By Karin Calloway

Karin Calloway is a working mom living in Augusta, Ga., with multiple freelance jobs and a ton of dirty dishes.

Spring Sensations

There's a nesting instinct that comes upon most of us each spring, leading us to reorganize our closets, spruce up our front yards and entertain in our homes. When the urge to entertain hits you this season, invite friends over for a delicious meal in which supermarket shortcuts net gourmet appeal.

A chilled soup is a nice change of pace from winter's hearty stews and chowders, and our Chilled Soup Chartreuse is a great way to start your spring meal. Bagged fresh spinach and other already prepared vegetables from the produce department really decrease preparation time. A trip to the bakery for some pizza or bread dough gets you on your way to delicious Onion-Herb Spirals to serve alongside the soup.

Racks of lamb are a fitting spring main course, and ours can be partially prepared ahead of time. Just pop them into a hot oven to finish roasting while you make a quick sauté of Pancetta-Seared Green Beans. Lemon-Chive Mashed Potatoes or Boursin Mashed Potatoes (see the recipe on this site) would be nice additions to the menu.

Our dessert looks spectacular but is a snap to prepare. Supermarket carrot cake mix becomes individual carrot cakes to serve with super-easy homemade Cheesecake Ice Creams. A drizzle of homemade Praline Sauce takes these desserts over the top.


Recipes:

Shrimp Remoulade
Pink, fresh shrimp and crunchy celery sauced with a creamy dressing.  Shrimp Remoulade is as simple as tossing together these ingredients and the resulting dish is as versatile as it is delicious.
Chilled Soup Chartreuse
If you’re tired of salads as your dinner party first course, think chilled soup. Since the soup must be made ahead in order to chill completely, it frees you up at dinner time to attend to other details and enjoy your guests.
Individual Carrot Cakes with Cream Cheese Ice Cream and Praline Sauce
If you love restaurant desserts, with their multiple components, you needn’t think they’re beyond your grasp at home. With a few simple shortcuts and a few restaurant tricks you can create beautifully plated, delicious desserts at home.
Mustard-Coated Racks of Lamb
Cooking rack of lamb is very simple, allowing you gourmet appeal without a lot of work. And, the lamb can be prepared almost completely in advance and then finished in the oven just before serving.
Onion-Herb Sprials
Homemade rolls are a treat, but no one will guess how easy these Onion-Herb Spirals were to prepare. The secret? Pizza or bread dough from the bakery or a frozen loaf of dough from the freezer section.