Viewing entries tagged
summer recipe

IN SEASON: Watermelon

No other fruit says summer quite like thirst-quenching watermelon.  I had my first triathlon in Connecticut two weeks ago and at the end of the race there was plenty of food for the competitors to enjoy.  Unfortunately at this race there was nothing on the menu I wanted.  Then I saw a guy munching on a watermelon.  “Where did you get that”?  Man did those few wedges of sweet, juicy watermelon hit the spot. Much of the watermelon’s health-giving powers, as well as its blush color, are due to an abundance of the phytochemical lycopene.  By helping counter oxidative stress, lycopene may play a role in taming, inflammation, certain cancers and maintaining healthy eyesight.  Watermelon is also rich in citrulline, an amino acid used to make arginine, which relaxes blood vessels to help maintain a healthy heart.  And the seeds that we tend to discard?  They are packed with magnesium, a mineral vital for nerve function, blood pressure regulation, immunity, and bone health.  No wonder I was craving watermelon after swimming a mile, biking 25 and running 6.2 miles.

Want to know the best ways to eat this health giving summer delight?  

  • Juicy watermelon wedges are perfect fare for a picnic, beach day snack, or post exercise on a hot day.
  • Lay ½ inch thick watermelon slices on the grill and heat both sides
  • Puree extra watermelon and add to ice cube trays, freeze and add to your favorite beverage.
  • Chop or puree and add to salsas, chutneys, compotes, and vinaigrettes.
  • Add to a summer spinach salad.  A favorite of mine is spinach, watermelon, feta cheese, and mint leaves tossed with lime juice and olive oil.
  • For backyard parties carve out the watermelon and fill with other seasonal fruits.


When I speak to people about dietary habits I find for the most part there are about 20 foods that consistently make up 80 percent of a persons diet throughout the year.  It’s summer now, time to switch things up again.   Look for these foods on your next shopping adventure. Buffalo is grass-fed, which means you are getting a better balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.  Most often you will find it as ground meat or in patties but you may find steaks at quality butchers and farmers' markets.  The meat is much leaner than beef but has many of the same characteristics.

100% pomegranate juice with its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory flavonoids may slow aging and lower heart disease risk.  Adding small amounts to water is a refreshing way to enjoy the juice and may help you increase your water intake.

Bulgur Wheat is the spine of tabouli salad.  Follow package directions, and then toss with a little olive oil, lemon juice, tomatoes, and parsley.  It’s a great base for many fresh summer salads.  Add a variety of fresh chopped vegetables for a cooling side salad or snack.

Asian noodles like soba or buckwheat are high in fiber, and their rich stores of flavonoids may lower your cholesterol and blood pressure.  I love them in the summer because they make for great cold salads.

Fennel bulb is an aromatic vegetable high in vitamin C, fiber and potassium.  Slice it very thin and add to salads.

Pineapple-Mango Salsa

Buying a whole pineapple is not an unnecessary challenge if you have a plan for it.  When you cut up a pineapple you will have at least 3 cups of cubed pineapple.  Plan for a variety of uses.  Keep some fresh for an after dinner treat or fruit salad and use the rest to add to a main meal.  This is such a refreshing summer dish and easy to toss together.  Serve with grilled chicken, pork, or tuna.  Yields 4 servings. 1 cup diced peeled ripe mango

1 cup diced fresh pineapple

2 tablespoons minced red onion

1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeno pepper

1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

1 ½ teaspoons fresh lime juice

dash of salt

dash of black pepper

Combine all ingredients, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Adapted from a cooking light recipe.

In Season: Pineapple

Although pineapple is available year-round, it’s peak season runs from March through July.  Aside from the irresistible taste, there are some healthy reasons to indulge in this flavorful fruit.  It’s a great source of vitamin C, which protects from heart disease, cancer, and cataracts: it contains manganese, which helps keep your bones strong.  Pineapple is also a good source of bromelian, a natural anti-inflammatory that is helpful for addressing the symptoms of sinusitis, gout, arthritis, swelling and bruising.  Plus, pineapple contains an enzyme that helps relieve indigestion; making it a dessert your tummy will appreciate. One cup of raw pieces weighs in at 76 calories, 1.9 grams of fiber, .6 grams of protein, .7 grams of fat (none of it saturated), 2.0 milligrams of sodium, and no cholesterol.

For both flavor and health benefits, fresh is best when it comes to pineapples.  Select one that is heavy for its size and a sweet tropical aroma at the stem end.  It should have a strong color and be slightly soft to the touch, with crisp, dark green leaves.  Signs of over ripeness are yellow or brown tipped leaves as well as soft or dark areas on the skin.

Cut it up and store in an airtight container with some of its own juice for a healthy treat.  If you are unable to use it within 3 days, freeze for use in blended drinks.

Suggestions for eating:

Eat it plain.

Kebob it:  Thread fresh pineapple chunks on skewers with meat and veggies for grilling.

Add wedges or chinks to all types of salads- fruit, tossed green, chicken, and tuna to name just a few.

Grill or broil pineapple slices for a great burger topping or dessert.

Use it in relishes and serve with simply prepared chicken and pork dishes.  See my Mango Pineapple Salsa Recipe.

Take leftover rice or other hearty grain and pan fry with pineapple

Fish Tacos or Fish Wraps

Whenever we are in the caribbean David orders fish tacos.  He looks foreward to them.  We like much of the same food, but i never want to share his fish tacos.  I found this recipe for Fish Tacos in Health Magazine and decided to modify it to my taste and we both loved them. I've provided nutrition data for the original version with corn tortillas.  My favorite choice for wraps is made by a local Brooklyn bakery, Damascus Bakery.  They are actually called roll-ups and contain flax flour.  Each wrap is only 110 calories, 6 net carbohydrates, and 1000mg of ALA Omega 3.  Total carbs are 15g but it contains 9g of figer.  I mention all of this because these are really fabulous wraps.  I avoid bread wherever possible and think these are fantastic, so give them a try.  this is a nice light summer dinner and i served with mixed seasonal fruit bowl.

Prep time 20 minutes;  cook 15min; Marinate 10 min

Serves 4

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup sugar (I substituted 3 T agave nectar)

1 teaspoon chili powder (divided)

1/2 small red onion, sliced very thin

3-5 thinly sliced radishes

1 pound tilapia fillets (I bought frozen from Trader Joes, great value)

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (I use organic juice in a bottle)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 peeled firm but ripe mango, cut into small chunks or matchsticks

1 sliced peeled firm ripe avocado

4 Tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, divided (i love cilantro and used about 1/3 cup)

Canola oil for grill or pan

8 (6 inch) blue or yellow corn tortillas or 4 flax roll ups

Salsa verde (optional)

Rinse fish, pat dry.  Gently toss with 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, and the garlic in a shallow glass dish.  Marinate for 10 minutes of more at room temperature.

Combine red wine vinegar, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon chili powder in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the red onion and radishes.  Let stand, uncovered until cooled (at least 10 minutes).

Gently toss mango and avocado in small bowl with remaining 1/4 teaspoon chili powder,  2 tablespoons cilantro and remaining lime juice.

Preheat a lightly oiled grill rack or grill pan.  Remove fish from marinade and grill, turning once.  plan for 2-3 minutes per side or until cooked through.  Transfer to a plate; cover and keep warm.  Grill tortillas lightly until pale golden and slightly crisp.  Transfer to 4 serving plates, folding tortillas to form a U-shape.

Fill tortillas or wraps with fish, pickled vegetables, avocado mixture, remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro and salsa verde if desired.  Serving size if 2 tacos or on really tasty wrap.

Calories 449; fat 12g (sat2g, mono6g, poly2g); cholesterol 57mg; protein 26g; carbs 63g; sugars 26g; fiber 7g; iron 1mg; sodium 143mg; calcium 40mg.

Trust me, try the wraps.  A much healthier meal.  Reduce the fat, cholesterol, carbs, sodium and sugars while increasing fiber.

Chicken Salad with Grapes, Avocado, and Almonds over Spinach

I really liked this dish because it was refreshing with nice textures and flavors.  It took about 40 minutes to prepare and cook and worked well as a leftover.  Took it to Jones beach one evening and ate it with soy crisps before a concert. A very nutritions combo of flavors  The spinach, corn and avocado all deliver on either lutein or zeaxanthin, or both.  Other antioxidants present include vitamin E (almonds), selenium (chicken) and catechins (grapes).

1/4 cup olive oil (or flax oil is even better)

3 Tbs white wine vinegar

1 Tbs Dijon mustard

Course sea salt and ground pepper

1 pound organic chicken cutlets

1 tsp ground coriander

8 cups fresh organic spinach leaves (or more)

1 cup seedless organic red grapes, halved

1/2 medium shallot, thinly sliced

1/4 cup sliveed almonds, toasted

2 ears corn, shucked and removed from cob

1 avocado, halved and thinly sliced

In a small bowl, whick together 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar, Dijon and season with salt and pepper. Set aside

In a large nonstick skillet, heat remaining tablespoon oil (use olive oil, not flax) over medium heat.  Sprinkle chicken with coriander and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until opaque throughout, about 4-5 minutes total.  This may need to be done in batches.  Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes;  Slice thinly crosswise.

Add chicken, spinach, grapes, shallot,  and corn to bowl and toss with the dressing.  Top with avocado and toasted almonds.

Per serving: 437 calories; 4g saturated fat; 2.2 grams unsaturated fat; 63mg cholesterol; 26g carb; 222mb sodium; 29 g protein; 8g fiber.

Taken from body and soul magazine.