The beginning of spring is reason enough to party. Flowers bloom, days get warmer -- and plenty of holidays inspire celebration. From traditional (Kentucky Derby) to lively (Cinco de Mayo) to sentimental (Mother's Day), May's got it all. However you get into the fun, add these delicious recipes to your repertoire. Your friends and family will thank you!
Kentucky Derby Buffet
If you can't make the official "Hat Parade," bring the taste of the event to your table with this Southern-influenced pairing of glazed ham and blackberry crumble. Don't forget to serve mint juleps.
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 10 minutes
3 cups fresh blackberries
1/4 cup unsweetened orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup regular oats, uncooked
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons margarine, cut into small pieces and chilled
3/4 cup vanilla nonfat frozen yogurt
Combine first 3 ingredients in a 1-quart casserole dish; toss gently and set aside.
Combine oats, flour, and brown sugar in a bowl; cut in margarine with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle over blackberry mixture.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm, topped with frozen yogurt.
Per serving: Calories 176 (24% from fat); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 64mg
Chutney-Mustard Glazed Spiral-Cut Ham
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 90 minutes
1 (6 1/2- to 7-pound) 33%-less-sodium smoked, fully cooked ham half
1/2 cup mango chutney
2 tablespoons honey mustard
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place ham on a broiler pan; insert meat thermometer into thickest portion of ham; cover with foil. Bake at 325 degrees for 90 minutes.
Combine chutney and mustard in a small bowl. Remove ham from oven; brush chutney over ham. Bake ham, uncovered, an additional 30 minutes or until thermometer registers 140 degrees. Place ham on a platter; let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Serving size: 3 ounces ham.
Note: Mango chutney can be found in the jams and jellies section of the supermarket.
Per serving: Calories 134 (34% from fat); Fat 4.9g (sat 1.6g, mono 2.3g, poly 0.6g); Protein 17.9g; Carbohydrate 3.7g; Fiber 0.1g; Cholesterol 45mg; Iron 1.3mg; Sodium 828mg; Calcium 9mg
Gourmet Mother's Day Brunch
What better way than to show mom how much you care than preparing her an elegant brunch? You don't have to tell her that it's quick and easy. Prepare the salad and let it chill while the pasta is cooking.
Pear-Stilton Salad with Radicchio and Walnuts
Preparation: 10 minutes
4 pears, cored and sliced 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
12 radicchio leaves
3 tablespoons crumbled Stilton cheese
freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large bowl, combine pear slices and walnuts. Add balsamic vinegar, and toss gently to coat.
Arrange radicchio leaves on 4 salad plates. Place pears and walnuts on top of leaves, and sprinkle cheese over top. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Chard, Spinach, and Escarole Pasta
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
1 bunch chard (about 1 pound)
2 pounds spinach
1 large head escarole, kale, or radicchio
2 large red onions
3 or 4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 cup red wine
1 pound linguine
1/2 cup defatted chicken stock or water
2 tablespoons capers
salt and pepper to taste
Stem chard and spinach, if necessary. Remove core from escarole and separate leaves.
Wash greens and cut them into thin shreds. Peel and coarsely chop onions. Peel and mince garlic.
In large pot over high heat, boil 3 quarts water for pasta.
Heat a heavy casserole dish over medium high heat; add 1/8-cup olive oil, onions, bay leaf, and thyme; cook, covered, until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover, and continue cooking about 5 minutes more, or until onions are very brown, just short of burning. Add red wine and stir to loosen browned bits in pan; cover, turn heat to low, and simmer 3 to 4 minutes.
Boil linguine. Uncover onions and add garlic. After 1 minute, add greens and stock. Cook 5 minutes; add capers, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
When pasta is done (12 minutes), drain and add to casserole with greens. Toss well with remaining 1/8-cup olive oil.
Per Serving: Calories 427 (22% from fat); Fat 12g (1g saturated); Protein 18g; Carbohydrate 65g; Fiber 13g; Cholesterol 0mg; Iron 13mg; Sodium 539mg; Calcium 354mg
Cinco de Mayo Duo
Celebrate Mexico's Independence Day--or maybe your independence from ho-hum food? Either way this combo will bring forth an olé. Prepare the gazpacho a day ahead so flavors have time to blend. The tortilla (a traditional Spanish potato dish) should be served hot.
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
1 1/2 pounds round red or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
5 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
Steam potatoes until tender, about 10 minutes. (Or toss with 1 tablespoon water in a microwave-safe bowl; cover and cook at high power in microwave for 7 to 8 minutes or until tender.)
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet with sloped sides over medium heat. Add onion; cook until tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Beat eggs in a medium-sized bowl; add salt and pepper. Gently stir in onion and potatoes. Wash and dry skillet.
Reheat the skillet over medium-high heat, and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. When oil is hot, add egg mixture. Tilt the pan and lift the edge of the potato-egg mixture with a spatula so the uncooked eggs on top run underneath. After 2 or 3 minutes, reduce heat to low; cover and cook 10 minutes or until eggs are set on bottom (top may still be wet).
Preheat boiler. Uncover skillet and transfer to broiler. Broil 3 to 4 inches from heat source 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from broiler; let stand 5 minutes. Slide onto a serving platter. Let stand at 5 minutes before cutting into wedges.
Per Serving: Calories 148 (40% from fat); Fat 7g (1g saturated); Protein 6g; Carbohydrate 17g; Fiber 2g; Cholesterol 133mg; Iron 1mg; Sodium 188mg; Calcium 25mg
Preparation: 30 minutes
Chilling: 2 hours
Ingredients for the soup
4 thick slices (4 ounces) stale baguette or country bread, crusts removed
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 chopped red or white onion, rinsed with cold water
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for the garnishes
1 cup peeled, seeded, and finely chopped cucumber
1 red or green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped roma tomatoes
1/2 cup croutons (optional)
1/2 cup finely chopped red or white onion, rinsed with cold water
3 tablespoons slivered basil or chopped parsley
In a small bowl, soak bread in cold water to cover until soft, about 5 minutes. Squeeze out water.
Mince garlic in a blender. Add bread and remaining soup ingredients (in batches if necessary); process until smooth. Cover; chill 2 hours or more, up to 24 hours.
Thin soup to desired consistency with ice water. Serve with garnishes.
Per Serving: Calories 90 (8% from fat); Fat 1g (0g saturated); Protein 4g; Carbohydrate 19g; Cholesterol 0mg; Iron 2mg; Sodium 527mg; Calcium 66mg