(Family Features) Boosting immune function through a healthy diet has become an important new focus for many people these days. One key dietary recommendation is to eat more fruits and vegetables each day to improve immune function and prevent heart disease and diabetes. When looking to guide your family to healthier snacks and meals or simply trying to mix up your at-home menu, success can be as simple as rethinking the ingredients you choose to use, including your favorite produce, such as grapes.
Fresh California grapes, for example, make for an ideal snack because they are tasty, healthy, hydrating and refreshing, but grapes can also be used to make good-for-you dishes that are also satisfying and delicious. Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols. Plus, they are naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free and contain virtually no sodium.
Try recipes like Moroccan Grape and Grilled Chicken Bowls with Grape Vinaigrette, Spiced Chickpeas and Grapes with Yogurt, and Cauliflower Steaks with Grapes to pair heart-healthy grapes with other nutritious ingredients and add variety and fresh appeal in the kitchen.
Moroccan Grape and Grilled Chicken Bowls with Grape Vinaigrette
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup parsley, leaves only
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ras el hanout (Moroccan spice blend)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 chicken breasts (8 ounces each)
- 1 tablespoon harissa paste
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup green California grapes
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 1 preserved lemon, rind only
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- salt, to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup red California grapes, halved
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- To make couscous: Cook couscous in boiling salted water. Drain, rinse with cold water and combine with olive oil. Add carrots, tomatoes, parsley leaves, ras el hanout and salt. Mix well and set aside.
- To make chicken: Heat grill to medium-high heat.
- Rub chicken breasts with harissa paste, olive oil and salt. Grill on both sides until just done. Set aside to cool. Slice into 1/4-inch slices.
- To make vinaigrette: In blender, puree green grapes, lemon juice, lemon rind, olive oil and cilantro until smooth. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Toss couscous mixture with vinaigrette and portion into four bowls. Top with sliced chicken, red grapes and almonds.
Nutritional information per serving: 590 calories; 30 g protein; 44 g carbohydrates; 32 g fat (49% calories from fat); 4.5 g saturated fat (7% calories from saturated fat); 65 mg cholesterol; 720 mg sodium; 3 g fiber.
Spiced Chickpeas and Grapes with Yogurt
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
- 1 cup California grapes
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 garlic clove, grated
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
- In large bowl, mix chickpeas and grapes.
- In small skillet, warm oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mustard seeds and cover. Cook until seeds stop popping then add cumin and fennel seeds; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper flakes; pour over chickpeas and grapes. Mix well.
- In separate bowl, stir yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and remaining salt. Spread on serving platter and top with chickpea mixture, cilantro and scallions.
Nutritional information per serving: 220 calories; 11 g protein; 31 g carbohydrates; 6 g fat (25% calories from fat); 1.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 280 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.
Cauliflower Steaks with Grapes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 large head cauliflower, leaves trimmed off
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 cup halved California grapes
- 1/4 cup chopped Castelvetrano olives
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped, toasted pistachios
- Heat oven to 450 F.
- Cut stem off cauliflower and cut remaining head crosswise into four 1-inch-thick slices, keeping as intact as possible. Place on sheet pan and brush sides with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast until browned and tender, about 25 minutes.
- Combine remaining olive oil, remaining pepper, grapes, olives, parsley and pistachios. When cauliflower is roasted, transfer to serving plates and top with grape mixture.
- Nutritional information per serving: 210 calories; 5 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 14 g fat (60% calories from fat); 2 g saturated fat (9% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 480 mg sodium; 5 g fiber.
- Healthy Eating is Easy with Grapes
- Grapes are prized for their taste and crisp, juicy texture, but fresh grapes are also a heart-healthy, hydrating snack choice. Grapes contain more than 1,600 natural plant compounds, including antioxidants and other polyphenols, which help protect the health and function of the body’s cells. Grapes can be paired with other healthy foods to enhance flavor and nutrition, including dark leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, whole grains, legumes and lean proteins.
Maya Gold Chocolate Mousse Cake
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35-40 minutes
- Melted butter
- 1 tablespoon ground almonds, plus extra for dusting pan
- 2 bars (3 1/2 ounces each) Green & Black’s Dark 70% Cacao
- 1 bar (3 1/2 ounces) Green & Black’s Maya Gold
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 5 large eggs
- confectioners’ sugar or edible gold dust
- Heat oven to 350° F. Brush pan with melted butter and dust with ground almonds, shaking off excess.
- In top of double boiler over barely simmering water, melt chocolate bars, sugar, butter and sea salt. Remove from heat.
- Beat eggs with ground almonds and fold into chocolate mixture. Pour into 8- or 9-inch springform cake pan and bake 35-40 minutes.
- Remove sides of pan and leave cake on bottom part to cool. Using sifter, dust with confectioners’ sugar or brush with gold dust before serving.
(Family Features) Whether you're gathering the neighborhood kids for a backyard celebration or going on a weekend hike with family, you can make fueling up for the fun easy with snacks the whole family can enjoy.
Everyone loves popcorn, and this tasty treat is easy to incorporate into a wide range of nibbles perfect for summer. Popcorn's wholesome taste makes it an excellent partner to ingredients that tease your taste buds with flavors that are sweet, salty or even zesty.
Creating a delicious trail mix to carry on an adventurous hike is a cinch when you combine fresh popcorn with your favorite sweet dried fruits and lightly salted nuts. Or, if you're staying closer to home, use popcorn treats as a more nutritious alternative to traditional party desserts.
Each of these recipes features freshly popped popcorn paired with common ingredients that appeal to both kids and adults for summery snacks that are big on both flavor and fun.
For more creative recipes that give some pop to your summer, visit www.popcorn.org.
Sweet N Salty Popcorn Pretzel Sticks
Yield: 6 sticks
- 6 tablespoons peanut butter
- 6 large pretzel rods
- 3 cups popped popcorn
- Sugar sprinkles
- 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
- Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter over each pretzel, leaving a two-inch "handle" without peanut butter.
- Press and roll popcorn onto peanut butter to coat. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.
- For optional chocolate drizzle, place chocolate chips in small sealable plastic bag and seal. Microwave 30 seconds or until chocolate is melted. Clip small corner from bag and squeeze to drizzle chocolate over popcorn.
- Sprinkle with additional sugar sprinkles. Allow chocolate to harden before serving.
Chili Lime Popcorn Snack Mix
Yield: 1 quart
- 1 quart popped popcorn
- 1 teaspoon brewer's yeast powder
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Spread popcorn on baking sheet. Sprinkle yeast powder, lime juice, chili powder and salt over popcorn.
- Heat about seven minutes and toss just before serving. Serve warm.
Blueberry & Pomegranate Power Bars
Yield: 12 bars
- 8 cups popped popcorn
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup dried blueberries
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 cup toasted and coarsely chopped whole natural almonds
- 2/3 cup honey
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 6 ounces melted bittersweet chocolate
- Line 13-by-9-inch pan with foil; spray with cooking spray.
- Combine popcorn, oats, blueberries, pomegranate seeds and almonds in large bowl.
- Combine honey, brown sugar and butter in small saucepan. Cook over low heat to boiling; boil two minutes. Pour over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Using damp hands, press mixture firmly into prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm, about two hours. Cut into 12 bars.
- Dip bottoms of bars into melted chocolate. Place on wax paper-lined pan. Store in tight covered container in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Popcorn Trail Mix
Yield: 5 cups
- 1 quart popped popcorn (air popped)
- 6 ounces diced, dried fruit (apricots, apples, etc.)
- 8 ounces raisins
- Place freshly popped popcorn in large bowl. Add diced fruit and raisins. Toss popcorn and fruit until combined thoroughly.
Note: Add whatever fixings your family enjoys: dried fruits, seeds, nuts, etc.
Yield: 20 pieces
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 10 cups freshly popped popcorn
- 1 package (10 1/2 ounces) miniature marshmallows
- 2 cups mini graham cookies (teddy bears)
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in medium saucepan. Cook over high heat for five minutes; remove from heat and stir in baking soda.
- Combine popcorn and marshmallows in large bowl. Pour sugar mixture over popcorn to coat.
- Gently stir in graham cookies and chocolate chips.
- Spread mixture evenly into greased 15-by-10-inch pan. Let cool completely, then break into pieces. Store in airtight container.
Source: The Popcorn Board
Festive flavors and seasonal sips
(Family Features) The holidays are the perfect time to gather with friends and family to celebrate the season.
Take the stress out of hosting by shopping at a store like ALDI for your holiday must-haves, including everything from food and wine to holiday decor and even gifts for nearly anyone on your list, helping you to save time and money.
Toast to the holidays with an impressive appetizer spread, paired with award-winning wines, with recipes like Cranberry Shrimp Ceviche Cups paired with the creamy and tropical taste of William Wright Chardonnay. Or whip up quick and easy Party Poppers made with dates, Brie cheese and bacon to mesh with the fruit, vanilla and spicy fall notes of Peaks & Tides Cabernet Sauvignon.
Blue Cheese and Walnut Mousse provides a savory finish when matched with La Rue Côtes de Provence Rosé and its hints of lavender, rosemary and thyme. Finally, add a little something sweet to your spread by pairing the refreshingly ripe Landshut Riesling with a festive Gingerbread Trifle.
Find more holiday recipes and shopping solutions at ALDI.us .
Blue Cheese and Walnut Mousse
Recipe courtesy of Chef Scott, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: 10 servings
- 2 tablespoons Simply Nature 100% Pure Avocado Oil
- 3 large yellow onions, sliced
- 5 ounces Happy Farms Preferred Blue Cheese Crumbles
- 8 ounces Happy Farms Cream Cheese
- Stonemill Ground Black Pepper, to taste
- 1 cup Friendly Farms Heavy Whipping Cream
- 8 ounces Southern Grove Chopped Walnuts, divided
- 5 cucumbers, thinly sliced
- In large pan, heat oil and saute onions until brown and caramelized.
- In food processor, combine blue cheese crumbles and cream cheese. Process until smooth. Season with pepper, to taste.
- In medium bowl, using hand mixer, whisk cream until soft peaks form. Fold in cheese mixture and 4 ounces chopped walnuts.
- Top cucumber slices with mousse, caramelized onions and remaining chopped walnuts. Finish by grinding black pepper over top for garnish.
- Pair each serving with glass of La Rue Cotes de Provence Rosé.
Tip: Mousse can also be served as a dip with baguette slices.
Recipe courtesy of the ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 20 minutes
Yield: 12 servings
- 1 package (3.4 ounces) Baker’s Corner Vanilla Pudding
- 1 3/4 cups Specially Selected Premium Eggnog
- 1/2 teaspoon Stonemill Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 7 ounces Café Bistro Soft Gingerbread, crumbled, divided
- 1 1/4 cups Friendly Farms Whipped Topping, divided
- 1 cup Berryhill Apple Butter, divided
- 2 teaspoons Stonemill Ground Cinnamon
- Whisk vanilla pudding mix and eggnog. Add pumpkin pie spice and beat 2 minutes. Chill in refrigerator 10 minutes.
- In large glass bowl, layer one-third of gingerbread cookies, one-third of pudding, one-third of whipped topping and 1/2 cup apple butter; repeat two more times.
- The third layer will end with whipped topping. Garnish with cinnamon.
- Chill in refrigerator 2 hours.
- Pair each serving with glass of Landshut Riesling.
Recipe courtesy of Chef Alyssa, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: 36 poppers
- 8 ounces Southern Grove Pitted Dates
- 4 ounces Specially Selected Brie Cheese Round
- 6 ounces Southern Grove Slivered Almonds
- 1 1/2 pounds Specially Selected Thick Sliced Hickory Bacon
- 2 teaspoons Stonemill Ground Black Pepper
- Heat oven to 375° F.
- Cut dates in half, lengthwise.
- Cut brie into bite-size pieces, about the size of peanuts.
- Place one piece of Brie and four almond pieces on each open date half. Place other half on top.
- Quarter bacon slices, wrap tightly around stuffed dates and secure with toothpicks. Sprinkle with pepper.
- Line baking sheet with foil and place wrapped dates on top. Bake 15 minutes, or until bacon is crispy. Serve warm.
- Pair each serving with glass of Peaks & Tides Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cranberry Shrimp Ceviche Cups
Recipe courtesy of Chef Kates, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour chill time
Cook time: 3 minutes
Yield: 16 ceviche cups
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Stonemill Iodized Salt, divided
- 16 ounces Specially Selected Black Tiger Shrimp, thawed
- 1 cup Southern Grove Dried Cranberries
- 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley
- 1/2 jalapeno, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon Stonemill Crushed Red Pepper or Ground Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Stonemill Oregano
- 13 ounces Simply Nature Organic Tortilla Chips, for garnish
- 2 limes, cut into wedges, for garnish
- fresh cranberries, for garnish (optional)
- Bring medium pot of water to boil. Season with 1 teaspoon salt. Add shrimp and cook 3 minutes. Immediately plunge cooked shrimp into ice water bath. Peel shrimp and place in flat dish.
- In food processor, combine dried cranberries, red onion, parsley and jalapeno. Pulse until finely chopped. Add cranberry mixture to shrimp.
- Add lemon juice, lime juice, remaining salt, pepper and oregano. Stir to combine thoroughly. Refrigerate 1 hour.
- To assemble: Spoon ceviche (about 4-5 shrimp each) into small clear cups or glasses. Garnish with tortilla chips, lime wedges and fresh cranberries, if desired.
- Pair each serving with glass of William Wright Chardonnay.
(Family Features) The holiday season is meant for spending quality time with friends and family, not stressing out over hosting. With some simple tips, you can cut down on hectic preparations while creating a memorable holiday full of food and fun guests can savor.
Consider these suggestions from the entertaining experts at Real California Milk:
Heading into your seasonal soiree with a plan in place can help avoid snafus. Make a shopping list of ingredients and decorations. Then put together a schedule a few days prior to the event to cover last-minute preparations.
Elevate Holiday Classics
Elevating classic appetizers is a simple way to savor the season. A trend on the rise, the Grazing Table starts with the table as the canvas, adds elements of the traditional cheese board then takes it to the next level with an arrangement of appetizers or brunch dishes and seasonal decor. Another way to lift your holiday spread is using high-quality, authentic ingredients like Real California Milk cheeses, made with milk from California dairy farm families, which are key ingredients in this Sweet Citrus and Spice Cheese Board.
Prepare Dishes and Decorations in Advance
Preparing for guests can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of hosting. Decorating at least a day ahead and setting the table the night before, for example, can help minimize stress. Welcome guests with holiday cheer and trendy decor like a virtual yule log made of melting cheese, complete with holiday music.
For more holiday inspiration and recipes like antipasto skewers and yogurt-pesto dip, queso fundido and cheese logs and bundts, visit realcaliforniamilk.com/recipes.
- Toma cheese, sliced
- natural almonds
- Real California aged cheddar, sliced
- Real California burrata cheese
- olive oil
- blue cheese
- Real California braided marinated string cheese
- dry salami, sliced
- premade antipasto skewers
- yogurt pesto dipping sauce
- Real California aged Gouda
- brie cheese
- Real California cheese log
- Real California cheese bundts
- dry jack cheese
- sweet red piquante peppers
- green California olives
- premade Real California queso fundido
- tortilla chips
- dark chocolate sea salt caramels
- dried citrus, such as oranges and lemons
- artisan bread, sliced
- On large board, plate or tray, arrange sliced toma cheese, almonds, prosciutto, salami and aged cheddar. In center, place burrata cheese and top with olive oil and herbs.
- On separate small plate, place blue cheese; crumble.
- On medium board, arrange braided string cheese and dry salami slices.
- On serving platter, arrange antipasto skewers around bowl of yogurt pesto dipping sauce.
- On separate small cheese board, place Gouda, brie cheese and cheese log.
- On slate, arrange cheese bundts. On separate plate, place dry jack cheese.
- In separate bowls, place piquante peppers and green olives.
- Arrange boards, plates, bowls and skillet of queso fundido on table, as desired.
- Fill blank spaces on table with breadsticks, tortilla chips, dark chocolate sea salt caramels, dried oranges, dried lemons and bread slices. Add floral arrangements and holiday decor for finishing touches. Complete table with cheese knives and spreaders.
Sweet Citrus and Spice Cheese Board
- Real California brie cheese
- black olives
- green olives
- dried oranges, sliced
- Real California pepper jack cheese sliced
- Real California burrata cheese
- honey, for garnish
- fresh herbs, for garnish
- To assemble cheese board: On large board, plate or tray, arrange brie cheese, olives, dried orange slices, sliced pepper jack cheese and almonds.
- On smaller board, arrange raspberries and blackberries around burrata cheese placed in center of board. Garnish cheese with honey and fresh herbs. Place smaller board into empty space on larger board.
(Family Features) When it comes to preparing a spread for a holiday gathering, some may look to traditional wine varieties such as Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. However, as holiday traditions become less traditional, you can also branch out in your selection of wines.
Produced from the indigenous grapes of Sicily, wines from Sicilia DOC offer fresh taste, quality and variety. The wines come to life when paired with a variation of holiday dishes.
These three tips can help you pair Sicilian wines with the dishes you may serve as part of your holiday spread:
For the Light White Wine Fan
With a low alcohol percentage and fruity notes, an option such as Grillo can be a fan favorite at any holiday gathering and makes for a perfect hostess gift. This white wine features notes of white peaches and grapefruit and can pair well with seafood appetizers, baked casseroles, vegetarian sides or a well-known Sicilian dish like this Green Bean and Blood Orange Salad.
For Guests Looking for a Graceful Red Wine
A modern take on Pinot Noir, Frappato is a light-to-medium-bodied wine with a lingering freshness that’s persistent and balanced with notes of cherry and strawberry. This wine pairs well with both white and dark meat of flavorful holiday turkeys as well as pastas, pizza, roasted meats, potatoes and cheeses.
For Friends Who Favor a Complex Red
For guests who favor Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, an option such as Nero d’Avola is a nice alternative, with aromas of ripe cherry, rose, sweet spices, licorice and cocoa. As a go-to red wine, it pairs well with a hearty charcuterie platter, roasted meats, lamb, pizza and pastas.
For more holiday wine pairings and recipes, visit winesofsicily.com.
Green Bean and Blood Orange Salad
Recipe courtesy of Wines of Sicilia DOC Servings: 8
- 2 pounds thin green beans
- 6 blood oranges
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- maple syrup
- Add salt to large pot of boiling water. Add green beans and cook until tender and bright green. Drain beans in colander and transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Once cool, drain and pat dry with towel.
- Peel four oranges and remove white pith. Working over bowl, cut between membranes to release sections into bowl. Zest one remaining orange and juice both uncut oranges; reserve zest. Transfer juice to saucepan and add vinegar, honey and pepper flakes. Bring to boil then simmer over moderate heat until reduced to syrup, 10 minutes. Season with salt.
- In large bowl, toss beans, orange sections and 3 tablespoons vinegar syrup. Transfer to serving platter; drizzle with maple syrup, almonds and orange zest.
Pair each serving with a glass of Grillo.
Source: Wines of Sicilia DOC
(Family Features) During the warm summer months, salad makes for a refreshing lunch or convenient dinner option that can be delicious and nutritious. With a variety of salad options available, they don’t have to be boring or monotonous.
For example, greens can instantly transform into a unique meal when you add creative options like duck breast to help elevate the dish. Because it’s a red meat, duck breast provides a hearty taste, similar to steak, while being leaner and lower in saturated fat than other red meats.
In this Cherry-Glazed Duck Breast Salad, homemade cherry vinaigrette glazes duck breast and dresses baby spinach while blue cheese and slivered almonds add texture and flavor. As a bonus, you can save the duck breast skin to make cracklins for a quick snack or crunchy salad topping.
Find more salad recipes and tips for cooking with duck at mapleleaffarms.com.
Cherry-Glazed Duck Breast Salad
Recipe courtesy of Chef Ted Cizma on behalf of Maple Leaf Farms
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 2 cups dried cherries, divided
- 3 cups hot water
- 1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 Maple Leaf Farms Boneless Duck Breasts
- 6 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves, washed and trimmed
- 2 cups blue cheese
- 2 cups slivered almonds
- To make Cherry Vinaigrette: In small saucepan over low heat, cover 1 cup cherries with water. Bring to simmer, cover pan and remove from heat. Let cherries soak in hot water 15-20 minutes. Strain cherries and reserve liquid.
- In food processor or blender, puree cherries until smooth, adding reserved liquid as necessary. Add raspberry vinegar to cherry mixture. With blender or food processor on low, slowly add olive oil, reserving about 2 tablespoons. Season mixture, to taste, with salt and pepper. Set aside Cherry Vinaigrette.
- Heat grill to medium heat. Remove skin from duck breasts. Rub with remaining olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Pour some Cherry Vinaigrette into separate container to use as glaze; reserve remaining for dressing. Using pastry brush, coat duck breasts with Cherry Vinaigrette.
- Cook duck until crisp and dark brown (about 5-6 minutes), turn over and recoat with Cherry Vinaigrette. Continue cooking until second side is crisp and brown, brushing with vinaigrette as needed, about 4 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 155 F. Remove to cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes.
- Place spinach in mixing bowl. Toss spinach with enough dressing to coat leaves. Add blue cheese, almonds and most of remaining dried cherries, reserving some of each for garnish. Season with salt and pepper.
- Divide spinach mixture among four bowls.
- Slice duck breast thinly on bias, starting at one end of each breast with knife at 45-degree angle.
- Fan slices of duck on top of each salad. Sprinkle each salad with crumbled blue cheese, almonds and dried cherries.
Source: Maple Leaf Farms
Eye-popping recipes worth sharing
(Family Features) It seems that taking pictures of mouthwatering food to share online is all the rage for social media users. Food is art, and toast and its trimmings can be the perfect canvas. Creating a social media-worthy slice requires a bit of creativity, some patience, quality and, of course, aesthetically pleasing ingredients.
The versatility and distinct flavor profile of California Ripe Olives make them an ideal ingredient to fuel your imagination and add an extra bit of finesse to your edible creation.
California farmers are responsible for producing more than 95 percent of the ripe olives consumed in the United States. From planting, pruning, harvesting and processing, they make sure the highest quality olives come from their farm to your table – one can at a time. Adding olives to any dish helps bring California sunshine into each bite.
Put your creativity to the test with these delicious designs. For more delightful and artistic recipes with California Ripe Olives, visit calolive.org.
Toast Like a Butterfly
- 2 slices wheat bread
- large butterfly cookie cutter
- 1/2 avocado, mashed
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1 cheese stick
- 2 slices orange bell pepper
- 2 thin slices red bell pepper
- 6 black California Ripe Olives
- 3 green California Ripe Olives
- 1 sugar snap pea
- Lightly toast wheat bread and use cookie cutter to cut one wing from each slice.
- Mash avocado and mix with salt and pepper, to taste. Spread on both wings.
- Slice cheese stick to fit between wings and act as body of butterfly.
- Slice orange bell pepper into antenna and red bell pepper into thin slices to line body of butterfly.
- Slice black olives in half, lengthwise, and place on upper and lower portions of each wing. Slice green olives into rounds and place on middle of each wing.
- Decorate plate with quartered olives and place sugar snap pea in center.
Pro Tips for Creating Shareable Slices:
These pro tips can take you from toast trainee to skillful slice creator.
- Have a vision. Don’t be afraid to sketch it out.
- The base of your toast is everything. Pick a sturdy variety.
- Consider your ingredients and play with flavors, textures and colors. For example, try to incorporate both green and black California Ripe Olives for greater versatility.
- Shapes, colors and textures can add excitement.
- Toast is a small canvas, so consider the tools you’re working with and get creative.
A Toast to Summer
- 2 slices white bread, toasted
- 4 tablespoons cream cheese
- 3 crackers, crushed
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- handful leafy greens of choice (green onions, parsley, cilantro or chives)
- 2 black California Ripe Olives
- 1 green California Ripe Olive
- Slice each piece of toast into a square and place one above other on plate.
- Spread layer of cream cheese on bottom third of lower piece of toast and cover spread with crushed crackers.
- Spread layer of cream cheese from lower-right corner to upper-left corner and, starting at bottom, layer sliced almonds on top of each other to create trunk spreading across both pieces of bread.
- Arrange greens into palm fronds at top of trunk. Use cream cheese as glue if they begin to slip.
- Arrange black olives and green olive as coconuts between top of trunk and base of leaves, covering bottom of leaves.
Singing in the Grain
- 1/4 avocado, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 slice sourdough bread, toasted
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- handful of green California Ripe Olives, sliced into rounds
- 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- handful of black California Ripe Olives, sliced into raindrop shapes
- 1 large sugar snap pea
- Arrange sliced avocado on toasted sourdough bread and top with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Slice green olive rounds in half and arrange in line beneath toast.
- Place one slice orange bell pepper below bread as handle and one small piece orange bell pepper above bread.
- Place one straight slice of red bell pepper on bottom edge of toast.
- Arrange black olive slices and sugar snap peas around toast as raindrops.
Walking in a Toasty Wonderland
- 2 slices white bread, toasted
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese, divided
- 5 slices red bell pepper
- 1 orange bell pepper, sliced small
- 2 black California Ripe Olives, 1 jumbo and 1 medium
- 5 small sugar snap peas, divided
- 1 pretzel stick, cut in half
- 3 green California Ripe Olive rounds
- small snowflake cookie cutter
- large snowflake cookie cutter
- 4 slices gouda or white cheddar cheese
- 8 cilantro or parsley leaves
- Slice one piece of toast into circle with 4-inch diameter.
- Slice second piece of toast into half-circle with 4-inch diameter, which will act as base of snow globe.
- Spread 1 tablespoon cream cheese onto bottom fifth of circular toast.
- Cover base of snow globe with slices of bell pepper, cut to correct width.
- Stack medium black olive on top of jumbo black olive and affix to toast with cream cheese.
- Add decorations to olive snowman by affixing two small sugar snap peas to body of snowman, pretzel stick arms to sides, small piece orange bell pepper for nose and two small dots cream cheese for eyes.
- Decorate base with green olive rounds and three sugar snap peas in center.
- Use cookie cutters to cut four small snowflakes and four large snowflakes out of slices of cheese. Arrange snowflakes around outside of plate and place cilantro leaves between each snowflake.
- Place remaining cream cheese in small plastic bag and cut small hole in corner. Pipe small dots on circular toast around snowman.
Source: California Ripe Olive Committee
(Family Features) When it comes to fresh fruit, watermelon is a top pick in many households.
It’s available year-round and makes for a nutritious snack, but its great taste is the reason most people buy watermelon, according to research from the National Watermelon Promotion Board.
Not only is watermelon a tasty snack by itself, it’s a great complement to other flavors, making it easy to create flavorful pairings. This sweet take on pizza combines watermelon with a host of other good-for-you ingredients for a delicious treat. Healthy enough for breakfast and sweet enough for dessert, this pizza can make its way into your weekly meal rotation.
For another nutritious option, consider this Buddha bowl featuring watermelon, which contains higher levels of lycopene, an antioxidant, than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. Watermelon is also an excellent source of vitamin C, and it provides vitamin B6 and potassium. It’s the perfect sweet addition to balance the savory flavors of this traditional plant-based Buddha bowl.
Each of these recipes leaves plenty of room for personalization; experiment with your favorite flavors to make each dish your own. Also remember that watermelon travels well, so these recipes make for ideal take-along snacks when you’re on the go.
Find more fresh, fruity recipes to enjoy any time of year at watermelon.org.
Watermelon Buddha Bowl
Citrusy Tahini Dressing:
- 3 tablespoons tahini (ground sesame seed paste)
- 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
- 4 mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1 cup sweet cherries, pitted and halved
- 2 avocados, sliced
- 2 cups cooked black rice
- 1 cup sliced, toasted almonds
- Citrusy Tahini Dressing
- To make Citrusy Tahini Dressing: In bowl, whisk tahini, orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger and salt. If dressing seems thick, add more orange juice or water to reach desired consistency.
- To arrange Buddha Bowls: Separate watermelon, cucumbers, cherries, avocados and rice in four bowls. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.
Sweet Watermelon Pizza
- Greek yogurt
- Watermelon, cut to 1-inch thick round slice
- Shredded coconut
- Berries, such as blueberries, strawberries or blackberries
- Slivered almonds
- Spread yogurt to cover fleshy part of watermelon, leaving room to hold rind. Sprinkle with coconut, mint, berries and almonds, or other toppings, as desired.
Hearty meals to bring the family together
(Family Features) Gathering the family around the table with delicious, traditional meals is the ultimate combination for many home chefs like Catherine Lowe, winner of the 17th season of ABC’s “The Bachelor.”
Lowe, who partnered as a celebrity spokesperson with Bertolli to create this Roasted Garlic Marinara Braised Chicken with Linguine recipe, enjoys adding authenticity to the table with recipes that provide homemade taste and layers of flavor.
“I pride myself on my strong Italian roots,” Lowe said. “My dad taught me how to cook at a young age, and growing up, it was an event to make and enjoy dinner with his side of the family. It’s important for me to remember and celebrate that heritage.”
Full of hearty vegetables you can see and taste, and inspired by the simple goodness of Tuscan cooking, Bertolli Rustic Cut Pasta sauces help bring homemade flavor to your table. Offered in four varieties – Marinara with Traditional Vegetables, Spicy Marinara with Traditional Vegetables, Roasted Garlic Marinara with Garden Vegetables and Sweet Peppers with Portobello Mushrooms – it’s Lowe’s secret ingredient to helping make family meals more enjoyable.
Find more family-friendly recipes to bring everyone together at bertolli.com.
Roasted Garlic Marinara Braised Chicken with Linguine
Recipe courtesy of Sean and Catherine Lowe
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
- 23 ounces Bertolli Rustic Cut Roasted Garlic Marinara Sauce
- 6-8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound whole-wheat linguine
- 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1/2 cup small diced onion
- 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
- 3 ounces baby kale
- Parmesan cheese
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- In 3-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, heat sauce. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add chicken, skin-side down, and cook 3-5 minutes, or until skin is crisp and deep golden-brown. Turn chicken over and cook 3-5 minutes until golden-brown on second side.
- Remove chicken from skillet, leaving fat in pan. Set aside skillet to be used later.
- Add chicken to sauce in Dutch oven in single layer, skin-side up, with skin just above surface of sauce. Cover and bake 40 minutes. Begin to boil water for pasta.
- Remove cover from Dutch oven and cook in oven 10 minutes.
- Cook pasta al dente according to package instructions. Drain.
- Heat reserved skillet and fat over medium-high heat; add cremini mushrooms and onions; saute until lightly browned. Deglaze with white wine, if desired, and cook until dry. Add kale to mushrooms and toss gently to wilt.
- Remove Dutch oven from oven and gently transfer chicken to large plate. Add pasta to sauce in Dutch oven and stir gently to coat.
- Place portion of pasta in pasta bowl and make well in middle. Spoon mushroom-kale mixture into center of well and top with one piece of chicken.
- Shave Parmesan cheese over dish to finish.
- Spoon polenta into serving dish and make a well in middle. Place mushroom-kale mixture in well. Top with marinara sauce and one piece of chicken.
Substitution: Portobello, shiitake or button mushrooms may be used in place of cremini mushrooms.
Tip: Serve with creamy polenta instead of pasta. In saucepan, combine 2 cups chicken stock, 2 cups milk, 2 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to boil and whisk in 1 cup instant polenta and cook, while stirring, 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and whisk to combine.
Grilled Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 cups (10 ounces) uncooked orzo pasta
- 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) vegetable broth
- 1 jar (23 ounces) Bertolli Rustic Cut Spicy Marinara with Traditional Vegetables Sauce, divided
- 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) coarsely chopped smoked almonds
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint, divided
- 6 large red, yellow or orange bell peppers, top 1/2 inch removed and seeded
- Heat grill to high.
- In medium skillet on medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add pasta; cook and stir 2-3 minutes, or until light golden brown. Stir in broth and 1 cup sauce; bring to boil.
- Reduce heat to low; cover. Cook 4 minutes, or until pasta is al dente, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
- Stir in cheese, almonds and 1/4 cup mint. Brush outsides of peppers with remaining oil. Grill 4-6 minutes, or until crisp tender and lightly marked on all sides, turning frequently; cool slightly.
- Place peppers in center of 12-by-12-inch square of heavy duty foil. Bring sides of foil up and shape foil around each pepper, leaving tops open. Shape foil into stable base to secure peppers firmly. Keep upright while grilling.
- Fill each pepper with 1 tablespoon sauce and about 3/4 cup orzo mixture. Grill peppers 8-10 minutes, or until filling is heated through. Remove from foil. Warm remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mint before serving with warmed sauce.
- To prepare peppers: Heat oven to 400° F. Prepare orzo mixture as directed but do not grill peppers. Fill raw peppers with orzo mixture and place on foil squares. Bring sides of foil up and seal tops to fully enclose each pepper.
- Arrange on rimmed baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes, or until peppers are soft and filling is heated through.
Three-Cheese Farmstand Cups
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 2 cups cooked mini penne pasta
- 1 cup small broccoli florets, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 jar (23 ounces) Bertolli Rustic Cut Sweet Peppers and Portobello Mushroom Sauce, divided
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- Heat oven to 375° F. Divide penne pasta and broccoli evenly between 12 standard muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray. Whisk in mascarpone until smooth; gradually whisk in eggs.
- Stir in Parmesan, 2 cups sauce and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Spoon 1/4 cup egg mixture over pasta and broccoli in each cup; with spoon press filling down gently. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until set.
- Sprinkle tops with remaining mozzarella cheese halfway through bake time. Let stand 3 minutes before unmolding. Warm remaining sauce and serve over top of cups with basil.