After a brutal winter filled with record breaking snowstorms and temperatures, the snow is melting and it is a blistering 50 degrees! Spring is finally coming to Connecticut and I can hardly wait.
Part of my menu planning is to rotate recipes depending on the season. March is when I stow away all my heavy winter recipes and start making light, fresh meals.
Spring is the perfect time to detox and shed some of the weight and toxins you accumulated during the winter. During the spring, I use more seafood and seasonal produce (greens, asparagus, sprouts) and less fats, meats and dairy.
Most of the changes I make are small, like growing alfalfa sprouts at home and adding them to sandwiches and salads, or adding some greens to smoothies or omelets.
This is a really good time eat light and fresh since so many of the fruits and veggies in season are designed to help you detox and lose that extra weight accumulated from heavy winter foods. For example, herbs (parsley, cilantro, dill, spring onions), asparagus, greens (spinach, dandelion, chards, etc.) are full of nutrients and actually help you gently detox your body. Just including them in your meals makes a big difference!
I have to be honest with you and admit that I really, really don't enjoy eating greens. I've tried sauteing beet greens, chard, and spinach and I just don't like them. I really like a spinach salad with some flavorful dressing, but overall I have a love-hate relationship. This spring I'm going to try and be creative with greens and I'll post any recipes I find that aren't gag-worthy :)
One of my all-time favorite spring recipes is this Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta. Excusing the small amount of dairy, the recipe is perfect for spring time; light and refreshing (especially if accompanied by a spinach salad). This recipe has been on my favorite list since before I was married, and quickly became a favorite with Aaron.
Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and FetaAdapted from Food Network
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 (14.5-ounce) cans of no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with their juices
1/4 cup finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh dill
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat the oil in an oven proof skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 5 minutes, until the tomato juices thicken.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, dill, and shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the feta over the top. Bake until the shrimp are cooked through and cheese melts, about 12 minutes.
Serve over brown rice.