recipes

Meal Ideas 13 July 2018

Savory Summer Entertaining

(Family Features) Flavorful foods and cold drinks are the focal points of just about any summer gathering. Create a party atmosphere that can stand out by adding a bit of island infusion to both bites and beverages so your warm-weather soiree can soar to new heights.

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To help add that island spark, an ingredient like bitters provides a potent flavor made from botanicals like aromatic herbs, bark, roots and fruit. While known for their ability to balance countless cocktails, it may come as a surprise that bitters are regarded by some chefs as a pantry staple, adding real depth of flavor to a variety of dishes. Bitters can be added to classic and contemporary cocktails and a range of cuisines to create taste-tempting creations.

Much like vanilla extract, when cooked, the alcohol in bitters evaporates, so bitters-infused recipes can be enjoyed by the whole family at your next backyard barbecue or patio party.

Center your spread around a summer favorite like Pulled-Pork Sliders with Bitters, a tangy Caribbean twist on a classic dish featuring a spicy chili rub. Coupled with a vinegar-based sauce dashed with Angostura aromatic bitters, an unmistakable culinary and cocktail essential made with the same secret recipe since 1824, the flavorful sliders make for a crowd-pleasing main course.

Add to the island vibe with a unique take on a tried-and-true sweet treat like cake. Orange Butter Sponge Cake enhances every party's dessert course with the sweet and tangy combination of citrus and bitters.

These tasty foods paired with hot temperatures call for cooling off with inventive bitters-forward drink recipes like the Queen's Park Swizzle, Angostura's signature Trinidadian cocktail, and a summertime go-to, the Traditional Mojito. These drinks balance the art of the swizzle with the tastes of tiki to provide guests with refreshing beverage options.

Whether you're an aspiring home chef, an amateur bartender or anything in between, you can elevate summer entertaining with bitters to complement an array of ingredients for exceptional entertaining all summer long.

Find more summertime food and drink recipes to savor at AngosturaBitters.com.


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Pulled-Pork Sliders with Bitters

Servings: approximately 14 small sandwiches

Chili Rub:

  • 3-3 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil

Bitters Sauce:

  • 1 can (15 ounces) unseasoned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Nature's Intent apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Angostura aromatic bitters
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
  • 14 small slider buns
  1. To make Chili Rub: Stir together aromatic bitters, chili powder and salt; let stand 10 minutes.
  2. Cut pork shoulder across grain into 1 1/2-2-inch thick slices; trim excess fat. If needed, cut into chunks to remove some fat.
  3. Rub meat with chili mixture. In 8-quart pot or 9-10-inch wide, high-sided saute pan with lid, heat oil. Add meat and brown on both sides, about 15 minutes total. Remove meat and place on plate; keep warm.
  4. To make Bitters Sauce: Combine tomato sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, aromatic bitters, chili powder and garlic cloves; stir well. Pour into hot, empty pan. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring and scraping bottom of pan.
  5. Return meat to pan; spoon sauce over meat. Cover and cook 1 hour and 15 minutes on low, rearranging meat halfway through cooking. Transfer meat to plate; cover with foil to keep warm.
  6. To thicken sauce, if desired: Let sauce cool in pan 5 minutes then whisk in cornstarch. Bring to boil; continue to cook and whisk until slightly thickened.
  7. To serve: Pull meat apart with two forks or fingers. Serve warm on buns, drizzled with sauce.

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Queen's Park Swizzle

Makes: 1 cocktail

  • 12-14 mint leaves
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce Demerara simple syrup
  • crushed ice
  • 2 ounces Caribbean rum
  • 6-8 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • 1 mint sprig, for garnish
  1. In highball glass, muddle mint leaves in lime juice and simple syrup, then fill glass with dry, crushed ice.
  2. Pour rum over crushed ice and swizzle well until glass is ice cold and frosted.
  3. Pack glass with more crushed ice and top with aromatic bitters. Garnish with mint sprig.

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Traditional Mojito

Makes: 1 cocktail

  • 1 cube brown sugar
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 12-15 mint leaves
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • crushed ice
  • 1 bottle club soda
  • 1 mint sprig, for garnish
  1. In Collins glass, muddle brown sugar cube and simple syrup, then add mint and lightly press to extract flavor. Add lime juice, rum and aromatic bitters.
  2. Fill glass with crushed ice and swizzle.
  3. Repack with crushed ice and top with club soda. Garnish with mint sprig.

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Orange Butter Sponge Cake

  • 8 ounces butter, plus additional for buttering pan
  • 2 cups cake flour, plus additional for flouring pan
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon Angostura orange bitters
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • powdered or extra-fine sugar, for dusting
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Sift flour three times and add baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. With electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 10 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add vanilla and orange bitters.
  4. Divide flour mixture into four portions. Set electric mixer on medium low and add flour alternately with orange juice, starting and ending with flour. Mix just until incorporated after each addition.
  5. Divide batter evenly between cake pans and bake 35-40 minutes, or until cake pulls away from sides of pans. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes in cake pans before turning out.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Pulled-Pork Sliders with Bitters, Orange Butter Sponge Cake)

Source:

Meal Ideas 26 March 2018

Simple, Healthy Snacks and Sandwiches

(Family Features) Quick and easy meals can be hard to come by, especially ones that don’t sacrifice flavor. You don’t have to eat bland foods to provide your family a healthy and hearty, nutrient-filled diet. During National Nutrition Month, it’s the perfect time to refresh your routine with some creative and convenient options that can serve as the starting point for an on-the-go snack or a full-blown meal.

Sandwiches, like this recipe for a BALCMT Sandwich, can be one of the easiest ways to incorporate grains, which deliver shortfall nutrients like dietary fiber, iron and folate into your diet. Research from the Grain Foods Foundation shows about 95 percent of Americans do not meet dietary fiber intake recommendations. Whole grain foods, like bread, buns, rolls, pita and tortillas, can help supply your dietary fiber needs and aid in maintaining a healthy weight and lower cholesterol.

Additionally, enriched grains can play a key role in metabolism by helping the body release energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates, and are also essential for a healthy nervous system, productivity and cognitive development. The vitamins and minerals in enriched grains like folic acid are also critical for reducing the incidence of some birth defects while also promoting cell function and tissue growth.

Some healthier ways to build a snack include using leaner meats and lower sodium cheeses for a sandwich or adding more vegetables to your overall snacking habits. Another nutritious option, Baked Pita Crisps accompanied by Southwest Bean Dip, can help you curb hunger without blowing past your daily calorie count.

Find more recipes and tips for quick and flavorful meals at grainfoodsfoundation.org.
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BALCMT Sandwich

Recipe courtesy of Franz Bakery on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation
Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1

Chipotle-Mayonnaise Sauce:

  • 1/4       cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4       tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1          teaspoon lime juice
  • salt, to taste
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2          slices bread, toasted
  • 1-2       leaves lettuce
  • 4          slices tomato
  • 1/2       avocado, thickly sliced
  • 4          slices maple bacon, fried
  1. To make Chipotle-Mayonnaise Sauce: In small bowl, mix mayonnaise, adobo sauce and lime juice. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  2. Add layer of sauce to slice of bread and top with lettuce, tomato, avocado, bacon and second slice of bread.

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Baked Pita Crisps

Recipe courtesy of the Grain Foods Foundation
Prep time: 30 minutes
Yields: 24 crisps

Crisps:

  • 1/4       cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons paprika
  • 3          pita breads (6 inches each) with pockets
  • kosher salt, to taste

Southwest Bean Dip:

  • 2          tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2          cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2       large red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2       medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2          cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2-3       tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4       cup packed fresh coriander sprigs, washed and spun dry
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 2          tablespoons water, plus additional (optional)
  1. To make Crisps: Heat oven to 400° F. In small bowl, mix olive oil with cumin and paprika. Split each pita bread horizontally into two rounds and brush rough sides with equal amounts of oil mixture. Cut rounds into small triangles and arrange in flat layer on large baking sheet. Bake until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt just out of oven.
  2. To make Southwest Bean Dip: In large skillet over high heat, heat vegetable oil until hot. Add garlic, bell pepper and onion; turn heat to low and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add cumin and cayenne; cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  3. In food processor, blend beans, lime juice, coriander, salt and water until smooth, adding more water, if necessary, to achieve desired consistency. Add vegetable mixture and pulse until just combined. Serve with Baked Pita Crisps.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Grain Foods Foundation

Meal Ideas 25 January 2018

Throw a Hot-Pot Dinner Party

(Family Features) Heat up your next get-together by inviting family and friends over to try a DIY trend, the hot-pot party. It can be easy to prep and your guests can enjoy cooking and customizing their own meals.

First, prepare a rich, flavored broth and serve steaming-hot in a slow cooker or multi-cooker. Next, offer a selection of meat, seafood and veggies for dunking. Cook for a few minutes then garnish with sauces and various toppings to match individual tastes.

A traditional East Asian hot-pot broth is flavored with beef stock, soy sauce, chilies, ginger and garlic. Try a Mexican-inspired version by serving a spiced chicken broth with ancho chile pepper, cumin and oregano, or offer a taste of the Caribbean with a coconut milk broth and fresh papaya pica sauce.

Learn more about this hot-pot trend and all the latest flavor trends in McCormick’s 2018 Flavor Forecast at FlavorForecast.com.
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Caribbean Hot-Pot Broth with Papaya Pica Sauce

Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours
Servings: 10

Caribbean Hot-Pot Broth:

  • 2          pounds smoked ham hocks
  • 2          cups sliced yellow onions
  • 1          cup diagonally sliced carrots
  • 1/2       cup diagonally sliced celery
  • 8 1/4    cups water, divided
  • 1          container (32 ounces) Kitchen Basics Original Chicken Stock
  • 1          whole chile pepper, such as Scotch bonnet or habanero
  • 2          McCormick Bay Leaves
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Thyme Leaves
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Ground Turmeric
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground black pepper
  • salt, to taste
  • 2          tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2          cans (13.66 ounces each) Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk
  • 2          tablespoons lime juice

Papaya Pica Sauce:

  • 3          cups cubed fresh papaya
  • 1/2       cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4       cup chopped, seeded Scotch bonnet (chile pepper)
  • 1/4       cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4       cup yellow mustard
  • 1          teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Ground Ginger
  • 1/4       teaspoon McCormick Ground Cloves
  • 1          pound uncooked bay scallops
  • 1          pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • cooked rice
  • toasted shredded coconut (optional)
  • fresh red or green bell pepper slices (optional)
  1. To make broth: Place ham hocks, onion, carrots and celery in 6-quart stockpot. Cook on medium heat 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 8 cups water, chicken stock, chile pepper, bay leaves, thyme leaves, turmeric, allspice and pepper. Add salt, to taste. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 1 hour, skimming fat occasionally.
  2. Remove cover and simmer 30 minutes, skimming fat occasionally. Remove ham hocks and skim fat. In small bowl, whisk cornstarch and remaining water. Add to pot with coconut milk. Cook on medium heat 30 minutes. Skim fat. Stir lime juice into broth.
  3. To make Papaya Pica Sauce: In food processor on high speed, process papaya, vinegar, chile pepper, onion, mustard, salt, allspice, garlic powder, ginger and cloves until smooth. Transfer to medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer, uncovered, 10-15 minutes. Pour into medium bowl.
  4. To serve, pour broth into heated 6-quart electric slow cooker or hot pot. Cook shrimp and scallops in broth about 5 minutes, or until cooked through, stirring occasionally.
  5. Place some rice in bowl then ladle broth and seafood over top. Stir in Papaya Pica Sauce and top with shredded coconut and pepper slices, if desired.

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Asian Hot-Pot Broth with Tangy Chili Sauce

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 10

Hot-Pot Broth:

  • 2          teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1          large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2          containers (32 ounces each) Kitchen Basics Original Beef Stock
  • 1/4       cup Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste
  • 2          tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1          tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1          tablespoon McCormick Garlic Powder
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Ground Ginger
  • 2          tablespoons lime juice

Tangy Chili Sauce:

  • 1/2       cup Thai Kitchen Sweet Red Chili Sauce
  • 3          tablespoons lime juice
  • 1          pound flank steak, thinly sliced
  • Simply Asia Lo Mein Noodles, cooked
  • assorted mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • baby bok choy, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • crunchy Chinese noodles (optional)
  1. To make broth: In 6-quart stockpot over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onion; cook and stir until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in beef stock, curry paste, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder and ginger. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes. Stir lime juice into broth before serving.
  2. To make Tangy Chili Sauce: In small bowl, mix red chili sauce and lime juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. To serve, pour broth into heated 6-quart electric slow cooker or hot pot. Cook steak in broth about 2-3 minutes, or until it reaches desired doneness.
  4. Place lo mein noodles in bowls then ladle broth and steak over top. Stir in Tangy Chili Sauce and top with mushrooms, baby bok choy and Chinese noodles, if desired.

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Puebla Hot-Pot Broth with Avocado Crema

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

Puebla Hot-Pot Broth:

  • 3          tablespoons McCormick Gourmet Ancho Chile Pepper
  • 2          teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2          teaspoons oregano leaves
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • 1          cup finely chopped white onion
  • 6          cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2          containers (32 ounces each) Kitchen Basics Original Chicken Stock
  • 1          can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 2          ears fresh corn, shucked and cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 2          tablespoons lime juice

Avocado Crema:

  • 1/2       medium avocado, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1          cup sour cream
  • 1          tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4       teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
  • 1          pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
  • 1          chayote, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • avocado, chopped (optional)
  • fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • crunchy tortilla strips (optional)
  1. To make broth: In small bowl, mix chile pepper, ground cumin, oregano, paprika and salt. Set aside. In 6-quart stockpot on medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until softened. Stir in chicken stock, crushed tomatoes and 1/2 of seasoning mixture. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 20 minutes, adding corn during last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove corn to plate. Stir lime juice into broth.
  2. To make Avocado Crema: In food processor on high speed, process avocado, sour cream, lime juice, salt and garlic powder until smooth. Transfer to bowl; cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Coat chicken strips with remaining seasoning mixture.
  4. To serve, pour broth into heated 6-quart electric slow cooker or hot pot. Cook chicken and chayote in broth 4-5 minutes, or until cooked through, stirring occasionally.
  5. Ladle broth with cooked chicken and vegetables into individual bowls. Top with Avocado Crema and avocado, fresh cilantro and tortilla strips, if desired.

Source: McCormick

Appetizers & Sides 08 June 2017

A Sweet Cherry Season

(Family Features) Whether fresh cherries are a favorite or a treat you’ve yet to try, the time to enjoy them is now.

Orchards in the Pacific Northwest, the nation’s largest growing region, experienced a long, cool spring, which often translates into more time and energy a tree can put into the fruit. When combined with the superior growing conditions characteristic to the area, this season’s fruit showcases what Northwest cherries are known for: their large size and sweet flavor profile.

Popular varieties grown in the Northwest include the mahogany-red Bings and super-sweet, yellow Rainiers. Rainier cherries, with their unique golden color and red blush, tend to ripen earlier in the year. Growers pick Rainier cherries over multiple weeks, selecting the ripest fruit each time.

Other varieties include the early-ripening Chelans and Tietons, followed by the often larger and darker Skeenas, Sweethearts and Lapins. Aside from the light-hued Rainier (which has juice that doesn’t stain) you can typically spot sweet cherries by their dark red skins – in general, the darker, the sweeter.

Great taste aside, sweet cherries are a healthful addition to summer picnics, parties and barbecues thanks to their fiber, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory power. They make for a snack that both grownups and little ones can enjoy straight out of the bowl thanks to their stem “handle” and can perk up appetizers, salads, desserts, sweet or savory sauces and more.

Outside of summer get-togethers, cherries make for a better-for-you late-night snack option as well. A cup of fresh, sweet cherries contains only 90 calories along with a low glycemic index of 22 making their cold, sweet crunch a tasty way to satisfy hunger cravings. Plus, they boast melatonin, which helps regulate circadian rhythm and promote healthy sleep patterns.

Fresh cherries should be kept in a sealed bag or container, and keep for approximately two weeks when refrigerated. To extend the cherry season and enjoy their health benefits after summer fades, buy an extra bag or two and preserve cherries by rinsing, packing and freezing them.

Basic freezing instructions

  1. Select 3-5 pounds of firm, ripe, Northwest-grown sweet cherries.
  2. After rinsing and draining, spread whole cherries with stems in a layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Place in freezer until firm then pack into freezer-proof containers or plastic freezer bags. Remove excess air and cover tightly.
  4. Add frozen cherries to smoothies or juices, or defrost and put in hot cereal, pies, turnovers, cobblers and more. Or enjoy as a frozen, sweet late-night treat.

To create a festive cherry dish for the summer season, try this Cherry Bruschetta as a snack or appetizer. Find more recipes and cherry tips at nwcherries.com.

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Cherry Bruschetta

Serves: 8

  • 18 slices (1/2-inch thick) small baguette-style bread
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted Northwest fresh sweet cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow sweet pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Arrange baguette slices on cookie sheet and toast one side 5 minutes. Turn slices, brush with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and bake 5 minutes longer.
  3. Combine cherries, cilantro, sweet pepper, green onions, lime juice, lime peel, garlic salt, pepper and remaining olive oil; mix well.
  4. Top each baguette with thin slice of cheese, 1 tablespoon cherry mixture and sprinkle of sliced basil. Serve warm or cold.

Source: Northwest Cherry Growers

Meal Ideas 14 April 2017

Add a Tex-Mex Favorite to Your Menu

(Family Features) A tortilla plus a tasty filling makes a household favorite – a taco. This simple, casual, versatile, fun food knows no boundaries. Tacos can be right for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks and dessert, depending on the filling.

For tacos with a unique, delicious twist on tradition, try these Chicken Soft Tacos with Pickled Beet Salsa that are ready in 30 minutes. The antioxidant-rich Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets lend color, as well as a refreshing sweet-tangy flavor that’s complementary to the lime juice, cilantro and red onion in the salsa. This sassy salsa is a perfect partner for rotisserie, roasted or grilled chicken, arugula and a dollop of jalapeno mustard-sour cream sauce nestled inside a soft flour tortilla.

For your taco fiesta, just set out the tortillas, salsa and other toppings and let everyone help themselves to a fun and delicious dinner.

For other versatile recipes, visit AuntNellies.com.

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Chicken Soft Tacos with Pickled Beet Salsa

Prep time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Salsa:

  • 1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Tacos:

  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeno mustard
  • 4 soft flour tortillas (6-inch diameter)
  • 2 cups fresh arugula
  • 2 cups chopped cooked rotisserie chicken (hot or cold)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco
  1. To make salsa: drain beets and chop. In medium bowl, combine beets, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper.
  2. To make tacos: In small bowl, stir together sour cream and mustard; set aside.
  3. On one half of each tortilla, place equal amounts of salsa, arugula, chicken and cheese. Top with dollops of mustard-sour cream. Fold over.

Substitution: Sliced pickled beets or three single-serve cups of Aunt Nellie’s Diced Pickled Beets may be substituted for baby whole pickled beets.

Nutritional information per serving: 380 calories; 20 g protein; 28 g carbohydrates; 20 g total fat; 650 mg sodium; 80 mg cholesterol; 1 g dietary fiber; 2 mg iron; 0.15 mg thiamin;
460 IU vitamin A; 4 mg vitamin C.

Source: Aunt Nellie's

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 watermelon.org.

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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

Margarita:

  • 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

Meal Ideas 06 April 2017

Comida Mexicana

Sassy, Savory Mexican Home Cooking

(Family Features) The best home cooking traditions not only get passed down from generation to generation, but they also get “adopted” into other families. Emilio Ortega’s family, for example, enjoyed the benefits of his fascination with green chiles when he moved to New Mexico in 1890. When he returned home to California, he and his family started growing, then cooking with these great tasting chiles, perfecting homemade, authentic, Mexican meals the entire family would enjoy.

Today, you can pass that tradition on to your family by enjoying great tasting Mexican meals with the convenience of the Ortega family of products. Look for crisp Ortega taco shells made from whole kernel corn and vacuum-sealed trays to keep them fresh and crisp — and unbroken. And choose Ortega fire-roasted green chiles, Mexican seasonings and zesty salsas, ready to stir into your favorite casserole, cheese dip or soup.

So, gather at the table for your own “comida Mexicana” or family meal.

For more recipe ideas and information on Ortega’s Taco Shells, Kits, Soft Tortillas, Taco Sauces, Seasonings and Peppers, visit www.ortega.com.

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South of the Border Salad With Creamy Lime Dressing

Makes: 4 servings

  • 4 Ortega Taco Shells, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 1.25-ounce package Ortega Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 5-ounce package mixed salad greens
  • 1 cup (16) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup Ortega Sliced Jalapeños, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, sliced and sprinkled with lime juice

Creamy Lime Dressing

  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon each oil and milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Combine all Creamy Lime Dressing ingredients in small bowl; stir until blended. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Microwave crushed taco shells on high 30 to 45 seconds.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken strips; cook and stir 4 to 6 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Stir in taco seasoning mix and water. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture is thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  5. Combine salad greens, crushed taco shells, tomatoes and jalapeños in large bowl. Divide mixture onto four serving plates.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese; top with chicken strips and avocado slices.
  7. Serve with Creamy Lime Dressing.

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Black and White Mexican Bean Soup

Makes: 6 servings (1 1/3 cups each)

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1.25-ounce package Ortega Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 14-ounce can chicken broth
  • 1 16-ounce package frozen corn
  • 1 15.5-ounce can Joan of Arc great northern beans, drained
  • 1 15.5-ounce can Joan of Arc black beans, drained
  • 1 4-ounce can Ortega Diced Green Chiles
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  1. Heat oil in large pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is tender.
  2. Stir in flour and taco seasoning mix; gradually stir in milk until blended. Add remaining ingredients except cilantro.
  3. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; simmer 15 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in cilantro.

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Mexican Snack Stacks

Makes: 16 servings

  • 1/2 cup Ortega Salsa (any variety)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cooked chicken
  • 8 8-inch Ortega Soft Tortillas
  • 1/2 cup guacamole
  • 1/3 cup Ortega Refried Beans
  • 6 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix 1/4 cup salsa, sour cream and chicken in small bowl.
  3. Place 2 soft tortillas on ungreased cookie sheet; spread each with salsa-chicken mixture. Spread 2 more soft tortillas with guacamole and stack on top of salsa-chicken tacos, guacamole side up.
  4. Mix refried beans with remaining 1/4 cup salsa; spread mixture onto 2 more soft tortillas and stack on top of guacamole. Top each stack with remaining 2 soft tortillas; sprinkle with cheese.
  5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted and filling is hot.
  6. Sprinkle with cilantro. Cut each stack into 8 wedges.

 

Mexican Steak Tacos

Makes: 2 servings (2 tacos each)

  • 1 3 1/2-ounce bag boil-in-bag long grain rice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ortega Taco Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Ortega Salsa (any variety)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound sirloin steak
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 4-ounce can Ortega Diced Green Chiles
  • 4 Ortega Taco Shells
  • 4 lime wedges
  • Sour cream (optional)
  1. Cook rice combining cumin, garlic powder, taco sauce, salsa and salt.
  2. Rub mixture over both sides of steak.
  3. Spray a pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Place steak on broiler tray.
  5. Broil steak 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.
  6. Cut steak into thin slices.
  7. Combine rice mixture, tomatoes and chiles. Place the mixture in shells.
  8. Top rice mixture with beef slices. Squeeze juice from limes over beef.
  9. Top with sour cream, if desired.

Source: Ortega

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