Janet's Notebook
Recipes to Cook With Fruits and Vegetables From Your Garden


Chicken and Strawberry Salad


We are heading to the point of the summer where gardens seem to start bursting from the seams. I know my garden is about to have an abundance of veggies. I'll give some produce away to family and friends but make sure to hold onto some of it too for these goodies. Here are a few of my favorite recipes using produce from the garden.

A bagel with cream cheese is an easy weekday breakfast. When I'm looking to be a little healthier, I love Marti Green's (Port Orchard, WA) Fat Free Vegetable-Cheese Bagel. It's packed with goodies like radishes, red and green bell pepper, celery, and scallions.

"I have made this ahead of time so it's on hand when I need a quick bite," shares Marti. "The best thing is, it's totally guilt free."

The crunch of the fresh chopped veggies is great with the creamy cottage cheese. Simple seasonings add tons of flavor. Keep a batch in the fridge for a quick and easy breakfast or snack. It's delicious!

Fried green tomatoes are a summertime favorite of mine. Allisha Bordelon (Coushatta, LA) marries them with my favorite summer sandwich for her Fried Green Tomato BLT Sandwich recipe.

"I had seen this on a restaurant's menu and I put it in my 'arsenal' for the right time," explains Allisha. "I was able to purchase 10 lbs green tomatoes this summer, so I knew fried green tomatoes were in our future. I can still taste how good they turned out!"

This sandwich is indulgent and so good. It really shows off the tomatoes' flavor by using light Panko breadcrumbs as a coating. Allisha thinks her roasted red pepper mayo makes the sandwich and I'd agree. It's the perfect touch and adds that last pop of flavor.

An onion and cucumber salad has always been a favorite of mine in the summer. Sallye Bates (Austin, TX) amps up her Fire & Ice Tomatoes recipe by adding green and red bell peppers along with a few dashes of hot sauce. The tomatoes, onion slices, and cucumber marinate in a sweet and tangy sauce that makes your mouth pucker a bit. It's a fantastic side dish for grilled chicken and fish.

"This recipe takes zucchini bread from good to great," says Diane M. (Twin Falls, ID) of her Pineapple Cranberry Zucchini Bread. "I've gotten many compliments on this bread. It's great for gifts, parties or just slice up a loaf and watch it disappear!"

In the Test Kitchen, we added the optional coconut and highly recommend it. The coconut helps to make this one of the moistest zucchini bread's I've ever had. Including cranberries is a nice change from traditional chocolate chips. This bread is so moist when you cut into it, it may break apart a bit. Make sure to grab every single crumb. It's that good.

If there's still zucchini left over from the bread, make Bobbie Seacrist's (Havre de Grace, MD) Zucchini and Squash Au Gratin. "This is an amazing side dish and cooks up so quick it won't heat your kitchen up," reveals Bobbie.

Squash is hard to dislike... and with this recipe, it's near impossible! The freshness of the zucchini is accented (not hidden) by the addition of cream and cheese. This side dish is simple and full of flavor.

Susan Cutler's (Anchorage, AK) Chicken and Strawberry Salad is a light and fresh salad. It's perfect if you're looking for a light meal and a great way to cook with strawberries (hopefully the squirrels and bunnies haven't eaten all of them yet). The dressing is sweet with a slight tang from the lemon juice, but the salty grilled chicken balances it out.

These garden goodie recipes are guaranteed to become a family favorite. Not only are they big on flavor, they're easy to prepare. That's a win-win in my kitchen. Happy Pinching!



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