(Family Features) Filling the kitchen with plant-based ingredients is an easy way to nudge kids toward nutritious after-school snacks and make busy weeknight dinners as healthy as they are delicious.
When you consume foods that boost your energy and give your body the fuel it needs, you can expect to feel healthier, both physically and emotionally. In many cases the foods that deliver are plant-based, and you can create delicious and healthy meals while adhering to a plant-based eating plan.
Make Easy Substitutes
Having a vegetarian meal once a day is a great start, or even try “meatless Mondays” at home. Swap out ice cream and instead go for frozen blended bananas as an after-dinner treat. Try a nut- or grain-based milk in place of your normal dairy.
Make Gradual Changes
Drastically changing your eating habits can be challenging. Small, sustainable changes are easier to manage and simpler to implement. Even one change per day can lead to healthier eating, like swapping the meat in a normal sandwich for a plant-based protein, such as a salad made with chickpeas or lentils, for a quick and easy lunch.
Start Meal Planning
Meal planning can reduce the time you spend in the kitchen and cut the cost of your groceries while making plant-based eating easy. When you plan meals in advance, you can buy in bulk and do the prep work ahead of time, which means you can whip up tasty plant-based meals in minutes. Keep healthy staples on hand like vegan, cholesterol-free and trans fat-free Toufayan multi-grain pita bread. The pre-split pita is perfect to keep on hand and fill with your favorite plant-based ingredients for a quick meal or pair with hummus, chickpea salad or apples. Made with quality, wholesome ingredients, each bread is hearth-baked to a golden brown for a tasty, convenient and versatile complement to a wide range of plant-based foods. They’re easy to find in your local grocer’s deli section.
Get inspired to create family-friendly, plant-based dishes with these recipes and more at Toufayan.com.
Apple Pie Stuffed Pitas
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 17 minutes
- 4 green apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons plant-based butter
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Oat Crumble Topping:
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons plant-based butter
- 4 Toufayan Multi-Grain Pita Bread
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- To make filling: In large saute pan over medium heat add apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, white sugar, water and cornstarch. Cook apples down about 10 minutes until they begin to get gooey.
- To make oat crumble topping: In medium bowl, mix flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, orange juice and salt. Cut in butter and mix until crumbs begin to form.
- Cut pitas in half and line baking sheet. Fill one pita half with apple filling and lay on its side, being careful to not let apples fall out. Top with oat crumble. Repeat with remaining pitas.
- Bake about 6 minutes. If desired, broil 1 minute for additional color.
Roasted Chickpea Cauliflower Sandwiches
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
- 1 can chickpeas, roasted
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, plus additional, to taste, divided
- garlic salt, to taste
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1/4 cup plant-based yogurt or sour cream
- 1/2 red pepper, diced
- 1/3 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup corn kernels (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon dill
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 3 Toufayan Bakeries Multi Grain Pitas, halved
- parsley, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Season chickpeas with salt, pepper and garlic salt, to taste. Roast chickpeas 40-45 minutes.
- In bowl, mix chopped cauliflower; yogurt or sour cream, diced pepper; shredded carrots; corn, if desired; 1/4 teaspoon salt; 1/8 teaspoon pepper; dill; garlic powder and paprika.
- Once chickpeas are roasted, add to bowl and mix well. Spoon mixture into six pitas and garnish with parsley.
(Family Features) Whether you enjoy your spring meals al fresco or simply turn to warm-weather dishes at the comfort of your own dining table, the season brings with it a perfect excuse to shake up your menu.
Lighter fare is often the way to go as temperatures climb, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a regular sandwich or a boring salad. Instead, enhance these springtime classics by rethinking tradition in tasty (yet easy) ways.
This Sabich recipe calls for a multitude of fresh flavors including Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets and Onions and hard-boiled eggs plus a variety of veggies, hummus and ethnic seasonings. Or, if a quick and easy salad calls your name for an outdoor meal, this Tossed Bean Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette requires only READ Bean Salad, mixed greens and a handful of other ingredients.
Tossed Bean Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Prep time: 15 minutes
- 1 can (15 ounces) READ 3 or 4 Bean Salad
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 package (about 10 ounces) mixed salad greens with carrots
- 4 slices bacon (about 1/4 cup), cooked crisp and crumbled (optional)
- shaved Parmesan or Asiago cheese (optional)
- Drain bean salad well; in small bowl, reserve 1/2 cup liquid.
- To make dressing: Whisk reserved bean liquid and lemon juice then whisk in oil. Add pepper, to taste.
- Place salad greens in bowl. Add bean salad and bacon. Add dressing, as desired. Toss gently to coat. Arrange on platter; top with shaved cheese, if desired.
Variation: Top salad with sliced grilled chicken then top with cheese.
Recipe courtesy of eazypeazymealz.com
Prep time: 20 minutes
- 1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets and Onions
- 1 medium eggplant
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus additional, to taste, divided
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
- pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons za’atar, plus additional for serving, divided (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon sumac, plus additional for serving, divided (optional)
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 lemon, juice only
- 4 whole-grain pita breads with pockets
- 1/2 cup hummus
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1 medium green bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup Amba pickled mango sauce (optional)
- 1/4 cup tahini
- Drain beets and onions; set aside.
- Wash eggplant. Slice into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Place slices on cooling rack. Add 2 teaspoons salt to slices to draw out extra moisture. Let sit 10 minutes. Pat extra moisture off.
- In large 14-inch skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Once oil is hot, place eggplant slices in oil; fry until browned, about 3 minutes per side, in batches of four pieces. Place on paper towel-lined plate to absorb additional oil.
- Season hard-boiled egg slices with salt and pepper, to taste. Season with 1/2 teaspoon za’atar and sumac, if desired. Set aside.
- To make salad: In medium bowl, combine cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, lemon juice and remaining za’atar. Set aside.
- Gently slice one end of each pita and open pocket. In microwave on high, heat pitas 10 seconds. Place equal amounts fried eggplant in each pita. Spread 2 tablespoons hummus in each pita. Gently layer one-fourth of egg slices, beets and onions, cabbage, Israeli salad and green peppers in each pita.
- Drizzle each sabich with about 1 tablespoon amba sauce, if desired, and 1 tablespoon tahini. Season with additional salt and pepper or sumac and Za’atar, if desired.
(Family Features) Adding delicious, new flavors to your homecooked meals this spring may be easier than you think. A secret ingredient like cooking wine is a simple way to add a boost of flavor to all kinds of recipes.
During the spring months, few people would prefer cooking in the kitchen for hours rather than enjoying the outdoors. Make spending time with family and friends even more special by sharing a quick, delicious, spring-inspired meal together. Time-saving dishes at home begin with an option like Holland House® Cooking Wines that add an extra boost of flavor to recipes like Chicken Gyro Bowls. Perfect for a weeknight meal, the recipe combines pantry staples and enticing seasonings for an easy-to-make dish using a slow cooker.
Featuring savory chicken gyro meat atop a scoopful of rice, crisp and vibrant veggies, and garnished with crumbly feta and tangy tzatziki sauce, the bowls are bursting with flavor and perfect for the season.
Cooking wines are flavor-enhancing ingredients that can quickly transform an ordinary meal into an extraordinary one. Available in four flavors – Marsala, Sherry, White and Red – Holland House Cooking Wines are made with fine grapes and perfectly blended seasonings, aged to perfection, to offer bold flavor to your springtime cooking. Consider these uses for each variety:
Sherry cooking wine works equally well in dessert recipes, main dishes, sides, soups and sauces. One example is these delicious Chicken Gyro Bowls, which you can leave cooking in the Crockpot™ throughout the day. The remaining preparation is fast for a weeknight meal that’s ready in next to no time.
Best known for its use in chicken marsala, marsala cooking wine lends flavor to other preparations, too. Marinate sliced meat in marsala cooking wine before grilling, roasting or sauteing, or swirl it into gravies and soups to add delicious, savory flavor.
Stir red cooking wine into gravies and red sauces, or try marinating less-tender cuts of beef, lamb or pork in the refrigerator (for up to 24 hours) to boost flavor and tenderness.
White cooking wine pairs well with fish and lighter fare like chicken and turkey, as well as rice dishes.
Chicken Gyro Bowls
Recipe courtesy of Jillian of Food, Folks and Fun
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 4-6 hours
Chicken Gyro Meat:
- 1/4 cup Holland House Sherry Cooking Wine
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups long-grain rice
- 1 medium cucumber, seeded and sliced
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 1/2 cups tzatziki sauce
- black pepper, to taste
- 4 pitas, warmed and cut into wedges
- To make chicken gyro meat: In small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk cooking wine, chicken broth and lemon juice; set aside.
- In separate small bowl, combine dried oregano, salt and pepper; set aside.
- Add chopped onion to bottom of slow cooker and lay chicken breasts on top of onions.
- Pour cooking wine mixture over onions and chicken.
- Sprinkle half of oregano mixture over top of chicken. Flip chicken over and sprinkle remaining oregano mixture over chicken.
- Evenly distribute minced garlic over chicken.
- Cover slow cooker with lid and cook on high 4-6 hours or low 6-8 hours.
- Shred cooked chicken then use wooden spoon to mix shredded chicken, onions and remaining liquid together. Turn off slow cooker and let mixture sit, with lid on, while preparing rice.
- To make gyro bowls: Cook rice according to package instructions.
- Place rice in bowls and top with chicken gyro mixture, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, feta, tzatziki sauce and black pepper, to taste. Serve with pita wedges.
Souce: Holland House
(Family Features) Staying healthy is important year-round, but especially in the cooler months when temperatures drop, people spend more time inside and germs can spread easily. What you eat and the lifestyle you embrace are critical components of staying healthy.
Nourishing meals full of fruits, vegetables, protein-rich foods and whole grains help provide the body's immune system with the nutrients it needs. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by getting enough sleep, being physically active every day, having enough fluids and reducing stress also help keep the immune system in shape.
As a nutritious food to include on your grocery list, grapes of all colors - red, green and black - contain more than 1,600 natural plant compounds such as antioxidants and other polyphenols that help protect the health of cells throughout the body. They also contain about 82% water, so they provide important fluids for hydration, which is also critical to a healthy immune system.
Grapes can be enjoyed as a healthy snack or an immune-boosting ingredient in recipes like Chicken, Spinach and Grape Pita sandwiches and Grape and Salmon Power Salad. Each provides a mix of immune-supporting nutrients, including zinc in chicken, vitamins A and C in kale, polyphenols in grapes and other important nutrients in the salmon, walnuts and barley.
Chicken, Spinach and Grape Pita
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground sumac
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 package (5-6 ounces) fresh baby spinach, washed and dried
- 1 1/2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (about 8 ounces)
- 1 cup red California grapes, sliced
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 4 whole-wheat pita breads (6 1/2 inches each), warmed and halved
- In small skillet over medium-high heat, toast pine nuts, stirring constantly until toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and let cool. In large bowl, whisk lemon juice, shallot, olive oil, red pepper flakes, sumac, salt and pepper. Add spinach, chicken, grapes, feta and pine nuts; toss to mix. Stuff into pita breads and serve.
Nutritional information per serving: 445 calories; 24 g protein; 46 g carbohydrates; 20 g fat (39% calories from fat); 5 g saturated fat (10% calories from saturated fat); 57 mg cholesterol; 658 mg sodium; 6 g fiber.
Grape and Salmon Power Salad
- 3/4 cup pearled barley
- 3 cups firmly packed kale leaves, torn and sliced into ribbons
- 1 cup halved red or black seedless California grapes
- 8 ounces cold, cooked salmon, skin and bones removed
- 1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, mashed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Cook barley according to package directions. Drain and cool.
- Tenderize kale by blanching in boiling water 2-3 seconds or microwaving 1 minute. Rinse pieces in cold water to stop cooking; squeeze dry. Fluff and uncrimp dry kale pieces with fingers. In medium bowl, mix barley, kale, grapes, salmon and walnuts.
- To make dressing: In small bowl, whisk lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne. Gradually mix in olive oil. Pour onto salad and fold gently to combine.
Nutritional information per serving: 413 calories; 15 g protein; 30 g carbohydrates; 16 g fat (47% calories from fat); 3 g saturated fat (8% calories from saturated fat); 22 mg cholesterol; 232 mg sodium; 500 mg potassium; 4 g fiber.
(Family Features) The first thought that comes to mind when picturing grilling in the summer sun might be a perfectly cooked steak or a juicy burger, but no backyard barbecue is complete without the all-important sides and beverages that complete the meal.
Whether you're pairing a main protein with separate side dishes or going all-in-one by combining tender chicken with veggies on skewers, the opportunities are endless for a crave-worthy cookout.
Find more summer grilling recipes at Culinary.net.
5 Steps for Sizzling Steak
A sizzling steak is a surefire sound of summer, and the flavors achieved from one that's perfectly grilled are hard to match.
Before you fire up your grill, consider these five basics for cooking a chef-worthy steak:
Prepare Your Cut
Taste preferences (and prices) may differ among sirloins, ribeyes, T-bones and more, but the way you prepare steaks likely won't change much from cut to cut. You'll want to trim the thickness down to 1/2-1 inch for proper cooking, and setting the meat out ahead of time allows it to warm to room temperature before hitting the grill.
Add Some Salt
Feel free to add any spices you prefer, but remember a good steak typically doesn't require fancy seasoning - a pinch of salt works just fine. Add your salt anywhere between 30 minutes to a few hours before grilling time to help retain moisture and improve flavor.
Aim for High Heat
A two-zone fire is usually the way to go - one side of the grill should be hot (using direct heat) with the other side not quite as warm (indirect heat). This allows you to create a sear over direct heat before finishing cooking through - without burning - over indirect heat.
Sear and Slide
Cooking your steak over direct heat 1-2 minutes on each side is normally about right for creating a proper sear. At this point, depending on the thickness of your steak, you'll want to check for doneness. If it's not quite to the temperature you're looking to achieve, simply slide it over to the indirect heat for a finishing touch. Keep in mind these general guidelines for doneness: 120-125 F is rare, 130-135 F is medium-rare, 140-145 F is medium, 150-155 F is medium-well and 160-175 F is well done.
Finally, as hungry as you may be at this point, resting steaks is an important last step before diving in. Giving your steaks 5-10 minutes (foil or no foil) allows flavors to redistribute and moisture to be retained in the meat.
Less Prep, More Summer with a Skewered Solution
Make summer grilling easy and delicious by cooking your side dish and main dish together so you can spend more time outdoors and less time meal planning. These Grilled Greek Kebabs pair cubed chicken thighs with little potatoes on skewers, making for a classic cookout combo.
With no washing or peeling required, Creamer potatoes from The Little Potato Company require little prep, which helps make this recipe a breeze, and they cook quickly on the grill. Just marinate your chicken and potatoes with this zesty dressing and prepare for a taste bud-tingling backyard barbecue.
Visit littlepotatoes.com/summertime for more summer grilling recipes.
Grilled Greek Kebabs
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 2 lemons, zest and juice only
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 3 teaspoons mayonnaise
- 2 cups The Little Potato Company Dynamic Duo bagged Creamer Potatoes, cut in half
- 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 8 wooden skewers dipped in water
- pita bread (optional)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 sliced Lebanese cucumbers
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely sliced
- 1 cup feta cheese
- 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
To make dressing/marinade: In measuring cup, mix olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, oregano, Dijon mustard, garlic and sugar. Season generously with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour 1/3 cup marinade into large bowl. Refrigerate remaining.
To prepare skewers: Add potatoes and chicken pieces to bowl with marinade. Mix well to coat and marinate 30 minutes, or as long as overnight in refrigerator.
Preheat grill to medium heat.
Skewer potatoes and chicken cubes alternately on wooden skewers. Grill 6-8 minutes on both sides. Grill pita bread, if desired.
Finish dressing by adding mayonnaise.
To make salad: In large serving dish, mix tomatoes, cucumber, onions, feta cheese and olives. Place kebabs on top and drizzle with dressing.
Serve with grilled pita bread, if desired.
Sipping on Sweetness
When it's summertime, many people crave something cold and fruity. Simply combine frozen strawberries with frozen pink lemonade concentrate to create a cool concoction perfect for a sizzling day. This fizzy summertime treat can delight your taste buds and keep you quenched while enjoying the sun's rays.
Find more summer drink recipes at Culinary.net.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen sliced strawberries, sweetened and thawed
- 2 liters lemon-lime soda, chilled
- 1 can (12 ounces) frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
- In blender, process strawberries until blended thoroughly.
- Pour strawberries into large pitcher; stir in soda and pink lemonade.
A Simple Stuffed Side
Whether you need a quick appetizer or something to snack on, these Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes make for an appealing bite.
Find more snack recipes at Culinary.net.
Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
Recipe courtesy of Culinary.net
- 24-48 cherry tomatoes
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
- 3 green onion stalks, diced
- 2 teaspoons minced dill
- fresh dill, for garnish
- Cut thin slice off top of each tomato. Scoop out pulp. Invert tomatoes on paper towel to drain.
In medium bowl, combine cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth. Stir in cucumber, green onion and dill. Spoon mixture into tomatoes. Top with fresh dill.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Steak)
Source: The Little Potato Company
(Family Features) The start of each school year brings new routines for families to adjust to, which can leave little to no time to think about dinner. With the right ingredients, however, it’s still possible to create a healthy, home-cooked meal in a matter of minutes, allowing you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time at the dinner table catching up on the day’s events.
Cookbook author, actress, designer and mom of two Haylie Duff knows a thing or two about juggling her family’s busy schedule on top of her own. When it comes to getting a fresh, fast meal on the table, she looks for easy meal helpers that help cut down on time, but not on flavor, that she can feel good about feeding to her family, like Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork. It’s conveniently pre-seasoned, packed with protein and can be grilled, roasted, sauteed or slow-cooked – making it a versatile dinner solution for any night of the week.
For your next weeknight meal, try Haylie Duff’s recipes for Tomatillo, Pineapple and Bacon Pork Tacos or Pork Gyros with Fresh Tzatziki, which feature a few simple ingredients and can help you make dinner in a matter of minutes.
Find more time-saving tips and fresh, flavorful weeknight dinner ideas for the whole family at SmithfieldRealFlavorRealFast.com.
Tomatillo, Pineapple and Bacon Pork Tacos
Recipe courtesy of Haylie Duff
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 Smithfield Applewood Smoked Bacon Marinated Fresh Pork Loin Filet
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 fresh pineapple, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick slices
- 1 teaspoon taco seasoning blend
- 12 white corn tortillas
- 1-2 radishes, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and thinly sliced
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled queso fresco
- 1 jar (16 ounces) tomatillo salsa (salsa verde)
- Cut pork loin filet into 1-inch cubes. Bacon will fall off, but make sure to keep it.
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Saute half the pork cubes and bacon bits 7-8 minutes until browned. Repeat with remaining oil, pork cubes and bacon.
- Heat grill to medium at about 400° F. Sprinkle pineapple slices with taco seasoning; grill until char marks appear, turning once. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
- Place tortillas on grill until warm. Top tortillas with pork loin filet cubes, pineapple, radishes, jalapeno, cilantro and queso fresco. Serve with tomatillo salsa.
Pork Gyros with Fresh Tzatziki
Recipe courtesy of Haylie Duff
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes
- 1 Smithfield Slow Smoked Mesquite Marinated Fresh Pork Loin Filet
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 8-12 Greek pita breads, warm
- shredded romaine lettuce or arugula
- chopped tomatoes
- crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup tzatziki sauce
- Cut pork loin filet in half lengthwise and thinly slice. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Stir-fry half the fresh pork loin filet 7-8 minutes until browned; set aside. Repeat with remaining oil and pork slices.
- Layer warm pitas with shredded lettuce, pork slices, tomatoes and feta. Top with tzatziki sauce.