Ring in spring with an easy dinner menu


POSTED: Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring officially begins Friday, so we're sharing ideas for a simple springtime dinner. These recipes are personal favorites, first shared at potluck parties, and have since won a place in our “;never fails to please”; files.

The buttery toasted almonds in our spinach salad make it extra tasty — it's worth the added effort. Have the kids help prepare Chicken Pot Pies — they'll have fun tearing apart the crescent rolls to make the “;crust.”; To save time, use a supermarket roasted chicken.

The bundt cake, easy to prepare and deliciously moist, is sure to become a favorite, too!


Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries

1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup blanched, slivered almonds
2 pounds fresh spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 pound bacon, chopped and fried until crisp
3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
» Dressing:
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon minced onion
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a small skillet, melt butter. Saute almonds until lightly toasted; let cool.

In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients.

Just before serving, toss spinach with dressing. Top with almonds, cranberries, bacon and eggs. Serves 6.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 620 calories, 38 g total fat, 6 g saturated fat, 135 mg cholesterol, 450 mg sodium, 61 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 45 g sugar, 16 g protein.


Chicken Pot Pie

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil
2 cans (10 ounces each) cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 package (10 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables
Cooking spray or parchment paper
2 cans (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
8 ounces (about 2 cups) shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in skillet and saute chicken until browned. Add soup, milk and frozen vegetables; cook until heated through.

Spray baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Separate crescent-roll dough into rectangles. Place 4 rectangles in prepared pan. Top each rectangle with 1/2 cup chicken mixture and 1/2 cup cheese. Place remaining dough over cheese.

Bake 11 to 13 minutes, until golden brown. Top with extra chicken filling. Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving (not including salt to taste): 1,050 calories, 58 g total fat, 22 g saturated fat, 150 mg cholesterol, greater than 2,000 mg sodium, 67 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 58 g protein.


Easy and Moist Bundt Cake

2-1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup yogurt OR 1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon grated lemon OR orange zest
» Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon or orange juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan.

Sift flour with salt and baking soda.

In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar, vanilla, eggs, yogurt and lemon zest. Stir in flour mixture; mix well. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 60 to 65 minutes. Cool slightly and invert onto serving plate.

To make glaze: Mix sugar and juice. Drizzle glaze evenly over cake. Serves 10.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 500 calories, 21 g total fat, 13 g saturated fat, 120 mg cholesterol, 350 mg sodium, 75 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 53 g sugar, 6 g protein.


For more local-style recipes from Hawaiian Electric Co.'s collection visit www.heco.com.