Things are looking bright and sunny in local grocery stores, thanks to the sweet citrus selection this time of year.

And after weeks of heavy holiday meals, it’s time to lighten the load with citrus. Eating more fruit is a great way to kick the new year off on a healthy note and cook in season.

It’s near peak season for all things orange, tangerine and yellow.

Plenty of options are available. There are the snack-size mandarins — such as Clementines and Satsumas — that are sweet and easy to eat. Cara Caras are navel oranges with a tangy and sweet balance.

Blood oranges, anyone? These are prized for their cranberry tones and their deep red flesh.

And don’t forget the old standbys: grapefruit, temple oranges, tangelos and honey bells. All are suitable for eating out of hand, for juicing and for use in cooking.

Think vinaigrettes, salads, and pairings with fish and chicken.

Citrus is a terrific source of vitamin C and high in antioxidants, but it’s also a good source of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure.

So go ahead and add a little citrusy sunshine to those hearty winter dishes. Your body and spirit will thank you.

Mandarin orange and ginger baked tofu

Preparation time: 10 minutes / Total time: 45 minutes


  • 1 (14 ounces) package extra firm tofu, drained well, patted dry, cut in ¼-inch slices
  • 1/3 cup soy ginger sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 mandarin oranges, washed, cut in ¼-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 2 whole fresh water chestnuts, peeled and sliced (or 2/3 cup sliced canned)
  • Steamed white or brown rice


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush both sides of tofu slices with some of the ginger sauce and arrange in a baking dish, overlapping as needed. Mix the remaining sauce with honey and spoon about half on top of the tofu. Top with orange slices. Bake 30 minutes, or until the tofu is lightly browned.
  2. In a large sauté pan or wok, heat the olive oil and sauté garlic until lightly browned. Add broccoli and water chestnuts and cook until crisp tender. Serve over rice with tofu and sauce on the side.

Serves: 4

Nutrition per serving: 350 calories (23 percent from fat), 9 grams fat (0.5 grams sat. fat), 52 grams carbohydrates, 13 grams protein, 180 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 grams fiber.

— From Whole Foods Market Cranbrook, Ann Arbor.

Citrus salad with dates and walnuts

Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 25 minutes


  • ½ cup chopped dates
  • Boiling water
  • 4 tablespoons blood orange or Clementine juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Clementine, blood orange or red grapefruit segments
  • 5 cups salad greens
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped


  1. In heatproof bowl, cover dates with boiling water; let sit for 5 minutes. Strain, reserving 1 teaspoon of the liquid. Place the reserved liquid in a bowl and add the juice, olive oil, vinegar, cumin and salt to taste. Add dates, onion and Clementine segments; toss with greens and nuts and serve.

Serves: 4

Nutritional information not available.

— Adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine, December 2012

Ruby red grapefruit, hearts of palm and shrimp salad

Preparation time: 25 minutes / Total time: 30 minutes

This salad is a nice side dish for grilled or broiled fish or chicken. It’s a good source of fiber.


  • 4 red or pink grapefruit, segmented (see TIPS, below)
  • 8 ounces peeled cooked small shrimp
  • 1 can (14 ounces) hearts of palm, drained and sliced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup sliced green olives
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. After segmenting grapefruit, squeeze the juice from the membrane into the bowl. Add shrimp, hearts of palm, cilantro, onion, olives and salt; stir to combine. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Serves: 4

Nutrition per serving: 175 calories (10 percent from fat), 2 grams fat (0 grams sat. fat), 31 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams protein, 580 mg sodium, 71 mg cholesterol, 6 grams fiber.

— From Eating Well Magazine, January/February 2013

Slow cooker 40-clove chicken with Meyer lemon

Preparation time: 25 minutes / Total time: 6 hours, 30 minutes (not all active time)

If you don’t want to peel 40 cloves of garlic, use already peeled, whole garlic cloves. A 16-ounce bag is about $4.


  • 6 skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 5 ounces each)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons dry vermouth
  • 2 teaspoons dry basil
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • Generous pinch of red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 40 cloves of garlic (about 2 heads), peeled
  • 4 ribs of celery, sliced
  • Juice and zest of 2 Meyer lemons
  • Fresh chopped herbs such as parsley or cilantro for garnish, optional


  1. Sprinkle the chicken with pepper. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Working in batches if necessary, add chicken to the skillet and brown on all sides. Remove to platter. Combine wine, parsley, vermouth, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes in large bowl. Add garlic and celery; mix well. Transfer the garlic and celery to the slow cooker with slotted spoon. Add chicken to remaining herb mixture; coat well. Place chicken on top of celery mixture. Sprinkle lemon juice and peel over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Sprinkle with fresh herbs before serving.

Serves: 6

Nutritional information not available.

From Larissa Shain, registered dietitian, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland hospital in Pontiac, Mich.

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