Many of us are making plans for that annual spring cleaning, in which we throw open doors and windows, air out the house and embrace the return of sunshine. While spring cleaning the house makes a lot of lists, spring cleaning our food choices often gets neglected. This is unfortunate, because spring signals the arrival of domestically-sourced, literally fresher, fresh fruits and vegetables. It also means you can expect more variety at the grocery store. Here are a few ideas to help you spring clean your meals.
Arugula Salad and Grilled Chicken
That lasagna recipe, which seemed perfect in December, leaves your kitchen a sweltering nightmare on warm April evenings. With arugula coming into season, you get a better and less calorie-laden alternative. A basic arugula salad with spring onions and cherry tomatoes, topped with the all-important Parmesan, olive oil and red wine vinegar, makes an excellent, light side dish for a grilled chicken breast. If Parmesan isn’t your favorite or you plan on foregoing dessert, consider substituting in feta cheese and adding some strawberries.
New Potato Leek Soup
Spring weather is unpredictable and that cold meal you planned can look a lot less appetizing during a cold rain shower. Rather than fall back on meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, consider trying out a leek soup. Not only are leeks in season, but you can also grab some new potatoes to add a little sweetness into the soup. Many leek soup recipes call for heavy cream, but health conscious cooks can substitute low-fat milk for the cream. The soup won’t be quite as rich, but it will be healthier.
Less renowned that its sibling, the apple pie, a strawberry-rhubarb pie makes for a nice change in your dessert choices. It takes advantage of the spring appearance of both strawberries and rhubarb, ingredients that prove much more difficult to find fresh the rest of the year. The strawberries deliver a near-candy level of sweetness, but the rhubarb’s tart flavor balances out that sweetness. The end result is delicious, rather than decadent.
Spring cleaning your house gives you a chance to freshen up your home and move the furniture around to keep life interesting. Spring cleaning your food choices can do the same for how you eat. Introducing seasonal ingredients lets you expand the range of meals you can make, experiment with flavors and break up a repetitive cooking routine.