2017-03-28

Posted by jinson on 3/28/2017 08:00:00 AM No comments
spring recipes
Spring is here! Days are longer and getting warmer (well in most parts of the country) so who wants to be stuck inside preparing food when the spring air outside is calling. If you’re constantly on the go working and shuttling kids to sports practices and other extracurricular activities, you need quick yet delicious meals that the whole family will love. Get some inspiration for meal planning and cooking with our top spring recipes that are light on calories and big on flavor.

Light & Easy Spring Recipes


Smoothies

Smoothies are one of the simplest, most versatile breakfasts. You can mix and match vegetables and fruit in a variety of ways. Do your kids turn up their noses at spinach normally? No problem. Smoothies are a great way to add veggies to your children’s diet without them suspecting. Ripe bananas tend to work the best at naturally sweetening the smoothie and masking the vegetable flavor.

For a basic strawberry-banana smoothie, grab a handful of spinach or kale, one banana, five large strawberries, one to two tablespoons of yogurt (plain Greek yogurt works great), and a cup of water or milk. Blend on high for about 30 seconds. The consistency will depend on how much liquid you add so if you want a thinner smoothie, just add more water. If you want to make a batch of smoothies for the whole family, go ahead and load up more ingredients. Need it a little sweeter? Try adding honey, agave, or maple syrup, or use sweetened yogurt instead of plain. But honestly once you and your kids start reducing the amount of added sugar (i.e., not from fruit) in your diet, you’ll be surprised at how little you miss it.

And of course there are variations of this. Don’t like bananas or strawberry? Swap out the spinach for carrots and use pineapple, mango, and/or orange for the fruit to create a tropical smoothie. Bump up the nutritional factor and add a tablespoon of chia or flax seed.

You can even leave out vegetables and stick with nut butter and fruit to make a more dessert-like smoothie. Try banana, peanut or almond butter, milk (almond or other non-dairy milk is fine), unsweetened cocoa, and a few drops of vanilla. Your kids will think they are getting a real treat.

There are endless possibilities with smoothies. They’re super easy to make (dump ingredients in a blender and voilĂ ) and can be tailored to everyone’s tastes.

Tacos

Like smoothies, tacos are simple to prepare, and you can customize them based on what your family likes. For traditional tacos, use hard corn taco shells or soft tortillas made from corn or flour. You can buy either at the store or make your own. Next, choose and cook your protein, such as skirt steak, pulled pork, or chicken. Then, add cheese (try a mix of Monterey jack, pepper jack, and cheddar) and a little lettuce, tomato, and pico de gallo. Sour cream (sub Greek yogurt for healthier alternative), salsa, and avocado make delicious toppings too.

Fish tacos are also a popular meal. A somewhat mild white fish, such as halibut or mahi mahi, works well in fish tacos. If you have some fish left over from the night before, this dish couldn’t be easier. Fill up soft tortillas or large, leafy greens, such as bok choy or chard, with the fish, sliced radishes, chopped cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, and thinly sliced onion. Top with avocado and salsa or crema. For more Asian-inspired tacos, use kimchi instead of salsa.

Salads

So you might be thinking, blah, salads. But there are various types of salads besides the usual greens-based ones. Try making a quick, delicious pasta salad for your next picnic. For those of you avoiding gluten, there are many gluten-free pastas on the market now, including those made from bean, rice, corn, and quinoa.

This Italian-flavored pasta salad is a hit with adults and children. Cook your preferred rotini or penne pasta. While it’s cooling slightly in a bowl, add the dressing. You can use premade Italian dressing or whip up a simple one of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, and dried basil. Then add roasted red peppers (you can make your own or buy them in a jar), your favorite type of olives (whole or sliced), and shredded pecorino Romano (parm cheese is fine too). A handful of baby spinach is a nutritious addition. You can serve as is at room temperature or chill in the fridge for later.

Now that it’s spring, fresh asparagus is abundant and usually cheap. Quick to make, this asparagus salad only requires four ingredients aside from the dressing. Eat it alone for lunch or pair it with grilled chicken for a healthy dinner.

Another healthy salad variation is the chickpea/garbanzo bean salad. You can use either two cups (dried) cooked beans or, to speed up the process, one can of beans. If you choose canned, make sure you rinse and drain the beans. Combine the beans, two finely chopped garlic cloves, one diced tomato, quarter cup chopped red onion, and handful of chopped cilantro or parsley with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil (all to taste). For extra flavor, include the optional ingredients here.

Cold Soups

Not all soup has to be hot! For this light spring pea soup, you don’t need to buy all the beans listed. Just use the baby peas and sugar snap peas. You’ll love the silky, creamy texture and delicious flavor of this soup.

Cucumbers work well in many different cold soups. If you like a little kick in your soup, make this avocado-cucumber one. Skip the serrano chile if you don’t want the spicy flavor.

If your life is regularly hectic, light and easy meals are a no brainer. Try one of the spring recipes above or create your own version.

What other recipes are you making this season? Let us know below or share your favorite spring recipe on our Facebook page.

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