Meal Ideas 21 June 2019

Punched Up Summer Side Ideas for Backyard Entertaining

(Family Features) Backyard barbecues and family picnics are plentiful during the summer months, so chances are good you’ll host (or attend) at least one event this season. While you’ll likely feast on a bevy of hamburgers, hot dogs and summer salads, a menu filled with fresh, delicious sides makes for a meal worth celebrating.

There’s certainly more than one way to create a menu for a casual backyard picnic, so it’s easy to plan dishes that everyone can enjoy. When organizing your menu, be sure to consider your guests and prepare a selection of side dishes that are both age-appropriate and satisfy a wide range of cravings. Here are some creative ways to put a twist on classic side dishes to make your meal memorable:

Pasta medley. When you’re serving a group with kids, a simple pasta salad is a must-have side that even picky eaters will enjoy. Simply prepare your favorite noodles (fun shapes like spirals or bowties if you’re thinking kid-friendly) then add an array of ingredients like cubed cheese, olives, cherry tomatoes and broccoli florets with some extra-virgin olive oil. For a more grown-up flavor, combine feta cheese and bits of fresh basil with a drizzle of Bolthouse Farms Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing for an extra kick of flavor.

Naturally sweet treats. Many traditional sweet dishes are simply impractical for a hot summer day. As an alternative, something lighter can help satisfy a sweet tooth without the bulk of a heavy cake or pie. Try a mixed berry bowl with all your favorite seasonal fruits like fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. It’s a cheerful presentation and an option all ages can enjoy. Add a few sprigs of mint for garnish for a little festive fun.

Crisp coleslaw salad. A refreshing salad is almost always a crowd-pleaser. Instead of a traditional tossed garden salad, try adding some crunch with a zesty coleslaw salad. This recipe uses all chopped vegetables, allowing you to help reduce food waste by choosing veggies that are not the most beautiful on the shelf, but still taste delicious. Try using an option like Bolthouse Farms Coleslaw dressing to make these veggies and coleslaw even more delicious by giving you the classic, tangy, creamy and sweet coleslaw taste you love with less fat and fewer calories than other refrigerated brands. Just pour, mix in with cabbage and enjoy. Another tip: balance your crunchy veggies with some sweetness, like bits of apple, pear, persimmon or nectarine, for a truly flavorful salad.

Look in the refrigerated area of the produce section to pick up any of the Bolthouse Farms dressing varieties or visit Bolthouse.com to learn more.

“Ugly” Summer Coleslaw Salad

Recipe courtesy of Two Purple Figs

  • 1/2       head white cabbage (about 4 cups)
  • 2          scallions
  • 1          carrot
  • 1          apple
  • 1          pear
  • 1/2       bottle Bolthouse Farms® Coleslaw dressing
  • 1          cup pomegranate arils (optional)
  1. Using shredder disc in food processor, shred cabbage, scallions, carrot, apple and pear. Add dressing and pulse until smooth.
  2. Sprinkle with pomegranate arils, if desired, and serve.

Content courtesy of Bolthouse Farms®.

Source: Bolthouse Farms

Meal Ideas 15 March 2019

Easy Al Fresco Entertaining

(Family Features) Dining out in the fresh air always seems to turn even a simple meal into an event. You can turn your next dinner party into a memorable event with these simple and delicious recipes.

- Rosemary Almond Crackers make a terrific appetizer served alongside cheese or a savory dip.
- Spiced Almonds can be served in a martini glass for a stylish addition to any party.
- Almond Crusted Shrimp are deceptively easy - and distinctly delicious.
- Banana Almond Kahlúa Frappés are a cool and creamy way to finish off the evening.

California Almonds aren't just delicious, crunchy, and ideal for any snack or mealtime, they're also a nutritious solution that adds a burst of flavor and texture to any recipe.

For more entertaining tips and recipes, visit AlmondBoard.com.

Nutrition Made Easy - and Delicious

California Almonds are an excellent source of Vitamin E (35% DV), magnesium (20% DV), manganese (.648 mg), fiber (3.5 g), protein (6 g), copper (0.3 mg), phosphorus (137 mg), and riboflavin (0.3 mg). Plus, a one-ounce serving has 13 grams of good unsaturated fats, just 1 gram of saturated fat, and is always cholesterol- and gluten-free.

Here are some more ideas for making your next gathering a little more special - and a little more nutritious.

- Craving something sweet? Try adding toasted sliced almonds and crumbled biscotti to your favorite gelato.
- In a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, toss whole natural or slivered almonds in a small amount of vegetable oil until golden. Add your choice of dried herbs and then sprinkle over salads, vegetables, or pasta for the perfect accent. And - if you don't have time to make your own, grab your favorite flavored almonds from your local grocer.

Rosemary Almond Crackers

Created by Elana Amsterdam author of "The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook"
Makes 24 crackers

  • 1 3/4 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg
  1. In large bowl, combine almond flour, salt and rosemary. In medium bowl, whisk together olive oil and egg. Stir wet ingredients into almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined.
  2. Roll dough into a ball and press between 2 sheets of parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness. Remove top piece of parchment paper.
  3. Transfer the bottom piece with rolled out dough onto baking sheet. Cut dough into 2-inch squares with a knife or pizza cutter.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Let crackers cool on baking sheet for 30 minutes, then serve.

Almond Crusted Shrimp

Created by Almond Board of California
Makes 4 servings

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons minced fresh parsley, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound (61- to 70-count) shrimp, with tails and veins removed
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons almond or corn oil, divided
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  1. Stir together almonds, flour, parsley, seafood seasoning, salt and pepper.
  2. Dip each shrimp in egg white, then in almond mixture; lay on a baking sheet or platter until ready to cook. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet; grill shrimp in batches on medium heat, cooking 3 to 4 minutes, turning once, until pink and golden. Use remaining 1 tablespoon oil as necessary.
  3. Serve shrimp immediately, accompanied by lemon wedges.

Spiced Almonds

Created by Ellie Krieger author of "So Easy: Luscious Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week"
Makes 8 servings

  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups natural almonds
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl whisk together egg white, paprika, sugar, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and cayenne pepper until well combined. Add almonds and toss until evenly coated.
  3. Transfer almonds to parchment lined baking tray; spread out to form a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, until the coating is crisp. Almonds will continue to crisp as they cool. Allow to cool completely then break up any nuts that are stuck together. Nuts will keep up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Banana Almond Kahlúa Frappé

Created by Almond Board of California
Makes 4 servings

  • 1 cup crushed ice or 1 1/2 cups ice cubes
  • 2 medium bananas, cut into chunks
  • 4 ounces almond milk
  • 2 ounces Kahlúa or other coffee liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce Irish cream liqueur
  • 4 whole natural or blanched almonds
  1. Combine ice, bananas, almond milk and liqueurs in a blender; blend until smooth. Divide among 4 old-fashioned glasses and garnish each with an almond; serve immediately.

Source: California Almond Board

Appetizers & Sides 21 February 2019

Bite-Size Ideas for Easy Entertaining

(Family Features) Whether you’re prepping for an extravagant party or an impromptu get-together, being prepared with cupboard staples and entertaining tricks can help you take your gathering to the next level.

Make menu planning a breeze and put a unique twist on your party from start to finish with these great ideas from the experts at Dare Foods:

Snacks with flair. Use geometric cookie-cutters to bring thoughtful detail to essential hors d'oeuvres like crackers, cheese and melon slices.

Vivid votive. Fill mason jars with water and add slices of lemon or lime along with sprigs of rosemary. Float a tea light on top and place around the yard or on tables for a beautiful way to decorate your outdoor space.

Sparkler sendoff. Light up the night with festive sparklers for endless entertainment. Place them in a decorative pail and sit back as guests enjoy the photo opp.

When it comes to bite-size snacks, crackers are one pantry basic you can dress up or down for a wide range of party-worthy treats in minutes. For example, garden-fresh fixings atop crisp crackers make for light canapes that celebrate the best of summer flavors. Just start with one of Dare’s mouthwatering crackers, loaded with crunch and packed with flavor, and pile on the goodness.

If you’re looking for an elegant appetizer to wow dinner guests, a robust, crisp cracker makes the perfect base for a sweet corn salad and luxurious scallops. Or, for a delicious sweet treat, use Dare’s sweet potato cracker to lend a unique twist to a classic s’mores recipe.

Find more creative cracker recipes for your next event at darefoods.com.

Sauteed Corn, Feta, Cherry Tomato and Scallop Crackers

Prep time: 15 minutes
Servings: 10

  • 2       ears corn
  • 2       teaspoons vegetable oil
  • salt
  • 10     large scallops
  • 1/4    cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 10     cherry tomatoes, quartered 
  • 2       tablespoons finely sliced basil
  • pepper
  • 10     Brenton Vinta crackers
  1. Slice corn off of cob.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in pan until hot, saute corn until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. In another pan, heat vegetable oil until hot. Salt scallops then sear for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Slice in half to create 10 round scallop discs.
  4. Mix corn, feta, tomatoes and basil together. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. To compile, place spoonful of corn salad on each cracker. Top with 2 pieces of scallop and 1 sprig of basil.

Marshmallow, Chocolate, Sweet Potato Crackers

Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 10

  • 10     large marshmallows
  • 20     Breton sweet potato and ancient grain crackers
  • 1/4    cup chocolate chips, divided
  1. Heat broiler to low (set rack in top two-thirds of oven if low-heat setting is unavailable).
  2. Place marshmallows on one cracker and broil 1-3 minutes, or until they begin to brown and soften.
  3. Remove from oven and place 1 teaspoon chocolate chips onto hot marshmallows.
  4. Let sit 1 minute to allow chocolate to soften.
  5. Place cracker on top and enjoy.

Source: Dare Foods

Meal Ideas 15 September 2018

Give a Fall Facelift to Outdoor Entertaining

(Family Features) Whether it’s pumpkin spice everything, sweater weather or the anticipation of the holidays, there are many reasons to be excited about this time of year. Autumn is the perfect time to extend the warm-weather fun and celebrate with some fall-focused outdoor entertaining. 

Just as the weather is changing, so can your approach to cooler weather celebrations. Try these tips to help you make the most of your fall festivities:

  • There’s no need to say farewell to the outdoors just yet. Make the focal point of your party a cozy outdoor setting, such as a patio with heaters or a fire pit. Add some warm blankets and comfy pillows, and you’ll hardly notice the lower temps.
  • Remember days get shorter as they grow colder, so a fall get-together may require special lighting to keep things going after the sun goes down. Fall-inspired string lights, lanterns or candles can add the perfect ambiance for a party that lasts well into the late-night hours. You can find great, affordable options online.
  • While it may seem like time to swap the tiki drinks and frozen cocktails for hot toddies and spiked ciders, fall doesn’t mean you must say goodbye to warm-weather favorites. Put an autumn twist on go-to drinks by adding in fall spices. This easy mulled sangria recipe is perfect for sharing with friends at outdoor celebrations.

Find more ideas for fall entertaining at WineFix.com.

Cinnamon Mulled Sangria

Recipe courtesy of the World Wine Guys, authors of “Red Wine

  • 1          bottle Eppa Sangria
  • 1          cup apple cider
  • 1/2       cup Licor 43 liqueur
  • 2          cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2       cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3          whole cloves
  • 1          strip orange peel
  • 2          green apples, sliced
  1. In large saucepan, mix sangria, apple cider, liqueur, cinnamon sticks, brown sugar, cloves and orange peel. Bring to simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, 5 minutes, or until sugar dissolves. Stir in apples and simmer additional 5 minutes. Serve warm with desired garnishes.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits

Grilling-Tailgating 02 July 2018

Add Spice to Summer Entertaining

(Family Features) Warmer weather may mean finding ways to cool off, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring bold flavors to the gathering you’re hosting with family and friends. Whether it’s a barbecue bash or a casual pool party, there is a flavorful blend perfect for nearly every occasion.

When the sun is shining, it’s time to fire up the grill, which means you can get creative and show off your skills. Add a little flavor to your world – Dale Sabor A Tu Mundo – with a versatile ingredient like Tabasco Sauce, which has helped personalize the flavors of food across the globe for nearly 150 years. Whether used as an ingredient or condiment, it can add flavor to virtually any type of cuisine, including Mexican favorites like this Parrillada Mixta with Garlic and Sweet Chipotle Marinades.

Throw some steak, shrimp and chicken on the grill and combine with sweet and spicy marinades to create a grilled spread that’s nearly irresistible. Take it up a notch and serve it with sides such as fresh limes, sizzling onions, creamy guacamole, pico de gallo and soft corn tortillas to complete your meal. It’s a tasty way to add an extra kick of flavor to summer entertaining.

Find more recipes and ways to flavor your world at Tabasco.com.

Parrillada Mixta with Garlic and Sweet Chipotle Marinades

Servings: 6-8

Garlic Chipotle Marinade:

  • 14        garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1          medium white onion, quartered
  • 1 1/2    cups light Mexican beer
  • 3/4       cup olive oil
  • 1          tablespoon coarse black pepper
  • 4          tablespoons Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce 
  • 1          teaspoon salt 
  • 2          flank steaks (1 pound each)

Sweet Chipotle Marinade:

  • 8          garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1          red bell pepper, de-seeded and stemmed 
  • 1          small white onion
  • 1          teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1          teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 8          tablespoons olive oil
  • 8          tablespoons agave syrup
  • 4          tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/4    cups orange juice
  • 1 1/4    cups cold water
  • 4          tablespoons Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce 
  • salt, to taste 
  • 2          pounds extra-large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails on
  • 4-6       boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  1. To make Garlic Chipotle Marinade: In blender, puree garlic, onion, beer, olive oil and pepper. Transfer puree to large mixing bowl; add chipotle sauce and salt.
  2. Place steaks in re-sealable plastic bag and pour in marinade.

Note: Marinating time depends on the cut of beef selected. For fajitas or skirt steak, marinate at least 6 hours. 

  1. To make Sweet Chipotle Marinade: In blender, puree garlic, bell pepper, onion, cinnamon, paprika, olive oil, agave, lime juice, orange juice, water and chipotle pepper sauce.
  2. In separate re-sealable plastic bags, divide marinade over chicken and shrimp. Allow shrimp to marinate 8 hours and chicken 24 hours.
  3. To prepare meat: Remove steak, shrimp and chicken from marinade and set aside. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Brush off excess marinade and grill chicken first, to desired doneness, then steak and shrimp.

Note: Cooking times will vary depending on cuts of meat and desired doneness. For best results, use a meat thermometer.

Serving suggestion: Place steak, shrimp and chicken on large platter and serve with side items such as fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, grilled onions, fresh limes and fresh corn tortillas.

Source: Tabasco

Meal Ideas 03 September 2018

Crowd-Pleasing Summer Entertaining

(Family Features) If you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, game night or TV show marathon with friends this summer, it’s helpful to have a plan in mind before diving in.

Consider these tips and recipes featuring Mrs. T’s Pierogies that can help make planning a breeze and allow you to kick back and enjoy the fun alongside your guests.

  • Master the Music. Set the mood as soon as your guests walk in with an upbeat playlist.
  • Add a Creative Twist to Your Menu. When you’re craving something real and satisfying – but want to keep things simple – reach for an option like Mrs. T’s Pierogies. Available in 16 varieties, including mini-size, these pasta shells, filled with creamy whipped potatoes, are loaded with flavor and perfect served alone or as part of creative recipes like a Farmers Market Mini Pierogy Salad. You can also grill them up like in this Mini Pierogy Slider Kebab recipe.
  • Create Self-Serve Stations. Arrange a buffet-style table to allow your guests to help themselves to food. It’s a simple way to ensure you get to enjoy yourself. Just remember to provide the necessary fixings at each station.
  • Bust Out Some Games. Whether it’s a game night or just a get-together with friends, keep games like cornhole or bocce ball on-hand to keep your soiree lively.

For more recipes perfect for entertaining, visit MrsTsPierogies.com.

Mini Pierogy Slider Kebabs

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4-6

  • 1          box Mrs. T’s Mini Classic Cheddar Pierogies
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1          pound ground beef
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1          tablespoon minced red onion
  • 4          deli slices Colby Jack cheese, quartered
  • 4-6       skewers
  • 14        pieces curly leaf lettuce
  • 7          cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 14        cornichon pickles
  1. Heat grill or indoor grill pan to medium heat. Toss pierogies with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove.
  2. In medium bowl, combine ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, onion, salt and pepper. Form into 14 equal sized patties.
  3. Add patties to grill and cook 3-4 minutes per side. Add one slice of cheese to each during last minute of cooking to melt. Remove and cool slightly to handle.
  4. To assemble: skewer one pierogy, flat-side down, then one piece of lettuce, tomato, pickle, burger and another pierogy, flat-side down, to sandwich it all together. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Farmers Market Mini Pierogy Salad

Prep time: 12 minutes
Total time: 18 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1          box Mrs. T’s Mini Classic Cheddar Pierogies
  • 1/2       cup white balsamic or cider vinegar
  • 1          small garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/3       cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1          large tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 1          medium cucumber, seeded, if necessary, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4       cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4          ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  1. Saute pierogies according to box directions; place in large bowl.
  2. In small bowl, combine vinegar, garlic, salt and oregano; whisk in olive oil until well-blended.
  3. Add tomato, cucumber, red onion, feta and vinaigrette to bowl with pierogies; toss to mix well.

Source: Mrs. T’s Pierogies

Snacks 06 February 2019

Simple Snacks for Anytime Entertaining

(Family Features) When it comes to entertaining, it’s not always about three-course meals or hours upon hours of preparation. Sometimes, the best hosts look toward simple snacks and small plates to please guests with an array of palates.

Herbs, onions, artichokes and olives create a medley of flavors atop this savory flatbread that makes it easy to give guests a fresh bite without spending too much time in the kitchen. Or you can enjoy a berry and beet chutney as a topping for crostini that is spread with goat or cream cheese, or topped with a thin slice of Gouda or a runny slice of Brie. It’s also a welcome addition to an open-face sandwich.

The secret is using convenient ingredients like Aunt Nellie’s Harvard Beets and Holland-Style Onions that contribute great flavors to recipes and also help streamline preparation as guests settle in for an evening of fun and relaxation.

Explore more ideas to make your entertaining skills shine at AuntNellies.com.

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Herbed Mediterranean Flatbread

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10-12 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1          jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie's Holland-Style Onions
  • 1          jar (7 1/2 ounces) quartered, marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1/4       cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4       cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2          tablespoons chopped or sliced Kalamata olives
  • 1/4       teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2          tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2          teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2       teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
  • 1          clove garlic, minced
  • 2          whole-grain round or square flatbreads (about 6-7 inches diameter)
  • fresh basil (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Drain onions. Pat dry. Discard liquid. Drain artichokes well. Discard liquid.
  2. Press onions with spatula to crush lightly. Pat dry again. Place in large bowl. Coarsely chop artichokes. Add to bowl with onions. Stir in bell pepper, parsley, olives, red pepper flakes, black pepper and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese; set aside.
  3. In small bowl, stir together olive oil, thyme and garlic. Brush over one side of flatbreads. Place on baking sheet; bake 2 minutes. Remove from oven.
  4. Top each flatbread with onion mixture. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Return to oven. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until heated through and flatbread is crisp.
  5. Cut each flatbread in half. Sprinkle with fresh basil, if desired.

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Beet and Berry Chutney

Prep time: 20 minutes
Servings: 10

  • 1/2       cup orange marmalade
  • 1          jar (15 1/2 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Harvard Beets, not drained
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1          tablespoon finely chopped candied ginger (optional)
  • 1 1/2    cups berries (fresh or frozen unsweetened cranberries, blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, cut in half or quartered, if large)
  1. In medium saucepan over medium heat, stir marmalade until melted. Stir in beets and red pepper. Cook 3-5 minutes until liquid is reduced by about half, stirring frequently. Add ginger, if desired.
  2. If using only cranberries, add to pan with beet mixture and cook until they just begin to pop. If also using other berries, add to beet-cranberry mixture; stir and heat through. If using only blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, add to beet mixture after reducing liquid. Stir and heat through.
  3. Remove pan from heat; cool to room temperature before serving.

Note: Chutney can also be served chilled. Store, covered, in a refrigerator up to 1 week.

Source: Aunt Nellie’s

Meal Ideas 20 July 2018

Tips for Hosting a Healthy Summer Cookout

(Family Features) When people think of barbecues, many think of foods loaded with fat, salt and sugar, which can seem challenging if you are trying to eat healthy. However, it is possible - and easier than you think - to host a balanced cookout with nutritious options, without sacrificing flavor or quality.

Smithfield nutritionist Erin Thacker, MA, RDN, recommends these tips for hosting a backyard barbecue that will leave your guests healthy and happy:

  • Stick to lean protein: fresh pork cuts such as sirloins, tenderloins, boneless loins and chops are packed with protein and contain key nutrients like vitamin B6, thiamin, phosphorus, niacin, potassium, riboflavin and zinc. Smithfield fresh pork tenderloins and boneless sirloin roasts are even certified by the American Heart Association* as heart-healthy foods.
     
  • Layer on fruits and veggies: grilled vegetables make for a quick and delicious side dish, and grilled fruits are a health-conscious way to end the meal on a lighter note.
     
  • Lighten up: swap mayonnaise and heavy creams for Greek yogurt and vinegars, and opt for homemade dressings or sauces instead of store-bought condiments, which often have high sugar contents.

Try these simple, dietitian-approved recipes for Grilled Fresh Pork and Veggies with Lemon or Sweet and Spicy Fresh Pork Mini Kebabs. For more healthy and great-tasting recipe ideas, visit Smithfield.com.

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Grilled Fresh Pork and Veggies with Lemon

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

  • 1 Smithfield Fresh Pork Tenderloin, cut into four thick slices
  • 2 teaspoons garlic pepper
  • 1 zucchini squash, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 yellow summer squash, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 large portobello mushroom
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut in half lengthwise and flattened
  • 1/2 large red onion, cut into slices
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Heat charcoal or gas grill to medium-high. Season fresh pork slices with garlic pepper; grill about 5 minutes per side until internal temperature reaches 145-160° F.
  2. Brush both sides of zucchini squash, yellow squash, mushroom, pepper and onion, plus cut sides of lemon, with oil.
  3. Grill vegetables for 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Add lemon to grill, cut-side down, and cook additional 2 minutes.
  4. Place vegetables and lemon on cutting board; coarsely chop vegetables. Serve with fresh pork slices on top; squeeze lemon over meat.

Nutritional information per serving: 200 calories; 6 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 75 mg cholesterol; 75 mg sodium; 8 g total carbohydrates; 2 g dietary fiber; 4 g sugars; 30 g protein.

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Sweet and Spicy Fresh Pork Mini Kebabs

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 16 kebabs

  • 1 Smithfield Roasted Garlic and Cracked Black Pepper Marinated Fresh Pork Sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 pineapple, cored and cut into 16 (1-inch) cubes
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 16 (1-inch) pieces
  • 16 bamboo skewers (6 inches), soaked in water and drained
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Caribbean jerk seasoning
  1. Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium-high.
  2. Thread two pieces of fresh pork sirloin, one pineapple cube and one red pepper piece onto each skewer. Wrap exposed end of skewer with foil to discourage scorching.
  3. Mix honey, vinegar and jerk seasoning together for glaze.
  4. Grill kebabs approximately 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until fresh pork reaches internal temperature of 145° F and then rest for 3 minutes. Generously brush kebabs with glaze during last 2-3 minutes.

Nutritional information per serving: 80 calories; 1 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 20 mg cholesterol; 90 mg sodium; 12 g total carbohydrates; 1 g dietary fiber; 9 g sugars; 8 g protein.

*Information and recipes not provided by the American Heart Association unless expressly stated.

Source:  Smithfield

Dessert 27 November 2017

Throw a Christmas Cookie Party

(Family Features) The next best thing to baking cookies for many home chefs is baking cookies with friends. Dust off your favorite recipes, create a festive playlist and fill your home with the tantalizing aroma of baked goodies for the ultimate Christmas cookie party.

Turn things up a notch and swap classic sugar cookies for these festive Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies, Peppermint Truffle Cookies and Almond Gingerbread Cookies. Along with those tasty treats, don’t let your guests go thirsty. Add peppermint extract to a slow cooker hot chocolate so guests can sip and be merry throughout the party.

Find more holiday recipes at McCormick.com.

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Peppermint Truffle Cookies

  • 8          ounces bittersweet baking chocolate
  • 1/2       cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1          cup sugar, divided
  • 1          egg
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
  • 2          cups flour
  • 36        milk chocolate kiss-shaped candies, unwrapped
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In large, microwavable bowl, heat chocolate and butter on high 1-2 minutes, or until butter is melted. Let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly. Add 1/2 cup sugar, egg and peppermint extract. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gradually beat in flour on low speed until well mixed.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Press chocolate candy into center of each ball, forming dough around candy to enclose it. Roll in remaining sugar to coat. Place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets.
  4. Bake 9-11 minutes, or until cookies are set. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

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Almond Gingerbread Cookies

  • 3          cups flour
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Ginger, Ground
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Cinnamon, Ground
  • 1          teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4       teaspoon McCormick Nutmeg, Ground
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 3/4       cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4       cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2       cup molasses
  • 1          egg
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/3    cups sliced almonds
  1. In large bowl, mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.
  2. In separate large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla extract; beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into thick, flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours, or as long as overnight.
  3. Heat oven to 350° F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sliced almonds, pressing almonds into dough. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  4. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until edges of cookies just begin to brown. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days.

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Slow Cooker Peppermint Hot Chocolate

  • 1/2       gallon (8 cups) whole milk
  • 1          can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1          package (12 ounces) dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
  1. Place whole milk, condensed milk, chocolate chips and peppermint extract in slow cooker. Cover. Cook 60-70 minutes on high, or until chocolate is melted and mixture is heated through, stirring every 15 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to warm or low to serve.

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Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

  • 1 2/3    cups flour
  • 1/3       cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/4    cups granulated sugar
  • 2          eggs
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons McCormick Red Food Color
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2       cup confectioners’ sugar
  • nonstick cooking spray
  1. In medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, food color and vanilla extract; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Refrigerate 4 hours.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in confectioners’ sugar to completely coat. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are puffed. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Source: McCormick

Appetizers & Sides 05 October 2017

Excellent Entertaining

Elegant ideas for a meal worth celebrating

(Family Features) Delighting guests in unexpected ways is the hallmark of exceptional entertaining. With a little creative flair, you can elevate your menu to impress guests with every course.

A savory appetizer is set off beautifully by fresh, sweet grapes in this Grape and Goat Cheese Crostini. Festive, bright and refreshing, grapes are a versatile ingredient that take dishes to the next level, making them ideal for special occasions.

Not only are grapes a smart choice to keep on hand for healthy snacking and everyday eating, the vibrant colors and flavors bring extra life to a basic protein. For a unique twist on a main dish, try dressing up chicken with an elegant addition like fresh grapes, as in these Seared Chicken Breasts with Grapes and Artichokes.

The secret to a winning dessert is presentation, and the vibrant colors of red, green or black grapes lend just the right look to these tasty Mini Pavlovas with Lemon Cream and Grapes. What’s more, the juicy sweetness offsets the tartness of the lemon for an explosion of flavor perfection.

A Fresh Approach to Décor

Not only do fresh grapes’ lively flavors make for exceptional dishes, their vibrant colors can also enhance your table in other ways. Lend natural beauty to your decor while providing your loved ones with a healthy snack option with these creative ideas:

  • Arrange grapes in bowls, on platters or draped from a cake plate for attractive and edible centerpieces.
  • Dress snacking grapes up for the occasion by dipping clusters in liquid gelatin. Roll them in sugar, spices and finely chopped nuts to make a “frosted” finger food with a hint of crunch.
  • Colorful grapes lend a pretty pop when used as a garnish to decorate serving plates.

Plan your next special occasion with the host of recipes at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.

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Grape and Goat Cheese Crostini

Serves: 8

  • 2          cups quartered green, black or red California grapes (or a mixture)
  • 2          teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2          teaspoons honey
  • 1          tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4       teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 16        baguette slices, thinly cut on diagonal
  • 8          ounces fresh goat cheese
  1. In medium bowl, combine grapes, lemon juice, honey, thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil. Spread each baguette with goat cheese and top with grape mixture.

Nutritional information per serving: 200 calories; 9 g protein; 23 g carbohydrates; 8 g fat (36 percent calories from fat); 4.5 g saturated fat (20 percent calories from saturated fat); 15 mg cholesterol; 340 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

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Mini Pavlovas with Lemon Cream and Grapes

Serves: 6

  • 4          large egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1          cup sugar
  • 2          teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3       cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3       cup lemon curd
  • 1 1/2    cups halved California grapes
  • chopped smoked or tamari almonds (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. With electric mixer on medium speed, in large bowl, beat egg whites and salt until firm peaks form. On low speed, add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until meringue forms stiff peaks. Whisk in cornstarch and vanilla.
  2. Divide meringue into six 4-inch circles on baking sheet. With large spoon, make indentations in middle of each. Place baking sheet in oven and lower temperature to 300° F. Bake 30 minutes then turn off oven and leave baking sheet inside another 30 minutes. To serve, whip cream to soft peaks and stir in lemon curd. Dollop onto meringues and top with grapes. Garnish with almonds, if desired.

Nutritional information per serving: 350 calories; 4 g protein; 58 g carbohydrates; 12 g fat (31 percent calories from fat); 8 g saturated fat (20 percent calories from saturated fat); 55 mg cholesterol; 90 mg sodium.

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Seared Chicken Breasts with Grapes and Artichokes

Serves: 4

  • 2          boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 ounces each), butterflied lengthwise into 4 cutlets
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2          cloves garlic, minced
  • 1          leek, white part only, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2          tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 1/2    cups quartered artichoke hearts, frozen, canned or jarred
  • 1/2       cup dry white wine
  • 1/2       cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1          tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2       teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2          teaspoons butter
  • 3/4       cup green California grapes
  • 3/4       cup red California grapes
  • 2          tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, to taste. In saute pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chicken breasts and sear 3-4 minutes per side. Remove chicken and set aside.
  2. Add remaining olive oil to pan, along with garlic, leek and pinch of salt; cook on medium heat 2-3 minutes to soften leek. Stir in oregano, artichokes, wine, chicken stock, lemon juice, lemon zest and butter. Simmer 2-3 minutes then add chicken back to pan, basting each breast with sauce. Add grapes and simmer 3-5 minutes, or until grapes are just soft and chicken is cooked through.
  3. Stir in fresh parsley and serve.

Nutritional information per serving: 320 calories; 26 g protein; 23 g carbohydrates; 12 g fat (34 percent calories from fat); 3 g saturated fat (8 percent calories from saturated fat); 70 mg cholesterol; 390 mg sodium; 5 g fiber.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

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