With market shelves full of recently harvested produce, it is a wonderful time of year to incorporate fresh vegetables into your daily dinner menu. Though the summer months always seem busier than I anticipate them being, and throwing a frozen veggie into the microwave is so easy, it really doesn’t take much longer to put together a delicious side dish made with a fresh vegetable. Here are five of my go to favorites.
For my family of four, I purchase four zucchini and cut them evenly lengthwise twice, then slice them so they form little ½ inch zucchini triangles. Next heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a non-stick skillet and throw in your zucchini once it is hot. Season liberally with salt and pepper and move the zucchini around as they cook. Once they are tender, remove from heat and toss with ¼ cup of parmesan cheese.
Buy a couple of heads of broccoli and cut them to suit your taste – some people like the stem, but if not, remove it and just use the crown. I use a regular pot with a steamer insert – super simple. Just put your insert in your pot, fill with water just below the height of the insert, and add your broccoli. Put the heat on high with the lid on the pot until it boils, then reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes (more or less depending on how firm you like your broccoli). For a bit of added flavor, after you drain your broccoli return it to the warm pot and mix with a tablespoon of butter – little goes a long way.
Skillet Green Beans
Purchase a nice bag of fresh green beans, then bring them home and rinse them and chop off the ugly ends. Heat up your favorite skillet and add two tablespoons of olive oil, then the green beans, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat until tender. Green beans take a while so you can turn down the heat and cover them if you have other things to do. To finish them off, squeeze a few squirts of fresh lemon over them, then toss and serve.
Corn on the Cob
This is by far the easiest way to cook corn on the cob, and it tastes phenomenal. Husk your corn if it didn’t come that way. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once it is boiling, add your corn, remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let it sit at least five minutes (it can sit longer and will still be fine). Remove your corn and season – my family likes butter, salt AND pepper. So easy, so good!!
Not only is spinach outrageously healthy, it is also simple to prepare and quite tasty! Purchase fresh spinach, or if you don’t want to spend time cleaning it, buy it pre-washed in a bag or bin. Heat two tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a skillet or pan – pretty much anything is fine. Add your spinach and toss it around – it will wilt down to less than half its size. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.