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Monday, April 21 2008

Asparagus is a delicious vegetable, a meal side dish but in addition to being good tasting, asparagus is full of nutritional benefits that are good for you. Rich in folic acid, potassium, fiber and other vitamins, asparagus is a low calorie, fat-free food that is also low sodium and cholesterol free. With all of the bonuses that come with adding the vegetable to your recipes, there's no reason not to give asparagus a try.

When and how should you select and prepare fresh asparagus? Asparagus has a rather short growing season that goes from April to May. Although you can find asparagus year round, May is the month where you can find the best choice in produce markets. Make sure to look for stalks with closed, tight tips and bright green color from top to bottom of the stem. After bringing it home, store fresh asparagus in the refrigerator and use within 2 days. Preparation is simple. Holding the base of the stalk firmly, bend it and the end will break off at the tough part that isn't good eating. You can then either leave the asparagus stalks whole or cut into pieces or diagonally. To cook, heat to boiling in about half an inch of water in a large skillet. Reduce to medium and cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetable is tender crisp. This is just the basic method of cooking asparagus. Canned asparagus is also easily prepared in a variety of casseroles and other family recipes. There are many very wonderful recipes to try using asparagus; here are a few. Enjoy!

Cheesy Asparagus Casserole

2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
2 - 15 oz cans asparagus spears, drained
½ cup soft breadcrumbs

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Add soup and cheese; cook until cheese melts and mixture is smooth, stirring constantly. Layer half each egg slices, asparagus spears, and cheese sauce in a lightly greased 10x6x2 inch baking dish; repeat layers. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake at 325 F for 30 minutes. Serves 8.

Asparagus with Lemon Sauce

1 ½ lbs fresh asparagus spears
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup butter
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp cornstarch
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon rind

Snap off tough ends of asparagus. Cook, covered, in a small amount of boiling water until crisp but tender. Arrange in a serving dish. Combine egg, butter, sugar, and cornstarch in top of double boiler; bring water to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes or until thickened. Add lemon juice; cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour over asparagus and sprinkle with lemon rind. Serves 4.

Looking for ways to feed your family well and get out of the kitchen quickly? Find easy and delicious family recipes at 'Quick and Easy Family Recipes'

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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