(Family Features) Back-to-school season can be cluttered between after-school activities, weekend sports and evening homework – as well as making dinner each night. Creating a master meal plan with quick, simple and nutritious meals is an easy way to take control of your family’s hectic schedule. Start by stocking the pantry with staple ingredients that amp up the nutrition and flavor of your family favorites.
For example, American Pecans are a nutritious ingredient to have on-hand – among the highest in “good” monounsaturated fats and packed with plant protein, fiber and essential minerals – and “The Original Supernut” is versatile enough for breakfast, lunchboxes, dinners and on-the-go snacking. Adding one bag to your weekly grocery list provides a canvas for exploring new dishes that are both nutritious and delicious.
In fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration, scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1 1/2 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pecans, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving (28 grams) of pecans contains 18 grams of unsaturated fat and only 2 grams of saturated fat.
Updating your dinner repertoire doesn’t have to be complicated. Fuss-free recipes such as Pizza with Pecan-Herb Topping, Baked Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders and Pecan-Crusted Air Fryer Pork Chops can be ready in less than an hour and put a fresh twist on classic favorites to please parents and kids alike.
Pecan-Crusted Air Fryer Pork Chops
Cook time: 22 minutes
- 1 cup pecan pieces
- 1/3 cup arrowroot starch
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus additional, to taste
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, plus additional for serving
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 6 medium boneless pork chops, trimmed of fat
- Heat air fryer to 400° F.
- In medium bowl, mix pecans, arrowroot starch, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt.
- In separate bowl, whisk egg, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, water and garlic.
- Cover pork chops in egg mixture then transfer to bowl with pecan mixture to coat all sides. Repeat with remaining pork chops. Place three pork chops in air fryer basket.
- Cook pork chops 6 minutes, flip, then cook additional 6 minutes. Set aside on plate.
- Repeat with remaining pork chops.
- Serve hot with Dijon mustard, if desired.
Baked Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders
Cook time: 35 minutes
- 2 cups raw pecan halves or pieces
- 1 cup panko or gluten-free bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste
- 1 1/2-2 pounds chicken breast tenders or chicken strips
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
- pepper, to taste
Buttermilk Ranch Dip:
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Heat oven to 425° F.
- In food processor, pulse pecans until fine as breadcrumbs. In shallow bowl, mix pecans with panko, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon salt.
- In separate shallow bowl, whisk eggs until smooth. In third shallow bowl, add flour.
- Lightly season chicken tenders with salt and pepper, to taste. Working with one chicken tender at a time, dip in eggs, flour then pecan mixture. Be sure to press pecan mixture into chicken to be sure it is completely coated. Set chicken on baking sheet lined with cooling rack or parchment paper. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- Place chicken on center rack and bake 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
- To make Buttermilk Ranch Dip: In small bowl, whisk buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, dried dill and salt until smooth.
- Serve pecan-crusted chicken tenders warm paired with Buttermilk Ranch Dip.
Pizza with Pecan-Herb Topping
Cook time: 40 minutes
- 1 store-bought pizza dough
- 1 cup raw pecan halves or pieces
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 1/2 cup jarred pizza sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red pepper
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onion
- Heat oven to 400° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Lightly flour clean surface. Using rolling pin, roll out pizza dough to 1/8-inch thick and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Gently pierce dough with fork to prevent air pockets. Bake crust 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden in color.
- In food processor, pulse pecans, parsley and garlic powder until mixture becomes coarse crumbs. Transfer to bowl and stir in Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes (if desired), salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Using spoon, evenly spread pizza sauce over crust. Top with mozzarella cheese, red pepper slices and onion slices. Sprinkle 1/3 cup pecan mixture evenly over pizza.
- Transfer pizza to oven and bake 10-15 minutes, or until crust is crispy and cheese is melted. Serve with remaining pecan-herb mixture.
Notes: If dough instructions differ from recipe, use package instructions. Additional topping options include: pepperoni, olives, ham, bacon and roasted veggies. Leftover pecan-herb topping can be used for pasta and salads.
Source: American Pecan Council
(Family Features) Brighten up spring gatherings with a simple dessert inspired by the flavors of the season. Lemon, almond, vanilla and raspberry extracts give baked treats a fresh flair that matches the lively essence of spring.
“Friends and family will love these Easy Mini Cheesecakes,” said Mary Beth Harrington of the McCormick Kitchens. “Almond and vanilla give these individual treats a burst of rich flavor, while a fruit topping highlights the fresh ingredients of the season.”
To simplify preparation when making dessert for a gathering, take advantage of these ideas from the McCormick Kitchens:
- Make Ahead and Batch Bake: Double-batch the dessert recipe and vary the extracts to make two unique treats in one effort. For even more variety, try a simple substitution like using chocolate sandwich cookies in place of the vanilla wafers for the "crust." Make day-of prep a spring breeze by preparing the recipe in advance and refrigerating it overnight.
- Bright Fruit Topping: Fresh fruits and berries make a simple, yet colorful topping for cake, ice cream and other desserts. Stir in 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar to 2 1/2 cups fruit for a sweet seasonal treat.
Easy Mini Cheesecakes
These luscious cheesecakes flavored with vanilla and almond extract are sized just right. Garnish with fresh fruit, lemon curd or melted chocolate swirls.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 24 minutes
Refrigerate Time: 4 hours
Makes 12 servings
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Almond Extract
- 12 vanilla wafers
- Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and extracts; beat well. Place a wafer in bottom of 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Spoon batter into each cup, filling 2/3 full.
- Bake in preheated 325°F oven 22 to 24 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool in pan on wire rack. (Mini cheesecakes will deflate in center upon cooling.)
- Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with desired toppings.
Variations: Use 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract in place of almond extract. Use chocolate sandwich cookies in place of the vanilla wafers for the "crust." If you don’t have fresh fruit, top cheesecakes with canned fruit such as cherry pie filling or mandarin orange segments.
Nutritional Information Per Serving: 210 Calories, Fat 14g, Carbohydrates 17g, Cholesterol 79mg, Sodium 166mg, Fiber 0g, Protein 4g