recipes

Meal Ideas 07 June 2022

Make Healthy Easy with Grapes

(Family Features) If you’re like many Americans who put a priority on well-being, choosing simple yet healthy snacks and ingredients is an easy first step. For example, grapes are a popular and convenient fruit that can also be an ally in wellness, offering an abundance of health benefits that can help you get (and stay) on the right track.

The next time you enjoy an outdoor adventure, pack along a healthy snack such as California grapes. They can go with you on hikes and bike rides or to the gym as a healthy and hydrating source of energy. Heart-healthy grapes also deliver beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols and are a good source of vitamin K, which supports bone and heart health. With no need to peel, cut, core or slice, grapes are perfectly portable when you’re on the go.

As an easy, versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide variety of recipes, grapes offer delicious taste, texture and color – plus a healthy boost – that make them an appealing addition to snacks and meals. An added bonus: Grapes help support heart, brain, colon and skin health.

Crunchy Salad Pizza on Cauliflower Crust is a simple way to get your fruits and veggies in a fun, tasty recipe. When it’s time for a filling yet nutritional dinner, Warm-Spiced Chickpeas and Couscous with Grapes and Arugula makes for an ideal vegetarian meal. Plus, this easy-to-make dish includes 8 grams of fiber to help support colon health.

Grapes and seafood are a classic combination, and this Roasted Salmon and Grapes with Pistachios Over Fresh Greens is no exception. A perfect dish for family dinners or inviting guests for a meal, it offers antioxidants and other polyphenols from grapes along with healthy omega-3 fats from fish.

Whatever your path to health, eating well and encouraging healthy habits can be deliciously easy with the benefits of grapes. Find more health benefits and good-for-you recipe ideas at GrapesFromCalifornia.com.

Grapes and Your Skin

While naturally hydrating and delivering beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols, grapes also offer more: they may help support healthy skin even when exposed to UV light. In a study conducted by the University of Alabama, subjects consuming 2 1/4 cups of grapes every day for two weeks showed increased resistance to sunburn and reduced markers of UV damage in skin cells.

Crunchy Salad Pizza on Cauliflower Crust

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1 frozen cauliflower pizza crust (11 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 4 teaspoons, extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and trimmed
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, quartered and trimmed
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, halved and trimmed
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 16 black California grapes, halved
  • 1 cup canned or cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed, divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 ounce fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  1. Heat oven to 400 F. Place frozen crust on large, parchment-lined baking sheet and brush top lightly with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Bake until crust is lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and cut into quarters.
  2. Using mandolin, peeler or large, sharp knife and cutting board, thinly slice carrots, fennel, bell pepper and onion. Transfer to mixing bowl and add grapes and 1/2 cup chickpeas. Add parsley, pesto and 1 tablespoon olive oil; toss well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Using fork, coarsely mash remaining chickpeas and remaining oil; spread among pieces of crust. Mound grape-vegetable mixture on top. Dot with goat cheese and serve

Nutritional information per serving: 490 calories; 9 g protein; 66 g carbohydrates; 22 g fat (40% calories from fat); 4 g saturated fat (7% calories from saturated fat); 30 mg cholesterol; 380 mg sodium; 4 g fiber.

Roasted Salmon and Grapes with Pistachios Over Fresh Greens

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 7-8 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 4 wild sockeye or coho salmon fillets (about 5 ounces each)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup green California grapes
  • 1/4 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  1. Heat oven to 400 F. Lightly oil shallow, 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  2. Pat fish dry and place skin side down in pan. Brush fillets lightly with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour wine in pan, scatter grapes around and sprinkle pistachios and parsley on fish.
  3. Roast salmon 7 minutes for medium-rare; 8 minutes for medium.
  4. In large bowl, toss spinach, onion, remaining oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, to taste; toss again and divide among four plates.
  5. Place fish on top of greens. Spoon roasted grapes around fish.

Nutritional information per serving: 360 calories; 31 g protein; 12 g carbohydrates; 19 g fat (48% calories from fat); 3 g saturated fat (8% calories from saturated fat); 65 mg cholesterol; 105 mg sodium; 2 g fiber.

Warm-Spiced Chickpeas and Couscous with Grapes and Arugula

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional, to taste, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup Israeli pearl couscous
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 can (15 ounces) no-salt-added chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup red California grapes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups lightly packed baby arugula
  • lemon wedges
  1. In large saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and allspice; cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Add couscous and stir 1 minute to toast lightly. Add turmeric and water; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until couscous is tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Stir chickpeas, grapes and cilantro into couscous then season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer couscous-grape mixture to large bowl, add arugula and toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon wedges.

Nutritional information per serving: 370 calories; 12 g protein; 61 g carbohydrates; 9 g fat (17% calories from fat); 1 g saturated fat (2% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 160 mg sodium; 8 g fiber.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Meal Ideas 13 May 2022

Make the Most of Your Money with Family-Friendly Meals

(Family Features) It can be hard to ignore the rising costs of food, gas and other basic household items. Many families are especially feeling the burden of inflation at the grocery store.

However, you can make your hard-earned dollars stretch a little further at the supermarket and put delicious, nutritious meals on the table with these cost-saving tips from Healthy Family Project and by looking for the Produce for Kids logo in your local produce department. These produce companies give back to local communities and support nutrition education and information sharing.

Plan your meals. Making a plan for what meals will be on the menu each week can help you identify ingredients you can use in multiple recipes and save money by not adding items you may not use to your grocery list. Once your meals are planned and you head to the store, stick to your list to avoid unnecessary spending.

Opt for in-season produce. Typically, fresh fruits and vegetables cost more when out of season since they’re not as readily available. Buying in-season produce also helps ensure you get better tasting fruits and veggies.

Keep ingredient lists short. Quick and easy meals the entire family can enjoy are often accompanied by shorter ingredient lists. For example, these recipes for Grilled Peach Flatbread with Goat Cheese and Mixed Berry Pizza with Oatmeal Coconut Crust both require 15 ingredients or less and can be on the table in half an hour, giving you more time to spend with those who matter most.  

Discover more family-focused recipes and tips for saving on grocery bills at healthyfamilyproject.com.

Mixed Berry Pizza with Oatmeal Coconut Crust

Recipe courtesy of Healthy Family Project
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey, plus additional for drizzling, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • 3 strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup blackberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In mixing bowl, mix egg, rolled oats, coconut, flour, brown sugar, butter, 1/4 cup honey, cinnamon, vanilla and salt until incorporated.
  3. Evenly spread mixture in greased springform pan and bake 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  4. Remove pan from oven and cool.
  5. In bowl, mix Greek yogurt with lemon juice.
  6. Once oatmeal crust is fully cooked, use spatula to spread lemon-yogurt mixture on top.
  7. Top with sliced strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. Drizzle with additional honey.

Grilled Peach Flatbread with Goat Cheese

Recipe courtesy of Healthy Family Project
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

  • 2 large naan or flatbreads
  • 2 fresh peaches, sliced
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
  • 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • fresh arugula (optional)
  1. Preheat grill or grill pan.
  2. Grill naan until softened and lightly grilled.
  3. Place peach slices on grill and sear about 1 minute per side.
  4. Using pastry brush, spread olive oil onto naan.
  5. Top naan with goat cheese and peaches.
  6. Place back on grill over low heat, cover and cook 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add fresh arugula, if desired
  8. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar before slicing and serving.

Source: Healthy Family Project

Snacks 16 December 2021

Pop Up Some Winter Fun

(Family Features) The winter months provide many occasions to celebrate, and no celebration is complete without tasty treats. A perfect partner for a broad variety of flavors, popcorn is a versatile pantry staple that can be served plain or as a better-for-you addition to seasonal snacks.

With no artificial additives or preservatives, light and airy popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO and gluten free, making it a sensible option to satisfy cravings for something savory, sweet and just about every flavor in-between. Plus, whole-grain popcorn has energy-producing carbohydrates and fiber, which can help keep you satisfied longer.

As a way to honor one of America’s oldest and most beloved snack foods, National Popcorn Day on Jan. 19 is a perfect opportunity to pop up a bowl to enjoy with loved ones or create whole-grain culinary masterpieces like fragrant and flavorful Jamaican Jerk Popcorn, which features hot pepper, spices and jerk butter to help you warm up from the inside out. Or consider another tasty snack option like Furikake Popcorn, a lighter recipe exploding with the flavors of sesame, nori and a Japanese spice blend.

You can combine favorite flavors for movie night with Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Popcorn, which is perfect for settling in on a snowy winter’s eve, and an option like Rocky Road Popcorn Clusters, featuring chocolate, marshmallows and nuts, are perfect for sharing with loved ones after an evening meal.

Find more fun, fluffy and flavorful recipes to celebrate everything winter has to offer at Popcorn.org.

Furikake Popcorn

Yield: 2-3 servings

Furikake Seasoning:

  • 1 nori sheet, broken into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 6 cups popped popcorn
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. To make furikake seasoning: In spice grinder or using mortar and pestle, grind nori with 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds until finely ground. Transfer to small bowl; stir in remaining sesame seeds, salt and sugar.
  2. In large bowl, toss popcorn with butter and furikake seasoning until evenly coated.
  3. Tips: Use store-bought furikake seasoning and season to taste.
  4. To toast sesame seeds: In small dry skillet over medium heat, cook sesame seeds 2-3 minutes, or until lightly golden and fragrant. Let cool completely before using.

Jamaican Jerk Popcorn

Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced, seeded scotch bonnet chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  1. In small saucepan, combine butter, chili pepper, lime zest, chili powder, thyme, allspice, pepper, ginger, garlic powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, onion powder and salt. Cook over low heat 3-5 minutes, or until butter melts and mixture is fragrant.
  2. In large bowl, toss popcorn with spice mixture until evenly coated.

Tip: Omit scotch bonnet pepper and substitute 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, if preferred.

Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Popcorn

Yield: 6-8 servings (1 cup each)

  • 1/4 cup nonfat Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried sage
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 12 cups air-popped popcorn
  • 3/4 cup turkey pepperoni, cut into bite-size bits
  • olive oil cooking spray
  1. In small bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, oregano, marjoram, basil, sage and pepper; mix well.
  2. In large bowl, combine popcorn and turkey pepperoni; spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray.
  3. Sprinkle popcorn and pepperoni with cheese mixture; toss to coat evenly.

Rocky Road Popcorn Clusters

Yield: 3 dozen

  • 1 bag (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 4 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  1. In small microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips in microwave on high 1 minute, until melted. Stir in vegetable oil.
  2. In large bowl, add popcorn, marshmallows and walnuts. Pour melted chocolate over mixture, tossing to coat.
  3. Drop mixture by tablespoonful onto wax paper-lined jellyroll pan.
  4. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.

Source: Popcorn Board

Meal Ideas 09 December 2021

Warm Up Winter with Comforting Classics

(Family Features) Whipping up family favorites all winter long is a perfect activity to keep loved ones warm in the kitchen while avoiding the bitter chill outdoors. Delicious, heartwarming snacks offer a simple and savory way to bring everyone in from the cold while enjoying comforting flavors together.

Lean on beloved ingredients like go-to RAGÚ sauces when it’s time to come together for quick bites. The possibilities are nearly endless with delicious recipes using classics like the RAGÚ Old World Style Traditional or RAGÚ Simply Traditional options.

Hearty flavors can take away the chill of winter in recipes like Snowman Pizza Bombs, Polenta Bites and Baked Tomato Goat Cheese Dip. Easy to make and fun to create together, these simple snacks are perfect for a cold afternoon spent together in the kitchen or watching a family-movie marathon.

Originally started by an Italian mother more than 80 years ago, RAGÚ sauce, known for its distinctive yellow cap, is the perfect have-on-hand pantry staple to help you create easy and delicious home cooking. As an invaluable resource and family favorite since 1937, RAGÚ sauces easily allow anyone, regardless of gender or culinary skillset, to “cook like a mother” and serve up delicious, homemade favorites. The brand’s rich heritage and array of sauce choices ensures that your next cold-weather day spent inside will be elevated with family-favorite snacks and easy and taste-tempting meals made with RAGÚ.

Find more recipes perfect for warming up this winter at Ragu.com.

Baked Tomato Goat Cheese Dip

Recipe courtesy of Marzia Aziz of "Little Spice Jar"
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4-6

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 cups RAGÚ Simply Traditional Sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, divided
  • 1/ 4 cup fresh basil, chopped, divided
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 log (10-10 1/2 ounces) goat cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus additional for brushing, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • kosher salt, divided
  • pepper
  • 1 large baguette, sliced on bias
  • blistered tomatoes, for serving (optional)
  1. Position one rack in upper third of oven and one in lower third. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray small, round baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Add sauce to small bowl. Grate in two garlic cloves then add 1/8 cup basil and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine then pour sauce into baking dish.
  3. Smash goat cheese log into ball. Place ball between two sheets plastic wrap. Using hands, flatten cheese into thick, round disc about 1 inch smaller in diameter than baking dish. Remove goat cheese from plastic wrap and place in center of sauce. Drizzle cheese with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh thyme, kosher salt and pepper. Bake on lower rack, uncovered, 20-25 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is warmed through.
  4. Place baguette slices on baking sheet. Drizzle or brush with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake crostini on upper rack 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through. When bread is done, remove from oven, cut last garlic clove in half and rub cut side on bread.
  5. Top dip with remaining basil and blistered tomatoes, if desired, and serve with crostini.

Note: To make blistered tomatoes: Heat skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add 1 pint cherry tomatoes to dry skillet and let sit 1 minute. Lower heat to low, toss tomatoes with 2 teaspoons olive oil and cook 2-3 minutes, or until tomatoes are about to burst. Remove from heat; sprinkle with pinch of salt and pepper.

Polenta Bites

  • 1 tube (18 ounces) polenta
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) RAGÚ Chunky Tomato, Garlic and Onion Sauce
  • 1 package (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella
  • 2 sprigs, rosemary, destemmed and chopped
  • 3 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 block (8 ounces) hard Parmesan cheese
  1. Cut polenta into slices. In skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat; fry polenta slices 10-12 minutes on each side until crispy and golden brown.
  2. In saucepan over medium heat, warm sauce.
  3. Place polenta slices on tray and sprinkle with mozzarella. Place 1/2 teaspoon warm sauce on each slice then sprinkle with chopped rosemary and basil. Grate hard Parmesan onto each slice for topping.

Snowman Pizza Bombs

  • 1 tube (11.8 ounces) pizza dough
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) RAGÚ Old World Style Traditional Sauce
  • 1 package (6 ounces) pepperoni slices
  • 1 package (6 ounces) Canadian bacon slices
  • 1 package (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 package (8 ounces) mozzarella cheese slices

Decorative vegetables (optional):

  • multicolored sweet peppers
  • olives
  • spinach
  • mushrooms
  • cherry tomatoes
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Cut pizza dough into 12 squares. On each square, place 1/2 teaspoon sauce and evenly top with pepperoni, Canadian bacon and cheddar cheese.
  3. Pinch corners of dough together to round into balls then place in muffin tins.
  4. In small bowl, mix melted butter, garlic powder and Italian seasoning; brush generously over dough balls.
  5. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Remove from muffin tin and carefully shape dough balls into circles; place on baking sheet. Cover with mozzarella slices and bake until melted.
  7. Create snowman faces by decorating each with peppers, olives, spinach, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, if desired. Use remaining sauce for dipping.

Source: RAGÚ

Meal Ideas 19 December 2019

8 Time-Saving Recipes for Healthier Living

(Family Features) Kickstart the new year by making meaningful changes for yourself and your family. Finding nutritious recipes can help you stay on track when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle.

As you look to start 2020 off right, opt for fresh ingredients. No matter what your goal for the year is, start at a store like ALDI. From making Mondays meatless to cutting out refined carbs, you can find a healthy haul – for less – complete with high-quality products for these delicious, nutritious and affordable recipes from ALDI.

Find more recipe ideas at aldi.us.

Breakfast

Morning Oasis Overnight Oats – If busy mornings prevent you from starting the day with a nutritious breakfast, try overnight oats. They are easy to prepare a day in advance, then top with fruit, coconut, shaved chocolate and quinoa when it’s time for breakfast.

Blackberry Avocado Smoothie Bowl – Add more fruit to the “most important meal of the day” with this smoothie bowl bursting with flavor. Blended blackberries, blueberries and banana provide a nutritious start to your day, and it can be topped with additional fruits, almonds, chia seeds and more for added texture.

Salad

Citrus Popping Kale Salad – Whether it’s for lunch or served as the first course for dinner, a salad is a way to combine a healthy serving of veggies with toppings you crave. The flavors of this tasty recipe create a perfect marriage of quinoa, baby kale, onion, mango and cranberries.

Fruit and Avocado Salad – This crisp and refreshing salad combines oranges, grapefruit, onion, avocado, blueberries and pecans for an option that’s both nutritious and delicious.

Main Dish

Grilled Herb Chicken Skewers – Put a spin on grilled fare and place seasoned chicken skewers on a bed of arugula. Save time and marinate the night before to infuse the chicken with the savory taste of herbs.

Cauliflower-Quinoa Pizza– When the family wants a classic, serve this better-for-you pizza, complete with a crust made from cauliflower and quinoa. Top with tomatoes, mushrooms, red onion, peppers and other veggies for a nutritious twist on the traditional slice.

Dessert

Peanut Butter and Jelly Oatmeal Bar – You don’t have to completely remove dessert from your menu to live a healthier lifestyle. This baked dish features peanut butter as the base, so you can enjoy a protein-packed treat without the guilt.

Dairy-Free Vanilla Pudding – It only takes five ingredients and 15 minutes in the kitchen to please your sweet tooth when cravings strike.

Source: ALDI

Meal Ideas 18 September 2019

Family Favorites with a Blended Twist

(Family Features) If you are raising picky eaters, there's a cooking technique that makes some of kids' favorite foods - like burgers and nachos - more nutritious while still tasting delicious.

Mushrooms, with their inherent umami flavor, are a perfect addition to blend into meals to increase both flavor and nutrition. Chefs kicked off the trend by blending finely chopped mushrooms with meat for burgers that are flavorful, healthy and Earth-friendly, and now blended burgers are showing up in school cafeterias, supermarket meat counters and fast food drive-thrus.

"Blended entrees like burgers are a win-win-win for families wanting to eat better," said Dayle Hayes, registered dietitian and founder of School Meals That Rock. "Mushrooms add delicious umami flavor, reduce fat and sodium in many popular dishes and kids love them."

Another fan of blending is MasterChef Junior finalist and teen chef, Evan Robinson. Robinson likes to blend with multiple varieties of mushrooms in family favorites such as tacos, burgers and stuffed peppers.

"I find that blending mushrooms into some of my go-to recipes helps increase the flavor while reducing the amount of fat and sodium," Robinson said.

If you're ready to start blending at home, it can be a simple process for introducing foods to even the pickiest of eaters. Recruit kids as kitchen helpers to tackle tasks such as wiping mushrooms clean and using their hands to blend the meat and mushrooms together.

For more family-friendly, blended recipes, visit Blenditarian.com

A Cooking Technique You Need to Know: Blending

Blending involves mixing finely chopped mushrooms with ground meat for more nutritious, but still delicious, burgers, tacos, meatballs and more.

1. Chop your favorite mushroom variety to match the consistency of the ground meat. This can be done with a knife or food processor.

2. Blend the chopped mushrooms with the ground meat.

3. Cook with Mexican seasoning mix for tacos, marinara sauce for meaty ragu or salt and pepper for juicy, flavorful burgers.

Blended Mushroom Nachos

Recipe courtesy of Chef Evan Robinson
Servings: 4

  • 5 shiitake mushrooms
  • 5 white button mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican meat seasoning
  • 10 ounces ground turkey

Cheese Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • tortilla chips
  • salsa (optional)
  • guacamole (optional)
  • kale (optional)
  • romaine lettuce (optional)
  • tomatoes (optional)
  • cilantro (optional)
  • diced red bell peppers (optional)
  1. In blender or food processor, pulse mushrooms, garlic and onions. In large saute pan over medium-high heat, mix finely chopped mushroom mixture with seasoning and cook 2 minutes. Add ground turkey, breaking into fine crumbles until completely cooked through. Set aside.
  2. To make cheese sauce: In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter then add flour and whisk constantly, breaking up lumps. Stir 2 minutes then add milk and continuously whisk. Stir in cheese and mix with wooden spoon.
  3. Assemble chips on serving platter; spread mushroom-meat crumble on top. Add cheese sauce and toppings like salsa, guacamole, kale, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro and diced red bell peppers, if desired.

Pizza Burgers

Recipe courtesy of Chef Evan Robinson
Servings: 4

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium portabella mushroom, finely chopped
  • 2-3 white button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian-style herb seasoning
  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • salt, to taste
  • pizza or marinara sauce
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • hamburger buns
  1. In large pan over medium-high heat, saute extra-virgin olive oil, mushrooms, onions, garlic and herb seasoning approximately 5 minutes until vegetables are soft. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
  2. Blend mushroom mixture with ground beef. Season with salt, to taste.
  3. Form into four patties and cook in same pan as mushroom mixture to preferred doneness. Top with dollop pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. Cover pan to melt cheese then carefully transfer to buns.

Source: Mushroom Council

Tips 09 September 2019

7 Dishes Perfect for Game Day

Fried, grilled, baked or slow-cooked, game day dishes come in all flavors and textures so everyone comes out a winner. Try these classic ideas and new spins to take your home-gate to the next level.

  • Chicken Wings – Bone-in or boneless, skin on or skin off, buffalo or barbecue-glazed, chicken wings are chef’s choice for a handheld party pleaser. With nearly endless ways to prepare them, they’re a game day staple for parties of all sizes.
  • Pizzas – While delivery (or carryout) from a local restaurant is likely to be more common, creating a homemade pizza is as simple as rolling out dough, layering sauce and cheese then finishing with personalized toppings. If you’re in charge of a smaller, more manageable group, you can even try personal-sized pies for maximum customization.
  • Barbecue – Ribs, pulled pork, brisket and slow-smoked barbecue of all varieties may take more preparation but almost always ends with a happy fan base. Keep in mind that you’ll need to plan further in advance for longer cook times, but larger cuts of meat like pork shoulder help feed larger groups.
  • Veggie Trays – Not every game day dish has to include heavy foods or sticky fingers. An assortment of carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and more paired with ranch or blue cheese dressings makes for a more nutritious appetizer ahead of the main course.
  • Dips – If you’re looking for help from attendees, look no further than chips and dips for ways guests can lend a hand. Because they’re usually simple to make and easily portable, your fellow fans can bring along any combination of their choosing from buffalo chicken dip and tortilla chips to crackers and hummus.
  • Sliders and Sandwiches – The combinations are just about endless for sliders with many variations of meats, cheeses, spreads and more. Keep your menu simple by choosing one type of bread, 1-2 meats and 1-2 cheeses to avoid going overboard. Guests can always add their own touches when it’s time to dig in.
  • Walking Tacos or Nachos – Another personalized snack, walking tacos are an easy crowd-pleaser – all they take are taco shells and tortillas along with an assortment of your usual toppings: meat, cheese, sour cream, beans, guacamole, black olives, jalapenos and anything else your guests desire. Just line up the ingredients in separate bowls for DIY dining, and for a secondary option, provide tortilla chips to create nachos instead.

Find more game day recipes and ideas at Culinary.net.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Meal Ideas 23 August 2019

Friday Night is Pizza Night

Just look at that Cheese and Sausage Tomato Pie. Sizzling sausage, melting mellow cheeses, tangy tomato and crispy, crunchy crust. Homemade pizza: the perfect way to end the work and school week.

Making your own pizza dough is a snap. Flour, yeast, water and oil mix together quickly. The dough rests for 10 minutes then you’re ready to roll.

Make individual pizzas like My Own Pizza with similar savory toppings. Try hearty Sausage-Pepper Calzones, and instead of leftover pizza, go for easy-to-make Sausage Breakfast Pizza, hot from the oven.

CONT GEN calzone detail image embed3

Sausage-Pepper Calzones

Yield: 6 calzones

Dough:

  • 2-2 1/4             cups Pillsbury Best All-Purpose Flour, divided
  • 1/4       cup cornmeal
  • 1          envelope Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast
  • 3/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1          cup hot water (120-130 F)
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil

Sausage-Pepper Filling:

  • 1          package Jimmy Dean Fresh Sausage
  • 1 1/2    cups sliced bell pepper
  • 1          medium onion, sliced
  • 2          cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2    cups shredded Wisconsin mozzarella cheese
  • 1          cup shredded Wisconsin provolone cheese
  • olive oil
  • 1          teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  1. To make dough: In large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, cornmeal, undissolved yeast and salt. Stir water and oil into flour mixture. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
  2. Heat oven to 400° F.
  3. To make Sausage-Pepper Filling: In skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add bell pepper, onion and garlic; cook until tender, about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Let cool. Stir in cheeses.
  4.  Divide dough into six equal pieces; roll each into 8-inch circle. Place about 1 cup Sausage-Pepper Filling on one half of each circle; moisten edges.
  5. Fold dough over filling; press with tines of fork to seal. Place on greased baking sheet. With sharp knife, make three 1-inch slits across top of each calzone. Brush top with olive oil. If desired, sprinkle with crushed red pepper.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until done. Serve warm.

CONT GEN my pizza detail image embed4

My Own Pizza

Yield: 16 individual pizzas

Dough:

  • 5 1/2-6             cups Pillsbury Best All-Purpose Flour, divided
  • 2          envelopes Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons salt
  • 2          cups hot water (120-130 F)
  • 1/4       cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2    cups prepared pizza sauce
  • 1          package Jimmy Dean Fresh Sausage, cooked, crumbled and drained
  • sliced olives
  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • 1          cup shredded Wisconsin mozzarella cheese
  • 1          cup shredded Wisconsin cheddar cheese
  1. In large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, undissolved yeast and salt. Gradually stir water and olive oil into flour mixture. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
  2. Heat oven to 400° F.
  3. On lightly floured surface, divide dough into 16 pieces. Form into smooth balls; roll into 7-inch circles. Place on greased baking sheets. Top with pizza sauce, sausage and vegetables.
  4. Sprinkle with cheeses.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.

CONT GEN cheese and sausage tomato pie detail image embed2

Cheese and Sausage Tomato Pie

Yield: 1 (12-inch) pizza

Dough:

  • 2 1/2-3             cups Pillsbury Best All-Purpose Flour, divided
  • 1          tablespoon sugar
  • 1          envelope Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons salt
  • 1          cup hot water (120-130 F)
  • 3          tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 1          package Jimmy Dean Fresh Sausage Regular Flavor, cooked, crumbled and drained
  • 1 1/2    cups shredded Wisconsin mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2       cup shredded Wisconsin cheddar cheese
  • 1/2       cup shredded Wisconsin parmesan cheese
  • tomatoes (optional)
  • peppers (optional)
  • mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 1/4    cups prepared pizza sauce
  1. In large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, undissolved yeast and salt. Gradually add water and 2 tablespoons peanut oil to flour mixture.
  2. Using electric mixer, beat 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
  3. Heat oven to 450° F.
  4. Roll dough into 12-inch circle; place on greased 12-inch pizza pan or baking sheet. Form standing rim by pinching edges of dough; prick dough randomly with fork. Let rest 10 minutes. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from pan; place on wire cooling rack.
  5. Brush crust surface with remaining peanut oil; spread pizza sauce evenly on crust. Sprinkle with sausage; top with cheeses; add toppings as desired. Bake 10 minutes, or until crust is golden. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

CONT GEN breakfast pizza image embed1

Sausage Breakfast Pizza

Yield: 1 (12-inch) pizza

Dough:

  • 2 1/2-3             cups Pillsbury Best All-Purpose Flour, divided
  • 1          tablespoon sugar
  • 1          envelope Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons salt
  • 1          cup hot water (120-130 F)
  • 3          tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 1          package Jimmy Dean Fresh Sausage Regular Flavor, cooked, crumbled and drained
  • 1          cup frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 1          small bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1          cup shredded Wisconsin sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2          eggs, beaten
  • 1          tablespoon milk
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon pepper
  • 2          tablespoons shredded Wisconsin parmesan cheese
  1. In large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, undissolved yeast and salt. Gradually add water and 2 tablespoons peanut oil to flour mixture.
  2. Using electric mixer, beat 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
  3. Heat oven to 450° F.
  4. Roll dough to 12-inch circle; place on greased 12-inch pizza pan or baking sheet. Form standing rim by pinching edges of dough; prick dough randomly with fork. Let rest 10 minutes. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from pan; place on wire cooling rack.
  5. Reset oven to 375° F. Return cooled crust to 12-inch pizza pan or baking sheet. Sprinkle sausage, potatoes, bell pepper and cheese over crust.
  6. In bowl, combine eggs, milk and seasonings; pour evenly over top.
  7. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until eggs are set.
  8. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

 

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Meal Ideas 31 July 2019

Back-to-School Food Fit for the Family

(Family Features) As parents and kids navigate back-to-school routines and extracurricular activities, making healthy food choices is essential to keep everyone energized and engaged. 

When it comes to selecting snacks and preparing meals, keep it simple and stock up on foods that are easy to prep and can be used in more than one way. One such food: fresh California grapes, which are abundant throughout the fall and into January. Crisp, juicy grapes can be eaten nearly anytime and anywhere, including school, the office and during after-school activities, at home or away.

Whether eaten fresh or frozen for a cool treat, grapes are a healthy, hydrating alternative to highly processed and calorie-rich foods. They can also be used as an ingredient in easy weeknight meals like California-Style Pizza, cousin to Hawaiian pizza, where fresh grapes star instead of pineapple and prepared pizza dough gives the cook a head start. Frozen Yogurt-Dipped Grapes are an easy, fun snack or dessert that kids can help prepare.

For more snack and meal inspiration, visit grapesfromcalifornia.com.

California-Style Pizza

Servings: 8

  • 1          pound prepared pizza dough
  • 3/4       cup prepared pizza sauce
  • 1 1/2    cups halved California seedless grapes
  • 1          cup diced lean ham
  • 1          cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Heat oven to 450° F.
  2. Divide dough into eight equal portions. Spread into pizza rounds on baking sheets.
  3. Spread with pizza sauce; sprinkle with grapes, ham and cheese. Bake until dough is lightly browned and cheese melted, about 12-14 minutes.

Nutritional information per serving: 220 calories; 11 g protein; 32 g carbohydrates; 6.2 g fat (24% calories from fat); 15 mg cholesterol; 573 mg sodium; 121 mg calcium; 1.4 g fiber.

Frozen Yogurt-Dipped Grapes

Servings: 6 (10 grapes per serving)

  • 60        California grapes, any color, rinsed and patted dry
  • 3/4       cup 2% vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/2       cup graham cracker flour or almond flour
  1. Insert toothpick into each grape. Place yogurt in small bowl. Pour graham cracker or almond flour onto plate. Line 9-by-13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Dip each grape into yogurt, coating two-thirds of grape, then dip yogurt-covered grape into desired flour to coat bottom. Place each dipped grape on baking dish; repeat until all grapes are yogurt-covered and dipped in flour. Freeze at least two hours, or until grapes are frozen solid.

Nutritional information per serving with graham cracker crumbs: 100 calories; 3 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 1.5 g fat (14% calories from fat); 0 g saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 55 mg sodium; 0 g fiber.

Nutritional information per serving with almond flour: 110 calories; 4 g protein; 14 g carbohydrates; 4.5 g fat (37% calories from fat); 0.5 g saturated fat (4% calories from saturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 15 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Meal Ideas 23 July 2019

Simplify Back-to-School Dinners with Nutritious Meal Plans

(Family Features) Back-to-school season can be cluttered between after-school activities, week­end sports and evening homework – as well as making dinner each night. Creating a master meal plan with quick, simple and nutritious meals is an easy way to take control of your family’s hectic schedule. Start by stocking the pantry with staple ingredients that amp up the nutrition and flavor of your family favorites.

For example, American Pecans are a nutri­tious ingredient to have on-hand – among the highest in “good” monounsaturated fats and packed with plant protein, fiber and essential minerals – and “The Original Supernut” is versatile enough for breakfast, lunchboxes, dinners and on-the-go snacking. Adding one bag to your weekly grocery list provides a canvas for exploring new dishes that are both nutritious and delicious.

In fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration, scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1 1/2 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pecans, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving (28 grams) of pecans contains 18 grams of unsaturated fat and only 2 grams of saturated fat.

Updating your dinner repertoire doesn’t have to be complicated. Fuss-free recipes such as Pizza with Pecan-Herb Topping, Baked Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders and Pecan-Crusted Air Fryer Pork Chops can be ready in less than an hour and put a fresh twist on classic favorites to please parents and kids alike.

Find more back-to-school recipe ideas at AmericanPecan.com

Pecan-Crusted Air Fryer Pork Chops

Cook time: 22 minutes

  • 1          cup pecan pieces
  • 1/3       cup arrowroot starch
  • 2          teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1          teaspoon onion powder
  • 1          teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon sea salt, plus additional, to taste
  • 1          large egg
  • 1          teaspoon Dijon mustard, plus additional for serving
  • 1          tablespoon water
  • 2          garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6          medium boneless pork chops, trimmed of fat
  1. Heat air fryer to 400° F.
  2. In medium bowl, mix pecans, arrow­root starch, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt.
  3. In separate bowl, whisk egg, 1 tea­spoon Dijon mustard, water and garlic.
  4. Cover pork chops in egg mixture then transfer to bowl with pecan mixture to coat all sides. Repeat with remaining pork chops. Place three pork chops in air fryer basket.
  5. Cook pork chops 6 minutes, flip, then cook additional 6 minutes. Set aside on plate.
  6. Repeat with remaining pork chops.
  7. Serve hot with Dijon mustard, if desired.

Baked Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders

Cook time: 35 minutes

  • 2          cups raw pecan halves or pieces
  • 1          cup panko or gluten-free bread crumbs
  • 1          teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1          teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste
  • 1 1/2-2 pounds chicken breast tenders or chicken strips
  • 3          large eggs
  • 1          cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
  • pepper, to taste

Buttermilk Ranch Dip:

  • 1/4       cup buttermilk
  • 1/2       cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2       cup sour cream
  • 1          teaspoon parsley
  • 1          teaspoon onion powder
  • 1          teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1          teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  1. Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. In food processor, pulse pecans until fine as breadcrumbs. In shallow bowl, mix pecans with panko, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon salt.
  3. In separate shallow bowl, whisk eggs until smooth. In third shallow bowl, add flour.
  4. Lightly season chicken tenders with salt and pepper, to taste. Working with one chicken tender at a time, dip in eggs, flour then pecan mixture. Be sure to press pecan mixture into chicken to be sure it is completely coated. Set chicken on baking sheet lined with cooling rack or parchment paper. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  5. Place chicken on center rack and bake 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
  6. To make Buttermilk Ranch Dip: In small bowl, whisk buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, dried dill and salt until smooth.
  7. Serve pecan-crusted chicken tenders warm paired with Buttermilk Ranch Dip.

Pizza with Pecan-Herb Topping

Cook time: 40 minutes

  • 1          store-bought pizza dough
  • 1          cup raw pecan halves or pieces
  • 1/2       cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2       teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3       cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1          teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1          pinch salt
  • 1          pinch pepper
  • 1/2       cup jarred pizza sauce
  • 2          cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2       cup thinly sliced red pepper
  • 1/2       cup thinly sliced Vidalia onion
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Lightly flour clean surface. Using rolling pin, roll out pizza dough to 1/8-inch thick and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Gently pierce dough with fork to prevent air pockets. Bake crust 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden in color.
  3. In food processor, pulse pecans, parsley and garlic powder until mixture becomes coarse crumbs. Transfer to bowl and stir in Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes (if desired), salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Using spoon, evenly spread pizza sauce over crust. Top with mozzarella cheese, red pepper slices and onion slices. Sprinkle 1/3 cup pecan mixture evenly over pizza.
  5. Transfer pizza to oven and bake 10-15 minutes, or until crust is crispy and cheese is melted. Serve with remaining pecan-herb mixture.

Notes: If dough instructions differ from recipe, use package instructions. Additional topping options include: pepperoni, olives, ham, bacon and roasted veggies. Leftover pecan-herb topping can be used for pasta and salads.

Source:  American Pecan Council

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