(Family Features) With many families spending more time than usual at home, scratch cooking trends are popular among home chefs. From homemade sourdough to elaborate multi-course dinners, the kitchen has become a place for creativity for many.
However, since summer brings all sorts of fun and outdoor activities, busy families may be looking for ways to spend less time in the kitchen without compromising on quality or flavor. Try to work smarter, not harder, and let your local grocery store do some of the heavy lifting.
Starting with pre-packaged salads, casseroles, fresh-baked breads or prepared items from the deli case, like a rotisserie chicken, opens an array of possibilities for quick family meals. For example, Signature Cafe and Signature Select, available exclusively at Albertsons and Safeway stores, can be your go-to for meal solutions, and you can find these products at a value compared to many leading national brands without giving up the quality you crave. With products available across the entire store, you can find easy-to-implement recipe hacks the whole family can enjoy.
Serving up a tasty and comforting dinner can be as easy as mixing together fresh ingredients like pre-made macaroni and cheese, rotisserie chicken, frozen broccoli and topping your dish with cracker crumbs in this Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese. You’ll have food on the table in less than 30 minutes and more time to spend with family and friends.
With the resources available at your neighborhood store, you can build restaurant-quality Spicy Chicken Sandwiches with Nashville-Style Dressing at home by visiting the deli department for fried chicken and swinging by the bakery for a loaf of European-style bread. Crunchy fried chicken, cool lettuce, crisp pickles and spicy dressing including a handful of pantry staples make for the perfect flavor and texture combination.
End the day with a Neapolitan-Style Milkshake as classic flavors come together with vanilla bean ice cream, fudge striped shortbread cookies, strawberry preserves and whole milk. This ice cream treat is an indulgence that blends in a flash.
Visit Albertsons.com/exclusivebrands to shop for grocery delivery or pickup at your local store such as Albertsons, Safeway, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Shaw’s, Star Market, United Supermarkets and Carrs/Safeway.
Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 packages (12 ounces each) Signature Cafe Classic Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 cup frozen broccoli
- 2 Signature Cafe Whole Roasted Chicken Breasts (about 1 cup), skin removed and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup cracker crumbs
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Coat 6-by-9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Add macaroni and cheese, broccoli and chicken, stirring to combine until well incorporated. Top with cracker crumbs.
- Bake 20 minutes, or until heated through.
- 4 scoops (1/2 cup each) Signature Select Vanilla or Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
- 6 Signature Select Fudge Striped Shortbread Cookies
- 4 tablespoons Signature Select Strawberry Preserves
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk, plus additional (optional)
- In blender, process ice cream, cookies, strawberry preserves and whole milk.
- If desired, add milk to achieve desired thickness.
- Serve in chilled glasses.
Spicy Chicken Sandwiches with Nashville-Style Dressing
Nashville-Style Spicy Mayonnaise:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Spicy Chicken Sandwich:
- 1/2 cup Nashville-Style Spicy Mayonnaise, plus additional (optional)
- 4 slices Signature Select Artisan French or Italian Bread
- 2 pieces hand-breaded Signature Cafe Fried Chicken Breast, cut into slices
- 1 cup lettuce mix
- 8 sweet or dill pickle chips
- To make Nashville-Style Spicy Mayonnaise: In bowl, combine mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, salt and black pepper.
- To make Spicy Chicken Sandwiches: Spread Nashville-Style Spicy Mayonnaise onto bread slices. Arrange sliced chicken on half the bread slices and place lettuce and pickle chips on other half.
- Dress with additional Nashville-Style Spicy Mayonnaise, if desired. Fold sandwiches together, spear with toothpick and slice diagonally.
(Family Features) Whether you prefer watching your favorite teams in-person or on TV, tailgate season means it's time to break out your party's favorite foods from appetizers and snacks to all-out meals.
Go long for a touchdown-worthy tailgate or settle in for game day on the couch with these recipes for a bold burger, sweet-and-spicy wings and creamy coleslaw. For an appetizing pregame warmup, try this assortment of nacho toppings to give your whole party something to cheer about.
Find more recipes to amp up your tailgate atmosphere at Culinary.net.
Homemade Nachos Worth the Hype
A truly beneficial start to the day is usually centered around breakfast. Start your family on the right foot with a meal that delivers sweet flavor along with nutritious fruits.
This Honey Leches French Toast recipe swaps out syrup for hot honey combined with the crisp taste of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.
Visit honey.com for more family-friendly recipes.
Perfect for pairing with game day dishes of nearly any variety, nachos allow a special amount of personalization for guests of all ages and taste preferences. Along with tortilla chips, of course, try nibbling on these topping options throughout your party:
- Shredded cheese
- Melted nacho cheese
- Sour cream
- Black olives
- Shredded meat
- Sliced peppers
- Diced tomatoes
A Flavorful, Exotic Spin
No tailgate is complete without a game day staple: burgers. For a twist on tradition, try serving a different style of beef to give guests a new take on an all-time favorite.
This Grass-Fed Wagyu Burger with Red Radish Chili Pickles uses First Light 100% grass-fed Wagyu beef from New Zealand, home to some of the world's most natural tasting beef and lamb. With cattle allowed to roam and graze freely over lush green hills and pastures all day, every day, the result is a tender, flavorful meat that tastes as nature intended.
Remember to cook the patties quickly over high heat to help retain juiciness, tenderness and flavor. With a touch of chili pepper in the pickles, you can add just enough spice with a sweet kick.
Find more recipes for game day gatherings at beefandlambnz.com.
Grass-Fed Wagyu Burger with Red Radish Chili Pickles
Red Radish Chili Pickles:
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons sliced fresh red chili peppers
- 1/2 cup sliced red radish
- 1 1/3 pounds First Light New Zealand Grass-Fed Wagyu Grind
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon grainy mustard (optional)
- 2 tablespoons rice bran oil
- 4 hamburger buns
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 4 lettuce leaves
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
- 2 tablespoons onion jam
- To make Red Radish Chili Pickles: In small saucepan, heat vinegar, water and sugar. Add chili and radish; remove from heat.
- To make Wagyu Burgers: Season Wagyu grind with salt and pepper, to taste. Mix in mustard, if desired. Form into four patties.
- Lightly brush both sides of burgers with oil. In frying pan, sear burgers over high heat then reduce heat to medium and cook until well caramelized. Flip and repeat process on other side.
- In frying pan, lightly toast burger buns.
- Spread mayonnaise on buns; top with lettuce, tomato and burger.
- Spread spoonful onion jam on each burger then finish with Red Radish Chili Pickles.
Crunch into Coleslaw
Appetizers, main courses and snacks may dominate many tailgate parties, whether at home or the stadium, but don't forget to incorporate sides that can accompany all the flavors of your festivities.
This Honey-Dill Coleslaw, for example, makes for a complementary dish to just about any protein from burgers to wings and beyond. Plus, with only a few simple ingredients, it's an easy side to whip up yourself or enlist help from an eager guest.
Find more sweet side recipes at honey.com.
Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
- 1 package (16 ounces) coleslaw mix
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- In small bowl, combine honey, sour cream and dill.
- In large bowl, toss coleslaw mix with onion and honey-sour cream mixture. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.
A Sweet-Hot Handheld
Ditch the plates and dive right into a sweet and spicy snack perfect for the whole party with these Honey-Sriracha Grilled Wings.
To help simplify prep, try grilling ahead of time and keep in the oven until guests arrive. Or, if you're tailgating in style at the stadium, toss into a pan and cover with foil to keep them warm until it's time for a bite.
Visit honey.com to find more tailgating recipes.
Honey Sriracha Grilled Wings
Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board
- 4 pounds fresh chicken wings
- 3 cups rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup Sriracha sauce
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 cups honey, divided
- Heat grill to 225-240 F.
- In large bowl, rinse wings with cool water. Add rice wine vinegar, Sriracha, salt and 1 cup honey. Fold to incorporate all ingredients and coat wings evenly.
- Place wings on grill, cover with lid and cook 12-14 minutes before turning once and cooking additional 15-18 minutes.
- Open lid and turn wings. Brush remaining honey on wings. Cook 5-8 minutes, remove from heat and serve.
Source: New Zealand Beef & Lamb
(Family Features) Watermelon rinds make for more than just attractive containers for serving cold dishes and beverages. The rind can also be used in creative, edible ways and is good for your heart.
Watermelon, both the flesh and the rind, is a good source of a compound called citrulline, an amino acid that raises levels of arginine in the blood, which in turn helps maintain blood flow, healthy blood vessels and heart health.
Whether you’re eating for good health or good taste (or both), you can use the rind to make pickles and relishes, grate into salads and slaws, toss into stir-fry and add to smoothies and juice. The key to chowing down on watermelon rind is knowing how to prepare it. These three preparation methods can help you put that rind to good use:
Pickled: Watermelon rind is similar to a cucumber, which is why it’s no surprise that pickled watermelon rind is a popular option.
Juiced: Most people know you can enjoy juice from red flesh of the melon, but you can juice the rind, too. Just like the watermelon flesh, the rind is loaded with water and nutrients.
Stir-Fried: When it’s cut up, watermelon rind is just like a vegetable, which means it can be tossed in a pan and stir-fried right alongside broccoli and carrots.
Look for more creative ways to use your watermelon rind at watermelon.org.
Watermelon Rind Pickles
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 2 cups peeled watermelon rind, cut into 1-1/2-by-2-inch pieces (leave thin layer of pink)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 allspice berry
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 4 peppercorns
- 4 whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon pickling spice
- 1 long slice of fresh gingerroot
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
- In large pot over medium-high heat, bring water and salt to boil. Add rind pieces and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Strain. Transfer rinds to large metal bowl.
- In saucepan, combine watermelon rind, sugar, berries, vinegar, peppercorns, cloves, pickling spice, gingerroot and celery seeds. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 15 minutes until slightly reduced. Pour over watermelon rinds in bowl. Place plate over top to keep rinds submerged in liquid.
- Cover and refrigerate 1 day. Transfer to glass jar and keep sealed in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
Watermelon Rind Stir-Fry
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 cups watermelon rind, julienned (white part only, from about 1/2 of seedless watermelon)
- 1 cup julienned carrots
- 1/2 cup chives, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 piece (about 1 inch) ginger, minced
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup mint leaves
- crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- In wok over high heat, heat sesame oil. Add watermelon rind and carrots and fry, stirring constantly, 1-2 minutes. Let sit over high heat 1 additional minute without stirring. Add chives and stir to combine.
- In small bowl, whisk together honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic and ginger. Pour sauce over watermelon rind and cook, stirring, 30 seconds-1 minute, until fragrant.
- Transfer to serving dish. Add basil, cilantro and mint, tossing to combine. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired, and serve.