Easy and nutritious meals don't need a laundry list of ingredients.

Nori-Wrapped Salmon
Serves 6 / This Japanese-style, quick meal is messy but delicious. Look for salmon that is glossy and fresh-smelling. You also want to know where it came from: If farmed, was it raised in clean waters, well-circulated by tidal flow in uncrowded pens, and fed without antibiotics? Ask your fishmonger. The best option is to buy wild-caught salmon, which mostly comes from Alaska and is freshest in late spring to summer. During the months when Alaskan fishing is closed, "frozen at sea" wild-caught salmon is also quite good. If you are a fan of crisped salmon skin, leave the skin on while cooking; it has lots of those healthy omega oils.

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillet
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup low-sodium tamari
4 large nori sheets, toasted

1. Remove any pin bones from fillet (needle-nose pliers work well) and cut into four serving pieces. Using a very hot, heavy-bottomed skillet or a grill pan sprayed lightly with olive oil, sear salmon pieces. (If you are using the skin, put salmon into the pan skin-side down and cook long enough so that skin and fillet separate when lifted; remove skin from the pan and set aside.) Turn fillets and continue to cook on the other side, until fish is slightly translucent in its center. Do not overcook.

2. Mix lemon juice and tamari together and divide into four small bowls, one for each place setting.

3. To eat this finger food, tear off a bit of nori, wrap it around a bite-size chunk of salmon, and dip into tamari mixture. The saved salmon skin can also be dipped and eaten.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 185 calories
% fat calories: 37
Fat: 7g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 62mg
Protein: 25g
Carbohydrate: 3g
Fiber: 1g
Sodium: 593mg

Onion and Mint Frittata
Serves 12 / This quick egg dish is especially good for brunch. Mint gives it an interesting and fresh flavor, but feel free to use basil instead.

12 eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 bunch fresh mint or basil, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1 large red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or butter (more if your pan is not well-seasoned or nonstick)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Mix eggs and water until well blended. Add mint or basil and season well with salt and pepper.

2. Using a heavy-bottomed skillet, sauté onion in oil or butter. When onions have begun to soften, add tomatoes and cook 1 minute. Add egg mixture. Cook on stovetop until eggs begin to solidify around the edges. Place the whole pan in the oven to cook all the way through, 10-12 minutes (it should look firm and slightly puffy). Cover pan with a plate and invert to slide out frittata. Cut into wedges and serve.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 96 calories
% fat calories: 59
Fat: 6g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 213mg
Protein: 7g
Carbohydrate: 3g
Fiber: 1g
Sodium: 63mg

Pizza Croutons in a Green Salad
Serves 4 / This child-friendly meal is wonderfully easy. The proportion of greens to pizza can vary to please your audience—children tend to like more pizza and less salad. When choosing frozen pizza and prepared salad dressing, read labels carefully; organic ingredients usually indicate a quality product. If you prefer to make your own dressing, simply mix a good-quality vinegar or citrus juice with a heart-healthy oil, olive being the best.

1 9- to 14-ounce frozen organiccheese pizza (such as Amy's)
1 4-ounce bag salad greens
Prepared salad dressing

1. Bake pizza according to package directions. When cool enough to handle, cut pizza into 1-inch squares and toss with salad greens and dressing. It's ready to eat, a one-dish dinner.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (with 1 tablespoon organic low-sodium Italian dressing):
Calories: 279 calories
% fat calories: 42
Fat: 13g
Saturated Fat: 4g
Cholesterol: 11mg
Protein: 9g
Carbohydrate: 31g
Fiber: 2g
Sodium: 688mg

Heirloom Bean Stew
Serves 8 / At my farmers' market, I often buy heirloom beans with charming names such as Yellow Indian Woman, Peruano, and Scarlet Runner, but using a good old pinto or navy bean will bring satisfaction to the table. For a delightful comfort-food meal, serve these beans with slices of toasted rustic bread brushed with a fruity olive oil, along with wedges of a sharp artisan cheese.

1 pound dried beans
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
2 very large red onions, roughly chopped (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup chopped garlic
2 tomatoes, chopped (optional)
Fruity extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Soak beans overnight in enough water to cover. Discard soaking water. Add fresh water to cover beans and bring to a boil. (If you have sensitive digestion, discard this water from the first boil and start once more.) As boiling commences, reduce heat to a nice simmer. Add marjoram, onions, and garlic. Cook until beans are soft and creamy, about 3-4 hours. Add more water as needed to achieve desired consistency.

2. Before serving, stir in chopped tomatoes, if using, and season generously with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (with 1 teaspoon olive oil):
Calories: 287 calories
% fat calories: 16
Fat: 5g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Protein: 15g
Carbohydrate: 47g
Fiber: 14g
Sodium: 12mg

Soft Polenta and Root Vegetables
Serves 4 / For special occasions, I use a freshly milled polenta mail-ordered from Anson Mills in South Carolina (www.ansonmills.com). With its delicate processing, the grain's flavor is what used to be available when every community had a mill and all grains were freshly ground. When cooking a more readily available product, I like to use a coarse-ground cornmeal, sometimes labeled "grits."

4 carrots
4 parsnips
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup cornmeal
4 cups cold water
Salt and pepper
Prepared organic pasta sauce, warmed

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Scrub carrots and peel parsnips. Lightly oil with some of the olive oil (or use a spray). Transfer to a roasting pan and cook until tender, about 35 minutes.

2. In a medium-large saucepan, mix cornmeal into cold water. Add remaining olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until cornmeal has thickened to a creamy, mashed potato-like texture, about 20 minutes. Chop roasted vegetables and add to cooked cornmeal (polenta). Serve topped with warmed pasta sauce.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (with 1/4 cup pasta sauce):
Calories: 326 calories
% fat calories: 25
Fat: 9g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Protein: 6g
Carbohydrate: 58g
Fiber: 11g
Sodium: 264mg

Carrot Juice Risotto
Serves 6 / This takes about one hour to complete, but really you're doing little more than an occasional stir. Homemade carrot juice is exquisite, but buying a quart of fresh ready-made makes this dish supereasy.

1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2-3 cups fresh carrot juice
2 1/2-3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
8-12 scallions, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped (about 1 cup)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan on medium heat, toast rice in olive oil, stirring a bit for 8 minutes. Reduce heat a little and add 1/2 cup carrot juice and 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Stir. As liquid is absorbed, add another 1/2 cup of each liquid. Continue process until 5-6 cups total liquid has been absorbed and rice is creamy, 50-60 minutes.

2. Add chopped scallions and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Just before serving, top each portion with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 196 calories
% fat calories: 13
Fat: 3g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Protein: 4g
Carbohydrate: 39g
Fiber: 3g
Sodium: 68mg



Culinary director and private chef Donna Prizgintas cooks for Hollywood clients and organic food and wine events, including the Environmental Media Association and the Organic Farming Research Foundation. She believes strongly in preserving the family meal tradition she knew growing up in Galesburg, Illinois, and she encourages her clients to eat healthy meals created in an environmentally sound way. She's working on her first cookbook.