recipes

Videos 07 March 2019

How to Make Spanakopita Puffs

(Family Features) If you want to impress your guests, try serving this puff pastry recipe as an appetizer at your next gathering.This flaky pastry filled with a delicious combination of spinach, onions and feta cheese can keep them coming back for more.

For more appetizer ideas, visit culinary.net.

Watch video to see how to make this delicious recipe!

Spanakopita Puffs

  • 1                    package puff pastry sheets
  • 1                    tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1                    small onion, diced
  • 10 ounces      frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 4 ounces        light cream cheese, softened
  • 2                    eggs, divided
  • 1/2                 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4                 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2                 cup crumbled garlic and herb feta cheese
  • 1                    tablespoon cold water
  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Thaw folded pastries 15 minutes.  Once thawed, unfold sheets to thaw out flat.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter.  Add onions and saute 3 - 5 minutes, or until tender and translucent.
  4. Stir spinach into softened onions. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until water from spinach evaporates and spinach is mostly dry. Transfer spinach mixture to large bowl.
  5. In small bowl, blend cream cheese with one egg, salt and pepper until smooth. Fold cream cheese mixture into spinach mixture to combine. Stir in feta cheese and set aside.
  6. Line baking pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  7. On floured surface, roll one sheet of puff pastry out to 10 by 12 inch rectangle. Cut sheet in half lengthwise, then again widthwise to form four 5 by 6 inch rectangles. Place rectangles on prepared baking sheets.
  8. Place spoonful of filling onto center of each cut pastry. Whisk remaining egg with cold water to create egg wash. Lightly brush egg wash around perimeter edges of each pastry square.
  9. Pick up short side of pastry and fold over filling toward other short side. Press edges to seal before crimping with fork. Repeat with remaining pastries.
  10. Brush small amount egg wash over top of each pastry. Cut small slits on top of each pastry to allow filling to vent steam while cooking.
  11. Bake 25 - 30 minutes, or until pastries are evenly browned on top.
  12. Transfer pastries to wire rack. Cool 8 - 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from MilkMeansMore.org.

Source: Culinary.net

Holiday 01 November 2018

Holiday Inspiration for Every Occasion

(Family Features) The holiday season is full of opportunities to eat, drink and gather around the table with the ones you love. Whether it's a family dinner, office potluck or neighborhood brunch, good food is a cornerstone of nearly every great holiday celebration.

From hosting guests to kids returning home on winter break, the holiday season can require more planning than usual. Ensure you're prepared this year with a savory centerpiece staple like Smithfield Spiral Sliced Ham or a crowd-pleasing favorite like Bacon French Toast Bake, giving you more time to soak in the best parts of the season.

To keep the holiday season fresh and exciting, consider putting a twist on a classic, like adding sausage to a traditional side dish like Sausage and Ciabatta Stuffing. Available as links, patties and rolls, Smithfield's line of Fresh Breakfast Sausage is made using premium, high-quality pork to provide big flavor that can be enjoyed any time of day.

For more recipes and tips that can help make your holiday soiree a breeze, visit Smithfield.com/HolidayHub.


Bacon French Toast Bake

  • 1 small loaf challah or brioche bread, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 slices Smithfield Bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar, for dusting
  1. Leave bread slices out, at room temperature, at least 3 hours, or until slightly stale.
  2. Generously coat 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange bread, slightly overlapping.
  3. In large bowl, whisk eggs, heavy cream, milk, Gruyere cheese, maple syrup and cinnamon. Add chopped bacon, saving 2 tablespoons for later. Pour over bread in baking dish. With hands, press down on bread to submerge.
  4. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 5 hours, or overnight.
  5. Heat oven to 375 F. Remove plastic. Sprinkle remaining bacon and Swiss cheese over top of bread mixture.
  6. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown and set.
  7. Top with blackberries and dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Sausage and Ciabatta Stuffing

  • 1 large loaf ciabatta bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 pound Smithfield Fresh Sausage Roll
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, diced
  • 2 cups celery, diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Heat oven to 325 F.
  2. Bake ciabatta bread cubes until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Set aside. Increase oven temperature to 375 F.
  3. In skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter.
  4. Cook sausage, breaking meat into medium pieces, until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer sausage to large bowl; set aside.
  5. Add remaining butter to skillet; cook carrots, onions and celery until soft, 5-7 minutes, and transfer to bowl with sausage.
  6. In large bowl, mix bread cubes, chicken broth, olive oil, parsley, rosemary and salt and pepper, to taste. Add vegetable and sausage mixture to bread cubes mixture and combine.
  7. Spread evenly in greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake until golden brown and bread is slightly crisp on top, 30-35 minutes.
  8. Garnish with additional parsley before serving.

Tip: Recipe can be made one day before and refrigerated overnight.

Source: Smithfield

Seafood 06 February 2019

Eat Healthy with Seafood

(Family Features) Eating healthy isn’t always easy, and when your family is rushing around in the evenings it can seem like a daunting task to put a well-balanced, nutritious meal on the table.

However, cooking at home with a lean protein you can feel good about serving, like seafood, is one way to serve up quick, good-for-you meals. In fact, one-third of people surveyed reported they increased their fish consumption at home last year, according to Datassential.

Research published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” showed eating seafood 2-3 times per week can improve brain, eye, heart and prenatal health. Seafood also provides unique health benefits as one of the best sources for omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats essential to human health and development.

As only one out of 10 Americans meets the Dietary Guidelines recommendation of two servings of seafood per week, National Seafood Month is a great time to incorporate more seafood into you and your family’s meals. Check out these tips from the Seafood Nutrition Partnership:

  • Make a game plan or meal plan for the week to figure out when you can incorporate seafood into your meals.
  • Stock up on canned and frozen seafood at the grocery store and keep an eye out for sales or coupons.
  • Make easy swaps, like using white fish or shrimp in tacos instead of beef or a salmon patty instead of a burger patty.
  • Try doubling recipes so you only have to cook it once but can reap the benefits of eating seafood twice in one week.
  • Use kitchen gadgets like slow cookers and pressure cookers to prepare seafood-based meals in a pinch.

For recipes, ideas and inspiration for eating seafood at least two times per week, visit seafoodnutrition.org or follow #Seafood2xWk on social media.
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One Pan Fish Dish

Recipe courtesy of Michael-Ann Rowe on behalf of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1/8       cup canola oil
  • 1/4       cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1          medium onion, quartered
  • 2          cups broccoli florets
  • 1          lemon, half sliced and half juiced, divided
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1          pound white fish (such as snapper, grouper, flounder or barramundi)
  • 4          tablespoons olive oil
  • fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)
  1. In pan over medium heat, heat canola oil about 1 minute.
  2. Add tomatoes, onions and broccoli to pan; cook 5 minutes, uncovered.
  3. Drizzle lemon juice over vegetables and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Place fish on top of vegetables in center of pan and place two lemon slices on top of fish.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Cover pan and cook on medium heat 10-12 minutes depending on thickness of fish.
  7. Drizzle olive oil over fish and top with rosemary, if desired, before serving.

Source: Seafood Nutrition Partnership

Videos 31 January 2019

Tomato-Tortellini Soup

When the weather is frightfully cold and you need something quick to warm you up, try this recipe for Tomato-Tortellini soup. With only 4 ingredients, you'll be warm and cozy in no time.

For more comfort food ideas, go to www.culinary.net.

Watch video to see how to make this delicious recipe!




 Tomato-Tortellini Soup

  • 2              14 ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1              9 ounce package of refrigerated tortellini
  • 1              8 ounce tub cream cheese spread with chive and onion
  • 1              can tomato soup
  • Fresh chives (optional)
  1. In a medium sauce pan bring broth to a boil.  Add tortellini then reduce heat to simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
  2. In a bowl whisk 1/3 cup of hot broth into the cream cheese spread.  Whisk until smooth.  Pour contents into sauce pan.
  3. Stir in tomato soup and heat through.
  4. Serve with fresh chives, if desired.

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens.

Source: Culinary.net

Healthy 29 January 2019

Eat Healthy with Easy Meal-Planning Tricks

(Family Features) If you’re having trouble getting started, or even sticking to, a healthy eating regimen, you may be surprised that one highly effective practice doesn’t require counting calories or hours of exercise. You simply need to plan out your meals.

When hunger strikes, it’s tempting to grab the fastest, easiest-to-make food available, but that’s rarely the best choice for your health. Planning your meals encourages you to invest in better-for-you options ahead of time and reduces food waste, while saving significant time and money in the long-term. If you don’t know where to start, follow these easy tips to help make meal planning a breeze:

  1. Build meals around themes like taco night or seafood night. This can help narrow down your options but still allow you to experiment with new recipes or variations on favorites that can be added to your regular rotation. 
  1. Be sure to include breakfast, lunch and snacks. Whether these are meals on the go or foods you’ll eat at home, planning ahead can help ensure you have tasty, healthy options at your fingertips all day long.
  1. Make it a family affair. Invite meal feedback from everyone and keep kids involved in the prep process to create more family time together.
  1. Take inventory of your pantry and leftovers before heading to the store – yesterday’s grapefruit breakfast could be today’s citrus salad.
  1. Shop wisely. Maximize time and money savings by shopping at a store such as ALDI, where you can find all your weekly must-haves, like fresh produce and organics, dairy, USDA Choice beef and bakery items. ALDI also offers a variety of healthy eating resources, including weekly meal plans and recipes like these Quinoa Lentil Tacos, at aldi.us/hellohealthy.

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Quinoa Lentil Tacos

Recipe courtesy of Chef Michelle, ALDI Test Kitchen

  • 32        ounces SimplyNature Vegetable Broth
  • 3/4       teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Iodized Salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Ground Black Pepper
  • 1          tablespoon Stonemill Essentials Paprika
  • 1          teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Ground Cumin
  • 1          teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Garlic Powder
  • 1          teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Chili Powder
  • 1          teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Onion Powder
  • 1          cup SimplyNature Organic Tri-Color Quinoa, rinsed
  • 1          cup dry lentils, rinsed
  • 1          tablespoon Baker’s Corner Corn Starch
  • 10        Pueblo Lindo White Corn Tortillas
  • 1/2       cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1          avocado, diced
  • 1/2       cup crumbled Pueblo Lindo Fresco Cheese
  • 2          limes, cut into wedges
  1. In medium saucepan, bring broth, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, quinoa and lentils to boil; reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes, partially covered.
  2. Remove lid and add corn starch. Stir 5-8 minutes until lentils are cooked through.
  3. Heat medium pan over high heat. Heat tortillas 1 minute on each side.
  4. Divide lentil mixture evenly among tortillas. Top with red onion, avocado and fresco cheese. Serve each with lime wedge.

Source: ALDI

Meal Ideas 21 September 2018

What’s in the Can May Surprise You

Cooking with canned foods combines convenience and nutrition

(Family Features) Simple, convenient and versatile, canned foods provide an array of options for families looking to increase nutrition during mealtimes. However, some home chefs may not be aware of the benefits canned foods bring to the table. 

Consider these common consumer misnomers cleared up by the Canned Food Alliance:

Myth: Canned foods don’t count toward dietary goals.
Fact: Canned foods provide important nutrients that deliver on the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines, as all forms of fruits, vegetables, beans, meats and seafood – whether fresh, frozen, canned or dried – are recommended to help ensure a proper balance of nutrients. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the Canned Food Alliance, 95 percent of health professionals surveyed agree that all forms of food, including canned, can help consumers meet the USDA’s MyPlate fruit and vegetable recommendations.

Myth: Canned foods aren’t as nutritious as fresh or frozen foods.
Fact: Research published in the “Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture” shows canned foods can be as nutritious, and in some cases more nutritious, than fresh and frozen counterparts.

Myth: Canned foods are filled with preservatives.
Fact: Because canned foods have already been cooked, preservatives aren’t necessary to prevent spoilage. The canning process itself preserves the food.

Myth: Canned foods are highly processed.
Fact: Once canned fruits and vegetables are picked and packed near peak ripeness, they’re cooked quickly at high temperatures to lock in nutrients, similar to the home-canning process.

Myth: Canned foods are high in sodium.
Fact: Salt and sodium aren’t required for preservation of canned foods, and low- and no-sodium canned food options are available. Additionally, draining and rinsing canned foods can further reduce sodium by up to 41 percent.

Find more canned food facts and recipes at mealtime.org.
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Chipotle Pumpkin Black Bean Chili

Recipe courtesy of the Canned Food Alliance
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 60-70 minutes
Servings: 4-6

  • 2          tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1          onion, chopped
  • 1          rib celery, chopped
  • 2          jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 3          cloves garlic, minced
  • 1          teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1          teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2          tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1          can (28 ounces) no-salt added canned diced tomatoes
  • 1          cup canned pureed pumpkin
  • 1          cup no-salt-added canned chicken broth
  • 1          can no-salt-added canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1          can (12 1/2 ounces) no-salt-added chicken, drained
  • 1          chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 1          teaspoon brown sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • 2          green onions, finely chopped
  • lime wedges, for serving
  1. In Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions, celery, jalapenos, garlic, cumin, oregano and pepper. Cook, stirring, 5-8 minutes, or until vegetables soften. Add tomato paste and cook 2 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, pumpkin puree, chicken broth, black beans, chicken, chipotles and brown sugar. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 hour, or until chili thickens. Add salt, to taste.
  3. Garnish with green onions and serve with lime wedges.

Tip: Add preferred canned beans, such as white kidney beans, pinto or Romano beans, in place of or in addition to black beans.  

Nutritional information per serving: 240 calories; 6 g fat; 35 mg cholesterol; 210 mg sodium; 29 g carbohydrates; 8 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 18 g protein; 7,390 IU vitamin A; 35 mg vitamin C; 98 mg calcium; 3.2 mg iron.

Source:  Canned Food Alliance

Meal Ideas 09 November 2017

A Festive Meal to Remember

(Family Features) Make your perfect holiday story complete by serving one of the best holiday dinners you’ve ever enjoyed. A prime rib roast paired with savory toppings is guaranteed to earn rave reviews from the whole family. Add easy gourmet sides and a holiday dessert to create a memorable meal that may well become a new holiday tradition. Best of all, it’s even easier than you may expect.

Upscale side dishes can make the meal complete. If you’re short on time or want to eliminate some of the fuss, you can take almost all the work out of a holiday dinner by using prepared side dishes from Omaha Steaks. Options like Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots, Roasted Root Vegetables or Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes can lend a special touch to your holiday feast.

No festive feast is complete without dessert, and individual-sized Sticky Toffee Pudding Cakes are a perfect solution. They’re made with real, premium ingredients, so all you need to do is pop them in the microwave straight from the freezer.

Reverse-Seared Roasting

The reverse searing method can lead to a well-browned holiday roast with an evenly cooked interior that’s tender and flavorful.

  1. A day before cooking, dry brine or season roast and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator to develop crust and flavor. This dries the outside of the roast and forms a layer that allows even browning while locking in moisture.
  1. Place roast in the oven at a low temperature to cook evenly from edge to edge. Take it out at an interior temperature of 5-10 degrees below desired finished temperature; it will cook a little more while resting and during searing.
  1. Remove from oven and sear roast in a broiler, grill or hot pan to create the crust.

Find more recipes for a holiday dinner to remember at OmahaSteaks.com.

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Horseradish Cream

Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

  • 1/2       cup mayonnaise
  • 3          tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1          tablespoon white vinegar, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1          teaspoon kosher salt   
  • 1/8       teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8       teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2       cup heavy whipping cream
  1. In medium mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, horseradish, vinegar, salt, cayenne and black pepper. Whip cream to soft peaks using stand mixer. Gently fold into mayonnaise mixture. Chill until ready to serve.

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Reverse-Seared Prime Rib Roast

Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 4 days

  • 4          pound Omaha Steaks Bone-In Frenched Prime Rib Roast
  • any variety Omaha Steaks Rub
  1. Thaw roast completely in refrigerator before cooking; allow 48-72 hours. Season roast with rub 12-18 hours before cooking and leave uncovered in refrigerator overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, heat oven to 225° F. Place roast on elevated rack in roasting pan. Roast 3 hours and 15 minutes, or to internal temperature of 120-125° F. Let roast rest 30-45 minutes.
  3. Broil on high 2 inches from broiler, 4 minutes on one side, 2 minutes on other side, or until brown crust uniformly covers roast.

Tip: For easier carving, trim roast from bones prior to cooking. Stand rib roast on end so ribs are pointed up. Using sharp knife, cut along bone, being careful not to cut into roast. Tie roast up with butcher’s twine to hold it together while cooking.

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Reverse-Seared Chateaubriand

Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 4 days

  • 2          pound Omaha Steaks Chateaubriand Roast
  • any variety Omaha Steaks Rub
  1. Thaw roast completely in refrigerator before cooking; allow 48-72 hours. Season roast with rub 12-18 hours before cooking and leave uncovered in refrigerator overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, heat oven to 225° F. Place roast on elevated rack in roasting pan. Roast 2 hours, or to internal temperature of 120-125° F. Let roast rest 30-45 minutes.
  3. Broil on high 2 inches from broiler, 4 minutes on one side, 2 minutes on other side, or until brown crust uniformly covers roast.

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Figgie Onion Jam

Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

  • 2          tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1          medium red onion, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1          cup dried black Mission figs, stems removed
  • 1          cup water, divided
  • 1/2       cup balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1/2       cup sugar
  • 3/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4       teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In 4-cup sauce pot, melt butter over low heat. Add onions. Cover and cook on low 15 minutes until onions have softened. Add figs, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup vinegar, sugar and salt. Cover and cook on low another 15 minutes until figs have softened.
  2. Remove pot from heat and add black pepper and vanilla extract. Pour into blender or use immersion blender to process until smooth. Add remaining water and vinegar to blender for smoother jam or leave as-is for a more chunky texture.

Source: Omaha Steaks

Meal Ideas 25 October 2017

Warm Up Fall Meals with Wine

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

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

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

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

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

Serves: 4

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

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Kobrand Wine and Spirits

Meal Ideas 09 August 2017

Spice Up School Days

(Family Features) Busy school days demand meals that can match the pace of life. A Mexican-themed meal is a sure way to keep things festive and lively around the family dinner table.

Not only does a meal centered on Mexican-style foods let you spice up your menu, it also allows for plenty of personalization so even the pickiest of palates can be satisfied. That means less time for preparation and more time spent together.

Put a fresh twist on your next school-night fiesta with these ideas:

  • An ethnically-inspired meal is a great opportunity to encourage kids to try out new flavors and experiment with foods they wouldn't normally eat. Sample variations of classic salsas, incorporate seasonal ingredients like jicama and diced sweet peppers to freshen up your dishes or put a spicy spin on a classic Italian favorite by creating Mexican-inspired stuffed shells.
     
  • Get creative with proteins. Chicken and beef are common options, but heart-healthy fish and shrimp are also great candidates for a Mexican-style meal. Pork is another good choice for many Mexican dishes, and beans provide an excellent source of added protein, along with some flavor variety.
     
  • Mex-up your taco night. Try an alternative to the traditional corn shell with an option like Ortega Good Grains Taco Shells, crafted with artisanal blends of real corn, unique grains and ingredients baked into each shell. They're made with whole kernel corn, giving them an authentic taste and a distinctive flavor, aroma and texture.
     
  • Keep things kid-friendly and fun by focusing on finger foods. A large taco can be difficult for little hands to handle, but a street taco portion, a chimichanga or even nachos are more hands-on.
     
  • Look for fun toppings that add an extra crunch. For example, new Ortega Crispy Taco Toppers, lightly breaded slices of real jalapeno or onion, provide a bold kick and are the perfect finishing touch for tacos, salads and even Mexican-style burgers.
     
  • Don't forget dessert. No meal is complete without a sweet treat, such as a churro, flan, empanada or sopapilla. Many of these favorites can be prepared ahead of time so you can simply cook and serve for a perfect ending to your family fiesta.

Find more mealtime inspiration like these recipes, perfect for the busy back-to-school season, at ortega.com, or find Ortega on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Slow Cooked "Pulled" Chicken Tacos

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Servings: 5

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 bottle (8 ounces) Ortega Chipotle Taco Sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 package (10 shells) Ortega Good Grains White Corn with Chia Taco Shells, warmed
    taco toppings
  1. In medium pan, combine chicken, taco sauce, chicken stock, salt and pepper, and cook on low, covered, approximately 2 hours, or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165° F. Remove chicken from pan and shred using two forks.
  2. Turn heat to medium-high and reduce cooking liquid into thick sauce, cooking 3-5 minutes and stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and combine sauce with shredded chicken.
  4. Serve in taco shells with desired taco toppings.

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Baja Chicken Pizza

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 5

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 1 pound
  • 1 bottle (8 ounces) Ortega Green Taco Sauce
  • 1 can Ortega Vegetarian Refried Beans
  • 3/4 cup Ortega Homestyle Salsa (any variety)
  • 1 Mama Mary's prepared pizza crust
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can (4 ounces) Ortega Diced Green Chiles
  • 1 bag (8 ounces) Mexican-style shredded cheese
  • 1 bottle (8 ounces) Ortega Original Taco Sauce (any variety)
  • 1 bag Ortega Crispy Onion Taco Toppers
  1. In large bowl or re-sealable plastic bag, combine chicken breasts with green taco sauce. Stir or shake to coat. Marinate at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F.
  3. Bake chicken 15-20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165° F.
  4. Let chicken cool 10 minutes then cut into small cubes.
  5. In medium bowl, combine refried beans and salsa.
  6. Transfer prepared pizza crust to baking sheet.
  7. Spread bean mixture over dough, leaving 1/4 inch at edges for crust.
  8. Top with peppers, green chiles, chicken and cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.
  9. Top with taco sauce and crispy onion toppers then serve.

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Mexican Style "Totchos"

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 5

  • 1 package (32 ounces) tater tots
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 packet Ortega Taco Seasoning
  • 1cup water
  • 16 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 container (16 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 bag Ortega Crispy Jalapeno
  • Taco Toppers
  1. Prepare tater tots according to package directions.
  2. Heat medium skillet over medium heat. Cook ground beef 4-5 minutes until browned, using wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Add taco seasoning and water. Cook until water evaporates and sauce is thickened.
  3. Top hot tater tots with cooked ground beef and cheese, and broil in oven 5 minutes.
  4. Top with tomatoes, sour cream and crispy jalapeno toppers, and serve immediately.

Source: Ortega

Grilling-Tailgating 06 June 2017

Savory Summer Grilling

(Family Features) There’s not much that tastes better during the summer than a meal hot off the grill. If you’re in the mood for a delicious backyard dish, try adding versatility to your grilling game with a few simple tips.

Try a new cooking method. If your usual preparation involves a basic flame, you may be surprised by all the different flavors you can evoke just by changing the method. Whether you’re using gas or charcoal, switch from standard grilling to smoking over indirect heat. You can also use seasoned wood chips with most grilling methods to build a completely different flavor profile.

Look for non-traditional ways to use your favorite proteins. Instead of the traditional steak or chicken on a kabob, you can create a whole new flavor experience using smoked sausage. For example, Eckrich offers a variety of smoked sausage flavors in traditional ropes and bun-length links, all with just the right blend of seasonings for a rich, savory taste.

Explore new condiments and toppings. Ketchup, mustard and relish may be staples at the condiment station, but there’s no reason you can’t add a little something extra. Grilled onions, mushrooms and peppers are all simple and delicious ways to add flavor. Or try something entirely new, like this sweet, tangy marmalade made with bacon and onions.

Find more summer grilling ideas at Eckrich.com.

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Smoked Sausage Links with Bacon and Onion Marmalade

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 2-3 strips bacon
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 6 onions) Vidalia onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cane syrup
  • 1 package Eckrich Smoked Sausage Links (bun-length)
  • 6 hot dog buns
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and lay strips of bacon flat. Cook until crispy, about 20-25 minutes. Chop bacon into small pieces and set aside.
  3. In dry pot over medium heat, toast mustard seeds until slightly browned.
  4. Add bacon, vinegar, onions, brown sugar and cane syrup to pot. Cover, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Cook about 20 minutes at medium-high heat. Remove pot cover and reduce to medium heat. Cook until liquid is reduced and onions are dark in color, about 50 minutes.
  5. Oil grill and bring to medium heat. Grill sausage 12 minutes, or until heated through.
  6. Place smoked sausage in hot dog bun and cover evenly with marmalade.

Note: Marmalade can be made in advance for easier dinner preparation and can be kept up to 2 weeks in a refrigerator or 3 months in a freezer.

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Grilled Kabobs with Smoked Sausage and Veggies

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 6 wooden skewers
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 package Eckrich Original Smoked Sausage (rope)
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 2 large yellow bell peppers
  • 1 large red onion
  1. Soak skewers in water 1 hour. Spray grill and heat to medium.
  2. Cut smoked sausage diagonally into 1-inch pieces. Slice zucchini, bell peppers and onion into 1/2-inch pieces.
  3. Thread smoked sausage, peppers, zucchini and onion onto skewers.
  4. Grill kabobs until smoked sausage is hot and vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from grill and serve immediately.

Source: Eckrich

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