This week our meals will be interesting yet simple; springtime is an inspiring season, yet tends to be extra-packed with extra-curricular activities. So while I like to be able to make dinner from scratch every night, sometimes I need to streamline things a little bit. None of this week’s dinners taste rushed – a springy risotto with peas and asparagus is one of those dishes that looks and tastes like it took longer than it actually does; ditto the crispy Panko fish sticks that come together in about ten minutes.
If you can make oatmeal, you can make risotto – it’s simpler to make than you might think. Just start with short-grained sticky rice and you have a perfect vehicle for the first spring veggies – asparagus when it pops out of the ground, and peas when they arrive, or straight from the freezer.
Springtime Risotto with Peas & Asparagus
Photo credit: Jaime of Sophistimom
A little pot on my kitchen counter has fresh basil growing in it – the first smell and taste of spring. The tender leaves are perfect for tearing over pasta or tucking into sandwiches – like this Panko-crusted chicken Parmesan, slathered with marinara sauce, topped with thick slabs of mozzarella and served in a grainy bun. Brilliant! Omit the bun if you like, but it’s a perfect package if you need dinner to go.
Chicken Parmesan Heroes with Basil
Photo credit: Aimee of Simple Bites
These skewers of sweet, gingery beef bites are a perfect fit if you’re ready to fire up the ‘cue, but just as easily cooked inside; add a side of rice, roasted asparagus and/or a big salad and you’re good to go. If you’re multitasking, cut and marinate twice as much as you need, then freeze half the meat in its marinade for a head start on dinner another night.
Ginger Soy Beef Tenderloin Kebabs
Photo credit: Shaina of Food for My Family
Wee sliders – mini burgers you can eat in a few bites – are kid-friendly, and the addition of bacon and blue cheese gives them adult appeal, too. The best part: the patties are made with ground turkey and quinoa!
Turkey Bacon Blue Cheese Sliders
Photo credit: Brooke of Cheeky Kitchen
Crispy fish sticks from scratch come together even more quickly than the frozen kind, which typically require about 25 minutes to bake. Making them yourself is fast and easy – you can use whatever kind of fish is available – and the result is ethereally crisp and tender, with no trace of freezer burn. Serve with tartar sauce for the grown-ups; ketchup for the kids.