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Stay cool with strawberries

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It’s almost summer, which means many of my favorite fresh foods are easily found, including strawberries.

If it wasn’t so hot in Texas, summer would be my favorite time of year. Nothing tastes better than fresh fruit and vegetables.

Each week at local farmers markets, I’m finding more variety, which makes cooking more fun.

During the weekend, I picked up fresh tomatoes and a variety of peppers and squash, along with a couple of more baskets of strawberries, some of which I’ll turn into jam and freeze to enjoy this winter.

While I can’t do anything about the sweltering temperatures ahead, at least I can stay cool with some of my favorite strawberry-filled foods.

STRAWBERRY AND CHICKEN SALAD

Serves: 4

Dressing:

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon water

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salad:

4 cups torn romaine lettuce

4 cups baby spinach

2 cups quartered strawberries

1/3 cup sliced red onion

12 ounces skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast, sliced

2 tablespoons sliced, unsalted almonds

½ cup crumbled blue cheese (optional)

To prepare dressing, combine first five ingredients in a small bowl. Gradually drizzle in oil, stirring constantly with a whisk.

To prepare salad, combine romaine and next four ingredients (through chicken) in a bowl; toss gently. Place about 2 cups chicken mixture on each of four plates. Top each serving with 1½ teaspoons almonds and 2 tablespoons cheese. Drizzle about 4 teaspoons dressing over each serving.

Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

STRAWBERRY WATER

Serves: 4

4 cups water

1/3 cup Splenda

6 cups hulled strawberries

¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

Combine water and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves. Place strawberries in a blender, and process until smooth. Combine the sugar mixture, strawberry puree and lime juice; stir well.

NOTE: If you don’t like strawberries, this recipe also works with watermelon. I’ve also made it with 2 cups strawberries and 2 cups kiwi.

Contact M. Clare Haefner at chaefner@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7551.

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