(Family Features) Football season, for many people, is just as much about the food as it is about the action. No matter who’s playing and whether you’re at a tailgate or living room watch party, one thing is for sure: football and flavor go hand-in-hand.
When you’re huddling up to figure out how to score a touchdown with your game day spread, consider taking your snacks to the next level by adding an authentic Mexican flair. Opt for traditional Mexican ingredients like chorizo, queso fresco or cotija in meals and snacks that are already football mainstays, including nachos, tacos and quesadillas, and consider all the possibilities that incorporating these flavorful ingredients can add to other classic dishes like sliders and potato skins.
Ideal for tailgate season, Cacique, one of the country’s top Mexican food brands, offers Mexican-Style Queso Dips – made with real queso fresco and available in Queso Blanco, Southwestern, Jalapeño and Chipotle flavors – and Fully Cooked Chorizos – made with authentically seasoned premium pork shoulder and available in classic, Chorizo with Bacon & Potato, Chorizo with Eggs and Chorizo with Queso varieties – to help fans easily add Mexican flavor to indulgent game day favorites. Both use high-quality ingredients and are microwavable, so they taste authentic and can be ready in minutes so no one misses any of the big plays or touchdowns.
Consider these twists you can add to your favorite game time snacks:
- Loaded Avocados: Give avocados the potato skin treatment by loading them up with delicious toppings like chorizo, queso fresco and crema – just don’t eat the skin.
- Cheese Fries: Drizzle queso dip over French fries or top with crumbles of flavorful Cacique Chorizo and Cotija in a recipe like these Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chorizo and Cotija.
- Robust Sliders: Skip regular beef patties and spoon the rich seasoning and punch of flavor that chorizo brings to your favorite slider rolls then top with your favorite cheese and salsa.
- Mac and Cheese: For a new take on mac and cheese, toss cooked macaroni noodles with your favorite Cacique Queso Dip and top with crushed tortilla chips in a recipe like this Southwestern Mac and Queso.
Discover more ways to incorporate Mexican flair into your game day spread at caciqueinc.com .
Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chorizo and Cotija
- 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wide sticks
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 package Cacique Fully Cooked Chorizo
- 1 cup Cacique Cotija, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Heat oven to 400° F and lightly grease large, rimmed baking sheet.
- In large bowl, toss sweet potato sticks with olive oil.
- Lay fries in single layer on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake 15-18 minutes, shaking pan several times, until tender and lightly browned.
- When fries are almost done baking, microwave chorizo 3-4 minutes.
- To serve, place golden brown fries on serving platter and spoon chorizo over top. Sprinkle with cotija and fresh cilantro.
Southwestern Mac and Queso
- 1 package Cacique Queso Dip
- 1 box macaroni, cooked according to package instructions
- 1/4 cup Cacique Queso Fresco, crumbled
- 1/2 cup tortilla chips, crushed
- Microwave queso dip 2-3 minutes; stir. Pour over cooked macaroni and toss until thoroughly coated.
- Sprinkle crumbled queso fresco and crushed tortilla chips over macaroni before serving.
(Family Features) School is back in session and so are hectic weeknights with little time to cook dinner. Instead of reaching for ready-made meals or takeout, make a kid-friendly, south-of-the-border casserole. All of the ingredients – from the whole grain elbow macaroni to the ground beef – are cooked in one skillet, meaning minimal cleanup and maximum quality time spent reconnecting around the dinner table.
“This simple three-step recipe is perfect for busy weeknights because it’s quick, family-friendly and just as good re-heated for leftovers,” said McCormick Executive Chef Kevan Vetter. “You don’t need a second pot to cook the pasta; it’s cooked in the skillet along with the ground beef, fresh tomatoes and corn. Season with organic taco seasoning and sprinkle with cheddar cheese and you’re sure to have a meal the kids will beg to add to the dinner rotation.”
Tex-Mex Macaroni Casserole
Makes 8 (1-cup) servings
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 package McCormick Organics Taco Seasoning Mix
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
- 2 cups uncooked whole grain elbow macaroni
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- Brown beef and onion in large skillet on medium-high heat. Drain fat.
- Stir in seasoning mix, water, chopped tomatoes and corn. Bring to boil. Add pasta. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Sprinkle with cheese, cover. Let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
(Family Features) When your family is transitioning back into a regular routine in the new year, it’s the perfect time to recommit to healthy eating habits throughout the day. Getting the whole family on board may be easier than you think – just keep the focus on flavor and fun.
If you’re short on ideas to jumpstart better family eating, try these tips:
Keep it simple. Busy families often rely on the convenience of boxed meals, but you can get the same easy, delicious meal in a much healthier way. Everything cooks in one pot for easy clean-up, and this Cheeseburger Mac recipe swaps ground beef for leaner ground turkey. Not only is this an easy weeknight dinner, but leftovers can be packed in a thermos for lunch on chilly days.
Make a family promise. To keep the momentum going, rely on a resource like the Power Your Lunchbox Promise website, which offers everything from healthy lunchbox ideas to after-school snacks and dinners. All meal ideas have been approved by a registered dietitian, meet USDA guidelines and are kid-friendly. What’s more, for every Power Your Lunchbox Promise made on the website, health-conscious companies supporting the initiative will make a $1 donation to Feeding America's programs that support families and children. Learn more at poweryourlunchbox.com.
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup mini sweet peppers, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups whole-grain dry macaroni
- 1 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
- In large skillet over medium high heat, heat oil. Add turkey, onion and peppers. Cook 7-10 minutes, or until turkey is cooked through.
- In small bowl, mix paprika, sugar, salt and chili powder. Add to turkey and stir. Add water, milk, tomato paste and pasta. Mix well. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, or until pasta is cooked and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and top with cheese.
Space Exploration Bento Box
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
- 1/2 cup red seedless grapes
- 1 whole-wheat sandwich round
- 2 slices low-sodium deli-sliced turkey
- 1 slice Swiss cheese
- 1/2 slice low-fat cheddar cheese
- 1 clementine, peeled and segmented
- 3 mini sweet peppers, sliced into rings
- 1 package freeze-dried fruit
- Add grapes to bottom of large section of bento box to create space background. Place bottom of sandwich round on top, add turkey and sandwich round top.
- Lay Swiss cheese on cutting board. Using small bowl or other round object, cut into circle. Place on top of sandwich to create moon.
- Lay cheddar cheese on cutting board. Using small star cookie cutter, cut out stars. Add to space around moon.
- Pair with clementine “crescent moons,” pepper “planet rings” and freeze-dried fruit.
Source: Produce for Kids
(Family Features) Back-to-school season means plenty of evening hours spent completing homework, attending extracurricular activities and preparing to repeat the school-day routine the next day. For many families, having time to prepare and cook quality, nutritious meals can be next to impossible.
Instead of choosing between valuable family time and hours spent in the kitchen, RAGÚ blogger, fitness enthusiast and busy mom Jamie Krauss Hess recommends stocking up on go-to pantry staples you feel good about and including them in quick, nutritious recipes everyone can enjoy together.
Try recipes such as Mini Turkey Sloppy Joes, which swap out beef for ground turkey to provide a flavorful alternative while offering a special twist to a classic family favorite. Quinoa Penne with Savory Tomato-Basil Sauce can hit the spot with just a handful of ingredients. Or, if the little ones clamor for a more kid-friendly dish and the adults don’t mind a throwback to childhood, Grown-Up Tomato Mac and Cheese can provide the best of both worlds.
All three recipes take less than an hour to make and feature RAGÚ Simply pasta sauces, which are made with 100 percent olive oil and contain no added sugar. They’re available in four varieties including: Traditional, Chunky Marinara, Chunky Garden Vegetable and Flavored with Meat. By using simple ingredients like California vine-ripened tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, onions and spices, the result is a taste-tempting sauce with recipe versatility.
Find more family-pleasing and simple-to-prepare recipes ideal for busy school nights at ragu.com.
Grown-Up Tomato Mac and Cheese
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 box (16 ounces) gemelli pasta
- 4 cups water
- 2 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
- 1 jar (24 ounces) RAGÚ Simply Traditional Pasta Sauce
- 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
- In large pot, combine pasta and water. Cook over medium-high heat 20-22 minutes, or until pasta is done, stirring occasionally.
- In bowl, combine 2 cups cheddar cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese and corn starch. Reduce heat to medium; stir milk, cheese mixture and sauce together with cooked pasta. Cook 5-7 minutes, or until cheese is melted and mixture is thickened, stirring frequently.
- Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and pepper; serve immediately.
Tip: This stovetop method eliminates the need to drain the pasta after cooking. The starchy pasta water gets stirred in and helps create an extra-rich sauce. Elevate this dish by sprinkling crushed Parmesan cheese crisps on top before serving.
Mini Turkey Sloppy Joes
Recipe courtesy of Honey and Birch
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 cup carrots, finely diced
- 1 medium green pepper, diced
- 1 medium red pepper, diced
- 1 jar (24 ounces) RAGÚ Simply Chunky Marinara Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 mini buns
- In large skillet over medium heat, heat extra-virgin olive oil. When hot, add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is translucent.
- Add ground turkey to pan. Break up meat and stir frequently until meat is browned. Add carrots, green pepper and red pepper. Cook 5 minutes so vegetables can begin to soften.
- Add marinara sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ground mustard, kosher salt and black pepper. Stir and bring to boil. Reduce heat so it simmers; partially cover pan. Cook 10 minutes.
- Serve on mini buns.
Quinoa Penne with Savory Tomato-Basil Sauce
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 minutes
- 12 ounces (about 5 cups) uncooked quinoa penne pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 jar (24 ounces) RAGÚ Simply Chunky Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce
- 1 1/4 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, chopped, divided
- Cook pasta as directed on package.
- In large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add shallots; cook 5-7 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add garlic, tomatoes and paprika; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in sauce and basil, reserving small amount of basil for garnish.
- Drain pasta; add to sauce mixture. Mix well. Cook 1-2 minutes until heated through. Sprinkle with reserved basil before serving.
Tip: For extra protein, add 1 pound sliced, grilled chicken when stirring in pasta.
(Family Features) Ease your way into a busy new school year with easy dishes you can prepare and serve in minutes. Time-saving and delicious dinners allow you to enjoy valuable family meals without sacrificing precious time in the kitchen.
One smart way to pull together flavorful meals when you’re pinched for time is to keep versatile ingredients on hand that you can use in a variety of ways. For example, pre-sliced pepperoni is perfect for quick snacks, but it’s also great for do-it-yourself pizzas, casseroles and even a fresh take on grilled cheese sandwiches. An option like Armour Turkey Pepperoni can brighten up any appetizer or dish with 70 percent less fat and 25 percent less sodium than the Original variety.
Another “A-plus” idea: keep frozen meatballs handy, but think beyond traditional spaghetti. Not only do fully cooked meatballs save plenty of time, they make for a fun way to add protein and bring great flavor to kid favorites like macaroni and cheese.
Find more easy recipes for family meals this fall at ArmourMeats.com.
Cheesy Mac and Meatballs
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
- 12 ounces elbow macaroni, uncooked
- 1 package (14 ounces) Armour Original Meatballs, thawed
- 12 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup milk
- shredded cheddar cheese for topping (optional)
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Cut meatballs in half.
- In large saucepan over medium heat, combine shredded cheddar cheese and milk, stirring until smooth. Stir in meatballs; cover and simmer 5 minutes, or until meatballs are hot.
- Drain macaroni; stir into meatball mixture. Top with cheddar cheese, if desired.
Grilled Cheese and Pepperoni Sandwiches
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 8 slices white or whole-grain bread
- 8 slices cheddar or American cheese
- 32 slices Armour Original or Turkey Pepperoni
- 1 cup roasted red pepper strips or 4 thin tomato slices (optional)
- Spread butter over one side of each piece of bread. Put four slices of bread on sheet of waxed paper, buttered-side down.
- Top each slice of bread with one cheese slice, eight slices pepperoni, 1/4 cup peppers or sliced tomato, if desired, and additional cheese slice. Top sandwiches with remaining bread, buttered-side up.
- Heat large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add two sandwiches; cook 4-5 minutes per side, or until cheese is melted and sandwiches are golden brown. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.
Alternate preparation tip: Cook sandwiches in two batches in heated panini maker or well-oiled waffle iron 3-4 minutes.
Feed your family something simple and delicious like this Easy Tuna Casserole, loaded with vegetables, pasta and tuna for a filling meal that everyone can enjoy. In just a few easy steps, you’ll be able to please the entire family without spending hours in the kitchen – perfect for those busy weeknights when time isn’t on your side. Find more family recipes at culinary.net.
Easy Tuna Casserole
- 6 cups boiling water
- 3 cups uncooked macaroni
- 1 cup frozen vegetables (corn, carrots and peas)
- 4 TBS butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cheese powder packet
- 1 can of tuna in water (drained)
- 8 - 10 buttery crackers rounds (crushed)
- Boil water in sauce pan, then add in macaroni. Stirring ocassionaly. Boiling 8-10 minutes.
- Add frozen vegetables 2 minutes before the end of boil time.
- Drain and return to sauce pan.
- Add in butter, milk and cheese. Stir until mixed.
- Pour into casserole dish.
- Add tuna and stir into macaroni mixture.
- Sprinkle crushed buttery crackers over macaroni mixture.
- Serve immediately.