Meal Ideas 09 February 2018

Beat Winter Blues with a Little Help From Vitamin D

Wholesome ingredients can help up your intake during the dark days of winter

(Family Features) Staying indoors and wrapping up in a blanket is one way to avoid winter’s frigid weather, but less exposure to the sun can also put you at risk of a vitamin D deficiency. Milk is the primary source of vitamin D in the American diet, according to research published in the FASEB Journal, making it a great choice on dark winter days.

An 8-ounce glass of milk provides 30 percent of the daily value of vitamin D, so just three cups of milk each day will provide 90 percent of your body’s recommended daily requirements. Milk is also an easy way to get other essential nutrients like B vitamins for energy, high-quality protein for lean muscle and vitamin A for a healthy immune system.

When you need a quick way to warm up on a cold day, try this creamy chicken corn chowder recipe that can be made with a pressure cooker. Cooked with wholesome ingredients like milk, chicken and potatoes and topped with bacon and green onions, it’s an easy and delicious addition to your weekly meal rotation. For more recipes to warm up your winter, visit

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Pressure Cooker Corn Chowder

Servings: 12

  • 6          slices (6 ounces each) thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1          small yellow onion, diced
  • 3          cloves garlic, minced
  • 1          pound boneless skinless chicken breast, diced
  • 1          bag (16 ounces, about 3 1/3 cups) frozen corn kernels
  • 4          cups chicken broth
  • 1          pound unpeeled or peeled Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/4-1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/2       teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional, to taste
  • 1/2       teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, plus additional, to taste
  • 2          tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2    cups fat-free milk
  • 2-3       green onions, sliced (optional)
  • 1          tablespoon heavy cream or half-and-half (optional)
  1. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped bacon and cook until crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked bacon to paper towel-lined plate and pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat.
  2. Return skillet to stove. Add onion and garlic; saute 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add diced chicken and frozen corn; saute for an additional 3 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Remove skillet from heat and transfer contents to pressure cooker. Add chicken broth, potatoes, salt and pepper. Close and seal pressure cooker, making sure the vent is in the sealed position. Cook on high 8 minutes.
  4. While the chowder cooks, make a slurry by whisking cornstarch (or flour) into milk. Set aside.
  5. When done, remove pressure cooker from heat. Allow pressure to release on its own or carefully quick-release pressure after a few minutes. Stir in the cornstarch-milk slurry. Cover and allow chowder to thicken for 10-15 minutes before serving.
  6. Portion soup into bowls and generously top with bacon. Garnish with green onion and cream or half-and-half, if desired. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.

Nutritional information per serving: 190 calories; 5 g fat; 1.5 g saturated fat; 35 mg cholesterol; 14 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 530 mg sodium; 52 mg calcium (6% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat-free milk.

Source: MilkPEP

Meal Ideas 04 January 2018

Make Kitchen Time Easier

(Family Features) Throughout 2018, you can create easy, healthy and delicious family meals by using time-saving recipes.

For example, these “Cook Once, Eat Twice” recipes from CanolaInfo start with pork chops that double as the base for lunch or dinner the following day.

“The more you cook your own meals, the more you can control portion sizes and ingredients,” said Manuel Villacorta, registered dietitian. “Knowing the right oil to use is essential. I like using canola oil to keep the flavors of your dishes intact due to its neutral taste and light texture. Plus, it contains high levels of monounsaturated fat and plant-based omega 3 fat, and is low in saturated fat. I use it regularly in my home kitchen and recommend it to my clients.”

For more time-saving recipes, visit

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Pork Loin Chops with Sweet Balsamic Mushrooms

Servings: 8

  • 8          boneless center-cut pork loin chops (4 ounces each), trimmed of fat
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2          tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 12        ounces sliced portobello mushrooms
  • 2          garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2          tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2          tablespoons water
  • 2          teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1          teaspoon sugar
  • 2          tablespoons chopped green onions
  1. Sprinkle both sides of pork with pepper.
  2. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil. Cook pork chops 4 minutes on each side, or until internal temperature reaches 160 F.
  3. Reserve four pork chops in refrigerator to make Pressed Pepperoncini-Pork Sandwiches.
  4. In skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining canola oil; tilt skillet to coat bottom lightly. Cook mushrooms 4-5 minutes, or until tender and juices begin to release, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Place over pork chops; cover to keep warm.
  5. To pan residue, add vinegar, water, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and remaining salt. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and boil 1 1/2-2 minutes, or until reduced to 2 tablespoons, scraping bottom and sides of skillet. Drizzle sauce over pork and mushrooms. Sprinkle with onions.

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Pressed Pepperoncini-Pork Sandwiches

Servings: 4

  • 12        ounces crusty French bread, unsliced
  • 4          leftover pork chops from Pork Loin Chops with Sweet Balsamic Mushrooms recipe
  • 2/3       cup pepperoncini slices
  • 1          plum tomato, chopped
  • 1/4       cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2          garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2    tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2    tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4       teaspoon dried pepper flakes
  • 3          slices ultra-thin sliced Swiss cheese, cut in half
  1. Hollow out top and bottom halves of bread, leaving 1/2-inch thick shell.
  2. Place pork on bottom half of bread. In bowl, combine pepperoncini, tomato, onion, garlic, canola oil, vinegar, oregano and pepper flakes. Spoon pepperoncini mixture and any accumulated juices on top of pork and top with cheese.
  3. Cover with top half of loaf. Press down firmly to flatten sandwich and allow flavors and juices to absorb. Cut filled loaf crosswise into four equal pieces.

Source: CanolaInfo

Meal Ideas 28 December 2017

3 Tips for Cooking Up a Healthy New Year

(Family Features) After a holiday season filled with indulgent food and limited time for exercise, there’s no time like the New Year to adopt some new, healthy habits.

These additional tips can help you get a healthy start to the New Year:

Change up your routine. Start by making a few lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthier diet or increasing your exercise regimen. Maybe you’d like to shed a few pounds or tone up before the weather gets warmer. Changing up your eating (and drinking) habits can be the first step on the path to success.

Start at the tap. Make sure your healthy eating habits include cooking with the best-tasting water possible. That means you could be washing your fruits and vegetables or making soups and smoothies with water that contains impurities. Contrary to what some people may think, boiling water does not completely remove certain contaminants like lead from water.

“Drinking water daily is an important component to staying healthy, as water keeps you hydrated, aids in digestion and transports vitamins and other nutrients. I prefer drinking filtered water to make sure I avoid potentially unwanted contaminants,” said Keri Glassman, a registered dietitian, nutritionist and PUR spokesperson. “I recommend installing a faucet filtration system that won’t break the bank, such as the PUR Advanced Faucet Filtration System, for a superior, on-demand solution for clean, healthy and great-tasting water right from the tap.”

Visit to learn more about superior faucet filtration systems and how to get cleaner, better-tasting water.

Create healthy, hearty recipes. There are plenty of delicious and nutritious recipes that can help fuel your body all year long. For example, this hearty soup is full of tasty, powerful ingredients like protein-rich chicken sausage; nutrient-dense kale and butternut squash, which are excellent sources of fiber; plus vitamins and minerals. Garlic, onions and cloves add a kick of antioxidants and flavor.
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White Bean Soup with Spicy Chorizo

Recipe courtesy of Keri Glassman

Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 1

  • 4          cups kale, chopped
  • 1          medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1          can (14 ounces) cannellini beans, drained
  • 2          cups PUR filtered water, plus additional for rinsing
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 1          medium onion, chopped
  • 2          garlic cloves, minced
  • 2          links precooked chicken sausage, diced
  • 3 1/2    cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Rinse kale, squash and cannellini beans in filtered water. Set aside.
  2. In pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and garlic, stirring frequently until softened, about 5 minutes. Add sausage and saute 2 minutes, or until warmed through and slightly browned.
  3. Add squash, kale, broth and 2 cups filtered water. Cook, partially covered, 15-20 minutes, or until squash is softened.
  4. Reduce heat to low. Add beans and gently simmer uncovered 3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, before serving.

Source:  PUR

Meal Ideas 25 October 2017

Warm Up Fall Meals with Wine

(Family Features) Fall is the perfect time to welcome warm, robust flavors to your kitchen as well as your wine glass. With its bold, spicy, dark fruit flavors, cabernet sauvignon is a perfect wine for crisp fall weather.

Cabernet sauvignon is more versatile for pairing than some believe. It pairs well with different cheeses, meats, hearty vegetables and even fish. The key to creating a great dining experience is balancing the flavor of the meal with an elegantly balanced wine. When cooking, consider the three main flavors: sweet, salty and sour.

Sweet sauces can make cabernet sauvignon taste harsh and astringent, which takes away from the fresh fruit flavors in the wine. However, sour and salty flavors can make the wine taste more vibrant, creating a velvety mouthfeel of soft tannins while making the fruit taste more pronounced.

A well-balanced cabernet, such as Sequoia Grove Winery’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, pairs well with any meat or fish that is prepared with an acidic sauce or when given a squeeze of lemon juice. The winery, located in the heart of the Rutherford region in Napa Valley, specializes in the production of elegant, food-friendly cabernet sauvignon. Crafted by winemaker Molly Hill, the wine has aromatics of bright black cherries and blackberry, followed by cinnamon with a touch of black pepper. The palate is elegant with a round, full body, soft tannins and tasty blackberry flavors.

This recipe for a savory lamb shank stew has just the right amount of salt, acid and spice to create a deliciously balanced meal that is perfect to pair with an elegant glass of cabernet sauvignon. Learn more about Sequoia Grove’s wines and tasting seminars that include pairing suggestions at
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Slow Cooker Lamb Shank Stew

Serves: 4

  • 1          yellow onion, diced
  • 2          celery stalks, diced
  • 2          carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3          garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2          cups chicken stock
  • 1          cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • 2          tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1          teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1          bay leaf
  • 4          lamb shanks, external fat trimmed
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • lemon juice
  1. In slow cooker, combine onion, celery, carrots, garlic, chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme and bay leaf; stir.
  2. Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In large saute pan over medium-high heat, warm olive oil until nearly smoking. Add shanks and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker and cook on high 6 hours.
  3. Transfer lamb shanks to large serving dish. Remove bay leaf from cooking liquid. Using blender or stick blender, add generous squeeze of lemon juice to cooking liquid and puree until smooth. Pour some sauce over shanks. Serve with cauliflower puree and glass of Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Kobrand Wine and Spirits

Meal Ideas 18 September 2017

Flavor Infusion

(Family Features) When your taste buds can’t settle on just one flavor, a fusion dish may be just the answer. Fusion dishes combine some of the best ethnic culinary traditions from around the world, and Asian influences are among the most popular building blocks for fusion cuisine.

One secret to achieving great fusion dishes is the use of cooking wines. For many chefs and home cooks alike, cooking wine is a go-to cooking essential because it can be used in everyday meals. With its versatile array of uses, an option like Holland House®, a line of flavor-enhancing, premium cooking wines, can boost any dish with one of five flavors including Marsala, Sherry, White, Red and White with Lemon.

In addition to these featured dishes, you can find more quick tips for boosting the flavor of your everyday meals on the label of each bottle and explore more recipes at

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Sweet and Spicy Korean-Chinese Fusion Cauliflower Bites

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4, about 1 1/2 cups per portion

  • 6          cups fresh cauliflower florets
  • 2          tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1          teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4       cup Holland House Sherry Cooking Wine
  • 1/4       cup honey
  • 2          tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1          tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2          teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2          tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1          small fresh yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1          tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1          tablespoon Korean-style chili flakes
  • 1/4       cup chopped fresh green onions
  • 1          tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. In large bowl, toss cauliflower, sesame oil and salt until well coated. Arrange on nonstick baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and tender.
  3. In small bowl, whisk cooking wine, honey, soy sauce, vinegar and cornstarch until well blended; set aside.
  4. In large, nonstick skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add yellow onions and garlic; cook 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in chili flakes and wine mixture.
  5. Return pan to stove and adjust to medium heat. Bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Continue cooking and stirring 1-2 minutes, or until thickened. Add cooked cauliflower; stir gently to coat.
  6. Transfer cauliflower to serving dish. Top with green onions and sesame seeds.

Tips: The sauce mixture can also be used on chicken wings or grilled pork chops. In place of Korean-style chili flakes, use 1 teaspoon regular crushed red pepper flakes or 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper.

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Lettuce-Wrapped Korean Short Ribs

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus marinating
Cook time: 4 minutes
Servings: 4, about 6 ounces (pre-cooked) per portion

  • 3          tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, divided
  • 2          teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1          teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2       teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2    pounds thinly sliced, boneless beef short ribs
  • 1          cup Holland House Marsala Cooking Wine
  • 6          tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4       cup roasted garlic paste
  • 2          tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2       cup chopped green onions, divided
  • 1          teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1          head fresh romaine lettuce, separated into large leaves         
  • 1/2       cup sliced fresh red radishes
  • 1/2       cup shredded fresh carrots dipping sauce
  1. In small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons brown sugar, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle evenly over short rib slices, gently rubbing into both sides. Place in re-sealable plastic bag.
  2. In bowl, whisk cooking wine, sesame oil, garlic paste, soy sauce and remaining brown sugar. Pour half of mixture into bag with meat and add 1/4 cup green onions. To marinate, refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to 12 hours.
  3. In small saucepan, whisk remaining wine mixture and cornstarch until smooth. Bring to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook 1 minute, or until thickened, stirring constantly. Set aside until cool. Stir in 2 tablespoons green onions.
  4. Heat grill to medium-high.
  5. Remove ribs from marinade, allowing excess to drip off. Discard marinade. Grill 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through.
  6. Cut ribs into 1-inch pieces. Serve with remaining green onions, lettuce, radishes, carrots and warm dipping sauce.

Tips: For fusion tacos, substitute corn or flour tortillas for lettuce leaves. In place of garlic paste, 2 tablespoons minced garlic can be substituted.

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Sizzling Asian Vegetable Fried Rice with Savory White Wine Glaze

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
Servings: 4-6, about 1 cup per portion

  • 2          tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1          tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2       cup fresh chopped yellow onions
  • 1          cup fresh small white mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2       cup chopped fresh carrots
  • 1/2       cup chopped fresh zucchini
  • 1/2       cup chopped fresh red bell peppers
  • 1/2       cup chopped fresh yellow bell peppers
  • 3          cups cold, cooked, long-grain white rice
  • 1/2       cup Holland House White Cooking Wine
  • 2          tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/2       cup fresh green onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2          teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Heat heavy-bottomed, nonstick skillet over high heat. Add vegetable oil, garlic and onions. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, red bell peppers and yellow bell peppers; stir-fry 3 minutes. Add rice; stir-fry 3 minutes.
  2. Add cooking wine; stir-fry 2 minutes, or until dry. Add oyster sauce; stir-fry 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in green onions, sesame oil and black pepper. Transfer to dish or bowl and serve.

Tip: To turn into a main course, add cooked beef, chicken or pork and serve topped with a fried egg.

Source: Holland House

Meal Ideas 31 May 2017

Big Flavor Recipes for Summer Get-Togethers

(Family Features) From patio potlucks to backyard barbecues, summer is the ultimate time to kick back and enjoy delicious food with your favorite people. If you’re looking to add big flavor to your warm-weather menu, get inspired by these recipes from celebrity chef Jose Garces.

For a taste of Southern cooking, pair Classic Cheddar Pierogies with a buttermilk ranch sauce in Garces’s Chicken-Fried Pierogies. Also enjoy a delicious twist on an Asian favorite by serving up Garces’s Szechuan-Style Pierogies featuring savory Garlic & Parmesan Pierogies, one of 16 different varieties from Mrs. T’s Pierogies, which are the perfect canvas for your favorite ingredients and spices.

For more recipe inspiration, visit

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Chicken-Fried Pierogies

Recipe courtesy of Chef Jose Garces

Flour Dredge:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground white peppercorn
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground dried sage
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • 1 box (16 ounces) Mrs. T’s Classic Cheddar Pierogies
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups flour dredge (recipe below)
  • canola oil
  • large kosher pickles, cut into round slices
  • ranch dressing
  1. To make flour dredge: In large mixing bowl, mix all flour dredge ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  2. To make pierogies: Bring large pot of water to boil. Place pierogies in boiling water until no longer frozen in center, about 2 minutes. Remove pierogies from water and cool in refrigerator 10 minutes.
  3. Place buttermilk, eggs and flour dredge in three separate bowls. One at a time, dip pierogies in buttermilk then in eggs and finally in flour dredge. Once all pierogies are dredged, fry in deep fryer at 350 F in canola oil, approximately 3 minutes until golden brown. Repeat flour dredge process with pickle slices and fry 3 minutes.
  4. To serve, place fried pierogies and pickles on serving plate. Serve with ranch.

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Szechuan-Style Pierogies

Recipe courtesy of Chef Jose Garces

  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 Arbol chilies
  • 1/4 cup Szechuan chili sauce
  • 4 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons, fresh minced ginger, divided
  • 2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon, garlic, minced (about 5 cloves), divided
  • 1/2 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 cup black bean garlic sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallion (white parts only)
  • 1 cup ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 box (16 ounces) Mrs. T’s Garlic & Parmesan Pierogies
  • 1 tablespoon peeled edamame
  • 2 tablespoons firm tofu, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
  1. Place 1/2 cup oil and chilies in saucepan. Cook over low heat 2 minutes, or until chilies turn brown. Remove chilies from oil and discard oil.
  2. Add Szechuan sauce to saucepan; cook 3 minutes. Add 4 tablespoons ginger, 2 tablespoons minced garlic and ground peppercorns; cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add black bean sauce and cook another 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 20 minutes. Reserve.
  3. In saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add remaining ginger, remaining garlic and scallions; cook 1 minute. Add pork and cook 5 minutes, breaking up with wooden spoon. Add soy sauce and combine. Reserve.
  4. In saute pan, melt butter and remaining vegetable oil. Add pierogies and sear lightly, about 7 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Reserve.
  5. In large saute pan, combine Szechuan sauce, ground pork mixture, seared pierogies, edamame and tofu. Cook over medium-high heat until combined, about 2 minutes. Garnish with bean sprouts.

Source: Mrs. T's Pierogies

Meal Ideas 31 May 2017

Fire Up the Fourth with Tasty Backyard Recipes

(Family Features) Fireworks, family and food are what the Fourth of July is all about. This year, add some spark to backyard staples like grilled chicken and potato salad with a little help from tangy condiments, smoky rubs and your cast-iron skillet.

For a main dish that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser, smother grilled chicken with a white barbecue sauce – the South’s tangy little secret. It’s made with simple pantry ingredients like mayonnaise, cider vinegar and mustard.

Make a one-pan side dish next to the cooking chicken by placing your cast-iron skillet directly on the grates. Smash whole potatoes in the pan then top with bacon, cheese and a chipotle seasoning. Let it all melt together and then top with sour cream for a smoking side.

Round out the meal with a festive cake that looks as impressive as it tastes. Dye white cake mix batter red and blue using food color then assemble in a flag shape with whipped cream and berries.

Find more recipes and ideas to fire up your Fourth of July at

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White Barbecue Sauce with Smoky Chicken

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

White Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Zatarain’s Creole Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Coarse Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Smoky Chicken:

  • 1 cup hickory wood chips
  • 2 pounds bone-in chicken parts
  • 2 tablespoons McCormick Grill Mates Applewood Rub
  1. To make sauce: In medium bowl, mix mayonnaise, vinegar, creole mustard, horseradish, black pepper, garlic and salt until well blended. Cover. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving to blend flavors.
  2. To make chicken: Cover wood chips in water and soak 30 minutes. Season chicken with rub. Drain wood chips. Fill smoker box with wet wood chips. Place smoker box under grill rack on one side of grill before lighting. Close grill.
  3. Prepare grill for indirect medium heat (350-375° F). Heat grill by turning all burners to medium. Once cooking temperature is reached, turn off burner(s) on one side. Place chicken on unlit side of grill. Close grill cover.
  4. Grill, turning occasionally, 30-40 minutes, or until internal temperature of thickest part of chicken is 165° F. Move chicken to lit side of grill with skin side down. Turn lit side of grill to high.
  5. Grill, uncovered, 3-5 minutes longer, or until chicken is charred. Serve chicken with White Barbecue Sauce.

Test Kitchen Tip: Refrigerate any leftover sauce and use as salad dressing, condiment for burgers or dipping sauce for pretzels and vegetables.

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Grilled and Loaded Smashed Potatoes

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12

  • 1 1/2 pounds medium Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 5 teaspoons McCormick Grill Mates Bacon Chipotle Seasoning, divided
  • 6 slices Applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  1. Heat grill to medium.
  2. Place potatoes on microwavable plate. Pierce potatoes with fork several times. Microwave on high 5-6 minutes, or until fork-tender but still firm. Let stand until cool enough to handle. In large bowl, toss potatoes, oil and 3 teaspoons seasoning until well coated.
  3. Place potatoes on grill and cook, turning frequently, 4-5 minutes or until skin is crispy. In large cast-iron skillet on grill, cook and stir bacon 8-10 minutes, or until crisp. Add yellow onion and bell pepper; cook and stir 2-3 minutes, or until tender-crisp.
  4. Push bacon mixture to one side of skillet. Add potatoes to other side of skillet. Smash each potato with heavy spatula, bottom of small sturdy bowl or meat pounder. Sprinkle potatoes with remaining seasoning. Spoon bacon mixture over potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese.
  5. Cover pan or close grill. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. To serve, sprinkle with green onions and dollops of sour cream.

Test Kitchen Tip: Cooking potatoes before grilling reduces overall grill time.

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Red, White and Blue Cake

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12

  • 1 package (2-layer size) white cake mix
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Blue McCormick Assorted Neon Food Colors & Egg Dye
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick Red Food Color
  • nonstick spray
  • 1 container (16 ounces) white frosting
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Prepare cake mix as directed on package, adding vanilla. Transfer 1 1/2 cups batter to small bowl and tint with neon blue food color. Tint remaining batter red by adding cocoa powder and red food color. Pour each color batter into separate 9-by-5-inch loaf pans sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Bake blue-tinted cake 20-25 minutes; red-tinted cake 30-35 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.
  4. Trim cakes to remove rounded tops and edges. Slice red cake in half horizontally to form two thin layers. Place one layer on platter. Slice remaining red cake layer in half lengthwise. Slice blue cake in half lengthwise. (Blue and red cakes should be same dimensions.)
  5. Frost red cake layer on platter with 1/3 frosting. Top with lengthwise slices of red and blue cake side-by-side. Frost with 1/3 frosting. Repeat cake layer and frosting. Garnish with raspberries and blueberries to resemble flag.

Source: McCormick Spice

Meal Ideas 25 May 2017

Are You Getting Enough Protein in Your Diet?

Fewer calories, more protein is a winning combo for weight loss and healthy aging

(Family Features) Do you pay attention to how much protein you eat at each meal? A new study suggests that when it comes to weight loss and healthy aging, getting enough protein at mealtimes is important.

Duke University researchers found obese women who ate adequate or high amounts of protein, including nutrient-rich lean pork, as part of a six month weight-loss diet not only lost weight, they improved their ability to get around, too.

“There’s no magic bullet when it comes to weight loss,” said Connie Bales, PhD, professor in medicine at Duke University. “But our research suggests a higher-protein, lower-calorie diet, including lean pork, could be a viable solution – especially for older women who are most at risk.”

While most Americans eat the majority of their protein at dinner, researchers suggest there could be benefits to spreading protein throughout the day. In this study, women ate 30 grams of protein at each meal with two of the meals including lean pork. Choices like tenderloin, low-sodium ham, chops and lean ground pork are among the seven cuts of pork that meet the USDA guidelines for “lean” by containing less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams of meat. In fact, pork tenderloin has the same amount of fat as a skinless chicken breast.

The next time you fire up your grill, try these lemon-basil pork chops. Serve up 30 grams of tasty protein for dinner, while tapping into the flavors of summer.

Visit and for more pork-inspired recipes, intriguing flavors and nutritional information.

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Grilled Lemon-Basil Pork Chops with Lemon-Basil Orzo

Serves: 4

  • 4 bone-in ribeye (rib) pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick
  • 3 small lemons
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 8 ounces orzo
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  1. Zest and juice lemons. In small bowl, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and basil. Set aside 3 tablespoons of mixture. Transfer remaining mixture to large resealable bag and add pork. Set aside for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare orzo according to package directions. Drain and return orzo to pot. Stir in reserved lemon-basil mixture and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Prepare a grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil grate. Remove pork from marinade; discard marinade. Season pork with salt and pepper and grill until internal temperature reaches 145 F, about 4 minutes per side. Remove chops from grill and let rest 3 minutes.
  4. Serve chops with orzo.

Nutritional information per serving: 440 calories; 30 g fat; 3 g saturated fat; 70 mg cholesterol; 30 g protein; 47 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 60 mg sodium.

Source: National Pork Board

Beverages 14 April 2017

Sweet Meets Spicy

Fresh ideas for a fun fiesta menu

(Family Features) There’s no better way to spice up a party than by using unexpected ingredients in fun, flavorful dishes and drinks. For your next fiesta, celebrate a star of the party with sweet and juicy watermelon.

Not only does versatile watermelon lend a unique taste to your menu, it’s a healthy ingredient that provides natural hydration with 92 percent water content, along with the antioxidant lycopene and the amino acid citrulline.

These recipes show how, with a little creative carving, you can use the whole melon, including flesh, juice and rind, for big value and zero waste.

Find more fiesta-ready recipes at

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Cactus Carving

  • Medium-large oval or oblong watermelon (seeded or seedless)
  • Cutting board
  • Paring knife
  • Dry erase marker
  • Kitchen knife
  • Scoop
  • Cactus cookie cutter
  • Small flower cookie cutters
  • Toothpicks
  • Fire and Ice Salsa (recipe below)

Wash watermelon under cool, running water and pat dry.

On cutting board, place watermelon on its side and cut off 1/4 inch-1/2 inch from stem end; this will provide a sturdy base. Reserve end piece to make into small cactus.

Stand watermelon upright on base. Use dry erase marker to draw simple outline of cactus shape.

One-third up from bottom of watermelon, draw straight line around back, being careful not to go through cactus outline; this will create a serving bowl for watermelon salsa.

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Use kitchen knife to cut around outline, leaving just bowl with cactus attached. Scoop out base to form bowl.

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From pieces of watermelon that were cut away, use cookie cutters to make cactus pieces and flower pieces to decorate with, and chop remaining watermelon to make watermelon salsa and watermelon margaritas, or juice.

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Attach toothpicks randomly around cactus to make thorns and decorate with watermelon flowers. Decorate bottom rind scrap with toothpicks to resemble short, round cactus.

Fill bowl with Fire and Ice Salsa and serve with tortilla chips.

Fire and Ice Salsa

Makes: 3 cups

  • 3 cups seeded and finely chopped watermelon
  • 1/2 cup finely diced green peppers
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced green onion
  • 1-2 tablespoons finely diced jalapeno peppers
  1. Combine ingredients; mix well and cover. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

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Nachos with Watermelon Avocado Salsa

Makes: 8 servings

  • 1 avocado, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 can (4 ounces) diced green chilies, drained
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups diced watermelon
  • 16 ounces fat-free refried beans
  • 11 ounces corn tortilla chips
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. To make salsa: In medium bowl, combine avocado, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, chilies and red onion; toss to thoroughly mix. Add watermelon and toss gently. Set aside.
  3. Over medium heat, heat beans until hot. Mash if preferred.
  4. Place chips on flat, oven-proof plate or cookie sheet and top with beans and cheese. Repeat layers as desired. Heat in oven 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted and chips are hot.
  5. Top with salsa mixture and sour cream.

Tip: Reserve some salsa to place in bowl for dipping.

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Blended Watermelon Margarita

Makes: 2 margaritas

  • 2 cups seedless watermelon, cubed and frozen
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 ounces silver tequila
  • 1 1/2 ounces lime juice
  • 1 ounce elderflower liqueur
  • pinch of salt
  • lime slices, for garnish
  1. In blender, combine watermelon, water, tequila, lime juice, elderflower liqueur and salt. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into two chilled margarita glasses and garnish with lime slices.

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Watermelon Margarita on the Rocks

Makes: 2 margaritas

Watermelon Simple Syrup:

  • 2 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1 cup sugar

Watermelon Juice:

  • 2 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1/2 cup water


  • lime wedges
  • coarse salt
  • ice
  • 4 ounces silver tequila
  • 4 ounces watermelon juice
  • 2 ounces lime juice
  • 1 ounce watermelon simple syrup
  1. To make watermelon simple syrup: In small saucepan over medium heat, combine watermelon and sugar. Use potato masher to mash watermelon and sugar together, pushing out liquid and dissolving sugar. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour mixture through fine mesh sieve set over bowl or jar, pressing watermelon to extract all liquid. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. To make watermelon juice: In blender, combine watermelon and water. Blend until smooth then pour through fine mesh sieve set over bowl or jar.
  3. To assemble margaritas: use lime wedge to line rims of two glasses with juice. Dip glasses in coarse salt and carefully fill glasses with ice.
  4. Combine tequila, watermelon juice, lime juice and simple syrup in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until thoroughly chilled, about 30 seconds, and pour into prepared glasses. Garnish with lime wedges.

Source: National Watermelon Promotion Board

Healthy 12 April 2017

Get Foiled

Learn why foil-packet cooking is hot, hot, hot

(Family Features) As the saying goes, big things come in small packages and that may explain the burgeoning popularity of foil-packet recipes. Minimal preparation and cleanup are easy trade-offs for the immense flavors you can create in these tiny containers, whether you prepare them in the oven, on the grill or over an open flame.

The secret to successful foil cooking is locking in the layers of flavor from each ingredient. It’s surprisingly simple to create delicious, healthy dishes when cooking with foil. An ingredient like seasoned rice vinegar offers a wholesome alternative to many condiments and flavorings while giving your packet a big flavor boost.

With no artificial preservatives, flavors or ingredients and no high-fructose corn syrup, Nakano® Rice Vinegars are the perfect solution for building better-for-you foil-packet meals. With organic varieties and easy-to-read labels featuring real, recognizable ingredients, you can feel great about layering delicious flavor into your next foil-packet meal with rice vinegar.

Garlic seasoned rice vinegar delivers a boost of flavor to this Asian-inspired chicken, creating a sensational main dish. Add crisp fresh veggies tossed with organic rice vinegar and garlic as a side then finish the meal with a sweet take on a juicy fruit crisp.

Find more inspired ideas for healthy meals at

7 Steps to the Perfect Foil Pouch

  1. A 12-inch square piece of foil is a good starting point, but you may need to adjust depending on the recipe. Remember you’ll need plenty of extra room around the ingredients for the heat to build up and cook the contents to perfection.
  2. Use heavy-duty foil to avoid tears or poor seals that can spill ingredients and precious seasonings and juices.
  3. Spread foil on a flat surface and add a light nonstick spray, if needed.
  4. Place ingredients and seasonings in the center of the foil.
  5. Bring long sides of the foil together over the food. Pinch together and make 1/2-inch folds straight across at least twice for a strong seal. Remember to leave plenty of open space between the foil and food.
  6. Make 1/2-inch folds on each short end, folding toward food but leaving at least 1 1/2-2 inches between the seam and food.
  7. Handle pouch with care to avoid piercing or tearing, and always use tongs to remove pouches from heat.

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Gochujang-Glazed Chicken

Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

  • 4 tablespoons Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar – Roasted Garlic
  • 2 teaspoons gochujang (chile bean paste)
  • 6 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons, olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 4 cups fresh cauliflower, riced (use grater or food processer so cauliflower resembles rice)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh scallions, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh sugar snap peas
  • 3 sprigs fresh cilantro, for garnish
  1. Heat oven or grill to 375° F.
  2. In large bowl, mix together vinegar, gochujang, maple syrup, soy sauce, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper to form marinade. Dip chicken in marinade and toss lightly until coated.
  3. Lightly oil foil pouch and layer base of pouch with cauliflower. Add scallions and sugar snap peas then place chicken on top. Carefully pour remaining marinade over pouch contents (ensuring that liquid stays inside foil).
  4. Seal foil packet and bake or grill 30 minutes. Open foil to create 2-inch long vent then bake or grill another 15 minutes, or until completely cooked. Garnish with cilantro before serving.

Chef’s tip: For best results and added flavor, marinate chicken 30 minutes before preparing pouches.

Substitutions: In place of gochujang, red pepper flake paste can be made by mixing 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes with a few dashes soy sauce and 1 dash sugar. Alternatively, substitute 2 teaspoons sriracha for gochujang.

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Bartlett Pear and Oat Crisp

Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

  • 4 cups fresh pears, medium diced
  • 4 tablespoons Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar – Mango
  • 3/4 cup quick oats
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 teaspoons, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons butter, diced into 1/4-inch squares
  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Toss pears in rice vinegar and set into lightly greased foil pouch.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients in bowl and use two forks to combine ingredients until mixture becomes crumbly.
  4. Pour mixture evenly over pears, seal pouch and bake 20 minutes.
  5. Open top of foil and bake another 10 minutes, or until crisp and golden.

Chef’s tips: For crispier crust, refrigerate crumbly mixture 30 minutes before baking. Serve with scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

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Mediterranean Vegetables

Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

  • 3 tablespoons Nakano Organic Rice Vinegar – Seasoned
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus extra, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus extra, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons, fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh zucchini, sliced into 1 3/4-inch long, 1/4-inch thick planks
  • 1 cup fresh green pepper strips
  • 1 cup fresh red pepper strips
  • 8 fresh stalks asparagus, slicing off 1/4 inch from bottom of stalk
  • 1 fresh portobello mushroom, sliced into 1/2-inch squares
  • 1 cup fresh eggplant, diced into 1/2-inch squares
  1. Heat oven or grill to 375° F.
  2. In large bowl, mix together rice vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley and garlic to create marinade.
  3. Clean vegetables then place them in marinade in small batches. Toss to coat then place in foil pouch. Pour remaining marinade over vegetables and seal pouch.
  4. Bake in oven or over indirect heat on grill 25 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste, after removing pouch from heat.

Chef’s tip: Open pouch after 20 minutes of cooking and allow vegetables to crisp slightly under direct heat for remaining 5 minutes.

Source: Nakano

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