Shiitake-Stuffed Butternut w/Quinoa StreuselButternut squash, I admit, is associated with wintry, oven-baked meals. But the “Shiitake-Stuffed Butternut with Quinoa Streusel,” from the May 2014 issue of Cooking Light, required no baking -- so I enjoyed a springtime meal after all. The recipe’s name sounds fussy, but it’s quite easy to assemble.

Microwave that halved squash, to tenderize it. Then, in a skillet, the heap of mushrooms and spinach does indeed reduce enough into a manageable amount to fill that single squash. Those shiitakes give a good, hearty bite to this filling.

Butter fat is used in the cereal-crumb topping (yeah!). The recipe asks for quinoa flakes, but I used corn flakes with great success. The crispy flakes were popular, of course. That’s the idea of a crunchy topping!

The recipe goes over the top, I think, by asking for a side of broccolini. It’s really “unnecessary” here, what with all that spinach in the squash stuffing.

Once you stuff your softened squash with the stuffing, and top it with your crunchiness, the dish is ready. No more cooking. That was easy, right?

Quick Veggie Soup w/Spring LettuceI’m thrilled that recipe writing has evolved to the level of tossing five cups of lettuce into a pot of stock and calling it “soup.” The “Quick Veggie Soup with Spring Lettuce,” from the May 2014 issue of Every Day With Rachael Ray, includes so much lettuce -- testing our thresholds, I suppose.

And that’s not all. Leeks, potatoes, carrots, and peas are swimming in this soup party too. Tarragon, even, with its licorice perfume.

Make sure to add more than 2 tsp. kosher salt to this big soup pot. The lemon juice is just right. As you sit before this soup bowl, you’ll think, “Wow. It’s spring. Isn’t it?

PRICES:
Butternut Squash (2 lbs.) = $3.06
Shiitake Mushrooms (12 oz.) = $7.74
Limes (2) = $1.39
Leeks (2) = $4.85
Yukon Gold Potatoes (2) = $1.70
Carrots (2) = .77¢
Spring Lettuce (5 cups) = $6.66
Lemon (1) = .39¢

PREP TIMES: squash assembly needs 30 minutes or so; soup needs the same
TASTES:
hearty shiitakes fill the squash along with spinach, while crunchy cereal flakes top it; soup = lettuce + lettuce + lettuce + tarragon perfume

Next time, I’ll allow myself to get distracted by a cute cookie. I’ll make the “Vanilla Sugar Cookies with Sprinkles,” from Julia’s Album. (Disclosure: my nine-year-old child hand-picked this recipe.) Come back to my site next week, to witness the delights.