7 Sparkling Spring Menus
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Menu #1: Spring chicken menu
Garlic lovers will enjoy the aroma of this easy-to-make chicken main dish almost as much as its flavor. Serve with fresh veggies and mashed potatoes--and be sure to save room for an indulgent dessert.
Garlic Chicken Italiano
Heavenly Mashed Potatoes
Gooey Chocolate-Caramel Fantasy (see next slide)
Tip: Ristorante Brissago at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, makes this chicken dish with 40 cloves of garlic. We've reduced that to about 16--but you can add more if you like!
Gooey Chocolate-Caramel Fantasy
This luscious dessert includes a chocolate crumb crust and caramel-pecan filling crowned with melted chocolate. It's like a big candy bar on a plate.
Menu #2: Heartland fish dinner
A maple butter sauce tops this nutty catfish recipe from black walnut supplier Hammons of Stockton, Missouri. The fish can be cooked in a skillet or baked in the oven. Finish the meal with another Missouri recipe--Ozark Blackberry Cobbler from Big Cedar Lodge near Branson.
Black Walnut-Crusted Catfish
Green beans or vegetable of your choice
Ozark Blackberry Cobbler (next slide)
Tip: The Hammons family likes the deep, robust flavor of black walnuts in this catfish recipe. We listed the much milder English walnut as an alternative.
Ozark Blackberry Cobbler
Ozark cooks fill this cobbler with any kind of fruit they have on hand. This version sandwiches juicy berries between the streusel top and pastry.
Menu #3: Prime rib dinner
The dry rib rub is a family recipe from Linda Fridley, who uses the rub to season meats served at the South Dakota governor's residence. Beef rib roast makes an elegant option, but the spice rub complements pork or chicken, too. Triple Lemon Pie gives your menu a punch of fresh citrus flavor.
Oven-Roasted Prime Rib with Dry Rib Rub
Brussels sprouts or vegetable of your choice
Easy Roasted Red Potatoes
Triple Lemon Pie (next slide)
Tip: Rub the meat with olive oil before putting the spice rub on top for the best flavor.
Triple Lemon Pie
Ankeny, Iowa, cooking instructor Deb Cazavilan suggests letting pie ingredients warm to room temperature (about 20 minutes) for better mixing. She also says to use pure vanilla in this recipe--it's worth it. Grate unpeeled lemon lightly, avoiding the bitter white membrane.
Menu #4: Salad pizza meal
Start with an unusual salad pizza, and add a traditional shortcake for dessert. For the main dish, we used purchased puff pastry to form a crust that's finished with meat, veggies, cheese and sorrel greens or spinach. Throw it all in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese and wilt the greens.
Deep-Dish Salad Pizza
Purchased soft breadsticks
Singular Strawberry Shortcakes (next slide)
Tip: Prepare the biscuits for the shortcake while the pizza bakes, and then bake the biscuits while you enjoy the pizza. They will be warm and ready to serve with the strawberries and cream.
Singular Strawberry Shortcakes
This Midwest Living® Test Kitchen recipe for individual-size shortcakes provides a perfect showcase for spring or summer fruit.
Menu #5: Tastes of Traverse meal
Michigan's Grand Traverse Bay has a growing food scene full of fresh produce and fine dining. This meal highlights recipes from three local restaurants. The Morel Mushroom Cream Sauce is a favorite at Samuel's in Suttons Bay, Michigan (formerly Hattie's).
Morel Mushroom Cream Sauce with Pasta
Mixed greens with Cherry Vinaigrette (next slide)
Chocolate Dried-Cherry Cheesecake (slide 11)
Tip: You can use either dried or fresh morel mushrooms in the pasta recipe. To clean fresh morels, place mushrooms in a pan or bowl. Cover with water; add a dash of salt. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, rinse and repeat two more times.
Chefs at North Peak Brewing Company in Traverse City, Michigan, make this tangy, thick, cherry-color dressing for tossed salads. We like it over fresh fruit, too.
Chocolate Dried-Cherry Cheesecake
Chocolate-Dried Cherry Cheesecake--thick, rich, with a touch of coffee and speckled with dried cherries--comes from the dessert menu at The Cove restaurant in Leland, Michigan.
Menu #6: Beef stir-fry meal
Tangy balsamic vinegar, sweet honey and the bite of red pepper flakes season this beef stir-fry. Serve the meal-in-a-bowl with a make-ahead dessert such as Carrot-Zucchini Bars.
Noodles with Honey-Balsamic Beef
Carrot-Zucchini Bars (next slide)
Tip: Jazz up your noodle dishes with some different pasta options, including egg noodle nests, rice sticks and curly noodles. Click on "9 Unusual Noodles" below for more information.
Carrot-Zucchini Bars taste like a moist cake but come in snack-bar size. The vegetables add color and texture, and cranberries give the recipe a tangy edge. You can substitute raisins for the cranberries if you prefer.
Menu #7: Light spring supper
You'll find hints of spring throughout this menu -- veggies, fresh herbs and berries. If you enjoy making yeast breads, try adding a different herb to each rope of Herbed Country Twist Bread. Rosemary Biscuits, flavored with herbs and whole wheat flour, offer a faster alternative to accompany soup or salad.
Lemon-on-Lemon Carrot Soup
Herbed Country Twist Bread or Rosemary Biscuits
Blueberry Cream Tarts (next slide)
Sparkling water with strawberry slices
Tip: If you enjoy growing your own herbs, freeze your herb bounty in ice cubes and drop them into soups and stews all year long.
Blueberry Cream Treats
Serve this super-simple sour-cream sauce over blueberries or any fresh fruit. The recipe is from DeGrandchamp Farms in South Haven, Michigan.