Seasonal Sundays (Week 16) Mid April

Isn't April just the loveliest of months? A tease, perhaps, but for seasonal cooks, there's something special about switching back and forth between the changing seasons. So many favorite recipes to share today, including what I made for my husband after he had dental surgery.
Seasonal Sundays ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

A year ago this week, I mused here on Seasonal Sundays, "What will life look like a year from now?"

A week ago today, we asked ourselves what we did for Easter last year. Odd? No memories, not a single one. Or maybe not so odd? It was just six weeks into lockdown.

I checked my phone for clues. April's photos are rife with now-poignant shots peering through windows, me, my husband, even the dog.

It's easy to forget how much uncertainty we faced then, how little we knew, how furiously we washed our hands and wiped down everything, even the mail.

But here we are in 2021, living lives which a year ago we couldn't even begin to imagine.

Perhaps one big 2020 Lesson is that even without a pandemic, we can dream, we can hope, we can plan but all the most heartfelt dreams, hopes and plans cannot reveal what life will be like a year from now.

In the words of Little R, the younger of the 12-year old twin grandsons, "♥ We will be able to hug you in two weeks and four days! ♥"

Now that, we shall remember. And I daresay the boyzz will too ...

About the Photo By Popular Request, a Little Insight into the Top Image: Our "rescue" crabapple tree burst into bloom this week. Who rescues crabapple trees? Me! One year, I was deep-pruning an overgrown, unwieldy and unsightly butterfly bush, only to find deep within ... crabapple blossoms??? Somehow a crabapple inside had survived, barely but still trying. Out with the butterfly bush! Ever since, our rescue crabapple turns so pretty about this time in April, no fruit to speak of yet but I do already fantasize about crab-apple pickles, a favorite among my Canadian family. We still await blossoms on the Old Pear Tree in the field across the way, thus named as it's the last remnant of a fruit orchard: we fear the blossoms were nicked by two nights of hard frost this week. Come fall, the local deer and other critters will be most disappointed: no blossoms, no fruit.


Pick One is for those of us overwhelmed by life's unending choices. If that resonates, then check out this one recipe and then call it a day. It's one that I think could make the most difference, the one I hope will become a regular in your kitchen, as it is in mine.

Everyday-to-Elegant Asparagus Soup ♥, one recipe for either rustic or refined asparagus soup, a spring classic. Weight Watchers Friendly. Rave Reviews!
  • THE RECIPE Easy-to-Elegant Asparagus Soup One recipe with either rustic or refined texture.
  • WHY THIS, WHY NOW A single 18-inch tall spear burst forth in the asparagus garden this week, just one but what a surprise, it reached that full height in a single day. One tall spear does not a bowl of soup make. Off to the store I go ...


Perfect All-Rhubarb Pie ♥, a summer masterpiece and a perfect balance of sweet and tart and cinnamon.
  • "Perfect recipe. Baked for 30 minutes after reducing temperature to 350." ~ Matt's Mom
  • THE RECIPE Perfect All-Rhubarb Pie A summer masterpiece.

My Chicken Noodle Soup ♥, meaty and noodle-y with a special technique to plump up just a few noodles. Low Carb. High Protein.
  • "After Easter dinner, it is your skinny chicken soup for the week. I use the high-protein noodles from Barilla, works great." ~ Kathleen
  • Has anyone else discovered high-protein noodles? Barilla is 10g of protein for a two-ounce (dried) serving, which is great. I did pick up a box but haven't used them yet. They're a bit pricey compared to regular pasta and I'm annoyed that the package size dropped from 16 ounces to 14-something. Oh well, #FirstWorldProblem.
  • THE RECIPE My Chicken Noodle Soup The way I make it, meaty and noodle-y with just a few noodles.

(Sloooow) Baked Potatoes, How Long to Bake a Baked Potato ♥, one hour in the oven is not enough! How long to bake baked potatoes for soft, nutty flesh and crisp, crackly skins.
  • "Just came to say thank you for this article -- you were 100% right the 3hr baked potato on 350 oiled a bit was by far the best baked potatoes I've ever made in 30 years. Something so simple, takes such little effort, and just takes a bit more time." ~ Mo
  • ANOTHER TAKE Microwave Baked Potato

Oh Joy: Major Dental Surgery

My husband Jerry had dental work done on Thursday. He's fast recovering but is relegated to soft food: he's not supposed to bite or chew for two whole weeks. In addition, no spicy food, and no spices, either.

What did we have for dinner the night before surgery? Steak, of course, for my meat-loving guy.

But this is a new culinary challenge for us both, keeping him in enough calories and protein without meat.

We're only three days in but here's what has worked so far. It'll be obvious that I was still cleaning out the fridge after Easter!

  • No hot (temperature) food for 24 hours; could use a straw (not everyone can); very sensitive to cold
  • Jello Cups were soothing in texture and temperature but it was difficult to navigate with a spoon
  • Protein Smoothies with banana, full-fat greek yogurt, whole milk, peanut butter and hemp hearts; no ice, just cold ingredients
  • Ham & Potato Soup Smoothie was a huge hit, a savory smoothie made with leftover baked potato with the skin left on, minced ham, leftover sauce from mac n cheese plus whole milk. Puréed food didn't appeal to him but a smoothie? This was actually quite delicious!
  • Soupy Creamed Hard-Cooked Egg I thickened milk with more leftover mac n cheese sauce plus some extra melted cheese, then stirred in some finely diced cooked egg. I added a small splash of Worcestershire for some savory flavor. Also very good!

  • Still sensitive to hot and cold, still needs soft food
  • Soft Eggs These French Scrambled Eggs were easy for him, even on just the second day. I diced green onion, cooked asparagus and mini tomatoes into bits gently cooked until very soft, then gently cooked the eggs, so very tender. Again, a hit.
  • Cream of Wheat Boy it's been forever since I've had cream of wheat! We both ate this up ... his was topped with tiny bits of butter and a sprinkle of raw sugar.
  • Ham (Flavor) & Beans This was so delicious. The white beans were super soft. Instead of big chunks of carrot and celery, I grated the carrots so they were teensy-tiny and soft too, skipped the celery which I feared would need chewing, also skipped the extra ham since that too would be more than he should chew. But? Since the beans were slow-cooked with a ham bone, even without the meat, there was lots of meaty flavor.
  • Steak & Mini Pasta in Broth I made a rich beef stock with the steak bone and onion, it was in the oven at 215F for almost 48 hours. There was some meat on the bone, super soft and manageable when cut super small. So I puréed the broth and cooked onion, then cooked some teentsy-tiny pastina pasta in the broth and stirred in the meat. Oh he lapped this up ...

  • If anyone's been through something simliar, I'd love to know what worked for you.

  • If you buy ice cream, make sure it's perfectly smooth, nothing chunky, nothing chewy. Even little flakes of chocolate are hard to manage post-surgery.
  • I can't make Jello for the life of me. Multi-flavor snack packs for the win!
  • I was so focused on his meals that I literally forgot to eat myself. Don't let that happen to you! I should have meal-prepped for me, not him.

The Dinner Bell

Seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, the dinner bell rings. If we're gonna eat, somebody's gotta cook, some nights fuel, some nights a feast. Let's make it good, a welcome end to our days.
Mac n Chicken, just your best Mac n Cheese with chicken, with protein ♥ One-Pot Comfort Food. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Long-Time Family Favorite. High Protein. Great for Meal Prep. Recipe, insider tips, nutrition and Weight Watchers points included.

Tropical Pork Tenderloin ♥, a quick supper, lean pork tenderloin seasoned with spices, topped with sweet-hot glaze with a companion recipe for Tropical Supper Salad.

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Asparagus or other Fresh Summer Vegetables, another Quick Supper ♥, just shrimp and your choices of vegetables tossed in an addictive sweet 'n' sour sauce. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. Gluten Free.

Put an Egg on Top aka "How About Eggs for Dinner?"

Why should breakfast get all the eggs?! If eggs for dinner were a club, I'd be president, chief marketing officer, resident evangelist, public advocate and ... hey, wanna join my club? Start here!

Homemade Egg McMuffin ♥, the egg is cooked in the microwave, creating a tender, tasty round just the right size to tuck into an English Muffin with cheese and Canadian bacon.

Recipes That Stand the Test of Time

To mark A Veggie Venture's 15th anniversary in 2020, I took a hard look at the first 365 vegetable recipes from the first year to select just 15 which, all these many years and recipes later, remain ever so useful. The result is a fascinating collection of recipes, 15 Favorite Vegetable Recipes, Still Useful After 15 Years. Here's just one.

How to Roast Peppers in the Oven, tips & techniques ♥ Easy Meal Prep. Vegan.

PS Who's noticed? I'm big on "usefulness". See? Best-Ever “Most Useful” Recipes 2002 – Present, just one recipe per year from Kitchen Parade.

Soups & Salads Especially for April

For seasonal cooks, switching seasons happens gradually, over the course of a few weeks. Here in the Midwest, it's still definitely "early spring" so the recipes cross between soups that warm us up on those chilly days and salads that call when it's easy to stretch an outdoor meal into evening. So what sounds good depends on the day, yes? That's why I spent a year gathering all of A Veggie Venture's best soup and salad recipes into easy-to-scan month-by-month collections.

Dig into Seasonal Soup & Salad Recipes for April, so many ideas!

Here's a sample!

Summer Black-Eyed Pea Salad, another crowd-friendly salad ♥

Feeding a Sugar-Conscious Sweet Tooth

You too? We're cutting back on sweets without demonizing dessert, usually with smaller batches, smaller servings, shareable desserts or fruit desserts in addition to limiting frequency. But some times?

Finnish Tiger Cake ♥, a mini chocolate marble pound cake with stripes just like a tiger, easy to double for a large family or a party.


Who else loves seeing old photos pop up, quick memories from years past? Welcome to a recipe timehop ...

Maple-Glazed Pecans ♥, crisp and barely sweet, add a spoonful to salads, morning oatmeal, a bowl of ice cream.

Greek Bread Salad with Toasted Pita Chips, another salad with great crunch and color ♥ Kid Friendly! Weight Watchers Friendly!


My Top 10 Recipes are predictable, hello Should Cooked Pork Be Pink? and (Sloooow) Baked Potatoes (How Long to Bake a Baked Potato). But every week, seasonal recipes catch the internet's attention and start to trend.

Rethinking Fruit for Weight Watchers, how and why to count points ♥ WW works but free fruit doesn't work for everyone. If your weight loss journey is stalled, fruit might be the culprit.

World's Best Green Bean Casserole ♥, yesterday's comfort food made with fresh green beans and fresh mushrooms, no canned beans, no cream of mushroom soup. Rave reviews since 2006.

Just Updated!

Easy Sautéed Asparagus, another quick healthy vegetable ♥ Loaded with garlic plus optional anchovies.

Don't Be a Stranger ...

I'd love to hear from you. Comment, send me a quick e-mail via, dot-dash in Morse code, build a fire for smoke signals, launch a message in a bottle, send a Christmas letter, get the dog to yip, toss me a note wrapped in a rubberband, write a message in the sky, scratch a note in the sand, listen to a seashell, tuck a question into a plastic Easter egg, whatever.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.