When you're too tired to turn on the oven, try these Low-cal, No-Cook Meals...

Serves as many as you want to feed...

What you need
   You don't always need to turn on the stove in the winter or the summer to get a healthy light meal. If you are not in the mood to grll, use one of these light and no-cook meals.  You will feel healthier and refreshed.  If your resolution was to eat light and lose a few pounds, these recipes are for you.  The point is that they are all healthy, fast and &Easy, you can put them together in minutes when you get home from work, and you will watch your waistline decrease!  (at least, that's MY goal!) 

DON'T COOK

How to
CAUTION: Some of these recipes do call for using a microwave, or boiling water on the stove.  Although we don't consider this actual "cooking," please be careful and use them at your own risk.  If you are truly a beginner at light food cooking, look through the salads and find your additions at the deli counter.  You will see that you can work wonders with a few ingredients from the pantry, a store-bought rotisserie chicken and some fresh greens.  So keep your mind open....
    Don't forget about your slow cooker - it can perform wonders for the working mom and you will find a special section dedicated to that alone, my favorite appliance!
   You may also want to take a look through soups and chilis, which I'm also moving to this section, because not only can you cook them in the slow-cooker, but when paired with a salad you have a healty, light and nutritious meal - often vegetarian and low calorie!

Serves 4

What you need
       Watermelon. My absolute favorite summer food. Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner - it doesn’t matter.  A dash of salt is all I need to make it a meal.  Add some crumbled Feta Cheese for a 2 course meal.  Add Arugula and Balsamic Glaze for a complete dinner.  So this is the reason I was so thrilled to come across this wonderful recipe on Pinterest from www.howsweetitis.com.  The perfect watermelon delight.  You MUST, ABSOLUTELY MUST TRY THIS!!!
2 large, round watermelon slices, each cut into 4 triangles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons honey
1 pint of grape tomatoes, quartered
4 ounces of fresh mozzarella, cut in half or sliced
a bunch of fresh basil leaves
balsamic glaze for drizzling

HONEY GRILLED WATERMELON CAPRESE SALAD

How to
     Preheat your grill to medium heat. Brush both sides of each watermelon triangle with olive oil and season all sides with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of honey over each triangle and place them on the grill, grilling each side for about 2 minutes. Remove and add a little more honey if desired.
Assemble salads by placing 2 watermelon triangles on each plate, then cover with a sprinkle of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves. Add some salt and pepper on top, then drizzle with balsamic glaze. Serve!

Serves 4

What you need
   In 15 minutes you can transform rotisserie chicken into dinner by topping chicken quarters with a mixture of fresh peaches, peach jam, basil, feta cheese and glazed walnuts.

2 tablespoons walnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons peach jam (melted slightly in the microwave
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ripe yellow peaches, peeled and sliced
1 rotisserie chicken, quartered and skinned
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup glazed walnuts or other glazed nuts*, chopped

Chicken with Peach Basil Glaze

How to
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, jam, cayenne, vinegar, and salt. Add peach  slices and gently toss to coat with dressing.
   2. Arrange chicken on a large platter. Evenly spoon peaches and dressing over chicken. Sprinkle with basil, feta, and walnuts.
   *Look for glazed walnuts in the nut or produce section of your supermarket.

Serves 4

What you need
You don't see this salad much anymore, but we should give it a come-back! Here, with the nonfat buttermilk and the healthy oil from the avocado, the dressing is actually healthy!  The dressing combined with fresh shrimp, cucumber, artichoke hearts and cherry tomatoes makes for a lovely fresh taste, and filling enough for dinner.

  • 1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as tarragon, sorrel and/or chives
  • 2 teaspoons tarragon vinegar, or white-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste, or minced anchovy fillet
  • 8 cups bite-size pieces green leaf lettuce
  • 1 lb peeled & deveined cooked shrimp, (21-25 per pound)
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 cup rinsed and chopped canned artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • Green Goddess Salad

    How to
    1. Puree avocado, buttermilk, herbs, vinegar and anchovy in a blender until smooth. (or mash avocado and andchovy and shake or wisk)  You can do this up to one day ahead.
    2. Divide lettuce among 4 plates. Top with shrimp, cucumber, tomatoes, chickpeas, artichoke hearts and celery. Drizzle the dressing over the salads.

    (You can't make them much easier than this!)

    Serves 4

    What you need
    This simple bean and salmon salad becomes something truly exciting when dressed with a bold dressing flavored with anchovies and arugula.  The original recipe used canned salmon, which I think is awful, but if you want to go that way just substitute equal amounts for the tuna. And if you hate anchovies, leave them out!  But they do bring a richness to the salad that is unmatched.

  • 1 1/2 cups baby arugula
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (I use garlic paste in dressings)
  • 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallot
  • Pinch of salt, plus 1/4 teaspoon, divided
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cans Progresso (yes it makes a difference) cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
  • 2 cans Italian Tuna (its best), or white chunk
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes (optional)
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick (or thinner)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 large leaves butterhead or Boston lettuce
  • 1 or 2 avocados, sliced
  • Tuna, Avocado & White Bean Salad

    How to
    1. Place arugula, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, anchovies, shallot and pinch of salt in a food processor; process until finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in oil.  (You can also do this by hand, just smash up the anchovies and use garlic paste, the wisk the oil in)*
    2. Gently combine beans, salmon, radishes, celery, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl. Pour in the dressing and gently toss to combine.
    3. To serve, line 4 plates with a lettuce leaf. Divide the salad evenly among the plates. Garnish with avocado slices, if desired.

    note: I hate having to lug out the food processessor, so most times I will give you an alternate suggestion

    note:  photo from eatingwell.com is with salmon. recipe substitutes tuna

    Serves 4

    What you need
       This delicious no cook salad has a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. Well, you do have to microwave the rice, but that's easy and cool. You could pick up a carton of cooked rice from your local Asian take-out place as a substitute. It's always perfectly cooked and ready to go.

    1/3 cup oil
    2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
    1 Tbsp. lemon juice
    3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
    dash white pepper
    2 (10 oz.) pkgs. frozen microwaveable brown rice
    2 cups cubed cooked turkey
    1 cup sugar snap peas, halved
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    2 green onions, chopped
    1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pistachios
    1 avocado, peeled and cubed

    Turkey & Rice Salad

    How to
       It's this easy: Combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and pepper in medium bowl and whisk vigorously to combine. Microwave rice according to package directions. Add along with remaining ingredients except walnuts (or pistachios) and avocado, to dressing in bowl. Toss gently to coat, then cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours. Add walnuts and avocado just before serving.

    Serves 6

    What you need
       No one thinks about Sweet Potatoes this time of year.  But they're out there at every store, and they're good for you.  And you cannot use the excuse that you have to boil or roast them, because this recipe uses canned sweet potatoes.  That and fresh veggies are the secret to this very different potato salad. It's perfect to make for a last-minute picnic, or just when it's too hot to cook. It even has a little spice to give it some kick.  And if you're dead set against using sweet potatoes in the summer, you can use butternut squash instead (in your grocers freezer already chopped!)

    (15 oz.) cans sweet potatoes, drained if necessary
    2 stalks celery, diced
    4 green onions, sliced
    1 green bell pepper, diced
    5 oz. (half of 10 oz. jar) Durkee's Sandwich Sauce* (Dijon & Italian dressing)
    1/4 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing (I prefer mayonnaise)
    2 packages Purdue chicken short cuts.
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Sweet Potato Salad

    How to
       In large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix and mash slightly with potato masher, add the chopped chicken. Serve immediately, or chill in the fridge for an hour or two.
       *If you can't find the Durkee's Sandwich Sauce, substitute a mixture of Dijon mustard and salad dressing.

    Serves 4 - 6

    What you need

         Yes, you can actually make this meal the no-cook way (except for boiling the water to warm the noodles.  If you like them cold, that's ok too.  You just need to make a stop or 2 on your way home.  Stop in at the marked (Chinese, if you can) and pick up barbecued or smoked duck there, along with the fresh egg noodles. Or even, smoked chicken or turkey from the Deli would be fine. You can even use your own leftovers.  At least its not another salad!  

    Dressing

    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
    • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

    Noodles

    • 3 1/2 ounces snow peas or sugar snap peas, thinly sliced lengthwise (about 1 1/2 cups)
    • 1 red bell pepper, cut into matchstick-size strips
    • 1 17-ounce (425-gram) package thin fresh Chinese egg noodles*
    • 1 pound smoked duck, turkey, or chicken, cut into 3x1/4-inch strips
    • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
    • tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
    • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced jalapeño chile with seeds (preferably red)

    *Fresh Chinese egg noodles are available in most larger supermarkets, or the refrigerated section of Asian market, or even the local Chinese restaurant.

    Asian Smoked Duck (or chicken) Noodle Salad

    How to

    Dressing

    • Whisk soy sauce, olive oil, hoisin sauce, and rice vinegar in large bowl to blend. Let dressing stand at room temperature while preparing noodles.

    Noodles

    • Place sliced snow peas and bell pepper strips in medium bowl. Bring kettle or large saucepan of water to boil. Pour boiling water over snow pea mixture and let soak 10 seconds. Drain well. Rinse mixture with cold water and drain again. Place egg noodles in large bowl. Bring kettle or large saucepan of water to boil, then pour boiling water over noodles; stir noodles to separate. Let noodles soak 10 seconds. Drain well. Rinse noodles with cold water; drain again.
    • Add snow pea mixture, egg noodles, smoked duck, cilantro leaves, green onion, and jalapeño to bowl with dressing. Toss well to coat. Divide noodle mixture among plates and serve


    Recipe & photo  http://www.bonappetit.com/

    Serves 4 - 6

    What you need
       Sometimes, there’s only one answer to a hot summer day - nachos & beer (or lemonade.  Not only are they delicious but if you’re think about it a little bit, you can layer all of the cheesy, crunchy, crowd-pleasing layers with more healthful fare, making it an actual well-balanced meal.  There is a bit of heat needed here, just for a few minutes, under the broiler or on the grill.  

    1 bag of your favorite tortilla chips
    1 c. sharp cheddar cheese (2% if you want to keep it light)
    1 pint chopped cherry tomatoes (or 1 can diced Rotes, very well drained)
    1 log feta cheese (you can get the low fat crumbled already)
    1 can black or pinto beans, rinsed and well drained & dried
    1 jar tomato salsa, or salsa verde
    2 ripe avocados
    handful of minced cilantro
    juice of 1 lime
    2 tbsp minced onion or shallots
    1 pt. nonfat greek yogure

    Optional Layer
    1 head Iceberg lettuce, cut in half and shredded
    juice of half a lime,
    1 tsp sherry vinegar
    3 tsp olive oil

    No-cook Dinner Nachos

    How to
    -Layer one large baking dish (a pizza tray would work great - since you can even do this on the grill) with your favorite tortilla chips.
    -Sprinkle shredded cheddar on top of the chips, making sure each chip has some on top. (layer 1)
    -layer chopped tomato pieces on top of cheese layer. (layer 2)
    -Sprinkle tomatoes with crumbled feta cheese. (layer 3)
    -Spread a layer of beans on top of feta. (layer 4)
    -Spoon dollops of your favorite salsa on top of feta. (layer 5)
    -Mash 2 avocados with a handful of minced cilantro, the juice of one lime, half of a chopped sweet yellow onion (optional). (Now you have instant guacamole!), but do not put on nachos yet.
    -Turn on broiler or grill and place nachos under broiler, or on grill. (rack should not be directly under heat but closer to the middle of the oven). Watch carefully and rotate once. When cheese is melted and top is bubbling, make sure chips do not burn!.
    -Remove nachos and let sit for a minute so they’re not raging hot.
    -Top with spoonfuls of your avocado mash and Greek yogurt. (layers 6 & 7)
    -Sprinkle with chopped canned green chiles or pickled jalapenos (layer 8).

    **NOW this is an optional layer but it actually makes this dish even better/more nutritious, and if your kids don’t mind salad, I highly recommend):
    -Toss the shredded lettuce in a bowl with the juice of half a lime, a splash of sherry vinegar, three splashes of olive oil, and sprinkle salad on top of nachos right before serving. Enjoy!

    recipe adapted from and photo credit to babble.com

    Serves 4

    What you need
       Couscous is a staple in my kitchen, plain and all kinds of flavors.  What could be easier than boiling 1 1/4 c. of water and seasoning (that comes in the box), mixing in the pasta, and covering it for 5 minutes? Nothin is easier.  So we have all the flavors: Parmesan, Garlic & Oil, Medeterranean, Mushroom, Herb, Tomato & Lentil, and yes, even plain!  When you have Couscous on hand, you can make a meal in seconds and, if you want to know about the no cook issue - you can heat the water in the microwave.  This recipe can be doubled and used again later in the week. (We will show you the second version featuring lemon chicken and peas. Not a bad way to go if you don’t mind a bit of couscous repeat in your week.

  • 3 boxes couscous (I would use plain or parmesan flavor here)
  • 2 cups pre-cooked shrimp (small to medium)*
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese in chunks
  • 1 cup zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • *if you have larger shrimp, chop them roughly in half

    Shrimp Couscous w/ Feta, Tomato & Zucchini

    How to

       Prepare the couscous as per package directions, you can do it in a large bowl in the microwave (Bring 3 cups of water, oil and seasoning to a boil. Combine couscous with water in a large mixing bowl and cover. Leave for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork.)

       In a large serving bowl, prepare the dressing: Combine zest and juice of a lemon with salt and pepper then whisk in oil. Taste it and add salt, pepper, etc. as needed. Then add basil, shrimp, feta and zucchini. (Save the tomatoes for last to avoid smashing.) Stir gingerly. Add the couscous and stir. Add tomatoes and lightly stir. Serve room temperature or chilled.

    Serves 4

    What you need
       This is where we use up the leftovers from our Couscous and Shrimp that we made a night or 2 ago.  So, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temp.  You will also need your leftover Lemon Chicken breasts that you made (in our grilling section).  If you didn't happen to make that, just pick up a rotisserie chicken and shred it.

    3 or so leftover Lemon Chicken Breasts,sliced thin (or shredded breasts from rotisserie chicken)
    Leftover Couscous & Shrimp (if you dont have that and you are still determined, make fresh couscous!)
    1 bag frozen steam fresh peas /or fresh baby spinach
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 tsp lemon juice
    1/4 c. parmesan cheese
    1/2 tbsp Italian Seasoning

    Couscous w/ Lemon Chicken & Peas or Spinach

    How to
       Place leftover (or fresh cooked, any kind you like) couscous in a serving bowl, add olive oil & lemon juice and toss with a fork to fluff and distribute oil.
       Cook steam fresh peas in microwave until just defrosted and underdone.  Empty bag into bowl with couscous.  If you're using fresh baby spinach, run under hot water in a strainer until slightly wilted.
       Slice or shred chicken and place in bowl with couscous.
       Add parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning.  
       Fluff with a fork to combine. 
    Done.  Enjoy

    *you might like to top with fresh garden tomato if you have.

    Serves 4

    What you need
         I adapted this recipe from one that was previously not all that pretty and very unhealthy.  Now, with more healthful ingredients, you can justify the handful of Fritos because of all the veggies you get at the same time and it all comes together in 5 minutes or so.  You wont want to admit it but you wil love it as well as your kids, especially when you need something quick that does not require the oven to be turned on. **
      
    2 pkg frozen corn, microwaved just until thawed
    2 pkg frozen peas, microwaved just until thawed
    1/2 (or more to taste) pkg frozen, diced pepper & onion mix
    1/2 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese
    1/2 cup light mayonnaise
    3 pkg short cuts, cut into bite sized pieces, or  1 rotisserie    chicken, shredded ***
    1 bag chili cheese fritos (or plain corn fritos)

    1 dash of hot sauce if your family likes it.

    Deb's Frito Delight

    How to
       Toss all of the ingredients, except fritos & cheese, together in a large bowl and stir until well combined and thoroughly coated with mayo.
    Just before serving, add the cheese and the bag of chili cheese fritos and toss to combine. 
        I've made my version, which you can see in the photo below and I don't think it looks so bad. But, I've to re-named it anyway because I don't want my kids eating anything referred to as a mess!
       Now, most importantly, the recipe should serve about 4 - 6 people.  Tonight, every bit of it was gone.  Yes, my kids are good eaters, but they loved this one.  Sprinkled with a few fresh fritos on the top and a splash of tabasco and they were in heaven.  Try it.  Even I liked it!  Thank you for the idea Katherine.  
       Next time I'm going to toss in 1 can of petite diced tomatoes, well drained, just for a bit more flavor and color. 


    ** The recipe from katherineskitchen.com, called "Frito Mess" uses 1 lb ground beef, browned and drained. I substituted that for the lower fat healthier chicken, and used light mayonnaise and low fat cheese.
    * The original recipe did not call for beef at all, so if you want to make this vegetarian, feel free to leave it out.

    Serves 8

    What you need
       Leave it to Williams Sonoma to come up with this version of a Caprese Salad.  Tomatoes filled with mozzarella slices and basil leaves make for a beautiful presentation and are easy to serve. Balsamic glaze, which is used to season the salad, is found alongside the balsamic vinegars in many stores. If unavailable, use a well-aged balsamic vinegar.
    • 8 tomatoes
    • 4 balls fresh mozzarella cheese, about 3/4 lb.
      total
    • 32 fresh basil leaves
    • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
    • Balsamic vinegar glaze for drizzling
    • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

    Caprese Salad, with a twist!

    How to

    Place the tomatoes, stem side down, on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, make 4 evenly spaced slits crosswise in each tomato, stopping about 1/2 inch from the bottom.

    Cut the mozzarella into 32 thin, uniform slices. Working with 1 tomato at a time, insert 1 mozzarella slice and 1 basil leaf into each slit.

    When ready to serve, place the prepared tomatoes on a platter. Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic glaze and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. 

    Serves 4 - 6

    What you need
         I just love recipes with variations, something different to look forward to.  Sometimes you want a nice bowl of pasta, even though its 109 degrees out.  We can help you.  I found this recipe from Fine Cooking magazine, and I've turned to it many times, for hot and cold pasta. This sauce is for 1 lb. of pasta. You can pair the sauce with any pasta shape, though it clings best to short, ridged types like penne rigate, fusili and rigatoni.  BUT, don't miss the variations at the bottom, and you'll be no-cooking pasta for a month!

    2 lb. ripe tomatoes (about 3 large or 4 medium), cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 4 cups)
    1/2 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
    1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsely or basil (or both)
    1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh thyme
    1 tsp. minced garlic (1 medium clove)
    1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; more to taste
    Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

    Pasta w/ No-Cook Tomato Sauce (Salsa Cruda)

    How to

         Combine all of the ingredients in a non-reactive (plastic or glass) bowl large enough to hold the tomatoes and the cooked pasta; mix well. Let the sauce sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.
         Toss the sauce with just-cooked pasta. Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

    Variations:  While salsa cruda is delicious on its own, you can choose one of these tasty additions for a little variety:

    Cheese: Stir the cheese (see choices below) into the No-Cook Tomato Sauce after it has sat at room temperature and just before adding the pasta. In addition to the 1 cup Parmigiano, choose 1/4 to 1/2 lb. of another cheese, depending on how strong or sharp it is.

    1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    1/4 to 1/2 lb. of one cheese:
    Feta, crumbled
    Asiago, grated
    Maytag blue, chopped
    Gorgonzola, chopped
    Fresh mozzarella, diced
    Fresh goat cheese, crumbled

    Tapenade: Yields about 3/4 cup. Mix half the tapenade into the No-Cook Tomato Sauce before it sits at room temperature. Garnish each serving of pasta with some of the remaining tapenade.
    1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
    1/4 cup pitted green olives
    1/4 cup pitted oil-cured black olives
    3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
    1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary (from 1 medium sprig)
    Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until very roughly chopped, about 13 pulses.

    Basil Pesto: Yields about 1-1/4 cups. Stir the basil pesto into the No-Cook Tomato Sauce after it has sat at room temperature and just before adding the pasta.
    2 cups firmly packed fresh basil (preferably Italian Genovese)
    1 large clove garlic
    1 tsp. kosher salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts
    Put the basil, garlic, salt, and 2 or 3 grinds of pepper in a food processor and process until the basil and garlic are finely chopped, about 15 seconds. With the machine running, pour 1/4 cup of the olive oil down the feed tube in a slow, steady stream. Turn off the processor and add the Parmigiano. Process until the cheese is incorporated, about 20 seconds. With the machine running, slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup oil. Add the nuts and pulse until they’re coarsely chopped.


    photo: Scott Phillips

    Serves 6

    What you need
         Having company on short notice and its just too hot to turn on the oven, or even the grill?  You can whip these up in a jiffy, and no one will know you haven't been working on them all morning.  However, you will need fresh, ripe, but firm tomatoes because you will be cutting off the top and scooping them out.  Get them in various colors for an entertaining & festive table spread. 

  • 6 large tomatoes
  • 3 6-ounce cans white tuna, drained well
  • 1 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped (the original recipe called for more and you can use more if you like them. 
  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Herbed Tuna in Tomato Baskets

    How to
    1. With a paring knife, remove the stem end from each tomato. Scoop out the seeds and pulp into a bowl.
    2. Add the tuna, capers, parsley, lemon zest and juice, oil, and pepper to the bowl and combine.
    3. Spoon the mixture carefully into the hollowed-out tomatoes.




    photo: Phillipa Braithwaite

    Serves 6

    What you need

         This is a recipe I adapted from Real Simple.  Its a lovely, light summer salad, that takes very little work.  Originally it calls for thinly sliced red onion, which is not my favorites, but I found a few handfuls of roughly chopped baby arugula is the perfect solution.  Make this the next time you have guests, serve it in cocktail glasses as an appetizer, and you wont believe the rave reviews.  Enjoy. 

  • 1 pound cooked & cleaned medium shrimp, (if you go with frozen, be sure to thaw and completely drain before using.  For this recipe, fresh is best)
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly, finely sliced (I leave the onion out, and substitute with 2 cups chopped Arugula - just because I don't like raw onion)
  • 4 cups watermelon, roughly chopped (use the small seedless ones)
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped (to taste)
  • 2 avocados, (just barely ripe) peeled, pits removed and roughly diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • Summer Shrimp Salad w/ Avocado & Watermelon

    How to
    1. In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, onion, watermelon, jalapeños, and avocado.
    2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, honey, oil, salt, and pepper. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad; toss.
    3. Sprinkle with the cilantro. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

    Serves 6

    What you need

         This is another lovely summer salad that I adapted from Real Simple, that can be used as a main course or an appetizer.  Its light and refreshing, and you can make the dressing to suit your dietary restrictions by substituting plain greek yogurt for the sourcream in the dressing if you prefer.  If you like less of a kick, cut back on the horseradish & mustard.  Either way, the presentation is lovely.

  • 2 bunches watercress, stems removed
  • 1 pound thinly sliced smoked salmon
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons coarse-grain mustard
  • 1/2 cup sour cream  (ok to use plain yogurt here if you cannot use sour cream)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 hothouse (seedless) cucumber or 1 regular cucumber, quartered lengthwise and thickly sliced (I sliced them very thinly)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)
  • bagel chips or 1 thinly sliced baguette
  • Smoked Salmon w/ Creamy Cucumber & Watercress Salad

    How to
    1. Divide the watercress and salmon among 6 plates.
    2. In a large bowl, combine the horseradish, mustard, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Transfer half the dressing to a small bowl and set aside.
    3. Add the cucumber to the large bowl and toss. Divide among plates and sprinkle with the dill.
    4. Serve with the reserved dressing, lemon wedges (if desired), and bagel chips or baguette slices.

    Serves 4

    What you need
    • 1/2 cup(s) olive oil
    • 1/2 cup(s) white wine vinegar
    • 3 tablespoon(s) (chopped fresh) parsley
    • 3 tablespoon(s) (minced) green onions
    • 1 teaspoon(s) sugar
    • 3/4 teaspoon(s) (dried) basil
    • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon(s) pepper
    • 3 clove(s) garlic, minced
    • 1 jar(s) (2-oz.) pimiento, drained
    • 1 block(s) (8-oz. sharp) Cheddar cheese
    • 1 ounce(s) (8-oz. package) cream cheese

    Marinated Cheese Squares (appetizer)

    How to
    1. Combine first 10 ingredients in a jar, cover tightly and shake vigorously to combine. Set marinade aside.
    2. Cut block of Cheddar cheesein half lengthwise. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices; set aside. Using a knife dipped in very hot water, and wiped dry in between slices, cut the cream cheese into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
    3. Arrange cheese slices alternately in a shallow baking dish, standing slices on edges. Pour the marinade over the cheese slices. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
    4. Transfer cheese slices to a serving platter in the same alternating fashion, reserving marinade. Spoon marinade over cheese slices. Use cheese forks; serve with assorted crackers.

    Serves 4

    What you need
    You will find this recipe, and so many more chilled soup ideas in our Cold & Hot Soup section!

    1/2 seedless cucumber, chopped
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon(s) plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoon(s) fresh mint
  • 1 sprig(s) fresh mint
  • 4 teaspoon(s) fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground cumin
  • 1 radish, chopped
  • Cold Avocado Soup (appetizer size)

    How to
    1. Place the cucumber, avocado, shallot, yogurt, 2 tablespoons mint, lime juice, salt, pepper, cumin, and 1 cup cold water in a blender, and process until smooth.
    2. Chill for at least 1 hour. Serve garnished with the radish and remaining mint leaves

    Serves 8 (regular portions) (20 shooter portions)

    What you need
    INGREDIENTS:
    • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 can evaporated milk
    • 1 cup water
    • 6 egg yolks, beaten
    • 2 tbsp melted butter
    • graham crackers
    • unflavored gelatin
    • fruitcocktail and/or peaches, pineapples, etc.

    Chilled White Gazpacho

    How to
     
    • Combine flour, sugar, water, evaporated milk, egg yolks and butter in a saucepan until well mixed.
    • Simmer in low heat while stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
    • Arrange the first layer of graham crackers in a square pan or tray.
    • Spread the prepared mixture over the graham crackers.
    • Top the mixture with another layer of graham crackers. Repeat until 3 to 4 layers depending on your size preference.
    • Top with fruit cocktail and/or peaches.
    • Cook the gelatin as instructed in the label and pour it over the graham and fruit layer.
    • Let it cool for a while and put in the fridge. Best served when chilled.
    • I think this is best served as an appetizer portion, like the avocado soup, in small shot or shooter glasses. 

    Serves 2 (as a meal) 6 (as an app)

    What you need

    1/2 pkg Old El Paso* 8 Large Flour Tortillas (4 tortillas)
    1/2 cup shredded lettuce (about 2 large lettuce leaves)
    1/2 lb thinly sliced cooked turkey
    1/2 cup purchased guacamole
    1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
    1/3 cup sliced black olives
    1/3 cup chopped red pepper
    1/3 cup sliced green onion
    2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
    1/4 cup sour cream
    Old El Paso* Thick N' Chunky Salsa (optional)

    Mexican Layered Pie

    How to

    Place 1 tortilla on serving platter. Top with lettuce, half the turkey and 1 tortilla.

    Reserve 1 tbsp guacamole; spread remaining guacamole evenly over second tortilla. Sprinkle with half of the cheese, olives, red pepper and green onions. Sprinkle with cilantro or parsley.

    Top with 1 tortilla and remaining turkey.

    Top with remaining tortilla. Spread sour cream evenly over tortilla. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, olives, red pepper and green onion. Top with reserved guacamole.

    Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 3 hours. To serve, cut into 6 wedges. Serve with salsa.

    Serves 4

    What you need
       In this recipe, wraps, or whole grain wraps replace buttered rolls in this take on the New England classic. You can purchase cooked lobster tails at your grocery’s seafood counter. Or take a moment and enjoy the pleasure of steaming them yourself.  It only takes minutes.  Making a homemade sandwich spread is an easy way to add real flavor without turning on the heat and calories. Use low-fat or light mayonnaise and make a gourmet spread by stirring in herbs, citrus juices, and freshly ground black pepper. Vary the herbs according to your taste preferences. Fresh chives and lemon add flavor to this recipe, as would fresh dill.

  • Lemon Mayonnaise Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Lobster Roll ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup chopped seeded tomato (I skip the tomato)
  • 4 (4-ounce) lobster tails, cooked and chopped
  • 4 (2.8-ounce) whole wheat flatbread tortillas (such as Flatout)
  • 8 Bibb lettuce leaves
  • Lemon Lobster Wraps (half the calories of a lobster roll, double the flavor)

    How to

    LEMON MAYONNAISE: combine 1/4 cup mayonnnaise, chives, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste; stir well.  If you prefer less lemon tang, use orange juice. 

    WRAPS: Combine lemon mayonnaise, tomato, and lobster; stir well. Top each wrap with 2 lettuce leaves, then divide the lobster mixture evenly among flatbreads.  Roll up jelly-roll fashion. You can serve wrapped in parchment or wax paper, as pictured below, or simply cut each wrap in half and secure with a toothpick. 

    Serves 4

    What you need

       This recipe is so delicious and full of flavor.  You you can add or delete items to your personal taste.  You won't heat up your kitchen, because all you have to do is boil water, and your family and guests will love it!

  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 8 lasagna noodles
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 2 zucchini  or yellow squash (about 1 lb) — or 1 or each
  • small handful fresh basil (optional)
  • No-Bake Summer Vegetable Lasagna

    How to

       In a small bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, and 2 tsp oil; season with salt and pepper. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles according to package instructions; drain.

       Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add garlic (minced) and tomatoes (halved); season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until slightly broken down, about 3 minutes. Transfer tomatoes to a bowl. Add 1 Tablespoon oil, zucchini and squash (sliced thinly) to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until zucchini are tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to another bowl and stir in basil (torn).

       If cooking for 4, you can assemble individually as follows: place some tomatoes on four plates; top with a noodle and small spoonfuls ricotta, zucchini, add more tomatoes. Repeat layering twice, then top with remaining noodles and tomatoes. Garnish with basil.  If you are cooking for more, assemble this in a tray, with the noodles at the bottom, and cut to serve.

    As always, and especially with these no cook recipes, you should feel free to mix and match your own choices of flavors and vegetables/meats.  Its your recipe, put in what you like!

    Serves 4 - 6

    What you need
       This simple 5-ingredient lunch or dinner salad combines pre-cooked chicken breasts (from leftovers or a purchased rotisserie chicken) with white beans and fresh basil. For a quick finishing touch, drizzle with a lemon, vinegar, and Dijon mustard dressing and serve with a glass of iced tea or white wine!
     
  • Salad:
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped  or shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/3 cup sliced fresh basil
  • 2 (16-ounce) cans cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  •  

  • Dressing
  • 3 t ablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp  garlic, minced
  • Rotisserie Chicken & White Bean Salad

    How to
    1. To prepare salad, place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; stir gently to combine.
    2. To prepare dressing, combine remaining ingredients, stirring quickly with a whisk until dressing is emulsified. Drizzle over salad, tossing gently to coat.

    Serves 4 - 6

    What you need
    Serve this delicious salad as part of a summer picnic or with fresh greens for an easy, light summer meal..  If you are looking for a bit more substance, add some shredded chicken. 

    1 lb spaghetti noodles
    1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 large onion, chopped
    2 tablespoons minced garlic
    4 medium tomatoes, chopped
    1 cup chopped fresh parsley
    1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
    1 cup pitted kalamata olives
    Good finishing salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

    Cold Spaghetti Salad

    How to
       Cook the noodles according to the packages directions, though cook them al dente. Rinse with cold water in a colander to stop cooking. Set aside.
       Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil and chopped onions. Saute for about 10 minutes being careful not to brown too much. Keep the heat low enough to cook the onions until completely soft and flavorful (I add a few pinches of sea salt to the cooking onions to help with this). Then add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more.  Watch the temp so the garlic doesn't burn. Remove from heat.
        
    Add the cooked and cooled noddles to a large bowl. Then add in the cooked onions and garlic, and all of the remaining ingredients. Toss well. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
    Tip: To toast the pine nuts use a dry skillet and place over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and keep them moving in the pan for a few minutes until lightly browned. Watch them closely as they can burn easily.

    Serves 4

    What you need

    Sesame-Soy Dressing

    • 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) ground ginger
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) garlic, minced
    • 2/3 cup(s) canola oil
    • 1/3 cup(s) rice vinegar
    • 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) toasted sesame oil
    • 1/4 cup(s) reduced-sodium soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup(s) water
    • 2 tablespoon(s) honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon(s) freshly ground black pepper

    Salad

    • 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken
    • 1 large ripe mango, halved, pitted, and diced
    • 1 large seeless cucumber, quartered lengthwise, cut into chunks
    • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 teaspoon(s) kosher salt
    • 8 cup(s) mixed salad greens
    • lime wedges, for garnish

    Asian Chicken Mango Salad

    How to
    1. Dressing: Combine the sesame-soy dressing ingredients in a 2-cup jar; cover jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well to dissolve the honey. Store covered in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks.
    2. Salad: Remove skin and bones from rotisserie chicken and pull into long shreds. Toss chicken in a large bowl with mango, cucumber, red onion, and salt. Add 1/2 cup of dressing and toss to lightly coat. Serve chicken salad over watercress or mixed greens. Garnish with lime wedges

    Serves 4

    What you need
       The ability to use deli sliced roast beef in this recipe makes it so simple and fast to prepare, and sufficient for a main course. 

  • 2 limes
  • 3 tablespoon(s) less-sodium fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon(s) sugar
  • 1 bag(s) (10-ounce) romaine salad mix
  • 1 seedless cucumber, cut lengthwise in half, then thinly sliced crosswise
  • 8 ounce(s) deli-sliced rare roast beef, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 1 cup(s) packed fresh cilantro (or mint leaves)
  • 1/2 medium red (or sweet) onion, thinly sliced

  • No-Cook Thai Beef Salad

    How to
    1. From limes, grate 1 teaspoon peel and squeeze 3 tablespoons juice .
    2. In small bowl, prepare dressing: Combine lime peel and juice, fish sauce, and sugar; stir until sugar completely dissolves.
    3. In large bowl, combine romaine salad mix, sliced cucumber, roast beef, cilantro or mint, and onion. Add dressing to bowl and toss to combine. Divide salad among 4 dinner plates

    Serves 4

    What you need
    Marinade
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon sweetened chili garlic paste
    • 1 teaspoon salt

    Salad

    • 3 cups (seedless) cucumber, unpeeled and sliced thin
    • 1/4 cup sliced sweet or red onion
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
    • all of the marinade

    Garnish (optional)

    • fresh mint or cilantro leaves
    • chopped peanuts

    Thai Cucumber Salad

    How to

    1) For the marinade: Combine the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until the sugar melts. Remove from the heat and stir in the chili sauce and salt. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

    2) In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, onion, and pepper. Add just enough marinade to cover the vegetables, stir, and chill for 1 hour before serving. Garnish with fresh mint or cilantro and chopped peanuts if desired

    Serves 2

    What you need
  • 7 ounce(s) beans, such as chickpeas, black-eyed peas, or kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can(s) (5 to 6 ounces) water-packed chunk light tuna, drained and flaked
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup(s) finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup(s) chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 2 teaspoon(s) capers, rinsed
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 tablespoon(s) lemon juice, divided
  • 2 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 4 cup(s) mixed salad greens
  • Tuna Antipasto Salad

    How to
    Combine beans, tuna, bell pepper, onion, parsley, capers, rosemary, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl. Season with pepper and set aside.
    Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon oil, and salt in a large bowl. Add salad greens; toss to coat. Divide the greens between 2 plates. Top each with the tuna salad

    Serves 4

    What you need
    This is an excellent salad, because the seasonings will work just as well wih shrimp, scallops or even shredded chicken :

        2 tablespoon(s)
    fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon(s) Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil, combined with above olive oil
  • 1/4 cup(s) snipped chives
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 7 can(s) (1/2 ounce each) Italian tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 3 celery stalks with leaves, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 2 can(s) (15 ounces each) butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) drained capers
  • Tuna, White Bean & Celery Salad

    How to
    1. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the mustard, then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Stir in the chives and season the lemon-mustard vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
    2. In a large bowl, gently toss the drained tuna with the sliced celery, butter beans, and capers. Add the lemon-mustard vinaigrette and toss to coat the salad . Season the salad with salt and pepper and serve at once.

    Serves 4

    What you need
    I FOUND THIS DELICIOUS RECIPE A WHILE BACK IN ONE OF MY COOKING LIGHT MAGAZINES, AND FOUND IT TO BE EASY, QUICK AND LOW IN CALORIES. I HAVE MODIFIED IT A BIT TO ADD EXTRA GREENS, AND TO USE ROTISSERIE CHICKEN AND PRE MADE INGREDIENTS, BUT FEEL FREE TO USE FRESH WHEREVER YOU CHOOSE. YOU CAN USE THIS AS A MAIN COURSE OR A SIDE, DEPENDING ON WHAT YOU PUT IN IT.

    1 1/4 cups
    uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 3 cups chopped or shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 3 cups trimmed arugula
  • 1 can diced tomatoes,
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup prechopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
  • CHICKEN ORZO SALAD, ARUGULA & GOAT CHEESE

    How to

    1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well.

    2. Combine pasta, chicken, and the next 6 ingredients (through oregano) in a large bowl; toss well.

    3. Combine vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle dressing mixture over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

    Serves 6

    What you need

         This is a recipe similar to one I've used myself many times, except I use light mayonnaise instead of maple syrup.  Note, however, that would remove the sweetness from this dish, adapted from "eating well.com."  I will give you my alternative at the end.  Both dishes are delicious and healthy. 

  • 3 tablespoon(s) Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoon(s) pure maple syrup, preferably grade B
  • 2 tablespoon(s) peanut or canola oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon(s) finely chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 4-4 1/2 pound(s) bone-in chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks, and/or breasts, or any combination), skin removed, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) panko crumbs (or regular breadcrumbs if you cannot find panko)

    DEB'S ALTERNATIVE
    I like to use the skinless, boneless chicken thighs because they come out the juciest with the least amount of fuss.  The family likes the breasts, so I mix in a package of the largest ones I can find, cutting each breast in half and removing the skin. 
    Substitute 3 tbs of light mayonnaise for the mayple syrup, add 1 tbsp chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder to the marinade coating mixture.  Then proceed as above

  • Crispy Baked Maple Mustard Chicken

    How to
    1. Whisk mustard, maple syrup, 1 tablespoon oil, thyme, pepper, and salt in a small bowl.  Place chicken in a jumbo Ziploc bag and pour in mustard mixture, turn to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours.
    2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Set a wire rack on a large baking sheet.
    3. Combine breadcrumbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil on a plate. Dredge the skinned side of each chicken piece in the breadcrumbs (with drumsticks, dredge the meatier side) and arrange breaded-side up on the wire rack. Leave at least 1 inch between pieces.
    4. Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 165°F, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve hot or let cool, refrigerate, and serve chilled.

    Serves 2

    What you need

       This is a lovely, light healthy meal, suitable for 2, or double or triple the recipe and you have a bright summer meal for company. 

    • 3 Italian turkey sausages (about 9 ounces), casings removed
    • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach, rinsed and drained
    • 1 large red bell pepper
    • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    • 3 scallions, chopped
    • 8 ounces dried penne
    • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
    • 8 oz. white or button mushrooms, sliced
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Turkey Sausage, Spinach Penne

    How to
    1. Cut the red bell pepper in half lengthwise and remove the inside seeds and membrane. On an open flame or gas burner, place the pepper directly on the flame. Roast it on high heat for 3-4 minutes per side, until soft and blackened. You can also place it in in the broiler if you don't have a gas burner or grill. Remove from the heat, allow the pepper to cool for about 5 minutes and slice it into thin strips. Set aside.
    2. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook on high heat for 8-10 minutes, until the noodles are soft. Drain, set aside and keep warm.
    3. Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add the sausages (remove the casings first) and break them up into small pieces. Add the mushrooms, sage and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook on medium heat for 7-10 minutes, until the sausages are cooked through and everything is browned.
    4. In a large serving bowl, add baby spinach, roasted red pepper and scallions. Mix until combined. Stir in the sausage mixture and the warm penne and mix until the spinach is slightly wilted. Top with Parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

    Serves 4

    What you need
       This simple orzo (you can use any pasta you like) dish makes great use of two summer garden favorites - tomatoes and zucchini. Lightly toasting the orzo in olive oil, then simmering it in chicken broth brings out a nutty quality in the pasta. The dish is just as delicious when made ahead and served at room temperature, making it a nice choice for entertaining, as part of a buffet, a side dish, or even an entre if you added some pre-cooked shrimp or chicken. 

  • 2 cup orzo
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and diced
  • 2 yellow summer squash, quartered lengthwise and diced
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Summer Garden Orzo

    How to
       Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large deep saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the zucchini and season liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the zucchini is tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and set aside.
       Add the remaining olive oil to the pan along with the dried orzo. Cook until the orzo is lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the orzo is tender, 7 to 9 minutes. If the broth cooks off before the orzo is tender, add some extra, a bit at a time.
       Return the zucchini mixture to the pan and combine well and heat through, 1 minute. Mix in the tomato and parsley, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a serving dish. May be served warm or at room temperature.

    Serves 4 - 6

    What you need
         Brilliant red paprika is the main seasoning in Hungarian cooking, and this dish highlights its nuanced character.  Try and find a good spice market to get a true smoked paprika.  "This light version of chicken paprikash was passed along to 'Eating Well's' recipe developer Carolyn by her Aunt Sofia.  ...You can also vary the heat by using hot, sweet or a combination of paprikas. Make it a meal: Serve over whole-wheat egg noodles or spaetzle with a side of steamed broccoli and a cool fruit salad for dessert."

  • 1pound(s) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces  (I used the skin and boneless thighs). 
  • 1/4teaspoon(s) kosher salt
  • 1/4teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
  • 1tablespoon(s) canola oil
  • 2large green bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2teaspoon(s) hot or sweet paprika
  • 1/2cup(s) dry white wine
  • 1 1/2cup(s) canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2cup(s) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1tablespoon(s) lemon juice
  • 1/4cup(s) reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2tablespoon(s) chopped fresh parsley
  • "Light" Chicken Paprikash

    How to
    1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
    2. Add bell peppers and onion to the pan and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add paprika and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine; increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until mostly evaporated, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan; reduce heat to a lively simmer. Spoon some sauce over the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until the sauce is reduced and the chicken is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.
    3. Remove from the heat and stir in sour cream. Serve sprinkled with parsley

    (as adapted from Eating Well)

    Serves 4

    What you need
       A classic, Russian culinary masterpiece revamped into a low calorie, low fat, and delicious dinner. The Portobello mushrooms called for in this recipe have an unbeatable meaty texture that makes them well worth the few extra cents they will cost you to make this dish.  This recipe eliminates the heavy cream and butter (along with the unnecessary fat and calories) – but the taste won’t let you down!

    1 pound boneless beef top sirloin steak1 large onion, cut lengthwise and thinly sliced
    1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
    1/2 cup fat free sour cream
    3 tablespoons chopped chives, divided
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon ketchup
    2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon white pepper
    1 teaspoon olive oil
    6 ounces portobello (or button, cremini, or baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
    3-1/2 cups wide no yolks egg noodle


    (according to Cooking Light, this recipe is under 250 calories as is. I personally would use either light or regular sour cream and splurge on another few calories, just to get your sauce to hold together.  Deb's Food believes you need some fat in the dish.)

    Light Beef Stroganoff

    How to

       Cook the pasta according to the package directions; while pasta cooks, start the beef.
       Cut the beef into strips or chunks and set aside.
       Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and place it over low heat; once warm add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes (or until tender). Remove the onion from the skillet and set aside.
       Combine the yogurt, sour cream, 2 tablespoons chives, flour, ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper in small bowl; set aside.
       Heat the teaspoon of oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and mushrooms and cook (stirring very frequently) for 3 to 4 minutes or until beef is lightly browned; return the onion to skillet with the beef and mushroom and reduce the heat to low. Stir the yogurt mixture into the skillet until well blended and slightly thickened (about 2 minutes). Serve over the noodles, sprinkled with the remaining tablespoon of chives.