Cook It Quick Newsletter - August 2013

Questions or Comments? Email Alice Henneman, MS, RD, Extension Educator 

Cucumber, Lemon, Mint Cooler

cucumber, lemon, mint drink

Refreshing drink for a summer day - water, cucumber and lemon slices, a sprig of mint and LOTS of ice.

For an extra flavor boost, place several slices of lemon, cucumber and a few large sprigs of mint in a pitcher of water in the refrigerator about an hour or so before serving. Then, add to glasses to which fresh lemon and cucumber slices and a small sprig of mint have been added.

  (Photo by Alice Henneman)


Beet, Walnut and Goat Cheese Salad

Beet Salad

Beet salads often command a fairly high price in restaurants. However, it is easy to make yourself and many of the steps can be done in advance of assembling the salad.

If you don't care for goat cheese, this salad also tastes good without it.

 (Photo by Alice Henneman)


Fast One-Dish Pasta & Shrimp

Shrimp and pasta

If your pasta pot has a strainer insert, this recipe is so easy: 

  1. While the pasta is cooking, chop up some fresh veggies, such as tomatoes and cucumbers.
  2.  Drain cooked pasta, replace strainer insert, and cook shrimp according to package directions.
  3. At the same time, heat pasta and fresh veggies over medium heat for a few minutes in a small amount of olive oil.
  4. Add shrimp to pasta / vegetable combination. Add fresh basil at the end, if desired.

 (Photo by Alice Henneman)


Foods that Don't Freeze Well

 frozen lettuce

List of foods that do not freeze well (such as this lettuce!)

 (Photo courtesy of National Center for Home Food Preservation)


Freezer Jam

Freezer Jam

Freezer Jam - no canning required! Directions and several recipes from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

(Photo courtesy of Leigh Wolf at



Super Summer Sandwiches

Sandwich with basilLoad up your sandwiches with summer-fresh veggies. Give them an added kick by substituting basil leaves for lettuce and adding a dab of mustard to some reduced fat mayo.

(Photo by Alice Henneman)



Wash Watermelons (& Other Melons)!

watermelonsBacteria on the outside of melon are  transferred to the inner edible area when melons are sliced open.

Wash your hands and then wash the outer surface of melons thoroughly with cool tap water to remove surface dirt. Scrub with a clean produce brush and dry the melon with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Once melons are cut open, leave at room temperature no longer than 2 hours, total time.

Check the National Watermelon Board Promotion website for some fun ideas for carving watermelons.

 (Photo by Alice Henneman)

Canning & Freezing Pinterest Board

Canning and Freezing Pinterest Board

If you're trying to squeeze in some time for some canning and/or freezing this summer, save yourself time and possible trouble by checking out our "Canning and Freezing Pinterest Board" before you begin.

Canning methods aren't what they used to be; they should be based on or compatible with USDA's 2009 guidelines.

  (Jelly photo by Alice Henneman; all other photos courtesy of the National Center for Home Food Preservation)

"Shocking" Green Beans for a Salad

shocking green beans

Raw green beans may seem a little, too ... well ... raw ... for a salad. While cooked green beans may seem a little too mushy and dull in color. To make them "tender crisp" and preserve their green color, "shock" green beans:

  1. Toss about two cups of green beans into a big pot of boiling water.
  2. Cook until desired degree of "tender crisp" and green color.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl of water, filled with lots of ice.
  4.  Leave in until complete cool.
  5.  Remove, drain well and pat dry with paper towels.
  6. Use immediately or refrigerate and use later in the day.

  (Photo by Alice Henneman)

Seeding Cucumbers and Zucchini

removing seeds from a cucumber
Remove large seeds from cucumbers and zucchini by scraping them out with a firm, metal measuring spoon.

 (Photo by Alice Henneman)



Fruity Smart Tarts

Fruity Smart Tarts recipe

The containers are made from wonton wrappers and a little sugar and cinnamon. Created by my colleague, Cami Wells, MS, RD, as a treat for little kids, they are appealing to adults, too!

  (Photo by Cami Wlls)



Tip for Cooking Beets

Cooking Beets

When cooking beets, leave on an inch or two of the stems on top and the hair-like root on the bottom. This helps retain the and minimizes the color bleeding out.

  (Photo by Alice Henneman)




Our goal is to make you "hungry for healthy food" by offering tips and delicious, quick-to-prepare, inexpensive recipes. Preparing these recipes and using the tips will help you increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. At the same time, you will reduce sodium, solid fats, and calories. Food safety tips are included.

Terms of Use for Photos and Educational Resources developed by UNL Extension. Guidelines may differ for items linked to on other sites or photos not identified as taken by UNL Extension.