recipes

Healthy 25 August 2017

Think Outside the Lunchbox

(Family Features) Eating the same thing every day can make lunch seem so “blah.” Now’s the perfect time to break out of the lunch rut and add some excitement to your meals.

Thinking outside the traditional lunchbox is easy with the right ingredients. Perk up your noontime noshing with fresh, seasonal ingredients coupled with kitchen pantry classics, like California Ripe Olives, which add a unique flavor and bold, distinctive color to any dish.

California farmers grow more than 95 percent of the ripe olives consumed in the United States. From planting, pruning, harvesting and processing, they make sure that the highest quality olives come from their farms to your table – one can at a time.

Adding olives to any lunch can help bring California sunshine to each and every bite. Try some of these portable and packable recipes to add excitement to lunch on-the-go and find more at calolive.org.
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Greek Salad in Jars

Courtesy of Simply Recipes
Makes: 4 salads

Salad Dressing:

  • 3          tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste (optional)
  • pinch of black pepper, plus additional, to taste (optional)
  • 1/4       teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1          teaspoon honey
  • 5          tablespoons olive oil
  • 4          pint-size canning jars with lids

Salads:

  • 1/4       medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1          cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2       large English cucumber, sliced
  • 1          yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4       cup California black ripe olives
  • 1/2       cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
  • 4          small handfuls fresh baby spinach or other dark, leafy greens
  • 4          pita bread rounds, halved (optional)
  1. To prepare dressing: In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano and honey.
  2. Gradually whisk in oil. Taste. Add additional salt and pepper, if desired.
  3. Divide dressing between four pint jars.
  4. To assemble salads: Divide onion between four jars. Divide tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, olives and feta cheese between jars. Pack remaining space with spinach, compressing leaves slightly.
  5. Secure lids and refrigerate up to two days.
  6. To serve: Empty salads into bowls and toss with dressing. Serve with pita bread.

Note: Store and transport salads upright so dressing stays on bottom.

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Deliciously Different

Smoked California Ripe Olives can produce a crave-worthy culinary surprise and become one of your favorite flavor discoveries. There are a few easy ways to make your own smoked olives, including preparing them on the grill with these quick steps:

  1. Soak wood chips in water for 30 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Pierce a foil pan several times with a small, sharp knife and spread wood chips in a single layer in the pan. Set directly on hot coals or metal bars on a gas grill. Close the lid and set heat to high only under the pan of chips.
  3. When chips are smoking, place drained California Ripe Olives in a grill basket on grill with the burners off. Close the lid and smoke for 30 minutes.

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Maple Olive Cheesecake Bites

Makes: 16-20 mini cheesecakes

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/2       cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2          tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3          tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 6          ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3          tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2          tablespoons flour
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1          egg
  • 1/4       cup coarsely chopped California Ripe Olives
  1. Heat oven to 325° F and coat 16-20-cup mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In small bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, butter and 1 tablespoon sugar. Place equal amounts into each mini muffin cup then press firmly into bottom of each cup. Working with one cup at a time, press small piece of plastic wrap onto surface and press crust firmly into mini muffin cups.
  3. In large bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese, maple syrup and remaining sugar until smooth; beat in flour and vanilla on low speed. Add egg and beat until just combined; stir in olives.
  4. Spoon equal amounts into each cup. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until filling feels set.
  5. Let cool completely then run small, thin knife around edge of each to remove from pan.

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Black and White Pizza

Makes: 1 pizza

  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for pizza crust
  • 1          cup onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2          tablespoons roasted garlic, minced
  • 4          ounces small baby bella mushrooms, chopped flour
  • 1          package prepared pizza dough
  • 1          cup prepared Alfredo sauce
  • 1          cup smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4          ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1          small boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and thinly sliced
  • 2          tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1          can (6 ounces) extra-large California Black Ripe Olives, drained and cut in wedges
  • freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  1. Heat oven to 450° F and line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms, and cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes, or until onions are soft. Reserve.
  3. Roll pizza dough into thin oval on lightly floured surface. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil then spread evenly with Alfredo sauce.
  4. Top with mushroom mixture, cheeses, chicken and rosemary. Sprinkle olives over pizza.
  5. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned around edges.
  6. Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Source: California Olive Committee

Snacks 07 August 2017

Back-to-School Power for Body and Mind

(Family Features) Nutritious, well-rounded meals are essential for growth and proper brain development. A complete midday meal also helps boost mental and physical power so kids can keep on learning until the afternoon bell rings.

It’s not always easy to find new and appealing ideas to fuel kids’ bodies and minds as they head back to school, but programs for families and educators such as the Power Your Lunchbox Pledge can help.

“Families are looking for ways to start the year on the right foot and the Power Your Lunchbox Pledge offers everything they need in one spot,” said Trish James, vice president of Produce for Kids. “Families want to know their kids are receiving the right brain food to get them through the day. Our registered dietitian-approved meal inspiration, tips and ideas provide the foundation families need for success.”  

In addition to kid-tested, lunchbox-friendly recipe ideas, the program provides resources and lesson plans for educators who want to create activities to inspire healthy eating in the classroom. This year’s program also includes a partnership with The World of Eric Carle, allowing students to win copies of his popular collection of children’s books. Additionally, every online pledge results in a $1 donation to Feeding America programs that support families and children.

Look for recipes, tips and ideas on Instagram and Twitter using #PowerYourLunchbox, and learn more about the program at poweryourlunchbox.com.

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Banana Sushi Rolls

Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids

  • 1          large (8-inch) whole-wheat tortilla
  • 3          tablespoons peanut butter, divided
  • 1          banana, peeled
  • 1          strawberry, sliced
  • 1/2       kiwi, sliced
  • 1          tablespoon shredded coconut
  1. Lay tortilla on flat surface. Spread with half of peanut butter. Place banana on one end of tortilla and roll up. Cut into even slices and place strawberries and kiwi slices on top.
  2. Microwave remaining peanut butter on high 30 seconds, or until melted, and drizzle over banana sushi. Top with shredded coconut.

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Brown Bear Bento Box

Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids

  • 1          tablespoon soy butter
  • 3          graham cracker squares
  • 3          banana slices
  • 9          blueberries
  • variety of colorful fruit, chopped
  1. Spread soy butter on graham crackers. Arrange banana slices and blueberries to create eyes and noses to resemble bear faces. In another container, add colorful fruit, such as raspberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, honeydew, blueberries and blackberries, to create a rainbow fruit salad.

Suggested Side: 1 tablespoon ranch dressing and three mini sweet peppers, sliced into strips.

Source: Produce for Kids

Healthy 07 August 2017

A Sweet Solution for Busy School Days

(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.

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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.

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Grape and Ricotta Pita Pizzas

Servings: 4

  • 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
  1. Heat oven to 450° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. In small bowl, stir together honey and lemon juice until honey is dissolved.
  5. When pizzas are done, drizzle each with about 1/2 teaspoon honey-lemon mixture. Sprinkle basil on top of pizzas. Serve immediately.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Meal Ideas 29 June 2017

Easy Eating

(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.

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Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 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)
  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Drain beets; set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

Healthy 06 June 2017

Go Ahead ... Eat the Whole Watermelon

(Family Features) Sliced or diced, grilled or blended, there are countless ways to prepare watermelon. With some fruits, half or more is wasted when you throw away the seeds and peel, but you may be surprised to learn that you can use an entire watermelon, including the rind, to make delicious and refreshing dishes.

Most people think of watermelon as a sweet, juicy snack perfect for hot summer days, but with its high water content (92 percent), the fruit is more than just tasty. It’s also an ideal way to keep your body hydrated. What’s more, the ability to use the entire fruit makes watermelon one of the most versatile and value-conscious options in the produce department.

An average watermelon consists of about 70 percent fruit and 30 percent rind. Hollowed out, the rind is an attractive way to serve any number of recipes, but the rind is actually edible, too, and can be stir-fried, stewed or pickled, or even enjoyed raw. This yummy slaw gets its distinctive crunch from the watermelon rind, which is packed with citrulline and arginine, two compounds that may aid in healthy blood flow.

Watermelon is also a flavorful substitute for tomatoes, as shown in this traditional Italian appetizer, and contains higher levels of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable per serving, according to award-winning nutrition author and registered dietitian Elizabeth Somer.

Additionally, it lends some sweetness to a spicy salsa and a refreshing twist on a summery salad. You can also try blending watermelon with other fresh fruits for a super smoothie or mixing it up with some adult libations (and don’t forget, you can transform the rind into a mini-keg in minutes; just add a pour spout).

Find more ideas for using every bite of fruit, juice and rind at watermelon.org.

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Watermelon Caprese Salad with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

Makes: 6 servings

  • 12 slices watermelon cut into rounds or squares, approximately 3 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick, with seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 12 slices
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig basil, for garnish
  1. Place watermelon slices on paper towels and cover with additional paper towels to absorb excess fluid.
  2. In small saucepan over medium heat, add vinegar and honey. Stir to blend, bring to simmer and reduce heat. Stir occasionally until mixture is reduced by almost half. (Do not let reduce too far or allow to froth.) Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. On large platter, place watermelon slices and top each with slice of cheese. Add salt and pepper, to taste, then sprinkle basil leaves evenly over top. Drizzle with olive oil, followed by reduced balsamic vinegar. Garnish with sprig of basil.

Tip: Use red and yellow watermelon for an extra pretty presentation.

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Watermelon Rind Slaw

Makes: 4 one-cup servings

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Slaw:

  • 4 cups grated watermelon rind (fruit and green peel removed)
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 1/2 cups diced fresh pineapple
  1. In small bowl, blend Greek yogurt, sour cream, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, poppy seeds, olive oil, salt and pepper thoroughly. Set aside.
  2. Place watermelon rind on several layers of paper towels to soak up excess fluid.
  3. In medium bowl, place dressing, rind, carrot and pineapple, and toss to thoroughly coat.

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Watermelon Slice Ice Pops

Makes: 5-15 servings

  • 5-15 watermelon slices, cut into triangular wedge shapes, about 1/2 to 1 inch thick, with seeds removed
  • 5-15 ice pop sticks
  1. Insert ice pop stick into rind of each slice.

Optional variation: After inserting sticks, freeze ice pops before serving.

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Superfood Smoothie

Makes: 3 cups

  • 2 cups cubed and seeded watermelon
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup raspberry kefir
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons hemp
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • ice (optional)
  1. Place watermelon, raspberries, raspberry kefir, orange juice concentrate, hemp, agave syrup and ice, if desired, in blender and blend until smooth.

Source: National Watermelon Promotion Board

Appetizers & Sides 19 January 2017

Grill Potatoes for a Unique, Healthy Side Dish

(Family Features) Potatoes are the top food eaten alongside grilled main dishes, according to the NPD Group, so why not put potatoes on the grill too? Try grilling thick potato planks, skewered potato chunks, or colorful halved fingerlings in a zesty rub like these Flame-Licked Fingerlings, created by award-winning cookbook authors Karen Adler and Judith Fertig, also known as the “BBQ Queens.”

“A lot of people don’t know you can grill potatoes,” said the BBQ Queens. “They’re sturdy enough to hold up well on the grill, versatile enough to grill in many different ways and the nutritional boost is a welcome addition to any meal.”

In fact, one medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has no fat, sodium or cholesterol, provides 45 percent of your daily value of vitamin C, and has more potassium than a banana. Plus, cooking potato side dishes on the grill helps to minimize clean-up, and doesn’t require the heat of an oven during the warmer months.

Visit www.potatogoodness.com to find more recipe ideas for putting potatoes on the grill, including a colorful Grilled Potato Bake which incorporates multiple potato types for a flavorful side dish. You can also sign-up to receive a new recipe in your email in-box each week.

Flame-Licked Fingerling Potatoes with Spud Rub

Created by The BBQ Queens for the U.S. Potato Board
Makes: 4 side dish servings

Spud Rub:
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons lemon pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Potatoes:
  • 1 pound fingerling potato mix
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Spud Rub
  1. For the rub, combine all ingredients in a glass jar, close the lid and shake to blend. Store at room temperature.
  2. Prepare a medium-hot fire in your grill.
  3. Place the potatoes in a bowl, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with Spud Rub. Toss to coat.
  4. Place the potatoes on the grill rack or in grill basket directly over the heat and close the grill lid. After 3 to 4 minutes, open the lid and toss the potatoes or turn the basket. Close the lid again and repeat the process for 12 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

Serving tip: Serve the grilled fingerlings on a platter alongside a bowl of Spud Rub Dip. To make Spud Rub Dip, combine 1/2 cup prepared buttermilk or ranch-style dressing and 1 teaspoon Spud Rub in small bowl. Stir to blend. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories: 110, Fat: 2.5g, Saturated Fat: 0g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 125mg, Carbohydrates: 20g, Fiber: 1g, Sugars: 0g, Protein: 3g, Vitamin A: 2%, Vitamin C: 40%, Calcium: 0%, Iron: 6%, Potassium: 6mg.

Healthy 19 January 2017

Classic Makeover

Cottage cheese gets hip with today’s recipes

(Family Features) Classics never go out of style — whether presented simply or dressed up with trendy new touches. Cottage cheese has been a favorite for generations, but innovative serving ideas give new appeal to this trusty favorite.

Cool and refreshing cottage cheese is an easy “right now” quick meal or snack for on-the-go people. It’s naturally high in protein, low in fat and carbohydrates and is a favorite among active, nutrition-conscious adults, providing women with the calcium they need. And, parents can feel good about it as an easy, healthy snack for kids. The creamy satisfying flavor of cottage cheese is great paired with pineapple or apple wedges, or mixed with applesauce and a shake of cinnamon.

The introduction of cottage cheese from Daisy Brand, the nation’s best selling sour cream brand, is an exciting new addition to the dairy case. Fresh and wholesome, this new cottage cheese contains only natural ingredients with no preservatives or additives.

Versatile cottage cheese is perfect for a quick snack, healthy meal or satisfying dessert:

Break into breakfast: Serve cottage cheese alongside fresh fruit, mixed with yogurt or topped with cereal. Its creamy consistency is perfect stirred into eggs, pancakes, omelets or quiche.
Satisfy snack attacks: Enjoy cottage cheese with fresh fruit, raw veggies or crackers.
—Mute the munchies with a thin spread of peanut butter on crackers topped with creamy cottage cheese.
Savor smart lunch choices: Combine cottage cheese with fresh vegetables or fruit for a healthful, satisfying lunch.
—Make mid-day hearty and delicious by mixing cottage cheese into flaked tuna.
Feature family-pleasing dinners: Count on cottage cheese to round out a salad or as a side dish, or use as a central ingredient in quiches or pasta dishes such as lasagna and ravioli.
Dig into sweet endings: Scene-stealing desserts with cottage cheese include cheesecake, blintzes, turnovers and more.

Delight your palate with a cool, satisfying classic. Discover surprising, innovative ways to enjoy fresh and delicious cottage cheese by visiting www.daisybrand.com. Recipe ideas for quick snacks, simple meals and flavorful entertaining will help you put this all-natural, low-carb source of protein and calcium on your table for healthy family meals.

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Berry Breakfast Parfaits

Serves 4

  • 2 cups (16 ounces) Daisy Brand Cottage Cheese
  • 2 cups mixed fresh berries such as sliced strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries
  • 1 cup granola
  • 4 tablespoons sliced or chopped almonds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla*
  • 3/4 teaspoon Splenda®*
  1. Refrigerate fruit mixture 2 hours before assembling. In four serving dishes layer 1/4 cup of cottage cheese, 1/8 cup of granola, and 1/4 cup of mixed berries. Repeat layers in each glass. Top each parfait with 1 tablespoon of almonds.

*For a sweeter taste, try adding 1 teaspoon vanilla and 3/4 teaspoon of Splenda to fruit and stir.

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Pita Pesto Pizza Snackers

Serves 2

  • 2 pieces pita bread
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) Daisy Brand Cottage Cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic bread seasoning (or garlic powder)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Roma tomatoes
  • Chopped fresh basil, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Toast pita bread until crispy and firm, about 1 minute in a toaster oven.
  2. Spread pesto on each pita bread, lightly covering entire surface.
  3. Combine cottage cheese with garlic bread seasoning and spread evenly over each pita.
  4. Top with chopped tomato and fresh basil.
  5. If desired, sprinkle each pita with Parmesan.
  6. Slice each pita into 4 wedges and serve immediately.

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Apple-Cinnamon Pancake Stackers

Serves 2

  • 1 medium apple, Fuji or Gala, peeled, cored and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Splenda® or other low calorie sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons lite maple syrup
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) Daisy Brand Cottage Cheese
  • 6 3 1/2-inch whole wheat pancakes, frozen
  • 2 fresh mint sprigs
  1. Combine apple, cinnamon and sweetener. In small pan, heat oil and sauté apple mixture over medium heat 2 minutes. Add maple syrup and cook additional minute.
  2. Fold mixture into cottage cheese, being careful not to over mix.
  3. Heat pancakes per package instructions.
  4. To serve, place 1 hot pancake on plate and layer cottage cheese mixture between pancakes evenly, 3 pancakes per serving. Top with cottage cheese mixture, a drizzle of maple syrup and a fresh mint sprig.

Source: Daisy Brand Cottage Cheese

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One Dish Meals 03 January 2017

A Blended Take on Family Favorites

(Family Features) It’s not always easy to create meals that are both nutritious and satisfying. Managing intake of added sugar and saturated fat takes effort and planning, but transforming your favorite recipes into more nutritious family meals can be simpler than you imagined.

The nutrient-dense mushroom masterfully bridges that divide, offering rich and meaty flavor while still being fat-free, low-calorie and low-sodium. All mushrooms contain vitamin D at various levels, which helps build strong bones. Additionally, mushrooms are a source of B vitamins, including riboflavin and niacin, which help provide energy by breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

“Mushrooms are an incredibly versatile ingredient,” said Mary Jo Feeney, MS, RDN, nutrition research consultant for the Mushroom Council. “They can be the meaty star of a vegetarian dish or a nutritious complement to burgers and other hearty recipes.”

For a healthy weekday lunch, consider building a salad bowl around the earthy mushroom. Pair roasted or marinated mushrooms with crunchy vegetables and nutty grains, beans and pulses, and top with a simple vinaigrette or squeeze of citrus.

For lightened-up versions of classics such as burgers and meatballs, try adopting a culinary technique known as “The Blend.” Simply chop any mushroom variety to match the consistency of ground meat, blend the mushrooms into the meat and cook the mushroom-meat blend to complete the recipe. Substituting at least 25 percent of the meat for mushrooms can enhance the taste of your favorite meaty meals, deliver an extra serving of nutrient-rich vegetables and trim calorie and fat intake.

For additional mushroom recipes that incorporate the blending technique, visit mushroominfo.com.

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Mighty Mushroom Blended Burger

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1/2 pound any variety mushroom
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 buns
  1. Finely dice mushrooms or gently pulse in food processor.
  2. In skillet, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium-high heat and add mushrooms, cooking 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer cooled mushrooms to medium bowl. Add ground beef and salt, mixing until combined. Make four patties.
  4. Add remaining olive oil to pan and cook burger patties on medium-high heat until internal temperature reaches at least 160° F. Plate and add desired toppings to bun.
  5. Recommended toppings include: pickled red peppers, crumbled blue cheese and watercress greens.

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Marinated Mushroom Bowls with Lentils and Wild Rice

Prep time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4

Mushrooms:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili oil
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cups cooked French lentils
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  1. To marinate mushrooms: In shallow bowl, whisk together olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili oil.
  2. Stir in green onion, cilantro and sesame seeds. Add mushrooms and gently toss in marinade. Cover and let rest 30 minutes.
  3. Place cabbage in bowl and toss with lime juice and pinch of salt. Set aside.
  4. Stir in 1 teaspoon of soy sauce to both lentils and wild rice.
  5. To serve, arrange equal amount of mushrooms, cabbage, lentils, wild rice and cucumbers in each bowl. Drizzle with remaining marinade and garnish with chopped cilantro, sliced green onions and black sesame seeds. Serve with lime wedges.

Note: Can be served at room temperature or cold.

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Roasted Mushroom and Wheat Berry Salad with Orange Curry Vinaigrette

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, halved
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked wheat berries, warm
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Place mushrooms on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  3. Bake 10 minutes. Carefully stir mushrooms and bake 5 more minutes, until tender.
  4. Transfer mushrooms to medium bowl. Add wheat berries, green onions and cranberries.
    In small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.
  5. Pour dressing over salad. Toss to mix all ingredients. Serve warm.

Source: Mushroom Council

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Healthy 19 December 2016

Smart Start

Breakfast recipes for a healthy New Year

(Family Features) A commitment to health and wellness means taking care of yourself and your family, exercising and eating right. The New Year is the perfect time to refocus your goals and make better health a priority.

A nutrient-rich breakfast can set you up for success each and every day. Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt are good sources of high-quality protein, which is an essential part of a healthy diet. Protein serves as the building block for cells throughout the body and may aid in managing weight by helping you feel full.

By adding protein to your day, health and wellness goals can become easier to achieve. Daily protein needs should be met by spreading intake throughout the day in every meal and snack you eat. Not only does protein help satisfy hunger, which may aid in weight management, but it also helps preserve muscle.

No matter your breakfast style, dairy foods can enhance your dish. These recipes show how, from sweet to savory and cold to hot, your breakfast can be unique while providing high-quality nutrition in each bite. Learn more about the role of dairy in a healthy diet at MilkMeansMore.org.

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White Pizza Frittata

Recipe created by Rachel Cooks on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 12 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and water pressed out
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese
  1. Heat oven to 325° F.
  2. In oven-safe skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Once garlic is fragrant, add spinach; break up to incorporate and heat.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, pepper, oregano, ricotta, Parmesan and basil.
  4. Add egg mixture to skillet, reduce heat to low and cook 1 minute, stirring gently. Move to oven and bake 25-30 minutes, or until eggs are almost completely set.
  5. Carefully remove from oven and add mozzarella. Return to oven and bake until mozzarella is melted, about 5 minutes.
  6. May be served hot, at room temperature or cold.

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Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes

Recipe created by The Chef Next Door on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups lactose-free, 2 percent milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, plus additional for topping (optional)
  • syrup (optional)
  1. In large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In small bowl, beat eggs then add milk, oil and vanilla; mix well. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix to combine.
  2. Heat griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Using 1/4 measuring cup, pour batter onto griddle. Gently place several blueberries all over surface of pancakes.
  3. Flip pancakes when bubbles start to form around edges and bottoms are golden brown. Cook on other side until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove to plate and cover to keep warm.
  4. Top pancakes with additional blueberries and syrup before serving, if desired.

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Huevos Rancheros Oats

Recipe created by Comfortably Domestic on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2

Oats

  • 1 cup 2 percent milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats

Huevos Rancheros

  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons light olive oil
  • 1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 2 eggs
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
  1. In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring milk, water and salt to boil. Stir in oats. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer oats, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes. Remove oats from heat and place lid on saucepan. Set aside.
  2. In nonstick skillet over medium heat, saute onion in olive oil until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir canned tomatoes with green chilies and chipotle chili powder into onions to combine. Continue to heat salsa to boil, about 1 minute. Make two wells in middle of tomato salsa. Crack eggs into wells. Season eggs with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover skillet and poach eggs in salsa to desired doneness; about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Divide oats evenly between two bowls. Spoon eggs and salsa over oats. Serve immediately with cheddar cheese.

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Ricotta and Fig Oatmeal

Recipe created by Foxes Love Lemons on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 3 minutes
Servings: 1

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 2 dried figs, halved
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  1. In microwave-safe bowl, stir together milk, oats and salt. Microwave on high 2 1/2 minutes, or until oats are tender and most liquid is absorbed.
  2. Remove bowl from microwave; stir in ricotta. To serve, top with figs and almonds, and drizzle with honey.

Source: United Dairy Industry of Michigan

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Healthy 19 December 2016

Make Healthy a Way of Life

Simply add watermelon to see resolution results

(Family Features) The start of a new year is the perfect time for new beginnings, including a fresh start on eating healthy. The trick to making this year’s resolution stick is introducing smart eating habits so tasty and easy that your eating plan becomes more a way of life than a short-lived commitment. One easy way to achieve that habit is by adding watermelon to your daily diet, giving your body a low-calorie option to curb an appetite for unhealthy snacks.

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Set reasonable goals. A deprivation diet is destined to fail because eventually your body will rebel. Instead, aim for well-rounded meals with moderate portions. If weight loss is your ultimate goal, know that losing two pounds a week is generally considered the maximum.

Satisfy your sweet tooth. Everyone, even the most dedicated health food fans, experience cravings from time to time. Most experts agree that it’s OK to answer your sweet tooth – in moderation of course. Before you take the plunge, think ab

out whether there are other options that could be a good substitute. For example, instead of a sugary candy bar, consider a naturally sweet slice of watermelon for a cholesterol-free, fat-free way to satisfy cravings at only 80 calories per 2-cup serving. Watermelon contains fiber and water, and packs a wealth of health benefits, in

cluding strong levels of vitamins A, C and B6.

Stay well hydrated. During the cooler winter months, it’s easy to let water consumption slide because you’re not feeling the heat and thirst you do in warmer weather. However, the dry winter air can also be hard on your body, so it’s important to keep that water flowing year-around. Most adults should aim for eight glasses of water each day, but you can also boost your water intake with foods that have a high water content, such as watermelon, which is 92 percent water and contains protein and fiber so you are satisfied on fewer calories while boosting your overall hydration.

Make Water Mouthwatering

A simple infusion of flavor gives water an instant upgrade, whether you’re looking to add some variety to your daily water consumption or you’re hosting an event and want to offer guests a unique and nutritious beverage. Use your favorite herbs and fruits to create one-of-a-kind combinations that provide refreshing rehydration. Try these pairings:

  • Watermelon with basil, mint or lime
  • Strawberry with lime and basil
  • Cucumber and rosemary
  • Mixed berries and mint
  • Pineapple with coconut

Find more inspiration for health-conscious habits in the new year at watermelon.org.

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Island Fruit Salad

Servings: 2

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1/2 lime (1 tablespoon), juiced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rum extract
  • 2 kiwis, peeled and diced
  • 1 orange, sectioned and halved
  • 2 cups seedless watermelon, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons flaked, sweetened coconut
  1. In small bowl, combine water and coconut sugar; microwave 20 seconds. Stir to completely dissolve sugar. Let cool. Once cool, add lime juice and rum extract.
  2. In medium bowl, add kiwi, orange and watermelon. Pour rum juice over top and thoroughly toss. Let sit 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
  3. Divide fruit salad into two bowls and sprinkle with coconut.

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Watermelon Protein Bites

Recipe courtesy of Anya Shinall of Anya’s Eats

  • 1 cup pitted dates, soaked
  • purified water
  • 1 1/2 cups sprouted watermelon seeds, divided, plus additional for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon coconut butter
  • 1 cup fresh watermelon, chopped
  • 1/8-1/4 cup roughly chopped beets (optional)
  1. Chop dates in half.
  2. Place dates in bowl of purified water and soak 1-2 hours.
  3. Remove dates from water bowl and place them into food processor.
  4. Pulse a few times then add 1 cup watermelon seeds, coconut butter and watermelon.
  5. Add chopped beets, if using.
  6. Blend until well combined, scraping sides of food processor as you go.
  7. Add remaining watermelon seeds and pulse, leaving some seeds chunky.
  8. For smoother texture, continue to blend.
  9. Remove mixture from food processor, place in small bowl and cover, allowing to cool in refrigerator 30 minutes.
  10. Remove mixture from fridge. With fingertips slightly wet, roll mixture into balls and place on a plate.
  11. Once done rolling, add watermelon seeds to top.
  12. Place watermelon bites in freezer 1-2 hours, or until frozen.

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Steel-Cut Oats with Watermelon

Servings: 2

  • 1 cup 1 percent milk, plus additional (optional)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
  • 3/4 cup diced seedless watermelon
  • 2 tablespoons dried tart cherries or cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. In medium saucepan over high heat, bring 1 cup milk and water to gentle boil. Pour in oats. Stir; return to gentle boil then reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally, 20-30 minutes.
  2. While oats are cooking, in small bowl, combine watermelon, dried fruit, nuts and maple syrup.
  3. Portion out oats and top with watermelon mixture. Add additional milk, if desired.

 

Source: National Watermelon Promotion Board

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