Use on-hand ingredients for a quick-fix meal
(Family Features) Between juggling the ever-shifting to-do list and busy weeknights, there’s not always time left in the day to comb through cookbooks to find the perfect recipe. Even with a potential meal plan in mind, life can get in the way, and running to the grocery store might not be a top priority.
For a quick meal without a lot of hassle, an option such as Eckrich Smoked Sausage can be paired with whatever you have in the refrigerator or pantry for a fast, foolproof meal the whole family can enjoy. Since it is pre-cooked, all you have to do is heat and eat, taking the guesswork out of cook time while offering a rich and savory protein option for a balanced and delicious meal.
With flavors and forms ranging from the Original Skinless Smoked Sausage Rope to spicy Jalapeno & Cheddar Smoked Sausage Links, a home-cooked breakfast, lunch or dinner is just moments away – no instructions or plans needed. You can be a rebel without a cookbook and deliver diverse and delightful meals for your loved ones, such as this Veggie Smoked Sausage Stir-Fry.
For more mealtime inspiration, visit Eckrich.com.
Veggie Smoked Sausage Stir-Fry
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 package Eckrich smoked sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 servings premade white or brown rice
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 bag (16 ounces) frozen stir-fry vegetable mix
- 1 package stir-fry dry seasoning mix
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- sliced green onions (optional)
- In pan over medium-high heat, brown sausage; set aside.
- Heat white or brown rice according to package instructions.
- In same pan over medium-high heat, heat peanut oil and stir-fry vegetable mix. Add stir-fry dry seasoning mix, honey, vinegar and sesame oil.
- Divide rice, sausage and stir-fry mixture among four bowls.
- Sprinkle each with toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions, if desired.
(Family Features) Watermelon rinds make for more than just attractive containers for serving cold dishes and beverages. The rind can also be used in creative, edible ways and is good for your heart.
Watermelon, both the flesh and the rind, is a good source of a compound called citrulline, an amino acid that raises levels of arginine in the blood, which in turn helps maintain blood flow, healthy blood vessels and heart health.
Whether you’re eating for good health or good taste (or both), you can use the rind to make pickles and relishes, grate into salads and slaws, toss into stir-fry and add to smoothies and juice. The key to chowing down on watermelon rind is knowing how to prepare it. These three preparation methods can help you put that rind to good use:
Pickled: Watermelon rind is similar to a cucumber, which is why it’s no surprise that pickled watermelon rind is a popular option.
Juiced: Most people know you can enjoy juice from red flesh of the melon, but you can juice the rind, too. Just like the watermelon flesh, the rind is loaded with water and nutrients.
Stir-Fried: When it’s cut up, watermelon rind is just like a vegetable, which means it can be tossed in a pan and stir-fried right alongside broccoli and carrots.
Look for more creative ways to use your watermelon rind at watermelon.org.
Watermelon Rind Pickles
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 2 cups peeled watermelon rind, cut into 1-1/2-by-2-inch pieces (leave thin layer of pink)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 allspice berry
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 4 peppercorns
- 4 whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon pickling spice
- 1 long slice of fresh gingerroot
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
- In large pot over medium-high heat, bring water and salt to boil. Add rind pieces and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Strain. Transfer rinds to large metal bowl.
- In saucepan, combine watermelon rind, sugar, berries, vinegar, peppercorns, cloves, pickling spice, gingerroot and celery seeds. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 15 minutes until slightly reduced. Pour over watermelon rinds in bowl. Place plate over top to keep rinds submerged in liquid.
- Cover and refrigerate 1 day. Transfer to glass jar and keep sealed in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
Watermelon Rind Stir-Fry
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 cups watermelon rind, julienned (white part only, from about 1/2 of seedless watermelon)
- 1 cup julienned carrots
- 1/2 cup chives, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 piece (about 1 inch) ginger, minced
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup mint leaves
- crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- In wok over high heat, heat sesame oil. Add watermelon rind and carrots and fry, stirring constantly, 1-2 minutes. Let sit over high heat 1 additional minute without stirring. Add chives and stir to combine.
- In small bowl, whisk together honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic and ginger. Pour sauce over watermelon rind and cook, stirring, 30 seconds-1 minute, until fragrant.
- Transfer to serving dish. Add basil, cilantro and mint, tossing to combine. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired, and serve.
(Family Features) While it can be easy to fall into a routine of cooking the same recipes week in and week out, getting creative with mealtime can be as easy as making simple swaps and trying new flavor combinations with fresh, high-quality ingredients.
One of the easiest ways to shake things up in the kitchen any night of the week is to reimagine a classic dish by replacing one of the main ingredients. As an alternative to the typical chicken or beef, fresh pork is a versatile, convenient and flavorful protein that can easily transform a predictable meal into something new and delicious.
Instead of chicken Florentine, try this recipe for Pork Chops in Creamy Roasted Garlic Florentine Sauce, or rethink the typical weeknight stir-fry with this quick and easy Italian Stir-Fried Pork and Pasta.
For more creative yet easy ways to reimagine mealtime, visit Smithfield.com/ShakeItUp.
Pork Chops in Creamy Roasted Garlic Florentine Sauce
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 4 Smithfield Boneless Pork Chops
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup bacon pieces, half-cooked
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper, to taste.
- In large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Cook pork chops 4-5 minutes per side until internal temperature reaches 145° F. Remove pork chops from pan and keep warm.
- In same skillet, heat remaining oil over medium heat. Add minced garlic and partially cooked bacon to skillet; cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to simmer.
- Reduce heat to low and add heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Add spinach and tomatoes to sauce; let spinach wilt. Stir in Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning; simmer about 3 minutes.
- Return pork chops to pan along with juices. Spoon Florentine sauce over chops; simmer 3-5 minutes.
Italian Stir-Fried Pork and Pasta
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 Smithfield Roasted Garlic & Herb Marinated Fresh Pork Loin Filet
- 1 package (8 ounces) spiral pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 small zucchini squash, sliced lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 8 sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup julienne-sliced sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Heat skillet or wok to 400° F.
- Slice pork loin filet into thin strips.
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Add pork strips and oil to heated skillet. Stir-fry until meat is browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add zucchini, onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic and butter to skillet; stir-fry until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
- Drain pasta and add to pork and vegetable mixture with cheese and basil; toss to coat.
(Family Features) It’s a common scenario: no time for breakfast, so you’re snacking on something sweet in the break room at 9 a.m. Two hours later you hit the vending machine for something salty.
The good news is there is an easy, healthy alternative to taking control of your appetite: protein. In fact, a growing body of research shows that spreading protein intake over the course of a day may be the solution to mindless snacking.
Protein helps you avoid feeling hungry, giving you more control over the foods you choose. Eating the right amount of protein at each meal also helps achieve weight loss goals by keeping you fuller longer, building muscles after a workout and protecting the lean muscle you already have.
The 30 Day Protein Challenge, created by the Beef Checkoff, is a fun, step-by-step plan to help you get a balanced amount of protein at each meal. The challenge helps you keep track of your food, hunger and moods to see how simple diet changes can make a difference in your overall health and wellness for 30 days and beyond.
Recipes that take less than 30 minutes, such as Szechuan Beef Stir-Fry and Tenderloin, Cranberry and Pear Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing, can make balancing protein simple.
Visit BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com to find everything you need to get started with the Protein Challenge, including tools and daily tips. Share your progress and engage with other participants online using #ProteinChallenge.
Szechuan Beef Stir-Fry
Total time: 15 minutes
- 1 package (10 ounces) fresh vegetable stir-fry blend
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 beef ranch steaks (about 8 ounces each), cut 3/4-inch thick
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup prepared sesame-ginger stir-fry sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 cups hot cooked rice or brown rice, prepared without butter or salt
- 1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts
- In large, nonstick skillet, combine vegetables and water; cover and cook over medium-high heat 4 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Remove and drain vegetables. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, cut beef steaks into 1/4-inch thick strips.
- Heat same skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add half of beef and half of garlic; stir-fry 1-2 minutes, or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. Remove from skillet; keep warm.
- Repeat with remaining beef and garlic.
- Return all beef and vegetables to skillet. Add stir-fry sauce and red pepper; cook and stir 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Spoon over rice. Sprinkle with peanuts.
Nutrition information per serving: 393 calories; 12 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 5 g monounsaturated fat); 65 mg cholesterol; 969 mg sodium; 41 g carbohydrate; 3.9 g fiber; 28 g protein; 7.3 mg niacin; 0.7 mg vitamin B6; 4.2 mcg vitamin B12; 3.0 mg iron; 45.8 mcg selenium; 6.9 mg zinc; 99.3 mg choline.
Tenderloin, Cranberry and Pear Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
Total time: 25 minutes
- 4 beef tenderloin steaks (4 ounces each), cut 3/4-inch thick
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 package (5 ounces) mixed baby salad greens
- 1 medium red or green pear, cored, cut into 16 wedges
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- salt, to taste
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
- 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (optional)
Honey Mustard Dressing
- 1/2 cup prepared honey mustard
- 2-3 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Season beef steaks with pepper. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Place steaks in skillet; cook 7-10 minutes for medium rare (145° F) to medium (160° F) doneness, turning occasionally.
- Meanwhile, in small bowl, whisk Honey Mustard Dressing ingredients until well blended. Set aside.
- Divide greens evenly among four plates. Top evenly with pear wedges and dried cranberries.
- Carve steaks into thin slices; season with salt, as desired. Divide steak slices evenly over salads. Top each salad evenly with dressing, pecans and goat cheese, if desired.
Nutrition information per serving: 332 calories; 12 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 6 g monounsaturated fat); 79 mg cholesterol; 256 mg sodium; 22 g carbohydrate; 3.4 g fiber; 27 g protein; 5.5 mg niacin; 0.7 mg vitamin B6; 3.9 mcg vitamin B12; 3.7 mg iron; 24.2 mcg selenium; 4.4 mg zinc; 75.4 mg choline.
- 1/4 pound spaghetti
- 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup Kikkoman Stir-Fry Sauce, divided
- 4 teaspoons Kikkoman Soy Sauce, divided
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 small carrot, julienned
- 2 stalks celery, cut diagonally into thin slices
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 pound bean sprouts
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain, rinse and drain thoroughly.
- Meanwhile, coat chicken with 1 tablespoon stir-fry sauce and 2 teaspoons soy sauce; let stand 15 minutes.
- Stir-fry chicken in 1 tablespoon hot oil in wok or large skillet over high heat 3 minutes, or until done; remove. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same pan. Add carrot; stir-fry 1 minute. Add celery, onion and garlic; stir-fry 3 minutes longer. Stir in bean sprouts, chicken, pasta, remaining 1/3 cup stir-fry sauce, 2 teaspoons soy sauce and pepper.
- Cook, stirring, until all ingredients are coated with sauce and pasta is heated through. Remove from heat; stir in sesame oil.
Makes 4 servings