Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Fare

Some friends from college and I have decided that we are going to lose weight together, as we've all gained some weight in the past 5 years (God, I canNOT believe it has been 5 years since I graduated!). We have a private facebook group where we discuss out progress and share ideas, since we are spread out across California. Well, that's not 100% true...they live in San Francisco and San Jose, and I am the lone wolf down here in southern California.

Anyway, I digress. Being a part of this group, I have been trying to focus on cooking healthier dinners, not only so I have something tasty and healthy to eat, but to have more recipes to share with my friends. So to my SF girls, here is a tasty, yet healthy, summer dinner! Can't wait to "show off" our progress in Vegas!

Bruschetta on whole wheat bread
Grilled balsamic veg
Grilled lemon and basil chicken

I looked at this recipe to get an idea of ingredients (beyond tomatos and basil) and quantities, but I did not follow it to a T. In fact, I increased the quantities on some ingredients to produce a more flavorful end result.

This was the perfect dish to utilize the numerous ripe tomatos and the bountiful basil I have growing in my container garden.

4-5 large tomatos
2 cloves garlic
10 basil leaves, torn
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Wash the tomatos and pull off any green stems. Don't worry about peeling off the skins. Dice the tomatos and put in a medium bowl.

Mince the garlic and add to the bowl. Wash the basil and tear it with your hands, adding to the tomatos and garlic.

Pour in the olive oil and balsamic and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Let this sit for an hour or so, allowing the flavors to meld together.

Just befor serving, slice your bread (I made a loaf using this recipe), and toast in the toaster or under the broiler. Spoon the bruschetta on top of each slice. Enjoy!

Grilled Veggies
I used a large zucchini and 2 yellow crook-neck squash.
USe whatever fresh produce you have on hand...this would be great with bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, etc.

Slice veggies lengthwise. In a large bowl, toss with olive oil (I sprayed mine with my oil mister, but about a tablespoon of oil works) and about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place on hot grill (or a grill pan on the stove top) and grill until cooked through. Flip over about halfway to get those yummy-looking grill marks on both sides of the veggies.


Lemon-Basil Chicken
I used this recipe with some adaptations. I added about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to bring together the flavors of all three dishes. I also added a clove of fresh garlic, minced, to increase the garlic flavor.

2-4 chicken breasts (I used 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (I just tore mine up by hand)
3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan (I didn't measure....I just dumped a bunch into the bowl)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 clove garlic, minced (my addition)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (my addition)
Dash of salt and pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, making sure chicken is well coated. Marinate for 1 hour (I marinated mine for about an hour and a half), stirring occasionaly.

Grill until cooked through.
Mix all ingredients together and let marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Heat grill to medium heat. Grill chicken until tender and completely cooked through.

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