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Chef's Hat: Light, lively recipes for spring

We’ve had a taste of spring. Granted, the cooler temps this week are a bit of a step back, but the large mounds of snow are greatly diminished, the days are longer and when the sun shines you definitely feel like spring has arrived.

Since we’re past the below zero nights (and days for that matter) it’s time to forget about those heavy comfort foods for awhile. Salads may or may not be healthy; it depends on how much stuff and salad dressing you pour over the top. But they are definitely a change from heavy meats and potatoes.

My mom’s version of a salad was to chop up some iceberg lettuce, put on a couple pieces of tomatoes and pull out a bottle of French dressing. I have to admit when I was a kid I was not extremely fond of salads. But there is much more to a salad than a bit of lettuce, a piece of bland tomato and an overly sweet bottled dressing.

Salads can easily be adjusted to your family’s particular tastes. If you don’t like one ingredient, such as blue cheese, switch it to another type of cheese (cheddar, etc.) that you like. If you don’t want to take the time to mix up your own dressing, there are dozens of flavors (much more than the old French, Italian and Thousand Island of years ago) you can choose from at your local store.

So if you are trying to eat healthier or if you just want to try something different, give a salad a try. If you need a bit more for your meal, heat up a chunk of garlic bread or French bread to go along with your salad.

Before you chow down on a big Easter meal, lighten your meals with a spring salad.

Happy eating!