recipes

Appetizers & Sides 21 February 2019

Bite-Size Ideas for Easy Entertaining

(Family Features) Whether you’re prepping for an extravagant party or an impromptu get-together, being prepared with cupboard staples and entertaining tricks can help you take your gathering to the next level.

Make menu planning a breeze and put a unique twist on your party from start to finish with these great ideas from the experts at Dare Foods:

Snacks with flair. Use geometric cookie-cutters to bring thoughtful detail to essential hors d'oeuvres like crackers, cheese and melon slices.

Vivid votive. Fill mason jars with water and add slices of lemon or lime along with sprigs of rosemary. Float a tea light on top and place around the yard or on tables for a beautiful way to decorate your outdoor space.

Sparkler sendoff. Light up the night with festive sparklers for endless entertainment. Place them in a decorative pail and sit back as guests enjoy the photo opp.

When it comes to bite-size snacks, crackers are one pantry basic you can dress up or down for a wide range of party-worthy treats in minutes. For example, garden-fresh fixings atop crisp crackers make for light canapes that celebrate the best of summer flavors. Just start with one of Dare’s mouthwatering crackers, loaded with crunch and packed with flavor, and pile on the goodness.

If you’re looking for an elegant appetizer to wow dinner guests, a robust, crisp cracker makes the perfect base for a sweet corn salad and luxurious scallops. Or, for a delicious sweet treat, use Dare’s sweet potato cracker to lend a unique twist to a classic s’mores recipe.

Find more creative cracker recipes for your next event at darefoods.com.

Sauteed Corn, Feta, Cherry Tomato and Scallop Crackers

Prep time: 15 minutes
Servings: 10

  • 2       ears corn
  • 2       teaspoons vegetable oil
  • salt
  • 10     large scallops
  • 1/4    cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 10     cherry tomatoes, quartered 
  • 2       tablespoons finely sliced basil
  • pepper
  • 10     Brenton Vinta crackers
  1. Slice corn off of cob.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in pan until hot, saute corn until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. In another pan, heat vegetable oil until hot. Salt scallops then sear for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Slice in half to create 10 round scallop discs.
  4. Mix corn, feta, tomatoes and basil together. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. To compile, place spoonful of corn salad on each cracker. Top with 2 pieces of scallop and 1 sprig of basil.

Marshmallow, Chocolate, Sweet Potato Crackers

Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 10

  • 10     large marshmallows
  • 20     Breton sweet potato and ancient grain crackers
  • 1/4    cup chocolate chips, divided
  1. Heat broiler to low (set rack in top two-thirds of oven if low-heat setting is unavailable).
  2. Place marshmallows on one cracker and broil 1-3 minutes, or until they begin to brown and soften.
  3. Remove from oven and place 1 teaspoon chocolate chips onto hot marshmallows.
  4. Let sit 1 minute to allow chocolate to soften.
  5. Place cracker on top and enjoy.

Source: Dare Foods

Meal Ideas 01 July 2018

Fresh, Family-Friendly Flavors

(Family Features) One of the best parts of warmer weather for many families is the availability of fresh ingredients for meals at home. The unique tastes provide a variety of recipes that can be prepared with everyone in mind, including crisp flavors to help satisfy adults and kids alike.

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For example, Michigan asparagus is hand-harvested at more than 120 family farms, meaning each spear is snapped at its optimal point to produce an all-edible product with no woody ends.

To help keep that fresh-picked flavor, the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board recommends storing asparagus upright in about an inch of water after trimming the ends. Loosely cover the container with plastic and keep it refrigerated.

Whether you’re enjoying it blanched, roasted or on the grill, it’s a perfect complement for warmer weather. This Asparagus Crust White Chicken Pizza from author Gina Ferwerda is a creative take on the seasonal vegetable. Find more inspiration in Ferwerda’s cookbook, “Meals from the Mitten.”

For more information and recipes, visit michiganasparagus.org .
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Asparagus Crust White Chicken Pizza

Recipe courtesy of Gina Ferwerda on behalf of the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board
Servings: 4

Asparagus Crust:

  • 2          cups cut-up fresh or frozen Michigan asparagus, blanched
  • 1          egg
  • 2/3       cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3       cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1          tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning


White Sauce:

  • 2          tablespoons butter
  • 1/4       cup chopped leeks
  • 1          clove garlic, minced
  • 1          tablespoon flour
  • 3/4       cup milk
  • 1/4       cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1          cup cubed rotisserie chicken
  • 1          cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2       cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1/2       cup cut-up fresh or frozen Michigan asparagus, blanched and seasoned with avocado oil and lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/4       cup chopped prosciutto
  • fresh chives, for garnish
  • fresh basil, for garnish
  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. To make Asparagus Crust: In food processor, puree blanched asparagus until smooth. In large bowl, mix asparagus puree, egg, Parmesan, mozzarella and lemon pepper seasoning until thoroughly combined.
  3. Press asparagus mixture into circular shape on parchment paper-lined pizza stone or baking sheet. Place layer of paper towel over crust and gently press down to remove excess moisture. Repeat until paper towel is no longer absorbing moisture. Discard wet paper towels.
  4. Bake 12-13 minutes.
  5. To make White Sauce: In saucepan over medium heat, cook butter, leeks and garlic 3-4 minutes. Slowly whisk in flour and cook 1-2 minutes. Slowly add in milk, continue whisking and cook until thickened. Add Parmesan then remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Pour white sauce over partially baked asparagus crust and top with chicken and mozzarella. Add peas, asparagus and prosciutto. Bake 5-8 minutes, or until cheese is thoroughly melted. Garnish with fresh chives or basil.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Asparagus on the grill)

Source: Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board

Meal Ideas 05 February 2019

6 Easy Spring Seafood Dinners

(Family Features) Sheet pan and one-pot dinners can be perfect in a pinch, so it’s no wonder they’ve become a go-to for busy families. Cleanup is typically a breeze with just one pan, and it’s a quick way to get vegetables and protein all in one step. Combine your key ingredients with rich spices, herbs and sauces to create a flavorful meal in no time.

Visit McCormick.com or find McCormick on Facebook and Pinterest for more recipes to make your weeknight meals easier.

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Orange Chili Sheet Pan Salmon

Salmon gets a sweet and spicy kick with this crowd-pleasing dish. Chili seasoning mix brings the heat while orange extract, brown sugar and red bell pepper create balance with tang and citrus flavors. Even sweeter: This recipe is made in one pan for an easy, weeknight-friendly meal.

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Sheet Pan Shrimp Scampi

Garlic, butter and white wine create a winning flavor combination, which is freshened up with lemon juice, broccoli and cherry tomatoes in this sheet pan version of an Italian classic.

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Sheet Pan Tuna Melt

Being short on time doesn’t mean you have to skimp on flavor. These tuna melts can be on the table in less than 15 minutes. Swap out mayonnaise for tartar sauce in the tuna salad as a better-for-you option with an extra kick.

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Parmesan Herb Shrimp

In one pan, saute shrimp with Parmesan cheese, white wine and herbs, and serve over a bed of fluffy rice. This surprisingly simple, gourmet-tasting dish can be whipped up by nearly any home chef.

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Basil Shrimp and Pasta Alfredo

Whisk up a creamy Alfredo sauce with fresh shrimp, bright green peas and crisp basil in just a few minutes. Simply toss with pasta in the same pan and you’re done.
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Sheet Pan Lemon Butter Dill Tilapia

This white fish dish gets its flavor from a citrusy, lemon butter dill sauce that adds extra zest. Serve alongside asparagus, shallots and green beans for added veggie goodness.

Source: McCormick

Meal Ideas 25 January 2019

Simple, Flavorful Recipes to Reimagine Mealtime

(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.
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Pork Chops in Creamy Roasted Garlic Florentine Sauce

Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 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
  1. Season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Reduce heat to low and add heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Add spinach and tomatoes to sauce; let spinach wilt. Stir in Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning; simmer about 3 minutes.
  6. Return pork chops to pan along with juices. Spoon Florentine sauce over chops; simmer 3-5 minutes.

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Italian Stir-Fried Pork and Pasta

Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 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
  1. Heat skillet or wok to 400° F.
  2. Slice pork loin filet into thin strips.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  4. Add pork strips and oil to heated skillet. Stir-fry until meat is browned, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add zucchini, onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic and butter to skillet; stir-fry until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
  6. Drain pasta and add to pork and vegetable mixture with cheese and basil; toss to coat.

Source:  Smithfield

Meal Ideas 18 January 2019

Game Day Eats and Treats

Score major points with delicious dishes

(Family Features) If the crew is coming over to root for your favorite team, it may be time to spice up the menu. Whether you’re hosting the weekend get-together or watching the game after work, switch up your typical spread and serve something new to leave your guests cheering for more.

When it comes to choosing an ingredient that can lend a winning assist to nearly any dish and score you some major points, look no further than California Ripe Olives.

Variety is key when mapping out food for a crowd, regardless of the event. Plan on serving one main course and two sides, and consider no-fuss options like chips and dips. If there are kids in attendance, make sure there is something neutral for even the pickiest eaters to snack on. However, try your best to avoid anything that needs a knife and fork to eat – finger foods typically work best when the game is on and conversation is flowing.

The mild and unique taste of California Ripe Olives lends itself well to many different flavor pairings, such as these recipes for Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Peach-Olive Jam, Easy Olive Bread and Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Tapenade. Whether your guests are fans of spicy, mild, sweet or savory, the only limit is your imagination when you pull a can of olives from the pantry.

Family farms across California grow 95 percent of the ripe olives consumed in the United States. Each can is a labor of love. Multi-generational family farms work with family-owned canneries in California to produce each can and ensure only the highest quality olives make it from the farm to your game-day table. For more creative ways to use olives, including family recipes from growers across California, visit CalOlive.org .

Simple Entertaining Tips to Take Your Table to the Next Level

  1. A colorful platter is an easy way to spice up a spread.
  2. Pair something salty with something sweet for a juxtaposition of flavors.
  3. If you’re serving food on neutral plates, add some colorful linens.
  4. Plan the menu around a central theme or ingredient.
  5. Guests love choices – making more options available can make for better spreads.
  6. Use versatile ingredients, like California Ripe Olives, to keep picky eaters happy.

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Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Peach-Olive Jam

  • 1          teaspoon olive oil
  • 3          pounds pork shoulder roast
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4          cloves garlic, quartered
  • 4          cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 8          ounces dried peaches
  • 1          tablespoon chili powder
  • 1          cup California Black Ripe Olives, wedged
  • 2          teaspoons country mustard
  • 1          ounce arugula
  • 8          onion rolls, split and toasted
  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. In large, high-sided saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Season pork with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook in pan 3-4 minutes on each side until browned.
  4. Stir in garlic and continue cooking 3-5 minutes.
  5. Pour in chicken broth, peaches and chili powder; bring to boil.
  6. Cover loosely with foil and bake in oven 2 hours.
  7. With slotted spoon, carefully remove peaches and transfer to small mixing bowl. Mix olives and mustard with peaches; set aside.
  8. Continue to cook pork in oven 30-60 minutes until fork tender.
  9. Allow to cool slightly then shred by pulling apart with fork.
  10. Assemble sandwiches by spooning pork onto toasted rolls.
  11. Top with arugula and peach-olive mixture.

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Easy Olive Bread

Recipe courtesy of The Wicked Noodle

  • 8          ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4       cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2       cup mayonnaise
  • 1          clove garlic, minced
  • 2          cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10        ounces California Green Ripe Olives, chopped
  • 2          green onions, chopped
  • 1          loaf French bread, sliced in half lengthwise
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In bowl, mix cream cheese, butter and mayonnaise until thoroughly combined. Add garlic; stir well to distribute. Add cheddar cheese, green olives and green onions; stir to combine.
  3. Spread mixture on cut sides of bread. Bake 20-30 minutes, until cheese is hot, bubbly and starting to brown.

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Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Tapenade

  • 1/2       cup shallots, chopped
  • 1/4       cup chopped smoked sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2          tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 2          cloves garlic, minced
  • 1          can (6 ounces) California Green Ripe Olives, drained
  • 1          can (6 ounces) California Black Ripe Olives, drained
  • 1/4       cup lightly packed fresh basil
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • crackers or toasted baguette slices
  1. In food processor, pulse shallots, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar and garlic until finely chopped. Add olives, basil, salt and pepper; pulse again until chopped.
  2. Cover and chill 1 hour.
  3. Serve with crackers or toasted baguette slices.

Note: Recipe can be prepared one day in advance.

Photo courtesy of The Wicked Noodle (Easy Olive Bread)

Source:  California Olive Committee

Videos 16 January 2019

Cooking Up Comfort

Hearty dishes for cold, dreary days

(Family Features) On crisp winter days when the wind blows cold, warming up from the inside-out with hearty comfort foods can feel like a worthy solution. From chili to cornbread to dumplings, flavorful and filling foods prepared without an overload of ingredients certainly can provide a feel-good boost on chilly evenings.

Chili, a classic wintertime favorite, can be taken to the next level with a few tasty additions. Make a spicy version by mixing in bacon, sweet potatoes and a chopped jalapeno pepper for a quick warm-up. A simple and somewhat sweet spin on a classic, comforting side, Honey-Pumpkin Cornbread pairs well with the slightly spicy chili. If you’re really looking to put the comfort in a comforting main course, this Skillet Chicken and Dumplings recipe takes less than an hour to create.

To make these heart-warming recipes stand out from a crowd, Circulon Symmetry Chocolate Cookware provides dishwasher-safe, premium nonstick cookware for easy cleanup and food release that slides right off.

Find more information and comforting family-favorite recipes at circulon.com.

Watch video to see how to make this delicious recipe!

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Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Servings: 6

  • Circulon Symmetry Chocolate 5.5-Quart Casserole
  • 6          slices thick-cut smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1          pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2          medium onions, chopped
  • 1          jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 5          garlic cloves, minced
  • 2          tablespoons chili powder
  • 2          teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2       teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
  • 2          cups chicken broth
  • 1          can (14 1/2 ounces) no-salt-added fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1          can (15 ounces) no-salt-added black beans
  • 1/2       cup quick-cooking barley
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  1. Heat casserole over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until browned and crisp, about 7-8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-covered plate.
  2. Reduce bacon fat in casserole to 2 tablespoons and return to stove over medium-high heat. Add sweet potatoes, onions and jalapeno pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano and ground chipotle; cook until fragrant, 15 seconds.
  4. Pour in broth, tomatoes, beans and barley; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender and barley is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in bacon and salt; let stand 15 minutes before serving.

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Honey-Pumpkin Cornbread

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 12-16

  • Circulon Nonstick 9-Inch Square Baking Pan
  • 1 1/2    cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4    cups yellow cornmeal
  • 3          tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2       teaspoon sea salt
  • 1          cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2          large eggs, at room temperature
  • 5          tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4          tablespoons honey
  • 1/3       cup buttermilk
  • 1          tablespoon grated orange zest
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Lightly butter baking pan.
  2. In bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In separate bowl, whisk pumpkin puree, eggs, butter, honey, buttermilk and orange zest. Stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until moistened; transfer to prepared baking pan.
  4. Bake until cornbread pulls away from sides of pan and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20-22 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack at least 10 minutes before cutting.

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Skillet Chicken and Dumplings

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8

  • Circulon Symmetry Chocolate 3.5-Quart Saucepan
  • 3          containers (32 ounces each) low-sodium chicken stock
  • Circulon Symmetry Chocolate 12-Inch Essentials Pan
  • 2          medium onions, diced
  • 4          carrots, peeled and sliced into 1-inch rounds
  • 1          head broccoli, chopped
  • 2          tablespoons butter
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3       cups chopped chicken
  • 2          bay leaves
  • 1/2       teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2       teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2       teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1          teaspoon powdered garlic
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2       cup half-and-half
  • 2          tablespoons cornstarch

Dumplings:

  • 1 1/2    cups whole-wheat or all-purpose flour
  • 2          teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1          cup half-and-half

Garnish:

  • fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh black pepper
  1. In saucepan, bring chicken stock to boil.
  2. In essentials pan, saute onions, carrots and broccoli with butter. Add olive oil as needed if pan looks dry. Cook until onions are translucent and carrots are beginning to soften.
  3. Add chopped chicken, bay leaves, oregano, basil, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper and hot chicken stock to skillet. Simmer 20-30 minutes until vegetables are softened. Adjust seasoning, as necessary.
  4. Whisk cornstarch into half-and-half until smooth. Whisk into soup and simmer 5 minutes, until slightly thickened.
  5. To make Dumplings: In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and half-and-half. Swirl soup with wooden spoon and add heaping tablespoons into center of soup at strong simmer. Continue adding until all dumpling batter is used. Cover with lid and cook on high 2-3 minutes.
  6. Serve topped with grated Parmesan and fresh cracked pepper.

Source: Circulon

Appetizers & Sides 14 September 2018

Exquisite Eating

Small plates to make for appealing dishes

(Family Features) Imagine treating yourself and your dinner guests to a delicious, restaurant-caliber meal without leaving your dining room or hiring a personal chef. Small plates, also known as tapas, are lighter, bite-sized indulgences that you can prepare and style seamlessly. By putting your own artful, unique spin on small plates, you can indulge in a meal that appeals to the senses and conveys sophistication.

It can be easy to create delicious small plates: all you need are wholesome, seasonal ingredients to pair with an artisan-crafted, quality olive oil such as Carapelli. The line, with three varieties to explore, brings a renaissance to the modern kitchen and is ideal for endeavoring chefs looking to try new flavors and experiment with tastes or recipes. It embodies a true passion for the art of creating extra-virgin olive oils and is designed to lift cooks out of the everyday cooking experience.

Keep in mind that when it comes to small plates, what’s important isn’t just the recipe, but the plate – and plating – of the cuisine itself. Foods that appeal to the eye are likely to tempt the taste buds as well. Invest in appropriate-sized dishware for small plates that allows the food to take center-stage.

For a true multi-sensory indulgence, also take time to garnish your dishes, big and small, with edible enhancements that lend a subtle complement to the main attraction. A selection of fresh greens, sprinkling of herbs and even a light drizzle of olive oil can do the trick.

Plan how you’ll adapt your favorite dishes for size – and season – with more tips and recipes at carapelliusa.com.
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Carrots and Fresh Herbs with Champagne-Dijon Vinaigrette

Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

Champagne-Dijon Vinaigrette:

  • 2          tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1          teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1          tablespoon clover honey
  • 1/2       cup Carapelli Organic Olive Oil
  • 1/2       teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2       teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1          teaspoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1          teaspoon basil, finely chopped

 

  • 1          pound carrots, peeled and finely shredded
  • 2          tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2          tablespoons chives, thinly sliced, plus more cut into 3/4-inch  pieces, for garnish
  • 1/3       cup Champagne Vinaigrette
  • fine sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper,  to taste
  • chive sticks, for garnish
  1. In medium mixing bowl, combine champagne vinegar, Dijon and honey. Whisk constantly until well combined. While whisking, slowly drizzle in olive oil to emulsify. Add garlic, salt, pepper, parsley and basil: whisk to combine.
  2. In mixing bowl, toss carrots, parsley and chives. Add dressing. Season, to taste, with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with chive sticks.

Notes: Vinaigrette can be stored in refrigerator up to five days. For zestier salad, add additional 2 tablespoons vinaigrette to carrots; serve with crusty bread.
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Whipped Ricotta and Goat Cheese Beet Skewers

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours, plus cooling time
Servings: 42 skewers

Beets:

  • 2          beets (about 1 pound), 3 inches in diameter, peeled and sliced into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1          tablespoon Carapelli Oro Verde Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2       teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1          teaspoon sea salt
  • arugula, for garnish
  • flaked sea salt, for garnish

Whipped Ricotta and Goat Cheese:

  • 4          ounces goat cheese
  • 1/4       cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1          tablespoon Carapelli Oro Verde Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4       teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/8       teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat sous vide water bath to 185° F.
  2. In mixing bowl, combine beets, olive oil, thyme and salt; toss to coat. Remove beets from liquid and divide, placing them in single layer into two quart-sized vacuum-seal bags, leaving any excess liquid behind.
  3. Use vacuum sealer to remove air and double-seal bag. To use zip-top bags instead, slowly dip slightly open bags into large container filled with water, allowing water to displace air. Seal bags when air is removed.
  4. Place vacuum-sealed bag into prepared water bath, placing heavy, heat-resistant bowl on top of beets to keep them submerged, if necessary. Cook 3 hours.
  5. If you do not have a sous vide machine, bring large stock pot filled with water to rolling boil. Place vacuum-sealed bags in water. Reduce to gentle simmer, cover and cook 1 hour.
  6. Carefully remove beets from water bath and cool in sealed bag until they reach room temperature, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes more before serving.
  7. In mini food processor, cream goat cheese, ricotta and olive oil until smooth. Add zest, salt and pepper: stir to combine.
  8. Transfer cheese mixture to piping bag fitted with star tip and refrigerate until ready to use.
  9. To serve, remove beets from bag and arrange on serving platter. Pipe dollop of Whipped Ricotta and Goat Cheese onto each beet. Drizzle with olive oil.
  10. Garnish with arugula and pinch of flaked sea salt; place skewer through each beet to serve.

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Olive Oil Drizzled Pecorino Popcorn

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1/2       cup grated pecorino, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for garnish
  • 3          tablespoons Carapelli Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 1/3       cup yellow popcorn kernels
  1. In bowl, combine pecorino and pepper; mix until well combined and there are no cheese clumps.
  2. In small saucepan over low flame, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil; keep warm.
  3. Add remaining olive oil and popcorn to large Dutch oven. Stir until all popcorn kernels are coated in oil.
  4. Cover Dutch oven with lid and cook over medium-high heat, shaking pot periodically. Once popcorn begins to pop, lower heat to medium and continue to shake pot approximately every 15 seconds. When popping slows considerably, remove Dutch oven from heat and allow to rest until popping ceases, about 30 seconds.
  5. Remove lid and transfer popcorn to large mixing bowl. Drizzle warm olive oil over popcorn; toss to coat. Sprinkle cheese mixture over popcorn; toss to coat.
  6. Divide popcorn into bowls. Sprinkle some freshly grated pecorino and dash of freshly ground black pepper over top; serve.

Source:  Carapelli Olive Oil

Appetizers & Sides 06 August 2018

Make it Mediterranean

3 dishes to highlight the next trend in internationally themed cuisine

(Family Features) Just like forward-thinking culinary artists, many at-home chefs seek out the next trendy flavor to provide friends and family gathered around the table. When pondering which trend you'll dive into in the future, consider incorporating tastes from an especially influential international location - the Mediterranean Sea region.

Considered by the experts at Les Dames d'Escoffier International (LDEI) in the organization's 2018 Trends Report to be one of the most influential parts of the world on the American food scene, flavors from the Mediterranean Sea focus on a diet heavy on fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, seeds and nuts. Take this Hummus recipe, for example, which involves processing a host of beans, seeds and seasonings to create a light, smooth dip to serve with anything from vegetables to crackers.

Because the fare is typically lighter, small bites and salads such as Fresh Figs with Honey or this Tomato, Feta and Basil Salad provide easy-to-prepare versions of Mediterranean cuisine. Incorporating vegetables (tomatoes and basil) along with the salty, milky flavors of feta cheese makes the salad a distinctly Mediterranean dish.

In addition to Mediterranean food, the trends report highlighted Middle Eastern cuisine and Latin American flavors as areas of the world that will influence American dining in the next year. Additionally, LDEI highlighted these regions as likely to be influential in the next three years:

  1. East Africa
  2. The Balkans
  3. The Caribbean Sea

To go along with specific regions and countries to influence American food culture, the report identified these international food concepts as the most likely to become prominent food trends:

  1. Puebla Hot Pot (Latin America, Mexico) - ancho chile, smoked paprika and spices in chicken stock, served with chicken or pork, corn, avocado crema and fresh garnishes.
  2. Manouri (Mediterranean, Greece) - a semi-soft, fresh white whey cheese made from goat or sheep milk.
  3. Millet (India) - ancient grains harvested from small-seeded grasses used for porridge.

Mediterranean food, because of its reliance on the inclusion of vegetables and exclusion of red meat in many of its dishes, also squarely fits into the top established and growing health trends, according to the report, which are:

  1. Vegetarian cuisine
  2. Organic
  3. Vegan cuisine

Find full results from the report and learn more about the organization at LDEI.org.

10 Ways to Find Culinary Inspiration

Consider these strategies for achieving inspiration in the kitchen from the LDEI 2018 Trends Report:

  • Traveling
  • Cookbooks
  • Farmers' markets
  • Internet and social media
  • Fresh produce
  • Food magazines
  • Chefs
  • Seasons
  • Beautiful imagery
  • People and culture

Tracking the Top Food Trends

As trends continue changing, growing and spreading, the experts at LDEI continue to provide updates from the food world. Find complete 2018 Trends Report survey results and expert panel insights by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

LDEI is a worldwide philanthropic organization of professional women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality. The invitation-only membership, composed of 2,300 women in 40 chapters across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Mexico, is highly diversified and reflects the multifaceted fields of contemporary gastronomy and hospitality. For more information, visit LDEI.org or find LDEI on Facebook.


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Tomato, Feta and Basil Salad

Recipe courtesy of Beth Vlasich Pav of Cooking by Design, LLC, on behalf of Les Dames d'Escoffier International
Servings: 15-20

  • 8 medium size tomatoes, sliced into 1/8-inch slices
  • 1 block (8 ounces) feta cheese, sliced into 1/8-inch pieces
  • 2 small packages fresh basil, leaves picked off stems
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. On large platter, arrange slices of tomato and feta so they overlap. Place basil leaf between each tomato and Feta slice. Repeat.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

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Hummus

Recipe courtesy of Beth Vlasich Pav of Cooking by Design, LLC, on behalf of Les Dames d'Escoffier International
Yield: 2 cups

  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) garbanzo beans
  • 1 medium garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  1. Drain garbanzo beans reserving 1/2 cup liquid.
  2. In food processor, process garbanzo beans, garlic, sesame oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper until incorporated. Stop and scrape down sides of bowl. Add garbanzo liquid and process until smooth.
  3. Scoop mixture into medium bowl, add black sesame seeds and mix gently. Serve with drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top.

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Fresh Figs with Honey

Recipe courtesy of Beth Vlasich Pav of Cooking by Design, LLC, on behalf of Les Dames d'Escoffier International
Servings: 6

  • 6 fresh figs
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  1. Slice figs in half lengthwise (stem to bottom). Distribute on small platter.
  2. Drizzle honey over each fig equally. Serve immediately.

Photos courtesy of Beth Vlasich Pav

Source:  Les Dames d’Escoffier International

Meal Ideas 06 August 2018

Save Time on School Nights

(Family Features) Back-to-school season means plenty of evening hours spent completing homework, attending extracurricular activities and preparing to repeat the school-day routine the next day. For many families, having time to prepare and cook quality, nutritious meals can be next to impossible.

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Instead of choosing between valuable family time and hours spent in the kitchen, RAGÚ blogger, fitness enthusiast and busy mom Jamie Krauss Hess recommends stocking up on go-to pantry staples you feel good about and including them in quick, nutritious recipes everyone can enjoy together.

Try recipes such as Mini Turkey Sloppy Joes, which swap out beef for ground turkey to provide a flavorful alternative while offering a special twist to a classic family favorite. Quinoa Penne with Savory Tomato-Basil Sauce can hit the spot with just a handful of ingredients. Or, if the little ones clamor for a more kid-friendly dish and the adults don’t mind a throwback to childhood, Grown-Up Tomato Mac and Cheese can provide the best of both worlds.

All three recipes take less than an hour to make and feature RAGÚ Simply pasta sauces, which are made with 100 percent olive oil and contain no added sugar. They’re available in four varieties including: Traditional, Chunky Marinara, Chunky Garden Vegetable and Flavored with Meat. By using simple ingredients like California vine-ripened tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, onions and spices, the result is a taste-tempting sauce with recipe versatility.

Find more family-pleasing and simple-to-prepare recipes ideal for busy school nights at ragu.com.
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Grown-Up Tomato Mac and Cheese

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1          box (16 ounces) gemelli pasta
  • 4          cups water
  • 2 1/2    cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
  • 1/2       cup (2 ounces) Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1          tablespoon corn starch
  • 1          can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1          jar (24 ounces) RAGÚ Simply Traditional Pasta Sauce
  • 2          teaspoons cracked black pepper
  1. In large pot, combine pasta and water. Cook over medium-high heat 20-22 minutes, or until pasta is done, stirring occasionally.
  2. In bowl, combine 2 cups cheddar cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese and corn starch. Reduce heat to medium; stir milk, cheese mixture and sauce together with cooked pasta. Cook 5-7 minutes, or until cheese is melted and mixture is thickened, stirring frequently.
  3. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and pepper; serve immediately.

Tip: This stovetop method eliminates the need to drain the pasta after cooking. The starchy pasta water gets stirred in and helps create an extra-rich sauce. Elevate this dish by sprinkling crushed Parmesan cheese crisps on top before serving.
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Mini Turkey Sloppy Joes

Recipe courtesy of Honey and Birch
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1          teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1          cup onion, diced
  • 3          cloves garlic, minced
  • 1          pound ground turkey
  • 1          cup carrots, finely diced
  • 1          medium green pepper, diced
  • 1          medium red pepper, diced
  • 1          jar (24 ounces) RAGÚ Simply Chunky Marinara Sauce
  • 1          tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1          teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2       teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon black pepper
  • 8          mini buns
  1. In large skillet over medium heat, heat extra-virgin olive oil. When hot, add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is translucent.
  2. Add ground turkey to pan. Break up meat and stir frequently until meat is browned. Add carrots, green pepper and red pepper. Cook 5 minutes so vegetables can begin to soften.
  3. Add marinara sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ground mustard, kosher salt and black pepper. Stir and bring to boil. Reduce heat so it simmers; partially cover pan. Cook 10 minutes.
  4. Serve on mini buns.

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Quinoa Penne with Savory Tomato-Basil Sauce

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 12        ounces (about 5 cups) uncooked quinoa penne pasta
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 1          large shallot, chopped
  • 4          cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4       cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1/2       teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1          jar (24 ounces) RAGÚ Simply Chunky Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce
  • 1 1/4    cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, chopped, divided
  1. Cook pasta as directed on package.
  2. In large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add shallots; cook 5-7 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add garlic, tomatoes and paprika; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in sauce and basil, reserving small amount of basil for garnish.
  3. Drain pasta; add to sauce mixture. Mix well. Cook 1-2 minutes until heated through. Sprinkle with reserved basil before serving.

Tip: For extra protein, add 1 pound sliced, grilled chicken when stirring in pasta.

Source:  RAGÚ

Appetizers & Sides 08 June 2017

A Sweet Cherry Season

(Family Features) Whether fresh cherries are a favorite or a treat you’ve yet to try, the time to enjoy them is now.

Orchards in the Pacific Northwest, the nation’s largest growing region, experienced a long, cool spring, which often translates into more time and energy a tree can put into the fruit. When combined with the superior growing conditions characteristic to the area, this season’s fruit showcases what Northwest cherries are known for: their large size and sweet flavor profile.

Popular varieties grown in the Northwest include the mahogany-red Bings and super-sweet, yellow Rainiers. Rainier cherries, with their unique golden color and red blush, tend to ripen earlier in the year. Growers pick Rainier cherries over multiple weeks, selecting the ripest fruit each time.

Other varieties include the early-ripening Chelans and Tietons, followed by the often larger and darker Skeenas, Sweethearts and Lapins. Aside from the light-hued Rainier (which has juice that doesn’t stain) you can typically spot sweet cherries by their dark red skins – in general, the darker, the sweeter.

Great taste aside, sweet cherries are a healthful addition to summer picnics, parties and barbecues thanks to their fiber, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory power. They make for a snack that both grownups and little ones can enjoy straight out of the bowl thanks to their stem “handle” and can perk up appetizers, salads, desserts, sweet or savory sauces and more.

Outside of summer get-togethers, cherries make for a better-for-you late-night snack option as well. A cup of fresh, sweet cherries contains only 90 calories along with a low glycemic index of 22 making their cold, sweet crunch a tasty way to satisfy hunger cravings. Plus, they boast melatonin, which helps regulate circadian rhythm and promote healthy sleep patterns.

Fresh cherries should be kept in a sealed bag or container, and keep for approximately two weeks when refrigerated. To extend the cherry season and enjoy their health benefits after summer fades, buy an extra bag or two and preserve cherries by rinsing, packing and freezing them.

Basic freezing instructions

  1. Select 3-5 pounds of firm, ripe, Northwest-grown sweet cherries.
  2. After rinsing and draining, spread whole cherries with stems in a layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Place in freezer until firm then pack into freezer-proof containers or plastic freezer bags. Remove excess air and cover tightly.
  4. Add frozen cherries to smoothies or juices, or defrost and put in hot cereal, pies, turnovers, cobblers and more. Or enjoy as a frozen, sweet late-night treat.

To create a festive cherry dish for the summer season, try this Cherry Bruschetta as a snack or appetizer. Find more recipes and cherry tips at nwcherries.com.

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Cherry Bruschetta

Serves: 8

  • 18 slices (1/2-inch thick) small baguette-style bread
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted Northwest fresh sweet cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow sweet pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Arrange baguette slices on cookie sheet and toast one side 5 minutes. Turn slices, brush with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and bake 5 minutes longer.
  3. Combine cherries, cilantro, sweet pepper, green onions, lime juice, lime peel, garlic salt, pepper and remaining olive oil; mix well.
  4. Top each baguette with thin slice of cheese, 1 tablespoon cherry mixture and sprinkle of sliced basil. Serve warm or cold.

Source: Northwest Cherry Growers

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