Summer Recipes from the Garden

By Taryn Bainbridge, CPA, CCIFP, CFE, Manager

Summertime is filled with picnics and barbeques, and even more so this year since COVID limited social gatherings last summer.  I personally love summertime food.  Anything that can be grilled is always a plus, and anything that uses homegrown vegetables is even better!  I thought I would share a few of my favorite summertime recipes that I look forward to each year and that I make using vegetables from my garden.

If you are like me and plant way too many tomato plants because you just love the taste of a homegrown tomato, you may have a bowl full of ripe tomatoes sitting on your counter come mid-August that you don’t want to go to waste.  A great side for any cookout is salsa and chips.  Here is my recipe for homemade salsa.  The more ingredients you can use from the garden, the better it tastes!

Garden Salsa

Mix the following ingredients together in a bowl and serve:

3 Cups of Chopped Tomatoes  

½ Cup of Chopped Green Bell Pepper

1 Cup of Diced Onion

¼ Cup of Fresh Cilantro

2 Tablespoons of Fresh Lime Juice

4 Teaspoons of Chopped Fresh Jalapeño Pepper (with the seeds for a little extra kick, if you prefer)

½ Teaspoon Ground Cumin

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

½ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Typically, Roma or Plum tomatoes are preferred for recipes as they don’t have as much “juice” to them, but I like to use a mixture of both plum, large, or grape.  Really whatever tomatoes need to be consumed before becoming too ripe.  You can also use more or less jalapeño depending on how spicy you like your salsa.

Double or triple the ingredients based on the number of people being served.  Don’t worry if there are leftovers because it tastes even better after sitting in the fridge for a day.

Do you need something to do with those extra-large zucchinis that seem to grow overnight?  Some people say they don’t taste as great that large, but they are perfect for making zucchini boats!

Zucchini Boats


1 Large Zucchini

1 lb Ground Turkey, Beef or Chicken (whichever you prefer)

1 Small Onion

1 Bell Pepper (Green, Red, Orange or Yellow)

1 Chopped Jalapeño Pepper (Optional)

2 Cups of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (or any cheese of your liking)

1 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Use a vegetable peeler to peel away some of the skin to make stripes on the outside of the zucchini all the way around.  Half the large zucchini long ways and scoop out the soft middle containing the seeds with a large spoon.  Be careful not to scrape out too much “meat” of the zucchini.

Use a brush and lightly coat the inside of the zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Put the 4 boats on a lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  Depending on the size and thickness of the zucchini, it may take more or less time.  After about 8 minutes I usually check the zucchini.  If you can stick a fork in fairly easily without too much force, they are done.  You don’t want to overcook them because they need to bake about another 6 minutes or so once filled with the meat mixture and topped with cheese.

While the zucchini boats are baking you can start the filling.  First, sauté the onion and bell pepper in olive oil in a large deep pan until they begin to soften.  Then add the group meat of your choosing and Worcestershire Sauce and cook the meat all the way through.  Remove from the heat and add in your optional jalapeño.

Once the boats are done, fill them with the meat mixture, top with shredded cheese and bake for an additional 6 minutes or until heated through and the cheese is melted.  Remove from oven and enjoy!

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