(Family Features) Whether you're gathering the neighborhood kids for a backyard celebration or going on a weekend hike with family, you can make fueling up for the fun easy with snacks the whole family can enjoy.
Everyone loves popcorn, and this tasty treat is easy to incorporate into a wide range of nibbles perfect for summer. Popcorn's wholesome taste makes it an excellent partner to ingredients that tease your taste buds with flavors that are sweet, salty or even zesty.
Creating a delicious trail mix to carry on an adventurous hike is a cinch when you combine fresh popcorn with your favorite sweet dried fruits and lightly salted nuts. Or, if you're staying closer to home, use popcorn treats as a more nutritious alternative to traditional party desserts.
Each of these recipes features freshly popped popcorn paired with common ingredients that appeal to both kids and adults for summery snacks that are big on both flavor and fun.
For more creative recipes that give some pop to your summer, visit www.popcorn.org.
Sweet N Salty Popcorn Pretzel Sticks
Yield: 6 sticks
- 6 tablespoons peanut butter
- 6 large pretzel rods
- 3 cups popped popcorn
- Sugar sprinkles
- 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
- Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter over each pretzel, leaving a two-inch "handle" without peanut butter.
- Press and roll popcorn onto peanut butter to coat. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.
- For optional chocolate drizzle, place chocolate chips in small sealable plastic bag and seal. Microwave 30 seconds or until chocolate is melted. Clip small corner from bag and squeeze to drizzle chocolate over popcorn.
- Sprinkle with additional sugar sprinkles. Allow chocolate to harden before serving.
Chili Lime Popcorn Snack Mix
Yield: 1 quart
- 1 quart popped popcorn
- 1 teaspoon brewer's yeast powder
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Spread popcorn on baking sheet. Sprinkle yeast powder, lime juice, chili powder and salt over popcorn.
- Heat about seven minutes and toss just before serving. Serve warm.
Blueberry & Pomegranate Power Bars
Yield: 12 bars
- 8 cups popped popcorn
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup dried blueberries
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 cup toasted and coarsely chopped whole natural almonds
- 2/3 cup honey
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 6 ounces melted bittersweet chocolate
- Line 13-by-9-inch pan with foil; spray with cooking spray.
- Combine popcorn, oats, blueberries, pomegranate seeds and almonds in large bowl.
- Combine honey, brown sugar and butter in small saucepan. Cook over low heat to boiling; boil two minutes. Pour over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Using damp hands, press mixture firmly into prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm, about two hours. Cut into 12 bars.
- Dip bottoms of bars into melted chocolate. Place on wax paper-lined pan. Store in tight covered container in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Popcorn Trail Mix
Yield: 5 cups
- 1 quart popped popcorn (air popped)
- 6 ounces diced, dried fruit (apricots, apples, etc.)
- 8 ounces raisins
- Place freshly popped popcorn in large bowl. Add diced fruit and raisins. Toss popcorn and fruit until combined thoroughly.
Note: Add whatever fixings your family enjoys: dried fruits, seeds, nuts, etc.
Yield: 20 pieces
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 10 cups freshly popped popcorn
- 1 package (10 1/2 ounces) miniature marshmallows
- 2 cups mini graham cookies (teddy bears)
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in medium saucepan. Cook over high heat for five minutes; remove from heat and stir in baking soda.
- Combine popcorn and marshmallows in large bowl. Pour sugar mixture over popcorn to coat.
- Gently stir in graham cookies and chocolate chips.
- Spread mixture evenly into greased 15-by-10-inch pan. Let cool completely, then break into pieces. Store in airtight container.
Source: The Popcorn Board
Better-for-you snacks kids will love
(Family Features) Kids love to snack. But left to their own devices, most kids don't always make the healthiest snack choices. A new study of long-term eating patterns in children, from researchers at the University of North Carolina, shows that kids today are getting nearly one-third of their daily calories from unhealthy snacks such as chips, crackers and candy.
Nutritious and delicious snacks are as close as your produce aisle. Watermelon is practically a multivitamin unto itself - and its natural sweetness is something kids love.
Did You Know?
- A 2-cup serving of watermelon is an excellent source of Vitamins A, B6 and C.
- Vitamin A found in watermelon is important for optimal eye health.
- Vitamin B6 found in watermelon is used by the body to manufacture brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), such as serotonin, melatonin and dopamine, which preliminary research shows may help the body cope with anxiety and panic.
- Vitamin C in watermelons can help to bolster your immune system's defenses against infections and viruses, and is known to stimulate the immune system and protect against free radical damage.
- A 2-cup serving of watermelon is also a source of potassium, a mineral necessary for water balance and found inside of every cell. People with low potassium levels can experience muscle cramps. A 2-cup serving has less than 10 percent of the daily reference value for potassium.
Try these fun recipes as after-school and post-activity snacks. For more kid-friendly recipes and healthy eating tips, visit www.watermelon.org.
Send some healthy lunch munchies to school - watermelon chunks are an easy way to brighten up a sack lunch and give kids a tasty nutritional boost in the middle of the day.
Healthy Eating Tips
Healthy eating habits start at home. One of the best things you can do for your kids is to be a role model for smart food choices. Here are some simple things you can do to help your kids develop healthy lifelong habits.
- Shop for food together and take time to examine, discuss and select fruit and vegetables that catch your child's eye. Allow your child to help you to prepare these healthful foods. For example, let your child use a melon-baller to create melon balls from watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew to create a festive, nutritious and visually appealing dessert.
- Make healthy snacks available at all times for your children by keeping the fridge filled with flavorful, nutrient-rich treats such as grapes, cherries, carrots and watermelon cubes.
- Simple changes are easier for your child to get used to. Try switching from full fat milk to non-fat milk, serving sherbet, sorbet, ice milk or fruit juice bars, or adding fresh fruit to his or her cereal in the morning.
- Serve your children colorful, deeply pigmented plant food. These foods tend to offer tremendous nutritional value. For example, red peppers, carrots, broccoli, oranges and watermelon are all packed with minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
- Start each day with breakfast, preferably fruit with low-fat yogurt or granola. Make a fruit smoothie by blending watermelon cubes and a banana with crushed ice.
Makes 6 servings
- 1-inch cubes of seedless watermelon
- Smoked turkey breast
- Cheddar cheese
- Coffee stirrers or beverage straws
- Cut watermelon, turkey and cheese in cubes and skewer on stirrers or straws.
Serves 6 to 8
- 12 to 16 1/2-inch thick watermelon triangles with 3-inch sides
- 2 cups Greek vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A few drops almond extract
- 1 cup Craisins
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Arrange the watermelon triangles on a serving platter or glass cake stand. Mix yogurt with extracts and spoon yogurt over the watermelon in the fashion of nacho cheese sauce. Sprinkle craisins, white chocolate chips, and almonds over the yogurt and dust with cinnamon.
- 8 ounces sour cream
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Watermelon sticks or small wedges
- Blend together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a small serving bowl. Use as a dip for the watermelon.
Watermelon Cut Outs
- Seedless watermelon, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick slices
- Granola or similar cereal
- Using your favorite cookie cutters, cut shapes out of watermelon slices. Frost with vanilla or other flavored yogurt. Sprinkle with granola.
Watermelon Berry Slush
Makes 6 servings
- 4 cups cubed, seeded watermelon
- 1 10-ounce package frozen raspberries
- 1 12-ounce bottle sparkling mineral water
- Place watermelon in a single layer in shallow pan; freeze until firm. Remove from freezer and let stand 5 minutes. Drop watermelon through food chute of a food processor or blender with the motor running. Add frozen raspberries alternately with mineral water, processing until smooth.
Watermelon Jelly Logs
Makes 6 servings
- 6 3-inch x 2-inch x 5-inch watermelon rectangles
3 flavors all fruit or low sugar preserves
6 ginger, molasses or peanut butter cookies
- Using a melon baller, cut 3 divots into a long side of each watermelon rectangle. Fill each divot with a different all-fruit or low-sugar preserve. Serve each rectangle with a cookie.
Source: National Watermelon Board
(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) Summer is a great time to get kids into the kitchen to make some snacks and desserts. Whether you need something to take to a picnic or just something to do on a rainy day, making easy, no-bake goodies like Rice Krispies Treats(r) can show kids just how fun cooking can be.
Even young children can be kitchen helpers, so the whole family can get involved. What can your child do to help prepare a recipe?
2 to 3-year-olds can
-Wash and scrub fruits and vegetables
-Name and count foods
3 to 4-year-olds can
-Mix dry ingredients together
-Pour pre-measured liquids into batter
4 to 5-year-olds can
-Help measure ingredients
-Mash soft fruits and vegetables
-Press cookie cutters into dough or soft food
6 years old and up can
-Beat recipe ingredients with a whisk
-Help locate ingredients in a spice rack or pantry
Make some summer magic with these tasty no-bake recipes for Choco P'Nutty Bars, Itsy Bitsy Fruit Pies, and Ice Cream Sandwich Treats. For even more kid-friendly recipes you can make together, visit www.Ricekrispies.com.
Note: The following recipes should be made with adult supervision.
Itsy Bitsy Fruit Pies
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine
- 1 cup milk chocolate morsels
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 cups Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® cereal
- 2 cups assorted fresh chopped fruits
- Frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
- Assorted sprinkles
- In medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in chocolate morsels until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon.
- Place cereal in large bowl. Carefully pour melted chocolate mixture over cereal. Gently stir until cereal is completely coated with chocolate.
- Spoon cereal mixture into twenty-four 1 1/2-inch muffin-pan cups coated with cooking spray. Using your finger or thumb, press cereal mixture onto bottoms and up the sides of each cup, forming crusts.
- Place crusts in freezer for 30 minutes. Remove from freezer. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.
- Before serving, fill each crust with fresh fruit. Dollop with whipped topping. Decorate with sprinkles. Serve immediately.
Note: Extra unfilled crusts may be frozen in air-tight container for up to a month. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.
Kid-friendly Kitchen Tips:
-Children of all ages should have an adult assistant with them at all times when cooking.
-Chefs 7 and older can measure the ingredients and help stir the melted chocolate into the cereal.
-Little ones, ages 3 to 6, will enjoy pressing the mixture into the muffin cups and decorating with the fruits and whipped cream.
-Make sure to have plenty of extra fruits for snacking while making these little pies.
Ice Cream Sandwich Treats
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 10 to 12
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1 10 ounce-package (about 40) marshmallows, or 4 cups miniature marshmallows
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 6 cups Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereal
- 1/2 cup assorted sprinkles
- 2 pints desired flavor ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet or gelato
- In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.
- Add cereal. Stir until well coated.
- Using buttered spatula or wax paper, evenly press mixture to 1/4-inch thickness on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Decorate with sprinkles. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Remove from refrigerator. Using 2-inch cookie cutters coated with cooking spray, cut into desired shapes. Place small scoop of ice cream on undecorated side of one cut-out. Top with another cut-out, decorated side up. Gently press together. Return to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cut-outs and remaining ice cream.
- Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to airtight container. Freeze for 2 hours to 1 week. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
Choco P'Nutty Bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
- 1 12-ounce package (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
- 2/3 cup peanut butter
- 6 cups Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereal
- 3 cups miniature marshmallows
- 18 wooden or plastic sticks
- In large saucepan, melt chocolate morsels and peanut butter over low heat; stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in cereal and marshmallows.
- Using buttered spatula or waxed paper, press mixture evenly into 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Chill in refrigerator about 45 minutes.
- Cut into 18 bars. Serve by inserting plastic or wooden stick into each bar.
Microwave Directions: In large microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate morsels and peanut butter at medium power for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, stirring until well coated. Continue with recipe directions.
Source: Rice Krispies
(Family Features) Looking for a way to kick up the flavor for your game-day party? Tailgating by the stadium or watching on a big screen, you can add great taste to the menu with a versatile cheese such as Jarlsberg.
Great for snacking, sandwiches and cooking, this popular cheese has a mellow, nutty flavor, a creamy, buttery texture and melts beautifully. You can find it in wedges, random-weight pieces and convenient slices.
Jarlsberg can be a tasty part of any tailgate experience - try some of these ideas to score big with your guests:
* Super Sliders: Mini beef, turkey or bison burgers topped with sliced Jarlsberg (or Jarlsberg Lite).
* Deep Fried Cheese Sticks: Creamy goodness battered and fried; take their flavor up a notch with marinara or spicy barbecue sauce for dipping.
* Ham & Cheese Calzones: Salty, smoky ham and gooey melted Jarlsberg all wrapped up in a munch-and-carry pastry.
* Kickin' Kebabs: Skewer great taste by alternating cheese cubes with pickled vegetables and chunks of cured ham or smoked sausage.
This recipe for Cheese Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers is an easy way to bring some heat to the game - they can be made ahead of time, then just popped onto the grill or under the broiler to be ready before the next time out.
For more recipes with big flavor, visit www.jarlsberg.com/us.
Cheese Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers
Makes 16 appetizers
- 16 pickled jalapeño peppers, rinsed and drained
- 2 4-ounce logs fresh goat cheese
- 1 cup grated Jarlsberg cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Manchego cheese*
- 1/4 cup diced green onion (scallions)
- Dash of hot sauce
- Cilantro leaves
- Optional garnish: pickled mini hot red pepper
- Using small sharp knife, cut slit down one side of each pepper. Leave stem intact and remove seeds and veins. In bowl, mash goat cheese with Jarlsberg, Manchego, onion and hot sauce. Divide among peppers, stuffing each generously. Refrigerate. (Recipe can be made ahead to this point.)
- Arrange peppers in heavy aluminum foil packet. Grill 8 - 10 minutes until cheese begins to melt. Garnish with cilantro and, if desired, hot red peppers.
*If you can't find Manchego, use 1-1/2 cups Jarlsberg cheese.
(Family Features) If the very notion of holiday hosting has you feeling a bit overwhelmed, get organized with these simple ideas that can help you serve up a successful holiday celebration.
Entertainment: Ensure guests enjoy a good time by offering entertainment that is suitable for their personality types. If your guests are more drawn to energetic activities, choose light-hearted, competitive games like charades. For guests who are more laid back, organize classic board games. There are many popular games available in special holiday editions for extra-festive fun. You can also simply play holiday movies and music in the background for crowds that would rather just mingle.
Beverages: Stock up on refreshments all ages can enjoy. Keep a kid-friendly favorite like lemonade on hand, and tea is a traditionally well-received option for the grownups. Put a special holiday touch on your drink menu with a recipe like this Holiday Hot Tea featuring Milo's Famous Sweet Tea, which has been fresh brewed from custom-blended tea leaves with no added acids or preservatives for generations.
Favors: Send guests home with a sweet memory of the event, such as an ornament that connects to the party’s theme or a bag of seasonal treats like homemade cookies or candy to nibble on during the trip back home.
Simple Snacks: Building your menu around simple snacks and finger foods guests can nibble on while they mingle is perfectly acceptable for almost any type of holiday gathering. Include options that can satisfy all the taste buds. You can even combine sweet and sour with a seasonal crowd-pleaser like this Lemonade Cranberry Orange Bread, which draws its flavor from a secret ingredient: Milo’s All Natural Lemonade.
Find more holiday hosting ideas and recipes at drinkmilos.com .
Lemonade Cranberry Orange Bread
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
- 1 can cranberry sauce
- 3/4 cup Milo’s All Natural Lemonade
- 1 orange, zest only
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- In large bowl, mash cranberry sauce into small pieces. Add lemonade, orange zest, vegetable oil and egg; mix until blended.
- In separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Combine wet and dry ingredients; mix until batter is formed.
- Pour batter into greased loaf pan. Bake 1 hour. Let cool 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Holiday Hot Tea
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
- 12 cups Milo's Famous Sweet Tea
- 2 cans (12 ounces each) frozen limeade juice concentrate
- 1 orange, thinly sliced, plus additional for garnish (optional)
- 12 whole cloves
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 cup ginger ale
- raw sugar, for garnish (optional)
- In large slow-cooker, combine sweet tea, limeade concentrate, orange slices, cloves, cinnamon sticks, vanilla, cranberries and ginger ale; stir.
- Heat on high 30 minutes then reduce heat to low for 2 hours, or heat on low 2 hours then reduce setting to warm overnight.
- Invert moistened glass rims in sugar then fit orange slice over rim, if desired.
Note: For easier serving, place cloves in tea ball or double layer of coffee filters sealed with kitchen twine.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Lemonade Cranberry Orange Bread)
Source: Milo’s Tea Company
(Family Features) For holiday parties of any size, tasty appetizers and starters are menu must-haves. While the main course roasts and before dessert is served, guests may flock to the table for snacks and small plates to keep cravings at bay.
When pre-dinner hunger strikes at your holiday gathering, be the center of attention with quick, delicious and simple appetizers that deliver exactly what your guests crave. One way to be the star of your holiday soiree is with Litehouse’s rich and flavorful Simply Artisan Reserve blue cheese and gorgonzola center cuts. Whether the foundation of a delicious cheese plate or crumbled in a recipe – such as one of these eight apps – it’s a win-win solution.
Find more holiday solutions and appetizer recipes at litehousefoods.com.
(Family Features) When it comes to entertaining, it’s not always about three-course meals or hours upon hours of preparation. Sometimes, the best hosts look toward simple snacks and small plates to please guests with an array of palates.
Herbs, onions, artichokes and olives create a medley of flavors atop this savory flatbread that makes it easy to give guests a fresh bite without spending too much time in the kitchen. Or you can enjoy a berry and beet chutney as a topping for crostini that is spread with goat or cream cheese, or topped with a thin slice of Gouda or a runny slice of Brie. It’s also a welcome addition to an open-face sandwich.
The secret is using convenient ingredients like Aunt Nellie’s Harvard Beets and Holland-Style Onions that contribute great flavors to recipes and also help streamline preparation as guests settle in for an evening of fun and relaxation.
Explore more ideas to make your entertaining skills shine at AuntNellies.com.
Herbed Mediterranean Flatbread
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10-12 minutes
- 1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie's Holland-Style Onions
- 1 jar (7 1/2 ounces) quartered, marinated artichoke hearts
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped or sliced Kalamata olives
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 whole-grain round or square flatbreads (about 6-7 inches diameter)
- fresh basil (optional)
- Heat oven to 400° F. Drain onions. Pat dry. Discard liquid. Drain artichokes well. Discard liquid.
- Press onions with spatula to crush lightly. Pat dry again. Place in large bowl. Coarsely chop artichokes. Add to bowl with onions. Stir in bell pepper, parsley, olives, red pepper flakes, black pepper and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese; set aside.
- In small bowl, stir together olive oil, thyme and garlic. Brush over one side of flatbreads. Place on baking sheet; bake 2 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Top each flatbread with onion mixture. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Return to oven. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until heated through and flatbread is crisp.
- Cut each flatbread in half. Sprinkle with fresh basil, if desired.
Beet and Berry Chutney
Prep time: 20 minutes
- 1/2 cup orange marmalade
- 1 jar (15 1/2 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Harvard Beets, not drained
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped candied ginger (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups berries (fresh or frozen unsweetened cranberries, blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, cut in half or quartered, if large)
- In medium saucepan over medium heat, stir marmalade until melted. Stir in beets and red pepper. Cook 3-5 minutes until liquid is reduced by about half, stirring frequently. Add ginger, if desired.
- If using only cranberries, add to pan with beet mixture and cook until they just begin to pop. If also using other berries, add to beet-cranberry mixture; stir and heat through. If using only blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, add to beet mixture after reducing liquid. Stir and heat through.
- Remove pan from heat; cool to room temperature before serving.
Note: Chutney can also be served chilled. Store, covered, in a refrigerator up to 1 week.
Source: Aunt Nellie’s
Discover recipes chock-full of heart-healthy pecans
(Family Features) Sometimes making small changes can have a positive impact on your health – including heart health – like drinking more water, taking the stairs instead of the escalator and adding nutritious ingredients to your snacks and meals.
Incorporating nutritious ingredients is an easy way to step up your mealtime – for example, American Pecans can super-fy nearly any recipe by adding flavor and nutrition.
It’s always a good time to include heart-healthy ingredients on your shopping list. Certified by the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check*, American Pecans and their unique mix of unsaturated fats, plant sterols, fiber and flavonoids add up to help promote a healthy heart. In fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration, research suggests but does not prove that eating 1 1/2 ounces of most nuts, such as pecans, each day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may help reduce your risk of heart disease. One serving of pecans (28 grams) contains 18 grams unsaturated fat and only 2 grams saturated fat.
Boosting the heart-smart punch of your favorite recipes can be easy with pecans. Whether topping a salad, sprinkling into bread batter or using them as the foundation of a portable snack, there are few things America’s native nut can’t do.
Start the day right with a bowl of Banana Pecan Cherry Oatmeal – a comforting and hearty combination that can keep you full for hours. For a wholesome, on-the-go option perfect for school snacks, desk drawers or an afternoon pick-me-up, try Cherry Pecan Energy Bites. Dried cherries, dates and crunchy pecans combine for an all-natural burst of heart-smart nutrition to help you power through the day.
Discover more ways to create heart-healthy meals with pecans at AmericanPecan.com.
Banana Pecan Cherry Oatmeal
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup pecan milk
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1/4 cup pecan halves
- 1/4 cup dried tart cherries
- 1/4 cup honey
- In large, microwave-safe bowl, combine oats and water. Microwave on high 3-4 minutes, or until oats are cooked through. Watch carefully to avoid boiling over.
- Remove from microwave, stir and divide between two bowls. Pour 1/4 cup pecan milk over each bowl.
- Divide sliced banana, pecan halves and dried tart cherries between each bowl and drizzle with 2 tablespoons honey. Serve immediately.
Cherry Pecan Energy Bites
Makes: 10-12 energy bites
- 1 cup toasted pecan halves or pieces
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 4 medjool dates, pitted
- 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 tablespoon cacao powder, plus additional, for coating (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In bowl of food processor, combine toasted pecans, dried cherries, dates, oats, cacao powder and vanilla extract.
- Pulse until ingredients begin to bind and form loose, dough-like ball.
- Roll into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in additional cacao powder, if desired, and transfer to airtight container. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to seven days.
Note: To make gluten-free, substitute 1/4 cup of certified gluten-free old-fashioned oats.
*Heart-Check certification does not apply to recipes.
Source: American Pecan Council
(Family Features) With school back in full swing, the days will be full, packed with classes, homework and after-school sports, music and other extracurricular activities. To make the most of all these endeavors, it’s important to eat well to sustain the critical energy and focus required throughout the day.
Smart fueling includes keeping nourishing snacks such as heart-healthy grapes on-hand – whether at home, in the car or coming off the field. Fresh California grapes – simple, convenient and nutritious – can make for a delicious snack on their own.
Available in three appealing colors – red, green and black – crisp, juicy grapes can add a tasty touch when hunger calls for an afternoon energy boost. Grapes also pair well with crackers, cheese and nuts for other snack combos.
Yet another way to enjoy fresh grapes is to blend them with other fruits and vegetables to create smoothie bowls, a nutritious option to help ensure that a variety of healthy ingredients are part of a balanced day.
Smoothie bowls work well as a snack or even a quick breakfast, and also provide a way for parents to introduce their kids to new, healthier bites.
This Grape Smoothie Bowl is fresh, flavorful and full of sweet grape taste for a quick fix that can leave bodies fueled and ready to take on the rest of the day.
Find more information and snack ideas at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.
Grape Smoothie Bowl
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 1/2 avocado
- 2 medium bananas, sliced and frozen
- 1 cup packed baby spinach
- 2 cups green California grapes, divided
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 piece fresh ginger (1-inch length), peeled and sliced (optional)
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted coconut chips
- In blender, combine avocado, bananas, spinach, 1 cup grapes, almond milk, ginger and salt; blend until smooth. Pour into two bowls. Halve remaining grapes and place on top of smoothie bowls along with chia seeds and coconut chips.
Nutritional information per serving: 370 calories; 5 g protein; 66 g carbohydrates; 13 g fat (32% calories from fat); 3.5 g saturated fat (9% calories from saturated fat); 200 mg sodium; 10 g fiber.