(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.
Moroccan Grape and Grilled Chicken Bowls with Grape Vinaigrette
- 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
- 2 chicken breasts (8 ounces each)
- 1 tablespoon harissa paste
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 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
- 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.
- To make chicken: Heat grill to medium-high heat.
- 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.
- To make vinaigrette: In blender, puree green grapes, lemon juice, lemon rind, olive oil and cilantro until smooth. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- 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
- 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
- In large bowl, mix chickpeas and grapes.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- Heat oven to 450 F.
- 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.
- Combine remaining olive oil, remaining pepper, grapes, olives, parsley and pistachios. When cauliflower is roasted, transfer to serving plates and top with grape mixture.
- 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.
- Healthy Eating is Easy with Grapes
- 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.
Family Features) Spring is full of celebrations and rich traditions that bring the family around the table for special meals. A savory leg of lamb or a dish with succulent lamb loin chops is a delicious way to enjoy a flavorful meal, no matter the occasion.
American lamb pairs beautifully with a variety of wines. Wineries such as Kendall-Jackson have a wide selection of wines that bring out lamb's mild, meaty flavor and make it even more irresistible.
Tips for Roasting Lamb
-A bone-in leg of lamb cooks faster than a boneless leg of lamb. Use a good meat thermometer to determine doneness:
Medium Rare 145°F
-You can sear the lamb roast first in a hot 450°F oven for 15 minutes to seal in the juices and then reduce oven temp to 325°F and continue roasting for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 5 to 10 degrees less than your desired temperature.
-Remove roast from oven and let rest for 20 minutes before serving. This allows the meat's juices to settle and make carving easier. (As the meat rests, the internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees.)
-Carve the roast against the grain so the meat will be tender. A naturally tender cut like leg should be sliced about one half inch thick.
Choosing the Right Wine
-COMPLEMENT. Similarly flavored foods and wines complement each other.
Example: Citrus-based sauce and a lemony, lightly oaked Chardonnay (such as Kendall-Jackson Avant Chardonnay or Chablis from the Burgundy region of France).
Example: Mushrooms with the earthy flavors of Pinot Noir.
-CONTRAST. Contrasting flavors balance each other.
Example: Spicy foods and sweet wines, such as Thai food and an off-dry Riesling.
Example: Salty foods and crisp, high-acid wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or Champagne.
-MATCH the TENOR. Match a food's weight and intensity to similar elements in wine.
Example: Delicately flavored foods call for delicate varieties of wine, such as Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.
Example: Weighty textures and intense flavors are a better match for more powerful wines, such as matching herb-crusted roast lamb with a robust Syrah or Merlot.
To learn more about food and wine pairings, visit www.kj.com.
Roasted Leg of American Lamb
Serve with Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Merlot.
- 1 boneless leg of lamb, approximately 6 pounds
For the marinade:
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 lemons, zested
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 bunch parsley, chopped
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- In small bowl, combine all ingredients. Rub mixture on leg of lamb. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate overnight.
- Bring lamb to room temperature and sprinkle with salt. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into center of leg reads 125°F to 130°F. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
American Lamb Sandwich with Tzatziki Sauce
- Leftover roasted leg of lamb
For tzatziki sauce:
- 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, cut in half and seeded
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint
- 8 ounces Greek yogurt
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Grate cucumber with a box grater. Place grated cucumber in a strainer, sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 20 minutes.
- In a bowl, add dill, mint, yogurt, garlic and lemon juice. Squeeze as much liquid from cucumber as possible and add cucumber to the yogurt. Mix well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To serve: Fill warm flatbread or pita with sliced leftover leg of lamb, thinly sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and chilled tzatziki sauce.
Fresh Mint and Garlic Marinated Grilled American Lamb Loin Chops
with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Green Beans
Serve with Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Syrah.
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/2 bunch parsley leaves, chopped
- 1/2 bunch mint leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 lamb loin chops
- In bowl, add garlic, shallot, herbs, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
- Place lamb chops into a bowl and add 3/4 cup of marinade (reserve remaining marinade for sauce). Mix to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill lamb to desired temperature (medium-rare is recommended). Remove from heat and allow the lamb chops to rest for 5 minutes. Drizzle chops with the reserved mint and garlic sauce. Serve with roasted potatoes and green beans.
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place a sheet pan in the oven and preheat to 425°F.
- In a bowl, combine 1/8 cup of olive oil and remaining ingredients. Toss to coat potatoes.
- Pour 1/8 cup olive oil onto hot sheet pan and allow to heat for 1 minute. Place potatoes onto hot sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.
For green beans:
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 pound green beans, stems removed
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In large pot, add 1 tablespoon salt and 2 quarts water; bring to a boil. Add green beans and cook until tender, approximately 4 minutes.
- Remove beans from water, place into bowl with butter and toss to coat. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Recipes courtesy of Kendall-Jackson Executive Chef Justin Wangler
Turn boring leftovers into exciting and delicious new dishes
(Family Features) What happens to the rest of the roast chicken that didn't get eaten at dinner? Or the extra rice or couscous the family couldn't finish? It might get pulled out a few days later for a meal of boring leftovers that will be met with groans. Or it could just be forgotten. In fact, nearly 15 percent of the food purchased for meals ends up being thrown away.
Why toss out perfectly good food - and potentially hundreds of dollars each year - when you can use those ingredients to create a whole new recipe?
Once cooked, many remains of a meal will stay fresh for up to a week - and some even taste better the second time around. These recipes use common extra ingredients, along with Pompeian olive oils and vinegars, to turn them into exciting new recipes.
For more recipe ideas and coupons, visit www.pompeian.com.
Herbed Olive Chicken Pasta
- 6 ounces dry whole grain penne or rotini pasta
- 1 cup cooked chicken breast meat, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
- 24 pitted Kalamata olives, or your favorite variety, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped, fresh basil leaves or 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crumbled
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Remove pan from heat. Place chicken in a colander; pour pasta over chicken and shake off excess liquid. Return pasta and chicken to pan. Stir in remaining ingredients, except feta. Top with feta and toss gently, if desired.
Couscous Cakes with Fresh Mango-Ginger Chutney
- 2 tablespoons Pompeian Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 cup diced fresh or frozen, thawed mango
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons Pompeian Red Wine Vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 2/3 cup original couscous
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup Pompeian Classic Mediterranean Olive Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Chutney: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions 2 minutes. Stir in remaining chutney ingredients, except ginger, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, cool and stir in ginger.
- Couscous Cakes: Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Remove from heat, stir in couscous and salt, cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let stand 5 minutes to cool. Combine couscous, cilantro, egg whites, flour, and lemon zest in a medium bowl.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Working with half of the couscous mixture, spoon about 2 tablespoons into skillet to make a mound, repeat, making 8 mounds total. Flatten slightly using the back of a spoon and cook for 3 minutes each side or until golden.
Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining oil and couscous mixture.
- Serve the couscous cakes with mango chutney.
Basil-Rosemary Turkey Panini
- 12 ounces Italian bread, cut in half lengthwise
- 1/3 cup Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons Pompeian Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crumbled
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon dried pepper flakes, optional
- 1/2 cup chopped, fresh basil or 2 1/2 tablespoons dried basil leaves
- 1 cup thinly sliced leftover cooked turkey or chicken (about 5 ounces)
- 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
- 4 slices Monterey Jack cheese with peppers, provolone, or mozzarella (about 3 ounces total)
- Whisk all dressing ingredients, except basil, in small bowl. Lightly brush outside of bread halves with 1 tablespoon dressing mixture and place, cut side up, on a clean work surface. Stir basil into dressing mixture and spoon over bottom half of bread. Arrange turkey, tomato, and cheese on top. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, if desired. Top with remaining bread half and press down firmly to adhere.
- Heat large, nonstick skillet over medium low heat until hot. Place sandwich in skillet, cover with a sheet of foil, top with a dinner plate and several bread plates (This will weigh the sandwiches down, to help cook evenly and absorb flavors.) Cook 8 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cheese is beginning to melt.
- Place on cutting board, and using a serrated knife, cut into four equal pieces.
(Family Features) Easter is a time to celebrate with friends and family. You can create a crowd-pleasing brunch with affordable, high-quality ingredients, wine and tablescape decor.
Elevate your holiday brunch beyond an egg casserole with a Spiral Ham with Red Wine and Citrus Glaze as the centerpiece for your table.
Finish the meal with a Mini Blueberry Chocolate Tart for a dessert that’s perfect for spring. Combining sweet and fruity notes, this treat can leave your guests craving more.
Find ingredients for these recipes at ALDI, which offers high-quality, fresh and affordable foods to help you put together a vibrant spread. From brunch essentials and beverages to fruits, veggies, snacks and more, you can make Easter pop. Plus, there are chocolates, candy and flowers to add a splash of color to your table or any Easter basket.
Find additional recipes at ALDI.us.
Spiral Ham with Red Wine and Citrus Glaze
Recipe courtesy of Rebecca Gallop (@adailysomething) on behalf of ALDI
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10-12 minutes per pound of ham
- 1 Appleton Farms Spiral Cut Double Glazed Brown Sugar Ham (about 4 pounds), reserving liquid
- 1/2 cup Intermingle Red Blend wine
- 1/4 cup Nature’s Nectar orange juice
- 1/4 cup Specially Selected 100% Pure Maple Syrup
- 1/2 cup Simply Nature Organic Light Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 dash salt
- 2 tablespoons Burman’s Dijon Mustard
- To make ham: Heat oven to 325° F. Place ham in roasting pan on rack. Pour reserved liquid over ham and cover tightly with foil. Bake 10-12 minutes per pound.
- To make glaze: In small pan, combine wine, orange juice, syrup, brown sugar, rosemary and salt. Heat to boil then lower to rapid simmer until mixture begins to thicken and reduce, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard.
- When ham is 10 minutes from being done, remove from oven and increase temperature to 400° F. Remove foil and brush ham thoroughly with glaze.
- Place ham back in oven, uncovered, about 10 minutes, or until ham reaches internal temperature of 140° F.
- Remove ham from oven and let sit 10 minutes. Slice and serve.
Mini Blueberry Chocolate Tart
Recipe courtesy of Chef Michelle, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 17 minutes
- 1 Bake House Creations Pie Crust
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Sweet Additions Stevia No Calorie Sweetener
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 Choceur Dark Chocolate Bar (2.64 ounces), chopped
- Heat oven to 400° F. Cut 1-2 sheets of parchment paper into 5-by-5-inch squares. Line each cup of 12-cup muffin pan with one square of parchment paper.
- Roll out pie crust and cut 12 circles, 2 inches each, with cookie cutter. Press each circle into lined muffin cup.
- In medium bowl, combine sweetener, blueberries and chocolate. Divide mixture among pie crusts.
- Bake 17 minutes until chocolate melts. Allow to cool and serve.
(Family Features) Dining out in the fresh air always seems to turn even a simple meal into an event. You can turn your next dinner party into a memorable event with these simple and delicious recipes.
- Rosemary Almond Crackers make a terrific appetizer served alongside cheese or a savory dip.
- Spiced Almonds can be served in a martini glass for a stylish addition to any party.
- Almond Crusted Shrimp are deceptively easy - and distinctly delicious.
- Banana Almond Kahlúa Frappés are a cool and creamy way to finish off the evening.
California Almonds aren't just delicious, crunchy, and ideal for any snack or mealtime, they're also a nutritious solution that adds a burst of flavor and texture to any recipe.
For more entertaining tips and recipes, visit AlmondBoard.com.
Nutrition Made Easy - and Delicious
California Almonds are an excellent source of Vitamin E (35% DV), magnesium (20% DV), manganese (.648 mg), fiber (3.5 g), protein (6 g), copper (0.3 mg), phosphorus (137 mg), and riboflavin (0.3 mg). Plus, a one-ounce serving has 13 grams of good unsaturated fats, just 1 gram of saturated fat, and is always cholesterol- and gluten-free.
Here are some more ideas for making your next gathering a little more special - and a little more nutritious.
- Craving something sweet? Try adding toasted sliced almonds and crumbled biscotti to your favorite gelato.
- In a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, toss whole natural or slivered almonds in a small amount of vegetable oil until golden. Add your choice of dried herbs and then sprinkle over salads, vegetables, or pasta for the perfect accent. And - if you don't have time to make your own, grab your favorite flavored almonds from your local grocer.
Rosemary Almond Crackers
Created by Elana Amsterdam author of "The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook"
Makes 24 crackers
- 1 3/4 cups blanched almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 egg
- In large bowl, combine almond flour, salt and rosemary. In medium bowl, whisk together olive oil and egg. Stir wet ingredients into almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined.
- Roll dough into a ball and press between 2 sheets of parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness. Remove top piece of parchment paper.
- Transfer the bottom piece with rolled out dough onto baking sheet. Cut dough into 2-inch squares with a knife or pizza cutter.
- Bake at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Let crackers cool on baking sheet for 30 minutes, then serve.
Almond Crusted Shrimp
Created by Almond Board of California
Makes 4 servings
- 1/2 cup ground almonds
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoons minced fresh parsley, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound (61- to 70-count) shrimp, with tails and veins removed
- 1 egg white
- 2 tablespoons almond or corn oil, divided
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- Stir together almonds, flour, parsley, seafood seasoning, salt and pepper.
- Dip each shrimp in egg white, then in almond mixture; lay on a baking sheet or platter until ready to cook. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet; grill shrimp in batches on medium heat, cooking 3 to 4 minutes, turning once, until pink and golden. Use remaining 1 tablespoon oil as necessary.
- Serve shrimp immediately, accompanied by lemon wedges.
Created by Ellie Krieger author of "So Easy: Luscious Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week"
Makes 8 servings
- 1 large egg white
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups natural almonds
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In large bowl whisk together egg white, paprika, sugar, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and cayenne pepper until well combined. Add almonds and toss until evenly coated.
- Transfer almonds to parchment lined baking tray; spread out to form a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, until the coating is crisp. Almonds will continue to crisp as they cool. Allow to cool completely then break up any nuts that are stuck together. Nuts will keep up to 5 days in an airtight container.
Banana Almond Kahlúa Frappé
Created by Almond Board of California
Makes 4 servings
- 1 cup crushed ice or 1 1/2 cups ice cubes
- 2 medium bananas, cut into chunks
- 4 ounces almond milk
- 2 ounces Kahlúa or other coffee liqueur
- 1/2 ounce Irish cream liqueur
- 4 whole natural or blanched almonds
- Combine ice, bananas, almond milk and liqueurs in a blender; blend until smooth. Divide among 4 old-fashioned glasses and garnish each with an almond; serve immediately.
Source: California Almond Board
(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
- Leave bread slices out, at room temperature, at least 3 hours, or until slightly stale.
- Generously coat 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange bread, slightly overlapping.
- 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.
- Cover baking dish with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 5 hours, or overnight.
- Heat oven to 375 F. Remove plastic. Sprinkle remaining bacon and Swiss cheese over top of bread mixture.
- Bake 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown and set.
- 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
- Heat oven to 325 F.
- Bake ciabatta bread cubes until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Set aside. Increase oven temperature to 375 F.
- In skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter.
- Cook sausage, breaking meat into medium pieces, until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer sausage to large bowl; set aside.
- Add remaining butter to skillet; cook carrots, onions and celery until soft, 5-7 minutes, and transfer to bowl with sausage.
- 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.
- Spread evenly in greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake until golden brown and bread is slightly crisp on top, 30-35 minutes.
- Garnish with additional parsley before serving.
Tip: Recipe can be made one day before and refrigerated overnight.
(Family Features) From office potlucks and cocktail parties to family dinners and beyond, the mealtime celebrations during the holidays are endless. Whether you're serving as a host or bringing your signature dish to a get-together, these tips can help you own the holiday season without breaking a sweat:
- Stick with fewer, easy-to-find, high-quality ingredients.
- Look for products that help you cut down on time but don't skimp on flavor, like Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork, which is pre-seasoned and comes in a variety of cuts and flavors.
- Sprinkle and decorate finished dishes with fresh, seasonal herbs for a festive touch.
To help get you inspired in the kitchen, try this recipe for Fresh Pork and Kalamata Flatbreads for a savory appetizer made with less than 10 ingredients, or Fresh Pork with Sweet Balsamic-Red Wine Reduction for a decadent main course you can have ready in just 30 minutes.
For more quick and easy holiday recipe ideas, visit SmithfieldRealFlavorRealFast.com.
Fresh Pork with Sweet Balsamic-Red Wine Reduction
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 1 Smithfield Applewood Smoked Bacon Marinated Fresh Pork Loin Filet
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1/3 cup dry red wine
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- Cut pork loin filet into 3/4-to-1-inch thick chops.
- In large, nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.
- Cook half the pork chops 4-5 minutes on each side until internal temperature reaches 150° F. Remove pork chops from skillet and place on rimmed serving platter; cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining olive oil and pork chops.
- In same skillet, combine wine, vinegar and sugar. Bring to boil over medium-high heat; cook 3-5 minutes until slightly thickened, or until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup.
- Serve pork chops drizzled with wine reduction and sprinkled with rosemary.
Fresh Pork and Kalamata Flatbreads
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
- 1 Smithfield Roasted Garlic & Cracked Black Pepper Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloin
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 can (13.8 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust dough
- 3/4 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
- 1/2 cup sliced Kalamata olives, drained
- 1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
- Cut pork tenderloin into 3/4-inch cubes.
- Heat oven to 400° F. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Stir-fry pork 8-10 minutes, or until well browned.
- Unroll pizza dough and press onto greased sheet pan, about 18-by-13 inches; cut into six rectangles.
- Drain tomatoes, reserving oil. Brush tops of flatbreads with sun-dried tomato oil, reserving about 1 tablespoon. Top with pork, drained tomatoes, olives and rosemary, pressing into dough lightly with fingertips.
- Bake 18-21 minutes until edges are golden brown.
- Remove from oven. Drizzle remaining sun-dried tomato olive oil evenly over flatbreads; let stand on baking sheet 2 minutes before serving.
(Family Features) Thoughts of hosting and entertaining during one of the busiest seasons of the year can be stressful. With so much party preparation for the holidays, from decor to drinks and appetizers to activities, it’s easy to see how even the most experienced hosts can get a little flustered.
One way to make sure you get to enjoy this year’s festivities is to streamline preparation without sacrificing flavor, quality or appearance. By limiting the number of drinks and dishes you serve, you can wow your guests with both your culinary expertise and your smile.
- Stick to one or two signature cocktails so you won’t have to stock the bar (which can be expensive) or take drink orders and play bartender all night. Save even more time by serving make-ahead cocktails that simply require adding soda when ready to drink. Add white and red wine options, and offer seltzer and cranberry or pomegranate juice for mocktails.
- Make a festive centerpiece that’s also edible, such as this Wreath Centerpiece from Kaukauna Cheese. Assemble it the day before or the morning of the party, eliminating last-minute stress. It’s simple to make and appropriate for nearly any holiday gathering. Plus, the “No-Artificial-Anything” Cheese Ball, with no additives or artificial ingredients, can appeal to the taste buds of hungry guests.
- Let your hors d’oeuvres serve double duty as both appetizer and party decor. To make it nearly effortless, head to your local grocery store’s deli section. Pick up cured meats, cheeses, pickled vegetables, assorted olives, breads, crackers, nuts and fruits. Arrange on a large platter, board or tray then garnish with rosemary sprigs and scatter with pomegranate seeds for a festive finish in a flash.
For more easy entertaining recipes, visit Kaukaunacheese.com.
Edible Wreath Centerpiece
- 1 Kaukauna Port Wine Cheddar Cheese Ball (10 ounces)
- 1 container (11.3 ounces) Kaukauna Sharp Cheddar Cheese Spread
- sesame seeds or poppy seeds
- bacon bits or chopped walnuts
- 10-12 small pretzel sticks
- rosemary, for garnish (optional)
- Place cheese ball in center of large, round platter.
- To make mini cheese balls, shape 1-2 tablespoons of cheese spread into balls. Roll lightly in seeds and bacon bits or walnuts.
- Insert pretzel sticks into mini cheese balls up to 1 hour prior to serving. Store in refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired.
Source: Kaukauna Cheese
(Family Features) With everything that goes into creating a full holiday menu for guests of different ages and palates, taking on that task can be a challenge for any host. However, simple recipes that please the masses can help make life easier for home chefs.
From the main dish all the way to dessert, plus the drinks in-between, put these recipes to the test to help make your holiday gathering a breeze. Put your adult guests at ease with a cranberry-flavored cocktail, followed by a main course made sweet thanks to this turkey brine. As things come to a close, finish off any leftover appetites with a quick cookie recipe.
To help make your holiday hosting easier, find more tips and recipes at Culinary.net.
Dessert in a Snap
After spending hours preparing appetizers, drinks and the main course for holiday get-togethers, many hosts are ready to call it quits in the kitchen. However, that won’t stop guests from getting those late cravings for a tasty treat. If you’re looking for a reprieve from being the lead chef, go for a quick dessert like these Gingersnap cookies, which take just 10 minutes to bake and can leave hosts with more time to mingle. For more quick, nutritious recipes for every meal, visit AICR.org.
Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research
Yield: 24 cookies
- 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup dairy-free butter shortening sticks
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
- 2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
- 1 large egg white
- Glaze (optional):
- 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- In mixing bowl, whisk flours, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, pepper and salt.
- In separate bowl, use electric mixer on medium-high speed to beat shortening sticks with 1/2 cup sugar 2 minutes. Add molasses and egg white; beat 3 minutes. Set mixer on low speed and mix in dry ingredients to combine. Don’t over-mix. Batter will form soft ball.
- Place remaining sugar in wide, shallow bowl. Pinch about 1 tablespoon batter and roll it between palms, forming 1-inch ball. Place ball in bowl with sugar and roll to coat then place on light-colored, ungreased baking sheet. Repeat, spacing balls 2 inches apart. Discard leftover sugar. Using bottom of a glass, press to flatten each ball into 1-by-3-inch disks.
- Bake cookies 10 minutes.
- To make glaze, if desired: While cookies bake, in small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar with lemon juice, mixing until sugar is completely dissolved.
- When cookies are done, immediately use spatula to transfer to wire cooling racks. Using tip of knife, spread 1/4 teaspoon glaze on top of each warm cookie. Cool completely.
Note: Can be stored in cookie tin up to 1 week.
Cranberry Cocktail Cravings
If holiday cocktails are on your menu, give guests a twist on a classic with this Cranberry Kiev Mule made with Nemiroff Original Vodka. This premium vodka is bold with a smooth, full-bodied finish that hints of citrus and fruit. Combined with cranberry juice and ginger beer, it’s an ideal holiday cocktail. Find more holiday cocktail options at nemiroff.vodka.
Cranberry Kiev Mule
- 1 part Nemiroff Original Vodka
- 1 part cranberry juice cocktail
- 2 parts ginger beer
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- orange wedges, for garnish (optional)
- fresh cranberries, for garnish (optional)
- rosemary sprigs, for garnish (optional)
- Pour vodka, cranberry juice cocktail, ginger beer and lime juice into copper mug filled with ice. Gently stir to combine.
- Garnish with orange wedges, fresh cranberries and rosemary sprigs, if desired.
A Sweeter Centerpiece
A holiday meal is only complete with the centerpiece of the table: a tender turkey that side dishes and desserts can complement for guests of all palates. For a new twist on a holiday classic, add some sweetness to your main course with a Sweet Tea Turkey Brine, featuring Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea. It’s freshly brewed from real tea leaves using simple, quality ingredients free from preservatives, colors or added acids. The family- and certified women-owned business offers a multitude of beverages, all with the same dedication to quality and excellence. Find more information and recipes at drinkmilos.com.
Milo’s Sweet Tea Turkey Brine
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes per pound
- 1 gallon Milo’s Sweet Tea
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 3 large sweet onions, quartered
- 4 lemons, sliced
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled
- 5 sprigs rosemary
- 10 cups ice
- 1 turkey
- In large stock pot over medium heat, combine tea and kosher salt. Stir frequently until salt is dissolved. Add onion, lemon, garlic and rosemary. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- When brine has cooled, pour into food-grade, 5-gallon plastic container. Stir in ice.
- Wash and dry turkey. Remove innards. Place turkey, cavity-side up, into brine, making sure cavity gets filled. Cover and place bucket in refrigerator overnight.
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Remove turkey from brine, draining excess, and pat dry. Discard excess brine.
- Cook turkey 15-20 minutes per pound, or until internal temperature reaches 165° F on instant-read thermometer, reserving drippings for gravy.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Gingersnaps and Turkey Brine)
(Family Features) Eating healthy isn’t always easy, and when your family is rushing around in the evenings it can seem like a daunting task to put a well-balanced, nutritious meal on the table.
However, cooking at home with a lean protein you can feel good about serving, like seafood, is one way to serve up quick, good-for-you meals. In fact, one-third of people surveyed reported they increased their fish consumption at home last year, according to Datassential.
Research published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” showed eating seafood 2-3 times per week can improve brain, eye, heart and prenatal health. Seafood also provides unique health benefits as one of the best sources for omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats essential to human health and development.
As only one out of 10 Americans meets the Dietary Guidelines recommendation of two servings of seafood per week, National Seafood Month is a great time to incorporate more seafood into you and your family’s meals. Check out these tips from the Seafood Nutrition Partnership:
- Make a game plan or meal plan for the week to figure out when you can incorporate seafood into your meals.
- Stock up on canned and frozen seafood at the grocery store and keep an eye out for sales or coupons.
- Make easy swaps, like using white fish or shrimp in tacos instead of beef or a salmon patty instead of a burger patty.
- Try doubling recipes so you only have to cook it once but can reap the benefits of eating seafood twice in one week.
- Use kitchen gadgets like slow cookers and pressure cookers to prepare seafood-based meals in a pinch.
For recipes, ideas and inspiration for eating seafood at least two times per week, visit seafoodnutrition.org or follow #Seafood2xWk on social media.
One Pan Fish Dish
Recipe courtesy of Michael-Ann Rowe on behalf of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1/8 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 lemon, half sliced and half juiced, divided
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 pound white fish (such as snapper, grouper, flounder or barramundi)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)
- In pan over medium heat, heat canola oil about 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes, onions and broccoli to pan; cook 5 minutes, uncovered.
- Drizzle lemon juice over vegetables and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Place fish on top of vegetables in center of pan and place two lemon slices on top of fish.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Cover pan and cook on medium heat 10-12 minutes depending on thickness of fish.
- Drizzle olive oil over fish and top with rosemary, if desired, before serving.
Source: Seafood Nutrition Partnership