(Family Features) As summer comes to an end and the reality of back-to-school season sets in, it can be challenging to get organized and jump back into your day-to-day routine. But even as things get hectic, it's still possible to create delicious dishes that leave you plenty of time to savor meals together as a family using a few simple tips and tricks.
Whether the weeknight dinner rush puts you in a panic or you're simply looking to spice up the same old lunchbox staples, these three steps will make it easy to assemble quick, flavorful dishes ideal for the busy back-to-school season.
1. Plan a weekly menu and shop accordingly so you can avoid scrounging to piece together a meal from the odds and ends in the pantry on a night when you're already pressed for time. Meal planning eliminates all of the guesswork, so your family can enjoy healthy, home-cooked meals while also saving time, money and stress.
2. Rely on a versatile, easy meal-helper that lends itself to a variety of preparations, such as Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork. Packed with protein and already seasoned with juicy, delicious flavor, it's the perfect base for any weeknight meal. For a hassle-free dinner, try Pork with Balsamic Glaze and Rosemary, which is ready in just 30 minutes from start to finish - less time than it takes the kids to finish their homework.
3. Opt for simple, flavorful dishes that don't require a ton of ingredients or multiple sides. A zesty take on a traditional favorite, this South of the Border Pizza is convenient, kid-friendly and a great way to banish lunchtime boredom. Use this recipe as a starting point then experiment with more toppings to create your own unique family recipe.
Find more family friendly and time-saving recipe ideas at Smithfield.com.
Pork with Balsamic Glaze and Rosemary
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Smithfield Applewood Smoked Bacon Marinated Fresh Pork Loin Filet, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch thick chops
- 1/4 cup prepared balsamic vinegar glaze
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- In large, nonstick skillet, heat half the oil over medium heat.
- Working in two batches, cook pork chops 4-5 minutes on each side until internal temperature reaches 150 F. Remove pork from skillet and place on rimmed serving platter; cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining oil and pork chops.
- Serve pork chops drizzled with balsamic glaze and sprinkled with rosemary.
South of the Border Pizza
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 2 French bread sandwich rolls, halved
- 8 tablespoons refried black beans
- 8 tablespoons (2 ounces) Smithfield Anytime Favorites Hickory Smoked Diced Ham
- 8 slices pepper jack cheese
- 4 tablespoons picante sauce
- 4 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
- Heat oven to 375 F.
- Place four French bread halves on ungreased sheet pan. Spread 2 tablespoons beans evenly over each bread half.
- Top each half with 2 tablespoons ham and two cheese slices.
- Bake 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned.
- Remove from oven; top each pizza with 1 tablespoon picante sauce and 1 tablespoon sour cream.
(Family Features) Putting fresh, clean meals on the table is easy with fruits, vegetables and other farm-raised foods. For a full day of deliciously pleasing food, start with healthy strawberries to make Strawberry and Goat Cheese Pizza for lunch. Just before dinnertime, go for Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Salad and combine it with a crisp, white wine. Finally, round it out with a main course using honey and its natural sweetening qualities to put Linguini with Honey-Sauced Prawns on the table.
With the help of these tasty recipes, you’re set for a full day of fantastic, farm-fresh foods. Find additional farm-to-table options at culinary.net.
Please Your Palate with Pasta
Make pasta the centerpiece of your meal with this recipe for Linguini with Honey-Sauced Prawns, which combines sweet honey with classic linguini pasta for a flavorful bite at the dinner table. Outside of honey’s ability as a natural sweetener, it can also give you a boost of energy as a rich source of carbohydrates – and this recipe is no exception, with 61 grams of carbs in each serving. Find more of the benefits honey provides, plus delicious recipes, at honey.com.
Linguini with Honey-Sauced Prawns
Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board
- 1 pound prawns, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup julienne carrots
- 1/2 cup julienne celery
- 1/2 cup green onions, sliced diagonally
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup honey
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary leaves
- 1 pound cooked linguini pasta, kept warm
- In large skillet, stir-fry prawns, carrots, celery, green onions and garlic in oil over medium-high heat about 3 minutes, or until prawns start to turn pink.
- In small bowl, combine remaining ingredients except pasta; mix well. Add to prawn mixture; stir-fry about 1 minute, or until sauce thickens.
- Serve over pasta.
A Winning Combination
Put a fresh twist on farm-to-table goodness by pairing two vine-ripened garden treasures: heirloom tomatoes and crisp, refreshing white wine. Northern California’s Sonoma County is known for some of the nation’s finest vineyards. It’s also a culinary destination with a wide range of farms and artisan food purveyors. Inspired by the annual Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, this salad recipe is a twist on classic favorite, delighting the palate by pairing farm-fresh tomatoes with the perfect wine. Find more pairing tips and recipes featuring seasonal ingredients at kj.com.
Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
- 2 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, mixed varieties
- 1/4 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup micro basil (or 1 dozen basil leaves, sliced and torn), divided
- 2 large balls fresh mozzarella, cut into wedges
- flaked sea salt
- Slice tomatoes into 3/4- to 1-inch thick wedges. In large bowl, add tomatoes, olive oil, kosher salt, pepper and half the basil. Toss and allow to marinate 2 minutes. Arrange tomatoes and mozzarella on serving plate, alternating each. Pour marinating liquid over tomatoes and mozzarella. Garnish with remaining basil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
Serve with Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay. Chardonnay’s flavors of orchard fruit complement the sweetness of late summer tomatoes.
Pizza with a Sweet Twist
This non-traditional take on pizza will have your taste buds exploding with savory goat cheese and strawberries marinated in a white balsamic vinaigrette. California strawberries, which – despite their sweet taste – boast just 7 grams of sugar and provide 140 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C per cup, are hand-picked to ensure only the highest quality berries are harvested. Research has also shown this farm-to-table superfruit to be an effective way to help prevent and manage Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. For more information and strawberry recipes, visit californiastrawberries.com.
Strawberry and Goat Cheese Pizza
Recipe courtesy of the California Strawberry Commission
Servings: 8 (1/2 pizza each)
- 1/2 ounce active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3-4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) softened goat cheese
- 4 cups fresh California strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
- coarsely ground black pepper
- baby arugula
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- To make pizza dough: In mixer bowl, sprinkle yeast and sugar over 1 cup warm water; let stand until foamy. Add 3 cups flour, salt and olive oil; mix with dough hook until stretchy and no longer sticky, adding more flour if necessary. Divide dough into four equal portions. Refrigerate, covered, until needed.
- To make white balsamic vinaigrette: In small nonreactive saucepan, simmer white balsamic vinegar until reduced to 1 1/2 tablespoons. Whisk in extra-virgin olive oil.
- To make aged balsamic reduction: In small nonreactive saucepan, simmer aged balsamic vinegar until reduced to about 4 teaspoons.
- On lightly floured surface, roll each piece of pizza dough into 8-inch circle. Place on baking sheet; bake 10 minutes, or until firm and slightly brown. Spread softened goat cheese on pizzas, leaving 1/2-inch border.
- Toss strawberries with white balsamic vinaigrette; arrange strawberries evenly on goat cheese. Bake 10 minutes more. Remove from oven; scatter crumbled goat cheese on top.
- Drizzle with aged balsamic reduction; sprinkle with black pepper. Garnish pizzas with leaves of arugula and frisee.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Linguini with Honey-Sauced Prawns)
Sensible tips for healthy eating
(Family Features) With so many social events that revolve around food, it’s not easy to get a fresh start on making healthy food choices. However, with a little thought and planning, you can prevent taking your body on a roller coaster ride – without having to choose between food deprivation and satisfaction.
“Whether you are hosting an event or attending someone else’s celebration, planning ahead can help you stay on track,” said Mitzi Dulan, a registered dietitian and nationally recognized nutrition and wellness expert. “Having quick and simple strategies and recipes on hand makes it easy to eat well and keep you feeling great.”
Put a winning plan in place to take a new look at your approach to eating smart with these tips from Dulan, who is the team nutritionist for the World Series champion Kansas City Royals.
Don’t skip meals.
Although skipping breakfast may seem like a good way to cut calories, it’s a plan that can actually backfire, making you hungrier as the day wears on, and more likely to overeat or sneak unhealthy snacks. Start each day with a well-rounded breakfast to fuel your body. Apply a similar approach to events later in the day, as well. You may be tempted to skip a meal so you can enjoy the treats at a party, but chances are you’ll end up overdoing it with high-calorie indulgences, so make sure you fuel up ahead of time.
Love what you eat.
Be mindful of the food you eat and make every bite count. Enjoying each delicious taste will make it easier to stick to a sensible eating plan. For the foods you do love, look for ways to make them better – better for you, that is. For example, if pizza is your weak spot, substitute a lower-calorie crust, such as Flatout Flatbread. Then choose toppings wisely to amp up the flavor while managing added fat and calories.
Eat smaller portions.
When you simply must indulge, you may be surprised to hear “go ahead,” but to do so in moderation. One clever way to keep your portions small: use a tablespoon, not a serving spoon to dish out portions. Then eat slowly so your body has time to tell your brain you’re full.
Get your fill in healthy ways.
Overeating often comes down to a very basic cause: hunger. Becoming more conscious of how you answer your hunger will help you stay on track. Drinking water before and during events will help to fill you up so you are less likely to consume excess calories. Snacking throughout the day can also help keep hunger at bay; several small, healthy snacks, such as a handful of nuts or trail mix, can help keep you feeling full. Also, remember to stop eating when you feel satisfied, but before you feel full.
To find a Flatout Flatbread retailer near you, visit FlatoutFinder.com.
Barbecue Chicken Flatbread Pizza
Recipe created by Mitzi Dulan, RD
- non-stick baking spray
- 2 Flatout Flatbreads
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
- 1/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 6 ounces grilled chicken breast, torn into pieces
- 1 tablespoon red onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Spray large baking sheet with non-stick baking spray. Place flatbreads on baking sheet. On each flatbread, evenly spread 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce.
- Sprinkle both cheeses over flatbreads. Mix remaining barbecue sauce with grilled chicken and place on pizzas. Top with diced onion. Bake 5 minutes. Sprinkle cilantro on top and serve.
Thin Crust Pepperoni Pizza
- 1 Flatout Flatbread Artisan Thin Pizza Crust
- 1/4 cup chunky red sauce
- 3 slices provolone cheese
- 1/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
- 30 pepperoni mini slices
- Heat oven or grill to 375°F.
- Place flatbread on cookie sheet. Bake 2 minutes. Remove from oven. Spread sauce on flatbread. Lay provolone on top of sauce. Top with mozzarella and pepperoni. Return to oven and bake 4 more minutes, or until cheese melts.
- Grilling method: Heat grill to 375°F. Pre-bake flatbread on grill for 2 minutes. Remove from grill. Spread sauce on flatbread. Lay provolone on top of sauce. Top with mozzarella and pepperoni. Return flatbread to grill. Close lid. Grill for 4 minutes, or until cheese melts.
Arugula Mushroom Flatbread Pizza
- 1 Flatout Flatbread
- 1/2 cup mushrooms, cooked
- 1/2 cup arugula
- 6 grape tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fat-free balsamic vinegar
- Heat grill or oven to 375°F.
- Pre-bake flatbread for 2 minutes. Remove.
- Warm mushrooms in microwave or pan. Top flatbread with arugula, tomatoes and mushrooms. Sprinkle with cheese and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Cut into slices.
Thin Crust Egg, Sausage and Pepper Breakfast Pizza
- 1 Flatout Flatbread Artisan Thin Pizza Crust
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
- 2 eggs, lightly scrambled
- 3 ounces sausage, cooked and crumbled
- 2 ounces yellow peppers, diced
- 2 ounces red peppers, diced
- Heat oven to 375 F.
- Place flatbread on cookie sheet. Bake for 2 minutes. Remove from oven. Top flatbread with cheese, scrambled egg, sausage and peppers. Return to oven and bake 4 more minutes, or until cheese melts.
- Grilling method: Heat grill to 375 F. Pre-bake flatbread on grill for 1-2 minutes. Remove from grill. Top flatbread with cheese, scrambled egg, sausage and peppers. Return to grill. Close lid. Grill 4 more minutes, or until cheese melts.
Source: Flatout Flatbread
(Family Features) Take advantage of slower summer schedules and warmer weather by rounding up the family and heading to the backyard for fun, food and family time.
The opportunities for quality family time during the warmer months are nearly endless, especially with just a little creativity and ingenuity, like these fun summer ideas from Borden Cheese.
Let your inner kid run free
Celebrate your favorite summer memories with your kids by breaking out the flashlights to play tag and other fun games in the backyard all night long. Whether it’s kick the can, ghost in the graveyard, capture the flag or a good, old-fashioned game of hide and seek, backyard games are a great way to get the whole family to unplug and enjoy summer evenings together. Don’t be surprised if the neighbors join in the fun, too.
Fire up your appetite
Ditch the kitchen and get the whole family engaged by recreating everyone’s favorite pizza on the grill. The perfect base for everyone to cook up their own creations, this deliciously easy Cheesy Flatbread Pizza recipe can be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. Keep it simple for kids with Borden Cheese Mild Cheddar Shreds or dress it up with some fresh veggies straight from your garden or local farmer’s market. For added fun and flavor, toss your family’s pizza on the grill for a crispy, authentic crust.
Rethink family movie night
Get off the couch and take your family movie outside. All you need is a sheet, a projector and some comfy pillows and throws to turn your backyard into an open-air movie theater. Watch new releases, old favorites or even home movies on the big screen right in your own backyard. To keep the fun going, pitch a tent and spend the night outside sleeping under the stars.
Find more family-friendly recipes for summer at BordenCheese.com.
Cheesy Flatbread Pizza
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 1 piece (12 inches) cracker bread or flatbread
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for brushing
- 1 package (8 ounces) Borden Cheese Mild Cheddar Shreds, divided
- 8 strips thick-sliced bacon, cooked crisp and broken into 1-inch pieces
- 4 whole garlic cloves, sliced
- 4 plum tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 red onion, cut in strips
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
- fresh basil leaves (optional)
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- Brush bread with small amount of olive oil and place on cookie sheet. Spread 1 1/2 cups cheese evenly around bread. Top evenly with bacon pieces.
- In small skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil until hot. Add garlic and saute until lightly browned. Sprinkle onto pizza. Arrange sliced tomatoes and red onions on pizza.
- Add parsley to remaining cheese and spread over ingredients.
- Bake 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Cut into squares and serve immediately. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired.
Tip: For a different flavor profile, try grilling pizza rather than baking. Brush raw side of dough with olive oil and grill until bottom of crust is golden brown.
Source: Borden Cheese
(Family Features) One of the best parts of warmer weather for many families is the availability of fresh ingredients for meals at home. The unique tastes provide a variety of recipes that can be prepared with everyone in mind, including crisp flavors to help satisfy adults and kids alike.
For example, Michigan asparagus is hand-harvested at more than 120 family farms, meaning each spear is snapped at its optimal point to produce an all-edible product with no woody ends.
To help keep that fresh-picked flavor, the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board recommends storing asparagus upright in about an inch of water after trimming the ends. Loosely cover the container with plastic and keep it refrigerated.
Whether you’re enjoying it blanched, roasted or on the grill, it’s a perfect complement for warmer weather. This Asparagus Crust White Chicken Pizza from author Gina Ferwerda is a creative take on the seasonal vegetable. Find more inspiration in Ferwerda’s cookbook, “Meals from the Mitten.”
For more information and recipes, visit michiganasparagus.org .
Asparagus Crust White Chicken Pizza
Recipe courtesy of Gina Ferwerda on behalf of the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board
- 2 cups cut-up fresh or frozen Michigan asparagus, blanched
- 1 egg
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup chopped leeks
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup cubed rotisserie chicken
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
- 1/2 cup cut-up fresh or frozen Michigan asparagus, blanched and seasoned with avocado oil and lemon pepper seasoning
- 1/4 cup chopped prosciutto
- fresh chives, for garnish
- fresh basil, for garnish
- Heat oven to 375° F.
- To make Asparagus Crust: In food processor, puree blanched asparagus until smooth. In large bowl, mix asparagus puree, egg, Parmesan, mozzarella and lemon pepper seasoning until thoroughly combined.
- Press asparagus mixture into circular shape on parchment paper-lined pizza stone or baking sheet. Place layer of paper towel over crust and gently press down to remove excess moisture. Repeat until paper towel is no longer absorbing moisture. Discard wet paper towels.
- Bake 12-13 minutes.
- To make White Sauce: In saucepan over medium heat, cook butter, leeks and garlic 3-4 minutes. Slowly whisk in flour and cook 1-2 minutes. Slowly add in milk, continue whisking and cook until thickened. Add Parmesan then remove from heat and set aside.
- Pour white sauce over partially baked asparagus crust and top with chicken and mozzarella. Add peas, asparagus and prosciutto. Bake 5-8 minutes, or until cheese is thoroughly melted. Garnish with fresh chives or basil.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Asparagus on the grill)
(Family Features) Burgers and dogs may be typical game day grub, but a lineup that never changes can get tiresome a few weeks into the season. Infuse new energy and homemade favorites into your game day menu so you can enjoy great games and good eats for a winning combination.
Explore new flavors. Add variety by building your meal around a different main dish, like ribs or pulled pork instead of burgers. Or invite guests to get in on the action and offer a DIY pizza or taco bar with a wide range of toppings for the ultimate custom plate. Then adapt your side dishes to fit the theme, like adding a barbecue spice seasoning to your party mix, for example, or offering a chipotle-style dip for veggies and chips.
Add an unexpected twist. If you prefer a more traditional menu, there’s no reason to abandon all your favorite game day fare. Instead, reimagine a popular dish with a special or unexpected ingredient. For example, this recipe features a homemade pizza topped with creamy ranch dressing. An option like Litehouse Homestyle Ranch has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup and is gluten free. The dressing is a versatile addition to your game day spread since you can use it to top off everything from pizza and fries to tacos, burgers and more. For easy serving, look for the 20-ounce squeeze bottle, or opt for a glass jar or dip tub, whichever your recipe requires.
Don’t forget dessert. A good game requires lots of savory, hearty foods, but by the fourth quarter, you’re likely to start craving sweet victory and a sweet treat to go along with the win. Easy individual desserts are a great bet, that way you can grab a quick bite and get back to the screen before you miss any action. Think along the lines of finger foods like marshmallow cereal bars, brownies and cookies to offer a little something for everyone.
Find more ideas for your game day gathering at LitehouseFoods.com.
Homemade Pizza Recipe
Total time: 45 minutes
- 1 ball pizza dough (store-bought or homemade)
- 1 jar pizza sauce
- pepperoni (optional)
- sausage (optional)
- ham or Canadian bacon (optional)
- black olives (optional)
- mushrooms (optional)
- peppers (optional)
- 1 package (8 ounces) fresh mozzarella, shredded
- 1 squeeze bottle (20 ounces) Litehouse Homestyle Ranch dressing
- Heat oven to 425° F.
- Prepare dough by pressing it onto a pizza pan or pizza stone. Spread pizza sauce over crust and top with pepperoni, sausage, ham or Canadian bacon, black olives, mushrooms and peppers, if desired. Sprinkle cheese evenly over top of pizza. Bake 20-30 minutes.
- Top with ranch dressing before serving.
Note: Toppings can be substituted as desired.
Source: Litehouse Foods
(Family Features) A commitment to eating better-for-you foods and living a healthier lifestyle in the new year doesn’t need to break the bank.
To help achieve a more nutritious routine without blowing your budget, consider a one-stop shop like ALDI for high-quality, affordable ingredients to incorporate into better-for-you recipes. Plus, it carries the foods and ingredients to fit nearly any dietary lifestyle and budget – including a wide variety of options for plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free diets.
Start the year with a clean slate and make practical, better-for-you eating goals with these recipes for main courses, sides, desserts and kid-friendly meals and snacks. Find more nutritious eating solutions and recipes at ALDI.us.
Harvest Breakfast Skillet – This hearty meal can be enjoyed any time of day. Combining fresh vegetables, eggs and sweet potatoes with diced quinoa crunch veggie burgers, this skillet puts a new spin on breakfast for dinner.
Crunchy Fish Bites – For a kid-friendly dish adults can enjoy as well, these crunchy fish bites feature breaded tilapia with a flavorful mustard-yogurt sauce that can win over nearly any crowd – including picky eaters.
Cauliflower-Quinoa Pizza – With the right ingredients, even pizza can help you attain your health goals in the new year. To create a healthier pizza option the whole family can enjoy, swap out the standard crust for a cauliflower-based version to cut down on carbs without sacrificing flavor.
Fresh Avocado Pasta – This pasta requires just four ingredients along with an easy-to-make, creamy sauce perfect for the entire family to enjoy. Avocado lends a colorful hue to this kid-friendly main course.
Oven-Baked Zucchini Fries – Skip the fried snacks and go for this better-for-you version of breaded veggies. A simple breading and just 15 minutes in the oven put a crunchy, guilt-free, crispy side dish on the table.
Soft-Baked Granola Cups – Topped with a dollop of strawberry yogurt and fresh berries, these granola cups are ideal for breakfast or as an after-school snack. They’re perfect to make ahead of time – just store the premade cups in an airtight container and add toppings before serving. Fun tip: Let your child decorate his or her own cups.
Cocoa Mocha Oatmeal Cookies – A mocha drizzle makes these oatmeal cookies stand out among healthier dessert options. After 15 minutes in the oven, you’re left with a delightful treat that doesn’t send your diet down the drain.
Chocolate Mug Cake – A better-for-you dessert, these miniature cakes made in mugs can be on the table in just 3 1/2 minutes. Simply combine a short list of ingredients, mix in your microwave-safe mug and pop it in the microwave for a quick, chocolaty snack.
Simple, flavorful recipes for fall entertaining
(Family Features) Take time this fall to slow down and experience the pure delight of great-tasting food with family and friends.
Savoring the moment is at the heart of Tuscan-inspired entertaining, where everyone has a seat at the table to enjoy simple and delicious dishes that boast authentic flavor and incorporate quality ingredients.
With a passion for the simplicity of Italian food and homemade Tuscan cooking, Italian-American chef Laura Vitale, host of “Laura in the Kitchen,” traveled to the small town of Lucca, Italy, where she reconnected with a region rooted in heritage, experienced rich traditions and embraced “The Tuscan Way” in crafting her own unique takes on classic dishes.
“I’m incredibly inspired by the spirit of Tuscan cooking,” Vitale said. “It encourages you to get into the kitchen, embrace simple ingredients and cook something delicious for the ones you love.”
For your next fall entertaining occasion, consider bringing Tuscany to your table with an ingredient such as Bertolli Rustic Cut pasta sauce as the centerpiece. Try Vitale’s classic Eggs in Purgatory or other recipes like Prosciutto and Arugula Rustica Pizza and traditional Ricotta Bruschetta.
Keep these tips from Bertolli in mind as you bring your lively Tuscan-themed table to life:
- Rustic tableware fits well with the tone of the season. Try achieving this look with quality table accents that appear slightly distressed, faded or weathered. Thrift stores can be a surprising place to scout out your latest Tuscan-inspired table finds.
- Mix and match different textures of woods that complement the look and feel of the rustic tableware. Accompany them with softer linens for a variety of pleasing table textures.
- Use bright, floral colors, if you wish, to give your table vibrant pops of color to stand out among the darker, more rustic tones.
Remember, homemade Tuscan cooking is about great company, a simple menu and making memories. Find more fall flavors and entertaining tips at Bertolli.com.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1 loaf Italian bread, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 2 tablespoons Bertolli Organic Mild Olive Oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1⁄3 cup Bertolli Tomato & Basil Sauce
- 1 container (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
- Heat oven to 425° F.
- Arrange bread on baking sheet. Evenly brush with oil. Bake 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Rub toast evenly with garlic then top with sauce and cheese. Bake 5 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown. Serve hot.
Prosciutto and Arugula Rustica Pizza
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 cup Bertolli Rustic Cut Three Cheese with Aged Asiago, Romano & Parmesan Sauce
- 1 prebaked pizza crust (12 inches)
- 1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese
- 1 ounce prosciutto, thinly sliced
- 2 cups arugula
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Bertolli Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
- Heat oven to 450° F.
- Evenly spread sauce on crust then top with fontina cheese. Bake 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted, and remove from oven.
- Top with prosciutto. Arrange arugula in center of pizza then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar over arugula and serve.
Eggs in Purgatory
Recipe courtesy of Laura Vitale
- 1 jar (23 ounces) Bertolli Rustic Cut Roasted Garlic Marinara Sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 eggs
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 4 slices ciabatta, sliced about 1/2-inch thick
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled but not chopped
- To make eggs: In large skillet with high sides over medium-high heat, add marinara sauce. Pour water into empty jar, swish it around to lift any sauce left in jar and pour it over sauce in skillet. Bring to low boil.
- Using back of wooden spoon, make four small wells in sauce. Carefully crack eggs, one at a time, and drop each egg into a separate well in bubbling sauce. Sprinkle salt and pepper on each one, to taste; cover skillet with lid and cook 7-8 minutes, or until egg whites set.
- When eggs are cooked to desired doneness, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
- To make bread: Char bread on bruschetta pan or indoor grill pan about 1 minute on each side until toasted. Once toasted, rub with clove of garlic on both sides then drizzle with olive oil.
- Serve eggs with hunks of charred garlic bread.
Note: If using skillet larger than 12 inches, you can add eight eggs instead of four for additional servings.
Serve up some spice with fun party dishes
(Family Features) Make your next fiesta one to remember with colorful decor, festive touches and, perhaps most importantly, unique and mouthwatering recipes that bring guests back for seconds.
To achieve the ideal flavors of a fiesta done right, try bringing something new to the table with recipes like these party-pleasing Tortilla Pizzas for a special main dish, crunchy and refreshing Coleslaw with Green Chile Dressing on the side and, for a decadently unique dessert, Jalapeno Brownies.
These party-perfect recipes can help you take flavors to new heights while adding a kick of spice when you incorporate quality ingredients like Rio Luna Organic Peppers. The peppers are cultivated by a company with more than three decades of experience. They manage the whole pepper process from annual seed selection to grower partnerships, cultivation and packing.
Available in four spicy varieties – Diced Jalapenos, Nacho Sliced Jalapenos, Diced Green Chiles and Large Chopped Green Chiles – you can add a pop of peppers to your next celebration. Because the peppers are organic certified, non-GMO, fat free, cholesterol free, low calorie and kosher, you’ll be able to pack an extra punch of spice without serving up unnecessary ingredients.
Tantalizing Toppings For Tasty Tacos
When it comes to supplying fiesta foods that fit almost anyone’s taste, tacos are a go-to party favorite. That is because it can be fun for party-goers to customize their own tacos while making food prep easier and less hands-on for hosts who don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
However, trying to list all the possible taco-topping options can be an overwhelming task for many hosts. Along with your choice of taco filling, consider these toppings when building the perfect taco bar at your next fiesta:
- Shredded cheese
- Sour cream
- Beans (black, pinto or refried)
- Shredded lettuce
- Rio Luna Organic Peppers
- Chopped tomatoes
- Chopped onions
- Diced avocado or guacamole
- Sliced black olives
- Lime wedges
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 4 flour tortillas (8 inches)
- 1 can (15 ounces) refried black beans
- 4 fresh plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1 can (4 ounces) Rio Luna Organic Nacho Sliced Jalapenos, drained
- 1 1/3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- chipotle-ranch dressing (optional)
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- Bake tortillas directly on oven rack 2 minutes. Cool. Spread 1/4 cup beans onto each tortilla. Top evenly with tomatoes, jalapenos and cheese.
- Bake 8 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro just before serving.
Tip: For added flavor, drizzle pizzas with chipotle-ranch dressing.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 can (4 ounces) Rio Luna Organic Diced Jalapenos, pureed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup, plus 3 tablespoons, all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- powdered sugar (optional)
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- In medium bowl, whisk oil, sugar, eggs, jalapenos and vanilla until blended.
- In separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; add to egg mixture. Mix just until combined. Pour into greased 8-by-8-inch baking pan.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, or until brownies pull away from sides of pan easily. Cool in pan on wire rack.
Tip: Dust with powdered sugar before serving for added flavor and enhanced presentation.
Coleslaw with Green Chile Dressing
Prep time: 20 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup Rio Luna Organic Diced Green Chiles, drained
- 6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- 2 cups shredded napa cabbage
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced white onions
- 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus additional, to taste
- In medium bowl, whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, chiles, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, Sriracha and agave nectar until well blended.
- In large bowl, combine napa cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, onions, salt and pepper. Add mayonnaise mixture; toss until well coated. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired, to taste.
Tip: Coleslaw can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated up to 1 day. Toss before serving.
Source: Rio Luna
(Family Features) When it comes to fresh fruit, watermelon is a top pick in many households.
It’s available year-round and makes for a nutritious snack, but its great taste is the reason most people buy watermelon, according to research from the National Watermelon Promotion Board.
Not only is watermelon a tasty snack by itself, it’s a great complement to other flavors, making it easy to create flavorful pairings. This sweet take on pizza combines watermelon with a host of other good-for-you ingredients for a delicious treat. Healthy enough for breakfast and sweet enough for dessert, this pizza can make its way into your weekly meal rotation.
For another nutritious option, consider this Buddha bowl featuring watermelon, which contains higher levels of lycopene, an antioxidant, than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. Watermelon is also an excellent source of vitamin C, and it provides vitamin B6 and potassium. It’s the perfect sweet addition to balance the savory flavors of this traditional plant-based Buddha bowl.
Each of these recipes leaves plenty of room for personalization; experiment with your favorite flavors to make each dish your own. Also remember that watermelon travels well, so these recipes make for ideal take-along snacks when you’re on the go.
Find more fresh, fruity recipes to enjoy any time of year at watermelon.org.
Watermelon Buddha Bowl
Citrusy Tahini Dressing:
- 3 tablespoons tahini (ground sesame seed paste)
- 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
- 4 mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1 cup sweet cherries, pitted and halved
- 2 avocados, sliced
- 2 cups cooked black rice
- 1 cup sliced, toasted almonds
- Citrusy Tahini Dressing
- To make Citrusy Tahini Dressing: In bowl, whisk tahini, orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger and salt. If dressing seems thick, add more orange juice or water to reach desired consistency.
- To arrange Buddha Bowls: Separate watermelon, cucumbers, cherries, avocados and rice in four bowls. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.
Sweet Watermelon Pizza
- Greek yogurt
- Watermelon, cut to 1-inch thick round slice
- Shredded coconut
- Berries, such as blueberries, strawberries or blackberries
- Slivered almonds
- Spread yogurt to cover fleshy part of watermelon, leaving room to hold rind. Sprinkle with coconut, mint, berries and almonds, or other toppings, as desired.