Fast & Fresh spring meals

Dinner’s ready! Our most inventive weeknight meals for spring, ready in 30 minutes or less

Easy Grilled Chicken Salad recipe

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Grilled Chicken Pita Salad

Prepare grill for high heat (450° to 550°). Rub 2 boned, skinned chicken breast halves with olive oil and cook, turning once, until no longer pink. Slice.

Meanwhile, whisk 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 tbsp. fresh oregano, and 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; set aside. Boil 1 lb. asparagus (ends trimmed), cut in spears and halved lengthwise, just until bright green; rinse with cold water.

In a bowl, combine reserved chicken; 4 oz. feta cheese, broken into chunks; asparagus; 2 cups halved grape tomatoes; ½ cup pitted kalamata olives; and 2 cups pita chips. Toss gently with reserved dressing. Add 2 cups baby arugula and toss once just to combine.

Print or save recipe:  Grilled Chicken Pita Salad

 

Recipe for Quick Crab Stew in Fennel-Tomato Broth

Photo by Iain Bagwell 

Quick Crab Stew in Fennel-Tomato Broth

Use a food processor to chop 3 celery stalks, ½ small white onion, and 1 small fennel bulb.

In a large pot, cook mixture in 1 tbsp. olive oil until softened. Add 1 cup dry white wine, 1 cup water, 1 can (14 oz.) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, ¼ tsp. red chile flakes, and ½ tsp. each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes.

Add 2 cooked crabs (1½ lbs. each), cleaned, quartered, and cracked. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped fresh oregano, flat-leaf parsley, and fennel fronds. Serve with warm, crusty bread.

Print or save recipe:  Quick Crab Stew in Fennel-Tomato Broth

Easy Asparagus Risotto recipe

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Asparagus Risotto

In a large pot in olive oil, cook 4 chopped green onions and 1 cup Arborio rice until fragrant. In 4 batches, stir in 1 qt. hot vegetable broth and cook, stirring, until each is absorbed and rice is al dente, 20 minutes, adding hot water if you need more liquid.

About 5 minutes before rice is done, add 2 lbs. asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2-in. pieces; 2 tbsp. unsalted butter; and ½ cup grated parmesan cheese; cook until asparagus is tender-crisp.

Print or save recipe:  Asparagus Risotto

Easy Chicken Burgers recipe with Caramelized Shallots and Blue Cheese

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Chicken Burgers with Caramelized Shallots and Blue Cheese

Caramelize 2 sliced shallots in a little olive oil. Set aside. Mix 1 lb. ground chicken, a minced garlic clove, 1 tsp. each chopped fresh rosemary and freshly ground black pepper, and ½ tsp. kosher salt, then form into 4 patties.

Brown in same pan with 1 tbsp. more oil. Serve on toasted kaiser rolls with shallots, lettuce, and a mixture of ¼ cup each mayonnaise and crumbled blue cheese.

Print or save recipe:  Chicken Burgers with Caramelized Shallots and Blue Cheese

Quick DIY Chicken Papaya Spring Roll recipe

Photo by Iain Bagwell

DIY Chicken Papaya Spring Rolls

Cook 4 oz. thin rice noodles as package directs. On a large platter, set out leaves from 1 head butter lettuce; 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken; 2 peeled, seeded, and sliced papayas; 1 cup fresh mint leaves; ½ cup store-bought spicy peanut sauce; ½ cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts; 3 green onions, sliced into thin strips; and lime wedges.

Put 12 large sheets rice paper on a separate plate. Set out a large bowl of boiling water so diners can dip their rice papers (allow 1 minute to soften), then assemble spring rolls.

Recipe: DIY Chicken Papaya Spring Rolls

Fast & fresh tip: Buy pre-toasted nuts They’re readily available, and pack a lot more flavor than untoasted.

Mushroom Herb Pasta recipe

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Mushroom-Herb Spaghetti

In a frying pan over medium heat, cook 1 chopped small onion and 1 large minced garlic clove in 1 tbsp. olive oil until softened. Add 16 oz. sliced mushrooms and cook until browned.

Add 2 tbsp. tomato paste, 14 oz. canned diced tomatoes, 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary, 1 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Simmer 10 minutes, then serve over 12 oz. cooked spaghetti. Sprinkle with shaved parmesan cheese and chopped fresh oregano.

Recipe:  Mushroom-Herb Spaghetti

Fast & fresh tip: No-brainers Salad-in-a-bag, pre-sliced mushrooms, and pre-made pizza dough are part of the busy cook’s repertoire.

Ground bison recipe

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Bison nachos

Preheat oven to 400°. Sauté ½ cup chopped onion in 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a frying pan until softened. Add 1 lb. ground bison* or beef and cook, stirring to break up meat, until no longer pink, 4 minutes. Season with ½ tsp. black pepper.

Spread 4 oz. corn tortilla chips in a shallow baking dish and top with half of meat, 1/3 cup fresh salsa verde, and ¾ cup shredded jack cheese. Repeat layers. Bake until cheese melts and chips start to brown, 6 minutes. Serve with shred­­ded lettuce, sliced avocado, diced tomatoes, sour cream, and salsa.

*Buy at well-stocked grocery stores.

Recipe:  Bison Nachos

Mussels with tomatoes and white wine

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Orange and Basil Mussels

In a pot, cook 1 sliced garlic clove in a little olive oil just until fragrant. Add 2/3 cup dry white wine, 1½ cups fresh orange juice, ½ cup canned diced tomatoes, ½ tsp. kosher salt, and ¼ tsp. each freshly ground black pepper and red chile flakes; simmer 5 minutes.

Add 2 lbs. mussels in shells and cook, covered, until mussels open. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil and serve with crusty bread.

Recipe:  Orange and Basil Mussels

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Preheat oven to 350°. Season 4 boned, skinned chicken breast halves with kosher salt, then brown one side of each in oil in a nonstick, ovenproof frying pan. Turn chicken over, transfer to oven, and bake until no longer pink in center.

Spread a little Dijon mustard on each, then top each with thinly sliced smoked ham and a thin slice gruyère cheese. Return to oven until cheese melts. 

Recipe:  Chicken Cordon Bleu

Greek cheese recipe

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Grilled Halloumi Pitas

Prepare a grill for high heat (450° to 550°). Rub 1 lb. thickly sliced halloumi cheese and 4 slices onion (cut ¼ in. thick) with 2 tbsp. olive oil, then cook, turning once, until grill marks appear.

Cut onions in half. Rinse and pat dry ¼ cup sliced roasted red peppers. Fill 8 pita bread halves with the cheese, onions, red peppers, and ½ cup sliced pepperoncini. Brush outsides of pitas with a little oil and cook, turning once, until grill marks appear. Serve with mixed olives.

Recipe:  Grilled Halloumi Pitas

Miso tofu soup

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Miso Soup with Tofu and Nori

Whisk 2/3 cup red miso* into 6 cups boiling water. Add 2 cups frozen edamame and 1½ tsp. soy sauce. Remove from heat and add 14 oz. cubed firm tofu. Serve each bowl of soup with a few strips of nori and some green onion slices.

*Buy in the refrigerated aisle.

Recipe:  Miso Soup with Tofu and Nori

Moroccan lamb salad recipe

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Harissa Lamb with Lemon Mint Chickpea Salad

Prepare a grill for high heat (450° to 550°). Combine ¼ cup harissa*; 1 large garlic clove, minced; and ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil; set some aside for serving.

Cut a 1-lb. lamb knuckle or bottom roast into 4 pieces; brush 2 tbsp. of sauce over each. Grill lamb, turning and brushing with a bit of sauce, 10 minutes for medium-rare. Let rest, then slice.

For salad, combine ​ 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) drained chickpeas, 2/3 cup fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced peel from 1 lemon, 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, ½ tsp. kosher salt, ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion, and ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil. Serve lamb over salad with remaining harissa on the side.

*Buy in the international foods aisle.

Recipe: Harissa Lamb with Lemon Mint Chickpea Salad

Fast & fresh tip:  Stock up on canned fish and beans They’re good quality and real timesavers. Canned salmon is a sustainable choice, and many markets now carry sustainable pole- and troll-caught tuna.

Asian sweet and sour pork recipe

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Sweet and Sour Pork

In a bowl, mix 3 tbsp. hoisin sauce, 3 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce, and 2 tbsp. water. Set aside. Heat wok over high heat until smoking. Add 1 tbsp. oil, then add 2 cups sliced bell peppers; 8 green onions, cut into 2-in. pieces; 1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into strips; and 1 tbsp. each minced garlic and fresh ginger.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until meat browns, 5 minutes. Add 1 lb. fresh pineapple chunks and reserved hoisin mixture, stirring to coat, and cook until warm. Serve with white rice.

Recipe:  Sweet and Sour Pork

Fast & fresh tip: Cherry-pick at the salad bar  At the grocery store, pack up the exact amount of cut, washed produce you need―like pineapple chunks and pepper slices for this recipe.

Eggplant sandwich wraps

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Grilled Eggplant Naan Wraps with Tahini-Yogurt Dressing

Prepare a grill for high heat (450° to 550°). Slice 1 large eggplant into ½-in. rounds and quarter 2 ripe tomatoes. Brush vegetables with 2 tbsp. olive oil, then grill until softened.

Cut tomatoes in half. Whisk together ¼ cup tahini, 1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp. minced garlic, ​3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, and 1 tsp. kosher salt. Top each of 4 pieces warmed naan bread with 1½ cups baby spinach, a few pieces eggplant, 4 tomato pieces, and a spoonful of the yogurt mixture. Roll to eat.

Recipe:  Grilled Eggplant Naan Wraps with Tahini-Yogurt Dressing

Pork chop recipe

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Spiced Pork with Plantains

Preheat broiler. Rub 4 bone-in pork chops (2 lbs.) with 1 tbsp. vegetable oil. In a bowl, combine ½ tsp. each ground cumin, allspice, cinnamon, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper and evenly sprinkle both sides of pork. Broil 4 in. from heat, turning once, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Keep warm.

Cut 2 ripe (black) plantains in half crosswise and lengthwise to make 8 pieces. Sprinkle cut sides of each with 1 tsp. packed brown sugar and broil until caramelized. Serve pork chops with sliced plantains, warmed black beans, sour cream, a few slices serrano chile, and cilantro.

Recipe:  Spiced Pork with Plantains

Steak and mushroom salad recipe

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Grilled Horseradish Steak with Mushroom Salad

Prepare grill for high heat (450° to 550°). Combine 2 tbsp. horseradish, 2 tbsp. olive oil, and 1 tbsp. minced garlic; spread half over one side of a 1-lb. flank steak. Lay steak, sauce down, on oiled cooking grate. Spread remaining sauce on top. Grill, turning once, 10 minutes for medium-rare.

Also grill 1 lb. mixed wild and common mushrooms, cut into chunks, for 6 minutes. Set steak on cutting board, sprinkle with sea salt, and tent with foil; let rest. Toss mushrooms with 4 oz. mâche plus olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve with steak.

Recipe:  Grilled Horseradish Steak with Mushroom Salad

Asian Beef Noodle Salad

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Vietnamese Steak Noodle Salad

Marinate a 1 lb. rib-eye steak in 3 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce. Broil until done the way you like, let rest, then slice thinly. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix 6 tbsp. fresh lime juice, ¼ cup Thai fish sauce, 2 tsp. sugar, and 1 red jalapeño chile, halved and sliced thin. Pour half of dressing over 4 oz. cooked thin rice noodles. Add sliced steak and 1 cup mixture of fresh dill, basil, mint, and cilantro leaves. Toss together and top with 2 sliced shallots tossed in flour and quickly fried in vege­table oil. Serve with remaining dressing.

Recipe:  Vietnamese Steak Noodle Salad

Fast & fresh tip: Shave, don't pick herbs  Rinse bunches of fluffy herbs under water, then hold upside down and shave off leaves with a sharp knife.

Chinese duck soup recipe

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Chinese Roast Duck Noodle Soup

Set 2 store-bought, sliced Peking or Chinese barbecued duck breasts* on a baking sheet and warm in a 350° oven.

Meanwhile, simmer 1 qt. chicken broth with ​2 crushed garlic cloves and 2 smashed fresh ginger slices, 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove garlic and ginger and discard. Add 8 oz. fresh thick udon noodles, 2 cups roughly chopped bok choy, and 1 tbsp. soy sauce to broth; simmer until warmed through. Ladle into 4 bowls. Top each with duck pieces and a drizzle of Asian (toasted) sesame oil.

*Buy from a Chinese take-out restaurant.

Recipe:  Chinese Roast Duck Noodle Soup

Fast & fresh tip: Let someone else cook the protein Hit the deli counter for rotisserie chicken, the fish counter for crab, and to-go restaurants for Chinese duck.

Asian shrimp recipe

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Sesame Shrimp with Cucumber-Soy Salad

Prepare a grill for high heat (450° to 550°). Marinate 1 thinly sliced English cucumber with 2 tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. sugar, ½ thinly sliced red jalapeño chile, and 2 diagonally sliced green onions. Meanwhile, toss 1 lb. peeled and deveined large shrimp in 1 tbsp. each vegetable oil and Asian (toasted) sesame oil. Skewer each shrimp lengthwise through the tail, then grill until pink and grill marks appear. Sprinkle shrimp with 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds and serve with reserved cucumbers and cooked sushi rice.

Recipe: Sesame Shrimp with Cucumber-Soy Salad

Grilled fish and chips recipe

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Grilled Fish and “Chips”

Prepare a grill for medium heat (350° to 450°). Coat 1½ lbs. fingerling potatoes, sliced lengthwise, with olive oil. Lay a cooling rack on half of cooking grate and spread potatoes out evenly. Grill until brown, turning, then transfer to a platter and sprinkle with ½ tsp. kosher salt and some chopped flat-leaf parsley. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine 2 tbsp. chopped capers, 1 tsp. each fresh lemon juice and zest, and 1/3 cup mayonnaise. Rub 4 striped bass fillets (with skin on, about 2 lbs.), halved and skin scored, with 1 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. Grill on oiled grate, turning once, until grill marks appear, about 5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges, potatoes, and caper mayonnaise.

Recipe:  Grilled Fish and “Chips”

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http://www.sunset.com/food-wine/fast-fresh/30-quick-easy-dinner-recipes-00400000066090/