Archive of ‘Vegetables’ category

Creamy Cucumber Salad

If you would like a refreshing cucumber salad or topping for gyros, here you go!

Melanie’s Creamy Cucumber Dill Salad


If you’d like something even simpler, try Echo Martin’s family recipe.

“Hey! I finally thought of a recipe that I could give you guys. It’s a really simple one, but not one I’ve really seen much of and it’s one of my favorites. It’s a creamy cucumber salad, and it’s my favorite way to eat cucumbers since i’m not a big fan of vinegar-based salads. It’s one that’s really easy to just make a little or a lot, and it’s a staple at family gatherings on my dad’s side. The amount of sugar added varies depending on your taste, but I believe that the ratio of cucumber to dressing that I’ve got here adds a nice bit of sweetness while not being overpowering.” Echo Martin


Creamy Cucumber Salad
Serves 2

  1. 1 large cucumber
  2. 2 tablespoons Miracle Whip Light
  3. 2 teaspoons sugar
  1. Just cut the cucumber in half and then slice it up.
  2. In a small bowl, mix Miracle Whip and sugar then mix into the cucumbers.
  3. Can eat immediately, but it benefits from sitting for at least 15 minutes.
  1. Nutrition per serving: 80 calories, 4 g fat, trace saturated fat, 11 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 99 mg sodium.
Taste of Zest



Teresa’s Eggplant Parmesan


Teresa made this wonderful dish from the eggplant and tomatoes she got from her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share. She often makes a dish like this on the weekend and then packages individual servings to take for lunch to her new job as an English teacher. The Land Stewardship Project has a CSA Farm directory that gives information on how to get involved in local food movement.

What is Community Supported Agriculture?

According to the Land Stewardship Project: At their most fundamental level, CSA farms provide a weekly delivery of sustainably grown produce to consumers during the growing season (approximately June to October). Those consumers, in turn, pay a subscription fee. But CSA consumers don’t so much “buy” food from particular farms as become “members” of those farms. CSA operations provide more than just food; they offer ways for eaters to become involved in the ecological and human community that supports the farm.

We encourage you to purchase locally grown food! If you already do, let us know what you are doing.


Teresa’s Eggplant Parmesan
Serves 6

  1. 1 large eggplant (about 1 lb)
  2. ⅓ cup flour
  3. 1 cup bread crumbs (about 3 slices of whole wheat bread)
  4. 2 eggs, whisked
  5. 24 ounce jar pasta sauce
  6. 3 medium tomatoes, sliced
  7. ¼ cup chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  8. 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese or your favorite reduced-fat cheese
  9. ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Slice eggplant into ¼ in slices, sprinkle with salt and place them in colander to drain for 30 minutes. After eggplant slices have finished draining, rinse off salt.
  2. Put bread slices in food processor to make crumbs. This is a good place to use bread crusts.
  3. Dredge eggplant slices through flour, then egg, and finally the bread crumbs. Place eggplant slices on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. Bake slices at 425ºF for 10 minutes on one side, then flip. Cook other side for 5 minutes or until they are brown and crispy.
  5. In a baking dish, layer pasta sauce, tomato slices, basil or Italian seasoning, breaded eggplant slices, more pasta sauce, and cheeses.
  6. Bake at 400ºF for 20-30 minutes or until heated through and cheese is slightly browned and bubbly. Do not cook too long so eggplant slices stay crisp, not soggy.
  1. Nutrition Per Serving: 221 calories, 9 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 26 g carbohydrate, 4 g dietary fiber, 314 mg sodium.
Taste of Zest





Foolproof Fried Rice


Carrots, Peppers, and Onions OH My! I am constantly running into the problem of bits-and-pieces. I really dislike throwing away even the smallest amount of food and I am not the type to overeat just to finish something. So I am a collector of bit-and-pieces. Now a collection of this type would be a huge moldy problem if it wasn’t for this recipe. Fried rice turns bits-and-pieces into gold. Each of my leftover vegetables turn into beautiful gems when added to the pan.


Fried rice also solves another problem. Being a solo cook and consumer, I often hesitate cooking large amounts of one kind vegetables just for myself. I know that if I heat up a can of corn I will be eating corn, corn, corn for the next three nights. This idea is discomforting not only to my taste buds but to my body as well. I find it much more appetizing and just plain fun to eat a couple trees of broccoli, a few leaves of kale, some rings of onion and a couple branches of asparagus. Goodness it sounds like I have a whole tiny town on my dinner plate tonight:) See, I told you this would be fun!


The another plus about this recipe is that it takes no time at all to make even if you start with raw vegetables. If I’ve used up my bits-and-pieces, I can head out to the garden, pick the veggies that I am craving that day, throw them in a pan and have a hot meal in less than 30 minutes. What could be more fun than a tiny town in my tummy? Let me know if you experiment with any fun vegetables in your rice!


Foolproof Fried Rice
Serves 2

  1. 2 cloves minced garlic
  2. 1/2 cup onion slices
  3. 1/2 cup carrots slices
  4. 1 tablespoons canola oil
  5. 1 1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
  6. 1 egg
  7. 2 cups in-season vegetables, chopped into bite-size pieces, such as sweet peppers, sugar snap peas, celery and broccoli.
  8. 1 tablespoons soy sauce
  1. Cook brown rice as directed on the package. Set aside.
  2. Coat pan with vegetable oil and saute garlic, onions, carrots.
  3. Cut up vegetables (peppers, sugar snap peas, asparagus, and broccoli) and place them in pan with onions until heated. Vegetables in fried rice should not wilt.
  4. Add rice and crack an egg over the rice. Mix and flip until egg is cooked.
  5. Add soy sauce. Mix. Enjoy!
  1. Cook extra rice to put in the freezer for super-fast prep next time around.
  2. Add any veggies you want. Be brave when you go to the farmers market or grocery store and try some new veggies. Try ingredients like kale, kohlrabi, or Swiss chard.
  3. Lower the sodium content by using salt-free spices like red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder or a little ground ginger. You can also add flavor by adding fresh ginger, chili paste and a little sesame oil when sautéing.
  4. Nutrition Per Serving: 407 calories, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 67 g carbohydrate, 11 g dietary fiber, 427 mg sodium, excellent source of vitamin A.
Taste of Zest


Grilled Asparagus with Bacon


Let’s grill! It’s a great way to keep the house cool in the summer. Here is one of our favorite recipes for the spring and summer grilling season. Fresh asparagus tastes wonderful since it’s the first vegetable to come up in the spring. When the first spears appear I become very excited and hopeful after the long winter. These are quick, easy and can be made for one, two or a whole crowd. I like to use center-cut bacon or turkey bacon because it’s very flavorful while lower in fat. You can switch it up and use pancetta or a wide variety of seasoned bacons. Even veggie bacon strips work if you want to go meatless. It also works well to roast these in the oven. Then you can enjoy them anytime of the year!


Grilled Asparagus with Bacon
Serves 1

  1. 6 asparagus spears
  2. 1 slice bacon
  3. 2 teaspoons olive oil
  4. 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  5. Black pepper to taste
  6. Red pepper flakes or other seasonings of your choice
  1. Wash asparagus and break off the tough ends of the asparagus. If you bend the stalk it will naturally break at the tender spot.
  2. Wrap three spears with ½ strip of bacon.
  3. Drizzle each bunch with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and seasonings.
  5. Grill on medium heat. Turn once. It does not take long– about 5 minutes on each side. Cook until bacon is done and asparagus is tender.
  1. It also works well to roast these in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350ºF, turning once. Use a low sided baking dish or baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
  2. You can also substitute broccoli for the asparagus when asparagus is no longer in season. Cut the florets apart and down the stalk. Use a vegetable peeler to pare down some of the stalk that is not as tender.
  3. Nutrition Per Serving: 161 calories, 14 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 5 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 196 mg sodium.
Taste of Zest

Mexican Corn Casserole

Corn in dish

This versatile casserole is a crowd-pleaser at potlucks and the leftovers freeze great! It is the perfect combination of spicy and sweet. It can also be baked in individual baking dishes, frozen and then used as a quick go-to dish anytime. It goes well with taco mini meatloaf (coming soon!) or as a side for any Mexican meal. If you like it with a little more kick, use hot green chilies.


Corn Casserole on Plate

Mexican Corn Casserole
Serves 10

  1. 1 package Jiffy corn muffin mix (8.5 ounce)
  2. 1 can low sodium corn (15 ounce), drained
  3. 1 can creamed corn (15 ounce)
  4. 1 cup light sour cream
  5. 1/4 cup olive oil
  6. 1 small onion, finely chopped
  7. 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  8. 1/2 cup 2% milk low fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  9. 4 ounces canned mild green chili peppers, diced
  1. Combine all ingredients and mix well by hand. Make sure all muffin mix is combined but don’t over mix.
  2. Spray 8 or 9 inch casserole dish with cooking spray and pour in mixture.
  3. Bake uncovered at 350ºF for 60 minutes or until until set.
  1. Nutrition per serving: 195 calories, 8 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 2 g fiber, 296 mg sodium.
Taste of Zest

Now and Later Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

One of my daughter’s favorite foods is mashed potatoes but now that she’s in college and cooking for herself she rarely takes the time to make “real” mashed potatoes. Here is a cook once and eat-many-times or share-with-a-friend recipe. These potatoes can be quickly heated in the microwave or oven-baked so they are twice baked. They are extra tasty topped with a sprinkle of sharp cheddar cheese. They go great with mini meat loaves since both are freeze and reheat recipes.  So this is for you Laura! Enjoy everyone!

Mashed Potato Meal

Now and Later Mashed Potatoes
Serves 8

  1. 2 1/2 pounds russet or yukon gold potatoes (half 5 lb bag)
  2. 1/2 cup light sour cream
  3. 2 ounces Neufchatel cheese/low fat cream cheese
  4. 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  5. ½ to 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  7. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or onion powder
  1. Peel half of potatoes and leave half unpeeled. Cut into small cubes.
  2. Add water and boil for 20-30 minutes or until fork tender. Drain well.
  3. Mash potatoes with electric mixer or masher.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and mash until fluffy.
  5. Eat now while they are hot and freeze some for later.
  6. Use large scoop and place mashed potato balls on cookie sheet or 1/2 cup measuring cup as a mold.
  7. Freeze several hours and then put potato balls in a zipper freezer bag and store in freezer for 2 to 3 months.
  8. Reheat in microwave or bake in ramekin for twice-baked potatoes.
  1. Leaving the peelings on increases the flavor and fiber.
  2. Nutrition Per Serving: 137 calories, 2 g fat; 1 gm saturated fat, 2+ g dietary fiber, 174-307 mg sodium.
Taste of Zest