March Menu

March is an interesting month. There's an old saying that it is a month that comes in like a lion (i.e. it starts out with the blustery weather of winter), and out like a lamb (i.e. it ends with the long-awaited warmth of spring). Whether or not that saying rings true this year, there's no reason we can't have fun with a unique combo of March menus. Our first menu consists of a great main dish chili soup. The second welcomes spring with a bright three bean salad and turkey salad pitas.

Take advantage of a chilly day by serving a warm, hearty bowl of Chili Soup. It's an old favorite that's been passed down through the generations in my family. If there's one thing that makes me almost embrace a blustery day, it's looking forward to a great bowl of soup. I usually add 3 tablespoons of chili powder and elbow macaroni to the soup. If you aren't fond of the macaroni, I suggest you add less chili powder unless you look forward to a really spicy meal!

Chili Soup

  • 1 lb. ground round or very lean hamburger
  • 1 large green pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 large white onion, coarsely chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 T. dried parsley
  • chili powder to taste
  • 1 quart tomato juice
  • 4 c. water
  • 1 - 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 - 16 oz. can dark kidney beans
  • 4 oz. elbow macaroni, cooked and drained (optional)

In a Dutch oven or other large pot, brown the meat with the pepper and onion. Shortly before the meat is completely browned, add the seasonings.

Once the meat is browned and the vegetables slightly soft, add the tomato juice, water, and tomato paste. Simmer for about 1 hour. Add the kidney beans and, if desired, elbow macaroni. Heat until warmed through and serve with warm corn bread.

  • Serves: 6-8
  • Preparation Time: 1 1/2 hours

Part of what makes spring such a refreshing season is the change from a bleak, grey landscape to a sudden burst of bright spring flowers dotting the ground and fresh new leaves adorning the trees. Let your table follow suit by hosting this brightly colored three bean salad. It's a great treat after a long winter and certainly adds a little zest to your menu. I use red wine vinegar in this recipe, but don't be afraid to play around with other combinations. The number of flavored vinegars available in your local grocery store is sure to impress you.

Three Bean Salad

  • 2 c. sliced green beans
  • 1/3 c. red wine vinegar
  • 4 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 2 T. low fat grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 c. sliced carrot
  • 1/2 c. red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 - 15 1/2 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 - 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 - 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, coarsely chopped

Slightly steam the green beans in boiling water for 2 minutes. Rinse them in cold water and let them drain thoroughly.

Combine next seven ingredients (vinegar through pepper) in a large bowl; mix well. Add green beans and remaining ingredients (carrot through tomato) and toss gently to coat.

  • Serves: 8
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

This simple turkey salad recipe gets its zest from the addition of a sweet relish and honey mustard. It makes a stunningly good companion to the three bean salad and is the perfect way to get you in a "springy" mood. I like serving it in toasted pitas because it helps keep this slightly messy turkey salad in its place! If you find that March has brought you a delightfully warm and sunny day, pack this neat spring combo into a picnic basket and find yourself a nice spot to enjoy your meal. If March isn't as inviting, spread your picnic blanket in your living room and have yourself a carpet picnic! Help create a spring atmosphere by treating yourself to a fresh spring bouquet of flowers. Happy spring!

Turkey Salad Pitas

  • 3 c. finely chopped cooked turkey
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 8 small green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
  • 2/3 c. low fat salad dressing (such as Miracle Whip)
  • 3 T. sweet pickle relish
  • 3 tsp. honey mustard
  • 8 sliced pitas

Combine the turkey, celery, green onions, and pepper. Stir in the eggs, salad dressing, relish, and mustard. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. Serve by placing about 1/4 c. of the turkey salad into each half of a lightly toasted pita. If desired, add a few fresh onion sprouts to each half and enjoy.

  • Serves: 8
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour