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The Lazy Girl's Guide to No-Cook Meals

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Breakfasts for Busy Girls

Fresh Figs with Ricotta, Honey, and Pistachios

In a bowl, fold a spoonful or two of honey into ricotta cheese. Slice fresh figs in half lengthwise and serve alongside a dollop of the cheese mixture. Top with shelled, chopped pistachios.

Strawberry-Nectarine Smoothie

Place quartered fresh strawberries and pitted, chopped nectarines in a blender. Add plain yogurt, orange juice, and a handful of ice. For a slightly sweeter smoothie, blend in a tablespoon or two of honey.

Yogurt and Berry Parfait with Candied Ginger

Toss together a mix of fresh, ripe berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, chopped strawberries, and blackberries. Spoon plain or vanilla yogurt into the bottom of a parfait glass. Top with a spoonful of chopped candied ginger, followed by a handful of berries. Repeat, finishing with berries and garnishing with ginger.

Chocolate-Raspberry-Soy Smoothie

Place several cups of fresh or frozen raspberries in a blender (if using fresh, also toss in a handful of ice cubes). Add a small banana and just enough chocolate soy milk to reach the desired consistency.

Effortless Lunches

Tomato Stuffed with Tuna, Capers, Basil, and Pine Nuts

Drain a jar or can of tuna. Flake into a bowl and toss with capers, toasted pine nuts, and chopped basil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Hollow out a tomato, then fill it with tuna salad. Garnish with additional basil.

White Bean Salad with Shrimp and Pickled Peppers Over Arugula

Combine rinsed canned white beans with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and black pepper. Mix in halved cooked shrimp and a few chopped pickled peppers. Serve over baby arugula that’s been tossed with olive oil and lemon juice.

Hummus with Roasted Peppers and Red Onion in a Whole Wheat Pita

In a blender, combine rinsed canned chickpeas with a clove or two of minced garlic, tahini, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, a pinch of cumin, a pinch of cayenne, and salt and pepper. Puree until smooth. (Or skip this step and use your favorite brand of hummus.) Put the hummus in a whole wheat pita layered with roasted red peppers, sliced cucumbers, and thinly sliced red onions.

Whole Wheat Pasta Salad with Blue Cheese, Fresh Corn, and Arugula

Slice the kernels from a cob or two of sweet corn. Prepare whole wheat pasta; when it's almost done, add corn, cook for 20 seconds, then drain pasta and corn and briefly run under cold water. Drain well. Place arugula in a large salad bowl, add pasta and corn, and coat lightly with olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper; toss well. Crumble some blue cheese over the top.

Couscous with Cucumber, Mint, Feta, and Watermelon

Prepare whole wheat couscous according to package instructions. Meanwhile, peel, seed, and thinly slice a cucumber and cut a wedge of seedless watermelon into small chunks. Toss the couscous, cucumber, and watermelon in a bowl. Throw in some crumbled feta, slices of scallion, and torn mint leaves. Whisk together one part red-wine vinegar to four parts olive oil and fold into the mixture just before serving. Season with salt and pepper.

Egg "Shooters" Topped with Greek Garlic-Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

Peel, seed, and chop a cucumber. Stir it into a little Greek yogurt; add a minced garlic clove, some chopped fresh dill, and salt and pepper to taste. Peel hard-cooked eggs and slice in half lengthwise. Arrange egg halves on a platter. Spoon yogurt mixture over the top. Garnish with sliced olives if desired.

Whole Wheat Crostini with Tapenade and Hard-Cooked Eggs

Peel and slice a few hard-cooked eggs and pile them on slices of toasted, lightly buttered whole wheat baguette. Top each with a spoonful of prepared tapenade or olive paste. Garnish with a basil sprig or chives.

Chicken Pesto, Walnut, and Spinach Wrap

Place chunks of rotisserie chicken in a bowl. Toss with prepared pesto, chopped walnuts, and chopped celery. Fill wraps with chicken salad, then top with a handful of fresh baby spinach leaves. Roll up, burrito-style.

Tabbouleh and Parsley Salad with Cantaloupe and Pecans

Prepare tabbouleh according to package directions. Wash, dry, and mince a bunch of parsley and stir into tabbouleh along with chopped red onion, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and a pinch of cayenne. Gently mix in cubed cantaloupe and chopped pecans.

Shrimp Salad, Ceviche-Style, with Lime Vinaigrette, Orange, and Radicchio

Finely chop a shallot and whisk with one part lime juice to three parts olive oil. Place cooked shrimp in a bowl with sliced orange segments and toss with vinaigrette. Season with salt and black pepper. Put sliced radicchio in the bottom of a cocktail glass and place shrimp mixture on top.

Zucchini Carpaccio with Olive Oil, Chopped Olives, and Shaved Parmesan Cheese

Trim a zucchini or two, then use a vegetable peeler to slice lengthwise into strips. Arrange zucchini ribbons on a plate and scatter chopped pitted olives over them. Drizzle with oil and fresh lemon juice; sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Top with curls of shaved Parmesan.

Corn Bread Panzanella with Jalapeno Jack Cheese, Cilantro, Black Beans, and Avocado

Cube a loaf of stale or toasted corn bread; cut a few ripe tomatoes into chunks. Combine with grated jalapeno jack cheese, chopped cilantro, and rinsed canned black beans. Whisk together fresh lime juice, salt, pepper, and a pinch of cumin. Pour juice mixture over a cubed avocado, then gently mix into the panzanella. Drizzle with olive oil.

Spinach Salad with Prosciutto, Pecans, and Dried Cherries

Slice prosciutto into 1/4-inch strips. In a bowl, whisk together two parts orange juice to one part olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper; drizzle with balsamic vinegar. In a large bowl, toss together baby spinach leaves, chopped pecans, prosciutto, and dried cherries. Add just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat the greens.

One-Dish Dinners

Whole Wheat Pasta with Ripe Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, and Fresh Herbs

Make whole wheat pasta according to package directions. While it's still warm, toss in large chunks of ripe tomatoes, cubes of fresh mozzarella, and a mix of chopped herbs, such as thyme, basil, chives, and oregano. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Crab Salad with Papaya, Chives, and Baby Greens

Peel, seed, and cube half of a fresh papaya. Combine with a can of lump crab and a half bunch of finely chopped chives. Fold in fresh-squeezed lime juice, a spoonful of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a bed of baby greens.

Marinated Broccoli Salad with Tofu

Chop a head of broccoli into bite-size florets and place in a bowl. Stir in olive oil, minced garlic, a drizzle of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and salt to taste. Pat extra-firm tofu dry with a paper towel, cut into cubes, and add to the bowl. Let marinate for at least 1 hour.

Baby Asian Salad Mix with Smoked Trout, White Beans, and Cherry Tomatoes

Combine greens with flaked smoked trout, rinsed canned white beans, and halved cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with soy sauce, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Cabbage, Carrots, Mint, Cilantro, and Peanuts

Combine bite-size chunks of rotisserie chicken with precut coleslaw mix, chopped mint, cilantro, and lightly salted roasted peanuts. Make a dressing of Asian fish sauce, fresh lime juice, a pinch of sugar, and a pinch of red-pepper flakes. Toss with chicken and season with salt.

Marinated Artichoke, Tomato, and Goat Cheese Sandwich

Halve a small whole wheat baguette lengthwise; spread with soft goat cheese. Top with thinly sliced ripe tomatoes, drained marinated artichoke hearts, and arugula or baby spinach leaves.

Avocado Stuffed with Chicken and Sage Salad

Mix bite-size chunks of rotisserie chicken with chopped sage leaves, fresh lemon zest, and light mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper and place the salad into avocado halves. Dust with paprika if desired.

Cold Yogurt-Cucumber Soup with Chipped Tarragon and Avocado

Peel and seed a cucumber, then grate into a bowl. Whisk in plain yogurt, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, white-wine vinegar, and salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped tarragon and cubed avocado.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, July 2008.

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