Sunday, May 26, 2019

Healthy Back-to-School Recipes Save Time, Taste Great

by Katie Hillin

The days are long, but the years are short.
~ Gretchen Rubin

Rubin’s quote resonates with many. How can one relish the moments of joy without feeling overwhelmed by work, parenting, gymnastics or grocery shopping? We have become so busy in our lives that when it is time to fuel our body with nourishment, we think we simply don’t have the time and we opt for a prepackaged commercially processed option.

Fortunately, Oklahoma has many passionate farmers and growers that believe in our land and our people. Thanks to them, it’s easier to fuel our minds and bodies with in-season local foods. Here are some tips to preparing wholesome, quick back-to-school dinners while utilizing leftovers to help optimize our time and budget.

Salmon Skewers

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp chopped rosemary
Kosher salt and pepper
1 to 2 pounds salmon filets cut into 1½-inch cubes
20 cherry tomatoes
Metal or wooden skewers

Whisk together oil, lemon juice, mustard and rosemary. Set aside. Light the grill or heat a grill pan. Thread the salmon and tomatoes onto skewers. Season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat, turning once, until it is just cooked through, approximately 6 minutes. Transfer to platter and drizzle with the oil and lemon juice mixture.

Quinoa Pilaf with Dates and Arugula

1 box tricolor quinoa
1 cup baby arugula
1 cup chopped dates
¼ cup sliced scallions
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Prepare the quinoa according to box directions. Divide quinoa in half. Put one half into a large bowl; set the other half of quinoa aside for skirt steak recipe that follows. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl of quinoa; mix well and season with salt and pepper.

Skirt Steak Quinoa Bowls

1 cup arugula
2 cup sugar snap peas
¼ cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
3 Tbsp toasted sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 pound skirt steak (pre-sliced is a time saver)
2 Tbsp minced garlic

Whisk the soy sauce, vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil; set aside. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the remaining oil. Add the steak and garlic and cook over high heat, stirring until the steak is brown, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the leftover quinoa from previous recipe. Lower heat to medium. Add sugar snap peas and dressing. Remove from heat. Toss in fresh arugula.

Note: Leftovers can be rolled up in tortillas for a healthy taco; add fresh cubed avocado.

Berry Crumble

6 cups berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or halved strawberries)
½ cup raw sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons

Crumble Topping

¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar in the raw
½ cup light-brown sugar
½ cup old-fashioned oats
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, toss berries, sugar, cornstarch, zest and juice.
Pour mixture into a baking dish of your choice. For the crumble, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon and salt in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Add the butter on low speed until the texture is crumbly. Pinch with fingers for large crumbles and pour over berry mixture. Bake 35 minutes or until bubbly.

Note: This recipe is a great way to use leftover berries that are starting to turn brown or mushy.

Katie Hillin is an Oklahoma City-based personal chef. Connect with her at or call 405-601-0740.