(Family Features) From filling dinners to favorite desserts, comfort foods can bring smiles to friendly faces. As temperatures drop, lean on recipes that add flavor and bring warming scents to your kitchen.
Loaded with comforting ingredients like READ German Potato Salad, this Cheesy German Potato Soup can appease appetites with tantalizing taste. Ideal at dinner parties or festivities throughout winter, Mini Chocolate-Beet Cheesecakes with Maple-Orange Glaze combine Aunt Nellie's Sliced Beets with familiar cheesecake flavor for a tempting treat.
Mini Chocolate-Beet Cheesecakes with Maple-Orange Glaze
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 3 tablespoons salted butter, softened
- 1 jar (15 ounces) Aunt Nellie's Sliced Beets
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- whipped cream (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 12 medium muffin cups with foil liners.
- To make crust: In medium bowl, combine flour and walnuts.
- Using fork or pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Place about 1 tablespoon mixture into each lined muffin cup. Lightly press crumbs into bottom. Bake 5-6 minutes, or until crust begins to brown.
- To make cheesecake: Drain beets, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid. In blender, puree 1/2 cup beets and reserved liquid until smooth; set aside. Dice remaining beets; set aside.
- In large bowl, combine cream cheese and syrup. Beat until smooth. Add egg; mix until blended. Stir in reserved pureed beets. Add melted chocolate; mix well. Spoon about 3 tablespoons cream cheese mixture into muffin cups over warm crusts. Bake 15 minutes, or until filling is set. Let cool to room temperature. Place cheesecakes in refrigerator at least 30 minutes.
- To make topping: In small saucepan, combine reserved diced beets, orange juice concentrate, syrup and cinnamon. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to boil, stirring frequently. Continue cooking and stirring until mixture thickens and appears glossy, 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool to room temperature.
- Remove cheesecakes from muffin liners. Top evenly with glazed beets. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.
Cheesy German Potato Soup
Recipe courtesy of "Today's Creative Life"
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 8 slices bacon, chopped
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) READ German Potato Salad
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milkchopped parsley or chives (optional)
- Place cheeses and flour in gallon-size zip-top bag. Close bag. Shake until cheese is covered with flour; set aside.
- In large Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, stirring occasionally. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
- Pour off all but 2-3 tablespoons bacon drippings. Return Dutch oven to medium heat. Add carrots, onion and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent and carrots are softened, 3-4 minutes. Add chicken broth, black pepper, red pepper flakes, thyme and parsley. Stir in potato salad. Continue cooking over medium heat 5 minutes, or until potatoes are heated through, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce heat to low. Slowly stir in cream and milk. Cook 5-8 minutes until blended and heated through, stirring frequently. Slowly add cheeses, stirring until melted.
- Top with bacon. Garnish with parsley or chives, if desired.
(Family Features) Summertime officially ushers in grilling season. There's no better way to celebrate the warm weather than at a backyard barbeque. Whether you're entertaining friends or cooking for your family, it's easy to make healthful choices at your next summer soirée.
When planning for an outdoor get-together, try better-for-you alternatives to traditional grilling fare. For example, serve fresh, seasonal grilled vegetables instead of potato chips. Once you've fired up the grill, try veggie burgers as an alternative to meat.
MorningStar Farms Grillers Original Veggie Burgers contain 57 percent less fat than regular ground beef.* So, it's not a burger - it's better!
Get your meatless barbeque started with an Alpine Burger. Or, if you're looking for a burger with a bit of a twist, consider making these Garden Veggie Deluxe Burgers or Spicy Tex-Mex Pita Burgers.
Once you're finished with the main course, grill pineapple and serve it over sherbet for dessert.
These simple substitutions are so delicious, your family and friends are sure to leave your next backyard party satisfied. For more recipes and fun food ideas, visit www.morningstarfarms.com.
*Regular ground beef contains 14g total fat per 64g serving. Grillers Original contain 6g fat per 64g serving.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Time to Table: 25 minutes
- 3/4 cup sweet onions, sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
- 1 MorningStar Farms Grillers Original Burger
- 1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard or Dijon Mustard
- 1 slice multigrain or whole wheat bread, toasted
- 1/3 cup baby arugula
- 1 tablespoon Gruyere cheese or Swiss cheese, shredded
- In large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook onions, covered, over medium-low heat for 16 to 20 minutes or until onions are very tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in mushrooms and garlic. Cook over medium heat, covered, for 4 to 6 minutes or until onions begin to brown and mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, cook veggie burgers according to package directions.
- Spread mustard on one side of bread slice. Top with arugula (if desired). Place burger on arugula. Spoon onion mixture over burger.
Sprinkle with cheese. Let stand for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve immediately.
Spicy Tex-Mex Pita Burgers
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Time to Table: 20 minutes
- 2 MorningStar Farms Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burgers
- 1 cup baby romaine lettuce or torn romaine lettuce
- 2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 4 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 medium avocado, pitted, peeled, chopped
- 4 tablespoons tomato salsa
- 1 whole-wheat pita bread round
- 4 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese with jalapeño peppers or Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers
- 10 baked tortilla chips (optional)
- Cook burgers according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, toss together lettuce, mayonnaise, and cilantro until lettuce is evenly coated. In another bowl, stir together avocado and salsa.
- Cut pita bread across middle in half. Fill each half with lettuce mixture. Insert burgers. Add cheese and avocado mixture. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired.
Garden Veggie Deluxe Burgers
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Time to Table: 25 minutes
- 2 MorningStar Farms Garden Veggie Patties Veggie Burgers
- 2 slices (1 1/2 ounces total) Provolone cheese
- 2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise or regular mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
- 2 whole-wheat hamburger buns, split
- 2 slices tomato
- 2 slices red onion
- 4 rings green or red bell pepper
- Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves for garnish (optional)
- Cook burgers according to package directions. Top hot burgers with cheese slices. Let stand until cheese melts, about 1 minute.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise and curry powder. Spread on bun bottoms. Top with burgers, tomato, red onion and bell pepper. Top with parsley leaves, if you like, and bun tops.
Source: Morningstar Farms
(Family Features) Hosting holiday dinners can be stressful, even for the most seasoned home cooks. Between gift giving, cookie baking, home decorating and more, there’s often little time left to think through a festive feast for a hungry crowd of family and friends.
While the main entree and dessert are usually the first courses to be accounted for when planning, seasonal appetizers and sides can set your spread apart. Perfect for intimate gatherings or larger parties, a simple app like Cranberry Walnut and Brie Bites, filled with ingredients like Willow Tree Classic Chicken Salad and creamy Brie cheese, can leave guests anxiously awaiting the rest of the meal.
Round out your menu with must-have sides like potatoes. For example, a traditional French dish like Dauphinoise Potatoes are easy to make and feature a homemade butter and garlic sauce, thinly sliced potatoes and rich Gruyere cheese.
Once the hustle and bustle of the holidays are over, however, one of the last things many hosts want to do is cook another big meal. With an option like Willow Tree Chicken Pies, you can skip the hassle and get a meal on the table quickly.
For more easy hosting ideas and recipes, visit willowtreefarm.com.
Cranberry Walnut and Brie Bites
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
- 2 packages (17 ounces each) puff pastry
- 1 bag (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 cup sugar, plus additional, to taste
- 1 orange or lemon, zest only, cut into strips
- 2 tablespoons water
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1 container (7 1/2 ounces) Willow Tree Classic Chicken Salad
- 4 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 48 pieces
- 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
- Heat oven to 375° F.
- Thaw puff pastry sheets according to package instructions. Once thawed, unfold into thirds.
- Cut each third into 12 equal squares to make 48 squares.
- Grease two mini muffin tins; press each puff pastry square into muffin cup.
- Bake 8-10 minutes; remove from oven and press center of each cup in with end of wooden spoon.
- While puff pastry is baking, prepare cranberry sauce. Add bag of cranberries into saucepan. In pan over low heat, combine sugar, one strip orange or lemon zest and water; cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium and cook until cranberries burst, about 12 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add sugar, salt and pepper, to taste; let cool slightly and reserve.
- Fill center of each puff pastry cup with chicken salad, 1/2 teaspoon cranberry sauce and one piece Brie cheese.
- Bake 5-7 minutes, until Brie is melted.
- Top with chopped walnuts and minced sage. Serve warm.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30-45 minutes
- 8 ounces potatoes
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 ounce Gruyere cheese, for garnish
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Peel and finely slice potatoes.
- Add butter to saucepan and melt. Finely mince garlic and add to saucepan; saute gently until garlic is pale golden color.
- Add cream to saucepan and bring to rapid simmer but do not boil.
- In oven-safe dish, arrange slices of potato in even layers.
- Pour warm cream over potatoes slowly, allowing to seep between layers without overflowing dish.
- Top generously with sliced Gruyere cheese and place in oven, 30-45 minutes per portion. When done, potatoes should be golden-brown on top, bubbling at edges and a knife should slide easily into center.
Note: Recipe can be multiplied for additional servings.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Dauphinoise Potatoes)
Source: Willow Tree
(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.