A tost(ada) to a tasty and healthy new year!

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If you are burned out on sweets and treats, it’s time to make lighter recipes. Shrimp is always a high-protein, low-fat option; try it in Shrimp Tostadas with Lime Slaw. Featuring boiled eggs and potatoes, my Salad with Peanut Dressing, inspired by a dish I tried in Indonesia, makes a hearty winter salad. My Quick Curry Butternut Squash is a filling and scrumptious side dish that’s on the table in fewer than 15 minutes. Another easy side is my flavor-packed Zucchini Boats Stuffed with Spinach. Have a happy new year!

Shrimp Tostadas  with Lime Slaw
Makes 3 servings (2 per person).

Shrimp Tostadas with Lime Slaw

Lime Slaw
4 cups shredded coleslaw mix
2 green onions, sliced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cumin seed 

Tostadas
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Cooking spray
12 ounces raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 tostada shells
1 cup refried beans
1 avocado or prepared guacamole
Cilantro
Pomegranate seeds (optional)

Pour coleslaw mix into a bowl, and toss with green onions and cilantro. In a separate bowl, mix together lime juice, mayonnaise, brown sugar and cumin seed. Pour dressing on coleslaw, and toss until combined. Refrigerate until time to serve.

In a small bowl, combine garlic salt, ground cumin and smoked paprika. Sprinkle half of the seasoning mixture on shrimp, reserving the rest.

Coat a nonstick pan with cooking spray, and set heat to medium-high. Add shrimp, and cook 2-3 minutes. Turn shrimp over; cook another 2-3 minutes or until opaque. When shrimp are almost done, sprinkle with remaining seasoning.

Heat tostada shells according to package directions. On each tostada shell, spread about 2 tablespoons of warmed refried beans, Lime Slaw, avocado or guacamole (if using avocado, salt it first), shrimp and cilantro. If desired, garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Note: You can also make shrimp soft tacos with this recipe by using soft tortillas instead of tostada shells.

Salad with Peanut Dressing
Makes 4 side salads or 2 entree salads.

Salad with Peanut Dressing

1 large russet potato
6 cups salad greens
3 eggs, boiled and peeled
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 cucumber, sliced
2 green onions, sliced

Dressing:

1/2 cup water
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1  tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

Boil potato until tender. Carefully peel, and set aside. 

While potato cooks, make dressing. In a saucepan, heat water until nearly boiling. Add peanut butter and brown sugar, stirring until dissolved. Turn off heat, and stir in lime juice, soy sauce and ginger until combined. Allow dressing to cool.

To assemble salad, spread salad greens on a platter. Slice boiled eggs and potato, and arrange on platter. Top with carrots, cucumber and green onions. Serve with dressing.

Quick Curry Butternut Squash
Makes 3 servings.

Quick Curry Butternut Squash

1 (10-ounce) bag frozen butternut squash
1/2  red onion, sliced
1     tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2  teaspoons curry powder
Big pinch of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Cilantro to garnish (optional)

Microwave squash according to package directions. In a nonstick skillet, sauté onion in canola oil for 5-7 minutes, until tender. Add butternut squash to onions. Stir in curry powder, brown sugar, salt and dried cranberries, and cook about 1 minute. Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve. 

Zucchini Boats Stuffed with Spinach
Makes 4 servings.

Zucchini Boats Stuffed with Spinach

2 large zucchinis
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided use
Salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (8-ounce) bag fresh spinach
1/2 cup feta cheese
Parmesan, freshly grated (optional)

Heat oven to 400. Cut each zucchini in half, and use 1 teaspoon of olive oil to brush on cut sides. Place zucchinis cut-side down on a baking sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

Remove zucchinis from oven, and carefully use a spoon to scoop out some of the flesh. Add salt and pepper to the shell. Set aside. (I eat the zucchini insides as a snack.)

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add garlic, and add spinach a little at a time (it will cook down). When about two-thirds of the spinach has wilted, add feta, stirring until cheese melts.

Stuff spinach mixture into zucchini boats. If desired, add a sprinkle of Parmesan, and return to oven for 5 minutes or serve immediately.

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