Rush Hour

Spring brings an abundance of fresh vegetables that have been sorely missing throughout the winter months. One of my favorites that appears at my favorite market is asparagus. This versatile vegetable is great steamed, grilled or roasted. This month, I'm presenting a recipe that has it starring in a quick and delicious stir fry.

The combination of springtime asparagus, hearty mushrooms and succulent shrimp makes for a main dish meal that's both satisfying and healthy. From the cutting board to the dinner table, it takes about twenty minutes to make. If you spend a little time in advance preparing the vegetables, you can cut that time almost in half! With such a small amount of effort involved, why even consider calling the pizza delivery boy?

If you prefer to skip the shrimp, shredded cooked chicken or marinated firm tofu can be substituted. However, I find that the shrimp fits the springtime theme in this dish beautfully. Purchase shrimp that's already been peeled and cooked to help save time. Otherwise, peel and cook your own shrimp up to two days in advance and store them tightly covered in the refigerator.

Enjoy this spring preview menu on a day that makes you think of spring or -- better yet -- when you're dreaming of spring! It will help send the winter blues on their way. Besides, if you can find fresh asparagus on your market shelves, you know that spring is almost here!

Quick Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-fry

  • 1/3 c. chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
  • 1 dried tomato, snipped finely
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 c. fresh asparagus pieces
  • 1 1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
  • 2 c. shrimp, peeled and cooked

In a small jar, combine the chicken broth, cornstarch, thyme and tomato. Screw the top on tightly and shake vigorously to mix well. Set aside.

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Stir fry the asparagus for 4-6 minutes or until it is crisp tender. Add the mushrooms and shrimp and stir-fry for 2 minutes more.

Shake the jar with the chicken broth mixture again and pour into the skillet. Cook and stir the mixture until thickened and bubbly. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes and serve alone or over hot cooked rice.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes