Seasonal Sundays: Spring Suppers (Week 9)

This week's "Seasonal Seven" recipe collection is for all of us itchin' for spring, a balance of Quick Suppers, one-pot skillets, healthy soups, salad meals and more on the lighter side. May you find one or two that strikes the hungry button so hard, you move straight to the kitchen to cook. Will a recipe become a family favorite? Fingers crossed!

Seasonal Sundays, a weekly newsletter ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

Seasonal Sundays is 100% written by a real, live human, no blah-blah copycat ChatGPT AI plagiarism, thank you very much. Any awkward phrase, unclear meaning, misspelled word, mistaken fact, bad punctuation or overwrought alliteration is the clean, proud product of my own inadequacy as a wordsmith and oversights as an eagle-eyed editor. But when that human says she's grateful that you're here, reading, well, please know, she really truly 100% means it.

Spring? In February? What is this, Florida?

I'm writing on Friday, remembering that when I sat down for this same exercise exactly seven days ago, we were snowed in, the roads were closed, the snow and ice were still spitting. Twas so pretty! And cozy! (And then again, we didn't have to go out to brave the elements ... not everyone is so lucky.)

But as I look back on the last four years of Seasonal Sundays, a diary of sorts, it's been just the same: by Week 9, the talk of the week is spun with signs of spring.

And even 600 miles north, in my home state of Minnesota, the pussy willows are bursting into their furry buds. And here at home, the kids shed jackets before heading home after school, the dog and I enjoy a long sit outside well after dark on one warm evening this week.

I've long dubbed March 1st as my very own unofficial first day of spring: all is right with the world, even if March and even April may bring short-lived wintry weather.

Except: I remember a big storm when I was a kid, this time in northeastern Iowa. School let out early on the Monday as a foot or more of snow began to accumulate and stayed closed through the entire week. By the next Monday? The snow was gone but the gravel roads the school buses would have to traverse were too muddy: we were thrilled for just one more "snow day".

PS For those accustomed to an early-morning Sunday delivery, sorry for the late arrival. Internet issues, dang tech, some times!

In Praise Of ...

  • ... the Five-Minute Morning collection of minimalist makeup from Merit, whose makeup this non-makeup person discovered back in December. (How non-makeup? I last wore mascara when my mother died ... 23 years ago. Merit is also available at Sephora, whose threshold I've never crossed until now.) I love all seven products in the bundle, save perhaps the "day glow highlighting balm" which I probably purchased in too light a shade and am not really sure what to do with anyway. How/why did I switch from no makeup to all-in with Merit? It started with a dermatologist's recommendation to switch to hypoallergenic skincare products (Cerave) and then the shock of seeing a friend who's younger than me arriving at an event without her usual makeup/professional dress and looking ... whoah, a good twenty years older. Makeup isn't for everyone but right now, it feels right for me, especially a minimalist neutral look vs a painted-face look. FYI this is not a sponsored endorsement, Merit has no clue who I am, I just like their products. If you were to buy just two products rather than the bundle, I'd recommend the concealer and the flush balm and if you're in the market for a new brush, the No 1 brush is wonderful. Oh. And I'm still iffy on mascara ...

  • ... that big ol' yellow moon that rose in the east last night reminding me that in the lunar cycles, February's moon is some times called the "hunger moon," a time when stores put aside from harvest are running low, when winter storms make hunting difficult. I learned this long ago when reviewing a new cookbook following the lunar cycles, specifically Hunger Moon Parsnip Soup.

  • ... the March issue of Canadian Living, I want to attack every single recipe, unexpected combinations of ingredients nearly always on hand. Canadian readers, take heed! American readers, if you subscribe to Libby via your local library, you may be able to borrow a copy to read on your phone/table/computer.

Democracy Matters

The country needs calm, thoughtful and assertive voices amid the chaos inflicted by a minority hellbent on taking/retaining generational power by strangling democratic principles and equal rights. None of us have to personally change the world. We just have to do our part.

These past two weeks, I've been incensed by the mainstream media parroting MAGA talking points. First, Biden's age getting sooooo much attention thanks to a Republican hack's hit job and this week, it's how Biden should back out for someone else to run.

We've got to put these to rest. Others. Ourselves. It's going to take a change in mindset. I'm reminded of my sister's wise counsel recently, "What you want is not available." So forget what you want. Deal with what we have: an existential threat to American democracy. The Europeans are newly aware that in the next decade, they may face three enormously powerfu autocracies. Russia. China. And the effing United States.

So let's deal. Get educated. Get our minds wrapped around it all. And move forward. And help others deal, get educated, wrap their minds around it.

Let's deal with age first. The best piece I've seen comes from the brilliant Dahlia Lithwick whose work I quote often. Read this, The Real Way to Think About Biden's Age This Run. A sample: "Perhaps one way to navigate yourself through this seemingly insoluble morass would be to ask yourself why Biden, who is stipulated #Old, has managed to helm the most successful presidency in modern history. Booming economy, eye-popping jobs reports, first gun violence reduction bill in decades, $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan plus COVID relief, Inflation Reduction Act, infrastructure prioritized, judges seated. Pick your metric—there have been a lot of wins. And the reason this old man who sometimes forgets things like dates has gotten all this done? He has, for the most part, surrounded himself with experts, genuine scientists, respected economists, and effective governmental actors and advisers."

And now to Biden backing out. This long-ish video from former Republican Lawrence O'Donnell is a slow burn but extinguishes one fire after another. Do stick it out until the end. A sample: For casual election watchers, it seems like the campaigns have just begun. The reality? This is the fourth quarter of the 2024 and a contested convention will yield not just chaos but none of the names being irresponsibly bandied about have MONEY Money, people! They have no money!


For this week's recipes, I aimed for recipes with early-spring flavors and combinations that ...

  • ... cover the range of pastas to salads to soups to vegetarian to chicken to fish
  • ... are easy choices for weeknight suppers when the outside temps might have a similar range
  • ... lean on easy-to-find and easy-to-keep-on-hand pantry ingredients plus fresh produce and inexpensive proteins
Broccoli Rigatoni with Chickpeas & Lemon ♥, an easy vegetarian supper recipe, lemony, garlicky, cheesy, broccoli good.

Falafel Burgers (Lentil Burgers), another Meatless Monday recipe ♥ Naturally Gluten Free. Low Cal.

Moroccan Chicken ♥, a one-pot chicken stew simmered with eggplant and tomato in a sauce perfumed with Morrocan-style spices. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Weight Watchers Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free. High Protein.

Finnish Salmon Soup (Lohikeitto) ♥ Finland's 'soul food,' steaming bowls of salmon and potato in a creamy broth.

Zucchini Mushroom Tacos, another Meatless Monday or Taco Tuesday idea ♥ A Veggie Venture, easy to adapt with what's on hand or just what sounds good. Weight Watchers Friendly.

Cream of Celery Soup, another healthy soup ♥ A Veggie Venture, a simple homemade celery soup, all about the celery and way more than the sum of its parts. Rave reviews!

February: Reader Favorites

Gashouse Eggs ♥, the old-time favorite with so many different names, just bread and an egg fried together. Medicinal properties, I swear.

February: Lost Recipes

Spiced Preserved Lemons ♥, just lemons, salt and pantry spices, the cornerstone ingredient in Moroccan cuisine.

The Kitchen Parade Almanac: Looking Ahead ...

  • Fridays During Lent - Friday Fish
  • February 29th (Thursday) - Leap Day 2024
  • March 1st - Alanna's Unofficial First Day of Spring
  • March 10th (Sunday) - "spring forward" time change
  • March 10th (Sunday) - Academy Awards
  • March 12th - Equal Pay Day
  • March 14th (Thursday) - Pi Day
  • March 16th (Saturday) - St. Urho's Day
  • March 17th (Sunday) - St. Patrick's Day
  • March 19th (Tuesday) - First Official Day of Spring
  • March 28th (Thursday) - Baseball Opening Day!
  • March 31st - Easter (yikes! soooo early!)
Friday Fish ♥, a collection of simple fish recipes for easy dinners.
  • THE COLLECTION Kitchen Parade's Fish Recipes, many Quick Suppers, many healthy meals.
  • AND ANOTHER Kitchen Parade's Seafood Recipes including shrimp, oysters, lobster, crab.

Recipes for pies, tarts, crusts and more ♥

Celebrate St. Urho's Day with the Finnish diaspora on March 16th ♥
  • IS IT FOR REAL? St. Urho's Day is celebrated on March 16th by people of Finnish heritage.
  • IS IT TO MATCH? St. Patrick's Day Why should the Irish get all the fun?!

Recipes for St. Patrick's Day ♥, including green food.

Easter Ideas & Recipes ♥, from Hot Cross Buns to Twice-Smoked Ham.

Looking Back ...

Veggies Forever

Spicy Cauliflower Soup, not pretty but another healthy flavor-packed soup ♥

Good to Know!

DIY Homemade Foot Lotion ♥, take care of your feet, just three easy-to-find and inexpensive ingredients.

Trader Joe's Test Kitchen

Who's tried the small tins of Lightly Smoked Salmon in Olive Oil? Stock up, they do run out! Each tin is about 200 calories (that's with all the oil, which I drain off ...) but 21 grams of protein, a quick addition to a salad, breakfast eggs, etc.

Very handy!

Who's Up for a Challenge?

How to Roast Vegetables, 21 Tips & a Master Recipe ♥ A Veggie Venture.
  • THIS WEEK I cut up a rutabaga into fries and through them in the oven at 450F for about 20 minutes, just enough time to throw together the rest of dinner. They were fabulous!
  • THE CHALLENGE Check the fridge. Check the produce section. Is there a veggie you've never roasted before? Maybe never tried before?? Grab it and just throw it in the oven and let me know how it goes! What did you pick? How did it go?!
  • NEVER NEED A RECIPE AGAIN How to Roast Vegetables 22 Tips & a Master Recipe

A Quick Peek Into a Real-Life Kitchen

Just so you know, everything's not all pretty pictures around here, in the background is a pile of dirty dishes. And just like many (all?) of us, come five o'clock, I too draw a blank about what to make for supper, despite so many recipes I so dearly love. Here's a quick peek from the last week.

My Guacamole, the restaurant-style house recipe ♥ Very Weight Watchers Friendly. Unusually Low Cal. Low Carb. Vegan. Gluten Free. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special.
  • THIS WEEK Friends popped over on Sunday for tacos and a "mezcal tasting". For party appetizers, I always go back and forth between "no appetizer, just let people nurse that first drink" and "a tableful". Sunday, I just made a big batch of guacamole, using lemon instead of lime since the Trader Joe's limes were yielded hardly any juice. That guac? So good!
  • THE RECIPE My Guacamole Restaurant-style guacamole, our house recipe. (PIN This)

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos ♥, just cook beef in slow cooker (no browning!) with pantry ingredients, then add quick sauté of veggies, black beans.
  • THIS WEEK I'm still cooking from the pantry (and this time from the fridge), using up almost a whole bottle of green chile sauce instead of the usual tomato salsa. Still, this taco meat? So easy. So good!
  • THE RECIPE Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos So handy to have on hand!

Mexican Rice ♥, an easy addition to taco parties, fajita nights or easy lunch-time quesadillas. Vegan.
  • THIS WEEK This recipes makes a bunch, but it's great to have on hand for later in the week to go alongside breakfast eggs and impromptu quesadillas. As written, the recipe calls for 8 ounces of tomato sauce, about half the size of the usual can size in our pantry. So I threw in the whole can, just to see. It worked great! Hurray, no leftover tomato sauce!
  • THE RECIPE Mexican Rice For tacos, fajitas, quesadillas and more. (PIN This)

  • Easy-Easy Artichoke & Tomato Salad, another quick, versatile & healthy salad ♥
    • THIS WEEK This is such a versatile salad and worked great with tacos. I was short on tomatoes so threw in some purple cauliflower and some celery. Very pretty and so good!
    • THE RECIPE Easy-Easy Artichoke & Tomato Salad Make it quick, make it your own. (PIN This)

    Oaxaca Tlayuda (Mexican Flat Tacos) ♥, easy, healthy build-your-own crispy baked tortillas.
    • THIS WEEK I especially love the skillet beans from this recipe, they're my go-to for doctoring canned beans for tacos and other Mex-style dishes. BUT. My 3x5 card noted that once before, I found the Trader Joe's black beans really disappointing here. And ... since that was all I had on hand, well, it happened again. I find this so weird, that something so simple and almost a commodity can turn out so different. But me, I'm no longer buying black beans from Trader Joe's.
    • THE RECIPE Oaxaca Tlayuda (Mexican Flat Tacos) Easy, healthy build-your-own crispy baked tortillas. (PIN This)

    My Favorite Graham Cracker Crust ♥ Just two ingredients for a crisp, sturdy crust that's not too sweet, not too buttery.
    • THIS WEEK Could I have bought a crust? Sure. But they're not that great so I took the time to make my own favorite crust that uses two Trader Joe's products, ghee instead of butter and cinnamon graham crackers, baking it in new-to-this-crust nine-inch non-stick pie pan from Williams Sonoma. Harumph. So much for non-stick, the crust really stuck to the pan. Still? So good!
    • THE RECIPE My Favorite Graham Cracker Crust A crisp, sturdy crust, not too sweet, not too buttery. (PIN This)

    Easy Margarita Pie ♥, tastes just like a good margarita.
    • THIS WEEK So a "margarita" pie naturally calls for tequila but since we were doing a mezcal tasting, I opted for mezcal. And wow, the smokiness really came through. This is such a fun pie, key-lime-ish but with more zip. So good!
    • THE RECIPE Easy Margarita Pie Tastes just like a good margarita!

    Quick 'n' Easy Raw Salad ♥, my own healthy habit that I hope will inspire yours, too.
    • THIS WEEK Whew. After the Sunday party, I was ready for vegetables. Twice, I put together big bowls of vegetables for side salads and big dinner salads. The combo of red cabbage, carrot and snap peas was especially pretty. And naturally, so good!
    • THE "RECIPE" Quick 'n' Easy Raw Salad My own "healthy habit" that I hope will inspire yours, too.

Something to Read

I flew through Alice Hoffman's latest book, The Invisible Hour which deftly weaves into a compelling story: a teenage pregnancy, an unsupportive family, a cult community, girl power, the importance of libraries and librarians, a bullying stalker, time travel, the life of Nathanial Hawthorn. Yeah it's a lot. But you care about Mia the child, the girl, the teenager, the young adult.

In 2020, I read another Alice Hoffman book and also l-o-v-e-d it. Here's what I wrote back then: "Alice Hoffman's latest book The World That We Knew has me captivated, i'm listening to it slowly and already intend to listen again. It's yet another window into the lives of people who fiercely resisted Nazi tyranny during World War II. It's part magical realism ... pay attention to the heron when he first appears."

Don't Be a Stranger ...

I'd love to hear from you. Comment, send me a quick e-mail (my current address is in the FAQs), 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.

  • Any ideas for Seasonal Sundays? Share away!
  • Who's seeing sure signs of spring?
  • Who's thinking what fun might be had on February 29th, this Leap Year?
  • Who's itching for a little beach time?
  • Anything else? Chime in, chat away.

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, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. 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. When you make my recipes, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below or better still, on the specific recipe's page.

© 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.