One of the best things about summer is fresh food from gardens and farms. Even if you’re not a gardener, you can get home-grown fruits and veggies from farmers markets and roadside stands, enjoying different kinds of produce as they ripen and become available. There are few foods that can beat fresh fruits and vegetables for flavor, nutrition, and versatility, so here are some wonderful “heart smart” recipes from the National Institutes of Health to make a garden-fresh summer meal for your family and friends.
Zucchini is one of summer’s most abundant gifts, so this recipe helps make the most of the harvest.
1/2 pound lasagna noodles, cooked in unsalted water
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, part-skim, grated
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese*, fat free
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 1/2 cups raw zucchini, sliced
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce, no salt added
2 teaspoons basil, dried
2 teaspoons oregano, dried
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray.
In a small bowl, combine 1/8 cup mozzarella and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese with the cottage cheese. Mix well and set aside.
Combine tomato sauce with remaining ingredients.
In the baking dish, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce. In a single layer, add one third of the noodles. Over the noodles, spread half of the cottage cheese mixture. Add a layer of zucchini. Repeat layering.
Add a thin coating of sauce. Top with noodles, sauce, and reserved cheese mixture. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 30-40 minutes. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut into 6 portions.
Nutrition information per serving: 276 calories; 5 g fat (2 g saturated); 11 mg cholesterol; 380 mg sodium; 5 g fiber; 19 g protein; 41 g carbohydrates; 561 mg potassium.
*Use unsalted cottage cheese to reduce the sodium content to 196 mg per serving.
Parmesan Green Beans
These green beans are so tasty you will make them again and again.
Servings: 4 (1 cup each)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced (about 1 clove or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 small onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
2 cups (16 ounces) fresh or frozen green beans
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, combine olive oil and garlic. Cook over medium heat until garlic is soft, but not browned (about 30 seconds).
Add onion and continue to cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.
Add green beans and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 2 minutes until the beans are heated through.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and pepper. Serve hot.
Nutrition information per serving: 95 calories (1 gm saturated); 4 mg cholesterol; 117 mg sodium; 3 g fiber; 5 g protein; 9 g carbohydrates.
1-2-3 Peach Cobbler
Try this healthier, mouth-watering take on a classic favorite.
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup peach nectar
1 3/4 pounds fresh peaches, sliced or two 16-ounce cans peaches, packed in juice, drained
1/4 cup pineapple or peach juice (can use juice from canned peaches)
1 tablespoon margarine
1 cup dry pancake mix
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup evaporated skim milk
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Nonstick cooking spray, as needed
Heat the oven to 400 F. Lightly spray an 8 x 8-inch glass dish with cooking spray.
Combine cinnamon, vanilla, cornstarch, peach nectar, and pineapple or peach juice in saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture thickens and bubbles.
Add sliced peaches to mixture. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
In another saucepan, melt margarine and set aside.
In a glass baking dish, pour peach mixture.
In another bowl, combine pancake mix, flour, sugar, and melted margarine. Stir in the milk. Quickly spoon this mixture over the peach mixture.
Combine nutmeg and brown sugar. Sprinkle on top of batter.
Bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool and cut into 8 squares.
Nutritional information per serving: 271 calories; 4 g fat (less than 1 g saturated fat); less than 1 mg cholesterol; 263 mg sodium; 54 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 4 g protein; 284 mg potassium.
These are just three of the dozens of heart-smart recipes available from the NIH. Check out more and cook up a heart-healthy summer!