A Fruitful Season for Foodies

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The summer season has arrived, and I’m so excited that fruits are readily available again! Having so many delicious and natural options at our fingertips opens the door to endless possibilities for healthy eating. 
 
Best of all, we can cut back on the complex carbs and sugar habits we may have picked up from the wintertime. Here, here, let’s all cheer for summer. 
 
Fruit and Grain Salad
(Meat)
Dressing Ingredients:
1⁄2 cup olive oil 
1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. mustard
2 tsps. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
Salad Ingredients:
1 chicken breast (6 to 8 oz.)
1⁄3 cup quinoa
6 cups fresh spinach
1 cup blueberries
1 cup mandarin oranges (fresh not canned)
2 cups strawberries, sliced
1⁄4 cup scallions
1⁄4 cup raw sunflower seeds, no shell 
 
To prepare the dressing, whisk all the dressing ingredients in a bowl for 2 minutes until fully combined. Set aside in fridge. 
 
Season the chicken with pinch of salt and olive oil. Cook over medium heat — in a pan or on the grill — 3 to 4 minutes per side. Let cool and rest. Cut into 1-inch slices.
Cook the quinoa as directed on the package. Wash the spinach and add to a large serving bowl. Add the quinoa.
 
Rinse the fruit and add to the bowl over the spinach and quinoa. Slice the scallions and add to the mix. Add the seeds and dressing just prior to serving. Toss for a few minutes to ensure all ingredients are fully incorporated.
 
* Can refrigerate leftovers in airtight container up to 2 days.
 
Serves 6 to 8.
 
Homemade Granola Fruit Tart
(Dairy)
Crust Ingredients:
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup mixed nuts and seeds (I used slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, pumpkin, flax and chia seeds) 
4 Tbsps. melted butter
1⁄4 cup honey or agave nectar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of salt
Filling and Topping Ingredients:
3 cups plain nonfat Greek yogurt (the thicker the better for slicing)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsps. honey or agave nectar
1 tsp. cornstarch
3 cups assorted sliced fruit (I used strawberries, kiwi, blueberries, blackberries and banana)
 
For the crust: Preheat the oven to 325˚. Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl with a spoon.
 
Spritz an 8-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Using a spatula, pour the mixture into the pan and press evenly around the bottom and up the sides. Reserve 2 tablespoons of crust for the topping.
 
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until golden brown. Set aside and let cool. This can be done up to 24 hours in advance. If so, refrigerate to harden.
 
For the filling and topping, use a wire whisk and incorporate the yogurt, vanilla, honey and cornstarch. With a spatula or spoon, fill the baked crust and flatten on top.
 
Arrange the fruit on top of the tart. Sprinkle the remaining granola crust on top for garnish and crunch. 
 
Serves 8 1-inch slices.
 
Watermelon and Feta Salad With Blood Orange Vinaigrette 
(Dairy)
Dressing Ingredients:
1⁄3 cup sesame seed oil
2 Tbsps. red wine vinegar
freshly squeezed juice from one medium blood orange (about 1⁄2 cup) 
2 tsps. sea salt 
1⁄2 tsp. pepper
 
8 cups of watermelon, sliced into cubes
1⁄2 cup green onion, sliced
1⁄2 cup feta cheese
2 Tbsps. chopped fresh basil
1 cup sliced cucumber 
To prepare the dressing, whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until combined and set aside. This can be done in advance. 
 
To prepare the salad, mix the ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour dressing over the top and toss to combine. Store in fridge prior to serving to let the flavors marinate. 
 
Serves 4 to 6.
 
Apple-Cinnamon Pound Cake
(Dairy)
5 medium eggs, separated
5 cups chopped apples
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsps. light brown sugar
2 Tbsps. cinnamon 
1 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tsps.
11⁄2 tsp. baking powder
1⁄4 tsp. salt
3⁄4 cup white sugar, divided into 1⁄2 and 1⁄4 cups
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup reduced fat sour cream
fat-free whipped topping (optional) 
 
Preheat the oven to 350˚ and coat a 10×31⁄2-inch bundt cake pan with cooking spray.
 
Separate the egg yolks and whites and set aside.
 
In a mixing bowl, toss the apples with lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of flour. Combine and set aside.
 
In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt by hand.
 
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with 1⁄2 cup white sugar on high speed until the yolks are pale yellow in color. Add vanilla and sour cream. Pour this over the dry mixture and gently stir to incorporate. 
 
Beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. Turn the mixer down to low and add the remaining 1⁄4 cup sugar. Continue to beat until the egg whites are stiff — approximately 4 more minutes. 
 
Pour egg white mixture into batter and very gently stir to combine. 
 
Pour enough batter to cover the bottom of the bundt cake pan. Add some of the apple mixture over top. Continue pouring batter and apple mixture in rotation until the pan is filled 3⁄4 of the way. (You may have leftover batter — toss it or fill a few cupcakes tins.) 
 
Place the bundt cake pan on a cookie sheet for safe measure and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean. 
 
Allow the cake to cool and turn upside down to serve. You can “frost” with whipped topping if desired. 
 
Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for a few days — if it lasts that long!
 
Serves 10 to 12.
 
Taylor Orlin, who works as an account executive for the Jewish Exponent, is a lifelong foodie. She has spent years developing and modifying recipes to adapt for specific dietary needs, including her own Crohn’s Disease. She also believes in instilling healthy eating habits at a young age. 

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