Meal Ideas 01 July 2018

Simple Summer Solutions

(Family Features) Summertime entertaining should be easy and fun. And it can be - with some simple solutions and fresh recipes.

Start with Simple Recipes

  • For this tropical dessert pizza, make the cookie crust the day before. Mix the filling and store it in an airtight plastic container, then cut up fruit and store in individual resealable plastic bags. Be creative and substitute your family's favorite fruits. Kids will have fun arranging the sliced fruit on this yummy dessert pizza!
  • Three ingredients plus three minutes equals one tasty marinade. Let the kids help pour the ingredients into a resealable plastic bag to flavor juicy pork tenderloins with a subtly sweet, spicy marinade.
  • The combination of crisp watermelon, juicy tomatoes and fresh basil with balsamic vinegar creates a fantastic and refreshing light salad. Just cut up ingredients and store in separate plastic containers, then toss together right before the party to keep the flavors fresh.

Simply Entertaining

  • For picnics on damp ground, placing an inexpensive plastic tablecloth under a blanket helps keep dampness from reaching picnickers - and keeps your blanket cleaner, too.
  • Wash, chop, measure and prepare your ingredients 1 to 2 days before an event or party. They can be stored in resealable plastic bags or airtight containers in the refrigerator to make putting together recipes much easier the day of the party.
  • Save plastic grocery bags to send guests home with leftovers. Placing an empty plastic grocery bag in a picnic basket is also a great solution for collecting trash after a picnic in the park - it doesn't take up much room and will act as a waterproof barrier to prevent spills.
  • Create a dipping station for barbeque and grill sauces using reusable plastic storage containers with lids. Guests can spoon sauces onto their plates; when the party is over, simply place the lids back on the sauces and store in the refrigerator. They come in all different shapes and sizes and even fun colors.
  • Use resealable plastic bags for marinades. Put meat in the bags with marinade and refrigerate overnight. It helps save space in the refrigerator and clean up is easy. This also works for coating and breading.

For more tips on ways to make summer entertaining a breeze, visit www.PlasticsMakeitPossible.com.

Tropical Fruit Dessert Pizza

Makes 12 servings

  • 1 18-ounce roll refrigerated ready-to-slice sugar cookie dough
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 8-ounce package fat-free cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange rind
  • 1 cup fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 26-ounce jar mango slices, drained, or 2 fresh mangoes, sliced
  • 1 16-ounce can pineapple slices, drained, or 1 fresh pineapple, sliced
  • 1 11-ounce can mandarin orange segments, drained
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur or orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut, toasted, optional
  1. Preheat oven 350°F.
  2. Press cookie dough into a 12 to 14-inch pizza pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 12 minutes, cool completely.
  3. In medium mixing bowl, blend together sugar, cream cheese, coconut extract until well mixed. Stir in orange rind and whipped topping, mixing until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture on top of cooled crust.
  4. Arrange mango slices around edge of iced pizza. Then, arrange pineapple slices around edge. Next, arrange mandarin orange slices in another ring to fill center of pizza.
  5. In small saucepan or in microwave, heat apricot preserves and orange liqueur just until melted. Spoon glaze over fruit. Sprinkle with toasted coconut, if desired. Refrigerate until serving.

Terrific Tidbit: Go ahead and grate more orange rind than you'll need for the recipe - you can grate a whole orange or lemon and freeze the rind in a plastic freezer bag until needed.

Watermelon and Tomato Salad

Makes 10 (1/2-cup) servings

  • 4 cups scooped out watermelon balls or chunks
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/3 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese, optional
  1. In bowl, combine watermelon, onion, tomatoes and basil. Whisk together oil and vinegar and toss with salad. Season to taste. Refrigerate until serving.

3-Ingredient Marinade for Pork Tenderloin

Makes 6 to 8 servings

  • 2 1-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup roasted garlic seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  1. Preheat oven 350°F.
  2. In bowl, combine all ingredients except tenderloins. Place meat in dish or large resealable plastic bag, pour marinade over meat. If time permits, refrigerate overnight, turning meat several times.
  3. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the tenderloin registers 160°F. Slice tenderloin, serve.

Quick Tip: Tenderloins come two to a package. If one will be enough for you to serve, halve recipe, freeze other tenderloin in freezable plastic bag.

Source: American Chemistry Council

Videos 07 March 2019

How to Make Spanakopita Puffs

(Family Features) If you want to impress your guests, try serving this puff pastry recipe as an appetizer at your next gathering.This flaky pastry filled with a delicious combination of spinach, onions and feta cheese can keep them coming back for more.

For more appetizer ideas, visit culinary.net.

Watch video to see how to make this delicious recipe!

Spanakopita Puffs

  • 1                    package puff pastry sheets
  • 1                    tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1                    small onion, diced
  • 10 ounces      frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 4 ounces        light cream cheese, softened
  • 2                    eggs, divided
  • 1/2                 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4                 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2                 cup crumbled garlic and herb feta cheese
  • 1                    tablespoon cold water
  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Thaw folded pastries 15 minutes.  Once thawed, unfold sheets to thaw out flat.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter.  Add onions and saute 3 - 5 minutes, or until tender and translucent.
  4. Stir spinach into softened onions. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until water from spinach evaporates and spinach is mostly dry. Transfer spinach mixture to large bowl.
  5. In small bowl, blend cream cheese with one egg, salt and pepper until smooth. Fold cream cheese mixture into spinach mixture to combine. Stir in feta cheese and set aside.
  6. Line baking pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  7. On floured surface, roll one sheet of puff pastry out to 10 by 12 inch rectangle. Cut sheet in half lengthwise, then again widthwise to form four 5 by 6 inch rectangles. Place rectangles on prepared baking sheets.
  8. Place spoonful of filling onto center of each cut pastry. Whisk remaining egg with cold water to create egg wash. Lightly brush egg wash around perimeter edges of each pastry square.
  9. Pick up short side of pastry and fold over filling toward other short side. Press edges to seal before crimping with fork. Repeat with remaining pastries.
  10. Brush small amount egg wash over top of each pastry. Cut small slits on top of each pastry to allow filling to vent steam while cooking.
  11. Bake 25 - 30 minutes, or until pastries are evenly browned on top.
  12. Transfer pastries to wire rack. Cool 8 - 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from MilkMeansMore.org.

Source: Culinary.net

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 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

Grilling-Tailgating 16 January 2019

Make Game Day a Win

(Family Features) It’s game day, which means your party needs food and needs it fast. Use recipes that can pump up the crowd this season and make every game a win.

These quick recipes for an Olive Bar Flatbread and a Mediterranean Nacho Bar can leave the fans in your home screaming for more.

Your fans will almost assuredly be dipping, diving and running for these simple snacks created with fresh ingredients like Sabra Hummus, which is available in more than a dozen flavors in the deli section of your grocery store. Spread it on fluffy flatbread with your favorite veggies to create a snack that fans can go crazy over, or set it out buffet-style for everyone to munch on at halftime.

Find more game day recipes at sabra.com.
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Mediterranean Nacho Bar

  • Sabra Hummus
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Chopped green onions
  • Chopped zucchini (1/4-inch chunks)
  • Chopped Greek olives
  • Chopped pepperoncinis
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • Grilled chicken
  • Pita chips
  1. Assemble hummus, tomatoes, green onions, zucchini, olives, pepperoncinis, lettuce, cheese and chicken in buffet format.
  2. Serve with pita chips.

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Olive Bar Flatbread

Prep time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2

  • 3          tablespoons Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
  • 1          flatbread
  • 1/2       cup desired vegetables, chopped (olives, roasted peppers, peppadew or artichokes)
  • 3          miniature mozzarella balls, sliced
  • 2          cups arugula
  • 2          tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • ½         teaspoon salt
  • 1          teaspoon pepper
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Place hummus on flatbread. Top with desired vegetables and mozzarella.
  3. Bake on lower rack 10-12 minutes, or until crispy and browned.
  4. Toss arugula with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on flatbread and serve.

Source: Sabra

Meal Ideas 26 October 2018

Try the Trendiest Flavors Tonight

New seasonings make it easy

(Family Features) Exotic flavors common in the Middle Eastern region of the world like harissa, za’atar and shawarma are having a moment, appearing on restaurant menus and in popular make-at-home recipes.
 
Now is the perfect time to give these flavors a try. Thanks to new global seasonings from McCormick Gourmet, the spice combinations are already blended for the ultimate taste and simplicity.

Made from high-quality herbs and spices, the seasonings are USDA-Organic certified and Non-GMO Project verified so you can feel good about the ingredients used in your cooking. The expertly blended spices help create distinctive global-inspired dishes that take your home dining experience to the next level so you can explore these flavors from around the world without leaving the comfort of home.

  • Za’atar: This traditional Middle Eastern blend of spices including thyme, oregano and sesame seeds is perfect for sprinkling on flatbreads, roasted vegetables, nuts
    or popcorn. It can also be mixed into hummus or oil
    for dipping.
  • Harissa: A spicy flavor found in North African cuisine, this seasoning is made from a combination of chilies, warm spices and mint. Add it to meat and veggies before roasting, stir it into cooked rice and grains, mix it into yogurt to make a dip or combine it with roasted bell peppers and oil to turn this spice into its namesake sauce.
  • Shawarma: Often associated with the slow roasting of meat, this Middle Eastern street food favorite is made with cinnamon, coriander, cardamom and more. Use this seasoning to flavor an easy marinade for chicken, pork or steak.

Look for these flavors as well as new Peruvian and Berbere seasonings in the spice section of retailers nationwide. Find more recipe ideas at McCormickGourmet.com.
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Grilled Chicken Shawarma

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1 1/4    cup plain Greek yogurt, divided
  • 5          teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Shawarma Seasoning, divided
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 1          tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
  • 2          pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 4          pita pockets, halved
  • 1          medium seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 8          lettuce leaves
  1. In small bowl, mix 1 cup yogurt and 1 teaspoon shawarma seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. In small bowl, mix oil, lemon juice, remaining yogurt, remaining shawarma seasoning and sea salt. Reserve 2 tablespoons of mixture; set aside.
  3. Place chicken in large re-sealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 1 hour, or longer for extra flavor.
  4. Heat grill or skillet to medium heat.
  5. Remove chicken from marinade. Discard remaining marinade. Grill or saute 6-8 minutes per side, or until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 165 F, brushing with reserved marinade.
  6. Slice chicken into thin strips. Serve in pitas with cucumber, lettuce and yogurt dressing.

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Shaved Carrot Salad with Pomegranate Harissa Dressing

Prep time: 20 minutes
Servings: 5

  • 1/4       cup chopped fresh mint
  • 3          tablespoons pomegranate juice
  • 1          tablespoon honey
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Harissa Seasoning
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Organic Black Pepper, coarse ground
  • 3          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2       pound multicolor carrots, washed and peeled
  • 1/2       cup shelled roasted pistachios
  • 1/2       cup dried cranberries
  • 3          cups baby arugula
  • 1/4       cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. In large bowl, mix mint, pomegranate juice, honey, harissa seasoning, sea salt and pepper. Gradually add oil while mixing with wire whisk until well mixed. Set aside.
  2. Trim carrot ends. Slice each carrot lengthwise into ribbons with vegetable peeler or mandoline. In medium bowl, toss carrots with 1/4 cup prepared dressing. Stir in pistachios and cranberries.
  3. Arrange arugula on serving platter. Drizzle with remaining dressing and top with carrot mixture. Sprinkle with feta before serving.


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Za’atar Labneh

Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 (2 tablespoons each)

  • 1          cup labneh (yogurt cheese)
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Za’atar Seasoning, divided
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • pita bread, for serving (optional)
  • pita chips, for serving (optional)
  • sliced fresh vegetables, for serving (optional)
  1. In small bowl, mix labneh and 1 teaspoon seasoning until well blended.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining seasoning.
  3. Serve with fresh pita bread, pita chips or sliced fresh vegetables, as desired.

Source:  McCormick

Meal Ideas 10 August 2018

Fresh, Fast, Flavorful Meals for Back-to-School Season

(Family Features) The start of each school year brings new routines for families to adjust to, which can leave little to no time to think about dinner. With the right ingredients, however, it’s still possible to create a healthy, home-cooked meal in a matter of minutes, allowing you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time at the dinner table catching up on the day’s events.

Cookbook author, actress, designer and mom of two Haylie Duff knows a thing or two about juggling her family’s busy schedule on top of her own. When it comes to getting a fresh, fast meal on the table, she looks for easy meal helpers that help cut down on time, but not on flavor, that she can feel good about feeding to her family, like Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork. It’s conveniently pre-seasoned, packed with protein and can be grilled, roasted, sauteed or slow-cooked – making it a versatile dinner solution for any night of the week.

For your next weeknight meal, try Haylie Duff’s recipes for Tomatillo, Pineapple and Bacon Pork Tacos or Pork Gyros with Fresh Tzatziki, which feature a few simple ingredients and can help you make dinner in a matter of minutes.

Find more time-saving tips and fresh, flavorful weeknight dinner ideas for the whole family at SmithfieldRealFlavorRealFast.com.
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Tomatillo, Pineapple and Bacon Pork Tacos

Recipe courtesy of Haylie Duff
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1          Smithfield Applewood Smoked Bacon Marinated Fresh Pork Loin Filet
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1          fresh pineapple, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick slices
  • 1          teaspoon taco seasoning blend
  • 12        white corn tortillas
  • 1-2       radishes, chopped
  • 1          jalapeno, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • 1          bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1          cup (4 ounces) crumbled queso fresco
  • 1          jar (16 ounces) tomatillo salsa (salsa verde)
  1. Cut pork loin filet into 1-inch cubes. Bacon will fall off, but make sure to keep it.
  2. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Saute half the pork cubes and bacon bits 7-8 minutes until browned. Repeat with remaining oil, pork cubes and bacon.
  3. Heat grill to medium at about 400° F. Sprinkle pineapple slices with taco seasoning; grill until char marks appear, turning once. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
  4. Place tortillas on grill until warm. Top tortillas with pork loin filet cubes, pineapple, radishes, jalapeno, cilantro and queso fresco. Serve with tomatillo salsa.

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Pork Gyros with Fresh Tzatziki

Recipe courtesy of Haylie Duff
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes
Serves: 8

  • 1          Smithfield Slow Smoked Mesquite Marinated Fresh Pork Loin Filet
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8-12     Greek pita breads, warm
  • shredded romaine lettuce or arugula
  • chopped tomatoes
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • 1          cup tzatziki sauce
  1. Cut pork loin filet in half lengthwise and thinly slice. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Stir-fry half the fresh pork loin filet 7-8 minutes until browned; set aside. Repeat with remaining oil and pork slices.
  2. Layer warm pitas with shredded lettuce, pork slices, tomatoes and feta. Top with tzatziki sauce.

Source:  Smithfield

Appetizers & Sides 11 June 2018

Host a Better-for-You Barbecue

(Family Features) A traditional backyard barbecue is typically filled with a wide array of tempting foods that make it hard to keep a healthy eating plan on track. With a few simple modifications to your menu, you can transform your grilling party into a spread of better-for-you foods you can still enjoy.

Get creative on the grill. An easy swap like chicken or pork instead of burgers and brats is an instant nutrition boost. Use wood chips or a marinade to create a main dish so tasty you’ll forget it’s a health-conscious choice.

Put produce front and center. There’s no time like summer to enjoy the bounty of the garden, so pile on the veggies in place of dense, calorie-laden sides. A crisp, refreshing salad, lightly seasoned veggies on the grill and even fresh raw veggies with a light yogurt dip can all be healthier additions to your barbecue menu.

Make apps amazing. A health-conscious meal doesn’t have to mean eliminating entire courses. Appetizers while you wait for the grill to heat are practically a requirement, after all. Instead of the typical rich, creamy dips, try a lighter approach, like these cracker canapes. Add a special touch with Crunchmaster crackers, which are gluten-free, non-GMO and full of flavor. Made with wholesome ingredients from trusted sources and available in Sea Salt, Roasted Vegetable, Applewood Smoked BBQ and Aged White Cheddar flavors, these snacks are crafted to fit healthy lifestyles. 

Find more delicious ideas for summer entertaining at crunchmaster.com.
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Grilled Watermelon, Feta and Balsamic Cracker Canapes

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 4          watermelon wedges (1/2-inch thick slices, 4 inches wide at base)
  • 16        Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Sea Salt Crackers
  • 1/4       cup finely crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4       cup prepared balsamic reduction
  • 2          tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  1. Heat grill to medium-high; grease grate well. Grill watermelon wedges, turning once, 3-5 minutes, or until grill-marked on both sides. Cut each watermelon wedge into four smaller wedges.
  2. Top each cracker with watermelon wedge and sprinkle with feta. Drizzle with balsamic reduction. Garnish with fresh mint.

Tip: Add finely chopped Kalamata olives for a tangy twist.

Source: Crunchmaster

Meal Ideas 06 April 2017

Treat Mom on Her Special Day

(Family Features) What can family members do special this year for Mom? Most Moms dream of a fine meal they don’t have to shop for, cook or clean up afterwards. Often going out for breakfast on Mother’s Day can mean dealing with long lines and slow service. But Dad and the kids can rise to the occasion and prepare a meal themselves at home that can be a real treat.

Even the dad who only makes breakfast on weekends can cater a fine restaurant meal at home, with kids as willing sous chefs. It’s easy when your family shops where the pros shop, such as Sam’s Club for frozen appe­tizers, readymade pastry, organic produce, fine wines, quality meats, great breads and fabulous cheesecake ready to thaw and serve. For a crowning touch, add an unexpected and affordable luxury gift and Mom just might decide to sign on for another year.

Check out www.samsclub.com — or the Sam’s Club nearest you — for more great Mother’s Day ideas.

Mother’s Day Game Plan

Here’s the game plan for catering a Mother’s Day meal at home.

  • Chill the champagne or make a deli­cious punch a few hours before the meal.
  • Read the instructions on the box, then pop those frozen appetizers in the oven.
  • Prepare and cook the salmon.
  • Slice up some fresh fruit or bread.
  • Finish with a deliciously moist cheese­cake - a Mom favorite. (Remember to thaw it beforehand.)
  • Serve Mom in bed - let her relax and enjoy the meal and her day.
  • Have the kids clean up the kitchen.
  • Watch Mom smile.

Mom’s Secret Wish List

Mom usually puts the needs of her family first. But if she were really honest, she would say she’d love to have something from this list. And, Dads, when you shop smart, these become affordable luxuries.

  1. Diamonds. They’re always a girl’s best friend. Diamond solitaire earrings go with everything — jeans on the soccer field, a suit at the office or workout clothes at the gym.
  2. Designer Fragrances. Perfume and cologne in her special scent makes Mom feel pampered and special.
  3. Furniture. Surprise her with something she’s been wanting, whether it’s the armoire for the great room, a new desk for the home office or even a new leather sofa.
  4. Chocolate. Always a treat, especially now that health experts have declared that dark chocolate is actually good for us. Now, will it be Godiva or Ghirardelli?
  5. Culinary Ware. If Mom has been trying to make culinary masterpieces from a mismatched set of cookware from her early married days, it’s time for an upgrade. Or, maybe she’d love a stand mixer or a great platter.

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Salmon Wellington

Puff pastry encloses flavorful salmon, spinach and herbs in a main dish fit for a special occasion. Wellington prepara­tions are thought to take a great deal of time and skill to make. However, with the time saver of purchased puff pastry, it’s a breeze. The bundles can be pre­pared up to a week in advance and then frozen. Just pop them in the oven when needed.

Note: Puff pastry must be cold (but not frozen) when placed into a hot oven in order for the pastry to become light and flaky.

Makes: 4 servings

  • 1 tablespoon sweet butter
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons shallots or onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach, defrosted and well drained
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon thyme or dill
  • minced Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • 4 thick, skinless fillets of salmon (about 6 ounces each)
  • 2 packages puff pastry (defrosted in refrigerator)
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  1. Heat sauté pan with butter over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté 3 to 4 minutes until softened. Reduce heat to medium-low and add spinach, nutmeg, lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes; remove from heat and stir in feta. Taste for seasoning and let cool.
  2. Lightly salt and pepper each piece of salmon and top with 2 tablespoons of spinach mixture.
  3. Roll out pastry sheets on lightly floured board. Cut 1 piece of pastry for bottom of each fillet — about 1 inch larger than the salmon. Cut a second piece large enough to drape over fillet and touch counter, plus 1 inch to spare all the way around.
  4. Brush edge of smaller sheet with lightly beaten egg mixed with milk. Place 1 piece of salmon in center of pastry. Drape larger piece over salmon and seal the two pieces of dough together by folding and pleat­ing like a pie crust. Repeat for each “package.” Chill at least 30 minutes or freeze up to 1 week before baking.
  5. Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush top of each package with a small amount of egg/milk mixture. Put on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and a dusting of corn meal. Bake in pre­heated oven for 18 to 23 minutes, until golden. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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Cranberry Splash Punch

Makes: 8 servings

  • 4 cups cranberry juice
  • 3 cups pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup cherry juice
  • 2 cups puréed strawberries or raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 6 cups ice cubes
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 2 limes, sliced
  • 3 cups orange soda or ginger ale
  1. Mix all juices and puréed berries and chill thoroughly.
  2. To serve, put punch in handsome container and add ice and fruit. Slowly stir in orange soda.

Source: Sam's Club

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