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As the weather gets warmer and flowers begin to bloom, try these 5 easy and delicious recipes to celebrate the spring.
Boil a large pot of salted water, then add 12 ounces of fusili pasta. Cook according to the package instructions. In the last 2 minutes of boiling, toss in a half pound of sugar snap peas or broccoli florets, two shredded carrots, and one bell pepper cut into strips. Take out 1/2 cup cooking water to reserve for later, then drain the pasta and vegetables and set aside.
Heat 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add four thinly-sliced cloves of garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Quickly add a pint of halved cherry tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more) and one teaspoon of salt. Cook for two minutes, until the tomatoes begin to soften, and then stir in the reserved cooking water. Pour the tomato mixture into the pot with the pasta and vegetables. Add a 1/2 cup chopped mint, a 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese and two ounces of crumbled goat cheese. Toss the mixture to combine and season with salt. Serve the pasta in bowls topped with additional goat cheese and drizzle with olive oil.
In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, and add four skinless, boneless chicken breast halves. Cook the chicken for six minutes, then turn. While cooking, cut a mango into cubes. Add mango cubes, a 1/2 cup of mango fruit drink, and a 1/4 cup mango chutney to the skillet. Cook for four to six minutes or until chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally.
Slice two medium zucchini lengthwise, and place in a microwave-safe two quart square dish along with 1/4 cup of water. Cover the dish with vented plastic wrap. Microwave for two minutes on high power, stirring once halfway through. Drain the vegetables, and place the chicken on top of the zucchini. Season with salt and crushed red pepper, and serve.
Fresh Corn Salsa with Orange and Lime
In a bowl, mix together one and 1/2 cup corn kernels, two diced plum tomatoes, two tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper, one tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, one tablespoon each of orange juice, lime juice and olive oil, and a half teaspoon salt. Refrigerate covered for at least two hours, then serve with tortilla chips.
Bake Sale Lemon Bars
Combine 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar, and 3/4 cup butter or margarine. Press dough into a greased 9/13 inch baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees, until slightly golden. While baking, whisk together three eggs, 1 1/2 cups white sugar, three tablespoons flour, and a 1/4 cup lemon juice until frothy. Pour the lemon mixture over the hot crust. Return the pan to the oven for another 20 to 25 minutes. Let completely cool, then dust with confectioners' sugar. Cut into squares for serving.
Microwave Chocolate Fondue
In a microwave-safe bowl, place six ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate broken into chucks along with a 1/4 cup heavy cream. Microwave on 75 percent power until fully melted, about two minutes. Whisk the mixture until smooth. Serve immediately with fresh, spring fruit and cubes of angel food cake, with sticks for dipping.
Photo: (c) dream79 / fotolila.com