Can-of-cream-of-mushroom-soup season is finally over. It’s time to put away the pot roast and heavy noodle recipes and take advantage of the fresh foods springing up all over.
When we think of cooking fresh from the farmers market, we usually think mid to late summer, when the tomatoes are ripening up. But spring harvest brings delicate, fresh flavors from veggies like asparagus, peas, parsnips and carrots. What’s in season will vary based on where you live, so hit up your local farmer's market to see what’s available in your area. Here is a list of produce commonly available in the springtime across the country:
- Mesclun (mixed baby greens)
- Snow Peas & Peas
Of course, in warmer climates in the United States, you have even more options, including a variety of greens, strawberries, sweet onions, grapefruit, fennel, apricots, artichokes, fava beans, cherries and more. And if you’re brave enough to grow your own, check out our garden tips to keep the bugs away
What to do with all this fresh produce? You’ve been there, sometimes it’s soooo hard to eat fresh, and you find wilted veggies on their last leg in the back of the fridge. The first rule at the farmers market is don’t buy too much and know how and when you’re going to cook it in the next few days.
Don’t let your next spring bounty go to waste. Below are a few simple recipes and meal ideas that highlight what’s in season now. There’s just no comparison for in-season fruit and veggies
– their flavor is at its peak! Plus, these recipes have classic flavors that the whole family is sure to chow down (and you won’t spend all day in the kitchen).
(makes 1 omelet)
Sometimes kids are finicky about how food is presented. If yours don’t like omelets try scrambling the ingredients. If they don’t like scrambled then try baking eggs in muffin pans. Texture, size, shape and temperature
influence taste acceptability for little palettes. Experiment but don’t give up! It’s always a good idea to get kids involved in the cooking process. Looking for more easy dishes? Check out these easy crustless quiches
- 2 teaspoon olive or canola oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon low-fat milk
- 1 ounce cheese of choice
- 1 ounce of Land O’Frost Premium Old World Style Black Forest Ham (let the kids cut it with kitchen scissors)
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
- 3 asparagus spears, woody ends removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- salt & pepper to taste
- Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat.
- In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.
- Heat asparagus in pan for 3-5 minutes, until asparagus is bright green and tender.
- Add spinach to pan and wilt for 1 minute. Remove and set aside.
- Add remaining 1 teaspoon of oil into the pan and turn heat down to medium. Add egg and milk mixture and gently agitate around the pan.
- When eggs are almost completely set, add cheese, veggies, Black Forest ham, salt & pepper. Fold over and let the omelet continue cooking for 1 minute.
- Serve with whole-wheat toast and avocado slices –alternatively, mashed avocado on toast in place of butter is delicious with a squeeze of lemon or lime and dash of salt and pepper.
Don’t miss out on the abundance of beautiful fresh spring produce. Head to the farmer’s market this weekend with your family and get cooking with the kids! Then check out our farmer’s market tasty brunch ideas
Roasted Herbed Chicken with Spring Mash
For the chicken:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon salt & pepper each
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
For the mash:
- 2 potatoes
- 2 parsnips
- 2 carrots
- 3 cups chicken broth (or water)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon butter or a healthy butter substitute
- ½ teaspoon salt & pepper each
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- In a large pot, bring chicken broth and 2 additional cups of water to a boil. (Just use salted water if you don’t have chicken broth)
- Combine thyme, garlic powder, paprika and ¼ teaspoon salt & pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Peel and coarsely chop potatoes, parsnips and carrots. Add to boiling water.
- On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil (for easy clean-up!), place chicken breasts, rounded side up. Drizzle with olive oil and spice mixture. Bake at 450°F for 15 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken has come up to 165°F.
- Once potatoes, parsnips, and carrots are tender (about 15 minutes) drain liquid and add olive oil, butter, salt and pepper right back into the pot. Loosely mash with a potato masher or a fork.
- Serve chicken on top of spring mash. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. This dish also goes very well with a side of fresh peas!
Shaved Asparagus Side Salad
For the Salad:
- 1 bunch asparagus, washed
- 1 cup shelled peas
- ¼ cup goat cheese, feta, shaved Parmesan or cheese your kids prefer
- salt & pepper to taste
For the Dressing:
- 1.5 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- A squeeze of fresh lemon juice (about 1 tablespoon)
- Break off the end of the asparagus where the color is less green. Use a vegetable peeler or mandolin to shave asparagus into ribbons. If using a peeler, start at the end and shave towards the tip. Having trouble? Watch a video on Youtube. If little pieces of the tip break off, just add them to your salad.
- Layer all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Once combined, pour over salad to serve.
Shaved asparagus tastes good with a variety of combinations. Let the kids help you create their next salad with some of their favorites foods, like canned or fresh mandarin oranges and slivered almonds (a no-fail at our house)