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5 Spring Comfort Meals

The Big Thaw has started, and the time change has brought longer days and sunnier dinnertimes. It seems somehow less rushed to get dinner on the table these days, as the sun isn’t going down at the same time the 5 o’clock news comes on. I feel like cooking brighter dishes, like a sweet and spicy stir-fry and roasted tomato soup with the last of last summer’s roasted tomatoes from the freezer.

But comfort food is still called for during these last days of winter and early spring – a bubbly baked mac & cheese goes over so well when there’s still a chill in the air.

MONDAY

Free Meal Plan Roasted Tomato & Garlic Soup with Grilled Cheese CroutonsThat classic creamy tomato soup and gooey grilled cheese combo is embodied in this bowlful of comfort – the grilled cheese made mini in crunchy bite-sized croutons!

Roasted Tomato & Garlic Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Photo credit: Laura of Sweet Potato Chronicles

TUESDAY

Free Meal Plan Sweet & Spicy Chicken Stir-fryAs Aimee says, unpredictability is to be expected when you have a family. It’s great to have a few meals you can pull out of your sleeve using staples you generally have in your pantry, fridge and freezer. This is one of those meals. Try adding whatever veggies you have on hand – or whatever you family likes. Broccoli, pea pods, zucchini, carrots, asparagus and red peppers are all perfect.

Sweet & Spicy Chicken Stir-fry

Photo credit: Aimee of Simple Bites

WEDNESDAY

Free Meal Plan Macaroni with Sharp Cheddar and BaconIt’s the ultimate comfort food, right here, baked until it’s bubbly and made into more of a real meal with the addition of jarred tomato sauce and crumbled bacon. Make it ahead, if you like, and pop it in the oven when it’s getting close to dinnertime. Tear open a bagged salad and dinner’s done.

Macaroni with Sharp Cheddar and Bacon

Photo credit: Jaime of Sophistimom

THURSDAY

Free Meal Plan Spiced Beef Pie with Walnut PastryRustic and charming is still in season, and this long braided pie stuffed with beef, onion, garlic and spices wrapped like a pretty package in golden, flaky pastry is perfect while there’s still a chill in the air. Perfect with frozen peas alongside.

Spiced Beef Pie with Walnut Pastry

Photo credit: Amy of Family Feedbag

FRIDAY

Free Meal Plan Thai Coconut Barbecued RibsWhen the weekend rolls around, we tend to be in the mood for something a little more festive, perhaps something nibbly we can share with friends, and even fire up the barbecue if the spring temperatures stick around. Ribs are among my favourite foods, but I’m not always in the mood for sticky-sweet barbecue sauce; these Thai-spiced ribs in coconut milk are deliciously different – perfect for a party, or for dinner along with steamed rice, sautéed pea pods or greens, or maybe an Asian-style slaw.

Thai Coconut Barbecued Ribs

About the Author:

Julie Van Rosendaal is the food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio One, the author of five best-selling cookbooks, with a sixth - Alice Eats, the Wonderland Cookbook having just been released in October. She's the food editor of Parents Canada magazine and a freelance writer, contributing to local, national and international publications including Swerve, Avenue, Western Living and Readers Digest. She is also co-host of It’s Just Food on the OWN television network, and writes and is the photographer for her award-winning food blog, www.DinnerwithJulie.com, which documents real life in her home kitchen in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband, Mike, and 8 year old son, Willem.

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