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Reader recipe: summer chicken puts to use the bounty of the garden

Spokesman-Review Food section reader Sheila Wood loves to make this recipe this time of year. It features fresh ingredients and provides “a light, low-calorie recipe perfect for a summer evening.” Chicken is flavored with garlic and basil – and is accompanied by one of the bounties of the garden that you can’t seem to give away fast enough this time of year: zucchini. Plus, it’s highly adaptable; most ingredients can be added as desired. Fresh, sweet basil, to taste.

Summer chicken

Garlic cloves, to taste

Olive oil for sauteing

Chicken breast, cut in bite-size chunks, as desired

Salt and pepper, to taste

Mushrooms, sliced, as desired

1 medium onion

1 large green pepper

1 zucchini

2 fresh tomatoes

Shredded Parmesan cheese, as desired

Cut the leaves from the sweet basil and discard the stems. Wash the leaves in a salad spinner and tear or cut with kitchen shears into wide shreds.

In a large frying pan, saute a few cloves (or a many as you like) of minced or crushed garlic in hot olive oil.

Add and saute the chicken pieces until no longer pink. Sprinkle with salt and pepper as you saute. Set the chicken aside.

Saute mushrooms until they are brown. Add onion, then pepper and then zucchini. As each softens a tiny bit, add the next group. Finish with the tomatoes.

Return chicken to the pan and mix into the array of veggies. Toss lightly with the basil. While the mixture is hot, sprinkle with Parmesan.

Note: The success of this dish depends on cutting the vegetables into chunks, not tiny pieces, and sauteing them lightly so that they stay crisp - with the exception of the mushrooms. I call it Summer Chicken because it’s best when you can harvest your own vegetables from the garden, especially the tomatoes, or buy from a produce stand, but it’s delicious all year around. When I want a heartier dish, I add steamed baby red potatoes.