Hosting a dinner party can be a lot of fun, especially in the spring. People are ready, at this time of the year, to get out of their homes after a long fall and winter, especially if you live in the colder, wetter climates. You will have the chance to get together with friends and family for some fellowship and great food. You will also get to use your creativity when putting the menu together. One thing that is good to remember about springtime is that many people are recommitting to getting in better shape in preparation for the summer season. The following are three healthy menu plans that will be great for your spring dinner party.
Menu #1-Hawaiian Chicken Breast, Brown Rice and Chard Salad, Steamed Baby Carrots
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 cups teriyaki sauce, divided
6 pineapple rings
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Place the chicken breast halves in a dish with the 1 1/2 cups of teriyaki sauce. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Preheat a grill for high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate. Place chicken breasts on grill, and discard marinade. Cook for 8 minutes per side, or until juices run clear. Brush with the remaining teriyaki sauce during the last 5 minutes. When almost done, place one pineapple ring on top of each breast, and brush with melted butter. In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix the brown sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Serve with chicken for dipping!
Brown Rice and Chard Salad
2 cups brown rice
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 head of chard, leaves chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
Prepare brown rice as directed on package. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well and chill for one to two hours prior to serving.
Menu #2-Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce, Caesar Salad
2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup white wine
In a food processor place Italian tomatoes, tomato paste, chopped parsley, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. In a large skillet over medium heat saute the finely chopped onion in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the blended tomato sauce and white wine. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Menu #3-Poached Salmon, Roasted Baby Red Potatoes, Steamed Asparagus
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped carrots
1/3 cup chopped celery
4 cups water
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste
3 pounds salmon steak
In a large skillet, heat the butter and saute the onions, carrots, and celery for 5 minutes. Add the water, wine, and salt and pepper to the skillet. Let the mixture simmer for 5 additional minutes. Wrap the salmon in cheesecloth and place it in the boiling liquid. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently for about 15 minutes (5 minutes per pound in case you bought a larger salmon steak). Remove salmon from the skillet carefully, unwrap and serve hot.
Roasted Baby Red Potatoes
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, onion and garlic; toss to combine. Add the thyme, rosemary and nutmeg; toss well. Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until potatoes are hot. Transfer to a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are golden and almost tender. Add the vinegar, salt and pepper; toss well. Bake 5-8 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.
Spring dinner parties are fun and festive events. If you are planning a spring dinner party, keep your focus on fresh and healthy foods for you and your guests to enjoy. This will get the warmer season off to a great start!