Meal Ideas 28 July 2020

School-Night Meals that Deliver Taste at a Low Cost

(Family Features) Regardless of what back to school looks like this year, preparing family meals throughout the week does not have to be a challenge. Shopping at a store like ALDI can stretch your budget and help you make five different meals over five days for about $5 a meal pretax for a family of four.

Using a mix of kitchen staples you already may have, along with fresh ingredients, you can make delicious, affordable recipes for the whole family. Simply select a protein or main ingredient and explore versatile ways to build other meals around it during the week. 

Grilled chicken breasts are ideal for on-the-go lunches or weekday dinners. Busy parents can get dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes with an easy Chicken Cacciatore in the pressure cooker or simple prep-ahead Chicken Enchiladas. These convenient dishes make it a snap to add variety by substituting chicken with shrimp, beans or vegetables.

Serving organic produce, fresh and frozen meats, seafood and on-the-go snacks can be easy when you shop at a store like ALDI for the back-to-school season. Plus, you can find foods to fit any dietary style without breaking the bank.

Find more family meal solutions at aldi.us.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Recipe courtesy of “Pinch of Yum” on behalf of ALDI
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1-1 1/2             pounds chicken breasts or chicken thighs
  • flour
  • 1          pinch salt, plus 2 teaspoons, divided
  • 2          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1          onion, diced
  • 16        ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 3          cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2       cup chicken broth
  • 1          bell pepper, diced
  • 1          can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 4          tablespoons butter
  • capers (optional)
  • parsley, plus additional for topping (optional)
  • lemon
  • preferred pasta
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Dredge chicken in flour and pinch of salt. Turn on saute function on pressure cooker. Add oil; saute chicken 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside (chicken will finish cooking later).
  2. Add onion, mushrooms and garlic. Saute until softened. Add broth and let sizzle out.
  3. Add chicken, bell pepper, tomatoes and remaining salt to pressure cooker. Cook on high pressure 15 minutes. Release pressure.
  4. Shred chicken. Stir in butter, capers, parsley and lemon. Serve with preferred pasta and top with additional parsley and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas with Black Beans

Recipe courtesy of “Wellness for the Win” on behalf of ALDI
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 10

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1          medium onion, chopped

Chicken:

  • 1          pound chicken breasts
  • 1/4       teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon cumin
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Enchiladas:

  • 15        ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 10        ounces diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
  • 2          cups shredded Mexican cheese, divided
  • 16        ounces restaurant-style salsa, divided
  • 10        whole-wheat tortillas

Optional Toppings:

  • diced avocado
  • plain Greek yogurt
  • cilantro
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray 9-by-13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook onion until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and set aside.
  3. To make chicken: Season chicken breasts with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin and salt and pepper, to taste. Add chicken to same skillet over medium-high heat. Cook 5-7 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Use fork and knife to shred chicken.
  4. To make enchiladas: In large bowl with cooked onion, add shredded chicken, black beans, diced tomatoes, green chilies and 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese. Use spoon to mix well.
  5. Pour 1 cup salsa on bottom of greased pan and use spatula to spread evenly. Scoop about 1/2 cup chicken and veggie mixture into each tortilla. Roll tightly and place seam side down in pan.
  6. Top enchiladas with 3/4 cup salsa and remaining shredded cheese; use spatula to spread evenly.
  7. Cover pan tightly with foil and bake 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven; serve hot. Add avocado, yogurt and cilantro, if desired.

Source:  ALDI

Seafood 28 July 2020

New Food Trends Can Save Time and Money

(Family Features) As families continue to adjust their meal routines amidst a worldwide pandemic, there are trends you and your loved ones can follow to improve your general health, maintain a budget and spend more time together.

Home cooking: According to a study conducted by Hunter Public Relations on how COVID-19 has changed home cooking, 54% of Americans are cooking more and 50% have more confidence in the kitchen. Many, perhaps for the first time, found that cooking at home and learning cooking techniques could be a fun family activity.

Trusting frozen: Frozen foods have seen a renaissance in 2020. Many families discovered that new technologies allow frozen foods to deliver innovations in flavors, recipes, authenticity and affordability without compromising taste. For example, Aqua Star’s frozen Cutting Board Meal Kits are available at grocers nationwide and feature full chef-inspired meals like Chipotle Shrimp Street Tacos and Southwest Chili-Lime Tilapia.

Saving money: It’s common knowledge for many consumers that eating at or ordering takeout from a restaurant is more expensive than cooking at home. Eating at home showed families just how much they could save, and this trend is likely to continue. According to a Simon-Kucher Restaurants Survey, 26% of consumers who ate meals from casual restaurants before the pandemic anticipate eating meals primarily at home for up to a year after lockdown.

More seafood: According to a national survey by Aqua Star, one of the country’s largest seafood companies, 75% of Americans want to eat more seafood. Seafood provides nutritional benefits for a multitude of recipes, but many people don’t know how to prepare it. One of the easiest ways to introduce your family to seafood is through familiar comfort food recipes and convenient one-pan meals.

Online grocery shopping: Nearly daily trips to the grocery store can be an expensive habit since impulse buying is a bane to healthy eating and saving money. As online grocery shopping grows in popularity, it provides families with a convenient, time-saving way to keep must-haves on hand without overspending at the store.

Dinners with family: After years of families grabbing meals on the run, sheltering in place has brought many back to the dining room table. For a simple family meal that focuses on frozen seafood and pantry staples, try this recipe for Shrimp Scampi that involves just a few steps of preparation that can even allow kids to help in the process. If you don’t have time to cook, Aqua Star’s Shrimp Scampi MicroSteam Bowl is a simple way to enjoy the same flavors in minutes, from the microwave, with no clean-up required.

Find more at-home seafood solutions at aquastar.com.

Shrimp Scampi

Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 8          ounces pasta linguine
  • 2          tablespoons butter
  • 2          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4          garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2       cup dry white wine or seafood broth
  • 3/4       teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1          dash crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4       teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2    pounds large or extra-large Aqua Star shrimp, shelled
  • 1/3       cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2       lemon, juice only
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. In large skillet, melt butter and oil. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add wine or broth, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Bring to simmer and reduce by half.
  3. Add shrimp and saute until shrimp turn pink and opaque, approximately 2-4 minutes depending on size. Stir in parsley, lemon juice and cooked pasta. 

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (family dinner)

Source: Aqua Star

Healthy 01 June 2020

Family Foods with a Weight Loss Focus

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

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

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

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

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

Pot Roast Tacos with Chimichurri

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

Chimichurri:

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

Tacos:

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

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

Chili Loaded Baked Potato

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

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

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

Cheesy Ground Beef Skillet

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

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

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

Source: Promote A Book

Meal Ideas 28 May 2020

Support Your Immune System with Grapes

(Family Features) Boosting immune function through a healthy diet has become an important new focus for many people these days. One key dietary recommendation is to eat more fruits and vegetables each day to improve immune function and prevent heart disease and diabetes. When looking to guide your family to healthier snacks and meals or simply trying to mix up your at-home menu, success can be as simple as rethinking the ingredients you choose to use, including your favorite produce, such as grapes.

Fresh California grapes, for example, make for an ideal snack because they are tasty, healthy, hydrating and refreshing, but grapes can also be used to make good-for-you dishes that are also satisfying and delicious. Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols. Plus, they are naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free and contain virtually no sodium.

Try recipes like Moroccan Grape and Grilled Chicken Bowls with Grape Vinaigrette, Spiced Chickpeas and Grapes with Yogurt, and Cauliflower Steaks with Grapes to pair heart-healthy grapes with other nutritious ingredients and add variety and fresh appeal in the kitchen.

Visit GrapesFromCalifornia.com for more nutritious family recipes

Moroccan Grape and Grilled Chicken Bowls with Grape Vinaigrette

Servings: 4

Couscous:

  • 1          cup Israeli couscous
  • 2          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2       cup carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2       cup tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2       cup parsley, leaves only
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons ras el hanout (Moroccan spice blend)
  • 1          teaspoon salt

Chicken:

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

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4       cup green California grapes
  • 1          lemon, juice only
  • 1          preserved lemon, rind only
  • 1/4       cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2          tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1          cup red California grapes, halved
  • 1/2       cup sliced almonds, toasted
  1. To make couscous: Cook couscous in boiling salted water. Drain, rinse with cold water and combine with olive oil. Add carrots, tomatoes, parsley leaves, ras el hanout and salt. Mix well and set aside.
  2. To make chicken: Heat grill to medium-high heat.
  3. Rub chicken breasts with harissa paste, olive oil and salt. Grill on both sides until just done. Set aside to cool. Slice into 1/4-inch slices.
  4. To make vinaigrette: In blender, puree green grapes, lemon juice, lemon rind, olive oil and cilantro until smooth. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Toss couscous mixture with vinaigrette and portion into four bowls. Top with sliced chicken, red grapes and almonds.

Nutritional information per serving: 590 calories; 30 g protein; 44 g carbohydrates; 32 g fat (49% calories from fat); 4.5 g saturated fat (7% calories from saturated fat); 65 mg cholesterol; 720 mg sodium; 3 g fiber.

Spiced Chickpeas and Grapes with Yogurt

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1          can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
  • 1          cup California grapes
  • 1          tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 1          teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1          teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1          pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1          cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1          tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2       teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2       garlic clove, grated
  • 2          tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2          tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
  1. In large bowl, mix chickpeas and grapes.
  2. In small skillet, warm oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mustard seeds and cover. Cook until seeds stop popping then add cumin and fennel seeds; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper flakes; pour over chickpeas and grapes. Mix well.
  3. In separate bowl, stir yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and remaining salt. Spread on serving platter and top with chickpea mixture, cilantro and scallions.

Nutritional information per serving: 220 calories; 11 g protein; 31 g carbohydrates; 6 g fat (25% calories from fat); 1.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 280 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

Cauliflower Steaks with Grapes

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

  • 1          large head cauliflower, leaves trimmed off
  • 3          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2          teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
  • 1/2       teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1          cup halved California grapes
  • 1/4       cup chopped Castelvetrano olives
  • 2          tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 2          tablespoons chopped, toasted pistachios
  1. Heat oven to 450 F.
  2. Cut stem off cauliflower and cut remaining head crosswise into four 1-inch-thick slices, keeping as intact as possible. Place on sheet pan and brush sides with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast until browned and tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. Combine remaining olive oil, remaining pepper, grapes, olives, parsley and pistachios. When cauliflower is roasted, transfer to serving plates and top with grape mixture.
  4. Nutritional information per serving: 210 calories; 5 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 14 g fat (60% calories from fat); 2 g saturated fat (9% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 480 mg sodium; 5 g fiber.
  5. Healthy Eating is Easy with Grapes
  6. Grapes are prized for their taste and crisp, juicy texture, but fresh grapes are also a heart-healthy, hydrating snack choice. Grapes contain more than 1,600 natural plant compounds, including antioxidants and other polyphenols, which help protect the health and function of the body’s cells. Grapes can be paired with other healthy foods to enhance flavor and nutrition, including dark leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, whole grains, legumes and lean proteins.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Meal Ideas 20 May 2020

A Simply Sensational Summer Meal

(Family Features) Whipping up a fresh cooked meal is one of the true joys of summer, especially when grilled grub is paired with tantalizing sides and tempting desserts.

Spice things up with Mexican Beef Sliders with Jalapeno Salsa and Avocado Cream coupled with a side like Roasted Potatoes then cap off a filling meal with these sweet and decadent Strawberry Cream Cheese Tartlets. If you’re looking for ways to mix meat and veggies all at once, these ideas for kebabs are a surefire way to please a variety of palates.

Find more summer meal ideas at Culinary.net.

Cook Up Kebabs

As one of the most versatile main courses that can be grilled, kebabs offer nearly endless opportunities for customization. From protein to veggies, soaked wooden skewers can be loaded with just about any favorite flavors before hitting the grates. Consider these options for kicking your kebabs up a notch:

  • Steak, cut into chunks
  • Chicken, cut into chunks
  • Bratwurst or sausage, cut into slices
  • Ground beef, shaped into balls
  • Lamb
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon, cut into chunks
  • Bacon, cut into small pieces
  • Sliced onions
  • Sliced bell peppers
  • Sliced jalapenos
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes

Summer Sliders with a Spicy Kick

Summer calls for firing up the grill for a fresh-cooked meal, and sliders are an ideal way to enjoy a downsized version of a warm weather favorite.

These Mexican Beef Sliders with Jalapeno Salsa and Avocado Cream are perfect for summer with their spicy kick of salsa and bright, cooling cream. Made with grass-fed beef from New Zealand, where the animals are allowed to roam and graze freely over lush green hills and pastures year-round, the mini burgers boast a lean, finely textured meat that tastes just as nature intended.

Find more tasty summer recipes at beefandlambnz.com.

Mexican Beef Sliders with Jalapeno Salsa and Avocado Cream

Recipe courtesy of Beef + Lamb New Zealand
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Patties:

  • 1 1/3    pounds lean New Zealand grass-fed ground beef
  • 1          clove garlic, crushed
  • 1          medium onion, grated or finely chopped
  • 1          egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4       cup red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2          tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3          teaspoons dried oregano, chopped
  • 2          teaspoons mild smoked paprika
  • 2          teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1          teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2       cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • olive oil

Jalapeno Salsa:

  • 1          cup cucumber, thinly sliced into long ribbons
  • 3/4       cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1          red onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2       cup pickled jalapenos, finely chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • olive oil
  • lime juice

Avocado Cream:

  • 1          avocado, mashed
  • 1/2       cup sour cream
  • 1          lime, juice and zest only
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 8-12     slider buns, halved
  • 2-3       cobs sweet corn, cooked and sliced into shards
  • 8-12     small bamboo skewers
  1. To make patties: In bowl, combine beef, garlic, onion, egg, kidney beans, tomato paste, oregano, paprika, cumin, coriander, Parmesan cheese, salt, to taste, and pepper, to taste. Shape into 8-12 small patties. Cover and refrigerate 15 minutes.
  2. Heat grill or frying pan to medium heat.
  3. Brush patties with oil on both sides. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side, turning once to brown both sides evenly, until cooked through.
  4. To make Jalapeno Salsa: In bowl, combine cucumber, cilantro, onion and jalapenos; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and lime juice.
  5. To make Avocado Cream: In bowl, combine avocado, sour cream, lime juice and lime zest; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Spread Avocado Cream on bottom buns and place patties on top. Top patties with Jalapeno Salsa, corn and top buns. Press down gently and poke in skewers to secure sliders.

A Sweet Summer Treat

Sweet flavors and warm weather go hand-in-hand, and many summer occasions and get-togethers call for dessert. Take advantage of warm weather favorites like strawberries and raspberries with these Strawberry Cream Cheese Tartlets.

Made using the best berries nature can provide, these bite-size tartlets feature a graham cracker crust base and an indulgent cream cheese filling flavored with sliced strawberries, honey and lemon topped with Well•Pict’s sweet, juicy strawberries and raspberries, which come fresh in clamshell packaging made from 70% recycled water bottles.

Find more sweet recipes that can bring a smile to your loved ones’ faces at wellpict.com/recipe.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tartlets

Makes: 24 tartlets (4 ounces each)

  • 1/2       cup water
  • 2          tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3          tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2          tablespoons gelatin
  • 4          cups Well•Pict Strawberries, sliced, divided
  • 1/3       cup honey
  • 2          packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
  • 1/2       cup sour cream
  • 1          cup ice cubes
  • 2          cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2       cup melted butter
  • 1          cup Well•Pict Strawberries, rinsed, for garnish
  • 1          cup Well•Pict Raspberries, rinsed, for garnish
  1. In blender, mix water, lemon juice, lemon zest and gelatin until frothy.
  2. Add 2 cups strawberries and honey; blend until smooth. Pour into bowl and chill mix 15 minutes.
  3. In blender, mix cream cheese, sour cream and ice cubes while incorporating strawberry mixture. Mix in remaining strawberries.
  4. In blender or food processor, mix graham crackers and melted butter to crumb consistency. Lightly grease two medium muffin pans and pack graham cracker mixture at bottom of each opening. Pour strawberry mixture over graham cracker mixture and chill until set. Gently pull tartlets from muffin tins and place on serving tray. Garnish with strawberries and raspberries.

Roasted and Ready to Serve

Summer meals centered around grilled fare call for a complementary pairing that completes the classic profile of warm weather food. Using a versatile vegetable like potatoes allows you to think up different methods of cooking for a new flavor each time.

While you’re focused on the main dish being grilled, these Roasted Potatoes can bake away indoors for a simple side that requires little attention.

Find more health resources at usda.gov.

Roasted Potatoes

Recipe courtesy of “A Harvest of Recipes with USDA Foods
Servings: 6

  • 1          pound potatoes, chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2       cup onion, chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2       cup green pepper, chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 1          teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
  • 1          teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon pepper
  • 1          tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2       teaspoon paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In medium bowl, mix potatoes, onions, green peppers and garlic.
  3. Add vegetable oil, salt, pepper, parsley and paprika. Mix well.
  4. Cover bowl and refrigerate 15 minutes.
  5. Spread potato mixture evenly on cookie sheet. Bake about 35 minutes.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images (Kebabs and Roasted Potatoes)

Source:  New Zealand Wagyu Beef
Well•Pict Berries

 

Snacks 19 May 2020

Snack Hacks That Really Pop

(Family Features) If spending more time at home than usual has you reaching for snacks more often, keep some quick, flavorful options on-hand to help fuel you and your family throughout the day when hunger pangs strike.

One versatile pantry staple that can fit a variety of snack cravings: popcorn. With no artificial additives or preservatives, light and airy popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO and gluten free, making it a sensible option to enjoy one handful at a time or sprinkled with seasonings that satisfy your taste buds. A whole-grain food, popcorn has energy-producing carbohydrates and fiber, which can help keep you satisfied longer. Plus, it’s simple enough to make that kids can help in the kitchen by popping it themselves or adding toppings.

Whether you’re craving something sweet, salty, spicy – or nearly anything else – freshly popped popcorn can serve as the perfect base ingredient to simply mix in your favorite toppings or create more unique tastes by combining a variety of herbs and spices. For example, consider these hacks to add easy flavor:

  • Pop it on the stove. Stovetop popping allows you to choose your toppings. Cover the bottom of a pot with a thin layer of oil and popcorn kernels, shake to coat, cover with a lid then turn on the heat. Once popping has slowed to 2-second intervals, remove from heat and add toppings.
  • Add some sweetness. When you’re in the mood for something sweet, add a dash of salt and a pinch of sugar (or more to meet your taste) to a bowl of popcorn. Or add sugar to the pan before it’s popped, like this recipe for Sugar Corn.
  • Melt some butter. For a classic taste treat, melt a little butter and pour over your bowl of popped corn.
  • Satisfy multiple cravings. Pop a large pot of popcorn and divide it in half; top one half with sweeter toppings like honey, which is a key ingredient in Honey Matcha Popcorn, and the other with something savory, like nutritional yeast or dill. When hunger strikes, you’re ready, regardless of the flavor craving.
  • Spice it up. Cayenne pepper and a blend of other spices can be sprinkled on popcorn to create a spicier snack like Cajun Corn.
  • Add mix-ins. Add dried fruits, nuts or candies to a bowl of popcorn to make your own trail mix.
  • Cheese, please. A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese can make your snack a bit more substantial. Mix in some dried herbs like basil and parsley to create this Popcorn Con Pesto.

For more snack ideas that deliver on both flavor and nutrition, visit popcorn.org.

Sugar Corn

Yield: 8 cups

  • 1/4       cup vegetable oil, for popping
  • 1/2       cup popcorn kernels
  • 1          pinch white sugar, plus additional, to taste
  1. In medium pan, heat oil until hot.
  2. Add popcorn to pan and sprinkle sugar over it. Add more sugar, if desired, to taste.
  3. Cover and shake pan continuously until popcorn is popped.

Honey Matcha Popcorn

Yield: 12 cups

  • 12        cups unsalted, unbuttered popped popcorn
  • 1/4       cup butter
  • 1/4       cup honey
  • 1          teaspoon matcha green tea powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1          tablespoon black sesame seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
  2. Line large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place popped popcorn in large mixing bowl.
  3. In small saucepan over medium heat, melt together butter, honey, matcha powder and salt, stirring until dissolved. Pour over popcorn; toss to combine. Spread onto baking sheet. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  4. Bake, stirring occasionally, 25-30 minutes, or until popcorn is dry. Let cool completely before serving.

Tip: Matcha powder can be found in the tea and coffee aisle at supermarkets.

Popcorn Con Pesto

Yield: 5 quarts

  • 5          quarts popped popcorn
  • 1/2       cup butter
  • 1          tablespoon dried basil leaves, crushed
  • 1          teaspoon dried parsley, crushed
  • 1          teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3       cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2       cup pine nuts (optional)
  1. Place popped popcorn in large bowl and keep warm.
  2. In small saucepan, melt butter; add basil, parsley, garlic, Parmesan cheese and nuts, if using.
  3. Stir to blend.
  4. Pour over popped popcorn, stirring well.

Note: Dried thyme or oregano, or combination of ingredients, may be used in place of basil.

Cajun Corn

Yield: 2 1/2 quarts

  • 1/4       cup butter, melted
  • 2 1/2    quarts popped popcorn, warm
  • 1          teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2       teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1          teaspoon lemon pepper
  1. Heat oven to 300° F.
  2. In bowl, pour butter over warm popcorn.
  3. In separate bowl, combine paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and lemon pepper; sprinkle over popcorn. Toss to mix.
  4. Bake 5-10 minutes for crispy popcorn.

Source: Popcorn Board

Meal Ideas 18 May 2020

Breaking Bread

(Family Features) As families spend more time at home, Americans are finding comfort in a surprising source: bread. In fact, a 20-year trend of declining grain food consumption has been reversed.

A national study by the Grain Food Foundation suggests that the turnaround is more than a one-time sales blip due to pantry loading. In reality, consumers count bread among their top comfort foods. The study revealed one-third of Americans named pasta and bread as foods that are comforting during a stressful time.

In addition to the comforting flavor, this trend provides valuable nutritional benefits. As a part of many healthy eating plans, bread and pasta are nutritionist approved and provide nutrients needed for healthy aging such as B vitamins, magnesium, selenium, iron, folate and fiber.

“For years, we’ve been telling consumers that grain foods are the foods we love that love us back,” said Christine Cochran, executive director of the Grain Foods Foundation. “The stress has given us permission to enjoy bread and pasta again, but unlike most comfort foods, consumers recognize that grains have nutritional value.”

The highest-ranking comfort foods were ice cream; baked goods like cakes, cookies and pastries; salty snacks; candy; and fast food. However, when asked to identify comfort foods with nutritional advantages, consumers identified bread and pasta as the top two.

Beyond identifying comfort foods and their nutritional value, consumers also expressed worry that bread is in short supply right now.

“We can all rest assured that there is enough supply of grain food products in this country,” Cochran said. “Shoppers may be experiencing some sporadic unavailability of certain high-demand items. However, manufacturers are working closely with retailers to make sure that out-of-stocks are short lived. Consumers will be able to buy their favorite grain-food products and eat them, too.”

To learn more about the role of grain foods in a healthful diet, visit GrainFoodsFoundation.org.

Avocado Veggie Sandwich

Recipe courtesy of the Grain Foods Foundation
Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2

  • 1/2       ripe avocado, peeled
  • 1          tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8       teaspoon salt
  • 4          slices bread
  • 4          slices tomato
  • 8          slices cucumber
  • 12        slices sweet bell pepper
  • 2          tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2          lettuce leaves
  1. In small bowl, combine avocado, lemon juice and salt. Spread mixture evenly over two bread slices.
  2. Place tomatoes, cucumber and peppers on covered surface. Drizzle with vinegar.
  3. Layer lettuce, tomato, cucumbers and peppers evenly between slices of bread, creating two sandwiches.

Panzanella Bagel Salad

Recipe courtesy of Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, MS, RD, on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation
Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 2          medium Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 1/4    cups canned diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4       cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4       cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2          tablespoons red onion, diced
  • 2          tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated, plus additional (optional)
  • 1          tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2          tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2          bagels (4 ounces each) cut into 2-inch pieces, toasted
  • assorted greens (optional)

In medium bowl, mix tomatoes, canned tomatoes with juice, green pepper, cucumber, onion, cheese, vinegar and basil.

Add toasted bagel pieces; toss gently. Marinate, covered, in refrigerator 1 hour. Serve within 1 hour after marinating. Sprinkle with additional cheese and serve on bed of assorted greens, if desired.

Rotini with Sausage and Mushrooms

Recipe courtesy of Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, MS, RD, on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation
Prep time: 18 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1          box (13 1/4 ounces) whole-grain rotini
  • 1          tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 1          pound chicken sausage, sliced
  • 1          cup leeks, thinly sliced
  • 1          cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2          cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1          cup chicken stock
  • 1/4       cup parsley chopped
  • 6          leaves from tarragon sprigs, chopped
  • 1          cup Romano cheese grated
  • Parmesan-Romano cheese (optional)
  1. Prepare rotini according to package directions. Drain and transfer to large bowl.
  2. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook sausage 2-3 minutes, or until well browned. Add leeks, onions and mushrooms; cook until tender. Add chicken stock and simmer 3-5 minutes, or until hot. Fold sausage mixture into warm pasta. Add parsley, tarragon and Romano cheese; toss again. Top with Parmesan-Romano cheese, if desired.

Cheesy Black Bean Toast with Pico de Gallo

Recipe courtesy of Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, MS, RD, on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation
Prep time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 6          Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1⁄2       medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1          clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2          serrano or jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
  • 3          tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1          lime, juice only
  • 1⁄8       teaspoon oregano, finely crushed
  • 1⁄8       teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1⁄8       teaspoon pepper
  • 1⁄2       Hass avocado, diced
  • 4          bolillos (6 inches) or large Kaiser rolls, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1          can (16 ounces) seasoned low-fat refried black beans
  • 2          cups shredded Chihuahua or mozzarella cheese
  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. In medium mixing bowl, combine tomatoes; onion; garlic; peppers; cilantro; lime juice; oregano; salt, if desired; pepper; and avocado; set aside.
  3. On medium platter, split rolls. With medium spatula, spread refried beans onto each bread half; sprinkle cheese among bread.
  4. Bake 5-8 minutes, or until cheese is melted and hot.

Source:  Grain Foods Foundation

Meal Ideas 31 July 2019

Corn Chowder with Poblano

FFES corn chowder image1

Corn Chowder with Poblano

Recipe courtesy of Nestlé USA, Inc.
Servings: 6

  • 1          tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1          small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2       cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1          poblano chile, deveined, seeded and chopped
  • 2          garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2          packages (16 ounces each) loose-pack frozen whole kernel corn, thawed, divided
  • 1          can (14 1/2 ounces) low-sodium and fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/4       cup water
  • 1          can (12 ounces) Carnation Evaporated Fat Free or low-fat 2% milk
  • salt, to taste (optional)
  • ground pepper, to taste (optional)
  • 1          tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  1. In large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil. Add onion, pepper, chile and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Add 4 cups corn; cook, stirring occasionally, 4-5 minutes, or until tender. Add broth and water; cook, stirring frequently, 15 minutes is very soft.
  2. Place corn mixture in blender or food processor (in batches if necessary); process until smooth. Return to saucepan. Stir in remaining corn and evaporated milk.
  3. Cook 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until chowder is thick. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley.

Note: One small jalapeño can be substituted for poblano chile. Chiles vary in heat level; half a jalapeno may be all you need.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Holiday 01 November 2018

Holiday Inspiration for Every Occasion

(Family Features) The holiday season is full of opportunities to eat, drink and gather around the table with the ones you love. Whether it's a family dinner, office potluck or neighborhood brunch, good food is a cornerstone of nearly every great holiday celebration.

From hosting guests to kids returning home on winter break, the holiday season can require more planning than usual. Ensure you're prepared this year with a savory centerpiece staple like Smithfield Spiral Sliced Ham or a crowd-pleasing favorite like Bacon French Toast Bake, giving you more time to soak in the best parts of the season.

To keep the holiday season fresh and exciting, consider putting a twist on a classic, like adding sausage to a traditional side dish like Sausage and Ciabatta Stuffing. Available as links, patties and rolls, Smithfield's line of Fresh Breakfast Sausage is made using premium, high-quality pork to provide big flavor that can be enjoyed any time of day.

For more recipes and tips that can help make your holiday soiree a breeze, visit Smithfield.com/HolidayHub.


Bacon French Toast Bake

  • 1 small loaf challah or brioche bread, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 slices Smithfield Bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar, for dusting
  1. Leave bread slices out, at room temperature, at least 3 hours, or until slightly stale.
  2. Generously coat 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange bread, slightly overlapping.
  3. In large bowl, whisk eggs, heavy cream, milk, Gruyere cheese, maple syrup and cinnamon. Add chopped bacon, saving 2 tablespoons for later. Pour over bread in baking dish. With hands, press down on bread to submerge.
  4. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 5 hours, or overnight.
  5. Heat oven to 375 F. Remove plastic. Sprinkle remaining bacon and Swiss cheese over top of bread mixture.
  6. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown and set.
  7. Top with blackberries and dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Sausage and Ciabatta Stuffing

  • 1 large loaf ciabatta bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 pound Smithfield Fresh Sausage Roll
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, diced
  • 2 cups celery, diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Heat oven to 325 F.
  2. Bake ciabatta bread cubes until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Set aside. Increase oven temperature to 375 F.
  3. In skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter.
  4. Cook sausage, breaking meat into medium pieces, until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer sausage to large bowl; set aside.
  5. Add remaining butter to skillet; cook carrots, onions and celery until soft, 5-7 minutes, and transfer to bowl with sausage.
  6. In large bowl, mix bread cubes, chicken broth, olive oil, parsley, rosemary and salt and pepper, to taste. Add vegetable and sausage mixture to bread cubes mixture and combine.
  7. Spread evenly in greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake until golden brown and bread is slightly crisp on top, 30-35 minutes.
  8. Garnish with additional parsley before serving.

Tip: Recipe can be made one day before and refrigerated overnight.

Source: Smithfield

Meal Ideas 01 June 2018

Savoring Salad Season

(Family Features) Even though salads can be enjoyed year-round, the warmer months signal salad season for some fans of al fresco dining. Barbecues, family reunions, picnics, potlucks, block parties, pool parties or simple family dinners are a few reasons to savor the season, and all are ideal occasions to serve a salad.

This versatile Middle Eastern-Inspired Bean Salad can be assembled ahead of time and served chilled or at room temperature.

Beginning with a can of READ 3 or 4 Bean Salad can help streamline prep and provide a pleasing flavor to complement the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, parsley and mint in the salad. The hummus-based dressing combined with a traditional Middle Eastern spice blend gets a bright accent from a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Colorful Pickled Beet and Red Quinoa Salad is also an option that can be served chilled or at room temperature, and can make for a vegetarian main dish or side salad.

At just the right size for a salad, Aunt Nellie’s Whole Baby Pickled Beets are teamed with red quinoa and punctuated with chickpeas, almonds and feta. The fresh orange vinaigrette helps tie the flavors together.

For additional salad inspiration, visit READSalads.com and AuntNellies.com.
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Middle Eastern-Inspired Bean Salad

Prep time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1          can (15 ounces) READ 3 or 4 Bean Salad
  • 1/2       cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1          small cucumber (4-5 inches long), cut in half lengthwise then thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2          green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2       cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2          tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1          small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4       teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Dressing:

  • 2          tablespoons prepared hummus
  • 1          tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4-1/2   teaspoon za'atar seasoning blend
  1. Drain bean salad. Discard liquid. Place bean salad in large bowl.
  2. Add tomatoes, cucumber, onions, parsley, mint, garlic and red pepper flakes to bean salad. Toss to combine.
  3. To make dressing: Combine hummus, lemon juice and seasoning; set aside.
  4. Add dressing to salad just before serving; toss to combine well. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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Pickled Beet and Red Quinoa Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Servings: 8

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4       cup fresh orange juice
  • 1          tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2       teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil

Salad:

  • 1          jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie's Baby Whole Pickled Beets
  • 1          can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2       cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1/2       cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2       cup red quinoa, cooked according to package directions (about 1 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 1/2       cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
  • 1/3       cup crumbled reduced-fat or traditional feta cheese
  • 1          tablespoon orange zest
  1. To make vinaigrette: In small bowl, whisk together orange juice, orange zest, black pepper, salt, if desired, and olive oil; set aside.
  2. To make salad: Drain beets. Place in large bowl; set aside.
  3. Add chickpeas, green onion, parsley and quinoa to beets. Add vinaigrette; toss to combine well.
  4. Just before serving, add almonds to salad; toss to combine well. Sprinkle with feta cheese and orange zest. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Source: Seneca Foods

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