(Family Features) Introducing kids to unfamiliar flavors doesn’t have to be a frightful experience. Getting creative and taking cues from some beloved characters may be all it takes for families to explore produce in a new way and discover how delicious, satisfying and enjoyable fresh fruits and vegetables can be.
A passion for produce may begin with America’s favorites, like bananas, apples, citrus, celery, carrots and broccoli, but that’s just the beginning.
Whether it’s their angry names and tough exteriors, or simply a fear of the unknown about taste and preparation, dozens more diverse and exotic fruits and vegetables like dragon fruit, horned melon and Brussels sprouts are often the sources of produce paranoia.
An initiative from Dole, in collaboration with Disney and Pixar’s Monsters, Inc., is helping to take the scare out of specialty fruits and vegetables and widen America’s produce horizons. That’s because, like a good book or the characters in a beloved film, you can’t judge a fruit or vegetable by its appearance; nature’s true beauty often lies within.
The campaign offers character-inspired recipes, serving suggestions, digital and social activations, family-friendly activities, fun trivia and influencer partnerships that celebrate the not-so-scary world of the planet’s more unusual fresh bounty.
One easy way to introduce new flavors is by trying a variation of a familiar fruit or veggie. For example, there are more than 500 edible banana varieties in the world. You might sample a red banana or a Manzano, or even an ice cream banana, with a taste resembling vanilla custard.
These fun and kid-friendly Green Slime Nacho Cups feature plantains, for example, a member of the banana family with a different taste and texture than everyday yellow bananas – more firm and starchy like a potato. Increase your family’s produce intake even further with a Slippery Slimy Smoothie and Chicken Stuffed Roz Heads, which call for green grapes, celery, avocados, strawberries and blueberries.
Find more recipes and other not-so-scary fun at dole.com/Disney, and follow #Dole and #DoleRecipes.
Chicken Stuffed Roz Heads
Prep time: 15 minutes
- 1 cup cubed, cooked chicken breast
- 1/2 cup DOLE® Green Grapes, halved
- 1/4 cup chopped Dole Celery
- 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 Dole Avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
- 6 whole-wheat pretzel twists
- 18 whole-wheat pretzel sticks
- 1 Dole Strawberry, sliced
- 3 dried, sweetened blueberries
- In bowl, stir together chicken, grapes, celery, yogurt, salt and pepper.
- Scoop three equal portions onto serving plate. Shape each into oval.
- Top each with upside down avocado half.
- Decorate each avocado half to resemble Roz’s face. Using sharp paring knife, trim each pretzel twist to create horn-rimmed glasses lens by cutting off double loop section of each pretzel twist and discarding or enjoying as snack, keeping single loop portion, which will become one lens. Two lenses are needed per Roz Head.
- Place two pretzel lenses on each avocado to form glasses. Add pretzel stick to each side of avocado to form arms of glasses. Push four pretzel sticks into top of each avocado to form hair. Add strawberry slice, trimmed to look like lips for her mouth, and place blueberry on lower left side of face to form mole.
Green Slime Nacho Cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 green starting to turn yellow DOLE® Plantain, peeled and thinly sliced on bias
- 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 Dole Avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup thinly shredded Dole Purple Cabbage
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Toss plantain slices with canola oil and season with pinch of salt. On parchment paper-lined baking sheet, arrange slices in single layer with no overlapping.
- Bake 18-20 minutes, or until crispy and lightly golden. Cool completely and set aside.
- Using spoon, scoop flesh of avocado into small bowl and mash, reserving one half avocado shell. Stir mashed avocado with lime juice, garlic and remaining salt. Stir in slaw, reserving some for garnish. Scoop into reserved avocado shell and smooth top with back of spoon. Stick reserved cabbage shreds out of avocado mixture to look like hair.
- Serve slime nacho cups with plantain chips.
Slippery Slimy Smoothie
Prep time:10 minutes
Servings: 2 (8 ounces each)
- 1/2 cup DOLE® Spinach
- 1 Dole Banana, peeled and frozen
- 1/2 cup Dole Green Grapes, frozen
- 1/3 cup cucumber, diced
- 1/2 cup Dole Pineapple
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 5 ice cubes
- In blender, blend spinach, banana, grapes, cucumber, pineapple, almond milk, Greek yogurt and ice cubes until smooth.
- Pour smoothie into two glasses and serve.
©2020 Disney/Pixar (Roz)
(Family Features) The summer months offer seemingly endless opportunities to enjoy the warm weather with friends and family. Serving crowd-pleasing foods and drinks can go a long way toward a successful gathering, whether you’re hosting a brunch, relaxing by the pool or throwing a backyard bash.
Regardless of the occasion, a store like ALDI has everything you need to savor summer, including entertaining items and high-quality ingredients, without the premium price tag. When you make this one-stop shop your destination for summer essentials, you can get more of what you love for less.
Find more seasonal recipe ideas like these appetizers, main dishes, desserts and drinks at ALDI.us.
Grilled Avocados with Vegetable Relish – Boost a favorite summer flavor like avocado by using your grill. Start by slicing the avocados and removing the pits before grilling flesh-side down. Fill with a vegetable relish mixture of tomatoes, bell peppers and onions then sprinkle with feta cheese.
Citrus Popping Kale Salad – This light and refreshing salad is a perfect make-ahead meal-starter. Made with a quinoa base, the combination of kale, mangoes, cranberries, toasted almonds and crumbled goat cheese provides a unique mix of flavors.
Grilled Strip Steak Skewers with Pear Slaw – Skewers are a summertime favorite that can be easily customized to meet the tastes of your guests. This version features steak marinated in a soy sauce mixture, cooked on a grill pan and served over a bed of cabbage, carrots, radishes, onions and julienned pears.
Grilled Pear and Apple Pork Tenderloin – Combining a sweet yet savory glazed pork tenderloin with a side of fresh apple and pear (or peach) wedges, this simple dish is an ideal accompaniment to a day or night spent dining al fresco.
Frozen Greek Yogurt with Blueberries – Summer calls for frozen treats, and you can put a healthier spin on dessert by substituting frozen yogurt for ice cream. Just blend blueberries, lemon juice and vanilla with Greek yogurt and freeze for a perfect indulgence on a warm afternoon.
Freezie Fruit Pops – Mix and match assorted fruits like kiwi, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, pineapple, peaches and more with fruit juices. Once mixed, freeze to create healthy fruit pops. For a grown-up version, substitute wine for the juice.
Very Berry Chiller with Lemonade Ice Cubes – When looking for a way to cool off on a hot summer day, reach for a combination of classic summer flavors. Freeze lemonade overnight in an ice cube tray then drop the cubes in a pitcher of blended blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries for a sweet, refreshing beverage.
SanGrita – A refreshing twist on a traditional Spanish punch, this adults-only beverage calls for blending frozen lime bars with sangria and garnishing with strawberries and blueberries to your liking.
(Family Features) Make it easy to stick to your resolutions by starting every morning with a breakfast with more protein. Did you know the average breakfast bowl or plate contains on average only 13 grams of protein, yet some nutrition experts recommend getting 20-30 grams at each meal?
Spreading out your protein throughout the day (rather than in one large amount) can help optimize how your body uses it. That means getting enough protein at breakfast! A breakfast with enough protein can help you feel fuller longer so you’re more likely to stick to your healthy eating routine. One easy way to get eight grams of high-quality protein is to add milk to your breakfast routine – whether in a cup, bowl and in your favorite recipe, an 8-ounce glass of milk contains 8 grams of high-quality protein!
Here are eight delicious breakfast ideas with protein to kick-start your new year.
Make your oatmeal with milk instead of water to add milk’s high-quality protein to your morning meal. This twist also adds the classic combo of bacon and eggs to shake up your morning routine – serving up a total of 25 grams of protein.
Need a quick breakfast for busy mornings? These grab-and-go mini casseroles have a few simple ingredients, like lowfat milk, spinach and cheddar cheese – with a ton of palate payoff. Pair two mini casseroles with a cup of milk for 24 grams of protein.
Apple-Cinnamon Whole-Grain Pancake Muffins
Try this yummy twist on your morning go-to pancakes filled with delicious apple slices and cinnamon and made with 100% whole-grain pancake batter. Pair with an 8-ounce glass of milk to add an extra 8 grams of protein to the meal, for a total of 13 grams.
These savory crepes made with milk and filled with veggies and Swiss cheese for a delicious way to kick-start your day with 23 grams of protein.
Breakfast takes a flavorful twist in this recipe that uses traditional Italian flavors of polenta and marinara to create a delicious dish. Pair with a glass of milk for 25 grams of protein.
Lowfat milk and avocados make this smoothie extra creamy for 7 grams of protein per serving, and it’s packed with spinach, pineapple and bananas so it’s a choice you can feel good about.
Spice up your morning meal by adding quinoa and blueberries. Pair this dish with a glass of milk for 21 grams of protein power to start your day!
Sweet potatoes, lowfat milk and chicken sausage combine in this tasty egg scramble to give you a protein boost to start your morning right. Add a cup of milk for 22 grams of protein.
Source: Milk Life
(Family Features) With summer in full swing, outdoor chefs are fine-tuning their grilling game and looking for creative twists on backyard food favorites. But most cooks often overlook a classic pantry staple that's a great secret ingredient and unlikely ally when entertaining outdoors: 100% pure honey.
It's an all-natural sweetener that keeps things simple with only one, pure ingredient: honey. And it's not only limited to desserts and drinks. Savory dishes that call for time on the grill can benefit just as much from incorporating 100% pure honey. It's perfect for homemade, natural-ingredient marinades and in addition to its one-of-a-kind flavor, it aids in caramelization, a key process in grilling.
Also working in 100% pure honey's favor is its sheer versatility. You can impress guests by using it in all kinds of cuisine. For a sweet summer lineup from appetizers to dessert, try these distinctive recipes.
For even more recipes to make your summer sweeter, visit www.honey.com.
Grilled Honey Glazed Shrimp
Makes 6 servings
- 1 cup orange juice
- 3/4 cup 100% pure honey
- 1/3 cup lime juice
- 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons black and red pepper blend
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon California-style coarse onion powder
- 30 jumbo shrimp
- 12 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
- Place orange juice, honey, lime juice, mustard and dry seasonings in a blender and blend on high for 1 minute until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 12 minutes or until thickened and reduced by half. Divide the glaze into 2 plastic containers, seal tightly and refrigerate until ready to use. Thread shrimp onto skewers. Cook shrimp over hot coals for about 3 minutes on each side or until completely pink, basting with one container of the glaze during grilling. Remove from grill and baste with remaining glaze.
Honey Marinated Chicken
Makes 4 servings
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons 100% pure honey
- 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 1/3 cup 100% pure honey
- Blend all marinade ingredients (exclude the 1/3 cup honey); pour over chicken breasts. Marinate in refrigerator overnight in plastic bag. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Grill six to 10 minutes, turning once and basting occasionally with 1/3 cup honey during last five minutes of grilling.
Strawberry Chiffon Pie
Makes 8 servings
- 2 cups (12 ounces) coarsely chopped strawberries, fresh or frozen
- 3/4 cup 100% pure honey, divided
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 cup light sour cream
- Prepared 9-inch crumb crust
- In small bowl, mash strawberries and 1/4 cup honey; set aside.
- In small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand five minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup honey. Warm over low heat until gelatin dissolves. Transfer to large bowl; stir in sour cream. Cover and refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes or until mixture mounds on a spoon when tested.
- Using electric mixer, beat mixture at medium speed until light. Fold in strawberries; mix until well combined. Pour into prepared crust. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours.
Citrus Salad with Avocado
Makes 6 servings
- 3 6-inch corn tortillas
- 4 oranges
- 4 grapefruits
- 1/3 cup 100% pure honey
- 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 avocado, sliced
- Preheat oven to 255°F. Slice tortillas into very thin strips. Dry strips by placing on a cookie sheet and baking for approximately 15 minutes. Set aside
- Peel oranges and grapefruits, then section, seed and place in large bowl; set aside. In small bowl, whisk together honey, raspberry vinegar, oil and salt.
- Pour over citrus sections and toss gently.
- Top with avocado slices and tortilla strips.
Honey Raspberry Iced Tea
Makes 4 servings
- 2 cups freshly brewed tea
- 2 cups cranberry-raspberry juice
- 1/4 cup 100% pure honey
- In large, heat-proof pitcher, whisk together all ingredients until thoroughly combined and honey is dissolved. Chill until ready to serve. To serve, pour over ice.
Source: National Honey Board
(Family Features) Most parents know the first few weeks of school season and new daily routines can be hectic. From stocking up on school supplies to finishing up homework, there's few unused minutes in the day.
One thing that's particularly easy to forget in the mad dash to catch the bus or make it to morning drop-off is a well-balanced, protein-packed breakfast. According to a No Kid Hungry study, when students have a balanced breakfast in the morning, they are more likely to attend school and perform better on standardized tests.
Start the school year off right by giving your kids a breakfast they'll love that also provides the protein they need to kick-start their day. Recipes like Simple Ham and Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches or Baked Eggs in Avocado can be ready in minutes and provide fuel long past the first morning school bell.
As a simple time-saver, Smithfield offers pre-diced, cubed and sliced ham that can make breakfast a breeze any day of the week. Incorporate it into a simple breakfast sandwich for a protein boost you can enjoy on-the-go. Served crispy or chewy depending on your preference, Thick Cut Bacon also puts a savory spin on nearly any breakfast plate, whether paired with eggs and avocado or a simple side of toast.
For more information and breakfast ideas, visit smithfield.com.
Simple Ham and Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 8 frozen prepared waffles, toasted
- 8 ounces Smithfield Anytime Favorites Quarter Boneless Sliced Ham, any flavor
- 4 large eggs
- 4 slices cheddar or American cheese
- maple syrup (optional)
- Prepare waffles according to package directions; keep warm.
- In nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook ham slices until lightly browned, about 30 seconds per side; keep warm. In same skillet over medium heat, fry eggs until desired doneness.
- Lay out four waffles and top each with sliced cheese, ham and fried egg, topping with remaining waffles to finish. Serve warm with maple syrup, if desired.
Tip: Try spreading fruit jam on your sandwich for a change of pace.
Baked Eggs in Avocado
Cook time: 10 minutes
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 3 large avocados
- 6 eggs
- 4 strips Smithfield Thick Cut Bacon, diced and cooked until crispy
- 1 cup blue cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- Heat oven to 450 F. Spray baking sheet or glass baking pan with cooking spray. Cut avocados in half. Scoop out 1-2 tablespoons of avocado to create well for eggs. Place avocados flesh-side up on prepared baking sheet or glass pan.
- Gently crack one egg in each avocado well, making sure to keep yolk intact. Bake 10 minutes, or until eggs reach desired temperature. Remove.
- Top with bacon pieces, blue cheese and cilantro.
(Family Features) It’s the perfect time of year for families to get back on track and pledge to eat healthy lunches for the remainder of the school year.
Families that take the free Power Your Lunchbox Pledge can access nutritious and delicious ideas for lunch, after-school snacks and weekday family dinners, as well as coupons, tips and ideas for incorporating more fruits and vegetables into lunchboxes. The pledge website also features a collection of registered dietitian-approved recipes, including warm, hearty and healthy lunches like this Alphabet Vegetable Soup and kid-friendly, build-your-own lunchbox ideas like these tasty Wonton Taco Cups.
For teachers who want to incorporate the program into their classrooms, pledge resources such as nutrition-focused lesson plans, certificates for students and take-home materials for families are also available online. Teachers who take the pledge can win a $500 gift card for classroom supplies.
Taking the pledge not only signals a commitment to making healthier meal choices, it helps those in need. From Jan. 4 through Feb. 15, for every online pledge, companies supporting the Power Your Lunchbox Pledge will donate $1 to Feeding America programs that support families and children. For more information, visit poweryourlunchbox.com.
Alphabet Vegetable Soup
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Total time: 45 minutes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 carrots, diced
- 2 cups organic baby kale
- 8 ounces snipped green beans, chopped
- 1 russet potato, peeled and diced
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 quarts low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 can (14 ounces) no-salt-added diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup alphabet pasta
- In large pot over medium heat, heat oil.
- Add carrots, kale, green beans, potato and onion. Cook 5 minutes, or until softened.
- Add broth, tomatoes, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 20 minutes.
- Stir in pasta and cook 10 minutes, or until cooked.
Wonton Taco Cups
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Total time: 25 minutes
- 3/4 pound lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium taco seasoning
- 1 Roma tomato
- 2 mini sweet peppers
- 1/4 small sweet onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 24 wonton wrappers
- 1/2 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
- 2 avocados, sliced
- 1 lime, juiced
- Heat oven to 350° F. Spray 24-cup mini muffin pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
- Heat large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain and return to pan. Add taco seasoning and mix well.
- Add tomato, peppers, onion and cilantro to food processor and chop until fine (or finely chop by hand). Add to ground beef and mix well.
- Line muffin pans with wonton wrappers, placing one in each cup. Add taco mixture and top with cheese. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until wontons start to brown on edges.
- Meanwhile, toss avocados with lime juice. Top each taco cup with avocado.
Source: Produce for Kids