Meal Ideas 18 May 2020

Breaking Bread

(Family Features) As families spend more time at home, Americans are finding comfort in a surprising source: bread. In fact, a 20-year trend of declining grain food consumption has been reversed.

A national study by the Grain Food Foundation suggests that the turnaround is more than a one-time sales blip due to pantry loading. In reality, consumers count bread among their top comfort foods. The study revealed one-third of Americans named pasta and bread as foods that are comforting during a stressful time.

In addition to the comforting flavor, this trend provides valuable nutritional benefits. As a part of many healthy eating plans, bread and pasta are nutritionist approved and provide nutrients needed for healthy aging such as B vitamins, magnesium, selenium, iron, folate and fiber.

“For years, we’ve been telling consumers that grain foods are the foods we love that love us back,” said Christine Cochran, executive director of the Grain Foods Foundation. “The stress has given us permission to enjoy bread and pasta again, but unlike most comfort foods, consumers recognize that grains have nutritional value.”

The highest-ranking comfort foods were ice cream; baked goods like cakes, cookies and pastries; salty snacks; candy; and fast food. However, when asked to identify comfort foods with nutritional advantages, consumers identified bread and pasta as the top two.

Beyond identifying comfort foods and their nutritional value, consumers also expressed worry that bread is in short supply right now.

“We can all rest assured that there is enough supply of grain food products in this country,” Cochran said. “Shoppers may be experiencing some sporadic unavailability of certain high-demand items. However, manufacturers are working closely with retailers to make sure that out-of-stocks are short lived. Consumers will be able to buy their favorite grain-food products and eat them, too.”

To learn more about the role of grain foods in a healthful diet, visit GrainFoodsFoundation.org.

Avocado Veggie Sandwich

Recipe courtesy of the Grain Foods Foundation
Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2

  • 1/2       ripe avocado, peeled
  • 1          tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8       teaspoon salt
  • 4          slices bread
  • 4          slices tomato
  • 8          slices cucumber
  • 12        slices sweet bell pepper
  • 2          tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2          lettuce leaves
  1. In small bowl, combine avocado, lemon juice and salt. Spread mixture evenly over two bread slices.
  2. Place tomatoes, cucumber and peppers on covered surface. Drizzle with vinegar.
  3. Layer lettuce, tomato, cucumbers and peppers evenly between slices of bread, creating two sandwiches.

Panzanella Bagel Salad

Recipe courtesy of Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, MS, RD, on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation
Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 2          medium Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 1/4    cups canned diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4       cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4       cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2          tablespoons red onion, diced
  • 2          tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated, plus additional (optional)
  • 1          tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2          tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2          bagels (4 ounces each) cut into 2-inch pieces, toasted
  • assorted greens (optional)

In medium bowl, mix tomatoes, canned tomatoes with juice, green pepper, cucumber, onion, cheese, vinegar and basil.

Add toasted bagel pieces; toss gently. Marinate, covered, in refrigerator 1 hour. Serve within 1 hour after marinating. Sprinkle with additional cheese and serve on bed of assorted greens, if desired.

Rotini with Sausage and Mushrooms

Recipe courtesy of Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, MS, RD, on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation
Prep time: 18 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1          box (13 1/4 ounces) whole-grain rotini
  • 1          tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 1          pound chicken sausage, sliced
  • 1          cup leeks, thinly sliced
  • 1          cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2          cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1          cup chicken stock
  • 1/4       cup parsley chopped
  • 6          leaves from tarragon sprigs, chopped
  • 1          cup Romano cheese grated
  • Parmesan-Romano cheese (optional)
  1. Prepare rotini according to package directions. Drain and transfer to large bowl.
  2. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook sausage 2-3 minutes, or until well browned. Add leeks, onions and mushrooms; cook until tender. Add chicken stock and simmer 3-5 minutes, or until hot. Fold sausage mixture into warm pasta. Add parsley, tarragon and Romano cheese; toss again. Top with Parmesan-Romano cheese, if desired.

Cheesy Black Bean Toast with Pico de Gallo

Recipe courtesy of Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, MS, RD, on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation
Prep time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 6          Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1⁄2       medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1          clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2          serrano or jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
  • 3          tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1          lime, juice only
  • 1⁄8       teaspoon oregano, finely crushed
  • 1⁄8       teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1⁄8       teaspoon pepper
  • 1⁄2       Hass avocado, diced
  • 4          bolillos (6 inches) or large Kaiser rolls, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1          can (16 ounces) seasoned low-fat refried black beans
  • 2          cups shredded Chihuahua or mozzarella cheese
  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. In medium mixing bowl, combine tomatoes; onion; garlic; peppers; cilantro; lime juice; oregano; salt, if desired; pepper; and avocado; set aside.
  3. On medium platter, split rolls. With medium spatula, spread refried beans onto each bread half; sprinkle cheese among bread.
  4. Bake 5-8 minutes, or until cheese is melted and hot.

Source:  Grain Foods Foundation

Meal Ideas 12 February 2019

Better Than Takeout

Asian dishes at home

(Family Features) On busy weeknights, it can be easy to opt for Asian staples like beef and broccoli. Instead, try making your own cuisine at home with quick-cook noodles, from udon to lo mein.

“Popular takeout dishes and noodle bowls can be high in salt and unhealthy fats, but when you make it at home, you can opt for unsalted stocks and add flavor from herbs and spices,” said Dr. Wendy Bazilian, McCormick corporate dietitian. “It’s also easy to personalize with whatever fresh veggies you have in the fridge, from mushrooms to broccoli.”

For example, try Ginger Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry or Pot Sticker Noodle Stir-Fry for fool-proof crowd pleasers. Or go rogue with your own noodle creation: pick a noodle, customize with broths and sauces, flavor with herbs and spices, add lean protein like chicken or shrimp and top with your favorite fresh or sauteed vegetables.


Find more inspiration at mccormick.com/simply-asia.

Ginger Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 5

  • 1/2       cup Kitchen Basics Unsalted Beef Stock
  • 2          tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1          tablespoon honey
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Ground Ginger
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1          pound flank steak, thinly sliced
  • 1/2       package (from 14-ounce box) Simply Asia Lo Mein Noodles
  • 3          tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 1/2    cups broccoli florets
  • 1          cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1          tablespoon cornstarch
  1. In medium bowl, mix stock, soy sauce, honey, garlic powder, ginger and red pepper until well blended. Reserve 1/3 cup of marinade. Place sliced flank steak and remaining marinade in large, re-sealable plastic bag; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain. Spread noodles on sheet pan. Set aside. 
  3. In large skillet on high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Remove beef from marinade. Discard remaining marinade in bag. Add beef to skillet; stir-fry 3 minutes, or until beef is no longer pink. Using tongs, remove beef from skillet. Add remaining oil, broccoli and onion; stir-fry 3-5 minutes, or until tender-crisp.
  4. In small bowl, mix reserved marinade and cornstarch until smooth. Add to skillet; stirring constantly, bring to boil on medium heat and boil 1 minute. Return beef and noodles to skillet. Cook and stir until heated through.

Tip: Place raw flank steak in freezer 30 minutes to make it easier to slice.

Nutrition information per serving: 395 calories, 15 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 58 mg cholesterol, 577 mg sodium, 38 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 27 g protein.

Pot Sticker Noodle Stir-Fry

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 5

  • 1/3       package (from 14-ounce box) Simply Asia Udon Noodles
  • 1          tablespoon oil
  • 1          tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1          pound ground pork
  • 1/2       cup Kitchen Basics Unsalted Chicken Stock
  • 2          tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
  • 1/8       teaspoon McCormick Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1          cup shredded green cabbage
  • 2          tablespoons finely chopped green onion
  1. Cook noodles as directed on package. Drain. Set aside. 
  2. In large saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Add ginger; cook and stir 30 seconds-1 minute, or until fragrant. Add ground pork; cook and stir until no longer pink. Drain fat.  
  3. Stir in stock, soy sauce, garlic powder and red pepper. Bring to gentle boil. Add noodles and cabbage; cook and stir 5 minutes, or until heated through. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with green onion. 

Nutrition information per serving: 321 calories, 17 g total fat, 6 g saturated fat, 61 mg cholesterol, 480 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 20 g protein.

Source: McCormick

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