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What's Cookin': Ring in 2013 with healthy 'eats'

Healthy eating can be a colorful, tasty adventure. (Linda Smith / For the Enterprise)

We've been celebrating and feasting since Thanksgiving, and the time has come to step on the scale--and the treadmill. Bookstores, grocery advertisements and TV commercials are filled with diet books, diet aids, liquid diets, etc. I've never been very successful at keeping my New Year's resolutions long past 10 days, but I am making an effort to change my ways. This morning my grocery cart was heaped with fresh fruits and vegetables, a lovely turkey and the makings for a big pot of soup from the turkey carcass. Yesterday I purged the cupboards and refrigerator of all leftover chips, dips and other unhealthy temptations. Instead, I'm vowing to keep the fruit bowl stocked with a variety of colorful fruits and to always have carrots, celery, a variety of colorful peppers and those yummy English cucumbers sliced up and awaiting a snack attack.

Minty Lime Chicken

3 T. finely chopped mint

4 T. clear honey

4 T. lime juice

12 boneless chicken thighs


1/2 c. thick unsweetened yogurt (Greek works great)

1 T. finely chopped mint

2 t. finely grated lime peel

Salad, to serve

Combine the mint, honey and lime juice in a bowl. Use toothpicks to keep the chicken thighs in neat shapes and add the chicken to the marinade, turning to coat evenly. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight. Cook the chicken on a preheated moderate broiler or over hot coals, turning frequently and basting with the marinade. The chicken is cooked if the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced in the thickest part with a skewer. Meanwhile, mix together the sauce ingredients. Remove the toothpicks and serve the chicken with a salad and the sauce. Serves 6. Note: I knit my husband, John, a nice warm wool hat and scarf so he has no reason to complain when I send him outdoors to grill in the wintertime. Isn't that the purpose of football halftimes?

Chicken Pepperonata

8 skinless chicken thighs

2 T. whole-wheat flour

2 T. olive oil

1 small onion, sliced thinly

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 each large red, yellow and green bell peppers, sliced thinly

1 (14-oz.) can chopped tomatoes

1 T. chopped oregano

Salt and pepper

Fresh oregano, to garnish

Crusty whole wheat bread, to serve

Remove the skin from the chicken thighs and toss in the flour. Heat the oil in a wide pan and sauté the chicken quickly until sealed and lightly browned, then remove from the pan. Add the onion to the pan and gently sauté until soft. Add the garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes and oregano, and bring to a boil, stirring. Arrange the chicken over the vegetables, season well with salt and pepper, cover the pan tightly and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked and tender. Season to taste, garnish with oregano and serve with crusty whole wheat bread. Note: If you do not have fresh oregano, use sieved tomatoes with herbs already added. Serves 4.

Vegetable Stir-Fry

1 T. cornstarch

Dash of pepper

3/4 c. chicken or beef broth

1 T. dry sherry

1 T. soy sauce

1/4 c. vegetable oil

1/4 c. sliced green onions

2 c. broccoli florets

1 c. diagonally sliced carrots

2 c. diagonally sliced bok choy

2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms

Combine cornstarch, pepper, broth, sherry and soy sauce; set aside. Heat oil in wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Stir-fry green onions, broccoli, carrots and bok choy 3 to 5 minutes. Stir-fry mushrooms until vegetables are crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir cornstarch mixture into vegetables; stir-fry over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens. Serve immediately. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Citrus Crunch Salad

1 head Boston lettuce

1 large pink grapefruit, cut into sections, drained

2 medium oranges, cut into sections, drained

1 c. red grapes, halved and seeded

3/4 c. diced celery

1/2 c. alfalfa sprouts

1/2 c. sunflower nuts

1/3 c. frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1/3 c. vegetable oil

1/3 c. honey

Tear lettuce into bite-size pieces. Just before serving, combine with fruit, celery, sprouts and nuts. Combine lemonade, oil and honey in blender; buzz until blended. Toss salad with 1/4 c. dressing. Refrigerate remaining dressing. Makes 6 to 8 servings. Note: If you're looking to add more fiber to your diet, this salad nicely fits the bill. To make this a meal, add cooked, cubed leftover chicken or turkey and serve with crusty whole wheat bread or buns.

Wild Rice Casserole

1 c. uncooked wild rice

1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced (3 c.)

3 T. minced onion

1/2 c. sliced almonds or water chestnuts

3 c. chicken broth

1/4 c. butter

Rinse wild rice under running water using a strainer or in a bowl of water; drain. Combine rice, mushrooms, onion and almonds in 2-qt. casserole. Add broth; dot with butter. Bake, covered, in a 325-degree oven until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 1 1/2 hours. Makes 6 to 8 servings. Note: Serve with fish or fowl, beef or bison. Wild rice is high in protein, low in fat and contains potassium, phosphorus and B vitamins--and it just tastes so darned good.

Savory Pork Chops

4 lean pork chops, 1 inch thick

Salt and pepper

4 thin onion slices

4 thin lemon slices

1/4 c. packed brown sugar

1/4 c. catsup

4 sprigs parsley

Arrange chops in a large baking dish, which has been sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each chop with 1 onion slice and 1 lemon slice. Place 1 T. brown sugar and 1 T. catsup on each chop. Bake, covered, in a 350-degree oven 60 minutes. Uncover and bake 30 minutes longer, basting occasionally. Garnish with a sprig of parsley. Makes 4 servings. Note: Butternut, buttercup, acorn squash or potatoes baked at the same time and same temperature makes a good combination. Spoon applesauce - preferably chunky and homemade--into center of each squash just before serving.