It’s August. The market (or maybe your garden) is ripe with tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini. So. Many. Zucchini. If you see one more zucchini bread, you just may throw it at someone. How about trying something different with all your late summer produce that will really bring out it’s flavor?
If you’re like me several things about eating real food from the market are true:
- You look forward to each crop as it comes into season, knowing that it’s at its very best right then.
- You want to prepare/eat it in many different ways that will allow its flavor to shine.
- You want to preserve its freshness/health/pureness as much as possible.
That last one is important to me. Save the deep-fried pickles for the fair; they might taste good, but what happened to that nice, fresh, crisp cucumber?
Now I know what I’m about to suggest may sound contrary, but trust me.
I like to roast my vegetables in the summer.
Yup, even though it may be 95 degrees outside, I’ll still roast my veggies. I mean, if I’m going to be true to those three “rules” up above, roasting is a great way to go. Sure, we grill a lot in the summer, but you can’t live on grilled veggies alone – my husband the grillmaster draws the line at cooking out every single night! And roasting allows for lots of creativity (#2) while you keep all the nutrients (#3).
If the logic doesn’t convince you, how about some examples? These are just three meals/sides I made in the last week or so.
Yes, I spelled that right. Are you a fan of loaded baked potatoes, but not so much of the potato… and all the calories that go on top? Give this one a try. All I did was halve and clean a zucchini longways, rub some olive oil on it, treat with a little salt and pepper, then top with chopped broccoli and finely sliced green onion. I wrapped in foil, then baked at 350 for 45 min. After that I put just a BIT of bacon bits on the top and a sprinkle of sharp cheddar and returned to the oven to melt. That luxurious-looking extra is NOT sour cream, but fat-free Greek yogurt. Try it. You’ll be AMAZED! You can top with salsa, corn, beans, whatever you would put on a regular baked potato… just without the starch. **Add some rotisserie chicken or salmon and you’ve got an awesome complete meal!
STUFFED PEPPERS AND TOMATOES
I’m sure you’ve heard of stuffed peppers before. But stuffed tomatoes? The best part is that you can use that bumper crop of tomatoes AND that you’ll find that when you roast them their flavor truly is enhanced. This dish can stand on its own or make a great side. I took 1 green pepper and three larger tomatoes, but you can mix/match whichever combo works for you. To make this market magic:
Prepare wild or brown rice according to package directions. For the six servings I prepared, I used 1/4 cup dry rice. When rice is done, mix in the corn from one ear, 3 cloves of garlic (minced), 3-4 green sliced green onions, salt and pepper, 1/2 tsp. paprika, several dashed of cayenne pepper. While rice is cooking, prep a pan for baking. Halve your peppers and core your tomatoes, then drop in fresh basil leaves. Add rice/corn mixture to peppers and tomatoes. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth to pan. Make several small slices around the tops of the tomatoes. Cover and bake at 350 for 50 min, or until peppers are tender. Before serving, sprinkle with feta cheese, top with nonfat Greek yogurt and additional basil leaves, if desired. This one also is great as a stand-alone meal, but if you want to add a meat, I’d suggest spicy chicken or turkey Italian sausage as your extra! (P.S. If you liked these and want to play some more, check out my recipe for traditional stuffed peppers here >> https://fitfromthemarket.com/2017/10/08/healthy-comfort-food/ )
“Not-so-classic” ZUCCHINI BOATS
You’ve probably heard of zucchini boats before. (If not, you can check out my recipe here >> https://fitfromthemarket.com/2017/10/11/comfort-food-fit-from-the-market/ ) But the other night I was looking through the fridge and found some left-over sloppy joes. Yep, sloppy joes. My creative cook immediately thought PUT IT ON A ZUCCHINI BOAT. So I took a larger zucchini, halved and cleaned it, prepped with a bit of olive oil, then baked open side down at 350 for about 30 min. Then I flipped it over, stuffed with the leftover sloppy joe mix, covered with foil. returned to the oven and baked for another 20 min or so until the zucchini was tender and the sloppy joe was warm. Where has this been all my life? I will try this will all my leftover “sandwich” mixes from now on. I bet shredded chicken and BBQ pork will work really well, too!