Recipe of the Week: Zucchini Bites

Summer gardens all over Utah are bursting with tasty zucchini! These veggies are useful in so many ways, and both the flowers and vegetable parts are edible. In summer, when they are plentiful, zucchini is served sliced, diced, grilled, roasted, boiled, and baked into cookies and cakes.

Zucchini has vitamins like potassium, as well as dietary fiber, and some carbohydrates for energy, and preparing it with other fruits and veggies will boost the nutrition. You can cut zucchini into noodles and serve them with tomato sauce, slice it up and saute it with tomatoes, onions and cheese, or slice them and grill them to serve alongside fish, chicken or beef.

One really easy way to share zucchini with everyone in the family is to add cheese! Captain Create’s recipe for Zucchini Bites mixes eggs, cheese, and breadcrumbs to make a tasty and healthy side dish or snack. You can serve them right after summer school lets out, after swimming a few laps at the pool, or in the place of french fries at your next hamburger cook-out. Be sure to watch your zucchini plants if you have them in the garden; A tiny zucchini can grow into a giant zucchini overnight!

Try them this week and share a zucchini or two with your friends or family!

Nutrition Tip of the Week: Celebrate National Blueberry Month!

July is National Blueberry Month! These itty bitty berries are sometimes called a superfood because they have lots of vitamins, antioxidants, dietary fiber, and they taste super too! Blueberries are grown commercially in 26 states in the United States1 and lots of people grow them in their gardens, or hunt for wild blueberries so you can find them all across the country in stores, at farmers markets, or in the woods. Bears like to eat wild blueberries too, so be mindful if you live where there are wild things and go berry picking.

Blueberries are a nutritious and low-calorie food, and can be part of a healthy summer meal plan any time of day. From blueberry pancakes to blueberry salsa, these tasty berries fit into any meal!

How you do enjoy blueberries? Whether you eat them fresh off the blueberry bush, frozen in a smoothie, or preserved in jam, be sure to share with the people you love!

Resources

1-blueberry.org

Nutrition Tip of the Week: How to Choose a Watermelon

Hot summer days mean tasty watermelon snacks, salads, drinks, and even popsicles! But how do you know you’re getting a good one? There are a few clues on the outside of a watermelon to let know about what is happening on the inside of the watermelon. These tips work on any watermelon, whether you’re shopping in a store, at the market, or even wandering through a watermelon field to pick your own!

Captain Create’s How-To: Healthy Hydration in Red, White, and Blue

Summer time is a wonderful time to be outside playing games, swimming, hiking, or simply having a picnic, and staying busy means you’ll probably get thirsty! Stay hydrated on these hot days by keeping water with you, especially while hiking or swimming, since its easy to get absorbed in what you are doing and forget to get a drink.

It is hard to say exactly how much water each person needs a day. Eatright.org says there are many factors, like age, gender, and activity level that can make individual water needs vary. However, there are some basic recommendations – adult women need about 9 cups a day and men need about 12 1/2 cups per day. Kids can become dehydrated faster than adults because kids sweat less and tend to move more, so their body’s natural cooling system is not as effective as a teen or adult body.

Here are a few tips to help you get enough water each day, no matter your age!

  • Listen to your body. If you feel thirsty, stop what you’re doing and get a glass of water.
  • Carry a refillable water bottle. A water bottle on hand makes it easy to drink water. Make a goal to refill it several times a day to ensure you’re hitting the mark.
  • Add some flavor! If you don’t enjoy the taste of plain water, you’re not very likely to drink it. Try making infused water to boost your level of enjoyment.

What is an infused water? Its just water with “stuff” in it, and that stuff can be any combo of fruits, veggies, herbs and flavorings you’d like. Captain Create has a few ideas to share, and they’re color coordinated for the month of July! You can start here, or create your own recipe to help you have a fun and hydrated summer season.

Nutrition Tip of the Week: Great Grill Skills

July is National Grill Month! Its a great way to cook for quite a few reasons. Grilled food tastes great, grilling is an easy way to cook for a crowd, and many folks choose to cook outside to not overheat the house in summertime. Grilling uses direct heat to cook foods and requires a watchful eye to keep from burning. The direct heat sears the surface and caramelizes food to give a distinct flavor and texture. The food is crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside. Captain Create has a few tips and recipes to help you get the most out of yours, plus a bunch of tasty recipes you can try with your friends and family.

There are lots of different ways to grill food, lots of different types of grills, fuels, and cooking methods. Captain Create trusts you to read the manual to operate your type of grill correctly, and to use the right kind of fuel to create the heat your recipe needs. Even though there are many different grills out there, Captain Create has a few tips that can make your grilling month safe, healthy, and delicious. Read on to learn more!

  1. Clean Your Grates: Cooking on a clean grill makes everything easier! Grill grates need to be cleaned after you grill, when they are still hot to remove any left over bits of food, grease, or seasonings. Grates need to be cleaned again before you start because grills are outside, which means there is a chance dust and dirt have settled on the grates. Nobody wants to eat dirt!
  2. Preheat patiently: Follow the instructions to heat your grill, and WAIT for it to be properly heated. Putting cold food on a cold grill will lead to sticking, sad steaks, and saggy vegetables.
  3. Stay out of the Danger Zone: Keep your cold food cold (under 40 degrees), and keep your hot food hot (over 140 degrees) until you are ready to cook or eat it.
  4. Skip the Smash! Smashing your steaks, burgers, and veggies does give a satisfying sizzle, but it really just squeezes out all the juices to evaporate away, leaving your foods dry and chewy.
  5. Trust Your Thermometer! Yes, really. The best, and safest way to see if your foods are cooked to a safe temperature is to use your food thermometer.
  6. Flip Food Once, but Don’t Flip Your Lid: Grilling works best when foods have the chance to sear, which means they need time to get those good grill marks. Flipping the foods over and over does not allow for searing. The lid is on your grill to keep the heat in, so opening it over and over is going to let all the heat out, which means your food will take longer to cook!
  7. Let Meat Rest: After you have cooked your hamburger, chicken, or steaks cook, take them off and let them rest, covered, on a plate for a few minutes. This method allows the tasty juices to stay in the meat, and all the flavor too!
  8. Sauce at the End: Adding sauces too early can lead to burned, bitter sauce and to the foods sticking to the grill. That’s not the way Captain Create wants things to go at your grilled dinner!

Captain Create has quite a few friends that are great grillers, and the links to their recipes are below. Try them out and have a great grilling month!

Best Foods for 4th of July Grilling

Summer Food Safety // Grilled Beef and Veggies

Garlic Parmesan Steak Kabobs

Lemon & Feta Chicken Kabobs

Nutrition Tip of the Week: Early Summer Vegetables in Season

Summer is a busy time for everyone, but especially for farmers and gardeners! So many things are growing, and there are more fruits and veggies ready to eat every day. The cooler weather veggies, and the fast-growing veggies are ready first like asparagus, broad beans, broccoli, spring cabbage, kohlrabi, lettuce, salad onions, peas, early potatoes, radishes, spinach, and chard. Have you tried all of them yet? They add good color, flavor, and lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber to any meal.

There are a lot of ways to cook these early season veggies too! You can grill asparagus, broccoli, kohlrabi, and even lettuce! Potatoes are tasty when roasted, or cooked in a light soup with early peas, and radishes are tasty sliced over salads or as a taco topping. There are so many tasty ways to eat veggies, why stop with just one?

Summer time is salad time because it is hot outside, and hot inside if you’re using the stove or oven to cook. No-cook lunches and sides, like salads are a great way to enjoy early summer veggies without overheating.

Look at the bright colors of this Broccoli & Radish Salad by Captain Create’s good friend Candi over at Create Better Health Utah! You can almost taste it from her photo; Just imagine the crunchy broccoli, spicy radishes, and sweet red onions at your next family lunch or dinner cookout! YUM!

Here is her recipe, and you even get to make your very own salad dressing! What a good measuring and stirring job, while a big kid or grown-up slices up the onions and radishes… families that cook together tend to eat together, and kids who cook usually taste new foods that they got to make, plus many hands make light work. Call your friends or family together and assign tasks to make quick work of this tasty recipe, then try it!

Around the World in 80 Plates: Capri, Italy

It’s getting hot outside, and Captain Create has traveled to Italy to learn the origin of a very easy-to-make, and very tasty, cold salad! Caprese Salad is said to have originated on this tiny Mediterranean island to satisfy all the visitors and their appetites, because Capri has been a destination for a long time… Even the Ancient Romans loved it, and in 27 AD, Tiberius came here to live.

While Captain Create doesn’t know if Tiberius ate Caprese Salad, he might have because its pretty good. Capri is located just off the western coast of Italy, and experiences hot summers and cool winters. The mountains are steep, and the ocean is beautiful, so residents spend time outside enjoying all there is to see and do when they are not at work or school.

Swimming in the ocean, rowing boats, fishing, and climbing mountains are all fun things to do if you live on Capri. Italians love to play soccer too! They have club teams, city leagues, and premier league teams that play internationally. All that running and playing on hot days means that they drink water to stay hydrated and eat lots of tasty Italian food to keep their energy up.

Summertime is when you find the best fresh tomatoes, so its also the perfect time to make a Caprese salad. Any tomatoes will do, whether you have giant heirloom tomatoes, tiny cherry tomatoes or even yellow or green ones. Fresh mozzarella is a big part of this salad, and you can find it in the refrigerated section, and its a soft cheese, not the harder string cheese type mozzarella. There are no rules or measurements needed to make this salad either; so its really easy! It’s usually served as a starter in Italy, which they call antipasto, and its not served as a side dish during a big meal. It can be eaten any time of day, like lunch or dinner, or even breakfast if you’d like!

What kind of Caprese Salad do you think you’d like to make?

Captain Create How-To: Kitchen Skills Kids Need

Who can make a bigger mess in a kitchen? A grown-up or a kid? Actually, age doesn’t matter; Everyone can make a mess in a kitchen! While most adults will agree that they are always cooking or cleaning the kitchen, there are lots of kitchen jobs for kids to do too!

According to French Chef Jaques Pépin, kids belong in the kitchen as early as 3 or 4 years old! While a toddler in the kitchen can certainly make a big mess in a short amount of time, Chef Jaques says it’s worth the mess they will make because of all the things they will learn from it. In Chef Pépin’s view, cooking together as a family is the most important part. “Remember that the whole goal of teaching a child to cook is to end up with a meal that everybody enjoys, or that at least everybody shares-sharing in the cooking and the eating and in the conversation.”

Cooking teaches kids self-confidence, and helps them to choose lots of different foods and try new things as they grow up. Show and involve them in all of the parts of cooking a meal:

  • Writing a shopping list, including checking the pantry for things you already have at home
  • Buying the food, including checking prices and choosing foods
  • Reading the recipe all the way through before starting to cook
  • Washing hands with soap and warm water
  • Model safe cooking habits like using tools properly, cleaning as you go, and using oven mitts
  • No job is too small! Helping out in the kitchen with little or big jobs, like measuring, mixing, peeling are all a big help and part of making a meal.
  • Enjoy yourselves! Cooking together is a way to create memories and have fun as a family!

Nutrition Tip of the Week: Find it at the Farmer’s Market

Did you know that Utah is a great state for growing food? No matter where you are in Utah, you can probably find a farmer nearby. Some parts of Utah are flat, and have water nearby to grow crops that grow in the dirt like onions, potatoes, carrots, beets and turnips, or just above the dirt like tomatoes, eggplant, squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. Other parts of Utah are sloped places at the edges of big mountains, which creates the perfect place to grow fruit trees!

Farmer’s Markets are an easy place to meet the farmers, learn about how they grow the food, and probably taste something new! Some folks grow veggies and fruit, some raise animals to sell, and others make things like soap from goats milk, or knit with yarn spun from the wool of their sheep. Every market is different, so they are a fun place to stop, meet some farmers, and maybe learn about something new. There are markets all over Utah, so keep your eyes open!

Some farmers markets even offer Double Up Food Bucks, which means you can use your SNAP/EBT benefits at the market! This means that you, and your family, can get locally grown produce at its freshest, and the farmers get to sell what they’ve grown, which will keep their farm working and allow them to grow more! Find those markets here: https://www.uah.org/get-help/snap-farmers-market.

If going to the market seems like a big day with a lot to do, there are many things for kids to do at markets. They can practice their directions, reading signs, or using their manners when they talk to new people or buy something. Captain Create has a fun Scavenger hunt to help kids look around! Try it out and see how many things you can find at the next farmer’s market.

Around the World in 80 Plates: Caesar and His Salad

Have you ever wondered “Which Caesar?” when you’re eating a Caesar salad? Many people think of the former Roman ruler, Julius Caesar, who was also Cleopatra’s boyfriend when she began her reign of Egypt. While there is no proof that he didn’t make this particular salad, historians are pretty sure Julius Caesar was not a master salad maker.

There are a few different stories claiming that their hero was the inventor of the Caesar salad, but there isn’t any proof to support any of them. The most popular origin story of the Caesar salad as we know it states that it was made with food and ingredients leftover from a busy weekend, because there were hungry customers in the cafe but very little food left. This story says that in 1924, Caesar Cardini, an Italian man running a restaurant in the Hotel Caesar in Tijuana, Mexico, had a cafe full of people celebrating the 4th of July, but no food for anything that was on his menu.

What was he to do?!

He gathered a few things that he thought would taste pretty good together, two big spoons, a big bowl, and he drove it all into the dining room on a cart. Once he was at their table, he tossed all the ingredients together in a showy demonstration of salad making. The customers were so happy that they came back again and again, and brought their friends too, so that they could have a salad made by Caesar. This is a pretty good story right? It might be true, and it might not be, since we don’t have any more proof than someone claiming they’d made it first. Either way, its a really good salad!

Caesar salads are still popular, and the dressing, or ready-made salads, are available nearly everywhere in the United States. It is a lot more fun to make it at home if you get to do a table-side toss, and serve it to the table though. Want to know how?

From left: Captain Sal Cillo, Maitre d’Hotel Mauricet Doligene, and Captain Richard Biely help each other out in creating the perfect Caeser. (photo by Libby Volgyes/ Special to the Palm Beach Post) Palm Beach Post

Start with the dressing: Add ingredients one or two and a time, stirring in between until you have it all mixed up. This does make enough for a big table of people!

Next add the lettuce; There is no set amount, just add what you’d like to eat, or enough for the number of people at the table. Toss the lettuce to coat them each with dressing, then stack the lettuce neatly on everyones plate. Add a sprinkle of cheese, a few croutons and a sprinkle of salt and pepper (if your guests agree to it) and voila! You’ve done a tableside salad service! Good job Chef!

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