Take it easy after holidays with easy, healthy meals

With the close of 2022 and the festivities concluded it is now time to focus on oneself in 2023. Our households have been nonstop of activity since Thanksgiving, and I know for me I tend to forget the importance of self-care and taking the needed time to carefully prepare a healthier meal for myself and my family. Eating in the New Year takes on some different perspectives, so this week and next we will talk about lighter, healthier meals for our families. They are easy, quick and healthy.  

For me the New Year opens one’s minds to “what can be.” “What will be” is determined with determination and fortitude.  

I love to teach and cook that will never stop, but most important I try to prepare healthy, wholesome meals that have the maxim taste for my family, friends, and students. 

Happy Foodie 2023  — and with this I could not agree more.

Jacqueline Iannazzo-Corser is a contributing writer to The Monroe News, writing about food and recipes. She is a chef, co-owner of Public House, culinary specialist at the Opportunity Center at the Arthur Lesow Community Center, and an adjunct professor of culinary arts at Monroe County Community College. She can be reached at [email protected]

Zucchini Pasta 

Zucchini pasta

Serves 6 

Ingredients: 

  • 4 cups or 3 medium shredded zucchini  
  • 8 oz. of linguine 
  • 3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese 
  • 1/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt 
  • Salt & pepper to taste 
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil 
  • 2 cloves of garlic 

Directions: 

  • Cook linguine according to package directions.  
  • In a colander drain the zucchini. Squeeze to release excess liquid then place on paper towel. 
  • In a large skillet sauté zucchini in oil for approximately 2 minutes.  
  • Add garlic and zucchini until tender.  
  • Transfer to a large bowl.  
  • Add the yogurt, cheese, and salt & pepper to taste.  
  • Drain the linguine then add to zucchini mixture and toss to coat. 

Note: Instead of zucchini you may want to add yellow summer squash, butternut or honey nut, etc. Add a crisp salad to accompany. 

Whitefish Florentine 

Tilapia

Serves 4 

Ingredients: 

  • 4 whitefish fillets 
  • 6 oz. of spinach 
  • 1 egg 
  • ¼ Cup of Parmesan cheese 
  • ½ Cup of ricotta cheese (if you can find part skim less calories) 
  • 2 Tbsp. of oil divided (olive oil or canola)  
  • Lemon juice (drizzle) 
  • 2 tsp. of garlic-herb seasoning 

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
  • In a large, nonstick skillet, cook spinach in 4 teaspoons of oil until wilted, then drain.  
  • Place fish in a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Then drizzle with lemon juice and the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil. Last, sprinkle with seasoning blend. 
  • In a small bowl, combine the egg, ricotta cheese and spinach, then spoon over fillets and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 
  • Bake until fish just begins to flake easily with a fork, approximately 15 minutes. 

Note: You can choose other fish types like base, grouper or halibut. Serve with a crisp salad and a tri-color potato. 

White Bean Soup 

Cannellini beans

Serves 6 to 8 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 3 cans (14-1/2 oz. each) reduced-sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 cup uncooked whole wheat orzo pasta 
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained 
  • 1 bunch escarole or spinach, coarsely chopped (about 8 cups) 
  • 1 small onion, chopped 
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional) 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 

Directions: 

  • In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat.  
  • Add onion and garlic — cook and stir until tender.  
  • Add broth, tomatoes, Italian seasoning and pepper flakes — bring to a boil.  
  • Reduce the heat to low uncovered for 15 minutes. 
  • Stir in orzo and escarole or choice of greens.  
  • Return pot to a boil — cook the orzo until tender, approximately 12 minutes.  
  • Add beans stirring occasionally.  
  • Sprinkle each bowl with Parmesan cheese. 

Note: You can add chicken to this recipe if desired and other types of beans. 

Shrimp Stir Fry Served in Wheat Tortillas 

Shrimp stir fry

Serves 6 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds uncooked shrimp (31-40 per pound), peeled and deveined 
  • 12 corn or flour tortillas 
  • 1 of each green, red and yellow peppers, cut into 1/2-inch strips 
  • 1 sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch strips 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • Fresh cilantro  
  • 1 to 2 avocado depending on size 
  • 1 small lemon 
  • 1 small lime 
  • 1 Tsp. of cumin 
  • 1 Tsp. of chili powder 
  • Salt & pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  
  • In a large bowl combine shrimp, peppers, onion and garlic.  
  • Drizzle with oil — sprinkle with chili powder, cumin and salt.  
  • Toss to coat.  
  • Spread shrimp mixture evenly on a large greased or parchment lined baking pan, then cover with foil. 
  • Roast shrimp mixture for 10 minutes and rotate pans halfway through cooking.  
  • Remove pans from oven.  
  • Preheat broiler. 
  • Broil shrimp mixture for 4 to 5 minutes until vegetables are lightly browned and shrimp turn pink.  
  • Serve in tortillas with toppings as desired. 

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