The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

August 29, 2012

Use Your Fresh Summer Vegetables

FOR THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Karen Freeman

TARBORO — Most everyone has access to fresh vegetables during the summer months. It seems a shame not to take advantage of having fresh fruit, herbs and veggies.

Summer is also a great time for low-fat, low calories meals. Fresh vegetables are a great source of fiber and are fat free and low calorie unless they are breaded and deep-fried, which unfortunately, is a great tasting way to eat them.

The first recipe is a great refreshing summer soup from Spain. It only has 127 calories per serving and since it’s a chilled soup, it’s great for a hot autumn day. It will give you the opportunity to use tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and bell pepper from your garden and parsley from your herb garden. This should be made a day a head of time in order to chill and to allow the tastes to blend. If you can’t make it a day ahead, make it early that morning.

The second recipe was done as a request. It's a copy of Chicken Scampi from Olive Garden, so I scoured the Internet until I found a similar recipe. It’s a simple recipe to create. The most time consuming part is chopping the vegetables and you can do that a day a head if necessary. If you don’t want to take the time to make the white sauce, you can use a cheese sauce from a jar. However, don’t skimp on the scampi sauce, which is the heart of the dish. However, keep one thing in mind, crushed red pepper is HOT. When I made this for myself, I cut the red pepper to less than half the amount in the recipe and it still had a zing. If you like it hot, great. If you don’t care for spicy food, leave it out or cut it way back.

The last recipe is a veggie stir fry. It's a great way to use up vegetables and a great way to fill up without a lot of fat and calories.



Gazpacho



Ingredients

2 1/2 Cups Tomato or Vegetable Juice Cocktail

1 Cup Fresh Tomatoes, peeled, seeded, finely chopped

1/2 Cup Celery, finely chopped

1/2 Cup Cucumber, finely chopped

1/2 Cup Green Bell Pepper, finely chopped

1/2 Cup Green Onion, finely chopped

3 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar

2 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1 Large Clove Garlic, minced

2 Tsp Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, finely chopped

1/2 Tsp Salt

1/2 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce

1/2 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper



Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a large glass or stainless steel bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve cold.



 Chicken Scampi

Ingredients:



    ---White Sauce---

1-Tbsp Butter

2 Tbsps Flour

3/4-Cup Milk, hot



    ---Scampi Sauce---

3 Tbsps Butter

2 Tbsps Garlic, crushed

1/2 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper

2 Tbsps Italian Seasoning

 Black Pepper, to taste

3/4 Cup White Wine

 1-Cup Chicken Broth

1/4 Cup White Sauce



    ---Remaining Ingredients---

2 Chicken Breasts, sliced

Bell Peppers, Thinly sliced

Red Onions, Thinly sliced

10 Cloves Garlic, roasted, see below

1/2 Package Angel Hair Pasta, cooked and drained



Directions:

Make the White Sauce first: Melt the butter in saucepan, add flour, and cook for 2 minutes on med. heat. Heat, stirring constantly. Slowly add hot milk (hot so it won't get lumpy). Set aside. (Make sure that the white sauce is hot when adding to the scampi sauce).

Next, make the Scampi Sauce: Heat butter over low heat. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning, and black pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes on low heat. Add the wine and chicken broth. Stir until combined (about 30-40 minutes). Add 1/4 cup white sauce and cook until slightly thickened.

In a large skillet, sauté chicken in a little olive oil until nearly done. Add the peppers and onions. Sauté until chicken is done. Add Scampi Sauce. Sauté until everything is warmed. Add roasted garlic cloves. Serve over pasta.

For Roasted Garlic: Separate head of garlic into individual cloves still in 'paper'. Toss in olive oil and wrap tightly in aluminum foil or a small pint sized dish with a lid. Bake in 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. When the garlic has cooled to the touch you should be able to squeeze it out of the 'paper' shell of the individual cloves.



Vegetable Stir-Fry



2 Large Yellow Squash, sliced in 1-1/12” slices (may substitute squash of your choice)

1 Large Yellow or Red Onion, peeled and quartered

1 Large Bell Pepper (color of choice)

2 Large Irish Potatoes, washed and cubed

1 Package Fresh Mushrooms, cleaned (I use Portobello’s)

1 Package Grape Tomatoes, washed

Zest from 1 Large Orange, can zest orange from recipe above

Juice from one Lime

3 Tbsp Splenda or Sugar

1 Stick Margarine or Butter

1 Package White or Wild Rice, prepared by package instructions



Cut all vegetables into approximately the same size cubes. Leave skins on for extra nutrition.

If grilling: Alternate items on skewers until items are used, makes approximately four servings. If using wooden skewers, soak skewers for 20-30 minutes before placing food on the skewers. In a small sauce pot, melt margarine, add Splenda and lime juice, brush over skewered vegetables. Grill until all vegetables are tender.

Serve over white or brown rice.

If cooking inside: Melt margarine in a large non-stick skillet. Add Splenda, lime juice and orange zest, heat through. Add veggies and cook until tender but not soggy. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve as above over white or wild rice.

Did You Know?



Homemade Salt Substitute: Mix 1 Tbsp each of garlic powder, paprika and dry mustard; 5 Tsps of onion powder; 1 Tsp of thyme; 1/2 Tsp of white pepper and 1/2 Tsp of celery seed. Put in a clean spice jar and store in a cool dry place.

Packages for School: When your kids go off to school, you usually end up sending them care packages. Wrap the items in the local newspaper. When they open the gift, they can also read the news from home.

Heloise Homemade Furniture Polish: Combine 2 parts of sweet oil (which is olive oil you buy at the pharmacy) and one-part apple cider vinegar. Put into a spray bottle and label. This is just perfect for most finished wood, but DON’T use on raw or unfinished wood. Just shake it up to mix. Spray a little on a soft cloth and polish away!

Roach Recipe: To get rid of roaches, make this mixture: half boric acid powder and half sugar or cornmeal or flour. Put in lids or small containers and place in the areas where you see roaches. They will track it back to their nests and eventually they will die. Keep away from pets and small children.

Heloise Bath Salts: Make your own special bath treat by combing 3 cups of Epsom salt, 1 Tbsp of glycerin, a bit of your favorite perfume or essential oils, such as peppermint, bergamot, rose or lavender, in a glass or metal bowl (you can add a few drops of food coloring, if you want). Put 1/2 cup or more of the mixture into the hot bath. Store the rest in an attractive apothecary jar with a latch.

Scented Light bulbs. Dab a bit of oil of clove, peppermint or eucalyptus on a cool light bulb. When you turn on the light, the scent will drift throughout the room.

Refresh Dried Flowers and Wreaths. Add a few drops of the your favorite essential oil to freshen and revive. Do not put oil directly on silk flowers or any material because it could stain.

Good Kitchen Smells Without Cooking. If you don’t have the time to bake all day in your kitchen, create an inviting smell instead by putting a few drops of cinnamon, anise, orange or peppermint oil on a cotton ball and put it on the inside of the cardboard tube of the paper towel roll or dab on a dried-flower arrangement. Simmer a small pot of water and add a drop of the essential oil that matches the mood you want to create.