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3 Healthy (and Delicious!) Dairy Recipes

Use yogurt and kefir for a refreshing summer breakfast, lunch and dinner

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Creamy Avocado Soup

Serves 4

Dice a little of the avocado to reserve for garnish, if you'd like.

  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves
  • 2 avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups kefir or buttermilk
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Mince garlic in a food processor or blender. Add dill, avocados and kefir; process or blend until smooth. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste; continue to process to incorporate. Adjust seasonings, including additional salt, pepper, lemon juice or dill, and add enough water (1/2 cup or more) to thin puree to a thick soup. Serve. (Can be refrigerated, if covered, for a few days.)

Grilled Chicken Souvlaki Salad

Serves 4

If you're not grilling the pitas outside, bake the pitas in a 425-degree oven (or toaster oven) until crisp and golden, about 8 minutes.

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 4 teaspoons for pitas
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 minced garlic cloves, divided
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 large chicken breasts (about 1 pound), halved crosswise to make 4 thin cutlets
  • 8 cups baby arugula or other prepared salad greens
  • 2 cups each: halved cherry tomatoes and seedless diced cucumbers, lightly salted
  • 1 cup each: thinly sliced red onion and crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup pitted chopped kalamata olives
  • 4 large pocket-less pitas

Mix yogurt, 3 tablespoons of the oil, lemon juice, 1 of the garlic cloves, oregano and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour half the yogurt mixture in a 1-quart zipper-lock bag; add chicken and let stand at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. (Can be refrigerated for 2 days.) Reserve remaining yogurt mixture as the salad dressing.

When ready to serve, heat a gas grill igniting all burners on high for at least 10 minutes or build a hot charcoal fire. Clean grate with a wire brush and then lubricate well with an oil-soaked rag. Meanwhile, put arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, feta and olives in a large bowl. Mix remaining 4 teaspoons of oil with remaining 2 garlic cloves and brush over one side of each pita.

Place chicken on hot oiled rack and grill until impressive grill marks form, about 3 minutes. Turn chicken over with a spatula, and continue to cook until chicken is just cooked through, about 2 minutes longer. Add pitas, oiled side up, the last 2 minutes of grilling. As chicken comes off the grill, turn pitas and continue to grill until golden brown on remaining side, another 1 to 2 minutes.

Place a pita on each of 4 pasta plates. Toss salad with dressing, mounding a portion of salad on each of the pitas. Serve.

Pam Anderson is a best-selling cookbook author, successful blogger and AARP's food expert, writing twice monthly.

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