Monday, June 29, 2015

1 Quality Produce Box Week 3: Summertime Sweet Strawberry Salad & Grilled Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Just a note for all of my new readers:

1st Quality Produce launched their new “Farm to Families” box last week, which includes 10-15 pre-selected fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season (and all grown in California). The box retails for $29.99(or less if you order more!), but would cost over $45 if you were to get the same produce at the grocery store. Not only is all of the produce in the box fresh and sourced from California, but everything is gluten free of course! The produce does vary from week to week, guaranteeing that customers receive what is the most fresh. Not only does this box save you time from going to the store (everything is ready for you in the box when you go to pick up), but you also know where all of the produce is being sourced from. The “Farm to Families” box is an innovative and convenient way to shop for local farm fresh produce. 


I first wanted to start out by saying that this year has flown by! As many of you are aware, this Saturday is the Fourth of July already. The Fourth of July often brings thoughts of BBQ, fireworks, sprinklers, swimming pools, and spending time with family and good friends. Fourth of July BBQ's mean the hot days of summer are here, cool drinks are close by, and there are plenty of opportunities for hot dogs, sandwiches, and hamburgers. However, with hot dogs, sandwiches, and hamburgers, comes hot dog buns, hamburger buns, and bread, while sadly all contain wheat/gluten. 

Although thinking about what one is going to eat at a Fourth of July BBQ is the last thing on most people's minds, for those of us with food allergies this particular holiday (like the many others) can require a little more planning than the average person. It is important to note that while it does take planning and a little research, it is possible to celebrate the holiday with one's friends and family without any worries about what will be on the menu. So instead I wanted to give a few tips about eating gluten-free at BBQ's on the Fourth of July, as well as what to bring to a potluck other that just the typical veggie tray (which is always a great standby still, but it is always fun to mix it up a little). A tip that is important to note is that vegetables and fruits (like the ones found in 1st Quality Farm to Families Box) are always gluten free and safe. Another tip that I have learned over the years of being gluten free is that salads are wonderful. I know that when I first started eating gluten free I used to dread salads, because I felt that was all that was available to me when I went to BBQ's or restaurants. However, I now realize that salads are great because they are usually your safest bet at a BBQ (just make sure to check the dressing and for croutons) and salads do not have to be all the same or boring. Salads instead can be a great canvas for a variety of flavors and textures. 


One salad that does not lack in the interest or flavor department is my recipe for this week using the 1st Quality Produce "Farm to Families" Box, known as my Summertime Sweet Strawberry Chicken Salad. This salad includes fresh sweet strawberries (from 1st Quality Produce), feta, toasted pecans, grilled chicken, red leaf lettuce(from 1st Quality Produce), and my homemade Grilled Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette. To all of you doubters out there that salad can be more than just rabbit food, I promise that this salad will change your mind. :) This salad also is also perfect to take to a Fourth of July BBQ as it includes both red and white colors (you can add some fresh blueberries to make it a red, white, and blue salad.) 





     1st Quality Produce Week 3 Box: 




                            

                           




So the real question then becomes now that you have all of this produce, what can you make for dinner? Besides the recipe below, you can use the baby carrots for a veggie tray or roast them with honey and thyme for an unexpected side dish, the cauliflower can be roasted with garlic and lemon or used to make a mock Alfredo sauce or mash "potatoes," green grapes are great frozen for a healthy summer treat, iceberg lettuce is great for a classic wedge salad, the mini watermelon can be grilled and topped with feta cheese and a drizzle of honey or frozen and used as ice cubes in a drink (see below), mushrooms can be used in pasta, plums are great for plum tarts or grilled (and topped with some vanilla bean ice cream), raspberries can be used in raspberries crumble bars, tomatoes can be sliced and used on hamburgers, and onions can be used to make gluten free onion rings. 


A couple suggestions for the 1st Quality Produce Week 3 Box: 

Cheese Quesadilla with 1st Quality Produce's Pico de Gallo 
1st Quality Produce's Pico De Gallo can be mixed into mashed avocados for a quick and easy guacamole  

Limeade with Watermelon "Ice Cubes"
(Cut watermelon into bite size pieces, freeze, and then use to keep your drink cold (and add extra flavor!) 
                              



Summertime Sweet Strawberry Salad 
w/ Grilled Chicken, Feta, and Toasted Pecans 



Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 15-20 minutes Yield: About 6 servings 

INGREDIENTS

·        4 Cups of Red Leaf Lettuce (Washed and Dried)

·      4 Grilled Chicken Breasts (or however much or little chicken you prefer)

·        ½ Cup of Feta Cheese

·        ¼ Cup of Toasted Pecans

·        1 Cup of Fresh Sliced Strawberries

·        ½ Cup of Grilled Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette (Recipe Below)  


DIRECTIONS

 

1. Preheat your grill. 

2. Season the chicken with garlic salt and pepper to taste. 

3. Grill the chicken breasts until internal temperature reaches 165 °F. 


Grilled Chicken (and Potatoes for Side Dish) 


4.  Place grilled chicken on a plate and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. 

5. Wash and cut the red leaf lettuce and strawberries. 

1st Quality Farm Fresh Strawberries 


6. Toast the pecans in a skillet for a few minutes (make sure to not burn your pecans!) 

7. Place the red leaf lettuce, grilled chicken, feta cheese, toasted pecans, fresh sliced strawberries in a bowl and drizzle with Grilled Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette. 


8. Enjoy!   


Grilled Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette  

                                           

Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 5 minutes Yield: About 6-10 servings 





INGREDIENTS


·    1 Cup of Grilled Strawberries


·      1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice

·        1 Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar 

·        1 Tablespoon of Canola Oil 

·        ½ Teaspoons of Sugar

·        Pinch of Salt and Pepper to Taste


DIRECTIONS

1.  Preheat your grill. 

2.  Wash the strawberries. Place the strawberries on wooden or metal skewers. Spray with non-stick cooking spray (I used canola cooking spray). 

3. Grill the strawberries on each side (about 2-3 minutes a side) until strawberries have visible grill marks. 



4. Let the grilled strawberries cool for a few minutes when you gather the rest of your ingredients. 
                                           


5. Place the grilled strawberries in your mini food processor (or blender). 
6. Pulse the grilled strawberries until liquefied



6. Add the lemon juice, canola oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper to the blended strawberries. 
7. Pour over your Summertime Sweet Strawberry Salad (recipe above). 
8. Enjoy!



Are you excited now? Order your Farm to Families fresh produce boxes today (Monday) through Thursday by 3 p.m. Boxes can be picked up Friday (July 3) at 1st Quality Produce, 2445 S. Gearhart St., Fresno. If you have an order of more than 20+ boxes, the boxes can be delivered to your location. If you order 11-19 boxes you only pay $26 and if you order 20+ you only have to pay $22 (get a group of friends, neighbors, or co-workers to order boxes too to get the discount!) For more information, or to order, call (559) 442-1932 (tell them the Gluten-Free Project sent you!) or email info@firstqualityproduce.com





Until Next Time,








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Monday, June 29, 2015

1 Quality Produce Box Week 3: Summertime Sweet Strawberry Salad & Grilled Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Just a note for all of my new readers:

1st Quality Produce launched their new “Farm to Families” box last week, which includes 10-15 pre-selected fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season (and all grown in California). The box retails for $29.99(or less if you order more!), but would cost over $45 if you were to get the same produce at the grocery store. Not only is all of the produce in the box fresh and sourced from California, but everything is gluten free of course! The produce does vary from week to week, guaranteeing that customers receive what is the most fresh. Not only does this box save you time from going to the store (everything is ready for you in the box when you go to pick up), but you also know where all of the produce is being sourced from. The “Farm to Families” box is an innovative and convenient way to shop for local farm fresh produce. 


I first wanted to start out by saying that this year has flown by! As many of you are aware, this Saturday is the Fourth of July already. The Fourth of July often brings thoughts of BBQ, fireworks, sprinklers, swimming pools, and spending time with family and good friends. Fourth of July BBQ's mean the hot days of summer are here, cool drinks are close by, and there are plenty of opportunities for hot dogs, sandwiches, and hamburgers. However, with hot dogs, sandwiches, and hamburgers, comes hot dog buns, hamburger buns, and bread, while sadly all contain wheat/gluten. 

Although thinking about what one is going to eat at a Fourth of July BBQ is the last thing on most people's minds, for those of us with food allergies this particular holiday (like the many others) can require a little more planning than the average person. It is important to note that while it does take planning and a little research, it is possible to celebrate the holiday with one's friends and family without any worries about what will be on the menu. So instead I wanted to give a few tips about eating gluten-free at BBQ's on the Fourth of July, as well as what to bring to a potluck other that just the typical veggie tray (which is always a great standby still, but it is always fun to mix it up a little). A tip that is important to note is that vegetables and fruits (like the ones found in 1st Quality Farm to Families Box) are always gluten free and safe. Another tip that I have learned over the years of being gluten free is that salads are wonderful. I know that when I first started eating gluten free I used to dread salads, because I felt that was all that was available to me when I went to BBQ's or restaurants. However, I now realize that salads are great because they are usually your safest bet at a BBQ (just make sure to check the dressing and for croutons) and salads do not have to be all the same or boring. Salads instead can be a great canvas for a variety of flavors and textures. 


One salad that does not lack in the interest or flavor department is my recipe for this week using the 1st Quality Produce "Farm to Families" Box, known as my Summertime Sweet Strawberry Chicken Salad. This salad includes fresh sweet strawberries (from 1st Quality Produce), feta, toasted pecans, grilled chicken, red leaf lettuce(from 1st Quality Produce), and my homemade Grilled Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette. To all of you doubters out there that salad can be more than just rabbit food, I promise that this salad will change your mind. :) This salad also is also perfect to take to a Fourth of July BBQ as it includes both red and white colors (you can add some fresh blueberries to make it a red, white, and blue salad.) 





     1st Quality Produce Week 3 Box: 




                            

                           




So the real question then becomes now that you have all of this produce, what can you make for dinner? Besides the recipe below, you can use the baby carrots for a veggie tray or roast them with honey and thyme for an unexpected side dish, the cauliflower can be roasted with garlic and lemon or used to make a mock Alfredo sauce or mash "potatoes," green grapes are great frozen for a healthy summer treat, iceberg lettuce is great for a classic wedge salad, the mini watermelon can be grilled and topped with feta cheese and a drizzle of honey or frozen and used as ice cubes in a drink (see below), mushrooms can be used in pasta, plums are great for plum tarts or grilled (and topped with some vanilla bean ice cream), raspberries can be used in raspberries crumble bars, tomatoes can be sliced and used on hamburgers, and onions can be used to make gluten free onion rings. 


A couple suggestions for the 1st Quality Produce Week 3 Box: 

Cheese Quesadilla with 1st Quality Produce's Pico de Gallo 
1st Quality Produce's Pico De Gallo can be mixed into mashed avocados for a quick and easy guacamole  

Limeade with Watermelon "Ice Cubes"
(Cut watermelon into bite size pieces, freeze, and then use to keep your drink cold (and add extra flavor!) 
                              



Summertime Sweet Strawberry Salad 
w/ Grilled Chicken, Feta, and Toasted Pecans 



Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 15-20 minutes Yield: About 6 servings 

INGREDIENTS

·        4 Cups of Red Leaf Lettuce (Washed and Dried)

·      4 Grilled Chicken Breasts (or however much or little chicken you prefer)

·        ½ Cup of Feta Cheese

·        ¼ Cup of Toasted Pecans

·        1 Cup of Fresh Sliced Strawberries

·        ½ Cup of Grilled Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette (Recipe Below)  


DIRECTIONS

 

1. Preheat your grill. 

2. Season the chicken with garlic salt and pepper to taste. 

3. Grill the chicken breasts until internal temperature reaches 165 °F. 


Grilled Chicken (and Potatoes for Side Dish) 


4.  Place grilled chicken on a plate and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. 

5. Wash and cut the red leaf lettuce and strawberries. 

1st Quality Farm Fresh Strawberries 


6. Toast the pecans in a skillet for a few minutes (make sure to not burn your pecans!) 

7. Place the red leaf lettuce, grilled chicken, feta cheese, toasted pecans, fresh sliced strawberries in a bowl and drizzle with Grilled Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette. 


8. Enjoy!   


Grilled Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette  

                                           

Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 5 minutes Yield: About 6-10 servings 





INGREDIENTS


·    1 Cup of Grilled Strawberries


·      1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice

·        1 Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar 

·        1 Tablespoon of Canola Oil 

·        ½ Teaspoons of Sugar

·        Pinch of Salt and Pepper to Taste


DIRECTIONS

1.  Preheat your grill. 

2.  Wash the strawberries. Place the strawberries on wooden or metal skewers. Spray with non-stick cooking spray (I used canola cooking spray). 

3. Grill the strawberries on each side (about 2-3 minutes a side) until strawberries have visible grill marks. 



4. Let the grilled strawberries cool for a few minutes when you gather the rest of your ingredients. 
                                           


5. Place the grilled strawberries in your mini food processor (or blender). 
6. Pulse the grilled strawberries until liquefied



6. Add the lemon juice, canola oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper to the blended strawberries. 
7. Pour over your Summertime Sweet Strawberry Salad (recipe above). 
8. Enjoy!



Are you excited now? Order your Farm to Families fresh produce boxes today (Monday) through Thursday by 3 p.m. Boxes can be picked up Friday (July 3) at 1st Quality Produce, 2445 S. Gearhart St., Fresno. If you have an order of more than 20+ boxes, the boxes can be delivered to your location. If you order 11-19 boxes you only pay $26 and if you order 20+ you only have to pay $22 (get a group of friends, neighbors, or co-workers to order boxes too to get the discount!) For more information, or to order, call (559) 442-1932 (tell them the Gluten-Free Project sent you!) or email info@firstqualityproduce.com





Until Next Time,








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