Super Stir Fry

Makes 2 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup


  • Choose 5 vegetables (½ cup of each)
    • Onion
    • Broccoli
    • Celery
    • Carrots
    • Peppers
    • Mushrooms
    • Squash
    • Zucchini
    • Cauliflower
  • Choose 1 starch (1 cup per person, cooked according to package directions)
    • Brown rice
    • White rice
    • Rice noodles
    • Whole-wheat spaghetti noodles
  • Other Ingredients
    • ¼ cup stir-fry sauce (see recipe below)
    • 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Wash and chop selected vegetables into small evenly sized pieces. You may cut them into circles, strips, or cubes as desired. A variety of shapes will make the stir-fry more pleasing to the eye.
  2. Make Stir-Fry Sauce (see recipe below).
  3. Heat a small amount (1 tablespoon or less) of vegetable oil over high heat in a 10-inch frying pan, electric skillet, or wok.
  4. Keeping the heat high, add vegetables to the pan in order of firmness–harder foods first and ending with the softest foods.
  5. Toss vegetables during cooking to keep them from sticking. When stir-frying, cooked vegetables should still be crisp and retain their bright color.
  6. Add sauce to taste (about ¼ cup). Stir-fry until all vegetables are thoroughly coated.
  7. Serve with the starch of choice.


Source: Cooking with EFNEP



Stir-Fry Sauce

Makes ½ cup


  • 2 tablespoons sodium-free beef bouillon
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dark molasses
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • Dash of black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch


  • Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and boil gently, uncovered for 5 or more minutes or until sauce is reduced to ½ cup.
  • When cooked, pour into a lidded jar and keep in the refrigerator.
  • Stir before using.

Source: Cooking with EFNEP

July is National Grilling Month

Nothing says “summertime” quite like grilling out! Having a cookout or barbecue in the summer is a great way to connect with your friends and family, play outdoor games, and enjoy each other’s company. While we often think of meat like hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken when we grill, you can also try grilling fruits and vegetables!

Grilling fruit brings out fruits’ natural sweetness. Try grilling fresh fruit like pineapple, peaches, pears, watermelon, apples, and mango. Canola oil has a mild flavor and makes a good choice for brushing on fruit when you’re grilling to ensure it doesn’t stick to the grill. You can cut fruit like peaches and apples in half for grilling. Grilled pineapple cut in rings is great served over fish. Serve grilled fruit with low-fat frozen yogurt for a delicious dessert sure to please the whole crowd!

Grilled vegetables have a distinct flavor, which might make children (and adults!) more willing to try them, so a cookout is a great time to explore new vegetables! To grill fresh vegetables, rinse the vegetables under running water. Chop vegetables into large chunks. If you’d like, you can put vegetables on grilling skewers. Brush vegetables with oil and seasoning or a marinade of your choice, such as this Olive Oil Lemon Marinade. Turn vegetables once during grilling and brush with additional oil and seasonings or marinade to ensure they stay moist and flavorful.

Vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, corn, summer squash/zucchini, tomatoes, and onions are popular grilling choices, but you can also grill other vegetables like artichokes, asparagus, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, green beans, potatoes, and turnips. 

Tell us what your family thinks of any grilled fruits and vegetables you try!

-Cara Mowery

Olive Oil Lemon Marinade


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon, or 3 Tablespoons of bottled lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme, or lemon thyme (if available)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste.


  1. Combine ingredients in a small container.
  2. When brushing on vegetables, swirl the mixture around and brush often to keep the ingredients combined.

Quick and Easy Summer Salad

Summer is the time when I am looking for great recipes to add to my go-to list. My new found Tomatoes, Onion & Cucumber Salad has been on my rotating list for side-dishes for a few months now, and it’s delicious every time I make it.

It tastes great with everything from grilled fish to chicken. You can also add pasta to this and make a great tasting pasta salad for your next picnic or get-together at home.

The salad is best served at room temperature but tastes excellent otherwise as well. I have made the recipe as is but I have also used red onions and cherry tomatoes because that is what I had on hand that day. However, I reduced the amount of red onion because it is bit overpowering for me. You can choose to edit this recipe to match your liking, and I am sure it will taste great.

Here is the recipe in detail for your reference.


  • 3 Tablespoons  rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper, or more to taste
  • 2 medium cucumber
  • 4 medium tomatoes , cut into 1/2- inch wedges
  • 1 Vidalia onion, or other sweet onion, halved and very thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley, chives and/or tarragon


  • Whisk vinegar, oil, honey, salt and pepper in a larger shallow bowl.
  • Slice the cucumbers into thin rounds. Add the cucumber slices, tomatoes, and onion to the dressing; gently toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.


Neha is a Special Programs Assistant for NC EFNEP

Nutrition information:

  • Per serving: 66 calories; 3 g fat(0 g sat); 2 g fiber; 10 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 36  mcg folate; 0 mg cholesterol; 7 g sugars; 1 g added sugars; 838 IU vitamin A; 18 mg vitamin C; 31 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 204 mg sodium; 361 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (30% daily value) 


Shop the local market for fresh produce

Farmers Markets are packed with fresh summer fruits and vegetables.  Watermelons, cantaloupes, fresh corn, cucumbers, tomatoes and squash are just a few of the food items found at many local markets. While, I don’t frequent Farmers Markets often (mainly due to the location from my home and because my local market is not open year-round), I like to go at this time of the year. There are so many varieties of delicious, freshly grown foods (especially fruits and vegetables) and homemade goodies such as jams/jellies, pickles. There are also baked items, which are typically local favorites made by hometown residents. Visiting the market also allows for interaction with farmers, neighbors and friends.

During a recent purchase, a friend noticed that the strawberries he bought from the local grocery store were grown by a local farmer from the county. He was so excited to know that his purchase is helping to support the local farmer in our community.

While, I really like the offerings of a Farmer’s Market, there are some valid reasons to purchase foods there. Firstly, they’re local and local foods are usually fresher and more nutritious. Since a shorter distance is traveled to where the food is sold, most local fruits, vegetables, and dairy products are fresher. Some are harvested within 24 hours of being purchased! This freshness is directly related to its nutritional value, as nutritional quality degrades rapidly after harvest.

At a basic level, when you buy locally, more money stays in the community. Money that stays in the community circulates and benefits all sectors of the local economy and therefore increases the quality of life we enjoy in our communities.

Buying from local farmers helps to preserve farmland and rural culture. Whether it is directly at a farmers market or at the local foods section of a grocery store, buying a local farmer’s product helps keep that farmer farming and in business.

Food produced and marketed locally uses much less energy for transportation and storage. Reducing the energy used means less air and water pollution, which is another way we can help sustain our resources for future generations.

When food is marketed locally, farmers aren’t limited to growing varieties that are bred for long distance shipping and long shelf lives. Local foods are often heirloom varieties that have been passed down through generations, which are usually especially delicious!

Finally, since local foods are not stored for long periods of time or transported long distances, fewer post-harvest treatments are needed. Wax coatings to prevent water loss and fungicides to prevent decay are used to preserve fruits and vegetables that travel long distances.

Local foods are really a win-win and something we can all support.

I encourage you to be a patron at your local Farmer’s Market. If you are unaware of the Farmer’s Markets in your area, here is a helpful resource. The North Carolina Farm Fresh is a directory of pick-your-own farms, roadside farm markets, and farmers markets throughout North Carolina. It is designed to help you find the freshest locally grown fruits, vegetables, plants and other items. Click the following link to find a market in your area:


Stephanie is the EFNEP Extension Associate for counties in the Southeast Unit.

Healthy eating on a budget!

Eating healthy on a budget can be really hard, especially if you’re paying for rent, gas, and other necessities. However, it can be done. The first step to successfully budgeting a healthy meal is to just create a game plan for your groceries. Research and look up tips for healthy, low-cost meals and master the skill of finding the best deals on items.

Shopping smart is the key to eating healthy on a budget. Realizing that the “unit price” is the better option for you can be beneficial in the long run. Reading each food label can also help make decisions easier when being mindful of healthiness. Each aisle of the grocery store has deals and discounts. Finding those will also benefit anyone on a budget. Preparing healthy meals can be easier by using kitchen timesavers. This makes it easier because you can make meals faster and more efficiently. Looking up new recipes to try can also help make things less complicated. Plus, this can bring a family together by introducing new things to meals.
There are plenty of budget-friendly recipes to choose, from a slow-cooked beef stew to summer chicken spring rolls; there are a variety of healthy recipes that factor in a budget. There are other options such as a grilled salmon, avocado salad and pesto chicken kabobs.

There are even tofu stir-fry options for those who are vegetarians. Making menus for every 2-weeks is also a budget-conscious habit that can save money and benefit health-wise. Keeping grocery and pantry staples lists are also great ideas in following a budget. Referring to the ChooseMyPlate model can also be informative on which food groups are needed in each meal. Utilizing your resources such as SNAP-ED and FNS can also help save money and accomplish healthy meal preparation.



Taylor is a student intern working with EFNEP at N.C. Cooperative Extension, Pitt County Center.