Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Squash Skillet

I love this time a year!  The weather is gloriously warm, everyone has that 'sun-kissed' glow, there are plenty of outdoor activities, and the farmers' markets are heaping with more types of fresh fruits and vegetables than you can count. 

Here's one expert tip for staying healthy and happy... include a fruit and/or vegetable each time you eat a meal or a snack.  You can't argue the nutritive value in these colorful foods.  And better yet- you can't beat the feeling you get when you know you are doing something good for your body! 

Here is a recipe that utilizes just some of summer's bounty- zucchini, red pepper, tomatoes, basil and sweet corn.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it now!

This is a simple, one-skillet meal.  Great for busy nights when you only have 30 minutes until you want to get some dinner in your belly. 

First, you slice up some chicken or turkey sausage (lower fat and cholesterol than pork or beef sausage).  If you want to make this vegetarian, you could certainly use some firm tofu or soy crumbles.  Cook the sausage over medium heat until browned. 

While sausage cooks, cut your fingerling potatoes, red pepper and onion.  I used purple fingerling potatoes because I wanted to pack this dish with all the colors I could!

When sausage is browned, remove to a plate and set aside.  Add the potatoes, onion and pepper to the hot skillet with a touch of oil. 

While the veggies are tenderizing, mince up some garlic and thinly slice your zucchini.  Add those to the skillet. 

While the zucchini is cooking.  Chop your tomatoes and then add into the skillet.  When the zucchini is slightly tender and the tomatoes are becoming soft, stir sausage back into the skillet.  Add some fresh basil, oregano and red pepper flakes and you are good to go!! 

I served up this quick and easy meal with some fresh corn on the cob and sprinkled Parmesan cheese on top of the whole plate.  Can't beat that!

Check out my recipe...

Summer Squash Skillet
12oz pack chicken sausage (recommend spicy Italian flavor)
1 Tb olive oil
1.5 cups sliced fingerling potatoes
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 large vidalia onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large zucchini, sliced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 Tb fresh oregano, minced (or 1 tsp dried)
2 Tb fresh basil, minced (or 2 tsp dried)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

1- Preheat large skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat with non-stick spray and add sliced chicken sausage to hot pan.  Cook until browned.  Place sausage on a plate and set aside.
2- Turn heat down to medium and add 1 Tb oil.  Add your potatoes.  While potatoes start to cook, chop your red pepper and onion.  After about 3 minutes of potatoes cooking, add your pepper and onion and cook about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3- While veggies are cooking, mince your garlic and slice the zucchini.  Add to your skillet.  Cook about 3-5 minutes while you chop your tomatoes.  Add tomatoes to the skillet and cook about 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. 
4- Add the sausage back into the skillet and cook about 1 minute until sausage is heated through.  Remove from heat.  Stir in fresh basil, oregano and red pepper flakes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cherry Steel Cut Oats

Happy Father's Day! I whipped up a batch of steel cut oats this morning. I never make steel cut oats during the week because of how long they take to make but when you have a little extra time it's definitely worth it. Oatmeal is one of those breakfasts that really stick with you, high in heart healthy fiber and a decent source of protein. Not to mention they are versatile. You can add so many different "toppings" to change the flavor up, you can even make them savory. Also, it's very easy so serve a crowd with different taste buds. You can make 1 huge pot of oats and then have a "mix-ins" bar out with nuts, dried fruit, nut butter, yogurt, etc. GIve it a try!

Cherry Vanilla Oatmeal
-1 cup steel cut oats
-4 cups water (per directions on container)
-2 cups pitted sweet cherries (remember, go organic here, they are on the dirty dozen)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/3 cup brown sugar
-1 banana
-1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Start by cooking the steel cut oats as directed on the box. Then after they have started to form and get thicker add in your cherries and banana. Mix it all together and let it continue to simmer. Once the oats are formed and to the consistency you like add the sugar, walnuts, and vanilla extract. Let it sit just a bit longer on low heat and serve. Steel cut oats aren't difficult to make they are just time consuming.

I added a touch of milk right before serving to loosen it up. I also topped it with plain greek yogurt and honey (because greek yogurt rocks!).