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What's for Dinner? Celebrate spring with light recipes

By Beverly Glaze

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With the official first day of spring checked off the calendar, warm weather can't be far behind. This week's recipes are light and refreshing and full of flavor.

Roasted Tomato and Spinach Pasta

Makes 4 servings. Source: Iowa State University Extension.

     2    cups (about 10 ounces) cherry tomatoes

     1/4  cup vegetable oil, divided

     1/4     teaspoon salt

     1/4     teaspoon pepper

     1/2     teaspoon garlic

     3    cups fresh spinach or 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed

     8     ounces whole-wheat spaghetti

     1     teaspoon Italian seasoning

     5     tablespoons Parmesan cheese

HEAT oven to 400°.

RINSE tomatoes under running water. Cut in half. Spread in greased baking pan. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder on tomatoes. Stir to coat. Bake 15 to 20 minutes.

RINSE fresh spinach in water, slice in strips or thaw, drain and pat dry the frozen spinach. Set aside. Follow package directions to cook spaghetti. Drain. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil, Italian seasoning, spinach, and baked tomatoes to the spaghetti. Stir until heated through.

SERVE with Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition information: 376 calories, 17 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 6 mg cholesterol, 274 mg sodium, 46 g total carbohydrates, dietary fiber 6 g, 11 g protein.

Zucchini Pie

Makes 6 servings. Source: Iowa State University Extension.

     2    to 4 zucchini, sliced (about 10 cups)

     1     tablespoon olive oil

     2     onions, sliced

     2    eggs

     1/4  cup seasoned breadcrumbs

     1     14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

     1    cup shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)

     1/4  cup grated Parmesan cheese

     2     teaspoons Italian seasoning

     1/4     teaspoon ground black pepper

HEAT oven to 325°.

GREASE a large casserole or 9- by 13-inch pan; set aside.

WASH zucchini and discard ends. Cut into slices, to measure about 10 cups. If using large zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds before slicing. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini and onion slices, cook 10 minutes, and remove from heat.

STIR together eggs, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning and pepper in a small bowl. Add undrained tomatoes and cheeses. Pour mixture over zucchini mixture and stir to mix. Pour into casserole.

BAKE uncovered for 60 minutes. Top will be golden brown. Cut into squares to serve.

Nutrition information: 210 calories, 10 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 85 mg cholesterol, 650 mg sodium, 22 g total carbohydrates, 4 g dietary fiber, 12 g protein.

Chicken and Vegetables

Makes 6 servings. Source: Iowa State University Extension.

     1     pound skinless, boneless chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces

     4     small potatoes, washed and quartered

     2     medium carrots, sliced

     1    cup broccoli, chopped

     1     teaspoon vegetable oil

     1    can cream of chicken soup

     1    cup low-fat or nonfat milk

     3    cups cooked whole-wheat noodles

USE a sharp knife and a clean cutting board to cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Using a clean cutting board, cut vegetables.

HEAT oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until done, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except broccoli. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add broccoli and simmer 5 minutes more.

SERVE over cooked noodles.

Nutrition information: 360 calories, 7 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 460 mg sodium, 50 g total carbohydrates, 5 g dietary fiber, 26 g protein.

Fiesta Skillet Dinner

Makes 5 servings. Source: Iowa State University Extension.

     1    cup prepared brown instant rice (1/2 cup, uncooked)

     1     15.5-ounce can Mexican style tomatoes

     1     15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed

     1    cup frozen corn

     1     tablespoon chili powder

     2    cups cooked, diced chicken

     1/2  cup 2 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded

PREPARE brown rice according to package instructions. While the rice cooks, mix the tomatoes, black beans, corn, chili powder and chicken in a large skillet.

COOK over medium heat until heated through. Add the cooked rice and stir thoroughly. Top with shredded cheese. Serve hot.

Nutrition information: 230 calories, 5 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 580 mg sodium, 31 g total carbohydrate, 7 g dietary fiber, 20 g protein.

Salmon Wraps

Makes 6 servings. Source: Iowa State University Extension.

     4     ounces low-fat cream cheese

     1     14.7-ounce can salmon

     3     tablespoons light Italian dressing

     1/4     teaspoon black pepper

     6    8-inch whole-wheat tortillas

     Rinsed lettuce or spinach leaves

     1     cucumber

     1     tomato

SOFTEN cream cheese in medium bowl. Drain salmon in a colander and rinse with water. Add salmon, dressing and pepper to cream cheese in medium bowl. Stir to blend.

SPREAD 1/3 cup filling on each tortilla. Spread to edges. Slice tomato and cut slices in half.

PEEL and half cucumbers. Scoop out seeds with a spoon. Cut in half crosswise. Place on flat side and cut into narrow strips.

PLACE lettuce or spinach leaves in the center of the tortilla. Top with tomato and cucumber down the center of tortilla. Roll up tightly. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information: 320 calories, 12 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 700 mg sodium, 27 g total carbohydrates, 3 g dietary fiber, 22 g protein.

Shopping list

Cherry tomatoes






Fresh or frozen spinach, thawed




Whole-wheat spaghetti

Whole-wheat noodles

Instant brown rice

Whole-wheat tortillas

Cream of chicken soup

Canned Mexican-style tomatoes

Canned diced tomatoes

Canned black beans

Canned salmon

Italian seasoning

Seasoned breadcrumbs

Parmesan cheese

Chicken breasts

Cooked diced chicken

Frozen corn


Shredded mozzarella cheese

Shredded cheddar cheese

Low-fat or nonfat milk

Cream cheese

Pantry staples: vegetable oil, salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil, chili powder

Programs and activities offered by the West Virginia University Extension Service are available to all persons without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, political beliefs, sexual orientation, national origin and marital or family status. This material was funded, in part, by the USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition assistance to people with limited income. To find out more, contact your local Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Beverly Glaze has a master's degree in human nutrition and food science and is a WVU Extension specialist in the FNP adult program. Reach her at or 304-634-8449.


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