Enjoy essence of spring with grilled lamb, asparagus

There’s something about the combination of lamb, mint, asparagus and fresh fruit that evoke the essence of spring. This week we’re welcoming the season with recipes inspired by freshness, rebirth and renewal.

Enjoy a featured family meal of Grilled Lamb and Asparagus Pitas with Jicama Salad with Lime Juice and Mint and Strawberry Orange Cups.

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GRILLED LAMB AND ASPARAGUS PITAS

http://www.healthyeating.org/Healthy-Eating/Meals-Recipes/Browse-Search-Recipes/rid/69584/grilled-lamb-asparagus-pitas-with-tzatziki-sauce.aspx

Total preparation time: 15 to 30 minutes

Actual cooking time: Less than 15 minutes

Number of servings: 8

INGREDIENTS:

Tzatziki Sauce

1/2 cucumber peeled and chopped

1 cup yogurt, plain

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1/4 cup mint, chopped fresh

Pitas

4 pita pockets, cut in half

1 1/2 pounds lamb, cut into 2 inch cubes

2 bunches asparagus, ends trimmed

1/4 cup mint leaves, whole

2 tomatoes, cubed

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

PREPARATION:

Tzatziki Sauce

Purée all ingredients in a blender until almost smooth, about 1 minute. Chill until ready to assemble.

Pitas

Toss lamb cubes and asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Grill over a preheated grill until asparagus is tender and lamb cubes are cooked to a medium rare.

Cut asparagus into 2 inch pieces. Set aside.

Lightly grill both sides of the pita breads until heated through yet still soft. Wrap pitas in foil for a few minutes to steam.

Divide sandwich ingredients evenly among the 8 pita-halves. Drizzle with the Tsatiki sauce and serve immediately.

Source: California Asparagus Commission www.calasparagus.com

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JICAMA SALAD WITH LIME JUICE AND MINT

http://www.healthyeating.org/Healthy-Eating/Meals-Recipes/Browse-Search-Recipes/rid/60492/jicama-salad-with-lime-juice-and-mint.aspx

Total preparation time: Less than 15 minutes

Actual cooking time: No cooking required

Number of servings: 4

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium jicama (1 1-2 to 2 pounds), peeled and cut into half-inch cubes

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or 1 1-2 teaspoons ancho chili powder)

1/2 teaspoon salt

25 fresh mint leaves, cut into thin strips

2 tablespoons queso añejo (or feta cheese)

PREPARATION:

1. Combine jicama and oil in a bowl and toss well.

2. Add lime juice, chili powder and salt. Toss to coat.

3. Divide salad among 4 small bowls, then sprinkle each with 1/4 of mint and cheese right before serving.

Source: T Biby

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STRAWBERRY ORANGE CUPS

http://www.healthyeating.org/Healthy-Eating/Meals-Recipes/Browse-Search-Recipes/rid/12290/strawberry-orange-cups.aspx

Total preparation time: Less than 15 minutes

Actual cooking time: 2 hours

Number of servings: 6

INGREDIENTS:

1 pint basket California strawberries

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

2 tablespoons cool water

2 tablespoons boiling water

1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

1 1/2 cups fat-free milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

PREPARATION:

Wash the strawberries and remove the stems. Cut half of them into thin slices and place them in the bottom of six, 8 ounce custard cups, dividing equally. Soften the gelatin in the cool water for 5 minutes. Add the boiling water to the softened gelatin and stir until completely dissolved. Combine the orange juice concentrate, milk, vanilla and sugar and mix well. Stir in the dissolved gelatin and pour the mixture over the sliced strawberries in the custard cups. Place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, or until completely jelled. Halve the remaining strawberries; divide equally among cups. Garnish with additional whole strawberries if desired. Makes 6 servings

Cook’s Notes:

Source: California Strawberry Commission

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“Family Meals Matter” features registered dietitian-approved recipes with foods from all the food groups to reflect Dairy Council of California’s nutrition philosophy. For more information, nutrition tools and additional family meal recipes, visit healthyeating.org

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