It’s “Thyme” to Put All of Those Herbs to Use


Summer is here, which means that farmers markets and herb gardens across Michigan are full of basil, parsley, cilantro, mint and more. Having access to all those fresh herbs can be great, since you can use them to add flavor to all kinds of dishes without lots of calories. But herbs have a tendency to grow in abundance, which means that if you don’t know how to use them up, they can quickly go to waste.

Whether you want to perk up a roast chicken, bowl of pasta, or even a plain glass of water, these recipes will help you easily incorporate more herbs into your diet.

Make a rub for poultry: Thyme, sage, chives, parsley and rosemary are all perfect for seasoning chicken–whether it’s a simple breast or a whole bird.
Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken
Recipe adapted from The Lemon Bowl
Serves: 6
1 roaster chicken (around 4 pounds)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs rosemary
1 lemon, cut in half
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pre­heat oven to 400 degrees and place chicken on a rack in a roasting pan. Pat chicken dry with paper towel. In a small bowl, mix together softened butter, garlic, salt and pepper. Rub mixture over the chicken. Place thyme, rosemary and lemon halves inside the chicken. Drizzle the outside of the bird with olive oil, rubbing over the skin with your fingers to make sure it’s evenly coated in the oil. Roast in the oven until juices run clear when cut with a knife, 1 to ­ 1½ hours depending on the size of your bird. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should read 165 degrees. Let chicken rest five to 10 minutes before serving.
Nutritional information per serving, not including skin (yields 6 servings): 180 calories, 7.4g fat, 2.4g saturated fat, 449mg sodium, 1.6g carbohydrates, 25.9g protein, 0.2g sugar

Perk up boring water: Mint is a favorite for infusing flavor into water because of its refreshing taste–give it a shot with the recipe below. And don’t stop there! You can also try strawberries and basil, watermelon and mint, grapefruit and rosemary, mango and mint, or even cucumber, mint and jalapeño.
Mint-Lemon Water
2 quarts water
½ to 1 cucumber
1 handful mint
1 lemon
Fill up a pitcher of water. Cut cucumber and lemon into thin slices and chop up mint. Toss cucumber, lemon and mint into the pitcher of water and let it steep for a few hours in the refrigerator.

Mix up a pesto to add flavor to anything: Basil is remarkably versatile, especially when turned into flavor-packed pesto. Try it as a spread for sandwiches or a topping for pasta or scrambled eggs.
Classic Pesto
Recipe acapted from Eating Well
Serves: 16
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 large garlic clove
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Optional: ¼ cup walnuts, pine nuts or almonds, toasted
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse a few times to break up the larger pieces, then process until mostly smooth. You might need to scrape down the sides occasionally.
Nutritional information per serving (yields 16 servings): 83 calories, 8g fat, 1g saturated fat, 176mg sodium, 1g carbohydrates, 2g protein

Whip up a delicious herb dressing: Basil, mint and chives all go perfectly as a topping for a green salad, but play around with whatever herbs you have on hand.
Creamy Herb Dressing
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
Serves: 4
1/4 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup club soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Black pepper
2 tablespoons finely shopped fresh herbs, like basil, mint and chives
In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise and club soda. Stir in herbs and salt and refrigerate for a few hours.
Nutritional information per serving (yields 4 servings): 101 calories, 10g fat, 1.7g saturated fat, 370mg sodium, 0.6g carbohydrates, 1.5g protein, 0.6g sugar

Do you have a favorite way to use the produce you grow? For more kitchen inspiration, visit the blogs below:

This blog post is part of #HealthyMe, a personalized web experience based on your health and wellness goals. To sign up today, visit http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/healthyme.

 

Photo credit: Jonas Weckschmied

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