(Family Features) The busy pace of back-to-school schedules can make it feel like nearly every aspect of life has you under a time crunch. Fortunately, when it comes to feeding the family, there are some simple foods you likely already have on hand that can provide easy solutions for snacks and mealtime alike.
A go-to fruit like California grapes is a fresh staple you can depend on because they are always ripe and ready to eat when you buy them. While grapes are indeed ideal for snacking because they hold, store and travel well, this healthy and delicious fruit is also a simple addition to meals throughout the day. Grapes require minimal preparation, so they’re equally easy as a side dish or as a fun way to deliver the fresh produce factor in a wide range of family-friendly recipes, such as these Grape and Ricotta Pita Pizzas.
Tips like these show how you can easily incorporate grapes into every meal:
Breakfast: A cup of creamy yogurt and crunchy granola takes on a sweet note when topped with a handful of grapes. Slice or quarter grapes then mix well for a medley of textures and flavors in every bite.
Morning snack: Pair grapes with cheese and crackers for a sweet and savory snack to keep your energy strong and your hunger in check until lunchtime.
Lunch: A handful of grapes can balance out a sandwich and add some sweet indulgence to the midday meal.
After school: Grapes offer hydration and quick energy so they’re the perfect way to fuel up for after school sports or to lend some extra brain power for study time.
Dinnertime rush: Use grapes for an easy side dish that goes with anything. A quick meal like grilled cheese and grapes brings out the kid in everyone.
Evening snack: Toward the end of the day, cravings can creep up but keeping a bowl of fresh grapes on hand for after dinner snacking helps avoid alternative salty, highly processed choices.
Find more great ideas for enjoying grapes throughout the day at grapesfromcalifornia.com.
Grape and Ricotta Pita Pizzas
- 2 whole-wheat pita pocket breads (about 6 inches in diameter)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, divided
- 1 cup seedless red or black California grapes, thinly sliced or halved
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 6 large or 12 small fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
- Heat oven to 450° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Slice pita pockets in half so each forms two rounds, creating four rounds total. Place pita rounds on baking sheets cut-side up and brush top of each with oil.
- Spread 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese on each pita, leaving about 1/2-inch border around edges then arrange sliced grapes in single layer on top of cheese. Bake until edges are crisped and cheese is warmed, 5-7 minutes.
- In small bowl, stir together honey and lemon juice until honey is dissolved.
- When pizzas are done, drizzle each with about 1/2 teaspoon honey-lemon mixture. Sprinkle basil on top of pizzas. Serve immediately.
(Family Features) Warmer weather has arrived and that means it’s salad season.
There are many seasonal salads to enjoy and everyone has a favorite. Change your warm-weather dining habits up a bit with this recipe for Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers. Easy to prepare, this deliciously unique salad on a skewer is perfect for entertaining family and friends.
The sweet-tangy, nutty, piquant and savory combination of ingredients provides layers of flavors in every forkful. One-bite Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets are just right for skewering with the mustard-marmalade glazed chicken and crisp romaine.
To finish, drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with toasted almonds and cheese. Add a whole grain baguette and your meal is ready. For more warm-weather recipe ideas, visit AuntNellies.com.
Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets, drained
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
- salt, to taste, plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
- pepper, to taste, plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
- 4 1/2 tablespoons stone ground mustard, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons orange marmalade, plus 1/3 cup, divided
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- 1 large lemon, zested and juiced (about 1/3 cup juice)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 bag (9 ounces) leafy romaine pieces
- 8 wooden skewers
- 1/3 cup chopped almonds, toasted
- 1/3 cup crumbled firm white cheese (such as blue cheese, feta or goat)
- Heat oven to 375° F. Drain beets; set aside.
- Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. In small bowl, combine 1 1/2 tablespoons each of mustard and marmalade. Brush mixture over chicken until completely coated. Bake chicken on aluminum foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet, 20-25 minutes, or until juices run clear; set aside.
- To make vinaigrette: In medium bowl, combine remaining mustard, remaining marmalade, chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Slowly pour in oil while whisking vigorously until completely combined.
- Slice cooled chicken into 1-inch pieces. On each skewer, thread a beet, a piece of chicken and 4- 5 pieces of lettuce; repeat twice; add one beet at end. Repeat to make eight skewers. Place skewers on large serving platter. Stir vinaigrette; drizzle lightly over skewers. Sprinkle with almonds and cheese. Serve with remaining vinaigrette.
Substitution: Whole pickled beets may be substituted. Cut beets in half.
Alternate preparation: To grill chicken, brush both sides with mustard-marmalade mixture. Grill over medium heat 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through and thermometer reads 165 F. If chicken cooks too quickly, reduce heat to medium-low.
Nutritional information per serving: 255 calories; 15 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 12 g total fat; 440 mg sodium; 40 mg cholesterol; 2 g dietary fiber; 1 mg iron; .07 mg thiamin; 2,871 IU vitamin A; 7 mg vitamin C.
Source: Aunt Nellie's
Make a heart-healthy menu with flavorful fruit
(Family Features) Heart-healthy foods can play a role in healthy aging. Whether you enjoy them by the handful as a refreshing snack or use them to add color, crunch and a touch of sweetness to a meal, grapes are a heart-healthy option that make eating better easy.
Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols. At just 90 calories per serving, they also contain no fat, no cholesterol and virtually no sodium.
With a juicy burst of flavor, grapes show how simple it can be to make good-for-you-dishes that also taste great. Even though California grapes are a snacking staple in most kitchens, you may not realize how versatile they can be for cooking. For example, grapes add a sweet touch to a crunchy yogurt salad and complement the bold spice on a skewer of grilled shrimp. Fresh, flavorful grapes even put a tangy, fresh twist on a soothing glass of iced tea.
Grapes and Brain Health
A grape-enriched diet helped protect against metabolic brain decline in Alzheimer’s-related areas of the brain, according to research from the University of California-Los Angeles. The pilot study, funded by the California Table Grape Commission, was conducted among people with early memory decline and showed that subjects who didn’t consume grapes exhibited significant metabolic decline in these critical regions. Additionally, those consuming the grape-enriched diet showed beneficial changes in regional brain metabolism that correlated to improvements in cognition and working memory performance, according to a report published by Experimental Gerontology.
Find more delicious recipes to make healthy eating easy at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.
Zahtar Shrimp and Grape Kabobs
- 2 tablespoons zahtar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 36-40 large shrimp (about 2 pounds), shelled and deveined
- 1 cup whole green California grapes
- 1 cup whole red California grapes
- In medium bowl, combine zahtar, garlic, thyme, vinegar, honey, salt, pepper and olive oil. Whisk to combine. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
- Thread shrimp and grapes onto skewers. Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high.
- Grill skewers, turning once, until shrimp are lightly charred and cooked through and grapes are caramelized but firm, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Nutritional information per serving: 190 calories; 20 g protein; 12 g carbohydrate; 6 g fat (28% calories from fat); 1 g saturated fat (5% calories from saturated fat); 180 mg cholesterol; 870 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.
Savory Yogurt with Grape and Cucumber Salad
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- 1/3 cup hazelnuts
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup green California grapes, halved
- 1/2 cup red California grapes, halved
- 1 cup English cucumber, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 4 tablespoons dukkah
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- To make dukkah: Heat oven to 350 F. Spread cashews and hazelnuts on baking sheet and toast 6-8 minutes. Transfer to food processor and set aside. In skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds until fragrant, 1-2 minutes, then transfer to food processor. Add dried thyme and salt. Pulse mixture until coarsely ground. Makes about 1 cup that can be stored in an airtight container.
- Divide yogurt into four 3/4-cup portions. In small bowl, combine grapes, cucumber, shallots, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Top each bowl of yogurt with 1/2 cup grape mixture, 1 tablespoon dukkah and sprinkle of lemon zest.
Nutritional information per serving: 220 calories; 19 g protein; 18 g carbohydrate; 8 g fat (33% calories from fat); 1.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 10 mg cholesterol; 140 mg sodium; 2 g fiber.
Sparkling Hibiscus Tea with Grapes and Mint
- 6 cups water, divided
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 6 hibiscus tea bags
- 2 cups green California grapes, divided
- 10 mint leaves
- 1 navel orange, sliced
- 16 ounces sparkling water
- Using tea kettle or saucepan, bring 3 cups water and honey to boil. Add tea bags, turn off heat and steep 6-8 minutes. Remove tea bags and allow remaining liquid to cool 15 minutes.
- In martini shaker or bowl, muddle 1 cup grapes with mint leaves. Add muddled grape and mint mixture to 48-60 ounce pitcher along with remaining water and orange slices. Stir in hibiscus tea mixture. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Strain before serving.
- To serve, add ice to 8-ounce glass. Top with 3-4 grapes, 2 ounces sparkling water and hibiscus tea mixture.
Nutritional information per serving: 70 calories; 1 g protein; 16 g carbohydrate; 10 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.
(Family Features) Grapes have been enjoyed for their taste and beauty for thousands of years. And today’s scientific research keeps on showing that grapes are more than just a pretty fruit — they’re also very, very good for us.
In fact, over a decade of research suggests that grapes help maintain a healthy heart and may also help defend against a variety of age-related and other illnesses. Studies are ongoing to uncover the links between grapes and heart health, eye health, brain health, joint health, cell health and preventing certain cancers.
Of course, grapes aren’t just healthy, they also taste great: crisp, juicy and sweet. Kids love them. And, they’re convenient, making them truly a Super Snack. Eat them by the bunch, or toss them into recipes like these.
Keeping Cells Healthy
Grapes of all colors — red, green and black — are natural sources of polyphenols, which appear to help protect the health and function of our cells. Grape polyphenols:
- Have antioxidant properties, which can help protect against cell-damaging free radicals.
- Can influence the communication between cells that support key biological processes.
My Heart Belongs to Grapes
Numerous studies suggest that consuming grapes and grape products may contribute to heart health in a number of ways. Eating a variety of grapes may help:
- Improve blood flow
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce oxidative
- Decrease inflammation
- Improve blood lipids
Seeing Is Believing
Research from Fordham University, funded by the California Table Grape Commission, suggests that grapes may reduce the risk of blindness related to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In laboratory studies, grapes offered significantly more retinal protection than the much-touted lutein, and prevented blindness.
Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Grape Skewers
These quick-to-fix skewers can also serve as appetizers.
Makes 4 entrée servings
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, fresh minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes, crushed
- 1 tablespoon oregano, fresh minced
- 1 tablespoon rosemary, fresh minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 pound chicken breast, boneless and skinless
- 1 3/4 cups California green seedless grapes, picked from stem and rinsed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh
- In small bowl combine olive oil, garlic, chili flakes, oregano, rosemary and lemon zest. Whisk together marinade.
Cut chicken into 3/4-inch cubes. Alternate chicken and grapes and thread onto 12 skewers.
- Place skewers into a baking dish or pan large enough to hold them. Pour marinade over skewers, coating each one. Marinate for 4 to 24 hours.
- Remove skewers from marinade and let excess oil drip off. Season with salt.
- Grill until chicken is cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
- Arrange on serving platter and drizzle with additional olive oil and lemon juice.
Breakfast-To-Go Grape Smoothie
Jump-start your day with this easy all-in-one drink.
Makes 2 1/3 cups
- 1 1/2 cups frozen California grapes
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1/2 cup vanilla or honey lowfat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup grape juice
- 1/4 cup wheat flake cereal
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend for 1 minute. Serve immediately.
Grape and Salmon Power Salad
Fresh grapes are just one of the “super” foods in this hearty and heart-healthy salad.
Makes 6 servings
- 3/4 cup pearled barley
- 3 cups firmly packed kale leaves, torn and sliced into ribbons
- 1 cup halved, red or black seedless California grapes
- 8 ounces cold, cooked salmon, skin and bones removed
- 1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, mashed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Cook barley according to package directions, or in plenty of lightly salted boiling water for about 35 to 45 minutes until it is plump and tender, and still slightly chewy. Drain and cool.
- Tenderize kale by blanching it in boiling water for 2 to 3 seconds or cooking in the microwave for 1 minute. Rinse in cold water to stop cooking, and squeeze dry. Fluff and uncrimp dry kale pieces with your fingers.
- In a medium bowl, mix together barley, kale, grapes, salmon and walnuts.
- To prepare dressing: In small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne. Gradually mix in olive oil.
- Pour onto salad and fold gently to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Frozen Grape and Banana Skewers with Chocolate Drizzle
These delightful frozen treats are healthy, too.
Makes 4 servings
- 2 firm ripe bananas
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1/2 cup red grapes (about 16)
- 1/2 cup green grapes (about 16)
- 8 10-inch wooden skewers
- 1 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 70 percent cocoa solids), finely chopped
- Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Cut the banana into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Place in small bowl and toss gently with the orange juice.
- Skewer fruit, alternating two grapes for each piece of banana, and place fruit skewers onto lined tray.
- Place chocolate in small microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, then stir well, and microwave another 10 seconds if necessary to melt chocolate.
- Using a spoon, drizzle melted chocolate onto fruit skewers.
- Place the tray in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Once frozen, skewers may be transferred to a sealable plastic bag where they will keep in the freezer for up to a week. Allow to soften at room temperature for 5 minutes before eating.
(Family Features) When warmer weather arrives, cravings trend toward fresh, seasonal flavors and lighter fare. In between the bike riding, kite flying, backyard gatherings and pool time, summertime meals enjoyed outdoors are a great way to get family and friends together.
Whether it’s a refreshing salad tossed with sweet candied walnuts or a fillet of mouth-watering salmon topped with curried almonds, nuts are the perfect way to add texture and crunch to any dish.
These easy-to-make, summer-inspired recipes, created by Food Network celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli in partnership with Fisher nuts, will leave your guests asking for more.
For more delicious recipes featuring preservative-free and non-GMO project verified Fisher nuts, visit fishernuts.com.
Red Leaf Salad with Candied Walnuts and Grapes
Prep time: 20-25 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 6 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup Fisher Walnut Halves and Pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup Fisher Walnut Halves and Pieces
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons walnut oil
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- cracked black pepper
- 1 cup seedless red grapes halves
- 2 medium heads Bibb or red leaf lettuce, washed, dried and torn into pieces
- 1 small head radicchio, cored, leaves separated and torn into pieces
- 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- To candy walnuts, line cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In medium skillet, simmer sugar, cayenne pepper and water over medium-high heat until it turns golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Stir walnuts into caramel using wooden spoon. Spoon nuts onto parchment paper and season with salt. Cool then pull nuts apart into smaller pieces.
- Prepare dressing by placing walnuts in bowl of small food processor and pulsing. Add lemon juice, walnut oil, olive oil, a pinch of salt and some black pepper. Pulse to blend. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
- To assemble salad, toss dressing with grapes and lettuces. Top with candied walnuts and cheese.
Grilled Salmon with Spiced Almonds
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- kosher salt
- 1 small cucumber, seeded and small diced
- 1/2 cup Fisher Sliced Almonds
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
- kosher salt
- 2 3/4 pounds salmon, cut into 6-ounce portions
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large lime
- To make yogurt sauce, whisk yogurt, red wine vinegar, dill, mint, cumin and paprika in medium bowl with a pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Stir in cucumber. Set aside.
- Heat oven to 350° F. Heat grill to medium.
- In small bowl, toss almonds with olive oil, curry powder, paprika, cumin and a pinch of salt. Spread almonds on baking sheet and toast until golden brown, about 5-8 minutes.
- Arrange salmon fillets on baking sheet. Season fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil. Place salmon on grill and allow to cook until fillets start to lightly char, 5-8 minutes. If desired, grill limes as well.
- Use metal spatula to gently flip salmon. For medium well or well done, cook a few minutes longer.
- To serve, remove fish from grill and transfer to serving platter. Sprinkle fish with a squeeze of lime juice and curried almonds. Serve yogurt sauce on the side.
Source: Fisher Nuts