published Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Pierce: Great stuff to eat when it's too hot to cook

I've never really been one to enjoy cooking; the best thing I make for dinner is reservations.

If given a choice, I'd rather clean up after a meal any day than prepare it. Especially this time of year -- when summer's humidity just drains you senseless and leaves you listless -- it's twice as hard to make myself walk into the kitchen, even if it's just to nuke a Jenny Craig meal in the microwave.

That's why I thought I'd offer these no-cook dishes that are as good for you as they are easy to make. Both of them are from my new favorite website, Hungry Girl.

Fruit Fandango

1 cup fat-free whipped topping, thawed

1 tablespoons sugar-free, fat-free, vanilla instant pudding mix

2 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped

3 cups seedless red grapes, halved

2 cups chopped strawberries

1/4 cup thinly sliced dry-roasted almonds

2 tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Place whipped topping in a large bowl, sprinkle with pudding mix, and stir until smooth and slightly thickened. Add fruit and toss to coat. Add almonds and chocolate chips, and gently stir. Makes 8 servings.

How to count it: 2 Weight Watchers points per serving. One cup has 131 calories and 3 grams of fat.

Four-Leaf Salad, Feta and Apples

This recipe calls for any "three-lettuce blend"; Bi-Lo carries Fresh Express Lettuce Trio. The recipe also calls for a Fuji apple; I substituted a Red Delicious, because that's what I had on hand. It tasted fine to me.

3 cups of any three-lettuce blend

1 cup spinach leaves

1 Fuji apple

1/4 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 tablespoon All Natural Almond Accents' Original Oven Roasted (or 1 tablespoon oven-roasted)

Cut apple into quarters and remove the core, seeds and stem. Thinly slice, then cut the slices in half widthwise.

Toss together all ingredients except the almonds. Plate the salad, then sprinkle almonds on top.

If you want it a little sweeter, you can top it with a light vinaigrette or any favorite low-cal dressing.

How to count it: 4 points for the whole salad! Pack this baby in Tupperware and take it to work for lunch. You can eat the whole thing and it has only 213 calories (less than any of my favorite Lean Cuisine lunches) and 8 fat grams.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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