(Family Features) When the school year rolls around, switching from pool to school means finding simpler ways to kick off the day with healthy and nutritious options.
Preparing feel-good breakfasts can be as easy as picking and putting together the right ingredients, if you know where to buy them. At grocery stores like ALDI, parents can conveniently find choices they can feel good about feeding their families, including fresh produce and organic, non-GMO and gluten-free options. Parents can also shop easier knowing ALDI private label items – which make up 90 percent of its products – are free from certified synthetic colors, added trans fats and MSG.
After the shopping trip, try these make-ahead breakfast ideas to give the busy mornings a boost:
- Homemade energy bars are an easy breakfast option that can keep you fueled until lunch. For simple bars, heat coconut oil and vanilla in a saucepan until combined then transfer to a large bowl and mix with cashew butter, oats, dried fruits and granola. Press the mixture between two cookie sheets to flatten, refrigerate 2 hours and slice into bars.
- Portion out produce for daily breakfast smoothies. Seal each weekday’s smoothie ingredients in separate plastic bags and simply toss the ingredients in a blender each morning. Enjoy your smoothie in a tumbler or try something new, such as this Blackberry Avocado Smoothie Bowl.
- Use your slow cooker to make oatmeal. Before heading to bed, simply add milk, vanilla and your favorite sweetener to rolled oats and cook on low 7-8 hours. Include dried fruit to soak up moisture and provide a sweet, juicy addition. Or try these Morning Oasis Overnight Oats for a no-cook variation on traditional oatmeal for a quick, crunchy start to the day.
Make school mornings a breeze with more quick recipes at aldi.us.
Morning Oasis Overnight Oats
Recipe courtesy of Chef Michelle, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 10 minutes (plus overnight to set)
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups Millville Quick Oats
- 1 teaspoon Southern Grove Chia Seeds
- 2 cups Friendly Farms Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
- 1/8 teaspoon Stonemill Iodized Salt
- 3 tablespoons SimplyNature Organic Wildflower Honey, divided
- 1/4 cup SimplyNature Organic Quinoa, toasted
- 1/4 cup Southern Grove Whole Almonds, toasted
- 1 mango, sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped coconut
- .45 ounces Moser Roth Premium Dark Chocolate 70 percent Cocoa, shaved
- .45 ounces Moser Roth Premium Dark Chocolate 70 percent Cocoa, melted
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- In large mason jar, combine oats, chia seeds, almond milk, salt and 2 tablespoons honey. Refrigerate overnight.
- In medium bowl, combine quinoa, almonds and remaining honey. Spread onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Remove, cooling completely and crumbling. Store in re-sealable bag overnight.
- The next day, stir oats and pour desired amount into serving bowl. Top with mango, coconut, shaved chocolate and candied quinoa. Drizzle with melted chocolate.
Blackberry Avocado Smoothie Bowl
Recipe courtesy of Chef Audrey, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 3/4 cup blackberries
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup Friendly Farms Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
- 3/4 cup Friendly Farms Unsweetened Original Almond Milk
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1 teaspoon Stonemill Pure Vanilla
- 1 teaspoon SimplyNature Organic Wildflower Honey
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- SimplyNature Flax Seed
- Southern Grove Chia Seeds
- Southern Grove Sliced Almonds, toasted
- Lime zest
- Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to serving bowl and add garnishes as desired.
Fueling kids for back to school
(Family Features) As kids head back to school, it’s a good time to refocus on nutritious food and beverage choices to make sure kids are properly fueled and ready to learn. Making the best choices for her family is every mom’s priority, but it can be confusing to navigate all the options available.
For example, many celebrity websites, diet books, blogs and popular social media feeds make it appear trendy to ditch dairy. Yet experts say going dairy-free has significant downfalls, especially for kids and young adults. A survey from the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) found 6 in 10 moms have tried restricting their dairy intake, and fewer moms encourage their kids to drink milk today compared to how many were encouraged to drink milk themselves as children – in fact, some are even restricting their children’s intake of dairy.
It can be hard to get enough nutrients without milk in your diet. Drinking dairy milk during childhood through early adulthood is important to help achieve maximum bone strength. It’s also important to drink milk as an adult to help maintain bone strength and density. Most dairy alternatives don’t have the same nutrients as dairy milk and kids may not eat enough kale, spinach or sardines to replace the calcium in milk.
However, many moms know how important milk is for their kids. According to the NOF survey, more than 80 percent of moms know milk is nutrient-rich. In fact, milk is the top food source for three of the four nutrients of concern identified by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans: calcium, vitamin D and potassium.
Incorporating farm-fresh milk into your diet can be fun for the whole family. Try making your own flavored milk or smoothie at home with these recipes for Vanilla Cinnamon Milk or a Rainbow Unicorn Smoothie.
Find more information and nutritious recipes to pair with milk at milklife.com.
Vanilla Cinnamon Milk
- 8 ounces milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons honey
- In glass, combine milk with vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and honey. Stir until well mixed.
Nutritional information per serving: 130 calories; 5 mg cholesterol; 8 g protein; 24 g carbohydrates; 105 mg sodium; 308 mg calcium (30% of daily value).
Rainbow Unicorn Smoothie
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat or fat-free milk, plus additional (optional)
- 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
- 2 cups (about 10 large) frozen strawberries
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 cup frozen mango chunks
- 6 tablespoons whipped cream
- 4 teaspoons sprinkles
- horn candles, wicks trimmed
- Blend milk, yogurt and fruit until smooth, adding additional milk or water to thin, if needed.
- Divide smoothie into four glasses and, if desired, top each with whipped cream, sprinkles and horn candles.
Nutritional information per serving: 120 calories; 1 g fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 5 g protein; 25 g carbohydrates; 3 g fiber; 60 mg sodium; 175 mg calcium (20% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat-free milk.
(Family Features) - We all seem to thrive on competition these days. Any channel surfer can find reality shows in which folks are trying to be the next survivor on a deserted island, rock star, celebrity chef or TV design guru. But nothing can beat the real life drama in your own backyard when brats vie for "top brat" awards.
First of all, choose the brat that consumers found to be the tastiest of all grillable meats in a recent taste test. Served hot and plump off the grill, alone on a bun or tortilla, this brat's robust flavor is more than delicious all by itself. But when you're in the mood to play with your food, top your brat with a favorite condiment, relish, salsa or slaw.
Top that juicy grilled brat with pickles and onions, mustard or ketchup. Go German with sauerkraut, Southern with a tangy barbecue topping, or even Hawaiian with pineapple and papaya. As long as you grill your brat so that it's plump and juicy, the topping you choose is only going to add style points. So, top that!
Check out johnsonville.com for great recipes and more!
Are You a Grillin' Guru?
You can be, by following Johnsonville's Tips for Grilling Success.
- Use a clean grill. Repeated grilling causes excessive residue buildup on the grill rack and hull. An occasional cleaning will help to reduce flare-ups. Besides, your grill is a special gathering place for friends and family. Got to keep up appearances.
- It's OK to pre-cook. Know that it's OK to pre-cook brats. One may simmer the links in a pan of broth, or a beer and onion blend, for 8 to10 minutes prior to placing them on the grill (it's okay to dump the beer when you're done ... really, it is).
- Cook slow, on low heat, keeping grill covered. If you're using a charcoal grill, spread out the gray/white, hot coals in a single layer. Your charcoal grill is perfect for brats if you can hold your palm near the grill for 5 to 6 seconds before it gets uncomfortable. On a gas grill, start the flame at a medium setting, and when the sausage juices start to flow, reduce heat to low. A lid on the grill helps to minimize the flame, too.
- Avoid high flames! First, move the brats to safety. Raging blazes cause injury to sausage and your neighbors probably won't enjoy the sirens. Keep a spray-bottle filled with water handy to douse small flames while grilling. A garden hose would be overkill.
- Turn the brats every five minutes or so. Use tongs, never a fork ... EVER! A fork can puncture a link and release that great taste and savory flavor. Tongs keep the links intact, and make 'em easier to turn.
Know when your brats are done cooking, which is:
- about 25 to 30 minutes using the above guidelines.
- when they're golden-brown and look appetizing, not charred to a crisp. "Burning" is not "grilling"!
- when a meat thermometer probe inserted into the link reads 160°F. (Of course, a Master Griller would never be seen doing this.)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black pepper
- 1 bottle (12 ounces) dark beer
- 4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup stone ground mustard
- In skillet, melt butter.
- Add garlic and sauté over low heat until tender. Add pepper and beer; bring to boil.
- Reduce heat and gradually add cheese; stirring until melted. Continue to cook and stir until mixture is reduced by 1/3.
- Remove from heat. Add mustard; stir until blended. Pour into storage container. Refrigerate until ready to serve as a condiment to grilled brats.
Yield: 2 cups.
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Grilling suggestion: Blend 1 cup Gorgonzola mustard with 1/3 cup dark beer. Use as brushing or basting sauce for brat kabobs, whole brats or vegetables when grilling.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- 1 cup prepared coleslaw dressing
- 1 package (16 ounces) cabbage slaw
- In skillet, heat oil. Sauté onion and garlic until translucent and slightly brown. Remove from heat, cool slightly.
- In small bowl, combine onion mixture with barbecue sauce and coleslaw dressing. Pour over cabbage slaw and toss lightly to coat.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve as topping with grilled brats.
Yield about 5 cups
- 1/2 cup cider or rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup diced papaya
- 1/2 cup diced sweet onion
- 1/2 cup diced mango
- 1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple tidbits, drained
- 1/2 cup diced sweet red roasted peppers, drained
- 2 green onions, finely sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon Chinese 5 spices
- In small saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar and salt; bring to boil.
- Reduce heat, add garlic and pepper flakes; continue to simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature.
- In bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour vinegar mixture over fruit; toss lightly. Refrigerate until ready to serve as condiment to grilled brats.
Yield 3 cups
The warmer temperatures call for a menu that's light and healthy, but with a uniquely tropical flavor. For an easy, casual entrée with a beachy feel, Baja Fish Tacos and Mango Salsa are sure to please.
- 2 large ripe mangos, peeled, pitted and chopped
- 1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 green onions, sliced (green tops only)
- 1 small jalapeño pepper (stem, seeds and membranes removed)
- 1 pound cod fillets, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon each: ground cumin, Mexican oregano and garlic salt
- 8 corn tortillas, warmed
- 2 cups shredded green or red cabbage
- 1/2 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (may substitute shredded Monterey Jack)
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- Stir together all salsa ingredients in medium bowl; set aside.
- Place cod on 2 large sheets of parchment paper.
- Stir together dry seasonings in small bowl and sprinkle over cod. Bring edges of parchment paper together and fold twice. Fold ends under to enclose fish. Place packets on baking sheet and bake 15 to 18 minutes. Open packets carefully to let steam escape.
- Place equal amounts cod in each tortilla and top with cabbage, cheese and mango salsa.
15 to 20 minutes
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Pair with Mirassou Monterey County Riesling