(Family Features) Between balancing work with family and friends, squeezing in a healthy meal can be hard, and finding time for a workout can be even harder. A busy lifestyle demands quick, portable and convenient foods that let you refuel your body with better health in mind.
When time is tight, it may be tempting to reach for pre-packaged snacks or fast food, but you can make your own grab-and-go snack packs and meals at home in less time than it takes to get through the drive-thru lane.
A cool and refreshing superfood smoothie can give you a much-needed boost when your energy is dragging. Another smart snacking tip: fill sandwich bags with servings of fresh fruits and veggies that you can carry in your purse or gym bag to nibble on when hunger strikes. Options such as watermelon cubes or sticks are a great choice because they are high in fiber and water to help fill you up with nutrients instead of calories.
Also be mindful of how you answer sweet tooth cravings. A naturally sweet treat such as a slice of watermelon is a satisfying alternative to cookies or candy. In fact, working sweet flavors into your regular meals is a way to keep cravings at bay. This salad combines an ancient grain high in protein and nutrients with the sweet crunch of fresh watermelon for a rich taste and texture.
Find more tips and recipes to fuel your day at watermelon.org.
Ancient Grain Salad with Watermelon
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- salt, to taste
- 3 cups warm, cooked kamut grain (about 1 1/2 cups dry)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 1/3 cup diced green onions, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1/3 cup thin-sliced celery
- 1 cup corn
- 2 cups chopped watermelon
- In small bowl, blend oil, maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt. Add kamut and pecans. Stir thoroughly and let sit until cooled.
- In tall glass bowl, assemble salad by placing one-third of the kamut mixture on bottom, topped by half each of the onions and celery, corn and watermelon. Repeat. Add remaining kamut on top and sprinkle with remaining diced green onion. Present as layered salad and toss just before serving.
Nutritional information per serving: 247 calories; 13.2 g fat; 1.6 g saturated fat; 3.7 g protein; 28.4 g carbohydrates; 15 g sugar; 30 mg calcium; 1.2 mg iron; 291 mg potassium; 13 mg sodium; 3.7 g fiber.
Rosy Red Superfood Smoothie
Servings: 3 (1 cup each)
- 2 cups cubed watermelon
- 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
- 1 cup raspberry kefir
- 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 2 tablespoons agave syrup
- ice (optional)
- Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
Nutritional information per serving: 201 calories; 4.4 g fat; 2 g saturated fat; 6 g protein; 34 g carbohydrates; 29 g sugar; 3 mg cholesterol; 189 mg calcium; 1.6 mg iron; 438 mg potassium; 23.5 mg sodium; 4.8 g fiber.
Cooking with canned foods combines convenience and nutrition
(Family Features) Simple, convenient and versatile, canned foods provide an array of options for families looking to increase nutrition during mealtimes. However, some home chefs may not be aware of the benefits canned foods bring to the table.
Consider these common consumer misnomers cleared up by the Canned Food Alliance:
Myth: Canned foods don’t count toward dietary goals.
Fact: Canned foods provide important nutrients that deliver on the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines, as all forms of fruits, vegetables, beans, meats and seafood – whether fresh, frozen, canned or dried – are recommended to help ensure a proper balance of nutrients. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the Canned Food Alliance, 95 percent of health professionals surveyed agree that all forms of food, including canned, can help consumers meet the USDA’s MyPlate fruit and vegetable recommendations.
Myth: Canned foods aren’t as nutritious as fresh or frozen foods.
Fact: Research published in the “Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture” shows canned foods can be as nutritious, and in some cases more nutritious, than fresh and frozen counterparts.
Myth: Canned foods are filled with preservatives.
Fact: Because canned foods have already been cooked, preservatives aren’t necessary to prevent spoilage. The canning process itself preserves the food.
Myth: Canned foods are highly processed.
Fact: Once canned fruits and vegetables are picked and packed near peak ripeness, they’re cooked quickly at high temperatures to lock in nutrients, similar to the home-canning process.
Myth: Canned foods are high in sodium.
Fact: Salt and sodium aren’t required for preservation of canned foods, and low- and no-sodium canned food options are available. Additionally, draining and rinsing canned foods can further reduce sodium by up to 41 percent.
Find more canned food facts and recipes at mealtime.org.
Chipotle Pumpkin Black Bean Chili
Recipe courtesy of the Canned Food Alliance
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 60-70 minutes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can (28 ounces) no-salt added canned diced tomatoes
- 1 cup canned pureed pumpkin
- 1 cup no-salt-added canned chicken broth
- 1 can no-salt-added canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (12 1/2 ounces) no-salt-added chicken, drained
- 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- salt, to taste
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- lime wedges, for serving
- In Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions, celery, jalapenos, garlic, cumin, oregano and pepper. Cook, stirring, 5-8 minutes, or until vegetables soften. Add tomato paste and cook 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, pumpkin puree, chicken broth, black beans, chicken, chipotles and brown sugar. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 hour, or until chili thickens. Add salt, to taste.
- Garnish with green onions and serve with lime wedges.
Tip: Add preferred canned beans, such as white kidney beans, pinto or Romano beans, in place of or in addition to black beans.
Nutritional information per serving: 240 calories; 6 g fat; 35 mg cholesterol; 210 mg sodium; 29 g carbohydrates; 8 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 18 g protein; 7,390 IU vitamin A; 35 mg vitamin C; 98 mg calcium; 3.2 mg iron.
Source: Canned Food Alliance
(Family Features) Heat up your next get-together by inviting family and friends over to try a DIY trend, the hot-pot party. It can be easy to prep and your guests can enjoy cooking and customizing their own meals.
First, prepare a rich, flavored broth and serve steaming-hot in a slow cooker or multi-cooker. Next, offer a selection of meat, seafood and veggies for dunking. Cook for a few minutes then garnish with sauces and various toppings to match individual tastes.
A traditional East Asian hot-pot broth is flavored with beef stock, soy sauce, chilies, ginger and garlic. Try a Mexican-inspired version by serving a spiced chicken broth with ancho chile pepper, cumin and oregano, or offer a taste of the Caribbean with a coconut milk broth and fresh papaya pica sauce.
Learn more about this hot-pot trend and all the latest flavor trends in McCormick’s 2018 Flavor Forecast at FlavorForecast.com.
Caribbean Hot-Pot Broth with Papaya Pica Sauce
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours
Caribbean Hot-Pot Broth:
- 2 pounds smoked ham hocks
- 2 cups sliced yellow onions
- 1 cup diagonally sliced carrots
- 1/2 cup diagonally sliced celery
- 8 1/4 cups water, divided
- 1 container (32 ounces) Kitchen Basics Original Chicken Stock
- 1 whole chile pepper, such as Scotch bonnet or habanero
- 2 McCormick Bay Leaves
- 1 teaspoon McCormick Thyme Leaves
- 1 teaspoon McCormick Ground Turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cans (13.66 ounces each) Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
Papaya Pica Sauce:
- 3 cups cubed fresh papaya
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup chopped, seeded Scotch bonnet (chile pepper)
- 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Ground Ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Ground Cloves
- 1 pound uncooked bay scallops
- 1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
- cooked rice
- toasted shredded coconut (optional)
- fresh red or green bell pepper slices (optional)
- To make broth: Place ham hocks, onion, carrots and celery in 6-quart stockpot. Cook on medium heat 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 8 cups water, chicken stock, chile pepper, bay leaves, thyme leaves, turmeric, allspice and pepper. Add salt, to taste. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 1 hour, skimming fat occasionally.
- Remove cover and simmer 30 minutes, skimming fat occasionally. Remove ham hocks and skim fat. In small bowl, whisk cornstarch and remaining water. Add to pot with coconut milk. Cook on medium heat 30 minutes. Skim fat. Stir lime juice into broth.
- To make Papaya Pica Sauce: In food processor on high speed, process papaya, vinegar, chile pepper, onion, mustard, salt, allspice, garlic powder, ginger and cloves until smooth. Transfer to medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer, uncovered, 10-15 minutes. Pour into medium bowl.
- To serve, pour broth into heated 6-quart electric slow cooker or hot pot. Cook shrimp and scallops in broth about 5 minutes, or until cooked through, stirring occasionally.
- Place some rice in bowl then ladle broth and seafood over top. Stir in Papaya Pica Sauce and top with shredded coconut and pepper slices, if desired.
Asian Hot-Pot Broth with Tangy Chili Sauce
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 2 containers (32 ounces each) Kitchen Basics Original Beef Stock
- 1/4 cup Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste
- 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon McCormick Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon McCormick Ground Ginger
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
Tangy Chili Sauce:
- 1/2 cup Thai Kitchen Sweet Red Chili Sauce
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced
- Simply Asia Lo Mein Noodles, cooked
- assorted mushrooms, sliced (optional)
- baby bok choy, coarsely chopped (optional)
- crunchy Chinese noodles (optional)
- To make broth: In 6-quart stockpot over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onion; cook and stir until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in beef stock, curry paste, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder and ginger. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes. Stir lime juice into broth before serving.
- To make Tangy Chili Sauce: In small bowl, mix red chili sauce and lime juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To serve, pour broth into heated 6-quart electric slow cooker or hot pot. Cook steak in broth about 2-3 minutes, or until it reaches desired doneness.
- Place lo mein noodles in bowls then ladle broth and steak over top. Stir in Tangy Chili Sauce and top with mushrooms, baby bok choy and Chinese noodles, if desired.
Puebla Hot-Pot Broth with Avocado Crema
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Puebla Hot-Pot Broth:
- 3 tablespoons McCormick Gourmet Ancho Chile Pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano leaves
- 2 teaspoons McCormick Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped white onion
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 containers (32 ounces each) Kitchen Basics Original Chicken Stock
- 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 2 ears fresh corn, shucked and cut into 1-inch rounds
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/2 medium avocado, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
- 1 chayote, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- avocado, chopped (optional)
- fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
- crunchy tortilla strips (optional)
- To make broth: In small bowl, mix chile pepper, ground cumin, oregano, paprika and salt. Set aside. In 6-quart stockpot on medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until softened. Stir in chicken stock, crushed tomatoes and 1/2 of seasoning mixture. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 20 minutes, adding corn during last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove corn to plate. Stir lime juice into broth.
- To make Avocado Crema: In food processor on high speed, process avocado, sour cream, lime juice, salt and garlic powder until smooth. Transfer to bowl; cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Coat chicken strips with remaining seasoning mixture.
- To serve, pour broth into heated 6-quart electric slow cooker or hot pot. Cook chicken and chayote in broth 4-5 minutes, or until cooked through, stirring occasionally.
- Ladle broth with cooked chicken and vegetables into individual bowls. Top with Avocado Crema and avocado, fresh cilantro and tortilla strips, if desired.
(Family Features) Fall is the perfect time to welcome warm, robust flavors to your kitchen as well as your wine glass. With its bold, spicy, dark fruit flavors, cabernet sauvignon is a perfect wine for crisp fall weather.
Cabernet sauvignon is more versatile for pairing than some believe. It pairs well with different cheeses, meats, hearty vegetables and even fish. The key to creating a great dining experience is balancing the flavor of the meal with an elegantly balanced wine. When cooking, consider the three main flavors: sweet, salty and sour.
Sweet sauces can make cabernet sauvignon taste harsh and astringent, which takes away from the fresh fruit flavors in the wine. However, sour and salty flavors can make the wine taste more vibrant, creating a velvety mouthfeel of soft tannins while making the fruit taste more pronounced.
A well-balanced cabernet, such as Sequoia Grove Winery’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, pairs well with any meat or fish that is prepared with an acidic sauce or when given a squeeze of lemon juice. The winery, located in the heart of the Rutherford region in Napa Valley, specializes in the production of elegant, food-friendly cabernet sauvignon. Crafted by winemaker Molly Hill, the wine has aromatics of bright black cherries and blackberry, followed by cinnamon with a touch of black pepper. The palate is elegant with a round, full body, soft tannins and tasty blackberry flavors.
This recipe for a savory lamb shank stew has just the right amount of salt, acid and spice to create a deliciously balanced meal that is perfect to pair with an elegant glass of cabernet sauvignon. Learn more about Sequoia Grove’s wines and tasting seminars that include pairing suggestions at SequoiaGrove.com.
Slow Cooker Lamb Shank Stew
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 lamb shanks, external fat trimmed
- salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- lemon juice
- In slow cooker, combine onion, celery, carrots, garlic, chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme and bay leaf; stir.
- Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In large saute pan over medium-high heat, warm olive oil until nearly smoking. Add shanks and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker and cook on high 6 hours.
- Transfer lamb shanks to large serving dish. Remove bay leaf from cooking liquid. Using blender or stick blender, add generous squeeze of lemon juice to cooking liquid and puree until smooth. Pour some sauce over shanks. Serve with cauliflower puree and glass of Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Source: Kobrand Wine and Spirits
(Family Features) More than nine in 10 millennial moms think it's important for their kids to learn about where their food comes from, and more than three-quarters of those moms actively do things with their kids to help learn just that, according to recent findings.
Building healthy habits is the top reason moms cite for encouraging more learning when it comes to food, according to research conducted by IPSOS on behalf of Cuties – the sweet little clementines. Even when the weather is colder outside, these tips make it fun for families to learn about where their food comes from and help encourage kids to eat healthy for a lifetime.
- Grocery shop together or go to a farmers market. Many cities now have year-round indoor markets, where together you can select fruits and veggies to try. Often the farmers are there, so you can learn about produce and get ideas for how to prepare unfamiliar items at home.
- Cook with your kids. Find fun recipes that let them explore fresh foods where they can be creative. Find age-appropriate ways to involve them, like stirring or measuring, and encourage them to get hands-on with recipes, such as this fun Flower Salad recipe from registered dietitian Ellie Krieger.
- Explore the story of where some of their favorite foods come from. Kids learn and remember information when it comes in the form of a story. Cuties is giving families the chance to uncover those stories by encouraging them to submit questions using #AskAGrower on Facebook. Actual growers will answer with stories about how this sweet, seedless and easy-to-peel fruit is grown with care by their family of growers. A video series at cutiescitrus.com/our-story also helps bring the stories to life.
“Making learning about food fun is good for the whole family,” Krieger said. “It encourages kids – and parents – to explore new foods and be more connected to where their food comes from. It’s truly a ‘healthy’ conversation to have together.”
Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger
- 1 Cuties clementine
- 9-10 thinly sliced strips red bell pepper, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 grape tomato
- 1 celery stick, cut to 3 inches
- 2 small leaves romaine lettuce
- 1 piece English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and cut to 1 1/2 inches then thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Peel clementine and separate sections almost all the way, leaving attached at the base. Place on plate with base down. Place piece of red bell pepper between each citrus section, and half tomato in center to form flower.
- Place celery and lettuce leaves underneath as stem and leaves. Arrange cucumber slices below to represent grass.
- In small bowl, stir together yogurt, honey and lemon juice.
- Serve dip in dish alongside flower, or in a mound underneath cucumber slices.
Nutritional information per serving: 76 calories; 0.5 g total fat; (0.3 g saturated fat, 0.2 g poly fat); 4 g protein; 15 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 2 mg cholesterol; 21 mg sodium.
(Family Features) We all know it's important to start the day off with a healthy breakfast. As a parent, you also have lunch covered for your hungry student, whether it's packed in a brown bag or eaten in the cafeteria. But after a busy day of learning, young tummies often need a wholesome after-school snack to tide them over until dinner.
Keeping a stash of kid-friendly snacks handy is a sure-fire way to keep snack time manageable, while making sure kids don't have a full afternoon meal, which would spoil their appetite for dinner.
Instead of potato chips or cookies, try crunchy veggies paired with a flavorful dip. As an added (and educational) bonus, invite kids to help make snacks ahead of time, assigning them age-appropriate tasks like measuring and mixing. This introduces them to family meal prep and helps teach them about healthy eating habits at an early age.
Kick off your new after-school snack routine with a recipe like this one for Ranch Pimento Cheese Celery Logs, created by country music star and busy mom of seven, Sara Evans, on behalf of Hidden Valley. For a little kick, Evans suggests substituting with Hidden Valley® Spicy Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix. If your kids resist celery or you want a little variety, this spread also makes great finger sandwiches when layered between two slices of sandwich bread and cut into small triangles.
For more kid-friendly after-school snack ideas, visit www.HiddenValley.com.
Ranch Pimento Cheese Celery Logs
- 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Hidden Valley® Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
- 1 (4-ounce) jar pimentos, drained
- 30 (2-inch) celery logs, cut from about 1 bunch of celery
- Place cheese, mayonnaise, seasoning mix and pimentos in bowl of food processor. Pulse a few times until well combined but still chunky, taking care not to over mix. Alternatively, you can mix by hand, but it won't be quite as spreadable.
- Divide cheese mixture among celery logs (about 2 teaspoons per log), mounding it into cavity.
- Serve cold.
30 filled celery logs
SOURCE: Hidden Valley