Spring is also a time for lighter dishes that include a fresh helping of vegetables. This sampling of quick and healthy dishes is from allrecipes.com.



Quick Fish Tacos

1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

2 Tbsp. lime juice

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salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 jalapeno pepper, halved lengthwise

2-1/2 cups shredded red cabbage

4 green onions, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. tilapia fillets, cut into strips

8 (6-inch) flour tortillas

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Mix sour cream and lime juice together in a large bowl; season with salt and black pepper. Reserve about half the mixture in another bowl for serving. Mince half the jalapeno pepper, saving the other half for later. Toss cabbage, green onions, and minced jalapeno half in remaining sour cream mixture until slaw is well mixed.

Heat olive oil and remaining jalapeno half in a large skillet over medium heat; swirl oil to coat skillet evenly. Season tilapia fillets with salt and pepper. Pan-fry fish strips in the skillet in 2 batches until the fish is golden brown and easily flaked with a fork, 5 to 6 minutes. Discard jalapeno half.

Heat tortillas in the microwave on high until warm, 20 to 30 seconds. Serve fish in warmed tortillas topped with cabbage slaw, reserved sour cream mixture, and cilantro.



Penne Pasta with Chicken and Asparagus

16-oz. package dried penne pasta

5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into cubes

salt and pepper to taste

garlic powder to taste

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 bunch slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

Warm 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in chicken, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook until chicken is cooked through and browned, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken to paper towels.

Pour chicken broth into the skillet. Then stir in asparagus, garlic, and a pinch more garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cover, and steam until the asparagus is just tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Return chicken to the skillet, and warm through.

Stir chicken mixture into pasta, and mix well. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, stir again, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.



Garbanzo Bean Stir Fry

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

1 clove garlic, crushed

ground black pepper to taste

15-oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 large zucchini, halved and sliced

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

1 tomato, chopped

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in oregano, basil, garlic, and pepper. Add the garbanzo beans and zucchini, stirring well to coat with oil and herbs. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in mushrooms and cilantro, and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Place the chopped tomato on top of the mixture. Cover, and let the tomatoes steam for a few minutes, but don't let them get mushy. Serve immediately.



Pesto Pizza

12-inch pre-baked pizza crust

1/2 cup pesto

1 ripe tomato, chopped

1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped

2-oz. can chopped black olives, drained

1/2 small red onion, chopped

4-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread pesto on pizza crust. Top with tomatoes, bell peppers, olives, red onions, artichoke hearts and feta cheese. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and browned.

Readers are invited to submit four to five of their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to lskarpness@parkrapidsenterprise.com and they may appear in a future issue.