Holiday 01 November 2018

Fuss-Free Holiday Recipe Inspiration

(Family Features) Hosting holiday dinners can be stressful, even for the most seasoned home cooks. Between gift giving, cookie baking, home decorating and more, there’s often little time left to think through a festive feast for a hungry crowd of family and friends.

While the main entree and dessert are usually the first courses to be accounted for when planning, seasonal appetizers and sides can set your spread apart. Perfect for intimate gatherings or larger parties, a simple app like Cranberry Walnut and Brie Bites, filled with ingredients like Willow Tree Classic Chicken Salad and creamy Brie cheese, can leave guests anxiously awaiting the rest of the meal.

Round out your menu with must-have sides like potatoes. For example, a traditional French dish like Dauphinoise Potatoes are easy to make and feature a homemade butter and garlic sauce, thinly sliced potatoes and rich Gruyere cheese.

Once the hustle and bustle of the holidays are over, however, one of the last things many hosts want to do is cook another big meal. With an option like Willow Tree Chicken Pies, you can skip the hassle and get a meal on the table quickly.

For more easy hosting ideas and recipes, visit willowtreefarm.com.

Cranberry Walnut and Brie Bites

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
Servings: 12-16

  • 2          packages (17 ounces each) puff pastry
  • 1          bag (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1          cup sugar, plus additional, to taste
  • 1          orange or lemon, zest only, cut into strips
  • 2          tablespoons water
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1          container (7 1/2 ounces) Willow Tree Classic Chicken Salad
  • 4          ounces Brie cheese, cut into 48 pieces
  • 1/4       cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2          tablespoons minced fresh sage
  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Thaw puff pastry sheets according to package instructions. Once thawed, unfold into thirds.
  3. Cut each third into 12 equal squares to make 48 squares.
  4. Grease two mini muffin tins; press each puff pastry square into muffin cup.
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes; remove from oven and press center of each cup in with end of wooden spoon.
  6. While puff pastry is baking, prepare cranberry sauce. Add bag of cranberries into saucepan. In pan over low heat, combine sugar, one strip orange or lemon zest and water; cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium and cook until cranberries burst, about 12 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add sugar, salt and pepper, to taste; let cool slightly and reserve.
  7. Fill center of each puff pastry cup with chicken salad, 1/2 teaspoon cranberry sauce and one piece Brie cheese.
  8. Bake 5-7 minutes, until Brie is melted.
  9. Top with chopped walnuts and minced sage. Serve warm.

Dauphinoise Potatoes

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30-45 minutes
Servings: 1

  • 8          ounces potatoes
  • 1          tablespoon butter
  • 1          large clove garlic
  • 1/2       cup heavy cream
  • 1          ounce Gruyere cheese, for garnish
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Peel and finely slice potatoes.
  3. Add butter to saucepan and melt. Finely mince garlic and add to saucepan; saute gently until garlic is pale golden color.
  4. Add cream to saucepan and bring to rapid simmer but do not boil.
  5. In oven-safe dish, arrange slices of potato in even layers.
  6. Pour warm cream over potatoes slowly, allowing to seep between layers without overflowing dish.
  7. Top generously with sliced Gruyere cheese and place in oven, 30-45 minutes per portion. When done, potatoes should be golden-brown on top, bubbling at edges and a knife should slide easily into center.

Note: Recipe can be multiplied for additional servings.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Dauphinoise Potatoes)

Source: Willow Tree

Holiday 01 November 2018

Stress-Free Holiday Entertaining Tips

(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:

Plan Ahead
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.

Grazing Table

  • Toma cheese, sliced
  • natural almonds
  • prosciutto
  • salami
  • Real California aged cheddar, sliced
  • Real California burrata cheese
  • olive oil
  • herbs
  • 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
  • breadsticks
  • tortilla chips
  • dark chocolate sea salt caramels
  • dried citrus, such as oranges and lemons
  • artisan bread, sliced
  1. 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.
  2. On separate small plate, place blue cheese; crumble.
  3. On medium board, arrange braided string cheese and dry salami slices.
  4. On serving platter, arrange antipasto skewers around bowl of yogurt pesto dipping sauce.
  5. On separate small cheese board, place Gouda, brie cheese and cheese log.
  6. On slate, arrange cheese bundts. On separate plate, place dry jack cheese.
  7. In separate bowls, place piquante peppers and green olives.
  8. Arrange boards, plates, bowls and skillet of queso fundido on table, as desired.
  9. 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
  • almonds
  • raspberries
  • blackberries
  • Real California burrata cheese
  • honey, for garnish
  • fresh herbs, for garnish
  1. To assemble cheese board: On large board, plate or tray, arrange brie cheese, olives, dried orange slices, sliced pepper jack cheese and almonds.
  2. 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.

Source:

Appetizers & Sides 01 November 2018

Appetizers for Easy Entertaining

(Family Features) When it comes time to entertain family and friends, it’s important to have a few simple, warm appetizers and small plates at the ready. Plan your menu with recipes that can be prepped ahead of time and popped in the oven when guests arrive. It can make hosting easier and more enjoyable.

A versatile ingredient that can enhance your favorite sweet and savory recipes, Musselman’s Apple Butter is more than just a spread. It’s made the old-fashioned way for perfect texture and a rich apple-cinnamon flavor, giving parties and get-togethers a unique taste in recipes like these Apple Brie Bites and Apple Butter Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp.

Find more appetizers ideal for entertaining at musselmans.com.

Apple Butter Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp

Servings: 10

  • 3/4       cup Musselman’s Apple Butter
  • 1/2       cup maple syrup
  • 1/2       teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 10        pieces bacon
  • 10        extra-large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In medium-sized skillet over medium heat, add apple butter, maple syrup, red pepper flakes, salt and paprika. Whisk until mixture is thick and cooked down by half, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In large skillet over medium heat, add bacon slices and cook until browned but still flexible.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Wrap one bacon slice around each shrimp, secure with toothpick and place onto prepared baking sheet.
  5. Once all shrimp have been wrapped, baste tops with apple butter mixture.
  6. Bake 5 minutes then flip and baste other side of shrimp. Bake another 5 minutes. Continue to flip and baste shrimp (2 minutes each time) until shrimp is fully cooked. Do not overcook as glaze can burn. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired.

Apple Brie Bites

Servings: 24

  • 1          sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 5          ounces Brie cheese
  • 1/2       cup Musselman's Apple Butter
  • 1/4       cup pecans, chopped
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Grease mini muffin pan.
  2. Press seams of puff pastry sheet together. Cut sheet into quarters then each quarter into six pieces. 
  3. Use rolling pin to flatten each piece of pastry into square shape. Place one square into each muffin cup.
  4. Put 1/2 teaspoon brie, 1 teaspoon apple butter and 1/2 teaspoon chopped pecans into each muffin cup.
  5. Bake 13-15 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.

Source:

Breakfast & Brunch 21 February 2018

Brighten Up Your Brunch Menu

(Family Features) Waking up early is hardly anyone’s favorite thing to do, especially on the weekends. Instead of planning an elaborate menu for brunch with family and friends, keep your plans simple and hit that snooze button. Transform a favorite recipe with new, inspired ingredients instead of traditional brunch fare.

Try putting a twist on a classic breakfast by opting for Maple Leaf Farms Duck Bacon instead of pork bacon. It's thick-cut, ready to cook and perfect for pairing with eggs, pastries or fruit. With a hearty taste and texture and 57 percent less fat than traditional pork bacon, duck bacon can satisfy hungry, waiting guests and give them a tasty start to their weekend.

This brunch recipe for Duck Bacon and Brie Cheese Stuffed French Toast can be thrown together in an instant with mouthwatering ingredients. The addition of duck bacon adds a unique flavor and wow-factor that can leave guests asking for more.

Find more brunch recipes and information about cooking with duck at mapleleaffarms.com.

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Duck Bacon and Brie Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Recipe courtesy of Chef Ben Vaughn on behalf of Maple Leaf Farms
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • Butter, for coating pan
  • 4          large eggs
  • dash of salt
  • 2          tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2       cup milk
  • 1⁄2       teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1          ounce bourbon
  • 8          slices day-old sourdough bread
  • 8          ounces Brie cheese
  • 12        slices Maple Leaf Farms Duck Bacon, cooked crispy
  • 8          tablespoons melted butter, for topping
  • maple syrup, for topping
  • powdered sugar, for topping
  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Butter baking sheet well.
  2. In small bowl, beat eggs with salt, sugar, milk, vanilla and bourbon. Pour into flat-bottomed dish.
  3. Submerge all bread slices in dish to soak up some of egg mixture. Work in batches, if necessary. Turn with spatula and soak other side. Do not soak too long or bread will be too saturated and difficult to handle. Gently transfer four soaked bread slices to prepared baking sheet.
  4. Place 2 ounces cheese on each slice. Add three slices crispy bacon on top of each cheese portion.
  5. Top with another soaked bread slice. Press filled bread together firmly.
  6. Place baking sheet in oven; bake 15-20 minutes, turning after 8-10 minutes to brown both sides.
  7. Serve immediately with melted butter, maple syrup and powdered sugar.

Source: Maple Leaf Farms

Meal Ideas 04 April 2017

Enhance Your Easter with Ham

(Family Features) From the breakfast nook to the dinner table, an Easter meal isn’t complete without a delicious ham for guests to enjoy and share. Whether you’re serving up a casual brunch, an early dinner or a formal holiday feast, an easy-to-prepare spiral ham is the perfect centerpiece for any meal occasion.

Perfectly cooked and hand trimmed, Smithfield spiral sliced hams make holiday entertaining quick and effortless, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with family and friends.

For an added twist that will truly impress your guests, try any of Smithfield’s exceptional flavor offerings, like the Baked Apple Spice Spiral Sliced Ham, part of the premium Smokehouse Reserve line. You’ll also delight family and friends with flavors like Salted Caramel, Pecan Praline, Brown Sugar and Crunchy Glaze.

Serve up any leftovers as-is or easily incorporate them into an array of tasty dishes for brunch, lunch or dinner the next day. Try this Leftover Ham and Bacon Hash for a quick at-home brunch dish or use in an easy appetizer like Ham and Brie Crostini.

With flavor this easy, this could be your most delicious Easter yet. For more Easter recipe inspiration, visit Smithfield.com.

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Leftover Ham and Bacon Hash

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds yellow potatoes, diced
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups Smithfield Anytime Favorites Cubed Ham or Smithfield Hickory Smoked Spiral Sliced Ham, cooked
  • 4 slices Smithfield Hometown Original Bacon, cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup jarred roasted red pepper, drained and roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 2-3 eggs, fried or poached to preference (optional)
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  1. Heat oven to 425° F. In large bowl, whisk together mustard, oil, salt and pepper until combined. Add potatoes and mushrooms, and toss to coat.
  2. Spread potato mixture evenly onto two lightly oiled or nonstick, rimmed baking pans and roast in oven 35-40 minutes, or until potatoes and mushrooms have started to brown, stirring halfway through cooking. Add any leftover bacon or ham to mixture and stir.
  3. Add in roasted peppers to oven-safe serving casserole (if desired) and top with cheese. Bake additional 10-15 minutes, or until cheese has softened and begun to melt. Top hash with eggs, if desired, and sliced basil.

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Ham and Brie Crostini with Fig Jam

  • 1 French baguette (10-12 ounces), sliced on bias, 1/4-inch thick (about 24 pieces)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound Smithfield Hickory Smoked Spiral Sliced Ham, cut into 24 pieces
  • 9 ounces Brie cheese, sliced and cut into 24 pieces
  • 1/4 cup fig jam
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Lightly brush both sides of baguette slices with oil and place slightly spaced on rimmed baking pans. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp.
  3. Top each slice with ham and Brie; bake additional 5-8 minutes, or until Brie has just started to melt.
  4. Top each crostini with fig jam and serve warm.

Source: Smithfield

Appetizers & Sides 06 December 2016

Entertaining with Ease

Impress guests with elegant appetizers

(Family Features) Bringing an element of elegance to your holiday celebration is easy when you start with party-pleasing ingredients, and great tasting food often starts with dairy. Foods like milk, cheese and yogurt not only enhance the flavor and texture of dishes everyone loves, but they also add high-quality nutrients to support the health and wellbeing of your guests.

Each of these recipes features a different variety of cheese as the essential ingredient for success. These decadent, elegant apps, which can be prepared in minutes, are sure to be party favorites. Find more ideas for serving up an elegant, yet simple menu your guests will love at MilkMeansMore.org.

13486 brie

Holiday Baked Brie

Recipe created by Foxes Love Lemons on behalf of United Dairy Industry of Michigan
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 14 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 Brie round (8 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • crackers or toasted bread
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook 8-10 minutes, or until deep golden brown, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper; remove from heat.
  3. Place Brie on parchment paper-lined rimmed baking pan; drizzle with honey. Transfer to oven and bake 5-7 minutes, or until inside of cheese is softened, but outside remains intact.
  4. Transfer Brie to serving platter; top with pomegranate arils, pistachios and mushrooms.  Serve immediately with crackers or bread.

13486 dip

Butternut Squash Queso Dip

Recipe created by Rachel Cooks on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 10

  • 12 ounces butternut squash puree, frozen
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 finely diced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 can (10 ounces) petite diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  1. Place unwrapped squash in microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave 5 minutes at 50 percent power, or until thawed.
  2. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 4-5 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  3. Add squash, tomatoes, cumin and chili powder, and bring to boil over medium-high heat.
  4. Reduce heat to low and add cheese. Stir until melted and serve immediately.

13486 crackers

Parmesan Crisps with Basil and Sun-Dried Tomato

Recipe created by Art From My Table on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 6 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, jarred
  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. On baking sheet, make eight flat circles out of 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese each. Bake cheese 5 minutes, or until just beginning to turn golden.
  3. Using metal spatula, remove crisps from pan immediately, placing on rack or plate to cool.
  4. Place vinegar and sugar in small saucepan and boil until mixture is reduced to about 1/4 cup and is thickened.
  5. Top each crisp with 1 fresh basil leaf and 1 sun-dried tomato. Drizzle balsamic reduction over top.

13486 stuffed mushroom

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Mushroom Caps

Recipe created by The Lemon Bowl on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 24

  • 24 large mushrooms, stemmed and reserved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 pinch chili flakes
  • 1 pinch minced scallions
  1. Heat oven to 350° F and place mushroom caps in single layer on baking sheet lined with foil.
  2. Mince reserved mushroom stems and heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and mushroom stems to pan along with salt and pepper. Saute 2-3 minutes, or until mushrooms are softened. Add spinach and artichoke hearts to pan and cook until heated through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and place mixture in large mixing bowl. Stir in feta cheese and onion. Adjust seasoning, to taste.
  3. Using small cookie scoop, add 2 tablespoons filling to each mushroom cap. Bake mushrooms 20-25 minutes, or until mushroom caps are softened. Sprinkle with chili flakes and minced scallions to serve.

Source: United Dairy Industry of Michigan

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