(Family Features) As summer comes to an end and the reality of back-to-school season sets in, it can be challenging to get organized and jump back into your day-to-day routine. But even as things get hectic, it's still possible to create delicious dishes that leave you plenty of time to savor meals together as a family using a few simple tips and tricks.
Whether the weeknight dinner rush puts you in a panic or you're simply looking to spice up the same old lunchbox staples, these three steps will make it easy to assemble quick, flavorful dishes ideal for the busy back-to-school season.
1. Plan a weekly menu and shop accordingly so you can avoid scrounging to piece together a meal from the odds and ends in the pantry on a night when you're already pressed for time. Meal planning eliminates all of the guesswork, so your family can enjoy healthy, home-cooked meals while also saving time, money and stress.
2. Rely on a versatile, easy meal-helper that lends itself to a variety of preparations, such as Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork. Packed with protein and already seasoned with juicy, delicious flavor, it's the perfect base for any weeknight meal. For a hassle-free dinner, try Pork with Balsamic Glaze and Rosemary, which is ready in just 30 minutes from start to finish - less time than it takes the kids to finish their homework.
3. Opt for simple, flavorful dishes that don't require a ton of ingredients or multiple sides. A zesty take on a traditional favorite, this South of the Border Pizza is convenient, kid-friendly and a great way to banish lunchtime boredom. Use this recipe as a starting point then experiment with more toppings to create your own unique family recipe.
Find more family friendly and time-saving recipe ideas at Smithfield.com.
Pork with Balsamic Glaze and Rosemary
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Smithfield Applewood Smoked Bacon Marinated Fresh Pork Loin Filet, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch thick chops
- 1/4 cup prepared balsamic vinegar glaze
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- In large, nonstick skillet, heat half the oil over medium heat.
- Working in two batches, cook pork chops 4-5 minutes on each side until internal temperature reaches 150 F. Remove pork from skillet and place on rimmed serving platter; cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining oil and pork chops.
- Serve pork chops drizzled with balsamic glaze and sprinkled with rosemary.
South of the Border Pizza
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 2 French bread sandwich rolls, halved
- 8 tablespoons refried black beans
- 8 tablespoons (2 ounces) Smithfield Anytime Favorites Hickory Smoked Diced Ham
- 8 slices pepper jack cheese
- 4 tablespoons picante sauce
- 4 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
- Heat oven to 375 F.
- Place four French bread halves on ungreased sheet pan. Spread 2 tablespoons beans evenly over each bread half.
- Top each half with 2 tablespoons ham and two cheese slices.
- Bake 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned.
- Remove from oven; top each pizza with 1 tablespoon picante sauce and 1 tablespoon sour cream.
(Family Features) Text your friends, dust off your apron and fire up the grill. It’s time to throw a barbecue party that won’t sink your summer budget.
You can find everything you’ll need at a one-stop shop like ALDI. With savings up to 50 percent over traditional grocers, you can fill your cart with summer essentials like fresh seasonal produce, premium meats and award-winning wines.
Once shopping is out of the way, you’ll have plenty of time and money to experiment with new recipes. These quick and affordable tips can up your grill game and impress guests:
Boost your burgers. Take burgers to the next level this summer with your favorite ground meats such as turkey, chicken and beef. Then layer on the toppings like avocado, kale, gourmet cheeses and more.
Change up your take on cheesy. Top your burger with a blue cheese mousse by simply blending blue cheese crumbles and cream cheese then season it with your favorite spices.
Spice up your condiments. Combine mayonnaise with fresh orange juice and fresh orange zest to make a citrus aioli or whip up a special sauce by mixing peanut butter with oil and hot water. Sprinkle with bacon for some extra flavor. Toppings such as a pickled red onion can also add a bit of crunch and zest.
Bite better buns. Forgo traditional burger buns and bookend your masterpiece with brioche buns or pretzel rolls.
Find more great grilling tips and recipes for dishes to enjoy all summer at aldi.us.
Six-Mile High Burger
Recipe courtesy of ALDI Test Kitchen
- 1 tablespoon Carlini Vegetable Oil
- 10 Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
- 8 pieces Specially Selected Center Cut Bacon
- 8 Season's Choice Whole Onion Rings
- 4 All Natural 80 percent Lean Ground Beef Patties
- 8 slices Happy Farms Pepper Jack Cheese
- 1 cup Burman's Mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup Burman's Hot Sauce
- 1/2 cup Burman's Mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon Stonemill Iodized Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Stonemill Ground Black Pepper
- 4 L'oven Fresh Hamburger Buns
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 2 romaine lettuce leaves, cut in half width-wise
- Heat grill to medium-high.
- In saute pan, heat vegetable oil and saute mushrooms 2-3 minutes. Set aside. Fry bacon to desired doneness, about 5 minutes on each side. Set aside. Bake onion rings according to packaging instructions. Set aside.
- Grill burgers 5-7 minutes on each side until they reach desired doneness. Place two slices cheese on each burger and continue to grill until melted. Remove from heat.
- Mix together mayonnaise, hot sauce, mustard, salt and pepper, and spread on both sides of buns, to taste.
- To assemble burger: layer bottom bun with patty with cheese, tomato, lettuce, mushrooms, two onion rings, two pieces of bacon and top half of bun.
(Family Features) If you’re trying to boost the nutrition of your meals and snacks, look no further than your refrigerator. Dairy products provide a powerful nutrition package that can help you meet your nutrient needs and achieve better health.
The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans affirm dairy’s important place in the diet with a recommendation that people ages 9 and older consume three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods every day. With nine essential nutrients, milk, cheese and yogurt deliver a unique nutrition package superior to milk alternatives, such as almond or rice beverages, which are often fortified or fall short on these important nutrients.
During the hot summer months, when you don’t feel like spending much time in the kitchen, dairy products offer ease and convenience, as many are ready to use in recipes or round out a meal or snack. For a quick, easy and healthy snack this summer, put a fresh take on traditional pizza with this recipe that uses crescent rolls topped with cheeses and fresh seasonal veggies. Or turn up the heat on a classic beef burrito by adding warm pepper jack cheese and black beans.
Visit MidwestDairy.com to pledge Dairy 3 for Me, find additional recipes and learn more about how to unleash the power of dairy nutrition.
Summer Pizza Snack
Recipe courtesy of Cindy Heins, Heins Family Farms
Total time: 22 minutes
- 1 tube (8 ounces) crescent rolls
- 1 tub (8 ounces) low-fat cream cheese
- 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 3/4 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
- Heat oven to 375° F. In 9-by-13-inch baking pan, spread out crescent roll dough. Seal seams together to form one large rectangle across bottom of pan. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on rack.
- In small bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise and garlic powder. Spread evenly over entire cooled crust. Top with mozzarella, tomatoes, olives, broccoli and cucumber. Cut into 12 squares and serve.
Beef Burrito with Pepper Jack Cheese and Black Beans
Total time: 9 minutes
- 1/2 pound ground beef sirloin
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 cup chunky salsa, divided
- 2 cups cooked brown or white rice
- 6 whole-wheat tortillas (9 inches each)
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (11 ounces) corn kernels, drained
- 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
- sliced green onion, including green tops
- In medium, nonstick skillet, brown ground beef and garlic over medium heat (break beef mixture up into smaller chunks with spatula). Drain fat and stir in 1/2 cup salsa; set aside.
- Spread 1/3 cup rice on center of tortilla, leaving 1/2-inch border. Scatter about 2 tablespoons beans and 1 1/2 tablespoons corn over rice. Spread 1/3 cup beef mixture and 1/4 cup cheese over corn. Top with 2 teaspoons salsa and a few slices green onion. Fold in two opposite edges of tortilla 1 inch each and roll up. Place seam-side down on microwave-safe dish.
- Repeat with remaining tortillas. Place burritos in microwave oven and heat 1 minute, or until heated through. Serve with remaining salsa.
Source: Midwest Dairy Association
This Weekend, Spend the Most Important Meal of the Day with the Most Important People in Your Life
(Family Features) Baseball practices, dance rehearsals, school work, and other weekday activities often make family mealtime seem like a thing of the past.
If you’re looking for ways your family can spend more quality time together, consider bringing back breakfast this weekend.
Enjoying each other’s company and a delicious breakfast is the perfect opportunity for your family to reconnect. Use the added time weekend mornings provide to prepare a wonderful, warm meal for your family to sit down and create lasting memories. Make your morning meal a weekend tradition the whole family can look forward to all week long.
Here are some easy tips to help make breakfast a family occasion:
Make Breakfast Special – Each week, request that a family member choose a fun theme for the breakfast table. From sports teams to movie themes to favorite colors - you’ll see that the choices are endless and they can inspire creative breakfast menus.
Find Some Breakfast Helpers – Let the whole family practice their cooking skills by helping you in the kitchen. Serve foods that are easy to dress up, like Hungry Jack® pancakes. Sometimes the simple pleasure of a warm plate of pancakes is all you need to create the perfect start to your weekend mornings together.
Create Breakfast Menu Magic – The sky is the limit when you have extra time to craft a hearty breakfast, so serve a variety of foods your family will love. You can’t go wrong with breakfast classics – from fresh veggie and egg dishes to the warm, fluffy goodness of a stack of Hungry Jack pancakes. Does your family enjoy creating breakfast masterpieces? Try these Upside-Down Breakfast Stacks, made with Hungry Jack pancakes, sausage patties, cheddar cheese and eggs, for a magical take on an ordinary meal.
For more recipes and breakfast tips to bring families together on the weekends, visit www.hungryjack.com.
Upside-Down Breakfast Stacks
Yield: 6 stacks
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 15 min
- Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 6 fully cooked sausage patties OR
- 6 vegetable sausage patties
- 3/4 cup Hungry Jack® Complete Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix
- 1/2 cup water
- Shredded sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheese (optional)
- Hungry Jack Original Syrup
- HEAT oven to 375°F. Coat 6 muffin cups or glass custard cups generously with no-stick cooking spray.
- DIVIDE eggs evenly into prepared muffin cups. Top with sausage patty. Whisk pancake mix and water together in medium bowl until smooth. Pour evenly over sausage.
- BAKE 14 to 16 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 2 minutes. Invert onto baking sheet. Sprinkle immediately with cheese, if desired. Serve warm with syrup.
Source: Hungry Jack
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons Old El Paso salsa
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 1/2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese (6 ounces)
8 Old El Paso flour tortillas (8 inches in diameter)
4 teaspoons butter or margarine
Mash beans slightly; stir together with salsa, green onion, cilantro and cheese. Divide mixture among 4 tortillas, spreading almost to edges. Top with remaining tortillas.
Melt 1 teaspoon butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-low to medium heat. Cook 1 quesadilla in butter 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until brown. Cut into wedges. Repeat with remaining butter and quesadillas.
Makes 8 servings