I love the flavors of the caprese salad: basil, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella. They are perfect for pasta, either a cold salad or a hot dish. If you can get a bunch of basil at your local farmers market, so much the better. Make this and a batch of pesto! This recipe will get dinner on the table in just a few minutes. Serve with a green salad loaded with veggies.
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Janet K. Keeler, Times food and travel editor
Tips from Janet's kitchen
• Think yogurt is always healthy? Think again and read the label. The best-for-you yogurt has only two ingredients: milk and live cultures. Add your own sweetener (honey) and fresh fruit, rather than buying super-sweet varieties. Also, remember fat-free doesn't mean calorie-free.
• Know your tolerance for heat when you use jalapeno peppers. When a recipe calls for two, I use only one, and I always remove all seeds and the ribs. Be careful not to rub your eyes or touch your lips after you work with them. And wash the cutting board thoroughly.
• Though cheese can have a lot of saturated fat, used sparingly it adds flavor and some protein to dishes. Sprinkle grated cheese on salads, pasta, vegetable dishes and soups.
• Have you ever eaten jicama, the root vegetable common in Mexico? If not, it is a cross between an apple and a potato — a little starchy and a little sweet. Crunchy, too. Get rid of the ugly brown peel and use the crispy flesh julienned, cubed or shredded in salads or as crudite. I like jicama sprinkled with cayenne pepper and a squeeze or two of lime juice.