Appetizers & Sides 14 March 2019

Big Flavor for the Big Game

(Family Features) Looking for a way to kick up the flavor for your game-day party? Tailgating by the stadium or watching on a big screen, you can add great taste to the menu with a versatile cheese such as Jarlsberg.

Great for snacking, sandwiches and cooking, this popular cheese has a mellow, nutty flavor, a creamy, buttery texture and melts beautifully. You can find it in wedges, random-weight pieces and convenient slices.

Jarlsberg can be a tasty part of any tailgate experience - try some of these ideas to score big with your guests:

* Super Sliders: Mini beef, turkey or bison burgers topped with sliced Jarlsberg (or Jarlsberg Lite).
* Deep Fried Cheese Sticks: Creamy goodness battered and fried; take their flavor up a notch with marinara or spicy barbecue sauce for dipping.
* Ham & Cheese Calzones: Salty, smoky ham and gooey melted Jarlsberg all wrapped up in a munch-and-carry pastry.
* Kickin' Kebabs: Skewer great taste by alternating cheese cubes with pickled vegetables and chunks of cured ham or smoked sausage.

This recipe for Cheese Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers is an easy way to bring some heat to the game - they can be made ahead of time, then just popped onto the grill or under the broiler to be ready before the next time out.

For more recipes with big flavor, visit www.jarlsberg.com/us.

Cheese Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers

Makes 16 appetizers

  • 16 pickled jalapeño peppers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 4-ounce logs fresh goat cheese
  • 1 cup grated Jarlsberg cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Manchego cheese*
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion (scallions)
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Optional garnish: pickled mini hot red pepper
  1. Using small sharp knife, cut slit down one side of each pepper. Leave stem intact and remove seeds and veins. In bowl, mash goat cheese with Jarlsberg, Manchego, onion and hot sauce. Divide among peppers, stuffing each generously. Refrigerate. (Recipe can be made ahead to this point.)
  2. Arrange peppers in heavy aluminum foil packet. Grill 8 - 10 minutes until cheese begins to melt. Garnish with cilantro and, if desired, hot red peppers.

*If you can't find Manchego, use 1-1/2 cups Jarlsberg cheese.

Source: Norseland

Meal Ideas 07 March 2019

How to Create a Smoky Cubano Sandwich

(Family Features) For flavor fans, there is nearly no better combo than the complementary tastes in a Cubano sandwich. Complete with layers of roast pork, ham, soft swiss cheese, mustard and topped with tangy pickles, all the flavors and textures play in concert.

For an upgrade on the classic sandwich, try this version from Sammy Hagar, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who’s known for his riff on the iconic recipe. He takes his favorite sandwich to the next level by adding a smoky kick.

“The Cubano has everything I love in a sandwich: gooey melted cheese and a crispy, crunchy crust on the bread,” Hagar said. “It's great to be able to get all the flavors in each bite. It has pickles and mustard that cut through the rich cheese and pork. When you splash a little Tabasco on it, you get the last perfect ingredients – flavor and heat.”

Find his signature sandwich at Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill locations throughout the country, or try creating Sammy’s Cubano Sandwich at home with this recipe.

For more recipes, visit Tabasco.com/recipe.

Sammy’s Cubano Sandwich

Cook time: 3 hours and 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Mojo Marinade:

  • 3/4       cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1          cup cilantro, minced
  • 3/4       cup orange juice
  • 1/2       cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 3          tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 1          tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
  • 2          teaspoons cumin, ground
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • coarse black pepper, to taste

Sandwich:

  • 3 1/2    pounds pork shoulder or boneless pork butt
  • 2          teaspoons Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
  • 3          tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 6          pieces Cuban bread or baguette (6 inches each), cut lengthwise
  • 8          ounces deli ham, thinly sliced
  • 1/2       pound swiss cheese, thinly sliced
  • 24        dill pickle chips
  • 4          tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1          cup unsalted butter
  • 4          tablespoons reserved Mojo Marinade
  1. To make Mojo Marinade: In bowl, whisk olive oil, cilantro, orange juice, lime juice, garlic, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper until incorporated. Adjust salt and pepper, to taste. Reserve 4 tablespoons marinade in separate bowl, cover and set aside in refrigerator.
  2. Place pork in large zip-top bag. Cover with Mojo Marinade and close bag. Place in roasting pan and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Heat oven to 450° F.
  4. Remove pork and marinade from bag and place in roasting pan. Cover with foil and cook in oven 45 minutes.
  5. After 45 minutes, reduce heat to 375° F, remove foil and cook 2 hours until internal temperature reaches 175° F and pork is fork tender at thickest part.
  6. Remove from oven and let rest 20 minutes before slicing.
  7. In small bowl, mix chipotle sauce and mayonnaise until fully incorporated.
  8. Spread mixture on bottom bread slice.
  9. On top bread slice, place two slices deli ham, 3-4 ounces roasted pork, two slices swiss cheese, 4-6 pickles and yellow mustard.
  10. Over medium-high heat, butter flat surface of griddle and add reserved Mojo Marinade while butter is melting.
  11. Place assembled sandwiches on griddle, pressing grill weight or heavy skillet on top of sandwiches.

Source: Tabasco

Meal Ideas 21 February 2019

Fresh, Filling Family Dinners

(Family Features) When busy mornings give way to a hectic workday followed by homework and after-school activities, a fresh, simple meal is often the only option. Before you hit the drive-thru or settle for an equally unhealthy alternative, check out these delicious dishes you can prepare and serve without the hassle.

Find more ideas to make your busy weeknights easy at Culinary.net.

Savory and Scrumptious

Take a nutritious dish to the family table that still brings a flavorful bite. This savory lasagna recipe boasts meaty eggplant, fresh zucchini and lycopene-rich tomatoes. Whole-wheat noodles pack fiber and natural plant compounds, called phytochemicals. Find more better-for-you recipe ideas at AICR.org.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research.
Servings: 12

  • 2          eggplants (about 3 pounds), quartered lengthwise
  • 6          medium zucchini (about 3 pounds)
  • canola oil cooking spray
  • 1          pound whole-wheat lasagna noodles
  • 15        ounces low-fat ricotta or low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2          eggs
  • 1/2       cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2       teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3          cups low-fat mozzarella cheese
  • 4          cups low-sodium tomato sauce, divided
  1. Heat oven to 450° F. Grease 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan; set aside.
  2. Slice eggplant and zucchini in 1/2-inch slices. Layer on two baking sheets and coat both sides of vegetables with cooking spray. Roast 20 minutes. Toss vegetables and continue roasting until well browned and soft, about 20 minutes more. Transfer vegetables to large bowl.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 375° F.
  4. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Separate noodles and let cool slightly.
  5. In medium bowl, mix together cheese, eggs, Parmesan, nutmeg and garlic powder.
  6. To assemble: Spread thin layer of sauce over bottom of prepared pan. Cover with layer of pasta (noodle strips slightly overlapping). Spread with one-third of ricotta mixture.
  7. Sprinkle 1/4 of the mozzarella over ricotta. Spoon 1/3 of roasted vegetables on top. Top with 1/2 cup tomato sauce and continue assembly as directed until there are four layers of pasta and three layers of filling. Spread remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.
  8. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until golden and bubbly, about 15 minutes more. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Quick, Flavorful Meal Idea

It’s not always easy to make healthy food choices. When time is of the essence, look for delicious recipe ingredients that are convenient and easy to prepare while also offering great taste and health benefits.

In fact, 40 percent of American consumers said shorter cooking times are especially important when buying grocery items such as rice, grains and pasta, according to research from Statista, and 83 percent said taste is an important factor when purchasing food.

Ready in 10 minutes with flavor infused in every grain, Uncle Ben’s Flavor Infusions rice is ideal for those looking for quick and healthy meal options. With its one-step cooking process, it makes it easy for families to cook with their kids and quickly get dinner on the table. The resealable pouches ensure freshness for multiple uses, and any of the five flavors can be combined with fresh vegetables, proteins and herbs for a simple meal that’s ready in less than 20 minutes.

Simple recipe options using Flavor Infusions, such as Easy Thai Chicken Satay and Rice Salad, are quick meals the entire family can enjoy, even when short on time. Find more meal ideas at UncleBens.com.

Easy Thai Chicken Satay and Rice Salad

Servings: 4-6

Dressing:

  • 1/4       cup canned, unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4       cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1          tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1          tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2          teaspoons red curry paste
  • 1/8       teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1-2       tablespoons hot water

Salad:

  • 1          cup Uncle Ben’s Flavor Infusions Roasted Chicken
  • 1 1/2    cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1          cup shredded carrots
  • 1          cup sliced pea pods
  • 1          cup sliced red pepper
  • 1          avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 4-6       red radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2          tablespoons chopped peanuts
  • 2          tablespoons chopped green onions
  1. To make dressing: In small glass bowl, stir together coconut milk, peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, red curry paste, cayenne pepper and hot water; set aside.
  2. Cook rice according to package instructions. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.
  3. In center of individual plates, place about 1 cup rice. Arrange chicken, carrots, pea pods, red pepper, avocado, radishes, peanuts and green onions around rice then drizzle with dressing.

Fish with a Twist

Add a little variety to your dinnertime protein with a smart, heart-healthy option like fish. Fillets cook quickly and a slightly sweet white fish like farm-raised catfish has a mild enough flavor to entice picky young eaters. White fish is also quite versatile; it can take on other flavors such as this citrusy topping with ease. Find more family-friendly fish recipes at USCatfish.com.

Catfish Quesadilla with Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream

Recipe courtesy of The Catfish Institute
Servings: 4

  • 4          U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish Fillets, grilled or baked
  • 2 1/2    tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • smoked paprika or chili powder
  • 1          small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2       red onion, diced
  • 3/4       cup whole corn kernels
  • 1          teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1          teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2       cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 4          flour or wheat tortillas (10 inches each)
  • 1          can (16 ounces) refried black beans
  • 2          cups grated pepper jack cheese

Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream:

  • 1/2       cup sour cream
  • 1/4       cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/2       lime, juiced
  • lime zest
  • salt, to taste
  1. Lightly brush fish with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika or chili powder. Prepare fish on grill or bake until done. Place in refrigerator to cool. When cool, cut into bite-size pieces.
  2. In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Saute red pepper and onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add corn, red pepper flakes, cumin and salt and pepper, to taste. Toss to incorporate and saute 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl and add cilantro.
  3. Heat pan large enough to hold flat tortilla to medium heat. Lightly brush pan with remaining olive oil.
  4. Spread tortilla on work surface. On half of each tortilla, spread refried beans and vegetables; top with fish.
  5. Place in heated pan and sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese on other half of tortilla. Heat until cheese is melted and tortilla is lightly crispy. Fold cheese side over vegetable side and remove to plate.
  6. Using serrated knife, cut each tortilla into four pieces. Serve with Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream.
  7. To make Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream: In small bowl, mix all ingredients until combined.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Roasted Vegetable Lasagna and Catfish Quesadilla with Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream)

Photo courtesy of Uncle Ben’s (Easy Thai Chicken Satay and Rice Salad)

Source: Culinary.net

Meal Ideas 28 January 2019

A Winning Spread for the Big Game

(Family Features) Big-game watch parties call for big-game snacks, but that doesn’t have to mean complicated recipes or hours spent in the kitchen. Small bites and hearty dips made with real ingredients can be easy to prepare, and make an impressive spread that guests can enjoy from opening kickoff to the final whistle.  

To avoid the classic snacking fumble of having your guests’ chips crumbling in your dips, choose an option like Garden of Eatin’ Blue Tortilla Chips, the mother of all chips, made with organic whole blue corn kernels that are stone ground to perfection for thick, tasty and hearty chips that stand up to any dip.

To prepare for fellow viewers with other lifestyle or dietary needs, plan to offer snacks and dips that satisfy even the most finicky of fans. Prepare a double serving of guacamole and split it in two. Keep one as-is for an easy and healthy vegan option, and make BLT Guacamole with the rest.

Serve with Garden of Eatin’ Grain Free Cassava Chips, which are made with organic cassava, sunflower and chia seeds. Crafted to perfection, these gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, paleo-approved chips provide a tasty touchdown for the whole team.

If you’re looking to bring the heat with bold taste and just enough spice in each bite, go for a warm option like Tex-Mex Enchilada Queso. To save time, you can assemble it a few hours before kickoff or even a day ahead of the game then bake just prior to guests arriving. An easy way to make this recipe stretch is to make a portion without meat so you have a vegetarian option as well.

Find more recipes to bring victory to your game-day spread at gardenofeatin.com.
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BLT Guacamole

Recipe courtesy of Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking

  • 3          strips bacon
  • 3          avocados, seeds removed
  • 2          baby romaine lettuce leaves, halved and shredded
  • 1          small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2          tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1          lime, juiced
  • 1          lemon, juiced
  • 2          tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 2          tablespoons chives, chopped
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • Garden of Eatin’ Grain-Free Cassava Chips
  1. Cook bacon according to package instructions. Drain on paper towel and break into small pieces.
  2. In medium bowl, roughly mash avocado. Add lettuce, onion, tomato and bacon. Stir lime juice, lemon juice, cilantro and chives into avocado. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips.

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Tex-Mex Enchilada Queso

Recipe courtesy of Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking

  •             Nonstick cooking spray
  • 8          ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1          cup sour cream
  • 1          tablespoon ground chili powder
  • 1          teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2       teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1          can (10 ounces) green enchilada sauce
  • 1          can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1          can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes in green chilies, drained
  • 1          cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1          cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1          cup shredded rotisserie chicken
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • chopped green onions
  • Garden of Eatin’ Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, for serving
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Lightly coat deep, 9-inch skillet with cooking spray.
  3. In large bowl, using hand mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, sour cream, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and salt until smooth and well combined. Reduce speed to low then beat in enchilada sauce until incorporated. Stir in beans, tomatoes, corn, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and shredded chicken.
  4. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cheddar cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes until dip is hot and cheese is bubbly. Sprinkle with cilantro and green onions.
  5. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Source: Garden of Eatin’

Meal Ideas 02 November 2018

Flavorful Fiesta Time

Food, family and holiday traditions

(Family Features) A tamalada, or tamale-making party, is a Mexican holiday tradition that occurs during Las Posadas and combines two of the season’s most important ingredients – quality family time and flavorful food.

Consider these tips from Sylvia Garza of Qué Mami Organics to help make your tamalada fun and easy.

  • Food: Before your tamalada, prepare the ingredients that require extra time and work. For example, if you are using roasted chilies, roast them the day before and have them peeled, seeded and cut up for seamless assembly the next day.
  • Family: When hosting a tamalada, have food or snacks ready to share with your guests. Making dozens of tamales can take most of the day, so you’ll want to keep your helpers well-fed.
  • Flavor: Add an ingredient like Tabasco Chipotle Sauce to your masa when making tamales. Not only can the sauce add smoky flavor, but it also gives the dough an appetizing golden color. You can also mix the sauce into your filling for a brighter flavor and a kick of heat.

Find more flavorful recipes at Tabasco.com.
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Zucchini and Corn Tamales

Recipe courtesy of Sylvia Garza of Qué Mami Organics
Yield: 16 tamales

  • 30        large, softened corn husks

Masa (dough):

  • 3          cups masa harina (corn flour)
  • 2          teaspoons baking powder
  • 2          teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 1/3    cups vegetable broth, warmed
  • 1/2       cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2       cup vegetable shortening

Filling:

  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2       small red onion, diced
  • 1          garlic clove, finely diced
  • 3          cups zucchini, cubed small
  • 1          tomato, cubed small
  • 1/4       teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1          teaspoon sea salt
  • 1          cup sweet white corn
  • 4          tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 5          ounces Qué Mami Organics Red Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 1/2    tablespoons Tabasco Pepper Sauce
  • 8          ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1/2-ounce strips
  1. To prep husks: Soak corn husks in hot water. Place heavy pot on top of husks to keep submerged at least 1 hour. Once pliable, rinse each corn husk.
  2. To make dough: In large bowl, mix corn flour, baking powder and sea salt. Using hands, mix in warm vegetable broth to make firm dough. In mixer, cream butter and shortening until fluffy then add dough in small amounts until well mixed. Continue mixing at low-medium speed 5 minutes, scraping dough off sides of bowl. Reserve dough.
  3. To make filling: In large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil; saute red onion and garlic until translucent. Add zucchini and mix 1 minute. Add tomato, dried oregano and sea salt; continue mixing 1 minute. Add corn and chopped cilantro. Stir and continue cooking about 2 minutes more; zucchini should be cooked but al dente. Remove filling to heat-resistant bowl.
  4. In small bowl, combine enchilada sauce and Tabasco pepper sauce. Add half of sauce mixture to filling; mix well. Reserve remaining sauce.
  5. To assemble tamales, spread 2 tablespoons dough onto wide end of each corn husk. Dough should extend across corn husks, except 1 inch on sides and about 3 inches from narrow end.
  6. Scoop about 1 tablespoon zucchini and corn filling into middle of dough. Add 1 teaspoon reserved sauce over filling and one strip cheese on top. Fold right side of corn husk over filling and seal closed with dough. Fold over left side of corn husk tightly and fold narrow end of corn husk up. Cut strips from extra corn husks and tie around each tamale to secure.
  7. Place tamales vertically, filling-side up, in steam pot with enough water to steam 40-45 minutes. Cover tamales with extra corn husks to trap in steam; place lid on pot. Tamales are ready when masa dough separates easily from husks. Add water to pot, as necessary, for longer steaming.
  8. Let tamales rest 10 minutes before unwrapping. Remove corn husks before serving.

Source: Tabasco

Holiday 09 November 2017

Perfect Wine Pairings for Holiday Parties

(Family Features) With the holidays quickly approaching, it is time to begin planning menus and shopping for groceries, which may leave you facing endless shelves of wine.  Choosing wines to pair with your holiday meal is an important part of the menu planning process.

A smart rule is to select quality wines that pair with a variety of dishes, such as crisp, medium-bodied chardonnays and medium-to-full-bodied, flavorful merlots.

“I love having a bright, crisp chardonnay on hand for holiday entertaining,” said Katie Madigan, winemaker at St. Francis Winery. “Chardonnay complements so many holiday flavors. It’s a great choice to serve with appetizers and it also transitions nicely to dinner.”

A certified sustainable winery in Sonoma County, California, St. Francis Winery offers a full range of varietal wines ideal for holiday entertaining, such as the St. Francis Sonoma County Chardonnay 2015 (SRP $16.99), which is made from grapes picked in the cool of night to create delicate aromas, crisp acidity and a rich, lingering finish.

With notes of fresh pear and pineapple, it pairs well with mild cheeses and rich seafood appetizers, such as Pan Fried Crab Cakes. If you are looking for inspiration to get your holiday menu planning started, consider this simple hors d’oeuvre, which can be made the night before and cooked just before guests arrive. Pair it with a chilled glass of crisp chardonnay to start the party off just right.

A complementary option for guests who prefer red wine is the Sonoma Valley Merlot (SRP $20.99). This wine has multiple layers of aromatics with flavors of red cherry, plum, dried cranberry, espresso bean and savory spices that match well with hard cheeses, roasted turkey, lamb or steaks with blue cheese butter. Find more tips for pairing wines and recipes ideal for holiday entertaining at StFrancisWinery.com.

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Pan Fried Crab Cakes

  • 1/4       cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4       cup minced green onions
  • 2          large egg yolks
  • 2          tablespoons fresh lemon juice  
  • 1          teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
  • 1          teaspoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1          tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1          tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/4       teaspoon black pepper
  • 1          pound Dungeness crab meat
  • 2          cups panko, divided
  • 2          tablespoons butter
  • 4          tablespoons olive oil
  • Remoulade sauce, for serving
  1. Line baking sheet with waxed paper.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, green onions, egg yolks, lemon juice, tarragon, cilantro, mustard, lemon peel and black pepper. Add crabmeat and 1 cup panko, breaking up crabmeat slightly. Let mix stand 10 minutes.
  3. Form crab mixture into 16 2-inch patties, using about 1/4 cup for each cake. Place patties on baking sheet. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Using remaining panko, lightly coat each crab cake.
  4. Heat two heavy, large skillets over medium-high heat. In each skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add crab cakes to skillets and cook until golden on both sides (adding more butter and oil as needed), about 5 minutes total.
  5. Transfer cakes to napkins to drain excess oil. Plate crab cakes with dollop of remoulade on top.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Kobrand Wine and Spirits

Appetizers & Sides 08 June 2017

A Sweet Cherry Season

(Family Features) Whether fresh cherries are a favorite or a treat you’ve yet to try, the time to enjoy them is now.

Orchards in the Pacific Northwest, the nation’s largest growing region, experienced a long, cool spring, which often translates into more time and energy a tree can put into the fruit. When combined with the superior growing conditions characteristic to the area, this season’s fruit showcases what Northwest cherries are known for: their large size and sweet flavor profile.

Popular varieties grown in the Northwest include the mahogany-red Bings and super-sweet, yellow Rainiers. Rainier cherries, with their unique golden color and red blush, tend to ripen earlier in the year. Growers pick Rainier cherries over multiple weeks, selecting the ripest fruit each time.

Other varieties include the early-ripening Chelans and Tietons, followed by the often larger and darker Skeenas, Sweethearts and Lapins. Aside from the light-hued Rainier (which has juice that doesn’t stain) you can typically spot sweet cherries by their dark red skins – in general, the darker, the sweeter.

Great taste aside, sweet cherries are a healthful addition to summer picnics, parties and barbecues thanks to their fiber, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory power. They make for a snack that both grownups and little ones can enjoy straight out of the bowl thanks to their stem “handle” and can perk up appetizers, salads, desserts, sweet or savory sauces and more.

Outside of summer get-togethers, cherries make for a better-for-you late-night snack option as well. A cup of fresh, sweet cherries contains only 90 calories along with a low glycemic index of 22 making their cold, sweet crunch a tasty way to satisfy hunger cravings. Plus, they boast melatonin, which helps regulate circadian rhythm and promote healthy sleep patterns.

Fresh cherries should be kept in a sealed bag or container, and keep for approximately two weeks when refrigerated. To extend the cherry season and enjoy their health benefits after summer fades, buy an extra bag or two and preserve cherries by rinsing, packing and freezing them.

Basic freezing instructions

  1. Select 3-5 pounds of firm, ripe, Northwest-grown sweet cherries.
  2. After rinsing and draining, spread whole cherries with stems in a layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Place in freezer until firm then pack into freezer-proof containers or plastic freezer bags. Remove excess air and cover tightly.
  4. Add frozen cherries to smoothies or juices, or defrost and put in hot cereal, pies, turnovers, cobblers and more. Or enjoy as a frozen, sweet late-night treat.

To create a festive cherry dish for the summer season, try this Cherry Bruschetta as a snack or appetizer. Find more recipes and cherry tips at nwcherries.com.

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Cherry Bruschetta

Serves: 8

  • 18 slices (1/2-inch thick) small baguette-style bread
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted Northwest fresh sweet cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow sweet pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Arrange baguette slices on cookie sheet and toast one side 5 minutes. Turn slices, brush with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and bake 5 minutes longer.
  3. Combine cherries, cilantro, sweet pepper, green onions, lime juice, lime peel, garlic salt, pepper and remaining olive oil; mix well.
  4. Top each baguette with thin slice of cheese, 1 tablespoon cherry mixture and sprinkle of sliced basil. Serve warm or cold.

Source: Northwest Cherry Growers

Meal Ideas 28 April 2017

Greens and Grains

Add fresh produce to your diet and community

(Family Features) Dedicating more of your plate to fresh-from-the-garden produce as well as rice and grains can lead to a healthier lifestyle, according to Cheryl Forberg, registered dietitian and award-winning chef and nutritionist for “The Biggest Loser.”

“Most of my adult clients who are not veggie lovers usually had little exposure to them growing up, or they just weren’t cooked properly,” Forberg said. “It’s important for parents to get their children involved in cooking, shopping and even gardening so kids can understand the journey from seed to plate.”

Forberg furthers her personal dedication to the seed-to-plate journey through her involvement with Seeds of Change, which invests in healthier and greener communities by offering both organic seeds and foods, and delivers an annual grant program that benefits school and community gardening as well as farming programs. This year, the grant program will award $310,000 to participants who plan to help their communities and teach people about sustainability and where fresh food comes from.

To start living healthier and greener lives, Forberg offers four simple tips:

Start in the garden. This hands-on approach is a fun way to learn about nutrition and where food comes from. Following produce from seed to plate can compel you to eat more healthfully. Plant a garden at home or become involved in a local project nearby.

Opt for veggies with big impact. Richly colored veggies contain the richest supplies of nutrients. Opt for spinach or romaine instead of iceberg lettuce in your salads. Skip the celery or carrots and go for red bell pepper slices to deliver a healthy serving of antioxidants and vitamin C.

Make smart swaps. Replace the dense calories of pasta noodles with a flavorful cup of cooked spaghetti squash. The squash is a satisfying and tasty alternative with a mere 40 calories, 2 grams of fiber and loads of vitamins.

Pair with whole grains. Mashed potatoes may be a favorite dinner side, but there are more nutritious options to complement your garden produce, such as this grain bowl with wild salmon from Chef Seamus Mullen.

Learn more about starting a community garden and living a greener, healthier life at seedsofchangegrant.com.

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Warm Grain Bowl with Wild Salmon, Almonds and Salsa Verde

Total time: 20-25 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 8 wild salmon fillets (3 ounces each)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • fresh pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup shitake mushroom caps, sliced
  • 1 package Seeds of Change Quinoa, Brown & Red Rice with Flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

Salsa Verde (optional):

  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. In oven-proof pan, season salmon with salt and pepper, and drizzle each fillet with olive oil. Bake 12-15 minutes, until cooked through.
  3. In blender or food processor, combine all Salsa Verde ingredients and pulse until fully incorporated but still rustic and chunky. Set aside.
  4. In medium saute pan over medium-high heat, heat remaining olive oil. Add mushrooms and asparagus and saute vigorously 3-5 minutes. Add grains and slivered almonds, and continue to saute until heated through, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Divide grains among eight plates, place a piece of salmon on each plate then finish with dollop of Salsa Verde, if desired, and serve.

Substitution: Shitake mushroom caps may be substituted with button mushrooms or other wild mushrooms.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Seeds of Change

Meal Ideas 14 April 2017

Add a Tex-Mex Favorite to Your Menu

(Family Features) A tortilla plus a tasty filling makes a household favorite – a taco. This simple, casual, versatile, fun food knows no boundaries. Tacos can be right for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks and dessert, depending on the filling.

For tacos with a unique, delicious twist on tradition, try these Chicken Soft Tacos with Pickled Beet Salsa that are ready in 30 minutes. The antioxidant-rich Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets lend color, as well as a refreshing sweet-tangy flavor that’s complementary to the lime juice, cilantro and red onion in the salsa. This sassy salsa is a perfect partner for rotisserie, roasted or grilled chicken, arugula and a dollop of jalapeno mustard-sour cream sauce nestled inside a soft flour tortilla.

For your taco fiesta, just set out the tortillas, salsa and other toppings and let everyone help themselves to a fun and delicious dinner.

For other versatile recipes, visit AuntNellies.com.

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Chicken Soft Tacos with Pickled Beet Salsa

Prep time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Salsa:

  • 1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Tacos:

  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeno mustard
  • 4 soft flour tortillas (6-inch diameter)
  • 2 cups fresh arugula
  • 2 cups chopped cooked rotisserie chicken (hot or cold)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco
  1. To make salsa: drain beets and chop. In medium bowl, combine beets, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper.
  2. To make tacos: In small bowl, stir together sour cream and mustard; set aside.
  3. On one half of each tortilla, place equal amounts of salsa, arugula, chicken and cheese. Top with dollops of mustard-sour cream. Fold over.

Substitution: Sliced pickled beets or three single-serve cups of Aunt Nellie’s Diced Pickled Beets may be substituted for baby whole pickled beets.

Nutritional information per serving: 380 calories; 20 g protein; 28 g carbohydrates; 20 g total fat; 650 mg sodium; 80 mg cholesterol; 1 g dietary fiber; 2 mg iron; 0.15 mg thiamin;
460 IU vitamin A; 4 mg vitamin C.

Source: Aunt Nellie's

Healthy 12 April 2017

Get Foiled

Learn why foil-packet cooking is hot, hot, hot

(Family Features) As the saying goes, big things come in small packages and that may explain the burgeoning popularity of foil-packet recipes. Minimal preparation and cleanup are easy trade-offs for the immense flavors you can create in these tiny containers, whether you prepare them in the oven, on the grill or over an open flame.

The secret to successful foil cooking is locking in the layers of flavor from each ingredient. It’s surprisingly simple to create delicious, healthy dishes when cooking with foil. An ingredient like seasoned rice vinegar offers a wholesome alternative to many condiments and flavorings while giving your packet a big flavor boost.

With no artificial preservatives, flavors or ingredients and no high-fructose corn syrup, Nakano® Rice Vinegars are the perfect solution for building better-for-you foil-packet meals. With organic varieties and easy-to-read labels featuring real, recognizable ingredients, you can feel great about layering delicious flavor into your next foil-packet meal with rice vinegar.

Garlic seasoned rice vinegar delivers a boost of flavor to this Asian-inspired chicken, creating a sensational main dish. Add crisp fresh veggies tossed with organic rice vinegar and garlic as a side then finish the meal with a sweet take on a juicy fruit crisp.

Find more inspired ideas for healthy meals at Mizkan.com/Recipes.

7 Steps to the Perfect Foil Pouch

  1. A 12-inch square piece of foil is a good starting point, but you may need to adjust depending on the recipe. Remember you’ll need plenty of extra room around the ingredients for the heat to build up and cook the contents to perfection.
  2. Use heavy-duty foil to avoid tears or poor seals that can spill ingredients and precious seasonings and juices.
  3. Spread foil on a flat surface and add a light nonstick spray, if needed.
  4. Place ingredients and seasonings in the center of the foil.
  5. Bring long sides of the foil together over the food. Pinch together and make 1/2-inch folds straight across at least twice for a strong seal. Remember to leave plenty of open space between the foil and food.
  6. Make 1/2-inch folds on each short end, folding toward food but leaving at least 1 1/2-2 inches between the seam and food.
  7. Handle pouch with care to avoid piercing or tearing, and always use tongs to remove pouches from heat.

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Gochujang-Glazed Chicken

Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

  • 4 tablespoons Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar – Roasted Garlic
  • 2 teaspoons gochujang (chile bean paste)
  • 6 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons, olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 4 cups fresh cauliflower, riced (use grater or food processer so cauliflower resembles rice)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh scallions, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh sugar snap peas
  • 3 sprigs fresh cilantro, for garnish
  1. Heat oven or grill to 375° F.
  2. In large bowl, mix together vinegar, gochujang, maple syrup, soy sauce, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper to form marinade. Dip chicken in marinade and toss lightly until coated.
  3. Lightly oil foil pouch and layer base of pouch with cauliflower. Add scallions and sugar snap peas then place chicken on top. Carefully pour remaining marinade over pouch contents (ensuring that liquid stays inside foil).
  4. Seal foil packet and bake or grill 30 minutes. Open foil to create 2-inch long vent then bake or grill another 15 minutes, or until completely cooked. Garnish with cilantro before serving.

Chef’s tip: For best results and added flavor, marinate chicken 30 minutes before preparing pouches.

Substitutions: In place of gochujang, red pepper flake paste can be made by mixing 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes with a few dashes soy sauce and 1 dash sugar. Alternatively, substitute 2 teaspoons sriracha for gochujang.

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Bartlett Pear and Oat Crisp

Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

  • 4 cups fresh pears, medium diced
  • 4 tablespoons Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar – Mango
  • 3/4 cup quick oats
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 teaspoons, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons butter, diced into 1/4-inch squares
  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Toss pears in rice vinegar and set into lightly greased foil pouch.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients in bowl and use two forks to combine ingredients until mixture becomes crumbly.
  4. Pour mixture evenly over pears, seal pouch and bake 20 minutes.
  5. Open top of foil and bake another 10 minutes, or until crisp and golden.

Chef’s tips: For crispier crust, refrigerate crumbly mixture 30 minutes before baking. Serve with scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

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Mediterranean Vegetables

Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

  • 3 tablespoons Nakano Organic Rice Vinegar – Seasoned
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus extra, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus extra, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons, fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh zucchini, sliced into 1 3/4-inch long, 1/4-inch thick planks
  • 1 cup fresh green pepper strips
  • 1 cup fresh red pepper strips
  • 8 fresh stalks asparagus, slicing off 1/4 inch from bottom of stalk
  • 1 fresh portobello mushroom, sliced into 1/2-inch squares
  • 1 cup fresh eggplant, diced into 1/2-inch squares
  1. Heat oven or grill to 375° F.
  2. In large bowl, mix together rice vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley and garlic to create marinade.
  3. Clean vegetables then place them in marinade in small batches. Toss to coat then place in foil pouch. Pour remaining marinade over vegetables and seal pouch.
  4. Bake in oven or over indirect heat on grill 25 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste, after removing pouch from heat.

Chef’s tip: Open pouch after 20 minutes of cooking and allow vegetables to crisp slightly under direct heat for remaining 5 minutes.

Source: Nakano

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