Meal Ideas 29 June 2020

Flavor Fusion

(Family Features) A distinctive and unexpected ingredient like rice vinegar is an easy way to bring faraway flavors to your favorite summer dishes. This pantry staple adds an Asian-inspired flavor to recipes of all kinds, from marinades to high-end meals.

Explore a new way to enjoy steak this summer with a recipe for zesty, marinated beef paired with crisp broccolini and peppers to give a familiar dish a fresh makeover using flavors from another origin. Give fajitas an Asian makeover with shrimp seared in a decadent hoisin-ginger sauce or try a fresh take on a crunchy salad with this Mexican-meets-Asian layered approach that’s perfect for lunch.

Include seasonal produce like cucumbers, bell peppers and tomatoes to enhance your summer flavor fusions. Pantry staples like black beans and canned corn also offer accessible ways to make elevated summer classics.

Capture Asian flavors with ingredients like NAKANO Rice Vinegar, which has perfected its rice vinegars over eight generations to offer unique and delicious flavors perfect for making mouthwatering Asian-inspired recipes at home.

Pro Flavor-Fusion Tips

  • The key to a successful stir-fry is to use high heat to quickly cook meats and vegetables in stages without overcrowding the pan. This ensures that veggies stay slightly crisp, and meats develop a delicious sear instead of steaming.
  • Avocado oil has one of the highest smoke points, making it a great choice for high-heat cooking like stir-frying.
  • Hoisin sauce, which you can find in the Asian section of most grocery stores, is used frequently in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine. It’s a salty, fermented soybean paste often combined with garlic, chiles and five-spice powder, which adds a sweet, umami-rich, aromatic flavor to the dish.
  • Shishito peppers are slender, mild, green Japanese peppers available in the produce section of well-stocked grocery stores or Asian markets. If shishito peppers are unavailable, substitute with multicolored mini peppers.
  • To accommodate those who love a lot of spice and those who prefer less spice, serve mild-to-medium-spicy foods with additional chili sauce on the side.
  • Swap out heavy, high-calorie salad dressings for a splash of additional flavor with NAKANO rice vinegar.

Find more flavorful ways to put an Asian twist on your summer dishes at nakanoflavors.com.

Sizzling Shrimp Fajita Stir-Fry

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1 1/2    pounds large, raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (21-25 shrimp total)
  • 2          tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 4          teaspoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1/4       cup NAKANO Roasted Garlic Rice Vinegar
  • 3          tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2          teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 3          tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1          red onion, cut into thin slivers
  • 1          red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2       pound shishito peppers, stemmed
  • 6          warmed corn or flour tortillas
  • 1/2       cup finely shredded red cabbage
  • 1/4       cup thinly sliced green onions
  1. In medium bowl, combine shrimp, 2 teaspoons soy sauce and 2 teaspoons cornstarch; let stand 5 minutes to marinate.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk remaining soy sauce, remaining cornstarch, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce and ginger until blended.
  3. In large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add half of shrimp; cook 1 minute on each side. Transfer to clean bowl; repeat with remaining shrimp. Wipe out skillet with paper towel.
  4. In same pan, heat remaining oil until shimmering. Add red onion, bell pepper and shishito peppers. Cook, stirring, 2-4 minutes until peppers begin to blister. Add vinegar mixture; cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened. Add shrimp to pan. Cook, tossing well until shrimp and vegetables are coated with sauce.
  5. Fill tortillas with shrimp mixture, cabbage and green onions.

Spicy Steak and Broccoli

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1          beef tenderloin (1 1/2 pounds), cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1          tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1          tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2       teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3          tablespoons avocado oil, divided
  • 2          cups multicolored, mini sweet peppers, cut into thin rings
  • 1/4       pound broccolini, cut into 3-inch sections
  • 2          large shallots, chopped
  • 1/4       cup NAKANO Seasoned Rice Vinegar
  • 1          tablespoon sugar
  • 1          teaspoon sambal oelek (Asian-chili garlic sauce) or sriracha
  • 1/4       teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2          teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  1. In medium bowl, combine beef, soy sauce, cornstarch, black pepper and garlic powder.
  2. In large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add peppers, broccolini and shallots; cook 3 minutes, or until tender crisp. Transfer to clean bowl.
  3. In same skillet over high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add half of beef in single layer. Cook undisturbed 2 minutes, or until bottoms are browned. Stir. Cook 1 minute, or until outer surfaces are no longer pink. Transfer to bowl with vegetables. Repeat with remaining oil and beef. Return beef and vegetables to skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. In small bowl, combine rice vinegar, sugar, sambal oelek, salt and ginger. Add mixture to pan. Cook 2 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened.

Glass Jar Layered Taco Salad

Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1

  • 1/2       avocado
  • 1/4       teaspoon serrano pepper
  • 1          tablespoon cilantro
  • 2          tablespoons NAKANO Organic Seasoned Rice Vinegar
  • 2          tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1          teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/3       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       cup corn
  • 1/2       cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2       cup jicama, diced
  • 1/2       cup black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2       cup shredded green cabbage
  • 1/2       cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2       cup extra-firm tofu, diced
  • 1/2       cup corn chips, crushed
  • 1/2       cup spinach
  • 1          tablespoon queso fresco
  1. In bowl, mash avocado and add serrano pepper, cilantro, rice vinegar, sesame oil, lime juice and salt. Stir to combine.
  2. Build salad in layers of corn, cabbage, jicama, black beans, cabbage, tomatoes, tofu, corn chips, spinach and queso fresco while adding drizzles of dressing between layers.

Source: NAKANO

Healthy 01 June 2020

Family Foods with a Weight Loss Focus

(Family Features) Losing weight and focusing on a healthful diet may lead you back to the same tried-and-true tricks, however, conventional wisdom doesn’t always pay dividends. Some eating plans may offer up new twists to help you and your family eat meals you enjoy without forgoing your health goals.

For example, “Always Eat After 7 PM,” written by Joel Marion, CISSN, NSCA-CPT, five-time best-selling e-book author and co-founder of the e-commerce supplement company BioTrust Nutrition, debunks popular diet myths and offers an easy-to-follow diet that accelerates fat-burning and allows you to indulge in your most intense cravings by eating the majority of your calories at night. The outlined plan features a 14-day “acceleration phase” designed for rapid results, a “main phase” when you’ll learn which fat-burning foods to eat to achieve your weight loss goals and a “lifestyle phase” to keep the weight off for good.

Conventional wisdom dictates that it’s best to avoid carbs, eat an early dinner and never eat immediately before bed. However, Marion debunks the myths underlying traditional dieting with a simple, highly effective weight loss program allowing readers to enjoy social dinners without restriction, satisfy nighttime hunger with fat-burning sweet and salty pre-bedtime snacks and indulge cravings with strategically timed cheat meals.

With straightforward food lists, easy-to-follow meal plans and recipes for each phase, this can be a simpler, more enjoyable way to lose weight without feeling restricted. Taken directly from the book, these recipes for Pot Roast Tacos with Chimichurri, Cheesy Ground Beef Skillet and Chili Loaded Baked Potato can help you take part in the program while enjoying time with loved ones at the family table.

Learn more about the diet and book at joelmarion.com.

Pot Roast Tacos with Chimichurri

Recipe courtesy of “Always Eat After 7 PM”
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8

Chimichurri:

  • 1 1/2    cups fresh Italian parsley
  • 1          cup fresh cilantro
  • 2          tablespoons green onion, chopped
  • 1          tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1/4       cup olive oil
  • 2          tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1          tablespoon water
  • 1          teaspoon sea salt
  • 1          teaspoon crushed red pepper

Tacos:

  • 3          cups chuck roast, slow cooked and chopped
  • 8          yellow corn tortillas (6 inches)
  • 1          ripe avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 4          radishes, sliced
  • 1/4       cup queso fresco, crumbled
  1. To make chimichurri: In food processor, combine parsley, cilantro, onion and garlic until chopped. Add olive oil, lemon juice, water, salt and red pepper; process until fully combined.
  2. To assemble tacos: In medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook chopped chuck roast 5 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in 1/2 cup chimichurri. In grill pan, char tortillas then fill evenly with meat, avocado, radishes and queso fresco. Serve with remaining chimichurri.

Nutritional information per serving: 410 calories; 24 g fat; 12 g carbohydrates; 366 mg sodium; 2 g fiber; 41 g protein; 1 g sugar.

Chili Loaded Baked Potato

Recipe courtesy of “Always Eat After 7 PM”
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 6          sweet potatoes (8 ounces each)
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • 2          pounds ground chuck
  • 2          yellow onions, diced
  • 2          tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 3          tablespoons chili powder
  • 2          tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1          tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2          teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/4       teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3          cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1          can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1          tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1          can (15 ounces) butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2       cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1          Anaheim chile, minced
  • 1          teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2       cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4       cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4       cup red onion, minced
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Line baking sheet or pan with parchment paper. Rinse and scrub sweet potatoes; pat dry with paper towel and pierce several times with fork or knife. Place in prepared pan. Lightly spray sweet potatoes with nonstick cooking spray and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake 45 minutes- 1 hour until tender when poked.
  2. In pot, heat olive oil. Saute chuck until fully cooked. Drain fat and return to pot; add onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika and cayenne pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and saute until onions are soft, about 10 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add broth, crushed tomatoes and vinegar to pot. Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes. Add butter beans, cilantro and chile; cook 5 minutes. Season with sea salt.
  4. Split potatoes lengthwise; fluff flesh with fork. Top evenly with chili, yogurt, cilantro leaves and red onion.

Nutritional information per serving: 573 calories; 10 g fat; 58 g carbohydrates; 588 mg sodium; 11 g fiber; 25 g protein; 12 g sugar.

Cheesy Ground Beef Skillet

Recipe courtesy of “Always Eat After 7 PM”
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 38 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1 3/4    cups water
  • 1          teaspoon sea salt
  • 1          cup white rice
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • 1          pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 1          yellow onion, chopped
  • 1          tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1          red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1          teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1          teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2       teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2       teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2       cup tomato sauce
  • 1          can (15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1          cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/3       cup fresh parsley, minced
  1. In saucepan over high heat, bring water to boil. Add salt and rice; stir once then cover pot and reduce to low heat 18 minutes.
  2. In large skillet, heat olive oil. Stir in ground beef. Cook and stir until beef is crumbly and no longer pink. Drain and discard excess grease. Mix in onion and garlic; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper, oregano, basil, red pepper, sea salt and black pepper; cook and stir until bell pepper is tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in cooked rice, tomato sauce and kidney beans. Reduce heat and cover until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat, sprinkle cheese over top and garnish with parsley.

Nutritional information per serving: 399 calories: 14 g fat; 36 g carbohydrates; 816 mg sodium; 4 g fiber; 30 g protein; 3 g sugar.

Source: Promote A Book

Meal Ideas 28 May 2020

Support Your Immune System with Grapes

(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.

Visit GrapesFromCalifornia.com for more nutritious family recipes

Moroccan Grape and Grilled Chicken Bowls with Grape Vinaigrette

Servings: 4

Couscous:

  • 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

Chicken:

  • 2          chicken breasts (8 ounces each)
  • 1          tablespoon harissa paste
  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1          teaspoon salt

Vinaigrette:

  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. To make chicken: Heat grill to medium-high heat.
  3. 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.
  4. To make vinaigrette: In blender, puree green grapes, lemon juice, lemon rind, olive oil and cilantro until smooth. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. 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
Servings: 4

  • 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
  1. In large bowl, mix chickpeas and grapes.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
Servings: 4

  • 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
  1. Heat oven to 450 F.
  2. 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.
  3. Combine remaining olive oil, remaining pepper, grapes, olives, parsley and pistachios. When cauliflower is roasted, transfer to serving plates and top with grape mixture.
  4. 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.
  5. Healthy Eating is Easy with Grapes
  6. 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.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Videos 04 May 2020

Fiesta Snacks

(Culinary.net) Having fun in the kitchen can be an easy way to get kids involved for a family-friendly activity. These Fiesta Snacks call for flavors many kids love stacked up in a way that allows them to aid in the process.

Find more snack recipes at Culinary.net.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Fiesta Snacks

  • 1          pound chicken, chopped
  • 1/2       cup salsa, divided
  • 1/4       cup sour cream
  • 8          tortillas (8 inches)
  • 1/3       cup refried beans
  • 1/2       cup guacamole
  • 6          ounces shredded cheese
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In skillet, cook chopped chicken until done.
  3. In medium bowl, mix cooked chicken, 1/4 cup salsa and sour cream until blended.
  4. In small bowl, mix refried beans and remaining salsa until blended.
  5. Lay two tortillas on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Spread chicken mixture over both tortillas. Place second set of tortillas over chicken mixture. Spread guacamole over top tortillas. Place third set of tortillas on top and spread refried bean mixture over tortillas. Place fourth set of tortillas on top and sprinkle shredded cheese over tortillas.
  7. Bake 10 minutes until cheese is melted.
Meal Ideas 15 April 2020

Fresh and Flavorful at Home

(Family Features) Whether you live on your own or are a busy parent, cooking at home can help ensure you're eating fresh, wholesome meals. Regardless of your abilities in the kitchen, creating simple dishes featuring fresh produce and good-for-you sources of protein can not only benefit your health, but also increase the amount of quality time spent with loved ones around the family table.

The thought of cooking lamb at home can be intimidating for some, however, New Zealand grass-fed lamb steaks like those from Silver Fern Farms can be prepared the same way you would grass-fed beef. With no added growth hormones or antibiotics, the natural, minimally processed cuts of lamb are a nutrient-dense source of protein, iron and zinc, and packed with vitamins and minerals. Plus, grass-fed lamb from New Zealand is a lean, finely textured and flavorful meat, well-suited for a variety of dishes.

For example, these New Zealand Grass-Fed Lamb Steaks with Yogurt and Cilantro Marinade are served over a bed of couscous and marinated in a mixture of lemon, garlic, cumin, cilantro and yogurt. Because the natural cuts of meat are hand-selected to deliver a quality eating experience, they are easy to prepare and can be put on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Find more information, cooking tips and recipes at beefandlambnz.com.

New Zealand Grass-Fed Lamb Steaks with Yogurt and Cilantro Marinade

Recipe courtesy of Silver Fern Farms on behalf of Beef + Lamb New Zealand
Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1-2

Lamb:

  • 2 Silver Fern Farms 100% New Zealand Grass-Fed Lamb Steaks (4 ounces each)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

Marinade:

  • 1          lemon, zest and juice only
  • 2          cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4       cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4       cup natural yogurt
  • 1          prepared vegetable couscous
  • crumbled feta cheese
  1. To prepare lamb: Season lamb steaks with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. To make marinade: In resealable bag or mixing bowl, combine lemon zest and juice, garlic, cumin, cilantro and yogurt.
  3. Using pastry brush or spoon, coat lamb steaks with marinade and let rest 15 minutes.
  4. Wipe excess marinade from lamb steaks. Reserve remaining marinade in bag.
  5. On grill warmed to high heat or skillet over medium-high heat, cook lamb steaks approximately 3-4 minutes on the first sides for medium-rare steaks then flip to cook other sides for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Once lamb steaks are cooked to desired doneness, transfer to cutting board or plate, cover with tinfoil and let rest 5 minutes. 
  7. Slice lamb steaks across grain and serve over vegetable couscous.
  8. Drizzle with remaining marinade, if desired, and garnish with crumbled feta cheese.

Source: Beef + Lamb New Zealand

Meal Ideas 10 April 2020

Nutritious Eating at Home

(Family Features) If spending additional time in the comfort of your home has you rethinking the family menu and looking for new ways to enjoy nutritional meals, rest assured you can make better-for-you food choices without losing mouthwatering taste.

Easy, efficient at-home recipes like Thai Coconut Lime Freezer Chicken, Burrito Beef and Cauli Mac and Cheese can all be made in less than an hour while reducing the intake of carbs and unnecessary sugars. All are part of a balanced Atkins low-carb lifestyle, a long-term, healthy eating approach focused on high-fiber carbohydrates, optimal protein and healthy fats.

The eating approach, which is a more flexible version of the popular ketogenic diet, offers a balanced mix of foods containing fiber-rich and nutrient-dense carbohydrates while focusing on reduced levels of refined carbohydrates, added sugars and the “hidden sugar effect” – when carbohydrates convert to sugar when digested. You don’t see the sugar, but your body does.

Introducing your family to smarter food choices can also support your immunity. According to research published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” simply substituting whole grains for refined grains has a modest effect on gut microbiota and immunity. Refined grains have had most of the fiber milled out of them, leaving a refined carbohydrate that impacts your body the way sugar would. Opt for whole grains to get the fiber you need, along with protein and healthy fats.

Visit atkins.com for more nutritious recipes


Thai Coconut Lime Freezer Chicken

Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 22 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1 3/4    cups coconut milk
  • 2          tablespoons basil
  • 1          tablespoon xylitol (sugar substitute)
  • 1          ounce cilantro
  • 1          ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon garlic
  • 1          teaspoon lime zest (optional)
  • 20        ounces boneless, cooked chicken breast
  • 20        ounces broccoli flower clusters
  1. In bowl, mix coconut milk, basil, xylitol, cilantro, lime juice, salt and garlic. For more citrus flavor, add lime zest, if desired.
  2. Add chicken, broccoli and sauce to 1-gallon zip-top freezer bag. Squeeze out any air and seal bag. Freeze bag flat up to 1 month.
  3. To cook: Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat oven to 350° F.
  4. Place in glass 8-by-8-inch pan and bake 20-25 minutes.

Burrito Beef

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours
Servings: 6

  • 2          pounds beef arm chuck roast
  • 4          tablespoons green taco sauce
  • 1          teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2          large scallions or spring onions, chopped
  • 1          jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 2          teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  1. Trim fat from beef. In slow cooker on low heat, cook beef, taco sauce, garlic, onions, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin and salt 8 hours, or until beef is tender.
  2. Using two forks, remove beef and shred. Mix beef with 1/2 cup cooking juices before serving.
  3. A Low-Sugar Swap to Satisfy Cravings
  4. While spending more time at home than normal, those snack cravings can be hard to shake. Rather than relying on easy-to-grab eats from the pantry or freezer, focus on more nutritious choices that don’t sacrifice flavor.
  5. Turn to a creamy solution to satisfy your hunger such as the Atkins Milk Chocolate Delight Shake, a filling option for chocolate lovers. The drinks are packed with 15 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 20% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin D and 1 gram of sugar to keep you going throughout the day.

Cauli Mac and Cheese

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1          teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1          head large (6-7-inch diameter) cauliflower
  • 1          cup heavy cream
  • 2          ounces cream cheese
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1 1/2    cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1          clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4       teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4       teaspoon pepper sauce
  1. Heat oven to 375° F and prepare 9-by-9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Heat large pot of water to boiling and add 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  2. Remove stem and leaves from cauliflower. Cut into small pieces and place in boiling water; cook until crisp-tender; about 5 minutes. Drain well then pat between paper towels to remove moisture.
  3. In medium saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to simmer. Whisk cream cheese and powdered mustard into simmering cream until smooth. Add 1 cup cheddar cheese, garlic, remaining salt, white pepper and pepper sauce, whisking until cheese melts; about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cauliflower.
  4. Pour into baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes until browned and bubbly.

 

Photos courtesy of Getty Images (Thai Coconut Lime Freezer Chicken, Burrito Beef and Cauli Mac and Cheese)

Source: Atkins

Meal Ideas 07 April 2020

Cook Comfort Food Once, Enjoy it Twice

(Family Features) Cook once, eat twice. It’s a kitchen practice as simple as it sounds. Cook a base dish that can be enjoyed today and used for an entirely different meal tomorrow. For example, bake some fish for tonight’s dinner, and enjoy fish tacos for tomorrow’s lunch.

With so many Americans preparing meals at home, the practice of cooking once and eating twice can extend your grocery budget while also making meal planning less stressful and more comforting.

Cooking meals that feed the entire family is essential and even better if they give you a jump on a second meal. Whether your love for cooking runs deep or is being newly discovered, keep the following in mind when planning to cook once and eat twice:

Stock up on staples. Before heading out to the store, develop a list of ingredients that can be used for multiple dishes. Canned goods, such as black beans and corn, are great items to store in the pantry and have on hand for a variety of favorite family recipes. Other basics like corn tortillas can be used in multiple ways, such as tacos, casseroles and even salads.

Don’t forget produce. To increase flavor and nutrition, adding produce is key in your planning. Mushrooms are a favorite among chefs and home cooks alike for many reasons. Traditionally known for their inherent umami flavor, mushrooms are filling, healthy and versatile. Crimini and portabella are excellent sources of selenium, an antioxidant that protects cells from damage that may lead to serious chronic diseases. For example, four crimini mushrooms provide 38% of your daily recommended value. Also, the variety of mushrooms contain essential vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamins B and D and riboflavin.

Make meat go further. A three-step cooking technique called “The Blend” combines finely chopped mushrooms with ground meat to create dishes that are more nutritious while still tasting delicious. You can use the process to create multiple dishes such as tacos, pasta sauce and burgers. Mushrooms’ ability to mimic the texture of meat makes them easy to incorporate, and the addition of finely chopped mushrooms to meat dishes stretches portions, allowing the family to enjoy a meat-mushroom base two days in a row in two different ways in dishes like Mexican Lasagna and Blended Tacos, both of which include a Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend.

For more simple and delicious recipes, visit MushroomCouncil.com


Blended Tacos

Makes: 8 tacos

  • 1          cup sour cream
  • 6          tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 2          tablespoons lime juice
  • 8          yellow corn tortillas
  • 2          cups Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend
  • diced avocado (optional)
  • shredded lettuce (optional)
  • shredded cheese (optional)
  • salsa (optional)
  1. In small bowl, mix sour cream, cilantro and lime juice. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. Warm tortillas in microwave or on stovetop according to package directions. Spoon 1/4 cup Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend into each tortilla. Top with sour cream mixture and avocado, lettuce and cheese as desired.

Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend

Makes: 8 cups

  • 1          medium yellow onion
  • 8          ounces fresh button or crimini mushrooms
  • 1          pound lean ground beef
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • 2          cans (15 ounces each) black beans, drained
  • 1          package (1 ounce) reduced-sodium taco seasoning mix
  • 1          can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1          can (11 ounces) yellow kernel corn, drained
  1. In food processor, pulse onion and mushrooms to coarse texture. Set aside.
  2. In large frying pan, brown ground beef. Drain fat. Set aside.
  3. In same frying pan, heat oil. Add mushroom mixture and saute 3-4 minutes, or until most moisture has been released. Add black beans and mix.
  4. Add beef, taco seasoning, tomatoes and corn to black bean and mushroom blend. Mix and cook until heated through.

Mexican Lasagna

Servings: 6-8

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 16        yellow corn tortillas
  • 6          cups Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend
  • 1          cup shredded, low-fat Mexican cheese blend
  • sour cream (optional)
  • chopped cilantro (optional)
  • salsa (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Spray bottom of 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place four corn tortillas on bottom of dish and layer 2 cups Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend on top. Repeat layers, ending with tortillas as top layer. Top with cheese.
  2. Bake uncovered 25 minutes, or until cheese melts and lasagna is heated through. Top with dollops of sour cream, cilantro and salsa as desired.

Source: Mushroom Council

Videos 11 February 2020

Southwest Salmon Patties

(Culinary.net) Make your next family meal quick and tasty with a recipe that calls for common ingredients and simple preparation. These Southwest Salmon Patties are ideal for putting on the table on those busy weeknights, bringing the family together despite hectic schedules.

Find more family meal inspiration at Culinary.net.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Southwest Salmon Patties

Serves: 4

  • 1/2       cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4       cup sour cream
  • 1          teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 4          teaspoons lime juice
  • 3          tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2    cups panko breadcrumbs, divided
  • 1          pound skinless, boneless salmon filets, chopped
  • 4          ounces whole green chiles, drained and chopped
  • 2          scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2       cup vegetable oil
  1. In medium bowl, whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, lime zest, lime juice and cilantro.
  2. In large bowl, combine salt, pepper, 3/4 cup breadcrumbs, salmon, chiles, scallions and 3 tablespoons mayonnaise mixture. Form salmon mixture into four patties. Cover patties with remaining breadcrumbs.
  3. In skillet, heat oil. Add breaded patties and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.
  4. Serve with remaining mayonnaise mixture.
Meal Ideas 06 September 2019

Add Mexican Flair to Game Day Favorites

(Family Features) Football season, for many people, is just as much about the food as it is about the action. No matter who’s playing and whether you’re at a tailgate or living room watch party, one thing is for sure: football and flavor go hand-in-hand.

When you’re huddling up to figure out how to score a touchdown with your game day spread, consider taking your snacks to the next level by adding an authentic Mexican flair. Opt for traditional Mexican ingredients like chorizo, queso fresco or cotija in meals and snacks that are already football mainstays, including nachos, tacos and quesadillas, and consider all the possibilities that incorporating these flavorful ingredients can add to other classic dishes like sliders and potato skins.

Ideal for tailgate season, Cacique, one of the country’s top Mexican food brands, offers Mexican-Style Queso Dips – made with real queso fresco and available in Queso Blanco, Southwestern, Jalapeño and Chipotle flavors – and Fully Cooked Chorizos – made with authentically seasoned premium pork shoulder and available in classic, Chorizo with Bacon & Potato, Chorizo with Eggs and Chorizo with Queso varieties – to help fans easily add Mexican flavor to indulgent game day favorites. Both use high-quality ingredients and are microwavable, so they taste authentic and can be ready in minutes so no one misses any of the big plays or touchdowns.

Consider these twists you can add to your favorite game time snacks:

  • Loaded Avocados: Give avocados the potato skin treatment by loading them up with delicious toppings like chorizo, queso fresco and crema – just don’t eat the skin.  
  • Cheese Fries: Drizzle queso dip over French fries or top with crumbles of flavorful Cacique Chorizo and Cotija in a recipe like these Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chorizo and Cotija.
  • Robust Sliders: Skip regular beef patties and spoon the rich seasoning and punch of flavor that chorizo brings to your favorite slider rolls then top with your favorite cheese and salsa.
  • Mac and Cheese: For a new take on mac and cheese, toss cooked macaroni noodles with your favorite Cacique Queso Dip and top with crushed tortilla chips in a recipe like this Southwestern Mac and Queso.

Discover more ways to incorporate Mexican flair into your game day spread at caciqueinc.com .

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chorizo and Cotija

  • 4          large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wide sticks
  • 3          tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1          package Cacique Fully Cooked Chorizo
  • 1          cup Cacique Cotija, crumbled
  • 2          tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Heat oven to 400° F and lightly grease large, rimmed baking sheet.
  2. In large bowl, toss sweet potato sticks with olive oil.
  3. Lay fries in single layer on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake 15-18 minutes, shaking pan several times, until tender and lightly browned.
  4. When fries are almost done baking, microwave chorizo 3-4 minutes.
  5. To serve, place golden brown fries on serving platter and spoon chorizo over top. Sprinkle with cotija and fresh cilantro.

Southwestern Mac and Queso

  • 1          package Cacique Queso Dip
  • 1          box macaroni, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1/4       cup Cacique Queso Fresco, crumbled  
  • 1/2       cup tortilla chips, crushed
  1. Microwave queso dip 2-3 minutes; stir. Pour over cooked macaroni and toss until thoroughly coated.
  2. Sprinkle crumbled queso fresco and crushed tortilla chips over macaroni before serving.

Source: Cacique

Meal Ideas 10 June 2019

Make Room for New Favorites on the Grill

(Family Features) Whether firing up the grill for a pool party, barbecue or even just a weeknight meal, one thing’s for sure: summertime means grilling season. Grilling takes many forms and flavors from casual favorites like burgers and hot dogs to flame-kissed vegetables and the artistry of a perfectly done steak. However, the possibilities don’t end there.

By mixing and matching traditional grilled classics with options that have a variety of textures and flavors, you can shake up your at-home menu and add new favorites to your routine this grilling season.

One ingredient to consider adding to your repertoire is Mrs. T’s Pierogies, which are available in 14 flavors. They’re stuffed with creamy mashed potatoes, cheesy goodness and other big, bold flavors, and you can grill them right alongside your favorite barbecue fare. Consider these tips from grilling expert Susie Bulloch of “Hey Grill Hey” to add some new sizzle to your grill this summer by using pierogies.

  • Use good cooking oil to create a crispy exterior. Olive, avocado or canola oil can handle the heat of the grill.
  • Try two-zone cooking. Start by cooking on the low-temperature side of the grill (known as indirect cooking) to slowly heat from frozen. Then move to the hot side of the grill (direct) to add a crisp texture and achieve a golden brown exterior.
  • Add layers of texture. With a soft interior and crispy exterior, pierogies pair well with juicy, chewy protein and a flavorful sauce, enhancing their texture and flavors. You can create these layers with a recipe like Grilled Pierogies with Steak and Chimichurri.
  • Don’t be afraid of color. Grilled to golden brown with aesthetic grill marks, you can add an extra crunch and boost of flavor.

Find more grilling recipes and ideas at mrstspierogies.com.

Grilled Pierogies with Steak and Chimichurri

Recipe courtesy of Susie Bulloch of “Hey Grill Hey”

Pierogies:

  • 1          package Mrs. T’s Classic Onion Pierogies
  • 1-2       tablespoons olive oil

Tri-Tip Steak:

  • 1          teaspoon salt
  • 1          teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2       teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1          tri-tip steak (2-3 pounds)

Chimichurri Sauce:

  • 1          cup fresh Italian parsley, packed
  • 1/4       cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2       cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3       cup red wine vinegar
  • 3-4       garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1          teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1          teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  1. To prepare Pierogies: Toss pierogies in olive oil.
  2. To prepare Tri-Tip Steak: In small bowl, combine salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder; season steak on all sides.
  3. To make Chimichurri Sauce: In food processor, pulse parsley, cilantro, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, red pepper, salt and black pepper until well combined but small pieces of herbs remain. Pour into serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Heat grill to 400° F for two-zone cooking. Grill steak over direct heat 3-4 minutes per side.
  5. After flipping steak, place pierogies over indirect heat.
  6. Close grill lid and cook 3-4 minutes.
  7. Move steak to indirect heat and move pierogies to direct heat.
  8. Remove from grill when pierogies are golden brown and steak is cooked to preferred doneness. Allow steak to rest before slicing.
  9. Layer one pierogy, one slice steak and drizzle of chimichurri sauce to assemble each bite.

Source: Mrs. T’s Pierogies

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