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Throw a Simple Spring Dinner Party

10 tips for fun and stress-free entertaining

Creamy Spring Chicken Stew
Serves 6 to 8

Offering all the comfort of winter and all the vibrancy and beauty of spring, this stew is perfect for March and April. The colors are marvelous: orange carrots, pale green leeks, along with purple, red and yellow multicolored new potatoes. The oven roasting doesn’t diminish their beauty. The finished dish is equally beautiful.

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into large pieces
  • 1 bunch leeks (about 4 medium), trimmed of dark green parts and root, light green and white part quartered lengthwise, cut into 1-inch lengths and washed thoroughl
  • 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, your choice (red, yellow, purple, or a mix of all 3), halved
  • 1/2 pound carrots peeled and cut into medium chunks
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, quartered if large, halved if small
  • 4 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup cream heavy cream

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix chicken, leeks, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, olive oil, tarragon and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper in a large heavy-duty roasting pan. Set pan in oven and roast until cooked through and juices have released, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and set pan over two burners at medium-low heat. Stir in enough chicken broth to moisten; simmer to blend flavors and thicken slightly, a couple of minutes. Stir in cream; continue to simmer to heat through. Serve!

Roasted Pineapple With Ice Cream and Natural Caramel Sauce
Serves 6
If you like, sprinkle this ice cream-topped pineapple with optional roasted chopped pistachio nuts or toasted coconut. To toast coconut, spread 1 cup of sweetened, flaked coconut in a 9-inch baking pan. Bake in a 300-degree oven, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 pineapple
  • 1 1/2 pints premium vanilla ice cream

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter in a 13x9-inch baking pan in preheating oven.

Meanwhile, twist off pineapple top and slice off top and bottom. Remove skin, cutting deep enough to remove pineapple eyes. Cut pineapple into 6 thick rounds, removing the core from each with an apple corer or small biscuit cutter.

Sprinkle brown sugar over butter, then place pineapple over sugar. Bake until tender, 45 minutes. Turn fruit over, baste with pan sauce; set pan on bottom oven rack and continue to bake until fruit is golden brown and juices are sauce consistency, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Place a piece of pineapple into each of 6 serving bowls, top with a dollop of ice cream, drizzle with caramel pan sauce and serve.

Also of interest: Healthy hors d'oeuvres and appetizers.

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