Whether you have lots of time to prep or just an hour, these mix-and-match recipes are easy to pull off and taste amazing.
Fast • Chocolate-Macaroon Tart
Direction • Press 10 ounces of coconut macaroon cookies into a greased 9-inch pie plate, then pour 1 cup boiling heavy cream over 1 pound finely chopped semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate in a heat-proof bowl; stir until smooth. Pour mixture into crust, chill six hours and top with raspberries and slivered orange peel. Serves 12.
Fast • Curried Carrot Soup
Directions • In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves, 1/4 teaspoon curry powder and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. (Makes 1/2 cup.) Divide 2 quarts warmed store-bought carrot soup among eight bowls. Swirl 1 tablespoon yogurt mixture into each bowl. Serves eight.
Fancy • Asparagus With Eggs Mimosa
Ingredients • 3 large eggs; 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed;1 lemon; 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar; 1 tablespoon snipped chives; and 1/4 teaspoon sugar.
Directions • In a 2-quart saucepan, combine eggs and enough cold water to cover. Heat to boiling. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 14 minutes. Rinse eggs with cold water until cool, then peel. Eggs may be hard-cooked and refrigerated up to three days ahead. Cook asparagus by arranging in even layer in a microwave-safe 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish. Add 1/4 cup water. Cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave on high five minutes. Asparagus may be cooked, cooled and refrigerated in an airtight container up to two days. Grate 1/4 teaspoon lemon peel; set aside. Squeeze 1 tablespoon lemon juice into small bowl. To bowl with lemon juice, add oil, vinegar, chives, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper; whisk to combine. To serve, arrange asparagus on serving platter. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Coarsely grate eggs over asparagus and garnish with reserved lemon peel. Makes 8 side-dish servings.
Fast • Warm Red-Potato Salad
Directions • In a 4-quart saucepan, combine 1 ½ pounds red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks; 2 teaspoons salt; and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Cover; heat to boiling on high. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer, partially covered, 14 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain well. In a large serving bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Gently toss cooked potatoes with vinaigrette. Fold in five radishes, sliced into half-moons, and two green onions, sliced. Serves 8.
Fast • Lemon Julep
Directions • In a large pitcher, combine 2 cups fresh mint leaves and 2 lemons, sliced. With the handle end of a wooden spoon, mash mint and lemons. Stir in 6 cups lemonade and 1 cup bourbon (optional). Serve over crushed ice and garnish with mint. Makes about 9 cups.