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Asparagus, lamb, rhubarb, and strawberries are signs of spring. The following "Good Food Good Health" recipes are suggestions for using them while they are plentiful and at the peak of quality during the spring.



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Asparagus, lamb, rhubarb, and strawberries are signs of spring. The following “Good Food Good Health” recipes are suggestions for using them while they are plentiful and at the peak of quality during the spring.

Spring Asparagus with Pasta

8 oz fresh or dried angel hair pasta Olive oil cooking spray 1 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup) 8 med asparagus, cut in ½-inch slices 1/2  cup frozen baby green peas 1 cup nonfat, reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth 12 cherry tomatoes, halved 1/2 cup (2 oz) crumbled feta cheese 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil 1/4  cup chopped fresh basil leaves 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions until tender but not mushy. Drain and transfer to a large, oven-proof bowl. Spray pasta generously with cooking spray and toss to blend in to keep pasta from sticking. Place bowl in oven at a low temperature (100 to 250 degrees) to keep warm.

Meanwhile, while pasta is cooking, spray a medium skillet generously with cooking spray. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Sauté onion 1 minute. Add asparagus and peas. Sauté until asparagus are bright green, about 2 minutes. Add broth and cook until asparagus is tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide pasta among 4 shallow soup bowls. Top with vegetables and their liquid. Sprinkle cheese over top. Drizzle olive oil over top, add basil and parsley for garnish and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 289 calories, 8 g total fat (3 g saturated fat), 44 g carbohydrate, 13 g protein, 5 g dietary fiber, 507 mg sodium.

Salmon with Rhubarb Sauce

1 Tbs unsalted butter, divided 1 small carrot, thinly sliced 1 small onion, finely chopped 2 rhubarb stalks, thinly sliced 1 large shallot, finely chopped 1/3  cup white wine or white wine vinegar 1 cup clam juice 12 oz salmon fillet, in one piece 1 lb fresh spinach, stemmed and washed

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Wrap salmon in foil and bake until cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon butter over medium-high heat until hot but still golden. Sauté carrot, onion, rhubarb, and shallot until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add wine or vinegar and boil until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add clam juice and simmer 15 minutes, until vegetables are very soft.

In a large pot, place spinach, with any water clinging to leaves. Cover and cook over medium heat until spinach is wilted and just tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover and set aside.

Transfer vegetable mixture to a blender and purée. Gradually blend remaining butter into sauce. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Gently squeeze most of water from spinach. Arrange a bed of it on each of four plates. Add one-fourth of salmon to each plate. Spoon one-fourth of sauce over each serving of fish. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 241 calories, 13 g total fat (4 g saturated fat), 9 g carbohydrate, 21 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 418 mg. sodium.

Greek Lamb with Orzo

1 lb boneless lamb shoulder, cut in 2-inch cubes 1 Tbs olive oil 1 med onion, chopped 5 carrots, cut in 1-inch pieces 1/4 cup nonfat, reduced-sodium chicken broth Juice of 1 lemon 1 tsp salt 1/2   tsp freshly ground pepper 1 cup orzo pasta 1/2  cup raisins 11/2  tsp dried sage 1 tsp dried mint* 1/4  cup chopped fresh mint, for garnish (optional)

Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb and brown, stirring frequently. If necessary to avoid crowding, do in 2 batches. Set meat aside.

Add oil to pan and heat until hot. Sauté onion and carrots until onion softens, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning.

Return meat to pan. Add broth, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Add 3 cups water. Simmer 30 minutes or until lamb is almost tender.

Add orzo, raisins, sage and mint. Simmer until lamb is tender and pasta is cooked, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Adjust seasonings to taste, garnish with mint and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

*You can use the mint from a tea bag if it is an herbal tea and not a blend of mint and regular tea leaves or other ingredients.

Per serving: 285 calories, 8 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 34 g carbohydrate, 20 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 495 mg sodium.

Strawberry Chutney

1/2  cup golden raisins 2 tsp fresh gingerroot, minced and peeled 1/3  cup firmly packed dark brown sugar 1/2  tsp curry powder 1/2  cup strawberry preserves 1 med navel orange, peeled and chopped

½ cup wine vinegar 1/2  cup fresh orange juice 4 cup whole strawberries, hulled and diced 1/2  cup sliced almonds

In a large, nonaluminum saucepan, combine all ingredients except strawberries and almonds and bring to a boil. Cook uncovered over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened and syrupy.

Add strawberries, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Remove mixture from heat and stir in almonds. Spoon chutney into serving bowl. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Makes about 21/2  cups of chutney, or 10 ¼-cup servings.

Per serving: 140 calories, 3 g total fat (less than 1 g saturated fat), 30 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 1 g dietary fiber, 14 mg sodium.

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