Meal Plan for April Week 4
Meal Plan for April Week 4

This month, Summer Miller is back, sharing her meal plans for April. Summer is a mom, a full-time food writer, and also helps test the fabulous recipes we bring you every week at Simply Recipes.

Each spring I tiptoe out to my garden to check the buds on our perennials and the blossoms on our apple trees, and to plant seeds for early-season vegetables. As an avid gardener, I want to spend these extra hours of daylight outside with my hands in the dirt.

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Nut-Free “Peanut Butter” Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sunflower Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Birthdays and holidays in the daycare classroom involve some culinary creativity. Most schools are nut-free these days, and a lot of our son’s friends also have egg allergies or gluten sensitivities.

So recently I decided to develop a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that everyone could eat.

My secret ingredient? Sunflower butter! It imparts a nutty flavor similar to peanut butter, but is much more allergy-friendly.

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How to Make Creamy Sunflower Seed Butter
Sunflower Seed Butter Recipe

Before we had our toddler son, I used to make a lot of homemade pantry staples. Yogurt? Check. Bread? Check. Nut butter? Check. These days, though, because time is tight, many of our homemade staples have been replaced with good store-bought versions.

But I’m still making my nut and seed butter! It’s so quick and simple—and I like that you can control exactly what’s in it.

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12 Easy Skillet Chicken Dinners
12 Skillet Chicken Dinners

There never seem to be enough chicken recipes, am I right?

Here, we’ve put together some of our favorites for your weeknight (or weekend!) inspiration. They all have an eye toward expedience and efficiency, and are easily made in one skillet.

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Moo Goo Gai Pan (Chinese Chicken and Mushroom Stir Fry)
Moo Goo Gai Pan Chicken

I spent most of my time in culinary school perpetually hungry (ironically). Like most college students, I was living on pennies and most of my meals came from our “Production 201” class—a course in which we prepared food for mass consumption.

On the rare occasion when I had a few bucks to spare, I would indulge in Chinese takeout. Moo Goo Gai Pan — Chinese Chicken and Mushroom Stir Fry — was my go-to meal.

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Mushroom Toast with Fried Egg
Mushrooms on toast with egg

All you have to say is “eggs and toast” and I’m on board.

Add a mound of sautéed mushrooms on top, and now the dish looks and tastes like something more elaborate. It’s just eggs and toast, but the mushrooms elevate it. Instead of an everyday breakfast, suddenly it’s a brunch dish, a quick supper, or part of a menu for guests.

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Meal Plan for April Week 3
Meal Plan for April Week 3

This month, Summer Miller is back, sharing her meal plans for April. Summer is a mom, a full-time food writer, and also helps test the fabulous recipes we bring you every week at Simply Recipes.

Here we are squarely in the latter half of April and ready to celebrate the best of spring.

We don’t think much about it anymore, but eggs are actually seasonal. Chickens are photosensitive, which means they lay more eggs as our days grow longer.

It’s also about this time of spring where cool nights followed by warm wet afternoons, and morel mushroom season begins.

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What’s in Season in April?
What's in Season in April, Seasonal Produce Guide

Welcome Spring, and welcome to month 4 of our Monthly Seasonal Produce Guides!

April is all about spring vegetables—asparagus and artichokes are at their peak, snap peas begin to make an appearance, as well as young carrots with their fern-like carrot tops, and fava beans. Spring garlic, spring onions, leeks and fennel are thriving, as are the first spring radishes.

Winter citrus are fading, and while we are seeing some early strawberries, the “fruit” of April isn’t really a fruit, but a vegetable that acts like one—rhubarb. Perfect for pies and cobblers.

What’s in season in April?

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Singapore Noodles with Shrimp
Singapore Rice Noodles Recipe

Ok, a disclaimer before we get started: The Pu Pu Platter in a Chinese restaurant isn’t something you would find in a restaurant in China. And Singapore noodles are unknown in Singapore.

My Singaporean friend was surprised when he noticed the item on a Chinese restaurant menu here in the United States, and couldn’t imagine where it was from.

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8 Best Asparagus Recipes to Make this Spring
Asparagus Recipes for Spring

One of the first green veggies to pop up in the spring is asparagus. Granted, we can buy it at the super market year round, but it really does taste sweetest in spring, when it’s in season.

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Firecracker Chicken
Firecracker chicken recipe

I’m not sure that you’ll find anything exactly like this Firecracker Chicken if you actually travel to China. No, this is definitely an Americanized version of Chinese stir-fry!

It’s common on some popular Chinese take-out menus—and with good reason, because it’s delicious.

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Freezer Breakfast Burritos with Sausage, Eggs and Salsa Verde
Frozen Breakfast Burrito Recipe

Without a doubt, weekday breakfasts can be one of the biggest meal struggles for busy families. Everybody wants to sleep an extra few minutes, but then you still have to get ready for the day and get out the door on time—plus find something to munch on at some point!

These freezer breakfast burritos, filled with sweet sausage, seasoned potatoes, cheese, scrambled eggs, and salsa verde, are my answer to this weekday struggle.

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Meal Plan for April Week 2
April Week 2 Meal Plan

This month, Summer Miller is back, sharing her meal plans for April. Summer is a mom, a full-time food writer, and also helps test the fabulous recipes we bring you every week at Simply Recipes.

Spring can be a fickle friend, especially where I live in Nebraska. One moment the sun is shining and my family has abandoned their boots for flip flops, and then next week it’s snowing and we cry a little inside.

The plus side of all of this is we can marry cozy, rich foods with spring fruits and vegetables. This week’s meal plan provides tasty dinners (and hope for spring), bringing you the best of both worlds regardless of the temperature outside.

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8 Recipes to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
8 Recipes to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

This post is brought to you in partnership with Mission Foods.

Whether you’re planning a day of Cinco de Mayo festivities surrounded by friends and family, or you’re just looking for a few good recipes to celebrate the holiday at home, here are some of our very favorite Mexican and Mexican-inspired recipes for your table.

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Pasta with Spinach, Artichokes and Ricotta
Lemon artichoke pasta with spinach

A quick pasta dinner makes weeknights go smoothly, whether you are rushing home from work or trying to feed the hungry hordes in a hurry.

This one combines frozen artichokes and spinach in a creamy ricotta sauce. It’s on the table in less under 30 minutes.

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Weeknight Chicken Ramen
Easy Ramen Noodle Soup with Chicken

A bowl of ramen is a bowl of comfort. Oodles of soft noodles immersed in a bowl of fragrant broth can send you into weeknight—or late night—heaven.

These kinds of meals don’t typically come without a lot of time and effort. However, with a few shortcuts, you can make a bowl of ramen any night of the week in under half an hour.

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Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fennel and Orange
Skillet Chicken with Fennel and Orange

Although this chicken with fennel and orange is great any time of the year, it’s especially welcoming toward the end of winter when you’re looking for something lighter to offset the heavier, stick-to-your-ribs dishes we tend to feast on during the colder months.

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Meal Plan for April Week 1
April Week 1 Meal Plan

This month, Summer Miller is back, sharing her meal plans for April. Summer is a mom, a full-time food writer, and also helps test the fabulous recipes we bring you every week at Simply Recipes.

Warmer temperatures bring with them a familiar ease to life – more daylight hours, fewer coat buttons to button and less headwear to adorn before flinging open the front door and stepping casually into the sunshine.

Spring comes around to remind us that being outside is a privilege and not a punishment.

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How to Cook Asparagus on the Stovetop
How to Boil Asparagus

Hello spring and hello asparagus! What’s your favorite way to cook asparagus?

I love them grilled, roasted, baked in to a frittata, or made into soup. But if I’m honest with you, the method I use most often to cook asparagus is to shallow boil them on the stovetop.

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Savory Dutch Baby Pancake with Salmon and Fried Egg
Puffy Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe with Whole Wheat Flour

My first food memory is of sitting on a kitchen countertop watching Anna, the young German woman who came to our house to help with cleaning and tidying, pull a puffy pancake out of the oven.

It was the biggest pancake I had ever seen. She slathered it with butter, sprinkled it with lemon, and doused it with a snowy shower of powdered sugar. I was fascinated.

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