IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

The dish on eating healthy

In her new book, "The Dish on Eating Healthy and Feeling Fabulous," nutritionist Carolyn O'Neil offers fresh advice on making healthier food choices without giving up taste and enjoyment.
/ Source: TODAY

In her new book, "The Dish on Eating Healthy and Feeling Fabulous," nutritionist Carolyn O'Neil offers fresh advice on making healthier food choices without giving up taste and enjoyment.

Rare Seared Tuna with Shallot-Tarragon Vinaigrette over a Salad of Baby Watercress, String Beans, and Olives

Yield: 6 Servings

The Vinaigrette


1 ½ tsp minced shallots

3 tbsp sherry vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

½ tsp fine sea salt

Pinch of freshly ground white pepper

½ cup olive oil

1 tbsp chopped tarragon (French tarragon is best, add more depending on fragrance of tarragon)

The Tuna:
Two 8 oz tuna steaks (about 1 inch thick)Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil1 lemon, halved and seeded

The Salad:
½ lb baby watercress (or mesclun greens)½ lb haricot vert, trimmed30 niçoise olives, pitted and halved12 red cherry tomatoes, halved12 yellow cherry tomatoes, halved

Preparation:For the vinaigrette, whisk together in a small bowl the shallots, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper until the salt dissolves. Constantly whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Blanch the haricort vert until crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Strain and then run under cold water until chilled. Set aside.For the salad, place the haricots vert, olives, red and yellow tomatoes in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the tarragon to the vinaigrette and whisk to combine. Toss the vegetables with enough vinaigrette to coat and set aside. (You could add the watercress/mesclun here to make salad if you are serving  right away.)For the tuna, cut each steak into 3 equal slices (about 1” thick). Place two nonstick pans over high heat. When the pans are hot, brush the tuna with olive oil on each side. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add the tuna to the pans and sear on both sides until nicely browned but still rare, about 30 seconds on each side. Remove from the pan.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the tuna. Toss the watercress/mesclun with the other vegetables and mound on six plates. Place tuna slice on top of salad and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. “NOT A BORING SALAD!”                 

Avocado and Arugula Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette                                     
Yield: 4 servingsFor the salad: 1-2 heads bibb lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces1 bunch arugula ,torn into bite sized pieces2 avocados, peeled and cubed 2 ruby red grapefruits, peeled and segmented, reserve excess juice1 cup green grapes, seeded and halved, may be peeled1/2 cup julienne red pepper  1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted2 Tb. fresh chives or Italian parsley, minced

For the dressing:
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil1/3 cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegarjuice from segmented grapefruit ( approx 3 tablespoons) Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

1. On large platter add the bibb and arugula.2. On the bed of greens arrange the avocado and grapefruit segments.3. Garnish with the grapes and red pepper.4. Combine the ingredients for the dressing and drizzle over the entire salad.5. Add final garnish of minced chives or parsley and toasted nuts. Serve chilled.

No reason to split banana split cheesecake
Yield: 16 servingsCrust:
1 cup packaged chocolate cookie crumbs2 tablespoons sugar1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine, meltedCooking Spray

3 (8-ounce) blocks fat free cream cheese, softened1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened 1 (8-ounce) carton low-fat sour cream1-1/2 cups sugar1-1/2 cups mashed ripe banana3 tablespoons all-purpose flour2 teaspoons vanilla extract 4 large eggsToppings:
1/3 cup canned crushed pineapple in juice, drained 1/3 cup strawberry sundae syrup1/3 cup chocolate syrup¼ cup chopped pecans or almonds16 maraschino cherries, drained

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. To prepare crust, combine the first 3 ingredients in a bowl; toss with a fork until moist. Press into bottom of 9-inch spring form pan coated with cooking spray. To prepare filling, beat cheeses and sour cream at high speed of a mixer until smooth. Add 1 ½ cups sugar, banana, flour and vanilla; beat well.  Add eggs, one at a time; beat well after each addition. Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan; bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until almost set. Cheesecake is done when the center barely moves when pan is touched. Remove cheesecake from oven; run a knife around the outside edge. Cool cheesecake to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 8 hours. Top each slice  with 1 teaspoon pineapple, 1 teaspoon strawberry syrup, 1 teaspoon chocolate syrup, ¾ teaspoon nuts, and 1 cherry.  (317 calories, 1.6 grams fat per serving)

Carb correction confetti rice
“Confetti Rice”Ingredients:
1 teaspoon olive oil½ cup julienne carrots½ cup julienne zucchini½ cup julienne yellow squash1 garlic clove, minced2 cups basmati white rice (cooked in chicken stock to package directions)¼ teaspoon black pepper¼ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Preparation: Chocolate and Cookies. Few combinations are so celebrated and plain wonderful. Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough have the perfect batch of satisfying treats in their new book "The Ultimate Chocolate Cookie Book: From Chocolate Melties to Whoopie Pies, Chocolate Biscotti to Black and Whites, with Dozens of Chocolate Chip Cookies and Hundreds More."

Nearly Fat Free Chewy Chocolate Cookie
Makes about 2 dozen large cookies Ingredients:   1 cup all-purpose flour   2 tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably natural, sifted   1/2 teaspoon baking soda   1/2 teaspoon salt   2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped   4 large egg whites, at room temperature   1 cup packed dark brown sugar   1/2 cup granulated sugar   1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Position the rack in the middle of the oven; preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.  Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl until uniform; set aside as well.

2. Place the chocolate in the top half of a double boiler set over about 1 inch of simmering water, or in a medium bowl that fits securely over a medium saucepan with about the same amount of simmering water.  Stir until half the chocolate has melted, then remove from the double boiler's top half or the bowl from the heat and continue stirring until all the chocolate has melted.  Alternatively, place the chocolate in a medium bowl and microwave on high in 15-second increments until half the chocolate has melted, then continue stirring at room temperature until all the chocolate has melted.  In all cases, set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, place the egg whites in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until foamy, about 20 seconds.  Add both kinds of sugar and beat until thick and smooth, about 3 minutes at medium speed.  Pour in the cooled, melted chocolate and continue beating until uniform, then beat in the vanilla.  Remove the beaters and stir in the prepared flour mixture with a wooden spoon or a metal spatula, just until the flour is moistened and evenly distributed.  Do not overbeat or the dough will be too sticky.

4. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 12 minutes, switching the sheet back to front halfway through baking, until the cookies are flat yet springy with crackly, dry-looking tops.  Cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and cool completely.  Cool the baking sheet for 5 minutes before baking additional batches.

Recommended storage: 4 days at room temperature 1 month in freezer

Personalize it! Stir in 2/3 cup of any of the following with the vanilla extract: golden raisins, currants, chopped dried apricots, chopped dried figs, or chopped dried pineapple.

Substitute any of the following for the vanilla extract:  1 teaspoon banana flavoring, 1 teaspoon coconut flavoring, 1 teaspoon orange extract, 1/2 teaspoon mint flavoring, 1 teaspoon rum flavoring.

Potato Chip Chocolate CookieMakes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:   1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour   1/2 teaspoon baking soda   1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg   1/2 pound (2 sticks) cool margarine, cut into small pieces   1 cup granulated sugar   3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar   1 large egg, at room temperature   1 large egg white, at room temperature   2 teaspoons vanilla extract   4 ounces potato chips, crushed (about 6 cups)   3 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

1. Position the racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven; preheat the oven to 350 F.  Whisk the flour, baking soda, and nutmeg in a medium bowl until well combined; set aside.

2. Place the margarine in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until softened.  Add both kinds of sugar and continue beating until the mixture is homogenous but grainy, not smooth, with no bits of margarine visible, about 2 more minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, beat in the egg, then the egg white and vanilla.

3. Turn off the beaters, add the flour mixture, and beat at low speed until a sticky and thick but nonetheless soft batter forms, about 20 seconds.  Remove the beaters and stir in the crushed potato chips and chocolate chips with a wooden spoon, just until evenly distributed.

4. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto two large ungreased baking sheets, preferably nonstick, spacing the mounds about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 8 minutes, then reverse the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom.  Continue baking for about 7 more minutes, or until the cookies are browned and somewhat firm to the touch.  Cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.  Cool the baking sheets for 5 minutes before baking additional batches.