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Ease your family back-to-school with these no-cook meals

Back-to-school typically also means going back to the kitchen and providing dinners that doesn't include a burger or a hot dog. But don't get stressed or overwhelmed thinking about all the meals you have to make for your family. Aviva Goldfarb, the founder of "The Six O'Clock Scramble" is helping the transition by sharing three quick no-cook meals, including a Mediterranean 7-layer dinner dip, ra

Back-to-school typically also means going back to the kitchen and providing dinners that doesn't include a burger or a hot dog. But don't get stressed or overwhelmed thinking about all the meals you have to make for your family. 

Aviva Goldfarb, the founder of "The Six O'Clock Scramble" is helping the transition by sharing three quick no-cook meals, including a Mediterranean 7-layer dinner dip, raw zucchini pasta with pesto and avocados stuffed tuna salad.

Mediterranean 7-layer dinner dip
Prep: 15 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

This no-cook Mediterranean 7-layer dinner dip is perfect for a warm evenings-it still has enough healthy ingredients, protein and calories to keep us satisfied (plus it meets half of our daily goal for dietary fiber!) and it doesn't require any cooking at all. Of course it would also be a hit at any party.  

  • 1 1/2 cups hummus
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled if desired and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/4 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives

  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 6 pieces pita bread or Indian naan, or use 3 cups pita chips

Spread the hummus onto the bottom of an 8- or 9-inch round dish or pie plate, and top it with the remaining ingredients (except the bread) in order. 

Meanwhile, warm the naan or pita in the oven at 300 degrees for 5 - 7 minutes. Scoop up the mixture with naan or pita bread or pita chips, or wrap the dip in a piece of naan and enjoy as a sandwich.

Do ahead or delegate: Peel and dice the cucumber, quarter the tomatoes, chop the parsley, toast the pine nuts, crumble and refrigerate the feta, if necessary.

Raw zucchini pasta with pesto
Prep: 25 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

I learned about the concept of using long strips of raw zucchini instead of pasta for a healthier alternative from my friend Jenny Lim. When 14-year-old Celia heard about how I planned to "ruin" dinner she was more than skeptical, but she amazed herself with how much she enjoyed it after her first tentative bite. 

  • 4 zucchini or yellow squash, or use a combination (about 8 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup pesto sauce (store-bought or homemade-see recipe below)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered, or use 1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes or 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives 

Using a food processor, a mandolin, a spirulizer, or the largest holes on a box grater shred the zucchini lengthwise into long thin strips. Transfer it to a colander, sprinkle it with the salt, and let the zucchini drain for 15 - 20 minutes, pressing the liquid out occasionally. 

Transfer the zucchini to a serving bowl, toss it thoroughly with 1/2 cup of pesto (refrigerate or freeze remaining pesto for a future use) and sprinkle the tomatoes or olives on top. 

Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. 

Do ahead or delegate: Shred the zucchini, make and refrigerate the pesto if preparing your own, cut the cherry or sundried tomatoes or the olives, or fully prepare and refrigerate the dish.

Avocados stuffed with tuna salad
Prep: 15 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

This is my take on a popular Chilean dish, Palta Reina The avocados make a beautiful presentation, and the best part is that no cooking is required! The avocados can also be stuffed with chicken, shrimp or crab salad instead of the tuna. Serve them with sourdough bread.   

  • 12 oz. chunk light tuna in water, drained
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced (about 1/4 cup), or use celery
  • 3 avocados
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only, about 2 Tbsp
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste

In a medium bowl, combine the tuna, mayonnaise and bell peppers (or celery). 

Cut the avocados in half lengthwise, remove the pits, and sprinkle with lemon juice and salt. Fill the avocados with the tuna salad, mounding the tuna.  

You can eat the salad and avocado flesh right out of the avocado "bowl".

Scramble flavor booster: Add the zest of 1 lemon to the tuna or sprinkle everything with salt-free lemon pepper seasoning.

Tip: Chunk light tuna is much lower in mercury than albacore tuna, and is high in omega-3s and protein.