FOOD: Add flavor and interest to fresh produce this summer
By Star Journal Staff
Courtesy of BPT
Warm weather and fresh food go hand in hand. While healthy foods dominate the summer months, too often people fall into meal ruts where all they eat are simple salads and grilled chicken. Nutritious foods don’t have to be boring foods, though, because it’s easy to add pizzazz with a few clever twists.
Fish and poultry are quality low-fat sources of protein but can come up short in flavor. Fortunately, it’s simple to enhance lackluster chicken breasts or bland salmon with citrus. Think beyond lemon and lime and try more exotic citrus varieties like blood orange, kumquat, Satsuma and tangerine. Marinate and brush on the juices before cooking, or grill your grub with a few citrus slices directly on top. The eye-widening fresh citrus flavors will take your fish and poultry to new heights.
Think you need to give up cheese to be healthy? Think again. Feta is a lower-calorie option that packs incredible flavor into any dish. Feta has a classic taste and texture that makes it the perfect addition to boring salads. But don’t stop there – drape a slice of feta across bite-size snacks or add crumbles to favorite side dishes for Mediterranean flavor that leaves you satisfied.
Fresh fruit is abundant during the warmer months and provides plenty of healthy vitamins and nutrients. Instead of always eating it fresh, sink your teeth into new fruit flavor when you try grilling your favorite varieties. Lightly grilling fruit triggers the sugars to start caramelizing, which brings out rich, sweet flavors. Bananas, pineapple, peaches and even cantaloupe are great options. Cut them in half or chop into bite-size pieces and skewer before grilling.
Nutritionists agree that good old H2O is the best thing to drink to stay hydrated, but after a while plain water gets boring. Add a splash of healthy flavor to water by infusing it yourself. Lemon and lime add zest, but you can experiment with all sorts of flavor enhancements, such as cucumber, apple, grapefruit, berries and mint. Keep a pitcher in the fridge with water and your favorite sliced fruits and you’ll always have a healthy drink on hand.(BPT)
Try some of these jazzed up summertime treats for your next cookout.
Greek Zucchini Bruschetta
Recipe courtesy of TheLawfulKitchen.com
Makes 6-8 servings
1/2 C Tomato Basil Feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 C fresh basil, cut into strips
2 tomatoes, diced
2 zucchini, sliced
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Slice zucchini into 1/3- or 1/2-inch thick pieces. Lay flat on baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or lined with foil. Drizzle zucchini with 1 tablespoon olive oil and bake in oven at 350 degrees F until almost soft. Dice tomatoes and mix with 1 tablespoon olive oil, seasonings, feta cheese and basil. Top zucchini with tomato and feta mixture.
Chickpea, Avocado and Feta Salad
Recipe courtesy of Homegrown & Healthy
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 avocados, diced
1/3 C chopped parsley
2 tbsp green onion, thinly sliced
1/3 C feta cheese
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir gently to combine, making sure not to mash the avocadoes and feta. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Feta Watermelon Salad
Recipe courtesy of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper to taste
1 C. seedless watermelon, chilled and cut into bite-size pieces
2 ounces (2 C.) watercress leaves, washed and dried
2 ounces feta cheese, cut in chunks
1/2 oz (1 slice) red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
Combine vinaigrette ingredients in small bowl; whisk to combine. In medium bowl, toss watermelon and watercress with 3 tablespoons vinaigrette; arrange on plate. Top with feta and red onion; drizzle remaining dressing over cheese. Sprinkle with poppy seeds before serving.