The recent days of extreme heat have made many of us scale back in the kitchen. While we may skip recipes that would require us to use our ovens, we don’t have to skip on taste and good nutrition.
Fresh vegetables are beginning to be harvested in backyard gardens and many of our Farmers Market Producers are selling local grown produce now as well.
A great way to use these fresh vegetables and not spend a lot of time in the kitchen is with salads.
Homegrown tomatoes are one vegetable that benefits from our hot, humid summer days.
Although tomatoes are actually a fruit, we use them as a vegetable. A medium size tomato contains only 25 calories and 20 mg of sodium. They are fat and cholesterol free and a good source of potassium and vitamins A and C. They are also a good source of lycopene, which is a very valuable antioxidant.
Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature until they have fully ripened. Keep them out of direct sunlight or they will ripen unevenly. Tomatoes taste best if not refrigerated; refrigerate only if you can’t use them before they spoil. Chopped tomatoes can be frozen for use in sauces or other cooked dishes.
As you look for those menu items that offer great taste but beat the heat, turn to vegetable recipes like stir fry, chicken salad stuffed tomatoes and this herbed pasta and roasted cherry tomatoes:
with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
½ pound whole wheat pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 medium chopped onion
4 chopped garlic cloves
1 medium chopped bell pepper
6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Cook pasta according to package directions. Preheat oven, toaster oven, to 400 degrees. Score each of the cherry tomatoes with a small X. Toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and roast in oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until they burst. Saute’ onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes. Add garlic and bell peppers and saute’ for an additional 5 minutes. Add fresh and dried herbs, salt and oven roasted cherry tomatoes. Toss with drained pasta. Yield: 6, 1 cup servings.
Nutrition Analysis: 230 calories, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, o mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 6 g protein.
This recipe and more can be found on our website at http://ces.ca.uky.edu/clark/ or call us at the Clark County Extension Office, 744-4682.
Jennifer Howard is the Clark County Extension Service agent for family and consumer sciences.