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STARK FROM SCRATCH

  1. Satisfy Chinese takeout craving with Kung Pao Cod

    Health

    Eating healthy doesn't mean there isn't room for occasional treats like Chinese takeout or a drive-through for our favorite one-of-a-kind cheeseburger. As long as we keep these kinds of meals reserved for true cravings, not convenience, then I can probably keep our healthy eating in check.

    Kung Pao Cod will satisfy your craving for Chinese food. Using pan-seared cod reduces calories and fat.
  2. Lightened Italian Meatballs would do Grandma proud

    Health

    Spaghetti and meatballs was the classic dish I ate at Grandma's house growing up: She had her all-day recipe that filled her creaky house with heady aromas that built anticipation as meatballs simmered in sauce on the stove.

    Lightened Italian Meatballs call for lean ground beef. Mushrooms and onions add flavor and bulk.
  3. Turn corn bread into a sweet treat with sauteed apple slices

    Health

    Corn bread has always had a bit of an identity crisis in our house: Is it savory or is it sweet? Does it replace dinner rolls or dessert?

    Apple Upside-Down Corn Bread is simple to make. Unsweetened applesauce adds tenderness to the corn bread without a ton of fat.
  4. Take the plunge and try kelp noodles in simple cabbage and noodle saute

    Health

    The healthy noodle market is booming, thanks to low-carb fans, and so it's no surprise that kelp noodles, which used to be a specialty-store item only, are now readily available at the neighborhood supermarket.

    Kelp noodles, which are a neutral-flavored sea vegetable, work well in Kelp Noodles and Cabbage.
  5. Grab some berries and go for a Tangy Orange Fruit Dip

    Health

    Late summer fruit is perhaps my favorite. Berries are juicy and sweet, in their last flourish before slipping away into elite and expensive status. Peaches and plums are soft and caramel-like in flavor. Even the humble pebbly-skinned cantaloupe boasts rich orange flesh and syrupy-sweet flavor.

    Low-fat plain Greek yogurt lends tang and protein to Tangy Orange Fruit Dip, a three-ingredient dish that comes together in mere seconds.
  6. Fava beans bring protein, micronutrients, fiber to the table in this tabbouleh

    Health

    Beans are an inexpensive and lean source of protein, fiber and micronutrients. But it's easy to fall into a bean rut. White beans, black beans, garbanzo beans and fresh green beans easily make their way to the table relatively frequently.

    Fava beans bring protein, micronutrients and fiber to flavorful Fava Bean Tabbouleh.
  7. Get your protein and omega-3 fatty acids in Lentil and Salmon Salad

    Health

    Sometimes, it's just too hot to turn on the stove. The key is to stock up your kitchen with "healthy convenience food" that doesn't require any heat, such as fresh produce, canned beans, canned fish and small boxes of precooked legumes found in the prepared produce section.

    Lentil and Salmon Salad With Smoky Mustard Dressing comes together quickly, and it’s hearty enough for a summertime supper.
  8. Add 'Creamy' Tomato Soup to your summer palette

    Health

    Check out your grocery store right about now because I'll bet you'll find gorgeous tomatoes everywhere. Roma tomatoes are a bargain this time of year, and they are ideal for cooking in all sorts of recipes. Full of vitamins C and A, as well as lycopene, tomatoes are a healthy buy, too.

    Fresh summer tomatoes, which are packed with vitamins C and A, as well as lycopene, play a starring role in “Creamy” Tomato Soup.
  9. Give lean, protein-packed chicken breasts a taste of Provence

    Health

    Boneless skinless chicken breasts are a convenient go-to for so many cooks. The mild flavor makes them incredibly versatile, so it's easy to slip this cut of chicken into almost any recipe or flavor profile. Chicken breasts are one of the leanest cuts of meat available, with a quarter pound boasting 34 grams of protein …

    The rose wine in the marinade for Chicken Breasts Provencal imparts a slightly sweet flavor.
  10. Explore the veggie noodle world with Sunshine Vegetable Ribbons

    Health

    Vegetable "noodles" are super trendy, and summer is the best time to make them since the king of veggie noodle — zucchini — is ubiquitous, and inexpensive.

    Sunshine Vegetable Ribbons can serve as a first course, a side dish or a vegetarian main course.
  11. Give Foolproof Cauliflower Pizza Crust a try

    Health

    Cauliflower is a wonder veggie. No longer relegated to boiling and covering with a bright orange cheese sauce (sorry, Mom), cauliflower is stepping out in the place of starch like rice in stir-fries or instead of wheat flour in pizza dough.

    Put a vitamin-packed vegetable to work for you in Foolproof Cauliflower Pizza Crust.
  12. Quench your thirst with a fruity and frozen treat

    Health

    Balmy weather calls for ice-cold sweet treats; fruity drinks are a natural part of the summertime poolside landscape. But those drinks are often loaded with sugar, boasting 40 or more grams in even a reasonably sized drink.

    Fresh fruit takes center stage in Agua Fresca. Frozen watermelon cubes bring texture.
  13. Savor this: Lightened Sweet Zucchini and Chorizo Spanish Tortilla

    Health

    Growing up in the Southwest, a tortilla was a thin flatbread used to wrap around grilled meat and make tacos. I was in my 30s before I visited Barcelona, Spain, and was served a Spanish tortilla — a completely different dish — and I fell in love instantly.

    The combination of shredded zucchini and onion makes the body of the tortilla tasty and nutritious.
  14. Creamy Broccoli and Blue Cheese Salad satisfies

    Health

    Tis the season of backyard barbecues, picnics and outdoor potlucks. We gather with friends, or simply migrate to the backyard picnic table for family dinner, and that has me craving the classics: grilled meats, veggies and some creamy starchy sides like macaroni salad. Today, I have the perfect solution for scratching …

    Enjoy your fruit (grapes) and vegetables (broccoli, onion, carrots and red cabbage) with Creamy Broccoli and Blue Cheese Salad.
  15. Get your vitamins in a delicious way with Garlic Green Beans

    Health

    Sometimes I just crave a big serving of green beans. You too, right?

    Get your fill of vitamins, particularly C, A and K, and deliciousness with Garlic Green Beans.
  16. 5 ideas for tomato-free pasta sauces

    Cooking

    Mom may have made most meals in our house, but my father is no stranger to the kitchen. I love remembering the Saturdays my Jersey dad spent brewing Grandmom's recipe for marinara sauce. Every pot was used, red splattered on every surface, the entire house fragrant with delicious Italian seasonings. It was a magnificent …

    Avocado Sauce is an easy pasta topper if you’re looking for something light.
  17. From the food editor: For Father's Day, steak with a side of mushroom risotto

    Cooking

    My dad is not what you would call an adventurous eater.

    French Onion Soup Risotto. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  18. Cooking challenge: Baking a layer cake that nods to Dad's upbringing, for Father's Day

    Cooking

    I got cocky.

    My other two kitchen challenges went so well. Decadent chocolate truffles. Spicy chipotle chicken. This time, I told myself, I could tackle anything — even a four-layer cake for Father's Day.

    Four-Layer Appalachian Stack Cake seemed like the perfect treat, but it didn’t turn out exactly as planned.
  19. Turn one nutrient-rich sweet potato into two courses: dinner and dessert

    Health

    The kitchen is my happy place, which is a good thing, because I spend a lot of time in it. It seems I'm always either developing recipes or cooking them for a camera. And then there's the not-so-small matter of cooking for my husband and four daughters every day. Truly, I love it.

    You don’t have to choose sides with Sweet Potato Two Ways. You can have dessert and dinner.
  20. Fresh veggies come to life in Grilled Ratatouille

    Health

    Ratatouille is a classic vegetable dish starring eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onion and tomato that is deeply steeped in the culture of Mediterranean France. When I married a man from Provence, one of the first lessons I received from my new mother-in-law Muriel was how to make a proper ratatouille.

    This May 29, 2017 photo shows grilled ratatouille in Coronado, Calif. This dish is from a recipe by Melissa d’Arabian. (Melissa d’Arabian via AP) CAMA102