I started to pull this post together on February 2 – Groundhog Day. Don’t you love the irony of Groundhog Day? If the sun is shining, good ole Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow and we’ve got 6 more weeks of winter, but if it is cloudy, dreary, and frankly winter-like, spring is on its way! How in the world does that make sense (putting aside the fact that we are looking to a creature that we normally never think twice about to predict the weather)? Of course, for this particularly cruel winter, those of us in the New York region were teased on Groundhog Day with sunny, relatively warm weather only to wake up the next morning to a cascade of heavy, wet snow. Despite that brief reprieve, this winter has been more like the Bill Murray movie – every day feels the same – dreadful. Do you get the sense by now that I hate winter?

At least they shoveled the Brooklyn Promenade.

On the bright side, at least the Brooklyn Promenade has been shoveled.

To survive the winter doldrums I try to remember that we are only a few months away from flowers peeking up through the ground, longer days, and the first bunch of asparagus at the farmers market. We may still be in the season of stews and braises, but there are a bunch of seasonal, yet light dishes that remind us that winter will not last forever.

(Meals should feed four adults and take about 30-40 minutes to prepare, or the time it takes Patrick to give Eliza a bottle and put her to bed.)

Meal #1: Grilled Shrimp + Avocado Salad
Meal #2: Pasta Carbonara with Leeks and Lemon
Meal #3: Spicy Peanut Chicken and Broccoli + Rice
Meal #4: Mustard Crusted Branzino + Sauteed Spinach

Your Grocery List, excluding the usual pantry items:

limes – 2
lemon – 1
cilantro – 1 bunch
parsley – 1 bunch (optional)
avocados – 2
grape or cherry tomatoes – 1 container
scallions – 1 bunch
broccoli – 2 heads
leeks – 4
spinach – 2 bags or bunches
short pasta (ex. penne) – 1 box
eggs – 2
Parmesan cheese (if you don’t already have it)
peanut butter (if you don’t already have it)
sesame oil (if you don’t already have it)
soy sauce (if you don’t already have it)
sambal oelek aka Sriracha (if you don’t already have it)
rice vinegar (if you don’t already have it)
whole grain mustard (if you don’t already have it)
bacon – 6 strips
boneless, skinless chicken thighs – 4, approx. 1 ½ lb. total
shrimp – 1 ½ lb.
whole branzino or trout, butterflied – 2 (1 ½ – 2 lb. each) OR thin, white fish fillet – 1 ½ lb.