With summer comes the harvest, and we need some easy vegetable recipes. All those lovely vegetables are growing. Little by little they are maturing. At first not much. You go out every morning with your nippers to see what is ready to harvest. You bring a handful into the house. Not enough of anything for a "mess".
And of course it is hot, so we don't want to heat up the kitchen too much. We want easy vegetable recipes that yield quick, nutritious dishes,
I plan my evening meal around my harvest. I wash my vegetables, shake or pat the water from them, put them loosely in a zip lock bag and refrigerate until time to prepare them for the table.
This method of storing will keep the veggies fresh for several days if you are not ready to use them. If you have more green leafy vegetables than you can use in a few days, give it to the neighbors. Storing them in the refrigerator for more that 2 or 3 days robs them of the fresh nutrients.
Although the goal is to eat the veggies as they are harvested, root crops will keep in the refrigerator crisper for a week or more. Corn needs to be cooked and eaten within hours of harvest for its best flavor. Every day between harvest and cooking takes away some of the flavor
Other veggies, such as green beans, okra, squash, are best if not held more than one day. Like corn, they can be eaten later, but they are not at peak flavor.
Once cooked, leftovers can be reheated the next day or stored in the freezer for a week or two,
When vegetables from the backyard garden first begin to make, we have to be creative in using the first pickings. So what to do with one tiny zucchini, two peppers, and 3 pods of okra?
My idea of easy vegetable recipes are the ones that don't heat up the kitchen on a hot summer day. That would be microwave oven or Crock Pot slow cooker. But these work on the stove also.
Thinly slice whatever cooking vegetables you have gathered in the morning harvest. Mix together and layer on the bottom of a glass pie pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dot with tiny spots of butter or margarine. Microwave on high for 2 or 3 minutes, or stir-fry in a skillet until veggies are cooked to your liking. Serve as a side dish.
Wash and sort one or two cup of dried beans, black-eyed peas, or lentils. Cook in Crock Pot until almost done. Lentils and black-eyed peas will cook faster than beans.
Chop your morning gathering into small pieces. Add fresh herbs if you have grown them. Add them to the Crock Pot with the almost-done beans and cook on high for 30 to 45 minutes or until beans are soft. Add cooked chopped ham or other meats if desired. Serve with cornbread.
Add fresh chopped veggies and herbs to your favorite meatloaf recipe. Cook as usual, or try it my way. I put the meatloaf in a microwave-safe loaf pan and microwave, uncovered, on high for 6 ½ minutes (small microwaves take longer). I take the loaf pan from the oven and spread catsup on top and microwave for 5 minutes more.
Another way to cook it is to put it in a Crock Pot and cook on high for one hour, then turn to low temperature and cook 8-9 hours.
Meatloaf does not have to be ground beef. It can be ground chicken or turkey. Poultry loaves can have cream of mushroom soup instead of catsup.
Also try canned salmon or ground cooked ham for making the loaf. Ham loaf can be topped with cheese. Salmon is good with bread crumbs on the top.
Casserole With Fresh Garden Vegetables
Add freshly harvested chopped vegetables to your favorite casserole recipe. Cook in the microwave on high for 5 or 6 minutes, or until done.
Do you have a great recipe using vegetables? Share it!