Hamilton Herald Masthead Hamilton Herald


Front Page - Friday, May 13, 2016

Fresh salads and easy dinners

Kay's Cooking Corner

Kay Bona

Spring and summer. My favorite two seasons. I love the many different greens of all the trees and grass, and the many different colors of flowers, whether they are growing wild along a path in the woods, laid out in a perfect pattern in a garden, or cut and in a vase, adding a beautiful touch to a room.

It is also a time for all of the fresh fruits and vegetables to come rolling in to the farmer’s market, which my son, my mom and I visited last week on opening day. Visiting a farmer’s market and seeing and smelling all of the fresh, colorful fruits and veggies makes me want to grab a little of everything and take it home to start cooking and canning. Boy, I am so glad that is just a passing fancy! All I can see is the work involved in all of that!

One vegetable that I love to munch on the most in the spring is fresh asparagus. I know that you can pretty much buy fresh asparagus year round, but getting it in the spring gives it a special “yum” factor!

My favorite way to fix asparagus is roasted. Preheat your oven to 425 F. Grab a few young, tender stalks of asparagus, then rinse and drain them. Sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, some sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Get a brown paper bag and lay it out on a cookie sheet. Place the asparagus inside. Quarter a lemon and place half of it in the bag on top of the asparagus. Fold bag closed. Bake about 8-12 minutes. Remove from oven and open slowly to release steam. Eat up! The aroma of it cooking is almost unbearable!

Another one of my favorite spring/summer dishes is chicken and vegetables baked in foil. I love to make this dish and stick it on the grill. However, if it is raining, oven baking is the next best method. I have the recipe below for you. It is quick and it’s easy clean up afterwards. It is a perfect dinner that kids love!

Our daughter, Amy, who lives in Colorado came to visit with us for a while last month. Amy and I love to cook with fresh fruits and vegetables. One night for dinner, I made a pasta dish and she made a wonderful salad and homemade dressing that I want to share with you. Enjoy!

Amy’s Salad

1 bag romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1/2 avocado, cut into chunks

1 apple, peeled and cut into chunks

Handful of pecan pieces

Prepare salad by combining all ingredients. Set aside.

Prepare dressing and pour over salad, or serve individually on the side.

Pomegranate Dijon Dressing

1 clove elephant garlic (regular garlic will do

  if there is no Elephant)

1 teaspoon Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard

1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon fruit vinegar such as plum, 

  raspberry or pomegranate vinegar, just not balsamic. 

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

8 tablespoons olive oil (or 5 tablespoons olive oil 

  and 3 tablespoons water to cut calories)

1/8 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoning salt

1 tablespoon dry parsley flakes

Blend all ingredients, except olive oil, together in food processor. Process until smooth. Continue to process and slowly add olive oil. Process until creamy.

Little Chicken Dinners In Foil 

1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen corn, thawed

1 pkg frozen peas, thawed

4 med. carrots, cut into 1-inch rounds

4 med. potatoes, pared

8 chicken drum sticks or 4 thighs

1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 envelope onion soup mix

salt and pepper to taste

Tear off 4 pieces heavy-duty aluminum foil, each about 18 x 15 inches. Place 1 carrot that has been cut into rounds, 1 potato cut into quarters, and 2 drum sticks (or one thigh) on center of each piece.

Stir together mushroom soup and onion soup mix; spoon soup mixture over drum sticks and top with peas. Salt and pepper to taste. Wrap securely in foil; place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 450 degree oven until tender, about 40-50 minutes, or place on grill over hot coals. Cover and bake 30-45 minutes. Serve hot. Be careful when opening foil as steam has built up during cooking.


Kay Bona is a staff writer for the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist and photographer. Contact her at kay@dailydata.com.