By Michelle Edelbaum, EatingWell Digital Editor
I love spring food but I love spring weather even more, which means I want to eat a fresh, healthy meal fast so I can get out for a walk after dinner before the sun sets.
To streamline my dinnertime routine, I combed EatingWell's recipe database to find these healthy 5-ingredient dinners using fresh, spring ingredients to help me eat well but cook simply. (I didn't count kitchen staples like salt, pepper and oil as part of my 5-ingredient limit.) And they're all ready in 40 minutes or less of cooking time-plenty of time to steam a vegetable on the side and make instant brown rice or quinoa and then get back outside after dinner.
The other bonus of these 5-ingredient dinner recipes? They'll minimize my grocery shopping too!
Makes: 5 servings
Active time: 25 minutes | Total: 40 minutes
Equipment: Pizza stone or pizza pan
Cost per serving: under $2
Asparagus, chives and fontina cheese top this easy pizza recipe. Serve with baby greens tossed with vinaigrette and pecans.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup snipped fresh chives (from 1 bunch), divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound whole-wheat pizza dough
1 cup shredded fontina or mozzarella cheese
1. Position rack in lower third of oven, place a pizza stone or large pizza pan on the rack and preheat oven to 450°F for at least 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons oil and garlic in a small bowl; set aside. Trim asparagus spears to about 6 inches long; slice any thicker stalks in half lengthwise. Toss in a bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 cup chives, salt and pepper.
3. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about a 14-inch circle.
4. Carefully remove the pizza stone or pan from the oven and set on a heatproof surface, such as your stovetop. Place the dough on the stone or pan and brush with the reserved garlic-oil mixture. Arrange the asparagus in a circular pattern on the dough with the tips facing out. Top with cheese and the remaining chives.
5. Carefully return the stone or pan to the oven and bake the pizza on the lower rack until crispy and golden and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.
Per serving: 368 calories; 20 g fat (5 g sat, 8 g mono); 25 mg cholesterol; 39 g carbohydrate; 1 g added sugars; 14 g protein; 3 g fiber; 536 mg sodium; 167 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Folate (23% daily value), Vitamin A (20% dv).
Plank-Grilled Salmon with Creamy Tarragon Sauce
Makes: 4 servings
Active time: 30 minutes | Total: 30 minutes (plus 2-4 hours plank-soaking time)
To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate the sauce (Step 3) for up to 1 day.
Equipment: Cedar grilling plank
Cost per serving: under $4.50
Grilling salmon on a cedar plank imparts a deliciously smoky flavor to the fish. The tarragon cream sauce uses low-in-saturated-fat Greek-style yogurt. Look for cedar planks with other grilling supplies in supermarkets or hardware stores.
1 1/4 pounds wild Alaskan salmon fillet
1/2 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt, divided
1/4 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
1. Soak a cedar grilling plank in water for 2 to 4 hours.
2. About 20 minutes before you're ready to grill, preheat grill to medium. Season salmon with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let stand while the grill preheats.
3. Meanwhile, combine yogurt with 1 tablespoon oil, orange juice, tarragon and the remaining pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Whisk vigorously until all the oil has been incorporated into the yogurt.
4. When ready to grill, brush the salmon with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Place the soaked cedar plank directly over the fire for about 1 minute. Using tongs, turn the plank over to expose the slightly charred side. Place the salmon fillet skin-side down on the plank. Cover the grill and cook until the salmon is easily flaked with a fork, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the entire plank from the grill and serve from it or transfer the salmon to a serving platter. Serve the salmon with the sauce.
Per serving: 242 calories; 12 g fat (2 g sat, 7 g mono); 67 mg cholesterol; 1 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars; 30 g protein; 0 g fiber; 402 mg sodium; 537 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Potassium (15% daily value), omega-3s.
Chili-Rubbed Tilapia with Asparagus & Lemon
Active time: 20 minutes | Total: 20 minutes
Tilapia, a relatively plentiful fish, has the unfortunate reputation of being dull. All it needs is a spice rub, a familiar barbecuing technique that works just as well indoors. You could also use this rub on chicken breasts or toss it with lightly oiled shrimp before cooking.
2 pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 pound tilapia, Pacific sole or other firm white fish fillets
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Put asparagus in a steamer basket, place in the pan, cover and steam until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large plate, spreading out to cool.
2. Combine chili powder, garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt on a plate. Dredge fillets in the spice mixture to coat. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook until just opaque in the center, gently turning halfway, 5 to 7 minutes total. Divide among 4 plates. Immediately add lemon juice, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and asparagus to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the asparagus is coated and heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve the asparagus with the fish.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 211 calories; 10 g fat (2 g sat, 6 g mono); 57 mg cholesterol; 8 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars; 26 g protein; 4 g fiber; 419 mg sodium; 681 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (42% Daily Value), Folate (23% dv), Iron (22 % dv), Potassium (19%), Vitamin C (18% dv).
Sweet & Savory Grilled Chicken
Makes: 4 servings
Active time: 5 minutes | Total: 25 minutes | To make ahead: Store the rub in an airtight container for up to 3 months; coat the chicken with the rub up to 30 minutes before grilling or broiling.
This sweet and savory rub for grilled chicken relies on ingredients you most likely have on hand already-brown sugar, dry mustard and onion powder-making it a quick recipe for a night when you're not sure what you're making for dinner.
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper or freshly ground black pepper
1-1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (see Note)
1. Combine brown sugar, dry mustard, onion powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
2. Coat both sides of chicken with the rub up to 30 minutes before grilling or broiling.
3. Preheat grill to medium-high or position a rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler.
4. To grill: Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the chicken, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F, 4 to 8 minutes per side.
5. To broil: Line a broiler pan (or baking sheet) with foil and coat with cooking spray. Place the chicken on the foil. Broil, watching carefully and turning at least once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F, 10 to 15 minutes total.
Per serving: 140 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono); 63 mg cholesterol; 3 g carbohydrate; 2 g added sugars; 23 g protein; 0 g fiber; 196 mg sodium; 198 mg potassium.
Note: It's difficult to find an individual chicken breast small enough for one portion. Removing the thin strip of meat from the underside of a 5-ounce breast-the chicken tender-removes about 1 ounce of meat and yields a perfect 4-ounce portion. Wrap and freeze the tenders and when you have gathered enough, use them in a stir-fry or for oven-baked chicken fingers. If you can only find chicken breasts closer to 8- to 9-ounce each, you'll only need 2 breasts for 4 servings-cut each one in half before cooking.
Tip: Oiling a grill rack before you grill foods helps ensure that the food won't stick. Oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) When grilling delicate foods like tofu and fish, it is helpful to coat the food with cooking spray.
Flank Steak Pinwheels
Active time: 40 minutes | Total: 40 minutes | To make ahead: Prepare the steak roll (Steps 2-4). Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 6 hours. When ready to grill, proceed with Steps 5 and 6.
Equipment: Meat mallet, skewers
These festive wheels of steak, Boursin cheese, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes look fancy, but they're quite easy to make. For a party, arrange them on a platter atop a bed of spinach.
2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
2 cups boiling water
1 pound flank steak, trimmed of fat
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons light herbed cheese spread, such as Boursin (see Variation)
1 cup baby spinach
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat grill to high.
2. Place sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl; pour boiling water over them and let steep until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain and chop.
3. Meanwhile, place steak between 2 large pieces of plastic wrap. Pound each side of the steak thoroughly with the pointed side of a meat mallet until the steak is an even 1/4-inch thickness.
4. Rub garlic all over one side of the steak. Spread cheese lengthwise in a 3-inch-wide strip down the middle of the steak. (See Kitchen Notes) Top with the sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. Starting at one edge of a long side, roll the steak up tightly, tucking in the filling as you go.
5. Carefully rub salt and pepper all over the outside of the steak roll. Turn the roll so the overlapping edge is on top. Push 8 skewers, evenly spaced, through the roll, close to the overlapping edge to hold the roll together. Slice the roll into 8 equal portions, roughly 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick, with a skewer in each. Lay the slices on their sides and push the skewer through so it sticks out about 1 inch.
6. Oil the grill rack (see Tip, page 78). Grill the pinwheels 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Use a spatula when turning them to prevent too much filling from falling out. (Don't worry if the ends of the skewers burn. They will still hold the pinwheels together.) Remove the skewers; let the pinwheels rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 226 calories; 9 g fat (4 g sat, 3 g mono); 46 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 27 g protein; 2 g fiber; 332 mg sodium; 278 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Zinc (27% daily value), Iron (15% dv).
Blue cheese variation: Substitute 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers or 1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts for the sun-dried tomatoes (skip Step 2). Mash 1/2 cup blue cheese with 2 tablespoons milk until smooth and substitute for the Boursin in Step 4.
To oil a grill rack: Oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)
Oven-Barbecued Pork Chops
Active Time: 20 minutes Total: 30 minutes
If you're not ready to fire up your grill just yet, or spring showers are keeping you indoors, try this swift recipe and enjoy a "barbecue" indoors. Serve with Savoy Cabbage Slaw and cornbread.
11⁄2-13⁄4 pounds bone-in, 3⁄4-inch-thick pork rib chops, trimmed
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1⁄3 cup orange juice
1⁄2 cup barbecue sauce (see Tip)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add the pork chops and cook until beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
3. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the pan. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add orange juice and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in barbecue sauce. Return the pork chops to the pan, turning several times to coat with the sauce.
4. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the pork chops are barely pink in the middle and an instant-read thermometer registers 145°F, 6 to 10 minutes. Serve the sauce over the pork chops.
Per serving: 270 calories; 10 g fat (3 g sat, 5 g mono); 69 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrate; 26 g protein; 1 g fiber; 547 mg sodium; 473 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Selenium (57% daily value), Vitamin C (25% dv).
Shopping tip: Check the sodium content of your favorite barbecue sauce-some can be quite high.
What are your best 5-ingredient dinner recipes?
By Michelle Edelbaum
Michelle is the digital editor for EatingWell Media Group. She puts her background in journalism to work online at EatingWell.com and in each issue of EatingWell Magazine, authoring The Fresh Interview with interesting people in the world of food and health.
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