Minted peas

Minted peas
Minted peas

Happy Easter! This year, I decided to stick with a good thing and repeat last year’s dinner menu: roasted leg of lamb, au gratin potatoes, minted peas, and crescent rolls.

These minted peas are a great (and super easy) way to dress up frozen peas, but I should note that it isn’t the healthiest recipe — after all, there’s heavy cream in it. Hence, it’s once-a-year appearance on my menu at Easter. Give it a try at your next holiday meal!

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Chopped taco salad

Chopped taco salad
Chopped taco salad

I first made this taco salad for a potluck lunch at work last year — I wanted something that was easy to make and transport. But I liked it so much that it’s become a regular part of our dinner rotation. It’s easy to mix up a large bowlful (I serve the dressing on the side) and have several delicious meals.

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Chef salad

Chef salad
Chef salad

If you look at our meal plans for the last several months, this tasty chef salad is the dinner you’ll find most often. We’ve gotten into the habit of having salad for dinner at least twice a week — and this is my go-to salad.

If you’re looking for quick meals during the week, you can prep the veggies and hard-boil the eggs on the weekend. Then, all you have to do is combine all the ingredients and you’re ready to eat! Another easy option is to use leftover rotisserie chicken in place of the deli ham. Either way, it’s delicious.

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10-minute teriyaki chicken

10-minute teriyaki chicken
10-minute teriyaki chicken (served with broccoli and rice)

If you live in or have visited the Pacific Northwest, you’ve probably noticed that there are “teriyaki stops” in pretty much every town. Unfortunately, they’re not very common here in the Twin Cities.

Fortunately, it’s easy to make your own teriyaki chicken at home. The first key is to use chicken thighs, so you don’t end up with dry chicken. The second is to brown the chicken for extra flavor, and the third is to use a good teriyaki sauce. Follow those steps and you’ll have delicious teriyaki chicken in under 10 minutes. Enjoy!

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Chilled tofu with kabocha squash

Chilled tofu with kabocha squash
Chilled tofu with kabocha squash

This chilled tofu with kabocha squash is a great, easy Japanese recipe. It can be either a lighter meal on its own (served with rice and miso soup) or served as a side (I like to pair it with sushi). Either way, it’s simple but delicious.

Kabocha squash is a Japanese winter squash that is unique in that you can eat the skin — don’t be afraid, it adds a lot of flavor. This mild, orange squash is one of our favorites.

The chilled tofu (hiyayakko) is topped with bonito flakes, green onions, and soy sauce. Pressing the block of tofu before serving allows it to absorb more of the flavor of the soy sauce. Give it a try — it’s delicious!

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Garden-fresh summer salad with oil and vinegar

Garden-fresh summer salad with oil and vinegar
Garden-fresh summer salad with oil and vinegar

By the time summer finally rolls around here in the Twin Cities, I’m craving fresh, delicious vegetables. One of my favorite — and easiest —  ways to eat them is in a big salad. The great thing about this type of salad is that you can vary the ingredients based on what veggies you have on hand, and you don’t need to measure anything. Sometimes I like to add some sort of cheese, but you could easily omit that to make it vegan.

Instead of making or buying dressing, I keep things light by drizzling oil and vinegar over the salad. My favorite combination right now is a peach balsamic vinegar with Arbequina olive oil — both from Fustini’s Oils and Vinegars (online store and several locations in Michigan).

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Cobb salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette

Cobb salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette
Cobb salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette

I’ve made Cobb salad several times this spring (and finally summer), and it’s a great main dish salad. Wikipedia tells me that the best way to remember the ingredients in Cobb salad is with the mnemonic EAT COBB: eggs, avocado, tomato, chicken, (green) onion, bacon, and blue cheese.  We ended up making a couple changes from that (like ham instead of bacon), but it’s still great!

The salad dressing for this recipe is also delicious. We haven’t been buying salad dressing at the store lately — most of it has high-fructose corn syrup in it, and if it doesn’t it’s simple enough to make myself. The fresh tang of the lemon makes this a great dressing for summer salads.

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