Summer Food Picks

summerpicksGrilling season is here! Backyard BBQs and summer events keep many of us busy outdoors. Not to mention the grass needs to be cut more often or the pool and waterparks may be calling your name.

Is your summer loaded with grilled goodies and cocktails or lemonades? If so, add in these healthy produce options:

Berries have super powers in my book, as far as fruit goes. They are great for digestion, heart health, loaded with antioxidants, helpful for brain health and easy on the blood sugar. Tart cherries help with inflammation too.

Strawberries- choose shiny, firm fruit with a bright red color. Do not wash until ready to eat to reduce mold and spoilage, store in fridge for 1-3 days. Slice these and add to lemonade for a fresh flavor.

Blueberries- choose firm, plump dry fruit with a dusty blue color and uniform size. Store in fridge 10days to 2 weeks. Try making a blueberry basil cooler.

Cherries-select red firm tree ripened fruits with stems. Keep in fridge for up to 10/days. Coming from a family of cherry, apple and peach growers, cherries has to be the best fruit on the list. The prices will drop soon.

Peaches are showing up and packed with nutrients. Choose firm, fuzzy skins that yield to gentle pressure.  Did you know we have local peach farms for picking? They usually run ~.80/lb. and available around July 4th.

Mangos– loaded in vitamins. Choose slightly firm fruit with a sweet smell, free of sap on skin. They will continue to ripen, store at room temperature 1-2 days. Store peeled, cut fruits in fridge.

Watermelons- Choose symmetrical and heavy fruit with a dried stem, yellowish underside from ground growing. Store whole fruit at room temperature. Refrigerate cut melon in airtight container, use within 5 days. Watermelon adds to your daily hydration and it is loaded in lycopene that helps with prostate health and may help with skin damage from the sun.

Summer Squash- (summer squash, zucchini, eggplant) are loaded with eye vitamins known as lutein and zeaxanthin that may help lower cataract risks by 18%. Choose glossy small to medium size. Try grilled or roasted with a light brushing of cooking oil and garlic.

Repurpose Fading Produce: If some of your produce begins to go bad quickly, use these tips to revive those good for you eats from Food Network. Soft produce such as root veggies like carrots and potatoes can be tossed in olive oil or canola oil and roast up for a side dish. Throw out the furry berries and try boiling down soft ones with a little sugar for a fresh topping. When bananas start to go bad, I toss them in the freezer for smoothies and zucchini banana bread.  http://www.foodnetwork.com/in-season-now/packages/summer-produce-guide/what-to-do-with-produce-thats-about-to-go-bad

Websites to check out:

Local farmers markets:

  • West End: 9am – Noon (Most Saturdays during summer months)
  • Down Town Farmers Markets on Buddy Holly: 9am – 1pm (Most Saturdays, June – October)
  • Pick Your Own: http://www.pickyourown.org/TXlubbock.htm

Next week’s ‘Wellness Wednesday’ will feature Executive Chef Dewey McMurray and Meat Grilling Tips!

Recipes:

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

Active time 20 minutes Serves 4- ½ Cup Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • Cooking Spray
  • 2 Medium Zucchini
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ Cup grated Parmesan
  • ¼ Cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the oil. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, salt, and a few turns of pepper. Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, pressing the coating on to stick, and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the zucchini rounds until browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove with spatula. Serve immediately. 2008 Ellie Krieger, All Rights Reserved.

Caprese Dip

Active time 5 minutes Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 12-16 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes rough cut into pieces
  • 1 bunch of basil leaves chopped
  • ¼ cup lime juice , freshly squeezed
  • Crackers or pitas for dipping

Preheat oven to 375, spray a glass-baking dish with nonstick spray. Add cheese, tomatoes and basil. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Adapted from Community Table @dixiechikcooks

Frozen Blueberry Margarita (with non-alcoholic option)

Active time 5 minutes Serves 4 ~188 CALORIES each

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup gold or silver tequila (Omit for non-alcoholic option)
  • ½ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • ¼ cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • ¼ cup light agave nectar
  • ¼ blender of ice

Add the blueberries, tequila, lemon and lime juice, agave, and ice to a blender with ice-crushing ability. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth. Divide the margaritas among four 12-ounce glasses and serve immediately.

Grilled Corn Salad

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 large ears fresh yellow corn, husks removed
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper
  • 1 medium shallot, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat grill to high (450°F to 550°F).
Coat grill grate and corn, bell peppers, and shallot with cooking spray. Add vegetables to grill. Cook corn 14 minutes, turning after 7 minutes. Cook bell peppers 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Cook shallot 8 minutes, turning after 4 minutes. Remove vegetables from grill; cool 5 minutes. Cut corn kernels from ears and place in a bowl. Cut bell peppers into 3/4-inch pieces; add to corn. Chop shallot; add to corn mixture. Add parsley, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to corn mixture; toss. Sprinkle with cheese.
Adapted from Cookinglight.com

Hospitality Dietitian Mindy Diller, MS, RDN, LD   mindy.diller@ttu.edu 

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