Brain-Boosting Dinner Recipes
Black Bean & Salmon Tostadas
Pickled jalapeños, cilantro and avocado perk up convenient canned salmon for a quick tostada topping. Skip store-bought and make your own crispy shells in the oven. Serve with: Brown rice cooked with diced tomatoes and onions or salsa.
Asparagus & Salmon Spring Rolls
These spring rolls are filled with smoked salmon, tender-crisp asparagus and plenty of fresh herbs. Spring rolls look impressive when you put them out for a party, but they are actually easy to make. To simplify the process, lay out all the ingredients you need to make the rolls near your work surface before you begin.
Raspberry, Avocado & Mango Salad
Pureed berries give the tangy wine vinegar dressing a creamy texture that gently clings to the lettuce and fruit. This is a salad to enjoy when fresh berries are in the market.
Tuna-&-Tomato Mac & Cheese
Tuna mac & cheese takes a trip to the Southwest with spicy tomato and festive blue tortilla chips on top. Canned tomatoes with green chiles and ancho chile powder add a peppery kick, but if you like, you can keep it mellow by using a 14-ounce can of drained petite diced tomatoes and mild chili powder.
Lemon-Garlic Sardine Fettuccine
Even sardine skeptics will enjoy this lemony pasta with crispy breadcrumbs. Substitute two 5- to 6-ounce cans chunk light tuna for the sardines if you prefer. If you are using tuna or can't find sardines packed in tomato sauce, add 2 tablespoons tomato paste in Step 4 with the lemon juice. Serve with a salad of bitter greens tossed with a lemon vinaigrette and a glass of Pinot Grigio.
Chicken Cordon Bleu Burger
The classic flavors of Chicken Cordon Bleu--ham, Swiss cheese and thyme--inspired this easy chicken burger. We like using regular ground chicken, which is a blend of thigh and drumstick meat, to help keep this burger juicy, but feel free to use 100% ground chicken breast if you'd like a leaner burger. You'll cut 20 calories and 1 gram saturated fat. Serve with roasted broccoli.
Bobby Flay's Honey-Rum Baked Black Beans
Chef Bobby Flay cooked these baked black beans, spiked with chorizo and rum, on one of his television shows, Throwdown! with Bobby Flay, to compete with a more-traditional batch of Carolina baked beans. We adore the results. If you bring them along to a summer party, reheat before serving or bring them in a crock-pot and plug it in when you get to the party. Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay's Throwdown! by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Miriam Garron (Clarkson Potter, 2010).
Spicy Tuna Wrap
These tuna wraps were inspired by spicy tuna sushi rolls. We love how they taste with peppery watercress, but other greens, such as arugula, romaine, escarole or even radish sprouts, would taste great in the filling. If you want to play on the sushi inspiration, stir some wasabi into the soy sauce for dipping and serve with pickled ginger. Serve with sliced cucumbers and slivered red onions tossed with rice vinegar, a little oil and a pinch of salt.
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili
Make a double batch of this quick vegetarian chili, full of black beans and sweet potatoes, and eat it for lunch the next day or freeze the extras for another night. We love the smoky heat from the ground chipotle, but omit it if you prefer a mild chili. Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread and coleslaw.
Convenient frozen hash browns and flaked salmon come together for a twist on this traditional Swiss favorite. We love the creamy dill sauce, but a dollop of ketchup is tasty too. Serve with: Steamed green beans tossed with sliced scallions, Dijon mustard and lemon juice.
Smoky Artichoke-Sardine Salad
Smoked paprika and sherry vinegar add Spanish flair to the dressing of this artichoke-and-sardine salad. Try this salad for a take-along lunch. To keep the salad greens from getting soggy, pack the greens, salad toppings and dressing in separate containers and toss them together just before eating.
Bean Burgers with Spicy Guacamole
These bean burgers will even please carnivores. The cornmeal coating gives a pleasant crunch and smoked paprika, cumin, cilantro and guacamole add Southwestern flavor.
Salmon with Red Wine-Morel Sauce
Dried mushrooms give this rich red-wine sauce an almost meaty flavor. Look for them in the produce department of well-stocked supermarkets or specialty grocers. If you're not a fan of salmon, try the recipe with halibut instead. Serve with barley tossed with parsley and steamed broccolini. To double: Prepare a double batch of sauce in the large skillet, increasing reduction time as needed. Cook 2 1/2 pounds of salmon in two batches, adding oil as necessary.
Bean & Salmon Salad with Anchovy-Arugula Dressing
This simple bean and salmon salad becomes something truly exciting when dressed with a bold dressing flavored with anchovies and arugula. Canned wild Alaskan salmon is a healthy and environmentally sound choice. Thoroughly drain the beans so the salad doesn't taste watered down. Sometimes heating beans slightly makes it easier to drain off the cooking liquid.
Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans
In this one-skillet supper, we toss dark leafy greens, diced tomatoes and white beans with gnocchi and top it all with gooey mozzarella. Serve with a mixed green salad with vinaigrette.
Southwestern Three-Bean & Barley Soup
Serve this zesty bean and barley soup garnished with chopped fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime, if desired.
Grilled Salmon with Tomatoes & Basil
This recipe is so beautiful and yet so simple to prepare--it's perfect for entertaining. You just spread a side of salmon with minced garlic, sprinkle with fresh basil, then layer sliced tomatoes on top. Put it on the grill for 10 minutes and you're done!
Toasted Pita & Bean Salad
Beans add protein to this tasty riff on the classic Middle Eastern salad fattoush, made with lettuce, cucumbers, tomato, mint and pita bread.
Grilled Halibut Salad Nicoise
Salad nicoise, a classic French salad, is typically made with tuna. Here we use sweet grilled halibut (in season in midsummer) or striped bass. To make it quicker, substitute 2 or 3 cans of drained chunk light tuna. Or skip the fish altogether for a vegetarian main-course salad. We call for serving it on a platter, but it's just as beautiful individually plated. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.
Black Bean Quesadillas
In a hurry? These satisfying quesadillas take just 15 minutes to make. We like them with black beans, but pinto beans work well too. If you like a little heat, be sure to use pepper Jack cheese in the filling. Serve with: A little sour cream and a mixed green salad.
Tuna Pasta with Olives & Artichokes
Here we toss grilled tuna with pasta, artichoke hearts, green olives and tomatoes. Grilling the tuna gives this ultra-fresh pasta dish a subtle smokiness. But if you're pressed for time, try canned tuna in place of the grilled fish.
Arctic Char on a Bed of Kale
Arctic char, related to salmon and trout, is sustainably farmed, making it a “best choice” for the environment. It has a mild flavor and cooks up quickly. We like the taste and texture of lacinato (aka dinosaur) kale in this dish. Serve with mashed potatoes.
Salmon Salad Sandwich
Salmon salad served on tangy pumpernickel bread makes for an easy dinner--a double batch will give you lunch the next day.