Seasonal Sundays: Cooking for One or Two During Spring (Week 16)

This week's "Seasonal Seven" recipe collection is aimed at small households, those of us who cook for one or two most or some or all the time. It's a challenge, right? and maybe especially for those who have cooked for big families over many years. Inside you'll find breakfasts, for sure, but mostly spring-friendly dinners and I do so hope you'll discover some favorite new recipes.

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

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

As always, I thank you for inviting me into your InBox. I do so hope to kickstart your food imagination for the coming week ... and if you know someone who's Cooking for One or Two, even if it's not you, maybe forward on this week's newsletter? I'd appreciate it! :-)

Hear that big rush of air? That's me, catching my breath after two solid weeks of fun but frenetic activity: think Easter and the Eclipse, back to back, one in our back yard, the other on an idyllic spot called Pelee Island on the Canadian side of Lake Erie.

So much fun but man-oh-man, so-so-so many lists. 🙄 🙄

But as I sit here to write, not wanting to forget a minute, the suitcases are unpacked; the turns-out-unnecessary winter gear is packed away; the laundry is more pile than mountain; I cooked an entire meal last night; we're making plans for the weekend.

It's good to be home, so so so good to be home. It tops my to-do list, remembering this sense of calm and contentment.

About the Photo By Popular Request, a Little Insight into the Top Image: We met dear friends on Pelee Island for our second eclipse together (and are already planning the third!) and my life-long friend Hilary captured this shot of her partner during totality. Ignore that big bright spot in the upper left, it doesn't show on my phone but popped up after cropping/adjusting the file size, etc. (It must be an iPhone/camera thing, the same thing happened on the one shot I took during totality.) For me, the eclipse is a solitary experience, even on a quiet beach, even with my husband beside me gripping my arm for dear life, even with our friends some yards away. It's really something, a solar eclipse, definitely worth planning for, traveling for, investing in.

On our way home, I overheard a woman tell a friend, "I don't get what the big deal is. I've seen one before." Ain't that somethin', I thought to myself, surprised at the nonchalance and even disdain in her voice. And I bet I know who she's voting for ...

In Praise Of ...

  • ... sharing a kitchen with competent and confident cooks, learning so much (huge kale salads, bags of finely chopped herbs, "overcooked" chicken thighs) and appreciating their experience with cottage cooking. Pancake mix? good! Thick sandwiches for lunch? awesome!! Small cans of non-alcoholic beers and wine and cocktails? wonderful!!!

  • ... $3.50 boxes of excellent frozen pierogies from Cheemo, a family-owned company from Edmonton, Alberta. I have my fingers crossed there's distribution in the U.S. but just in case there's not, Canadian readers, enjoy on my behalf, okay? Just heat 'em up in the skillet and devour ... perfect pre-eclipse meal but don't wait, okay?!

  • ... this pretty blue rain jacket (affiliate link) and matching blue flower rainboots (affiliate link), both come in lots of colors if blue's not your thing

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. Pick one thing for the top of your To Do List this week.

So here's the thing. Name ten things about Canadian hockey. Now name ten things about Canadian politics and government.

Stumped? Me too.

First, hockey. When we drove north for my dear Auntie Gloria's funeral way back in 2012 (memorialized with her Brown Sugar Lemon Curd), afterwards, my cousins quizzed us about the St. Louis Blues who at the time were in the hunt for the Cup. We knew a couple of things but zero compared to my cousins. They knew so so much going back years and years, one detail after another about seasons, coaches, players, wins, losses, trades, uniforms and more. It was astounding!

Second, the politics and government. When we spent a few days with our Canadian friends, the worries about American democracy, the country's tilt toward Christian nationalism, the danger of an autocratic (their word: fascist) second Trump presidency, came up often. They pay attention, they read, they know the people, they know SO much, more than 80% of Americans, I'd be willing to bet.

And they're worried. And for good reason.

There's so little mainstream coverage of Trump becoming increasingly unhinged and unstable. He is NOT a normal candidate and his verbal fluency and sociopathic behavior is shockingly worse, now, than even in 2016 and declining rapidly.

Please see Trump's Brain is Not Okay. It's long and terrifying but very important.

Then start sending it to everyone you know who's still in Trump's camp (anonymously? sure. in person? maybe ...) and all your democracy-warrior friends and allies.

The Words of Wise Women

  • "When people accuse me of lolly gagging, how is it they miss that quite clearly I am dilly dallying?"

Ideas Needed!

Who's hosted a book launch and signing party? We have one coming up in two weeks, 30-40 people. Brain empty! Must focus! Any recommendations? Please????!

THE SEASONAL SEVEN: Cooking for One or Two During Spring

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

  • ... are easily scaled for one or two servings even if written for more
  • ... call for ingredients easy to use up in other future dishes
  • ... won't take up your whole day, shopping or cooking or cleaning up
Make-Ahead Bran Muffin Batter ♥, mix now, bake in small batches later, including a single microwave bran muffin in a mug.

Everything Bagel Breakfast Salad, another easy healthy summer breakfast ♥ A Veggie Venture. High Protein. Low Carb. Easy Weekday Breakfast. Very Weight Watchers Friendly. Gluten Free.

Jubilee Greens, Another Master Technique ♥ How to sauté dark leafy greens like spinach, chard, kale and more.
  • THE RECIPE Jubilee Greens How to sauté leafy greens like spinach, chard, kale & more. (PIN This)
  • ANOTHER TAKE Greek Greens How to flash cook dark leafy greens to eat later.

Sweet Pepper Pasta Skillet, another Quick Supper ♥, three colors of bell pepper plus corn, peas and fresh basil. Easy Weeknight Dinner. Budget Friendly.

Chicken Sybil ♥, the 'multiple personality' chicken, just pan-cooked chicken in a creamy-mustard sauce with on-hand ingredients.

Roasted Salmon & Asparagus ♥, ever so simple, just salmon and fresh asparagus roasted together, easy enough for a weeknight, elegant enough for company.

Strawberry Milk ♥, not a smoothie, almost a strawberry milkshake.

What's Brand-Spankin' New?!

Wondering about a recipe from the last while? Check Recent Recipes from Kitchen Parade and Recent Vegetable Recipes from A Veggie Venture.

Rainbow Salad ♥ Pretty pastel-colored vegetables tossed in a Sweet Lemon Vinaigrette.

Cooking for One or Two, a special collection of recipes ♥, perfect for singles and small households.


Ham & Beans ♥, an easy, budget-friendly one-pot supper that makes best use of a leftover ham bone. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly.
  • SO MANY CHANGES & YET STILL REALLY DELICIOUS (Call me impressed!) "I made this recipe with garbanzo beans b/c it’s what I had on hand. I also didn’t use a bone because I didn’t have one & Kroger had no ham hocks. Turned out really delicious, thanks for sharing." ~ Anonymous Commenter
  • THE RECIPE Ham & Beans How to make Ham & Beans with a leftover ham bone. (PIN This)

Confessions ...

  • ... when we got stormed-in in Terra Haute, Indiana on the way home from the eclipse, I was inordinately thrilled to find a Red Lobster in town because ... hello, lobster fest. Too bad, though, the lobster tails were tough, the broccoli was inedible and the best thing on the plate was the baked potato ... sigh, another one bites the dust, especially for a $125+ meal for two, just two drinks and two entrees

  • ... calendar be damned, Easter belongs in April! But dang, it falls in March again in 2027 and 2032 and 2035 and ... methinks those years, we'll hightail it somewhere else.

  • ... you?

April: Reader Favorites

Sunshine Orange Muffins ♥, barely sweet, sweetened mostly with a whole orange and one of my favorite pantry ingredients for a flavor boost, frozen orange juice concentrate.

April: Lost Recipes

One-Skillet Braised Chicken with Shallots ♥, drumsticks or thighs braised with shallots in a white-wine and mustard sauce.

The Kitchen Parade Almanac: Looking Ahead ...

Looking Back ...

Soups & Salads When It Feels Like Spring But ...

April is such a frustrating month, vegetable-wise! Many days are so warm and almost summer-like but of course, gardens may not even be planted yet, let alone producing food for the table. 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.

Seasonal Soups & Salads for April, a monthly feature ♥ A Veggie Venture.

Here are a few favorites!

Good to Know!

How to Shop at a Farmers Market ♥ Thoughts & Tips from a Veteran Shopper.

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 past couple of weeks, both before/after Easter and during our trip to Ontario for the eclipse.

For Easter

Hot Cross Buns, an Easter tradition ♥, spiced sweet buns topped with icing crosses.
  • A GOOD FRIDAY TRADITION My to-do list was a hundred miles long but it's not Good Friday without hot cross buns so sure enough, I mixed up a batch. The dough turned out a little ropey, I must figure out why, but the spices are so lovely. I was glad I moved these to the top of the list that day. So good!
  • THE RECIPE Hot Cross Buns Sweet buns traditional for Easter.

Twice-Smoked Ham ♥, how and why to smoke a smoked ham a second time for Easter, Christmas and holiday hams.
  • FOR OUR EASTER PARTY We really haven't smoked a big ham since before the pandemic so took extra care to get it spot on, incorporating some of the new techniques my husband has learned since investing in a new smoker a year or two ago. And wow. What a ham. I haven't yet updated the post but have three pages of notes, mostly a recommendation for mopping (what a difference) and timing details (so crucial). So good!
  • THE RECIPE Twice-Smoked Ham How & why to smoke a smoked ham a second time. (PIN This)

Easy Easy Magical Jello Bites, another fun idea for kids ♥ Guaranteed to light up kids' eyes!
  • FOR OUR EASTER EGG HUNT All the family Littles know that when it comes to parties at Auntie Al's, count on jello bites. This time, I picked the "watermelon" flavor because the box suggested that the jello might be a pretty pink. It was more red than pink but none of the kids seemed to mind. 🙄 🙄
  • THE RECIPE Easy Easy Magical Jello Bites Guaranteed to make kids' eyes light up! (PIN This)

My Guacamole, the restaurant-style house recipe ♥ Very Weight Watchers Friendly. Unusually Low Cal. Low Carb. Vegan. Gluten Free. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special.
  • EASTER PARTY APPETIZERS I've learned to make a double batch of guacamole because people really do love my guacamole, even the Mexican-born husband of a niece whose family owns a restaurant. So good!
  • THE RECIPE My Guacamole Restaurant-style guacamole, our house recipe. (PIN This)

Finnish Summer Potato Salad, ♥, just new potatoes and a simple vinaigrette. No Mayo. Vegan. Paleo. Easy. Nordic.
  • FOR OUR EASTER EGG HUNT A niece is both vegan and is probably celiac so I made sure to have plenty of vegan, gluten-free options for her. This was a big hit and we're always happy for leftovers, they make great fried potatoes. One caution. When cooking for someone who has gluten issues, never assume, always-always read the labels. I started to use a bottle of dill mustard from the pantry, turns out, it had wheat in it! YIKES. So glad I caught that!
  • THE RECIPE Finnish Summer Potato Salad Just new potatoes and a simple vinaigrette. (PIN This)

Easy-Easy Slow Cooker Honey Carrots ♥, just 5 minutes prep, budget friendly, healthy and kid friendly.
  • EASTER SIDES Was I ever surprised that we went through almost three pounds of carrots! I opted for the easy option (baby carrots) even though peeled carrot chunks are better. I also converted this to vegan, an easy transition by switching from butter to olive oil and honey to maple syrup. So good!
  • THE RECIPE Easy-Easy Slow Cooker Honey Carrots Beautiful color for a plate or buffet.

At a Lakeside Cottage for the Eclipse

How to Transform Your Morning Oatmeal with Creamy Oatmeal ♥, half steel-cut oats and half old-fashioned rolled oats cooked in part milk, part water. Great texture. Great for meal prep. Weight Watchers Friendly.
  • THIS WEEK Our friends aren't big breakfast eaters so I was surprised how well this went over. The first morning, I reheated the oatmeal I'd made the day before and topped it with fried eggs. The last day, I reaheated it and topped it with a Finnish egg butter (just cooked egg mixed with soft butter and a little white pepper) and oh my, so good!
  • THE RECIPE Creamy Oatmeal Three tricks for the very best oatmeal, all easy! (PIN This)

Finn Crisp with Marmalade & Cheese, a typical Finnish breakfast ♥
  • SURPRISE BREAKFAST? I loved this easy breakfast allll the time when I lived in Finland but my friend who lived there at the same time, she'd never heard of this! Her partner was keen on it but then, like me, he grooves on marmalade. So good!
  • THE RECIPE Finn Crisp with Marmalade & Cheese A typical Finnish breakfast. (PIN This)

Finnish Salmon Soup (Lohikeitto) ♥ Finland's 'soul food,' steaming bowls of salmon and potato in a creamy broth.
  • THIS WEEK My friend Hilary and I met in Finland, we've been friends since we were both teens living abroad as Rotary exchange students. For our time together for the eclipse, we replayed some of our favorite foods from Finland! Many of the recipes aren't yet here on Kitchen Parade but a couple are. I made this with local walleye (that's pickerel to the Canadians ...) and it made an excellent fish chowder. We all s-c-a-r-f-e-d this down. So good!
  • THE RECIPE Finnish Salmon Soup (Lohikeitto) Finland's "soul food," fish and potatoes in a creamy chowder broth. (PIN This)

Karelian Borscht (Russian Beet Borscht Soup) ♥, extra hearty with sausage and a swirl of sour cream but also especially earthy and delicious as a vegetarian borscht.
  • THIS WEEK I served this by the lake right before the eclipse, it was warm/cool at the same time so hot soup and hot pierogies tasted great! The cottage didn't have a vegetable grater so I boiled the small beets to make it easier to remove the skins, then just cut the beets up into bite-size chunks. I really loved this texture, versus the usual grated texture. I had some fennel leftover from the night before, also some small yellow potatoes so threw them in the pot. Note to self: make borscht more often. So good!
  • THE RECIPE Karelian Borscht (Finnish - Russian Beet Borscht Soup) Rich beet color, big earthy flavor, either meaty or vegetarian. (PIN This)

Just Updated!

Mexican Chicken Salad, another Quick Supper ♥, just rotisserie chicken tossed with lime-yogurt vinaigrette, black beans, jicama, corn and tomato.

Plant Sale Soup ♥, a hearty soup recipe with beans, vegetables and pasta, great for feeding a crowd.

DIY Substitute for Baker's Joy ♥, just three ingredients and works like a charm.

Something to Read

Wow. I flewwwww through The Light Pirate's first pages, then made myself slow down to really absorb every single word, to think and consider and ponder.

At its heart, this is a coming of age story but it's coming of age during climate-change devastation. Is this the extreme challenges we may not face ourselves but our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren certainly will?

This is my favorite book, my best book, this year. I'm so glad the author is young: I just downloaded her first book Good Morning, Midnight (affiliate link) which was made into a Netflix movie called The Midnight Sky starring George Clooney.

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 advice for Seasonal Sundays? Just one thing that would make it more useful for you? Share away!
  • If April showers bring May flowers ... what's popping out in your garden right now? Here, honeysuckle, peonies, hostas, summer daisies, nothing blooming yet, just reaching sunward.
  • It's soooo weird, Easter being long over. April just isn't the same without it. What to do, what to do?
  • 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.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

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