The last couple of winter months are waning, which means spring will be here before we know it. Yes, fun floral frocks, minis, the latest pair of Loub sandals, brightly colored lacquered toenails, and the warmth of the sun will soon be making a debut into the world once again. However excited we may be for the upcoming season, we must remember to take certain precautions in order to look as fabulous as those seasonal luxuries will feel -- especially since we're planning on spending our spring breaks in the sun.
If you're not feeling reading to jump into a bikini just yet, not to worry -- try cooking up these healthy and delicious entrees that will help you feel your best. We've provided seven -- one for each day of the week leading up to your departure date so that you'll feel spring break ready for that itsy bitsy bikini.
1. Greek Chicken and Barley Salad (above)
- 2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
- 1 cup uncooked pearl barley
- 2 cups cubed seeded cucumber
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup cubed yellow bell pepper
- 1/3 cup reduced-fat feta cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
- tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- teaspoon grated lemon rind
- tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- tablespoon minced fresh basil
- teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- garlic cloves, minced
1. To prepare salad, sprinkle chicken with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Add 1 cup broth; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until done. Cool; shred chicken. Discard broth.
2. Bring 3 cups broth to a boil in a large saucepan; add barley. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Cool. Combine chicken, barley, cucumber, and next 4 ingredients (through olives) in a large bowl.
3. To prepare dressing, combine 3 tablespoons oil, rind, and remaining ingredients; stir well. Add to barley mixture; toss well. Cover and chill.
2. Tuna Spiedini
- 3/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 pound tuna, cut into 1-inch cubes, about 24 pieces
- 12 green onions, trimmed
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 2 lemons
- 1 large red onion
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 12 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
For the marinade: Mix together all the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl.
For the skewers: Toss the cubed tuna in the marinade and let sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green onions and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the green onions to a medium bowl of ice water. When the green onions are cool, pat dry with paper towels. Trim the stalks and the root end off the fennel. Halve the fennel lengthwise then cut each half into 3 pieces. Cut each lemon into 6 pieces. Cut the red onion in half from stem to root end. Cut each half in half again lengthwise and cut each quarter into thirds. There should be 12 pieces of each vegetable.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove the tuna and toss the vegetables in the marinade. Thread each skewer starting with a tomato. Then begin to thread the green onion starting with the tip of the white end. Add a piece of tuna. Keeping the ingredients near the top of the skewer, ribbon the green onion around a piece of tuna and back through the skewer. Next add the red onion, and ribbon the green onion around again and onto the skewer. Then add another piece of tuna, and ribbon the green onion around again and onto the skewer. Repeat with fennel and green onion. Top with a piece of lemon. Center the ingredients on the skewer.
Place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve warm.
3. Avocado, Beet and Arugula Salad with Chevre Tartine
- 4 ounces goat cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 4 (1/2 inch thick) slices crusty bread
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 (15 ounce) can sliced beets, drained and diced
- 1 (10 ounce) package mixed salad greens with arugula
- 2 avocados - peeled, pitted and diced
- 1/3 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
Preheat broiler for high heat. Line a baking sheet with foil. Mix the goat cheese with the basil in a bowl. Spread cheese mixture evenly on four slices of bread. Place on prepared baking sheet. Cook under preheated broiler until cheese has begun to turn golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the mustard and vinegar in a small bowl until blended; season with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly pour in olive oil while continually whisking until dressing is smooth. Place diced beets and mixed greens into a large bowl. Drizzle vinaigrette over top; toss to coat. Divide salad onto four chilled plates. Top with avocado and hazelnuts. Serve with goat cheese tartines.
4. Miso Glazed Seared Tuna with Fresh Herb Salad
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into slivers
- 1 whole garlic clove, peeled
- 1-inch piece lemongrass cut from the tender bottom, or 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
- 3/4 cup light miso paste
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
- 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar or mirin
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 (5- to 6-ounce) tuna steaks 3 scallions, thinly sliced, green part only
- 1/2 cup mixed fresh herbs or baby greens (chervil, parsley, thyme, tarragon, mint, arugula)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
In a food processor, combine the ginger, garlic, and lemongrass and process until finely minced. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula if needed. Add the miso, sesame seeds, vinegar, soy and 1 tablespoon water. Pulse several times until almost smooth. Transfer to a bowl. (This can be made 2 days in advance.)
Heat the broiler to high. Line a broiler rack with foil and place the tuna steaks on the foil. Using a pastry brush, coat the tops of the tuna steaks with some of the miso mixture. Place the broiler rack 6 inches from the heat source and broil until the miso is deep golden brown and begins to bubble, about 3 minutes. Turn the tuna and brush again with the miso and continue cooking for 3 minutes for rare, 4-5 minutes for medium rare. Remove and let sit for 10 minutes before serving or slicing.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the scallions, herbs, lemon juice and olive oil and toss until thoroughly coated. Season with salt and pepper.
Scatter a handful of the greens on each plate or a platter. Place the tuna steak on top and garnish with remaining herb salad and sesame seeds.
5. Sauteed Mushroom Salad
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 small onion, halved and sliced
- 1 pound white or cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 3 tablespoons dry sherry
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 8 cups bitter salad greens, such as frisee, arugula or baby dandelion greens
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they release their juices, 10 to 12 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add sherry and cook until mostly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and continue cooking for 1 minute more. Pour over greens in a large bowl and toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan.[eatingwell.com]
6. Sauteed Spinach with Pine Nuts & Golden Raisins
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons golden raisins
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 10-ounce bag fresh spinach, (see Ingredient note), tough stems removed
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon shaved Parmesan cheese
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add raisins, pine nuts, and garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar and salt. Serve immediately, sprinkled with Parmesan and pepper.
7. Sauteed Spicy Tofu
- 1 8oz pkg super firm tofu, drained
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 2 large Chinese cabbage leaves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ham soup base
- 1/4 teaspoon Ortega meat taco seasoning
Sauté drained tofu cubes with green onion and shallot in olive oil over high heat, adding garlic after 4 minutes. Add thinly sliced shreds of chinese cabbage; stir fry until wilted. Add ham soup base and stir quickly and thoroughly until all cubes are well coated. Stir in 1/2 cup water and 1 teaspoon Wondra flour to thicken. When water begins to be absorbed, quickly stir in 1 egg; cook over low heat for about 1 minute or until egg is no longer liquid and has coated the cubes.
Sprinkle with Taco seasoning, if desired, and serve.
Note: Different quick-cooking greens may be substituted for the Chinese cabbage.[cooks.com]
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