Chicken and Lentil Soup with Squash and Zucchini
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
2 medium yellow squash, chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup dried lentils, drained and rinsed
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
Parmesan cheese, grated, for garnish

In a large soup pot, bring chicken broth to boil. Add chicken and simmer on low until chicken is tender. Add remaining ingredients. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Serves 6 

Delightful Apricot Bars
1 1/4 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons salted butter, softened
3/4 cup apricot preserves
4 tablespoons dried apricots, chopped

In a bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and butter until well blended. Firmly pat half of the mixture into a 9-inch square pan. In another bowl, mix together preserves and dried apricots. Spread on top of flour mixture. Top with remaining flour mixture, patting lightly. Bake for 30 minutes at 350º or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes before cutting.

Yield 36 bars 

2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups kalamata olives, pitted
1 cup pine nuts
1 cup roasted red peppers, drained
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dried parsley flakes, for topping

Place all ingredients except olive oil in food processor or blender. Slowly mix, adding oil gradually until a thick paste texture. Store in a covered container. When ready to serve, sprinkle with parsley flakes.

Serve with pita bread, slices of toasted French bread or crackers.

Serves 6-8 

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained
1 teaspoon honey

In a bowl, whisk together orange juice, honey, cinnamon, curry powder and allspice. Salt and pepper both sides of chicken. Place chicken in a baking dish. Pour orange juice mixture over chicken. Add chickpeas. Bake at 350º for 1 hour.

Serves 6 

2 small California avocados
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, pressed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Slice avocado in half. Remove seed. Score the inside horizontally, then vertically. Scoop out with a spoon and place in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Add salt, pepper, lemon juice and garlic. Toss gently. Chill and serve.

Serves 4 

1 1/2 cups couscous, uncooked
2 1/2 cups water or chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan, bring water or broth to a boil. Stir in salt and add couscous. Remove immediately from heat and let stand for 5 minutes to absorb water. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Couscous should be fluffy and light, not sticky or gummy. Serve hot or cold.

For a variety, add your favorite diced vegetables and herbs for a flavorful dish.

Serves 6