recipes

Meal Ideas 18 November 2020

Put a Zesty Spin on Weeknight Meals

(Family Features) Dinner in many households means foolproof recipes that families can count on, but those can become bland and boring. Finding new ways to put a twist on meals throughout the week adds fun to time spent in the kitchen while bringing new flavor to the table.

To help reinvigorate traditional weeknight dinners, chef Bobby Flay and Hidden Valley Ranch created the three-part Hidden Valley Ranch Night! series to debut dishes that bring bold flavor to traditional meals, such as these recipes for Ranch Crusted Burgers with Avocado Ranch Sauce and Ranch Seasoned Chicken and Mushroom Quesadillas with Tomato Salsa and Sour Cream. The series will provide a spin on weeknight staples to showcase the simplicity, versatility and zesty flavor of ranch seasoning when used to create family-friendly dinners any night of the week.

Find more information, including series episodes and additional recipes, at hiddenvalley.com/ranch-night.

Ranch Crusted Burgers with Avocado Ranch Sauce

Servings: 4

Avocado Ranch Sauce:

  • 1/4       cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4       cup sour cream
  • 1          tablespoon well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/2       teaspoon Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3          green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2          avocados, peeled, pitted and diced

Ranch Spice Crusted Burger:

  • 1 1/2    teaspoons Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning
  • 1          teaspoon paprika
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2    pounds ground chuck (80% lean)
  • 2          tablespoons canola oil
  • 8          slices American cheese
  • 1/4       cup water
  • 4          brioche buns, split in half
  • Avocado Ranch Sauce
  1. To make avocado ranch sauce: In bowl, whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, ranch seasoning, salt and pepper until smooth. Fold in green onions and diced avocados; set aside.
  2. To make burgers: In small bowl, whisk ranch seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper.
  3. Heat large cast-iron pan or griddle over high heat. Divide meat into four 6-ounce patties and make deep depression in centers with thumb. Season each with spice rub on one side.
  4. Add canola oil to pan and heat until shimmering. Place on burgers in pan, spice side down, and cook until golden brown and lightly charred, 4 minutes. Turn burgers over and cook 4 minutes, or until they reach desired doneness.
  5. Top each burger with two slices cheese. Add water to pan and cover tightly with lid 10 seconds, or until the cheese is melted.
  6. Place burgers on bottom buns and top each with avocado ranch sauce and top buns.

Ranch Seasoned Chicken and Mushroom Quesadillas with Tomato Salsa and Sour Cream

Servings: 4

Tomato Salsa:

  • 4          plum tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2       small red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2       jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1          lime, juice only
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 3          tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped into ribbons
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Quesadillas:

  • 2          tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2    pounds cremini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2          teaspoons Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning, divided
  • 12        flour tortillas (6 inches)
  • 2          cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 16        ounces roasted or rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • canola oil
  • 1/2       cup sour cream
  • tomato salsa
  • 2          tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  1. To make tomato salsa: In medium bowl, combine tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, lime juice, olive oil and basil; season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. To make quesadillas: Preheat oven to 450 F.
  3. In large saute pan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add mushrooms and season with 1 1/2 teaspoons ranch seasoning. Cook until mushrooms are golden brown and liquid has evaporated. Set aside to cool.
  4. Place tortillas next to each other on baking sheet. Sprinkle thin layer of cheese on eight tortillas. Add cooled mushrooms to four tortillas and shredded chicken to other four tortillas. Season each layer with salt and pepper. Stack tortillas to create four, two-layer quesadillas. Cover each with remaining tortillas; brush top tortillas lightly with canola oil and sprinkle with remaining ranch seasoning.
  5. Bake 6-8 minutes until cheese is melted and tortillas turn lightly golden brown with crispy edges.
  6. Cut each quesadilla into four pieces. Garnish each slice with dollop of sour cream. Add dollop of tomato salsa on top of sour cream and garnish with basil.

Source: Hidden Valley Ranch

Meal Ideas 20 October 2020

Busy Season Meal Solutions

(Family Features) As families across the country transition back into more normal routines this fall with work, school – whether virtual or in-person – and calendars jam-packed with commitments, it’s important to find ways to save precious time and squeeze in more moments with loved ones.

While getting nutritious, delicious and affordable meals on the table to help fuel those busy days is crucial, there are ways to cut down the amount of time spent in the kitchen each day. Setting aside a couple hours each week to meal prep can make it easier to serve lunch and dinner on a tight schedule and budget. For example, this California-Style Cheesy Enchilada Casserole can be made in batches ahead of time then frozen as individual portions and reheated when hunger strikes while working or learning from home.

Using prepared enchilada sauce, roasted chicken and a Hispanic-style cheese blend made with 100% Real California Milk from California dairy farm families, plus a traditional blend of vegetables and spices, you can feel good about serving your family members a flavorful, nutritional and budget-friendly meal each time they reach for another helping.

Find additional busy season recipe inspiration, nutritional information and more at RealCaliforniaMilk.com.

California-Style Cheesy Enchilada Casserole

Cooking Sauce:

  • 2          eggs
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       cup Real California half-and-half, milk or evaporated milk
  • 1/2       cup Real California sour cream
  • vegetable oil

Casserole:

  • 1 1/2-2 cups prepared enchilada sauce, divided
  • 12        corn tortillas, divided
  • 1          cup roasted skinless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2          teaspoons enchilada seasoning
  • 4          cups shredded Real California Mexican cheese blend, divided, or 1 cup each shredded Real California Oaxaca, Cheddar, Jalapeño Jack and crumbled Cotija cheeses
  • 1          cup canned pinto beans, drained well
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2       teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3       cup canned kernel corn, well drained
  • 1/3       cup sliced black olives, well drained
  • 1/3       cup mild green chiles, well drained
  • 2          tablespoons of cilantro, minced
  • 2          green onions, sliced
  • lime wedges, for serving
  • Real California sour cream, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. To make cooking sauce: In bowl, whisk eggs, salt, half-and-half and sour cream; set aside.
  3. Spray casserole dish with vegetable oil.
  4. To make casserole: Assemble first layer by spreading 6 tablespoons enchilada sauce on bottom of casserole dish. Top with four tortillas, overlapping them. Cover tortillas with 6 tablespoons enchilada sauce.
  5. Assemble second layer by tossing chicken with enchilada seasoning. Mix with 3 cups shredded cheese. Layer half chicken-cheese mixture over tortillas.
  6. Assemble third layer by seasoning pinto beans with cumin and garlic powder. Spread beans over cheese-chicken layer.
  7. Assemble fourth layer by overlapping four tortillas then cover with 6-8 tablespoons enchilada sauce. Cover with corn, olives and chiles. Top with remaining cheese-chicken mixture.
  8. Assemble final layer by covering filling with remaining tortillas, overlapped, then spread remaining enchilada sauce over them. Pour cooking sauce over casserole. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Let rest at least 30 minutes.
  9. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove and rest 10 minutes before cutting.
  10. Sprinkle with cilantro and green onions. Serve with lime wedges and sour cream.

Source: Real California Milk

Videos 21 September 2020

Savory Leek, California Raisins and Ricotta Tart

(Culinary.net) Versatile recipes that make mealtime a cinch for busy families are one easy way to free up time for moments with loved ones.

This Savory Leek, Raisin and Ricotta Tart is a perfect example of a dish that can be enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack or even if your family gets a craving for a breakfast-for-dinner swap. Prep time is minimal before simply baking in the oven 40 minutes, meaning you can have a meal ready in under an hour. Plus, because it makes 10 servings, you’ll have leftovers to help curb appetites later in the day.

To go along with the convenience and ease, it’s made using California raisins as a key ingredient. Dried in the California sunshine, they come by their sweetness naturally as a fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-sodium ingredient that can also be enjoyed on their own as a snack that packs nutritional value with 6% of the daily value for potassium and 7% of the daily value for fiber in each serving.

Find more recipes for meals from morning to night at calraisins.org.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Savory Leek, Raisin and Ricotta Tart 

Servings: 10

  • 1          pastry (9 inches, not in pie shell)
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • 3          large leeks, chopped
  • 1          cup California golden raisins
  • 3          ounces diced smoked ham
  • 15        ounces low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 3          eggs
  • 3          cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1          cup chopped fresh basil or arugula
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll out pastry dough and press into 9-inch springform or tart pan. Bake 10 minutes. 
  2. In large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil. Add leeks and saute until browned, about 10 minutes. Add raisins and ham; cook 5 minutes. 
  3. In bowl, combine ricotta cheese, eggs and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; whisk well. Add leek mixture and basil; stir well. 
  4. Spoon ricotta mixture into tart shell. Bake 40 minutes or until puffed, golden and set.

Source:  California Raisin

Breakfast & Brunch 17 September 2020

Create Quality School Day Meals with Simple Shortcuts

(Family Features) The seemingly constant rush of hectic school days and nights often leaves busy families feeling like there’s no time for a homemade meal around the table. However, taking shortcuts that don’t skip out on quality can mean more time together enjoying flavorful dishes without spending hours in the kitchen.

For starters, an easy yet filling breakfast like these Sausage, Egg and Cheese Muffins can help you begin your day the right way while calling for a simple list of ingredients and just a few steps.

Perfect for grabbing on the way out the door to power you through the day or enjoying at home as you manage double duty as parent and best teacher on the block. They’re made with ground turkey sausage, eggs, melty cheddar cheese and Success Tri-Color Quinoa, which is simplified even more by the “boil-in-bag” cooking process. Just add water to a saucepan, drop the convenient BPA-free bag into the water, boil 10 minutes and remove with a fork for a no-measure, no-mess shortcut.

When the dinner bell dings at the end of a long day of learning, feed your family an effortless recipe that allows the oven to do most of the work. The array of flavors and textures in these Vegetable and Rice Power Bowls can bring warmth to your loved ones while requiring little effort.

Sweet and buttery flavors of maple-roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash and beets pair with the convenience, taste, texture and quality of Success Jasmine Rice, lentils, pumpkin seeds, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette for an abundance of flavors that help recharge and refuel with loads of nutrients combined in one comforting dish.

Find more ways to add ease to school day meals at successrice.com.

Sausage, Egg and Cheese Muffins

Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 16

  • 1          bag Success Tri-Color Quinoa
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1          package (9.6 ounces) cooked turkey sausage crumbles
  • 2          cups prepared baking mix
  • 1          cup cheddar cheese
  • 1          cup milk
  • 4          whole eggs, lightly beaten
  • maple syrup (optional)
  1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Preheat oven to 400 F. Coat 16 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl, combine quinoa, sausage, baking mix and cheese. Stir in milk and eggs; blend well.
  3. Pour 3/4 cup mixture into each muffin cup.
  4. Bake 18-20 minutes.
  5. Serve warm with maple syrup, if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

Substitution: In place of baking mix, substitute 2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1 pinch of salt.

Vegetable and Rice Power Bowls

Total time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 2          cups chopped butternut squash
  • 2          cups chopped sweet potatoes
  • 3          tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1          tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1          tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon pepper
  • 2          cups peeled, chopped beets
  • 2          bags Success Jasmine Rice
  • 4          cups mixed greens
  • 1          can (15 ounces) brown lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2       cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/3       cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2       cup prepared balsamic dressing
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. In large bowl, toss together butternut squash, sweet potatoes, 2 tablespoons oil, thyme, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Arrange in single layer on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  2. In same bowl, toss beets with remaining oil until well coated; add to baking sheet with butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and tender.
  3. Prepare rice according to package directions; divide among six bowls. Top each with greens, roasted vegetables, lentils, goat cheese and pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with balsamic dressing.

Source: Success Rice

Videos 12 August 2020

Skillet Macaroni and Cheese

(Family Features) Turning to easy recipes that require minimal cooking time can help your loved ones take the stress out of busy back-to-school evenings while increasing the opportunities for sharing family moments together.

Skip the long cook times of complicated dishes and instead turn to an option like this Skillet Macaroni and Cheese, a kid-friendly and parent-approved meal to turn hectic school nights into happy time with family.

With a slight twist on the childhood classic, this version calls for chicken to add protein along with spinach and cherry tomatoes for increased veggie intake. Plus, it’s made with milk and cheese as part of an important daily intake of dairy, an irreplaceable part of a balanced diet as a source of essential nutrients.

Visit milkmeansmore.org to find more kid-friendly meals.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Skillet Macaroni and Cheese

Recipe courtesy of Katie Serbinski of “Mom to Mom Nutrition” on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4-6

  • 1          cup dried elbow macaroni
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 1          pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2       cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1          package (5 ounces) semisoft cheese with garlic and fine herbs
  • 1 1/2    cups fat-free milk
  • 1          tablespoon flour
  • 1          teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2       cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2          cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1          cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
  2. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, chicken and onion. Cook 6-8 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in semisoft cheese. Gradually add milk and flour. Continue stirring and cooking until mixture is thickened and bubbly.
  4. Reduce heat to low. Add hot sauce, cheddar cheese and cooked macaroni. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted. Stir in spinach.
  5. Top with cherry tomatoes and serve.

Source:  United Dairy of Michigan

Videos 18 August 2020

Sweet and Spicy Nachos

(Family Features) When looking to guide your family toward healthier snacks, success can be as simple as rethinking the ingredients you choose to use, including your favorite produce, such as grapes.

Fresh California grapes, for example, make for an ideal snack because they are tasty, healthy, hydrating and refreshing, but grapes can also be used to make dishes that are satisfying and delicious like these Sweet and Spicy Nachos. Grapes of all colors - red, green and black - are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols. Plus, they are naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free and contain virtually no sodium.

Find more better-for-you snack ideas at GrapesFromCalifornia.com.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Sweet and Spicy Nachos

Recipe courtesy of the California Table Grape Commission
Servings: 2

Chipotle Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1          tablespoon canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 2          tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 2          tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1          teaspoon honey
  • 3          ounces baked tortilla chips (about 28 chips)
  • 1/2       jalapeno, seeded, stemmed and finely minced (optional)
  • 2          tablespoons finely diced red onion
  • 4          ounces grilled chicken, diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/4       cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4       cup queso Cotija Mexican cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2       avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
  • 1          cup halved California grapes
  • 3          tablespoons chopped cilantro
  1. Heat oven to broil.
  2. In food processor or blender, puree chipotle pepper, barbecue sauce, lime juice and honey until smooth.
  3. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange tortilla chips in single layer.
  4. Sprinkle chips with jalapeno, if desired; onion; chicken; and Monterey Jack cheese. Drizzle with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce.
  5. Place tray in oven about 6 inches below element; broil 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from oven, sprinkle with Cotija Mexican cheese, avocado, grapes and cilantro.

Source: California Grapes

Grilling-Tailgating 22 June 2020

Cookout Cravings: Appease summer appetites with grilled fare

(Family Features) The first thought that comes to mind when picturing grilling in the summer sun might be a perfectly cooked steak or a juicy burger, but no backyard barbecue is complete without the all-important sides and beverages that complete the meal.

Whether you're pairing a main protein with separate side dishes or going all-in-one by combining tender chicken with veggies on skewers, the opportunities are endless for a crave-worthy cookout.

Find more summer grilling recipes at Culinary.net.

5 Steps for Sizzling Steak

A sizzling steak is a surefire sound of summer, and the flavors achieved from one that's perfectly grilled are hard to match.

Before you fire up your grill, consider these five basics for cooking a chef-worthy steak:

Prepare Your Cut
Taste preferences (and prices) may differ among sirloins, ribeyes, T-bones and more, but the way you prepare steaks likely won't change much from cut to cut. You'll want to trim the thickness down to 1/2-1 inch for proper cooking, and setting the meat out ahead of time allows it to warm to room temperature before hitting the grill.

Add Some Salt
Feel free to add any spices you prefer, but remember a good steak typically doesn't require fancy seasoning - a pinch of salt works just fine. Add your salt anywhere between 30 minutes to a few hours before grilling time to help retain moisture and improve flavor.

Aim for High Heat
A two-zone fire is usually the way to go - one side of the grill should be hot (using direct heat) with the other side not quite as warm (indirect heat). This allows you to create a sear over direct heat before finishing cooking through - without burning - over indirect heat.

Sear and Slide
Cooking your steak over direct heat 1-2 minutes on each side is normally about right for creating a proper sear. At this point, depending on the thickness of your steak, you'll want to check for doneness. If it's not quite to the temperature you're looking to achieve, simply slide it over to the indirect heat for a finishing touch. Keep in mind these general guidelines for doneness: 120-125 F is rare, 130-135 F is medium-rare, 140-145 F is medium, 150-155 F is medium-well and 160-175 F is well done.

Let Rest
Finally, as hungry as you may be at this point, resting steaks is an important last step before diving in. Giving your steaks 5-10 minutes (foil or no foil) allows flavors to redistribute and moisture to be retained in the meat.

Less Prep, More Summer with a Skewered Solution

Make summer grilling easy and delicious by cooking your side dish and main dish together so you can spend more time outdoors and less time meal planning. These Grilled Greek Kebabs pair cubed chicken thighs with little potatoes on skewers, making for a classic cookout combo.

With no washing or peeling required, Creamer potatoes from The Little Potato Company require little prep, which helps make this recipe a breeze, and they cook quickly on the grill. Just marinate your chicken and potatoes with this zesty dressing and prepare for a taste bud-tingling backyard barbecue.

Visit littlepotatoes.com/summertime for more summer grilling recipes.

Grilled Greek Kebabs

Dressing/Marinade:

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice only
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 3 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • Skewers:
  • 2 cups The Little Potato Company Dynamic Duo bagged Creamer Potatoes, cut in half
  • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 wooden skewers dipped in water
  • pita bread (optional)

Salad:

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 sliced Lebanese cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives

To make dressing/marinade: In measuring cup, mix olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, oregano, Dijon mustard, garlic and sugar. Season generously with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour 1/3 cup marinade into large bowl. Refrigerate remaining.

To prepare skewers: Add potatoes and chicken pieces to bowl with marinade. Mix well to coat and marinate 30 minutes, or as long as overnight in refrigerator.

Preheat grill to medium heat.

Skewer potatoes and chicken cubes alternately on wooden skewers. Grill 6-8 minutes on both sides. Grill pita bread, if desired.

Finish dressing by adding mayonnaise.

To make salad: In large serving dish, mix tomatoes, cucumber, onions, feta cheese and olives. Place kebabs on top and drizzle with dressing.

Serve with grilled pita bread, if desired.

Sipping on Sweetness

When it's summertime, many people crave something cold and fruity. Simply combine frozen strawberries with frozen pink lemonade concentrate to create a cool concoction perfect for a sizzling day. This fizzy summertime treat can delight your taste buds and keep you quenched while enjoying the sun's rays.

Find more summer drink recipes at Culinary.net.

Strawberry Spritzer

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen sliced strawberries, sweetened and thawed
  • 2 liters lemon-lime soda, chilled
  • 1 can (12 ounces) frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
  1. In blender, process strawberries until blended thoroughly.
  2. Pour strawberries into large pitcher; stir in soda and pink lemonade.

A Simple Stuffed Side

Whether you need a quick appetizer or something to snack on, these Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes make for an appealing bite.

Find more snack recipes at Culinary.net.

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Recipe courtesy of Culinary.net

  • 24-48 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 3 green onion stalks, diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced dill
  • fresh dill, for garnish
  1. Cut thin slice off top of each tomato. Scoop out pulp. Invert tomatoes on paper towel to drain.
    In medium bowl, combine cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth. Stir in cucumber, green onion and dill. Spoon mixture into tomatoes. Top with fresh dill.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Steak)

Source:  The Little Potato Company

Meal Ideas 07 April 2020

Cook Comfort Food Once, Enjoy it Twice

(Family Features) Cook once, eat twice. It’s a kitchen practice as simple as it sounds. Cook a base dish that can be enjoyed today and used for an entirely different meal tomorrow. For example, bake some fish for tonight’s dinner, and enjoy fish tacos for tomorrow’s lunch.

With so many Americans preparing meals at home, the practice of cooking once and eating twice can extend your grocery budget while also making meal planning less stressful and more comforting.

Cooking meals that feed the entire family is essential and even better if they give you a jump on a second meal. Whether your love for cooking runs deep or is being newly discovered, keep the following in mind when planning to cook once and eat twice:

Stock up on staples. Before heading out to the store, develop a list of ingredients that can be used for multiple dishes. Canned goods, such as black beans and corn, are great items to store in the pantry and have on hand for a variety of favorite family recipes. Other basics like corn tortillas can be used in multiple ways, such as tacos, casseroles and even salads.

Don’t forget produce. To increase flavor and nutrition, adding produce is key in your planning. Mushrooms are a favorite among chefs and home cooks alike for many reasons. Traditionally known for their inherent umami flavor, mushrooms are filling, healthy and versatile. Crimini and portabella are excellent sources of selenium, an antioxidant that protects cells from damage that may lead to serious chronic diseases. For example, four crimini mushrooms provide 38% of your daily recommended value. Also, the variety of mushrooms contain essential vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamins B and D and riboflavin.

Make meat go further. A three-step cooking technique called “The Blend” combines finely chopped mushrooms with ground meat to create dishes that are more nutritious while still tasting delicious. You can use the process to create multiple dishes such as tacos, pasta sauce and burgers. Mushrooms’ ability to mimic the texture of meat makes them easy to incorporate, and the addition of finely chopped mushrooms to meat dishes stretches portions, allowing the family to enjoy a meat-mushroom base two days in a row in two different ways in dishes like Mexican Lasagna and Blended Tacos, both of which include a Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend.

For more simple and delicious recipes, visit MushroomCouncil.com


Blended Tacos

Makes: 8 tacos

  • 1          cup sour cream
  • 6          tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 2          tablespoons lime juice
  • 8          yellow corn tortillas
  • 2          cups Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend
  • diced avocado (optional)
  • shredded lettuce (optional)
  • shredded cheese (optional)
  • salsa (optional)
  1. In small bowl, mix sour cream, cilantro and lime juice. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. Warm tortillas in microwave or on stovetop according to package directions. Spoon 1/4 cup Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend into each tortilla. Top with sour cream mixture and avocado, lettuce and cheese as desired.

Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend

Makes: 8 cups

  • 1          medium yellow onion
  • 8          ounces fresh button or crimini mushrooms
  • 1          pound lean ground beef
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • 2          cans (15 ounces each) black beans, drained
  • 1          package (1 ounce) reduced-sodium taco seasoning mix
  • 1          can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1          can (11 ounces) yellow kernel corn, drained
  1. In food processor, pulse onion and mushrooms to coarse texture. Set aside.
  2. In large frying pan, brown ground beef. Drain fat. Set aside.
  3. In same frying pan, heat oil. Add mushroom mixture and saute 3-4 minutes, or until most moisture has been released. Add black beans and mix.
  4. Add beef, taco seasoning, tomatoes and corn to black bean and mushroom blend. Mix and cook until heated through.

Mexican Lasagna

Servings: 6-8

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 16        yellow corn tortillas
  • 6          cups Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend
  • 1          cup shredded, low-fat Mexican cheese blend
  • sour cream (optional)
  • chopped cilantro (optional)
  • salsa (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Spray bottom of 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place four corn tortillas on bottom of dish and layer 2 cups Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend on top. Repeat layers, ending with tortillas as top layer. Top with cheese.
  2. Bake uncovered 25 minutes, or until cheese melts and lasagna is heated through. Top with dollops of sour cream, cilantro and salsa as desired.

Source: Mushroom Council

Videos 27 March 2020

Bite-Sized Breakfast

(Culinary.net) Appetizer-sized portions and small bites of all sorts are ideal for breakfast spreads, and these Pastry Brunch Cups are perfect for a quick morning snack. Try baking a batch and separating into appropriate serving sizes for a simple way to meal prep heading into a new week.

Find more breakfast recipes at Culinary.net.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Pastry Brunch Cups

Serves: 18

  • 2          tablespoons butter
  • 2          tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2    cups milk
  • 1          cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 2          sheets puff pastry
  • 18        eggs
  • 2          cups diced ham
  • chopped fresh green onions
  1. Heat oven 375 F.
  2. In small saucepan, melt butter. Whisk flour with butter. Gradually pour in milk, whisking each time. Bring to simmer, whisking until mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat; stir in Swiss cheese. Set aside.
  3. Use rolling pin to thin out puff pastries. Cut each into nine squares. Line pastry squares in muffin cups, pressing bottoms down firmly and moving pastries up sides for edges to come up just over muffin tins. Fill each cup with 1 teaspoon cheese sauce. Crack one egg into each cup and sprinkle each with diced ham.
  4. Bake 10-15 minutes until eggs set. Sprinkle with chopped green onions.
Appetizers & Sides 22 November 2019

Savor the Season with Delicious, Decorative Cheese Boards

5 tips to create holiday meal centerpieces

(Family Features) A cheese board, plate or course can be a delightful way to savor the season with family and friends, bringing together a medley of tastes and textures.

This year, try serving up a board with real, quality cheeses that also set a celebratory tone with these tips from the experts at Real California Milk, representing California's dairy farm families.

Mix it up. When selecting cheeses, create a range of flavors and textures from soft to hard and mild to sharp, and even pungent varieties. Consider these examples:

  • A bloomy rind cheese such as Brie, Camembert or Formagella
  • A soft or washed-rind cheese like Teleme or Crescenza
  • A semi-firm cheese such as Gouda, St. George or toma
  • A very hard cheese such as dry jack, aged Gouda or aged white cheddar
  • A highly flavorful or pungent cheese such as blue or flavored jack

Add contrast. Flavorful breads thinly sliced or broken into smaller pieces can enhance contrast in both flavor and texture. For a simple solution, try serving breadsticks as part of this California Continental Cheese Board alongside Brie, toma and pepper jack cheeses.

Be patient (but not too patient). Aged cheeses should be allowed time to come to room temperature. Larger pieces typically take 1-2 hours for the full flavor to develop. However, fresh cheeses should be treated like milk, so don’t allow them to sit out for more than a short time.

Use simple additions. Enhance your cheese plates with olives, nuts or fruit to add flavor and texture. For example, pears go well with blue cheese, Gouda and toma; olives accompany white cheddar and pepper jack; walnuts fit with Gouda and dry jack; and dried cranberries pair nicely with cheddar, blue cheese and mushroom jack in this Red, White and Blue Cheese Board.

Consider portions. Estimate 1-1 1/2 ounces of each cheese per person. If you plan to serve three or more cheeses, consider decreasing the amount to 1 ounce (or less) of each cheese per person.

To find a variety of Real California cheeses at a store near you, visit the product locator at  realcaliforniamilk.com.

California Continental Cheese Board

Recipe courtesy of Real California Milk

  • 1-2       ounces California Brie cheese per person
  • 1-2       ounces California toma cheese per person
  • 1-2       ounces California pepper jack cheese per person
  • walnuts
  • breadsticks
  • fresh herbs
  1. On cheese plate, arrange cheeses, almonds, crackers and cherry tomatoes.

Red, White and Blue Cheese Board

Recipe courtesy of Real California Milk

  • 1-2       ounces California cheddar cheese per person
  • 1-2       ounces California blue cheese per person
  • 1-2       ounces California mushroom jack cheese per person
  • walnuts
  • dried cranberries
  • crackers
  • fresh apple slices
  1. On cheese plate, arrange cheeses, walnuts, cranberries, crackers and apple slices.

Source: Real California Milk

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