Late summer bounty can be put to good use in the kitchen

The later stages of summer signal our garden harvests are in full swing.

I try to use fresh fruits and vegetables in meals I prepare to keep us hydrated naturally as we head back to school, out to the field or to the office. Hydrating our bodies is important not only during summer, but all year through.

Cranberry roasted chicken

I often prepare this simple and convenient recipe for harvest. If there are leftovers, you can make delicious sandwiches.

  • 1/2 c. sauce of your choice (maple syrup or salad dressing such as Catelina, French or Russian or Gourmet Chicken and Rib Diana Sauce) 125 mL
  • 1 can cranberry sauce
  • 6 chicken breasts

Season with a covering of La Grille Barbeque Chicken or a mix of salt, pepper, garlic powder and seasoning salt.

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

In a small bowl, combine the chosen sauce and cranberry sauce and set aside.

Place chicken breasts into 9 x 13 inch (22 x 33 centimetre) oiled baking dish. Season to personal taste.

Pour sauce over chicken.

Cover and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.

Serves four to six. Source: adapted from www.tasteofhome.com

Note: The seasoning mix and gourmet sauce are available in most grocery stores.

Roast garden potatoes with sweet carrots

This is a seasonal accompaniment to the chicken entrée that is also done in the oven, making preparation and cleanup a breeze.

  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and thinlysliced 6
  • 6 carrots, sliced 6
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil or oil of your choice 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. butter 30 mL
  • salt, pepper and seasoning salt to taste
  • top with chopped dill or parsley if desired.

Place the potatoes and carrots in a 15 x 10 inch baking dish. Drizzle the oil over the vegetables and herbs, mix thoroughly and dot with pieces of butter. Cover and roast in the oven for one hour at 350 F (180 C) or until potatoes are tender. Serves six.

Cream sauce

Often with new garden produce that has been roasted or boiled, we prepare a sauce that enhances the taste.

Now this extra step is optional, but a real treat, especially if you have fresh dill on hand.

  • 2 tbsp. butter 30 mL
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • Fresh dill leaves, a handful
  • 2 tbsp. flour 30 mL
  • 1/2 c. cream (half and half) 125 mL

Sauté the chopped onion and fresh dill in butter. Add the flour and cream. Stir as it cooks and thickens.

Marinated cucumber salad

Did you know that lettuce, greens and raw cucumbers deliver 90 to 95 percent water to your body, making cucumbers a great snack and an amazing ingredient?

  • 1 c. mayonnaise 250 mL
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. sugar (start with 1 tbsp. adding more if you want more sweetness) 15 to 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar 15 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 4 c. sliced cucumbers 1 L
  • fresh cut dill greens with no stems
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion optional 125 mL

In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and salt. Add cucumbers and cut dill; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for two hours.

Serves six to eight.

Fresh peach crumb bars

This simple recipe can be adapted to any of your favourite fresh summer fruits.

  • 1 c. sugar250 mL
  • 3 c. flour 750 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 mL
  • 1 c. cold butter, cut into cubes 250 mL
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. sugar 125 mL
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch 15 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 mL
  • 5 large peaches, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice 5 mL
  • 1 c. icing sugar 250 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract 1 mL
  • 1 tbsp. milk (more or less for desired consistency) 15 mL

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C) if using a glass pan, or 375 F (190 C) for a metal pan. Lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan and set aside.

In a mixing bowl combine the one cup of sugar, three cups flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Using a pastry cutter, blend in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse sand.

Add the lightly beaten egg and mix until the dough starts to hold together, but is still crumbly.

Press a little more than half the dough into the prepared pan.<

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Add the diced peaches and toss to combine. Drizzle the lemon juice over the peaches and toss to coat.

Pour the peach mixture over the crust and spread evenly. Using your hands, press together handfuls of the remaining crumb topping to create clumps. Scatter the clumps and remaining crumbled topping over the fruit layer leaving some peaches showing through.

Note: If using a glass pan, bake at 350 F for 50-55 minutes or until lightly browned. If using a metal pan, bake at 375 F for 40-45 minutes.

Cool completely, then chill before cutting into about 20 squares.

Whisk together the powdered sugar, almond extract and milk. Drizzle on the bars just before serving. Source: adapted from www.allrecipes.com and www.savingdessert.com.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Fresh watermelon salad

Watermelon is more than 90 percent water, with the added benefit of vitamin C and lycopene in the red colour.

  • 3 c. watermelon (cut into cubes) 750 mL
  • 1 c. cucumbers (chopped) 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. chopped red onion 125 mL
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette dressing ofyour choice 30 mL

In a large mixing or salad bowl combine the ingredients. Let sit for at least 10 minutes, then remix and serve.

To change it up, add berries such as blueberries or strawberries, which are about 91 percent water, and are wrinkle fighters that contain minerals and antioxidants such as vitamins C and B3 that offer protection from sun damage.

Plum torte

Each year we enjoy the small purple plums in our harvest lunches and in baked desserts. Such a seasonal treat.

If there are any left, I freeze them for use in winter.

  • 3/4 – 1 c. sugar 175 mL – 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened 125 mL
  • 1 c. flour 250 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 5 mL
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 24 halves pitted purple plums(12 plums)
  • topping: sugar (1 tbsp.), lemon juice (2 tsp.) and cinnamon(1 tsp.)

Heat oven to 350 F (180 C).

In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs and beat well.

Spoon the batter into a spring-form pan of eight to 10 inches, or a 9 x 13 inch pan. Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and lemon juice and cinnamon.

Bake for about one hour. Remove and cool. Serve plain or with ice or whipped cream. (To serve a torte that was frozen, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300 F.)

Zucchini chocolate chip muffins

Delicious with coffee or with fresh fruit.

  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 375 mL
  • 3/4 c. sugar 175 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. oil 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. milk 60 mL
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice 15 mL
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 5 mL
  • 1 c. shredded zucchini 250 mL
  • 1/4 c. miniature semisweet chocolate chips 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. chopped walnuts 60 mL

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Beat the egg, oil, milk, lemon juice and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in zucchini, chocolate chips and walnuts. Fill 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.

Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins. Source: www.tasteofhome.com

Jodie Mirosovsky is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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