It’s time to go to the lighter side

At this time of year we’re all looking for lighter meals from the heavier comfort foods of the winter. Spring is here and whether we like the flucuations in the weather or not, it’s time to prepare meals with a definite touch of the new season.

Both of today’s recipes reflect the change in the seasons. The first recipe is for healthy salmon cakes and is a perfect luncheon dish served with a side salad and a fresh roll. The pasta recipe is made light with lemon, dill and asparagus to bring a taste of spring to the taste buds. Enjoy.

Sweet Potato

Salmon Cakes

1 medium sweet potato

2 7.5 oz. cans low-sodium wild salmon, drained

1/2 cup minced celery

1/2 cup minced green onion

1 tbsp. minced dill pickle

1 tbsp. minced fresh dill

1 egg

1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs

2 tbsp.  olive oil

In microwave, cook sweet potato on high until tender, about 8 minutes. Let cool.

In bowl, combine salmon, celery, green onion, pickle, dill and egg, just until combined.

Peel skin from sweet potato. Place in bowl and mash with fork. Gently, stir into salmon mixture with breadcrumbs. Shape into 12 patties (about 1/2-inch thick).

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. of the oil over medium high heat. Cook salmon cakes in two batches, until golden, about 4 minutes on each side. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.

Serve with Yogurt Dip: In bowl, combine 1/2 cup low fat yogurt with 1/2 cup grated cucumber 1 tsp. mint, 1 tsp. lemon zest and 1 tsp. finely chopped dill. Makes 6 servings.

Lemon Chicken

and Pasta

1 (12-ounce) box farfalle pasta

1 pound fresh asparagus spears

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon dried dill

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth

1/4 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup heavy cream

1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen baby peas

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the asparagus into 1” pieces. While water is heating, cut chicken into 1” cubes. Toss with flour, salt, pepper and dill on a shallow plate.

In large saucepan, combine butter with olive oil and garlic; heat over medium-high heat. When garlic sizzles, add chicken mixture. Cook and stir until chicken is browned and almost cooked, 4-5 minutes.

After chicken has been in pan for a few minutes, add pasta to the boiling water. Cook pasta according to package directions. Add asparagus to pasta during the last 3 minutes of cooking time.

In small bowl, combine wine, chicken broth, lemon juice and cream and mix well. Add to chicken mixture and stir; bring to simmer; simmer for 3-4 minutes. When pasta and asparagus is cooked, drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta cooking water. Add peas to chicken mixture; cook and stir for 30 seconds. Add pasta and asparagus to pan with chicken; bring to a simmer. Stir until slightly thickened, adding pasta cooking water if necessary.

Top with lemon zest and serve. Serves 4-6.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime gardening columnist.