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Dining In: Enjoy spring with new dinner delights


by Karen Diefendorf

Shrimp with tomatoes and Feta cheese
   2 tsp. olive oil
   1 c. eggplant, diced
   1/4 c. yellow bell pepper, diced
   3 scallions, diced
   2 cloves garlic, minced
   8 small plum tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and diced (fresh or 1 15-oz. can)
   1/4 c. water
   1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced (or 1 tsp. dried)
   1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel
   1 tsp. oregano
   1/4 tsp. pepper
   1/2 lb large shrimp, shelled, deveined
   2 oz. Feta cheese, crumbled

shrimp w/tomatoes    In a 12-inch non-stick skillet, heat the oil over high heat; add the eggplant and cook, stirring frequently, until browned on all sides, about 2 minutes. Add the bell pepper, scallions, and garlic and saute until the vegetables are softened, about 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients except the shrimp and cheese and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes; add the shrimp to the skillet and saute, turning occasionally, until the shrimp turn pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cheese, stir to combine, and cook until the cheese is heated through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately. Each of the 2 servings contains 300 calories and 12 grams of fat.

Spring spinach salad
(American Institute for Cancer Research)
   10 oz. fresh spinach, washed thoroughly, stemmed and torn in pieces
   2 c. strawberries, halved or slices
   2 kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
   2 Tbsp. wine vinegar
   5 Tbsp. part skim ricotta cheese
   1 Tbsp. plain lowfat or nonfat yogurt
   1/2 tsp. dried herb of your choice (basil, tarragon; or use 2 tsp. fresh herbs)
   Dash pepper
   Prepare the spinach, strawberries, and kiwifruit in a large salad bowl or individual salad bowls. Combine the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor; puree until smooth without a trace of graininess, and serve with the salad. Four servings: 2 grams of fat and 86 calories each.

Three cheese seafood lasagna
   12 lasagna noodles
   2 containers (15 oz. each) ricotta cheese
   1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
   2 eggs
   1/2 tsp ground black pepper
   1 package (3 oz.) sliced smoked salmon cut in 1/2-inch pieces, or 12 oz. crab meat, flaked
   2 cans (15 oz. each) red clam sauce
   1 package (12 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
   Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking pan; set aside. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain; set aside. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, eggs, and black pepper; set aside. Line the bottom of prepared baking pan with 4 cooked noodles, overlapping to fit; spoon half of the ricotta cheese mixture over noodles. Layer with half of the salmon; pour over a third of the clam sauce and sprinkle with a third of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layering. Top with remaining lasagna noodles, clam sauce and mozzarella; cover loosely with foil. Bake for 30 minutes; remove foil; bake until cheese is golden, about 15 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Yield: 8 servings.

Grilled chicken salad
   3/4 pound boned and skinned chicken breast
   1/2 tsp. salt
   1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
   3 c. cooked rice, at room temperature
   1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained
   3/4 c. fresh snow peas, blanched
   1/2 medium-size red pepper, cut into 1-inch cubes
   1/3 c. light Italian salad dressing
   1 tsp. chopped fresh basil leaves
   Lettuce leaves
   Season chicken with salt and black pepper. Grill or broil chicken breast. Cover and chill chicken and zucchini; cut chicken into 3/4-inch cubes. Combine rice, chicken, artichokes, snow peas, and red pepper in large bowl. Blend dressing and basil in small bowl. Pour over salad; toss lightly. Serve on lettuce leaves. Makes 4 servings.

Smoked turkey salad
   1/2 lb. smoked turkey, cut in strips
   1 orange, peeled and sectioned
   1 c. jicama strips
   1/2 c. frozen peas, thawed
   1/4 c. toasted pecan halves
   Mixed salad greens
   Cranberry vinaigrette (see below)
   On individual salad plates, arrange turkey and jicama strips, orange sections, peas, and pecans on salad greens. Spoon about one tablespoon dressing on top. Pass remaining dressing.

Cranberry vinaigrette
Combine all ingredients:
   1/2 cup bottled raspberry or red wine fat-free dressing
   1 rounded Tbsp. chopped dried cranberries or cherries
   2 tsp. chopped green onion (scallions) and tops
   1/4 tsp. grated orange rind.

Citrus green salad
   1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks
   3 c. packed torn green or red leaf lettuce
   1 c. packed torn radicchio or escarole
   1 c. packed torn curly endive or watercress
   1 Tbsp. grated orange peel
   1 orange, peeled, halved and sliced
   1/2 c. halved and sliced red onion
   1 c. chopped nuts, toasted
   1/2 c. crumbled Feta cheese
   2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
   2 Tbsp. balsamic or red wine vinegar
   Drain pineapple; reserve 1/4 cup juice. Combine pineapple, lettuce, radicchio, endive, sliced orange, onion, nuts, and cheese in large serving bowl; set aside. Stir together reserved juice, orange peel, oil, and vinegar in small bowl. Pour over salad just before serving; toss to evenly coat. Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 288 calories, 20g fat (4g sat.), 19 mg cholesterol, 244mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate, 7g protein.