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Hy-Vee Dietitian: Zucchini

Like most produce, zucchini is a nutritional powerhouse. Zucchini is high in vitamin C, and contains vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, vitamin K and folate. When selecting zucchini, look for firm, shinny skin that is free of cuts and bruises. Zucchini should be solid and heavy for its size. Store zucchini in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 4 or 5 days. Cooked zucchini should be also be stored in the refrigerator but used within two days. Zucchini is a tasty vegetable that can be eaten raw; however, it is most often cooked. Cooking zucchini is simple and very quick. Here are a few different ways to cook zucchini.

1. Cut zucchini into slices.
2. Lightly brush will olive oil, add a dash of salt and place on medium hot grill.
3. Grill for 3 minutes on each side.

1. Cut zucchini into slices and then cut slices into quarters. Meanwhile heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add olive oil to skillet.
3. Add zucchini to the skillet. Cook and stir an additional 2 minutes or until vegetables are slightly softened.
*Add to omelets, casseroles, stir-fry dishes, lasagna and pasta dishes.

1. Cut zucchini into coin sized pieces. Lightly brush with olive oil and season with garlic, salt and pepper.
2. Place cut vegetables in a single layer on parchment-lined baking tray.
3. Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes, stirring several times while baking, until all vegetables are softened & browned.

Try these delicious recipes that incorporates zucchini:

Simple Stir-Fry
Ingredients are suggested below; however, use whatever vegetables you have on hand that you like.

All you need:
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
· 1 green or yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
· ½ red onion, cut into chunks
· 1 zucchini, sliced into ½ inch rounds
· 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
· Handful of fresh herbs, washed, stemmed and snipped (or use dried herbs to taste)
· 1 container grape tomatoes, cut in half

All you do:
1. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to skillet and swirl to coat.
2. When oil starts to shimmer and have a fragrance (but not smoking), add the vegetables except for the tomatoes, herbs and garlic.
3. Stir frequently about 4 minutes until vegetables are brightly-colored and tender/crisp to taste. Reduce heat to medium.
4. Add the garlic and stir constantly for a minute. Add the chopped herbs and the grape tomatoes and stir frequently until tomatoes start to wrinkle and soften, 1 – 2 minutes.
5. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and serve.

Source: Hy-Vee Dietitians

Chicken and Vegetable Pasta

All you need:
· 2 tbsp olive oil
· 1 medium zucchini, washed and sliced and quartered
· 1 fresh red pepper, sliced
· 1 fresh green pepper, sliced
· 2 cans Italian seasoned diced tomatoes
· 2 cups cooked penne pasta noodles
· 1 tbsp basil (fresh, chopped or dried)
· 1 tsp ground black pepper
· 6 oz chicken strips (or 1 box of Hormel Natural Choice Chicken StripsTM)
· ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
· lime juice (either ½ of a fresh lime or 2 tbsp juice)

All you do:
1. Place zucchini, peppers, black pepper, basil, and olive oil in deep skillet. Sauté over medium heat until soft, stirring often.
2. Add cans of tomatoes (with juice), penne noodles, and chicken. Allow to heat thoroughly and let simmer for at least 5 minutes.
3. Top with Parmesan cheese and lime juice.

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