 in. thick
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Directions:

Heat oven to 425°F.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with 1 tablespoon of the oil.

In a large bowl toss the zucchini, garlic, red pepper, remaining 2 tablespoons oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the Parmesan cheese toss to combine. Spread the zucchini mixture on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until the zucchini is tender and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Toss the pasta with the zucchini mixture, parsley and lemon zest.

Menu 5

Chicken Roulade with Olives and Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemons


Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 6 tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained, and divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Preserved Lemon or lemon zest
  • 12 pitted Kalamata ripe olives, drained and divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion (about 1 medium)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Directions:

1. Combine breadcrumbs, 4 tablespoons capers, 1 tablespoon Preserved Lemons, 6 olives, and garlic in a food processor or blender, and pulse 10 times or until the mixture is coarsely chopped.

2. Place each breast half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Divide breadcrumb mixture into 4 equal portions; spread 1 portion on each breast half, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the outside edges. Roll up each breast half, jelly-roll fashion, starting with short side. Secure with wooden picks or twine.

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add onion to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until browned. Add wine; cook until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 1 minute), stirring often. Add remaining 2 tablespoons capers, 1 cup water, broth, juice, raisins, and turmeric. Quarter the remaining 6 olives. Add to pan; bring to a boil. Add chicken to pan; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, turning chicken after 10 minutes. Serve chicken with sauce.

Roasted Red Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 12 small red potatoes cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Mrs. Dash® Garlic and Herb Blend, divided
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

Toss potatoes with olive oil and 1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Blend in a bowl. Turn into a greased baking dish.

Roast in a preheated 400°F (200°C) oven for 30 minutes.

Increase heat to 450°F. Sprinkle with remaining Mrs. Dash Blend and continue to roast for 5 – 10 minutes or until tender and browned. Sprinkle with cheese just before serving.


Sauteed Fresh Green Beans 

In skillet with cover, add 1 small shallot sliced, 1 small garlic clove, minced, 1 cup low sodium chicken broth and 1 lb. trimmed fresh green beans.  Sprinkle with a little salt & pepper. Bring to boiling, lower heat to simmer, cover pan and cook until beans are tender.

Summertime and the living is supposed to be easy. That’s why the secret ingredient for a perfect summer day is simplicity: Sleep in, have breakfast on the porch, go hiking or biking and pack a picnic lunch. In the afternoon the neighborhood pool offers a chance to cool off. Dinner needs to be quick—put the main course on the grill along with vegetables from the local farmer’s market or make the side dishes below that are fast, healthy and easy to prepare.

Sauteed Zucchini, Peppers and Tomatoes                                                                                       

Serve this with grilled meat or fish.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (about 2 medium) zucchini
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Quarter zucchini lengthwise; cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Remove ribs and seeds from peppers; cut into 3/4-inch squares.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

Citrus-Herb Grilled Vegetables                                                                                                                                     

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 small zucchini, each cut lengthwise into 4 pieces
  • 2 small yellow squash, each cut lengthwise into 4 pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, each cut lengthwise into 4 pieces
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, such as Vidalia, cut into quarters, each held together with a skewer
  • 1 small eggplant, each cut lengthwise into 4 pieces
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, stems removed

Directions:

1. In a bowl, combine oil, salt, garlic, oregano, rosemary, thyme, parsley, pepper, lemon zest and juice. Put zucchini, squash, bell peppers and onion in a large ziplock bag and pour in half of marinade. Seal bag and shake to coat vegetables. Let stand for 3 hours at room temperature. Put eggplant and mushrooms in a separate ziplock bag, add remaining marinade, seal and shake to coat vegetables. Let stand for 1 hour at room temperature.  

2.To plan ahead: prepare the marinades and vegetables as described and refrigerate the bags overnight.  Follow grilling directions below.

3. Preheat grill to medium. When heated, oil grates. Place onions, bell peppers and eggplant on grill and cook for 10 minutes. Add zucchini, squash and mushrooms to grill and cook all vegetables about 15 minutes longer, turning halfway through.

4. Cut vegetables into smaller sizes for serving, if desired. Arrange on a platter and serve warm, or cover and chill to serve cold.

Salad Greens with Pears, Fennel and Walnuts                                                                                                            

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium pears, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Divide the salad greens onto 6 plates. Scatter the fennel and pear slices over the greens. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and walnuts. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Add black pepper, to taste.

Tangy Triple-Bean Salad                                                                                                          

12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (9-10 oz) frozen lima beans
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can (19 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup snipped fresh basil
  • 1 Serrano chili peppers, seeded and finely chopped

Directions:

1. Prepare lima beans according to package directions. Transfer to a medium bowl. Set aside to cool.

2. For dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir in lima beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas, carrots and the chile.. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Transfer salad to a serving bowl. Stir in basil.

Fast Italian Cucumber Salad                                                                                                                          

Ingredients:
  • 3-4 Roma tomatoes (about 1-1/2 cups chopped)

  • 1 large red onion, diced

  • 2 cucumbers, diced

    Italian Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

Directions:

Whisk Italian Dressing ingredients together in a large bowl. Add vegetables and stir.

Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving. Can be kept in the refrigerator for several days.

Tomato and Mozzarella Burger                                                                                                                            

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 large ripe tomatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil, leaves picked

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 450° F.  Slice a thin piece from the bottom of each tomato so the tomatoes sit upright. Slice each in half horizontally.
2. Arrange the tomato halves, cut-side up, on a foil-lined shallow roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet.
3. Drizzle the tomatoes with the oil. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Scatter the garlic over the tomatoes.
4. Roast until softened and warmed through, about 15 minutes. (Under ripe tomatoes may take 5 to 15 minutes longer.)
5. Meanwhile, cut the mozzarella into six ½-inch-thick slices. Using a spatula, sandwich each slice between 2 hot tomato halves. (The heat will melt the cheese slightly.)
6. Drizzle the tomatoes with any juices that collected in the roasting pan and serve with the basil.

Make it a meal: Serve the “burger” with arugula tossed with sliced fennel and radishes, toasted pine nuts, lemon juice, and olive oil.

Italian Coleslaw                                                                                                                                                                       

4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 green pepper, cut into matchstick slivers
  • 1 red pepper, cut into matchstick slivers
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, cut into matchstick slivers
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • 1-16 oz. bag coleslaw mix
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt

Directions:

In a large bowl with a fitted lid, combine onion, peppers, fennel and cabbage. Add oil, vinegar, and remaining ingredients.  Put lid on and shake until everything is evenly combined. Salt to taste. Refrigerate and serve chilled.


Summer Squash Basics

When European explorers came to the America’s, squash was one of the 3 major foods the native Indians used, along with beans and corn. Europeans had never seen them before, so they thought they were melons. Squash seeds have been found in Archeological digs in Mexico that date back to between 9000 and 4000 B.C.  Columbus brought squash seeds back to Europe following his explorations in the Americas.

There are many varieties of summer squash, including zucchini, crookneck, sunburst, yellow and patty pan squash. Summer squash is picked in the summer before it has ripened, whereas a winter squash is picked when it is fully ripe. Summer squash is eaten cooked, grilled or raw. Even the skin is edible in summer squash.

Zucchini comes from the Italian Zucca that means squash. Though squashes didn’t originate in Italy, it is believed that the Italian name was adopted because the Italians are credited with developing this food. The zucchini as we know it wasn’t used in this form until the late 1800’s in Italy, probably near Milan, because many of the early varieties are named after nearby Italian cities.

Zucchini is simply an elongated, cylindrical, usually green variety of summer squash. There are three varieties of zucchini: Elite, Senator and Spineless Beauty. The Senator and Spineless Beauty are both hybrids and take less time to harvest, on average a week less than the Elite Zucchini.

Yellow squash belongs to the summer squash family along with the zucchini and scallop squash. Its pale yellow fruit is prized in a variety of dishes from stir-fries to roast vegetable recipes. It produces heavily throughout the summer months, with each plant turning out several squashes a week at the peak of production. Harvesting the yellow squash at its pinnacle of ripeness ensures it is tender yet flavorful, as overly ripe squash is tough and unappetizing.

Crookneck squash are typically yellow with bent or “crooked” necks. They are not as popular as zucchini and straightneck squash because they are not as easy to package and ship. Breakage can occur at the neck during harvest and transportation. Examples of crookneck squash include Destiny II, Dixie, Gentry, Medallion, Meigs, Prelude II and Supersett.

Straightneck squash are among the most popular varieties of squash because of the ease in harvesting and transportation, compared with crookneck squash. Examples of straightneck squash include Cougar, Enterprise, Fortune, Golddrop, Lemon Drop L, Liberator III, Lioness, Multipik, Monet, Seneca Prolific and Superpik. Straightneck squash can typically be harvested between 40 and 50 days after the first fruit appears. Most have a large bulb that tapers down toward a thin neck. The typical color of straightneck squash is yellow, but some are a light green.

When selecting patty pan squash at the market, look for squash that are regularly shaped, without bruises or nicks. Steer clear of any with discolored areas or moldy spots. If you’d like to steam or roast the patty pans whole, choose smaller squash, as they’ll cook more quickly and thoroughly. However you decide to prepare them, a pound of squash should serve nicely as a side dish for two or three people.

White Bush Scallop squash  is pale green in color. This tender squash, also referred to as Patty Pan squash, makes a delicious basis for stuffed squash. Similar to other summer squashes, White Bush Scallop squash is low in calories and contains potassium and vitamin A.  Mature squash is generally more nutrient-rich than when it’s immature. Because of its mild taste, a variety of fillings work well with scallop squash.

What to Look For: Look for summer squash that are firm and heavy for their size; the skin should be brightly colored and blemish-free. Because they are harvested earlier, smaller squash are more tender than larger ones and have thinner skins; choose squash that are less than eight inches long.

How to Store: Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to four days; do not wash until ready to use.

Basil-Topped Grilled Summer Squash

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium summer squash, (about 1 pound), sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  2. Combine basil, pine nuts, oil, Parmesan, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl. 
  3. Coat both sides of squash slices with cooking spray.
  4. Grill the squash until browned and tender, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve topped with the pesto.

Tip: To toast pine nuts, place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Zucchini Salad with Shaved Parmesan

Add minced fresh jalapeño, if you want more spice.

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds small zucchini, cut into lengthwise slices about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup thinly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:

  1. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the peel from lemon with a vegetable peeler, making sure not to include any white pith. (Reserve the lemon.) Cut the peel into thin slivers. Add to the boiling water and cook until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a small bowl. Add oil, pepper and salt and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. Preheat grill to medium-high or place a grill pan over medium-high heat until hot.
  4. Oil the grill rack or a grill pan. Grill zucchini slices, turning once, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Arrange the zucchini on a platter and drizzle with the reserved lemon dressing. Serve sprinkled with almonds, cheese and the lemon peel.

Make Ahead: Prepare through Step 4, cover and refrigerate the zucchini, lemon peel and dressing for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Tips: Use a vegetable peeler to shave thin curls or slivers off a block of hard cheese like Parmigiano-Reggiano. To oil a grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)

Tortellini & Zucchini Soup

Serve this soup with a slice of multigrain baguette and a spinach salad.
6 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each

Ingredients:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 14-ounce cans vegetable broth
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 9 ounces (about 2 cups) fresh or frozen tortellini, whole wheat or spinach-cheese
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

Directions:

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add carrots and onion; stir, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and just beginning to brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and rosemary and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in broth and zucchini; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add tortellini and tomatoes and simmer until the tortellini are plump and the tomatoes are beginning to break down, 6 to 10 minutes. Stir vinegar into the hot soup just before serving.

Zucchini Tomato Frittata

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 3 medium zucchini, (1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup shredded shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 3 medium (1 pound) vine ripe tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced crosswise

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, warm oil. Add onion, zucchini, and thyme; cook, covered, stirring often, until tender but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover, and cook until all the liquid in the pan evaporates. Season with salt and pepper; remove skillet from heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, and cheese, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over zucchini, gently lifting zucchini to allow eggs to coat bottom of pan. Arrange tomatoes in an overlapping pattern on top.
  3. Return skillet to medium-low heat, and cook until sides are set yet still slightly runny on top, 15 to 20 minutes. Place in oven, and cook until the center is cooked through when tested with a wooden skewer, and the tomatoes are browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven; gently slide a heatproof spatula around the edges and underneath to loosen from skillet. Serve immediately.

Zucchini Pasta with Ricotta

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 pounds zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound linguine
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup ricotta

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450. Brush two rimmed baking sheets with oil. Arrange zucchini in a single layer on sheets and brush tops with oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast zucchini until tender and lightly golden in parts, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook linguine according to package instructions. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add oil, lemon zest, and zucchini and toss to combine. Serve pasta topped with ricotta.

Tomato, Bocconcini, and Zucchini Pie

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 finely chopped shallot, about 1/4 cup
  • 1 small zucchini, 7-8 ounces, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick half moons
  • 1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, plus cherry tomatoes for garnish, if desired
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 ounces bocconcini (small mozzarella cheese balls)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Whole Wheat Pastry, see recipe below
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 large egg yolk

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallot; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add zucchini; cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden and liquid has been released, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl; set aside.
  2. Halve one-third of the tomatoes. Stir halved and whole tomatoes, cheeses, basil, lemon zest and flour into shallot-zucchini mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 13-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick and transfer to a baking sheet. Drizzle crust with remaining tablespoon oil.
  4. Spread with filling leaving a 3 inch border. Fold in sides of crust, slightly overlapping and over filling. Refrigerate until cold, about 20 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk milk and egg yolk in a small bowl. Brush crust with egg wash. Bake pie on a rimmed baking sheet until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 45 minutes.

Whole Wheat Pastry

Makes enough for 2 pies. Remember to roll this out thinly so that it doesn’t become too bready.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature, beaten
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached flour 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
Directions:
Dissolve the yeast in the water, add the sugar, and allow to sit until the mixture is creamy, about five minutes in large bowl of mixer. Beat in the egg and the olive oil using the paddle attachment. Combine the flours and salt, and stir into the yeast mixture.
Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough until it comes away from the sides of the bowl. Knead for a few more times, just until the dough is smooth-do not overwork it.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a draft-free spot until doubled in size, about one hour.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, gently knead a couple of times, and cut into two equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball without kneading it. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap, and let rest for five minutes. Then roll out into thin rounds, as directed in the recipe above.
If not using the second piece of dough right away, freeze the dough for another time.

Rosemary Chicken and Summer Squash Brochettes

Serves: 2.  Can be doubled.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped (1 teaspoons dried)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon peel, grated
  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts halves (cut into 6 pieces)
  • 3 small patty pan squash or yellow squash, cut in large dice
  • 1/2 red bell pepper,cut in large dice
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut in large dice
  • 4 metal skewers

Directions:

  1. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl.
  2. Add chicken, onion, red bell pepper and squash; toss. Let stand 10 minutes; toss occasionally
  3. Alternate 3 chicken pieces with vegetable pieces on each skewer.
  4. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  5. Grill until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are just tender, turning often, about 10 minutes.

Eating fruit as part of your daily diet can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes and some cancers. Also, fruit contains a great variety of vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates and fiber. So, eating the right combinations of fruit is particularly good for you. For instance, an apple is high in fiber but low in vitamin C, but if you add an orange and some strawberries, then you will get all the vitamin C you need for that day.
If you didn’t know fruit was good for you, you would not eat it. But, as much as you would prefer to eat potato chips for a snack, you know that fruit is an important part of a balanced diet. Don’t forget about fruit when you plan your weekly meals.
Plan your meals before you go shopping; make sure they include fruit. Breakfast cereal can be topped with bananas, low-fat yogurt can be mixed with blueberries, and pancakes can be decorated with fresh strawberries. Seedless grapes make an easy side to your lunchtime sandwich. You can even top your dinner salad with chopped apples or sliced oranges.
According to USDA’s, My Pyramid, you want to eat around 1-1/2 to 2 cups of fruit everyday. Aim for fresh, seasonal fruit whenever possible. If fresh fruit is not available, dried, canned or frozen fruit are other options. Remember, portions of dried fruit are smaller–a serving is typically 1/4-cup.
Don’t always stick to the same foods, as you could find that you are still lacking in some nutrients. Make sure that you include a variety of foods in a variety of colours – the brighter the better.  Summer is the perfect time to start.

Guide to fruit portions:

Fresh fruit:

  • Small-sized fruit: 2 or more, for example 2 plums, 2 satsumas, 3 apricots, 2 kiwi, 7 strawberries, 14 cherries.
  • Medium-sized fruit: 1 medium fruit, such as 1 apple, banana, pear, orange or nectarine.
  • Large fruits: half a grapefruit, 1 slice of papaya, 1 slice of melon (2-inch slice), 1 large slice of pineapple, 2 slices of mango (2-inch slices)

Dried fruit:

  • 1 tablespoon of raisins, currants, sultanas, 1 tablespoon of mixed fruit, 2 figs, 3 prunes, 1 handful of banana chips

Canned or frozen fruit:

  • Roughly the same quantity of fruit that you would eat as a fresh portion: 2 pear or peach halves, 6 apricot halves, 8 segments of tinned grapefruit

Juices:

  • A glass (6 oz.) of 100% juice (fruit or smoothie) counts as 1 portion, but you should only count juice as 1 portion per day, however much you drink. This is mainly because it contains very little fiber and more sugar than fresh fruit.

EASY WAYS TO EAT MORE FRUIT

  1. Add fruit slices to sandwiches. Sliced pear and apple add a unique texture and unexpected flavor.
  2. Mix chopped fruit into plain yogurt. When comparing six-ounce containers of Greek yogurt, plain offers 18 grams of protein for 100 calories, and strawberry is 140 calories with 14 grams of protein. Instead of buying the premade flavors, make your own by adding pureed or chopped fruit. You’ll save money, avoid added sugars, and be able to customize the flavor to your taste buds with distinct combos like blackberry peach or strawberry pear.
  3. Add fruit to baked goods. We’ve all made banana bread, but that’s not the only fruit-based treat you can bake. Lower the fat in just about any recipe by replacing half the oil with applesauce, or get creative with muffin recipes by adding diced strawberries, or mix bits of dried apricots into cookie dough.
  4. Cut up fruit and store it in the fridge. It takes effort to wash and cut fruit, enough to make you reach for something easier and less healthy. Make fruit as accessible as a bag of chips by storing cut up fruit in portion size containers in the refrigerator.
  5. Eat fruit for dessert. Save calories and skip the refined sugars by enjoying nature’s dessert.

Recipes That Add Fruit To Your Daily Meal Choices

Breakfast

Buttermilk Oat Pancakes

4 servings, 3 oatcakes & 1/4 cup fruit sauce each

  • 2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. To prepare oatcakes: Whisk buttermilk and egg in a medium bowl. Combine oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and salt in another medium bowl. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture and let stand for 15 minutes. The mixture will bubble slightly as it sits.
  2. Using a pastry brush coat a griddle or large nonstick skillet with canola oil; heat over medium heat. Using 1/4 cup of batter for each, cook 3 or 4 oatcakes at a time until bubbles dot the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until browned, 1 to 2 minutes more, reducing heat if necessary to prevent over browning.  Keep warm in a 200 F. oven.
  3. Serve the oatcakes with the fruit sauce.


Fruit Sauce

  • 2 cups fresh berries, whatever is in season
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Meanwhile, place berries, maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a small heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries are mostly broken down and syrupy, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

Good For You Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

  • 1 cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped fresh, seasonal fruit (blueberries, blackberries or raspberries, leave whole)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs or ¾ cup egg substitute

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
Whisk together the flours, oats, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and fruit.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, and eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix until just blended.
Using an ice cream scoop put batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup three-quarters full. Bake the muffins for 15 to 18 minutes, until they are light golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Remove them from the oven, and let rest in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out to cool completely on a rack. Serve warm.

Lunch

Florida Citrus Salad with Shrimp


Makes 4 servings

  • 8 small potatoes (fingerling, or red or yellow)
  • 3 grapefruit or oranges or tangerines
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 whole cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons fresh pomegranate seeds, optional
  • 1/4 cup chopped herb of choice (oregano, tarragon, dill, basil)
  • 1 head radicchio, washed and torn into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

12 jumbo shrimp (peeled and deveined)

Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. While potatoes cook, whisk together vinaigrette ingredients in medium bowl.
Slice cooked potatoes and place them immediately into vinaigrette while hot to infuse flavor.
Zest grapefruit or orange to get 2 to 3 tablespoons of peel. Then, peel and segment fruit over a strainer set over a bowl to save juice for searing shrimp.
In hot sauté pan, cook shrimp in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook shrimp 1 or 2 minutes on each side until pink. Add grapefruit zest and reserved juice to pan.
Combine shrimp, fruit and remaining salad ingredients, toss and serve.

Spring Greens and Strawberries With Poppy Seed Dressing

4 servings

Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups watercress leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups torn arugula leaves
  • 2 cups torn tender spinach leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sliced toasted almonds
  • Orange Poppy Seed Dressing, recipe below

In a large bowl, combine the watercress, arugula, spinach and strawberries.  Pour the dressing to taste over the salad and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with almonds.

Orange Poppy Seed Dressing

Makes 1-1/2 cups

  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons cold water
  • 1-1/3 cups orange juice
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 teaspoons honey
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan, combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Stir in the orange juice, vinegar, mustard and honey. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Stir in poppy seeds and salt. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Dinner


Salmon with Fruit Salsa

Makes: 4 servings

Salsa:

  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries or chopped, peeled peaches or nectarines
  • 1/3 cup chopped, peeled kiwi fruit or fresh apricots or mango
  • 1/4 cup small diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves

Salmon

  • 16 ounces fresh, skinned salmon, about 1 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
  • Salt

Pat dry fish dry with paper towels. Cut into 4 serving-size pieces.

For fruit salsa: in a medium nonreactive bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir to blend. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes before serving..

Brush both sides of each fish piece with oil. Sprinkle with lemon-pepper seasoning and salt.
Oil the unheated rack of a broiler pan, or grill pan or outdoor grill. Place fish on pan or grill.

Broil 4 inches or from heat or grill for 8 to 12 minutes or just until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, turning once halfway through cooking. Serve with the fruit salsa.

Chicken With Peaches and Basil

  • 3 tablespoons Wondra all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ripe fresh peaches or 2 nectarines
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

In a shallow dish, combine flour and half of the salt and pepper, set aside 2 teaspoons for sauce.
In remaining flour mixture, coat chicken well; shake of excess.
In a large  saute pan, heat oil over medium heat; cook chicken, turning once, for 15 to 20 minutes or until no longer pink inside.
Transfer to plate and keep warm.
Meanwhile, peel and pit peaches; cut into wedges.
Add onion, garlic and reserved flour mixture to skillet; cook, stirring for 3 minutes.
Pour in stock and lemon juice; bring to boil, stirring to scrape up any brown bits from bottom of pan.
Add peaches; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring for 3 minutes.
Stir in basil and remaining salt and pepper.
Pour over chicken to serve.

Dessert

Summer Berry Crisp

Ingredients

  • 1/2  cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 2  tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1  tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
  • 2  teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
  • 6  cups assorted fresh berries (such as blueberries, blackberries, hulled strawberries or raspberries)
  • 2  tablespoons orange juice
  • 1  tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4  cup unbleached all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2  cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • 6  tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2  cup regular rolled oats
  • 1 cup frozen yogurt

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl combine ½ cup granulated sugar, cornstarch, orange peel and lemon peel. Add berries, orange juice and lemon juice; toss gently to combine. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine flour, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, allspice and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in oats. Sprinkle over fruit mixture in dish.

Bake, uncovered, for 40 to 45 minutes or until top is golden brown and juices are bubbly in the center of the dish. Cool slightly and serve warm with a spoonful of frozen yogurt, if desired. Makes 8 to 10 servings.


but it is not. With the exception of Polenta, which is ground cornmeal, corn, as we know it, is fed to the animals.

Ari Weinzweig, of the famed Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan has an excellent blog about the history of how polenta came to Italy. He writes that since corn arrived in Europe, after Columbus’ first visit to the Western Hemisphere, it would be reasonable to assume that the history of polenta would have seemed to have started in the Americas. However, grinding corn meal was a natural next step for people who were already making similar porridges from chickpea flour, chestnut flour, millet, barley and other grains.

Corn came to Italy long after this tradition of porridge eating was well established. In Italian it is referred to as granoturco (“Turkish grain”) which would indicate that, despite its North American origins, it arrived from the Ottoman east, most likely via Venetian traders. One old Italian name for corn is meliga, or melica, derived the even older word for millet.

Polenta remained a staple of the poor, primarily in the north, right into the early years of the 20th century.  The Italian peasants who relied on the ground cornmeal they were cooking, were not aware, that it was noticeably different from the cornmeal Americans were eating.  What had happened was that the Italians skipped a step from the traditional Native American preparation, leaving people vulnerable to a previously unheard of disease.

In the Western Hemisphere the dried corn kernels were soaked in water that had an added alkaline substance, such as wood ash, lye or quicklime and this step loosened the husk and released the natural niacin in the enzymes of the corn kernel. Humans need niacin; without it, our tissues start to degenerate. The Native American discovery of this process permitted them to make a cuisine that relied heavily on corn—supplemented by beans and squash—nutritionally viable. Polenta makers skipped this stage of the process. The corn was simply grown, dried and then ground.  Convenience, it seems, was the reason Europeans skipped this step. 

Early in the 18th century, some Italians began to fall victim to a new disease, called pellagra. (The name means, literally, “rough skin.”) The symptoms also included nervousness, sore joints, mental illness and left people looking pallid and unhealthy. At first corn was blamed, and actually banned, as the cause of pellagra. With little else to eat though, many peasants continued cooking polenta just as they had. Finally, early in the 20th century scientific advancement made it clear that nutrient-deficient diets, not corn itself, was the cause of pellagra. Of course, it is no longer a health problem that people have to worry about and polenta is one of the most important dishes in the northern Italian cuisine.
http://www.zingermansfoodtours.com/2011/08/why-did-polenta-become-italian/

What made me think so much about corn today, is that it is corn season where I live. I received my first share on Saturday from the CSA. I belong to near my home. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. When you join a CSA, you are essentially buying a farm share. Members pay in advance for a growing season so farmers have operating capital. During the growing season, members receive a box of produce from the CSA on a regular schedule. The produce is superior to anything you will find in a supermarket. Most likely the produce from  the CSA was picked the morning you received it. Taste and freshness are the stand out qualities of locally grown produce.  If you have an opportunity to belong to a CSA or shop at a Farmer’s market, I would urge you to do so.  After I had this big bag of corn on the cob sitting on my kitchen counter, I began to think about how corn would fit into the Italian cuisine, that is, if they had it.

Mario Batali, in his book, The Italian Grill, says that Italians do not grill corn, but if they did, this is what they might do.

A sprinkling of fresh mint and red pepper flakes makes a nice finish.

Corn As Italians Would Eat It

Ingredients

6 ears corn, shucked
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 to 1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano (freshly grated)
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
Hot red pepper flakes

 Directions

Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a gas grill.
Place the corn on the hottest part of the grill and cook for 3 minutes, or until grill marks appear on the first side. Roll each ear over a quarter turn and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then repeat two more times.
Meanwhile, mix the oil and vinegar on a large flat plate. Spread the Parmigiano on another flat plate.
When the corn is cooked, roll each ear in the oil and vinegar mixture, shake off the extra oil, and dredge in the Parmigiano to coat lightly. Place on a platter, sprinkle with the mint and pepper flakes, and serve immediately.

Sweet Corn and Zucchini Gratin With Fresh Basil
Serves 6

Ingredients

  •  1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  •  1 medium onion, finely chopped
  •  1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  •  1 large garlic clove, minced
  •  3/4 pound zucchini, thinly sliced or diced
  •  Kernels from 2 ears sweet corn (about 2 cups)
  •  3 large eggs or 3/4 cup egg substitute
  •  1/2 cup skim milk
  •  1/2 cup fresh basil, washed, dried and coarsely chopped
  •  1/4 cup fresh parsley, washed, dried and coarsely chopped
  •  3/4 cup Sargento® Shredded Reduced Fat Italian 4 Cheese Mix, shredded
  •  Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 2-quart gratin or baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.
Set aside the kernels from one of the ears of corn.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften, about three minutes; add the red pepper and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onions and peppers are tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic and the zucchini, stir together and add another generous pinch of salt and some pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the zucchini is just beginning to look bright green and some of the slices are translucent. Stir in the kernels from one of the ears of corn. Stir together for a minute or two, and remove from the heat. Pour into a mixing bowl.

Place the remaining corn kernels in a blender jar, and add the eggs, milk and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth. Pour into the bowl with the vegetables. Add the basil, parsley and the cheese, and stir everything together. Pour into the gratin dish.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is browned and the gratin is firm to the touch. Serve hot or warm.

Corn, Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Salad

  • 1-1/2 cups red cherry tomatoes (about 8 oz.)
  • 1-1/2 cups yellow cherry tomatoes (about 8 oz.)
  • 3/4 lb. fresh mozzarella (use bocconcini or cut large balls into cubes)
  • Kernels cut from 1 ear raw fresh corn (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon. kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fruity extra-virgin olive oil

Directions
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place them in a serving bowl. Add the mozzarella cubes and the corn kernels, season with the salt and pepper. Drizzle with the vinegar and then with the olive oil. Toss gently. Top with basil.

Fresh Corn Risotto

  • 6 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (12 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup corn kernels (from 2 ears)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Directions
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil with the bay leaf. Keep the stock warm over very low heat.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring until opaque, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine and cook, stirring, until completely absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the warm stock and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until nearly absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1 cup at a time and stirring until it is absorbed between additions. After about half of the stock has been added, stir in the corn, then add the remaining stock. The rice is done when it is al dente and creamy, about 25 minutes. Stir in the cheese and butter; season with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf and serve.

Pasta with Fresh Corn Pesto

Pesto is traditionally made with basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan, and olive oil. Here, the classic Italian sauce is reformed with corn in place of the basil. The finished dish has a creamy richness that is reminiscent of carbonara.

Ingredients

  • 4 bacon slices, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 6 large ears)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
  • 1/3 cup Pignoli (pine nuts), toasted
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces penne or fusilli
  • 3/4 cup coarsely torn fresh basil leaves, divided

Directions

  • Cook bacon in large non-stick skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown, stirring often. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from the skillet. Add corn, garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper to drippings in skillet. Sauté over medium-high heat until corn is just tender but not brown, about 4 minutes.
  • Transfer 1 1/2 cups corn kernels to small bowl and reserve. Pour remaining corn mixture into processor. Add 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese and pine nuts. With machine running, add olive oil through the feed tube and blend until pesto is almost smooth. Set pesto aside.
  • Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. Add corn pesto, reserved corn kernels, and 1/2 cup basil leaves. Toss pasta mixture over medium heat until warmed through, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to a desired consistency, 2 to 3 minutes. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer pasta to a large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup basil leaves and reserved bacon. Serve pasta, passing additional grated Parmesan alongside.

Pasta With Italian Sausage,Tomatoes and Corn

Serves: 4

  • 2 ears of corn, grilled for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally to grill evenly on all sides. Set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, cut off kernels.
  • 8 ounces ziti
  • 6 oz. green beans, cut into 1 inch lengths
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 links of sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh basil, hand torn
  • 4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
Directions

Bring a pot of water to boil and add salt. Add pasta and cook for 7-10 minutes, until al dente. During the last 4 minutes of cooking add the green beans. When pasta is done, drain pasta and beans, and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium sauté pan, cook sausage and garlic over medium heat until browned, 5-7 minutes, breaking up into bite-sized pieces. Add pasta, beans, grilled corn, tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.  Gently stir in basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.  

Italian Vegetable Soup

  • 4 ears corn, husks and silks removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1-32 oz container reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 8 ounces green beans (stem ends removed), cut into fourths
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) no salt added, diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Basil Pesto
  1. Stand ears in a wide bowl. With a sharp knife, carefully slice downward to release kernels. Discard cobs; set kernels aside.
  2. In a Dutch oven or 5-quart pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add broth and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Add zucchini, green beans, pepper, corn, tomatoes and orzo; cook, uncovered, until orzo is tender, 8 to 11 minutes. Add herbs, crushed red pepper, cheese and salt to taste. Top each serving with a tablespoon of basil pesto.

                                                                                                              


Mason Disick Eating

Disney’s Lady and the Tramp

Years ago, Italians often took three hour lunch breaks and ate mutli-course meals.  As times have changed, it is more rare for Italian families to gather at the table during lunch and have a full home-made meal. Italy’s economical situation is such that many mothers have had to take on full-time jobs, children are in school until mid-afternoon and most people do not have time to go home during lunch time.  Typically, people working in offices have a 1-hour break and eat lunch at a bar or pasticceria, that offers foods to go, such as fresh made sandwiches, prepared salads, or square slices of pizza or stuffed focaccia.    Italian sandwiches aren’t multi-layered, American style sandwiches but, usually,  just  simple focaccia bread with a few lean slices of prosciutto, some sliced tomatoes with mozzarella or pecorino cheese.  Italian pizzas are very thin. have limited toppings and are usually vegetarian.   Bread without butter and salads are also very common at lunch. Pastas are also popular and usually full of vegetables.  One exception is on Sundays, many families will have a large, 2-3 hour lunch and often eat this meal out in a restaurant.

As a child growing up in an Italian-American home, I remember Sundays were pretty much reserved for family. My father would take us to visit our grandparents or other relatives while my mother prepared the Sunday meal.  Sunday lunch was really dinner but held early in the afternoon. After my grandmother died, when I was quite young, my grandfather would often join us for Sunday dinner. As my children were growing up. I tried to make meals an important time to be together and we kept some of the traditions built around meals. Lunch, however, was lunch – a quick meal. Through the years I have gravitated toward lighter and healthy selections for lunch.

Antipasto

My favorite food for lunch is soup, so I keep a number of containers in the freezer to pull out when I feel like soup for lunch.  Salads or typical items found on an antipasto tray are also a favorite.

Below are two soup recipes that are substantial enough for lunch and two salad recipes that I hope you will enjoy.

        Tortellini Soup with Escarole

  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-32 oz. cartons low sodium chicken broth (8 cups)
  • 1 bunch escarole (or 8 cups spinach) washed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1-9 oz. pkg. fresh tortellini
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan Cheese

Escarole is a leafy green vegetable and member of the chicory family, along with frisée, endive and Belgian endive. You can find it in the lettuce department of your supermarket.

Directions

In soup pot, heat oil and saute shallots for two minutes.

Add both containers of chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Add tortellini, return to boiling, reduce heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer about 5 minutes.

Add the escarole and simmer until the greens are wilted.

Add parsley and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve soup with shaved Parmesan cheese strips.

Lentils are a small but nutritional member of the legume family and are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber.
Lentil colors range from yellow to red-orange to green, brown and black

Lentil Soup

  • 1 lb. dried brown lentils ( about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 1/2 cup medium pearl barley
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1-16 oz can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Cover the lentils with water in a large bowl.  Let soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse.

Heat oil in a large soup pot and add garlic, onion, celery, carrots and potato.

Cook, stirring several times, for 10 minutes.

Add water, chicken broth, lentils and barley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover pot and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Check the lentils and barley, to see if they are tender, after 45 minutes.

Add tomatoes, oregano salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Salads

My favorite salad is made of fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese.

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

4 servings

  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick

    Tomato Mozzarella Salad

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • Freshly-ground black pepper and salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Alternate fresh mozzarella slices with sliced tomatoes, overlapping, in a circular design on a serving plate.  (See photo)

Tear fresh basil leaves and sprinkle liberally over the slices. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Just before serving, drizzle with top-quality extra-virgin olive oil.

Chickpea Salad

4 servings

  • 1/4 cup slivered red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1- 19-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
  • 8 ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Chickpeas are a legume used in many Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. Round and tan colored, chickpeas have a mild, nutty flavor. They are also known as garbanzo beans.

Whisk olive oil and lemon in a salad bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss well. Chill.

Serve over tender lettuce leaves (such as, Bibb).

I like to top this salad with leftover shrimp or grilled tuna.  Roasted red peppers are also a good addition



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