These menu planning ideas for spring will jump start your appetite. And with produce-heavy recipes, they're great for your budget too. Build your menu of off vegetables that are in season, so you're meals are sure to be packed with flavor.
As much as I love hearty dishes in winter, sometimes I crave something a bit more suited to warm weather. I grew up eating flank steak, and it has a special place in my heart. While my mom always marinated and baked this cut of meat in the oven, I'm a little less patient and find that the stovetop works just as well (only second to the grill).
I've been enjoying snowy days snuggled up at home more than almost anything. Watching the snow fall while a good meal is simmering away may be my favorite thing in the entire world. Enter bone broth. Aside from the health benefits of bone broth (especially when veggies are involved) this recipe is absolutely delicious. The umami is on point and it is oh-so filling.
We live just a mile from a local butcher, so when I need bones, that's where I look first. The owner recommended I do a mixture of beef bone and pigs foot and ohhhhh man was it a good combination. This recipe is veggie heavy and yields a deliciously flavorful and complex broth.
1 leek, cleaned and halved
1 white onion, halved
8 cloves garlic
6 dried shitake mushrooms
parmesan rind (optional)
3 carrots, cut into 3 chunks
3 celery stalks, halved
1/2 bunch parsley
1" ginger, sliced
2T chopped parsley
salt + pepper
- Place all in ingredients *except for parsley* in slow cooker. Cover with water and let simmer on low for 18-24 hours. Add in parsley for last 2 hours.
- Strain broth into a large bowl, reserving beef bone for future use. and separating out onion, mushroom, garlic cloves and carrots.
- once slightly cooled, place broth in high powered blender with reserved veggies. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper as needed and top with chopped fresh parsley before serving.
New Years Eve is right around the corner, and there is no better way to celebrate than with a new kind of bubbly. While sparkling like champagne, Prosecco is specifically produced in Italy, with fruit forward notes and a sweeter flavor profile. It’s perfect for dressing up with slices of fresh fruit, a few drops of liqueur, flavored simple syrup or with a sweet sugar rim. The possibilities are endless. Want to go alcohol free? We have a bright citrus mocktail that’s perfect for the occasion.
Prosecco Bar Tips
I used raspberries and lemon slices, but you can really use anything! Sliced strawberries, fresh pineapple and blueberries are all great options.
Frozen Green Grapes
Frozen grapes are a great way to keep drinks cold without the risk of watering it down as guests chat it up at your party.
I used a berry liqueur which added a lovely amount of color to the prosecco, but you could add in an herbal or other fruit liquor to provide options.
Flavored Simple Syrup
Mint or Orange (recipes below) are great base for salting the rim of a glass, or adding a little touch of flavor to your drink.
have an area where guests can sugar the rim of their glass, or go the extra mile and do it beforehand. You can use flavored simple syrups or lemon juice as the base.
Mint, rosemary, or thyme are a great addition to a glass to engage all of your senses and add just a touch of flavor.
Orange, lemonade, cranberry, pomegranate, you name it. Prosecco’s bright and sparkling nature lends itself perfectly to mixing with fruit juice.
4oz Sprouts Limoncello Mocktail
1.5oz Orange Simple Syrup (recipe below)
Sprig of Mint
Splash of Club Soda
- Combine Limoncello Mocktail and simple syrup and stir well.
- Add ice, sprig of mint, and float a bit of club soda on top.
These twists on the classic simple syrup are bright, delicious and perfect for loads of other cocktails.
Orange Simple Syrup
scant cup sugar
juice from one orange
zest from ½ orange peel
- Combine water and sugar, orange juice and zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and stir until all of the sugar has dissolved.
- Chill in the fridge until ready to use.
Mint Simple Syrup
scant cup sugar
handful of fresh mint
- Combine water and sugar, and mint in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and stir until all all of the sugar has dissolved. Reduce to low and let simmer gently for 5 minutes longer.
- Strain out mint and chill in the fridge until ready to use.
I partnered up with Arrowroot Clothing and Go Rings earlier this fall for some autumnal treats. It was one of my first shoots in our new house and I'm loving all of the space in our back yard, especially in the afternoon light. We spent the afternoon making toddys, planting succulents, and enjoying stew and sourdough. I've never been a huge fan of stew; meat seems to be tough and veggies too soggy. But this recipe turned all of my preconceived notions about stew upside down. You have got to try this recipe.
This is my favorite drink in colder weather. As soon as it hits my lips it makes me want to curl up with a good book.
4 oz boiling hot water
1 lemon wedge
drop of vanilla
- Combine hot water bourbon and juice from one lemon wedge. Add 1t honey, a drop of vanilla and stir until combined.
This recipe from Canadian Living has become a staple.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1.5 kg boneless beef blade roast cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm cubes)
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 ribs celery diced
1 onion diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
450 g mini white potatoes scrubbed and quartered
3 large carrots cut in 1 1/2-inch thick (4 cm) chunks (halve bigger pieces)
10 sprigs fresh thyme
6 sprigs fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
3 cups sodium-reduced beef broth
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cups pickled cocktail onions drained and rinsed
3/4 cups frozen peas
- In large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and pepper; toss with beef to coat.
- In large Dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp of the butter and the oil over medium heat; working in small batches, cook beef, stirring, until browned, about 20 minutes total. Using slotted spoon, remove to bowl; set aside.
- Add remaining butter to Dutch oven; cook celery and onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits, for 2 minutes.
- Return beef and any juices to Dutch oven. Add potatoes, carrots, thyme, parsley and bay leaves. Stir in broth and Worcestershire sauce; bring to boil, stirring occasionally to loosen any remaining browned bits from bottom.
- Cover and braise in 350 F (180 C) oven for 45 minutes. Stir in cocktail onions; cover and braise for 15 minutes. Uncover and cook until vegetables are tender and beef offers no resistance when pierced with tip of knife, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in peas; cook for 5 minutes.
- Skim any fat from surface of stew; remove thyme, parsley and bay leaves. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
As the weather is getting colder and colder, and since we are back from our "long days-short nights" trip to the southern hemisphere, I'm craving warm and hearty dishes. Squash adds the seasonal flavor I crave to this recipe, while the fresh veggies and broth sauce keep the pasta light and fresh.
The next time you make a pasta recipe, especially a casserole or one pot dish, consider using broth, cream or wine to cook your pasta instead of just water. The addition of Organic Sprouts Chicken Broth boosts the flavor of the pasta to be deliciously savory and rich.
Creamy Baked Pasta
This is the perfect make ahead dinner and will easily last you all week.
1lb hot italian sausage
2c butternut squash, skin removed and diced into ¼” cubes
10 asparagus stalks, cut into 1” pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
½t red pepper flakes
1c sliced mushrooms
1 anchovy, minced (optional)
1c heavy cream
1c Sprouts Organic Chicken Broth
½ lemon, juiced
½c grated romano cheese
½c grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Line a baking dish with foil. Place diced butternut squash on dish and coat lightly with olive oil. Bake 15 minutes, or until just fork tender.
- While squash is baking, brown sausage in a heavy skillet over medium heat until slightly crispy. Set aside.
- When water is boiling, add pasta and cook for 5 minutes. Drain pasta and place back in warm pot.
- Add diced butternut squash, asparagus, chopped onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, mushrooms, and anchovy to pasta. Mix well and pour mixture into a baking dish.
- Pour heavy cream, broth, and lemon juice over pasta, give it a good stir and top with italian sausauge and cheese.
- Cover with foil or lid and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
- Uncover and broil until cheese is brown and bubbly.
- Remove from oven and let sit, lightly covered for 2-3 minutes before serving.
If you're new to the pastry or bread making process, Tartine Bread is a great place to start. Chad Robertson walks you through history, technique, and generally makes you want to bake! So when Amy and I wanted to dive into croissant making, we headed there for his step by step instructions. I had made croissants through an online recipe before, but it called for active dry yeast, and I wanted to put my starter to work. But as we walked through the recipe, there were a few things that complicated the process, so if you ever want to make your own, these tips may help.
The croissant recipe in his book calls for a combination of natural levain, poolish, and a bit of active dry yeast. Poolish is a combination of active dry yeast, flour and water that is left to ferment overnight, leaving you with a mixture that is similar to that of a natural levain, but less acidic and "sour." This is where the first thing went awry.
Adjust Your Poolish
Both times that I've used Robertson's recipe for poolish (one other time for Brioche), it hasn't yielded as much of the mixture as the dough recipe calls for. You're instructed to add 200g of flour, 200g water, and 3g active dry yeast for the poolish and then let it rise 3-4 hours, or overnight in the fridge. His croissant recipe calls for 400g of poolish, but both times I've used his proportions, it has yielded no more than 350g of poolish. This means I don't have as much of a leavening agent in my dough.
Perhaps the Denver air, or the humidity or temp of my fridge is causing this, but regardless, the next time a recipe calls for poolish, I'm going increase the quantities by 25% to make sure it produces enough. In the end, we used a little extra natural levain to compensate. I wonder if this affected our rise or flavor?
When it came to mixing our dough, we ran into another small problem.
Utilize Your Stand Mixer
Chad suggests mixing your dough in a bowl by hand, but we ran into difficulty reaching a smooth consistency with this method. Both of us encountered massive clumps here and there that were difficult to incorporate. While you must be careful not to overwork the dough, using a stand mixer (as his wife does for her own recipe in the Tartine pastry book) yields a much smoother dough. Keep an eye on it, and turn off your machine as soon as you get a fully mixed and smooth dough. I'm all for mixing with my hands, but for this recipe it was more trouble than it was worth.
But rolling out the butter was where I had the most trouble.
Ziplocs To The Rescue
For a seasoned baker in a commercial kitchen, Robertson's instructions for molding butter into the perfect shape and consistency works. For us less experienced home cooks, things are a little different. Chad's instructions calls for beating and rolling flour into butter until the consistency is on par with the dough and measures to be an 8"x12" rectangle. By the time all of my flour was incorporated and my rectangle started to actually take shape, my butter had begun to melt to room temperature. For croissants, this is a disaster. Your butter and dough *must* be the same cool temp for lamination to work. I moved my sloppy mess to the fridge for 30 minutes and was then able to correct my mistake, but there is an easier way:
Grab a gallon ziplock bag.
Next time I'll be ditching the flour and rolling my butter out in a ziploc out until it is a perfect rectangle. HALLELUJAH. If it gets a little warm (which I doubt because this method makes it a much quicker process), chill the butter for about 30 minutes in the fridge. Then simply cut the bag off of the butter using kitchen shears. So. Much. Easier.
These three mall snafus aside, the recipe yielded gorgeous pastries that were flaky and buttery with that perfect gooey soft center. I'm in love.
Continue reading for more tips
Have a ruler close by so you can quickly measure your dough and butter. It makes everything a lot easier to actually hit the measurements that are called for.
When rolling your dough during each turn, make indentions with your rolling pin. This helps stretch and roll the dough a lot faster than just rolling alone.
Using a rolling pizza cutter the easiest way to get straight lines in your dough when shaping your croissants.
Don't let any dough go to waste: make some minis if you have a little extra dough. Just be sure to give them a little less bake time.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! It's going to be pretty chill for us this year, so if you're in need of a quick recipe for adult entertaining tonight, this is perfect for a crowd and outdoor night.
I Bottle Merlot or Cabernet
2c sprouts apple juice or cider
2 medium oranges
juice from one lemon + 1tsp. zest
10 whole cloves
10 cardamom pods
4 cinnamon sticks + more for garnishing
1 whole nutmeg
- Press 10 cloves into one of the oranges. Juice remaining orange and one lemon, zesting 1tsp of the rind and set aside.
- Break up cinnamon into 2 inch pieces. Wrap cinnamon, cardamom pods & nutmeg in cheese cloth.
- Combine wine, Sprouts apple juice, whole orange with inserted cloves, orange juice, lemon juice, and lemon zest into a pot. Twist up your spices in cheesecloth, and submerge lightly into the mixture, using the pot’s lid to secure the spices in place. Alternately you can tie up the spices with twine and throw the whole thing in.
- Bring to a light boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Let cool slightly and remove spice bag and whole orange.
- Serve with additional cinnamon stick and orange peel if desired.