Cooking with Tammy Kelly: Using summer’s bounty for comfort food dinners

Cooking with Tammy Kelly: Using summer’s bounty for comfort food dinners

Tammy Kelly, Lenoir County Cooperative Extension Director, poses at the front of the rebuilt office. Photo by William 'Bud' Hardy / Neuse News

Skip all the store-bought canned and processed vegetables and replace them with fresh in-season produce. This will not only turn old favorites into yummy new favorites, but also will reduce calories and increase the nutritional value!!  Check out your local Farmers Market and roadside stands for ingredients!!  

Chicken Parmesan with Summer Produce

1 ounce white whole-wheat flour (about 1/4 cup)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup plain whole-wheat breadcrumbs
4 (4-oz.) chicken breast cutlets
5/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Cooking spray
3 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini (about 1 medium)
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Preheat broiler with oven rack in middle position. Place flour, egg, and breadcrumbs in separate shallow dishes. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour; dip in egg, and dredge in breadcrumbs.
Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add 2 cutlets; cook 1 minute on each side. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and remaining cutlets.
Top cutlets with cheese; broil 1 1/2 minutes. Heat remaining oil in skillet. Add zucchini; sauté 1 minute. Add remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, tomatoes, and garlic; sauté 4 minutes. Serve with chicken, and top with basil.

Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 398, Fat 16 g., Cholesterol 143 mg., Sodium 521 mg., Carbohydrates 25 g., Fiber 4 g., Protein 37 g.

Zucchini Enchiladas

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
Kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
3 c. Shredded chicken
1 1/3 c. red enchilada sauce, divided
4 large zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 c. Shredded Monterey Jack
1 c. shredded Cheddar
Sour cream, for drizzling
Fresh cilantro, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and season with salt. Cook until soft, 5 minutes, then add garlic, cumin and chili powder and stir until combined. Add shredded chicken and 1 cup enchilada sauce and stir until saucy.

On a cutting board, use a Y-shaped vegetable peeler to make thin slices of zucchini. Lay out three, slightly overlapping, and place a spoonful of chicken mixture on top. Roll up and transfer to a baking dish. Repeat with remaining zucchini and chicken mixture.

Spoon remaining 1/3 cup enchilada sauce over zucchini enchiladas and sprinkle with both cheeses. Bake until melty, 20 minutes. Garnish with sour cream and cilantro and serve. Serves 4.

Sweet and Briny Watermelon and Feta Salad

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus ¼ cup, divided
¼ cup rinsed capers
⅓ cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1½ tablespoons sherry vinegar
Ground pepper to taste
5 cups diced watermelon (1-inch)
½ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
½ cup thinly sliced fresh mint (optional)
⅔ cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Flaky sea salt for garnish

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small saucepan over high heat. Pat capers dry and add to the hot oil. Cook, stirring, until crisp, 1 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. (Discard the oil.).

Whisk the remaining ¼ cup oil in a large bowl with olives, vinegar and a generous grinding of pepper. Add watermelon, basil and mint and gently toss to coat. Arrange in a large shallow serving bowl. Sprinkle with feta, almonds and the crispy capers. Garnish with sea salt, if desired.
Serves 6, each serving contains; Calories 290, Fat 22 g., Cholesterol 15 mg., Sodium 356 mg., Carbohydrates 13 g., Fiber 2 g., Protein 4 g.

Zucchini Chicken Alfredo

3 large zucchini
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 lb. chicken breast
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3/4 c. half-and-half (or whole milk)
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan (plus more for serving)
1/4 c. fresh chopped parsley

Make zucchini pasta: Using a vegetable peeler, peel zucchini lengthwise to create long, thin strips. Lay flat on a paper towel-lined baking sheet until ready to use.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning and cook until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and slice into strips.

Add remaining tablespoon olive oil to the skillet. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add half-and-half and cream cheese and cook, stirring often, until cream cheese is melted. Add Parmesan, then season with salt and pepper and simmer until the sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.

Fold in cooked chicken, zucchini noodles and parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Greek Pasta Salad

1 lb. farfalle
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 large cucumber, chopped
1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 c. Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped (because I like the flavor better, I exchange these for rinsed capers)
1/2 red onion, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. dill, finely chopped
1/2 c. crumbled feta

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook farfalle according to package directions until al dente. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano and garlic powder.

To serving bowl add cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and onions. Add dressing and toss until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper and add dill, then top with feta. Serves 8.

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