Published: Apr 17, 2014 11:26 AM EDT
Updated: Apr 18, 2014 8:09 AM EDT

Spring is here and along with the blossoming flowers comes an abundance of spring produce that is vibrant, flavorful and packed full of healthy goodness. Today, Kim Barber with Weight Watchers highlighted three seasonal favorites, selected by Weight Watchers Chef Ryan Hutmacher. All three of these are considered Power Foods because they are the healthiest and most filling food choices within categories.

Grilled Asparagus Recipe: To properly grill asparagus, make sure to remove all excess moisture with a towel. You can then drizzle a small amount of olive oil or pan spray which will help your favorite seasoning adhere, as well as assure you that you'll get a nice char on your grilled asparagus. If all of the water is not removed, then the oil won't stick and your asparagus will not be able to char. This is a great recipe for folks following Simple Start – the two-week starter plan from Weight Watchers that doesn’t involve counting or tracking.

Cooked Cherries Recipe: Take pitted cherries and sauté them lightly in grape seed oil. Once they've given up some of their juice and softened, turn off the heat and sprinkle some brown sugar, Kosher salt, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs like thyme into the pan. Once it's cooled, use this a condiment for everything from roast pork loin to a salad topper.

Strawberries: Last, we have strawberries. The health benefits you’ll find in these sweet treats are amazing – especially for expectant or nursing moms, as strawberries are high in folate. In addition, strawberries are fat-free, sodium free, cholesterol free and high in vitamin C. When choosing strawberries, choose ones that are shiny and firm with a uniform, bright red color. Stems should be fresh, green and intact. And try to avoid shriveled or mush berries, as they tend to attract mold. Here we have a decadent Layers of Love Trifle created by our Weight Watchers Chef.

LAYERS OF LOVE ANGLE FOOD TRIFLE WITH STRAWBERRIES, CREAM AND CHOCOLATE

PointsPlus value: 7

Serves: 12

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

1 package angel food cake, 12 servings (yields total 24 cupcakes)

1 ¼ Cup water

½ Cup cocoa powder

Strawberry Filling:

3 Cups strawberries, fresh, sliced (approximately 1 pint)

1 ½ Tbsp sugar

2 Tsp lemon juice

Citrus Maple Cream Cheese:

8 Tbsp light cream cheese, room temperature

1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

1 Tsp fresh orange zest

1 pinch of salt

Chocolate Sauce:

3 oz dark chocolate chips, (72% cacao)

3 oz heavy whipping cream

Instructions:

Cupcakes:

Set the oven rack to its lowest setting. Line muffin pans with cupcake liners. Whisk the water and cocoa powder gently for 30 seconds until incorporated. Combine cake mix and water in a large bowl. Beat with mixer on medium speed for 1 minute or whisk by hand. Do not overbeat. Pour batter into cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 full, making 24 total cupcakes. Bake for 25-30 minutes until there is a golden brown crust atop of the plain angel food cakes. Remove cupcakes from the baking pans and transfer to a cookie sheet, allowing them to cool slowly.

Strawberry Filling:

In a small bowl, mix the sliced strawberries, sugar and lemon juice together. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Citrus Maple Cream Cheese:

In a small bowl, whisk cream cheese, maple syrup, fresh orange zest and a pinch of salt together. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Chocolate Sauce:

Place the chocolate chips in a small metal or glass bowl. Heat the whipping cream in a sauce pot until it begins to steam, and then pour over the chocolate chips. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand for 5 minutes. With a fork, gently stir the warm chocolate mixture together, then re-cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

To Assemble:

Build the angel food cake trifle using an 8 oz canning jar. With paper liners removed, begin with 2 cupcakes, sliced horizontally. There should be a total of 4 flat slices of cupcakes per serving. Place one slice of cupcake in the bottom of the jar. Next, add one heaping tablespoon of strawberries followed by 1 heaping teaspoon of cream cheese mixture. Next place a slice of white cupcake atop of that, followed by one heaping tablespoon of strawberries followed by 1 heaping teaspoon of chocolate sauce. Repeat these steps until the last slice of white cupcake reaches the top. Pour some of the strawberry juice onto the top layer then drizzle with remaining chocolate sauce and garnish with a strawberry slice.

If you’re just getting started on a weight loss goal for spring, now’s a great time to visit a local Weight Watchers meeting for free. To find out more about a free meeting and to learn about our new Simple Start program, please visit weightwatchers.com.