Forks in the Road: Food and Travel in Central PA - A Community Blog

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7 Quick Dinners Perfect for Late Spring

Written by Adrienne Wolter, Community Blogger | May 28, 2014 10:12 AM

Finally, spring is in full swing! Memorial Day is behind us and we’re looking forward to summer. The days are getting longer, and we can take the time to enjoy evening strolls, baseball games, kayaking on the water and sitting out on the porch to soak up as much sun as possible. It's that time for grilling out on the deck, chatting with neighbors and basking in the warmth of the season.

Ideally, we'd love to put our lives on hold during these precious evening hours, just to get a glimpse of the upcoming summer months. However, there is always work to be done and things to do. Maybe it's prepping for a long night reviewing contracts or gearing up for your child's baseball game. Regardless of your lifestyle, you always need to eat.

Instead of slaving away at the stove in order to prepare a dinner, try to maximize the daylight hours you have. With some great produce and flavors in season, fresh food is at your fingertips. Enjoy your evenings by preparing simple, delicious dishes that will keep that spring in your step. Below is a list of seven great dinners you can prepare in under thirty minutes. That way, you can spend your time soaking up the springtime sun.


Photo by Suzie's Farm

1. Roasted Chicken with Spring Vegetables

Enjoy a pop of festive color with the rich hues of baby carrots, radishes and scallions. In the spring, you can grow these healthy vegetables in your own garden and pick them fresh for your meal. Or, you can try a local farmer's market for some great produce. With its zesty lemon and dill flavor, the Roasted Chicken With Spring Vegetables dish is a very lean and delicious one. Add some potatoes for a perfectly balanced meal.

2. Grilled Salmon with Herb and Meyer Lemon Compound Butter

Fresh, wild-caught salmon is great on the grill. With just a 10-minute prep, you can serve up flavor with sophistication and simplicity. Enjoy this Grilled Salmon recipe with fresh herbs from your garden and add some garlic clove. Just like log aggregation software, you will need to complete a thorough check of your salmon as it's on the grill. It’s very sensitive and cannot be over or undercooked. With the mix of savory butter and fresh lemon, this dish will tickle your taste buds and get you where you need to be in time.

3. Pasta Primavera

Pasta salads are in season. It's time for that special picnic or graduation ceremony, and you have only a little time to prepare. Try this Pasta Primavera recipe for a refreshing and flavorful side. Enjoy spiral pasta or tri-color noodles for color and nutrition. You can even substitute with macaroni, fettuccini or even bow-tie pasta. Mix in some seasonal yellow peppers, carrots, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese for a bold flavor. Include a sprig of mint from your garden or the market to top this dish with some refreshing, springtime savor.


Photo by Ruth Hartnup

4. Chicken Fajitas

Create a fiesta for your mouth with this Chicken Fajitas recipe. Slice up chicken or your choice of beef and add some spring vegetables like peppers, avocados and even squash. Grill in aluminum foil or prepare inside for a smoky flavor. Sprinkle some Cajun spice for a little kick and squeeze on some lime juice. You can also try shrimp tacos the same way. Sautee the vegetables and let your taste buds experience this international delight.

5. Green Eggs and Ham Frittata

Maybe you enjoy having breakfast for dinner. For a simple dinner in a matter of minutes, try this Green Eggs and Ham Frittata; Dr. Seuss would be proud. The dish gets its green from an abundance of spinach, dill and leeks in your eggs. You can include any cheese you'd like, but Havarti gives this dish a bold flavor. Serve your dish with hash browns or seasoned dill potatoes for a hearty meal.

6. Asian Tofu Salad

Looking for that perfect vegetarian dish? Look no further than the Asian Tofu Salad. Not only is this a great healthy option, but tofu has very unique qualities. First, not only can it carry great nutritional value, but it can also absorb any flavor. Bring out the tangy sesame dressing of your Asian inspiration and be sure to keep this salad sweet. Add some breadsticks or Chinese noodles to your salad, allowing the fresh, sweet and savory flavors to collide.

7. Almond Strawberry Salad

And now, the fruit we've all been waiting for...strawberries are in season! Resist the urge to eat the whole carton as soon as you buy them to reserve a few for an Almond Strawberry Salad. Bursting with flavor, small slices of strawberry add a sweet and refreshing tang to your leafy green spinach. Include almond slices for a great source of protein and rich flavor. Try a lemon poppy seed dressing for a truly springtime flavor. If you're feeling creative, include fresh, raw white tuna. The strawberries and almonds will accompany this fresh fish beautifully.

So maybe seven dishes won’t change the way you use your springtime hours, but at least these note-worthy recipes can get the ball rolling. Adopt at least one of these dishes into your weekly routine for a taste that is bursting with flavor and excellent nutritional value. Enjoy every moment of spring foods and savor warmth and light.

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