Throughout the holidays I have been baking up a storm. I think I've been on the Christmas cookie and candy diet for about a month now. That's why I wanted to change directions and cook up something light and healthy.

Throughout the holidays I have been baking up a storm. I think I've been on the Christmas cookie and candy diet for about a month now. That's why I wanted to change directions and cook up something light and healthy.

My cooking style isn't typically what anyone would call extremely healthy. I'm a big fan of cheese and dishes topped with bread crumbs that have been tossed in melted butter, but after a solid month of cinnamon rolls, English toffee and fudge I need something that's high protein, low in sugar and big on flavor.

These Asian quinoa bowls are just the ticket. Quinoa is a grain that packs a lot of protein considering the fact that it's a plant. While we're on the subject, the word is pronounced "keen-wah" (many mistakenly pronounce it "quni-oah")

Quinoa can be found in its dried form in grocery stores in the same section as rice and couscous. It is typically around $5 a box, which might seem steep for a carton full of dried plant berries, but like rice it expands and can go a long way.

I felt that a salmon recipe would be a good way to start the new year off right without skimping on flavor. Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acid, which is great for heart health. I would advise always buying wild caught salmon. It's just better for you. The flesh of wild caught salmon always has a much deeper color than that of farmed salmon, which is an indicator that it's packed with more healthy components. Any package that says wild caught or Sockeye salmon is a safe bet. Another tip: this recipe calls for white wine; whenever you're cooking with wine you should use something that you would enjoy drinking. If it doesn't taste good in the glass it's not going to taste any better on your plate.

I know I've provided you with two dishes that are flavored with lemon, but I make no apologies. In the dead of winter lemon flavored dishes provide a little brightness and zing. Plus a punch of vitamin C never hurt anyone.

I'm also a big fan of hummus. I like to dip pretzels in it, devour it with pita chips and when I'm feeling like I need a healthier lunch I replace the mayonnaise on my turkey sandwich with hummus. Try it, it will change your life.

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1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1 bell pepper

1 head savoy cabbage

1 carrot grated

2 cloves of garlic

2 cups cooked shredded chicken or one block of firm tofu, cubed


1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup oil

3 Tablespoon ketchup

1 Tablespoon grated ginger

2 Tablespoon green onion

In a small bowl mix all ingredients for the sauce and allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Place the quinoa and water in a small pot. Bring it to a boil and then cut it back to a simmer, cover it and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. Set aside.

Dice the bell pepper, mince the garlic and cut the cabbage in quarters and then into thin strips. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the vegetables until the peppers begin to become tender. Place 1/4 cup of water in the bottom of the skillet and cover for 2 to 3 minutes to wilt the cabbage, season with salt and pepper to taste. Once the cabbage is wilted, add the chicken or tofu to the skillet to warm it through. Mix the vegetable mixture with the cooked quinoa and toss with the sauce. Top with additional green onions. Serves 4 to 6.


4 salmon filets

1 bunch of asparagus

1 lemon

8 pats of butter

4 tablespoons white wine

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Tear off four 12-inch sheets of tin foil. Trim off the root ends of the asparagus and cut the bunch in half. Cut off each end of the lemon and then slice it into eight rounds, remove any seeds. On a sheet of aluminum foil lay a 1/4 of the asparagus, top the asparagus with the salmon and then place two slices of lemon and two pats of butter on top. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in the sides of the tin foil slightly and pour in 1 tablespoon of white wine. Pull the two long sides of the tin foil up to meet each other, fold them down and then fold in the two short ends to make a packet. Repeat the process with the other filets. Place the packets on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Open the packets, remove the lemon slices and transfer the fish and the asparagus to a serving dish. Serves 4.


1 lemon, juiced and zested

1 clove of garlic, chopped

2 15-ounce cans of chickpeas

1/4 cup olive oil

Drain the chickpeas and transfer them to the bowl of your food processor. Toss in the lemon zest and garlic and blend until a thick lumpy paste forms. Combine the lemon juice and olive oil in a measuring cup, and with the food processor running slowly pour in the mixture. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the hummus to a bowl to chill for at least two hours.