Fix Up a Flavorful Spring Table

May 3, 2019

( Family Features ) Finding the perfect recipe to share with loved ones can prove to be a year-round challenge. These tasty dishes that include a flatbread appetizer, shrimp main dish and a favorite seasonal dessert made with strawberries can help you serve up a meal perfect for any spring gathering.

Visit Culinary.net for more tips and recipes to make your springtime gatherings as nutritious as they are delicious.

Hearty and Flavorful

Make your meal a hearty, tasty one by starting it off with this recipe for Herbed Veggie Focaccia Bread, a pizza-esque flatbread that’s a delicious alternative to all-too-common unhealthy appetizers. Topped with mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, olives and onion, this delightful small plate packs a nutritious load of veggies. Find more nutritious recipes at AICR.org.

Herbed Veggie Focaccia Bread

Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research

Servings: 12


1 cup whole-wheat flour1 cup all-purpose flour, divided1 package (1/4 ounce) quick-rise yeast1 teaspoon salt1 cup warm water, 125-130° F1 tablespoon canola oil


7 medium fresh mushrooms, sliced3 plum tomatoes, chopped1 small green bell pepper, slivered1/2 cup sliced black olives1/4 cup chopped red onion2 tablespoons olive oil2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar1/2 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper1/4 teaspoon dried oregano1/4 teaspoon thyme1/4 teaspoon basil1/4 teaspoon garlic powdernonstick cooking spray2 teaspoons cornmeal

Heat oven to 475° F.

To make dough: In mixing bowl, combine whole-wheat flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, yeast and salt. Add water and oil. Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining all-purpose flour to form soft dough. Place onto floured surface and knead by hand until consistent and elastic, about 4 minutes. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.To make topping: In bowl, combine mushrooms, tomatoes, green bell pepper, olives, onion, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, basil and garlic powder.Coat 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Gently press dough into pan. With fork, generously prick dough.Bake 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cover dough with topping mixture. Bake additional 10 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.

Fast, Flavorful Fish Dinner

If warm spring weather has you in the mood for a simple fish dinner, look to your humble sheet pan. Follow these simple tips from Dr. Wendy Bazilian, McCormick Health Advisor and Registered Dietitian, to enjoy tasty seafood recipes you’ll want to make all year long.

Sheet pans are perfect for simple fish dinners because they require minimal cleanup and everything is baked on one pan.While lemon is a great complement to seafood, think about pairing with other citrus flavors like orange and lime. Try marinating shrimp in a mixture of lite coconut milk, lime extract, ginger and red pepper.Add colorful vegetables like zoodles or asparagus to your sheet pan to boost both seafood and vegetable servings. You don’t need a spiralizer to make zoodles because many grocery stores offer pre-made zoodles in the produce section.

Explore more recipes to enjoy during spring and beyond at McCormick.com, or look for McCormick Spice on Facebook and Pinterest.

Coconut Lime Shrimp with Zoodles

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4

1/4 cup Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk (regular or lite)1 teaspoon McCormick Ground Ginger1/2 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder1/4 teaspoon McCormick Crushed Red Pepper1/4 teaspoon McCormick Pure Lime Extract1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined1 small zucchini, cut into thin noodles with spiralizer1 medium yellow squash, cut into thin noodles with spiralizer1 medium carrot, cut into thin noodles with spiralizer2 tablespoons oil1/2 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon McCormick Ground Black Pepper

Heat oven to 375° F.In large, re-sealable plastic bag, mix together coconut milk, ginger, garlic powder, crushed red pepper and lime extract. Add shrimp; turn to coat well.Refrigerate 15-30 minutes. Remove shrimp from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. In center of large, shallow, foil-lined baking pan, arrange shrimp in single layer.In large bowl, toss vegetable noodles and oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat well. Spread noodles around shrimp in pan.Bake 10-15 minutes, or until shrimp turn pink and are cooked through and noodles are tender. Serve shrimp over vegetable noodles.Test kitchen tip: For faster prep, use 4 cups store-bought spiralized vegetable noodles instead of spiralizing them yourself.

Dessert Makeover

Strawberries are a seasonal favorite. Indulge by skipping the shortcake and whipping up this lower-calorie dessert for more flavor and less guilt. A whole-wheat crust layered with simple, low-fat ingredients and topped with fresh strawberries provides a tasty springtime treat. Find more good-for-you recipes at AICR.org.

Strawberry and Cheese Refrigerator Pie

Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research

Servings: 8

1 prepared whole-wheat graham cracker pie crust (9 inches)4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream2 tablespoons extra-fine sugar1 teaspoon grated lemon zest1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract1 pound strawberries1/2 cup strawberry fruit spread1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)

Heat oven to 350° F.Place crust on baking sheet and bake 8 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.Place cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla in small bowl. Using hand mixer on medium speed or wooden spoon, blend until combined and smooth. Spread cheese mixture evenly over bottom of pie crust. Refrigerate until set, 1-2 hours.Before serving, cut off tops of strawberries. Halve largest ones and place in bowl. Cut remaining berries lengthwise in quarters and place in another bowl. Melt fruit spread in bowl in microwave or in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Mix in lemon juice, if using, and divide hot fruit spread between two bowls of berries. Using fork, toss until fruit is coated.Spoon quartered fruit into center of pie, turning most pieces cut-side down. Arrange larger halves in circle around edge of pie with flat side facing rim of crust and pointing toward center of pie. Fill open spaces with any remaining fruit spread.Serve pie within 1 hour.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Herbed Veggie Focaccia Bread)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Strawberry and Cheese Refrigerator Pie)