recipes

Meal Ideas 05 February 2019

6 Ways to Build a Better Lunchbox

(Family Features) Coming up with fresh ideas every day to keep kids’ lunches exciting is no small task. When the goal is an empty lunchbox and a full, happy tummy, the winning combination is a blend of nutrition and flavor.

Step up your game this school year with these ideas for a better lunchbox:

Get creative. Foods that look can good taste good, too. Transform sandwiches into fun shapes using cookie cutters or make tiny heart- or star-shaped, bite-size pieces of cheese for a fun finger food. Another fun idea: thread sliced and bite-sized vegetables on a wooden stick for a no-cook kabob. For a sweet variation, use fruit instead and sprinkle with coconut for extra flavor.

Skip the packaging. Little fingers can struggle to open pre-packaged foods, so instead opt for fresh ingredients that fit into a bento-style box. Not only can kids see what tasty treats await and dig straight into their meals, less packaging means less processing, which is good for their health and the environment.

Keep it simple. Opt for delicious, flavorful foods that deliver nutrients kids need and the taste they want without any extras. An option like Hidden Valley Simply Ranch makes for a rich and creamy complement to carrot sticks, cucumber and other lunchbox staples. With no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors this ranch is perfect for encouraging kids to eat the veggies you pack. Look for Classic Ranch or for a special twist, try flavors such as Cucumber Basil or Chili Lime.

Rely on the familiar. Refueling during the day is important to keep kids focused and able to mentally and physically tackle the rest of the school day. Avoid trying out new foods at lunchtime and save experimenting with new flavors for meals at home.

Go for variety. Representing multiple foods groups isn’t only a good way to deliver good nutrition, the variety in colors and textures can make the meal more interesting and encourage kids to eat more. Include savory meats, crunchy crackers, veggies and sweet fruits.

Add a treat. Whether it’s a favorite fruit or yogurt, a single piece of candy or even a simple note that says “I love you and I’m proud of you,” find a way to add something sweet to every lunch and bring a smile to your child’s daily routine.

Look for more kid-friendly meals at hiddenvalley.com
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Portable Veggie Kabobs with Tangy Veggie Dip

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6-8

  • 1          cucumber, sliced
  • 1          cup broccoli florets
  • 2          carrots, sliced
  • 8          cherry tomatoes
  • 6-8       wooden skewers
  • Hidden Valley Simply Ranch
  1. Gently thread cucumber slices, broccoli, carrot slices and cherry tomatoes on skewers, placing 2-3 pieces of each veggie on each skewer to make a rainbow of colors.
  2. Serve ranch dressing with veggies for dipping.

Tip: Add cheese cubes for protein on kabobs, if desired.

Photo courtesy of Mick Jones

Source: Hidden Valley

Videos 04 January 2019

Family-Favorite Comfort Foods

3 dairy-inspired dishes for weeknight dinners

(Family Features) Warm meals that come together quickly are a necessity for busy families, especially on weeknights filled with homework, practices, meetings and more. Serving up comfort foods that require less time in the kitchen make for more moments spent together at the table.

Hearty and satisfying, this Chicken and Wild Rice Soup can bring everyone together for a warm, soothing meal, while Cheesy Turkey Chili Mac makes for familiar fare enjoyed by adults and kids alike. For a rich, creamy, one-dish dinner solution, Pasta and Chicken in Garlic Cream Sauce requires less than 45 minutes of kitchen duty, making it an ideal weeknight family-favorite.

These dairy-fueled recipes from Milk Means More of Michigan can be part of a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy and a variety of protein foods.

Find more weeknight meal solutions at milkmeansmore.org.

Watch video to see how to make this delicious recipe!

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Pasta and Chicken in Garlic Cream Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Milk Means More
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 4          slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide pieces
  • 3/4       pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 10        ounces (about 4 cups) farfalle (bow tie) pasta
  • 2 1/2    cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 4          cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2       teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1          cup heavy cream
  • 1          cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3          cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1          cup halved cherry tomatoes, for garnish
  1. Place removable pan inside programmable pressure cooker. Using saute function, cook bacon, uncovered, until crisp. Use slotted spoon to remove bacon from pan. Drain bacon on paper towels. Leave 1 tablespoon drippings in pan; discard remaining.
  2. Add chicken to bacon drippings in pan in two batches. Using saute function, stir-fry chicken 2-3 minutes, or until cooked through. Use slotted spoon to remove chicken from pan. Repeat until all chicken is cooked. Press cancel.
  3. Stir pasta, broth, garlic, Italian seasoning and pepper into drippings in pan. Secure lid and set pressure release to sealing function. Select high pressure setting and cook 5 minutes. Press cancel.
  4. Allow pressure to release naturally 5 minutes. Move pressure release to venting function to release any remaining steam. Remove lid.
  5. Stir cream into pasta mixture. Using saute function, cook and stir, uncovered, until boiling. Boil, uncovered, about 4 minutes, or until sauce generously coats pasta, stirring frequently. Press cancel. Stir in chicken and Parmesan cheese.
  6. Place spinach and bacon in large bowl. Pour pasta mixture over top. Toss until combined. Ladle into serving bowls. Top each serving with tomatoes.

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Cheesy Turkey Chili Mac

Recipe courtesy of Milk Means More
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1          tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1          pound lean ground turkey
  • 1          cup chopped onion
  • 1          can (15 1/2 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1          can (15 ounces) no-salt- added tomato sauce
  • 1          can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chili peppers
  • 1 2/3    cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1          tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon pepper
  • 8          ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) elbow macaroni
  • 1/2       cup 2 percent or whole milk
  • 2          tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2          cups (8 ounces) shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 3/4       cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt or sour cream
  1. Place oil in removable pan of programmable pressure cooker. Place pan in pressure cooker. Using saute function, heat oil until hot. Add turkey and onion. Cook, uncovered, about 5 minutes, or until turkey is no longer pink, stirring to break up. Press cancel.
  2. Stir in beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, broth, chili powder, garlic salt and pepper. Stir in macaroni. Secure lid and set pressure release to sealing function. Select high pressure setting and cook 5 minutes.
  3. Allow pressure to release naturally 2 minutes. Move pressure release to venting function to release any remaining steam. Remove lid.
  4. Stir macaroni mixture. Whisk together milk and flour. Stir into macaroni mixture. Using saute function, cook and stir, uncovered, 1-2 minutes, or until boiling. Press cancel.
  5. Stir cheese into macaroni mixture until melted. Ladle into serving bowls. Spoon dollops of yogurt or sour cream on top.

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Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Recipe courtesy of Milk Means More
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

  • 1          cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2       cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2       cup sliced celery
  • 2          cloves garlic, minced
  • 2          tablespoons butter or clarified butter
  • 4          cups chicken broth
  • 4          ounces (about 2/3 cup) wild rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1          teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon pepper
  • 12        ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1          cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2          tablespoons flour
  • 1/2       cup whipping cream
  1. In Dutch oven, cook carrots, onion, celery and garlic in hot butter about 2 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir broth, wild rice, thyme, salt and pepper into vegetable mixture. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 40 minutes. Stir in chicken pieces. Return to simmer, covered, 10-15 minutes, or until rice is tender and chicken is done.
  3. In small bowl, whisk together yogurt and flour. Gradually whisk in cream. Stir into chicken mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until boiling. Boil 1 minute. Ladle into bowls.

Source:  United Dairy Industry of Michigan

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