recipes

Meal Ideas 14 August 2018

Back-to-School Meals in Minutes

Mexican menu ideas for simple family dinners

(Family Features) When the school year is back in full swing, families often find themselves battling the mealtime crunch. Mexican-inspired meals bursting with flavor are known family-friendly picks that can be easily prepared and put on the table on those frenzied weeknights.

These simple ideas from the experts at Ortega can help make “taco night” and other Mexican meals better than ever.

Encourage kids to get hands-on. It’s no secret that kids like finger foods, and many Mexican dishes are best enjoyed by hand. Tacos are an obvious favorite, but other options like quesadillas, taquitos and Ortega Fiesta Flats are also easy to enjoy sans silverware.

Step outside of tradition. If you’re looking for something that makes mealtime feel extra special, skip the basic taco and choose a meal kit that lets you serve up a restaurant-style experience at home. For example, Ortega’s Bakeable Tortilla Bowl Kits bring a new and simple way to change up your Mexican meals. Just bake and fill with your favorite ingredients.

Offer a variety of ingredients. One of the benefits of a Mexican meal is all the ways each family member can customize plates to their own tastes. Try setting out a wide range of ingredients and encourage the kids to experiment with toppings they may not have tried before, like olives and guacamole.

Don’t forget the sauce. Taco sauces can bring unique, unexpected flavor to recipes. One to try is Ortega’s line of bold and creamy Flavor Craver Taco Sauces. Varieties include Taco Ranch, Chipotle and Jalapeno Lime, all perfect for tacos, taco salads, dips, burgers and more.

Stock Your Pantry for Mexican Cooking

You can enjoy the flavors of a Mexican cantina in your kitchen anytime if you’re stocked up with the right goods.

Pantry and Dry Goods

  1. Keep dried or canned chiles of all sorts on-hand. Dried chiles include ancho, chipotle, guajillo, negro and mulato.
     
  2. Expand your spice rack with Mexican staples like chili powder, cayenne pepper and paprika, as well as oregano and cumin.
     
  3. Buy white rice in bulk so you can create Spanish rice to accompany any dish.
     
  4. Stock up on canned refried beans, black beans and pinto beans for use in your favorite Mexican dishes.

 

Refrigerator and Produce

  1. Keep ready-made salsa and spicy sauces chilled and serve them alongside chips, tacos and other Mexican dishes.
     
  2. Always have garlic, onions and fresh cilantro handy. Keep lemons and limes within reach to add bright flavor to your dishes. Also, buy fresh chiles like jalapeno and pasilla to spice up a variety of dishes. If possible, grow them yourself.
     
  3. Store flour and corn tortillas in your cupboard or refrigerator to create burritos, tacos, enchiladas and wraps.
     
  4. Keep Monterey Jack, queso fresco and cotija cheese on-hand to include in enchiladas and burritos.

Find more recipes and ideas to add a unique twist to any Mexican meal at Ortega.com.
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Poblano Ranch Tacos

Makes: 8 tacos

  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 4          poblano peppers, sliced
  • 1          yellow onion, sliced
  • 1          tablespoon fresh lime juice (optional)
  • 1          box Ortega Yellow Corn Taco Shells
  • 6          radishes, sliced
  • 1          cup corn kernels
  • 1          cup cotija cheese
  • 1          bottle Ortega Flavor Craver Ranch Taco Sauce, to taste
  1. Add olive oil to skillet over medium heat. Add sliced poblano peppers and yellow onion to pan. Saute until cooked through. Add squeeze of lime to pepper and onion mixture, if desired.
  2. Bake taco shells according to package directions. To assemble tacos, add poblano and onion mixture to base of taco. Top with sliced radishes, corn and cotija cheese. Finish with taco sauce.

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Steak Fajita Burrito Bowl

Makes: 4 bowls

3          tablespoons olive oil, divided
1          pound skirt steak
1          red pepper, sliced
1          yellow pepper, sliced
1          package instant rice
1          tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2       packet Ortega Original Taco Seasoning
1          Ortega Bakeable Tortilla Bowl Kit
3          cups green leaf lettuce, sliced
2          avocados, diced
1          cup corn kernels
1/2       cup cotija cheese
1          bottle Ortega Green Taco Sauce, to taste

  1. Add 2 tablespoons oil to skillet over medium-high heat. Cook skirt steak 5 minutes on each side. Remove steak from pan and let rest. When cooled, slice into strips. 
  2. Add remaining olive oil to skillet over medium-high heat. Saute red and yellow peppers until cooked through. 
  3. Prepare rice as directed on package. Add squeeze of lime and taco seasoning. Stir to combine. 
  4. Prepare tortilla bowls as directed on package. Fill with rice, shredded lettuce, sliced steak and peppers. Top with diced avocado, corn and cotija cheese. Finish with taco sauce.

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Southwest Chicken Salad

Makes: 4 bowls

  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 4          chicken breasts
  • 2          teaspoons chili powder
  • 1          Ortega Bakeable Tortilla Bowl Kit
  • 3          cups green leaf lettuce, sliced
  • 1          can Ortega Black Beans
  • 1          cup corn kernels
  • 2          avocados, diced
  • 1          tomato, diced
  • 1          cup cotija cheese
  • 1          bottle Ortega Flavor Craver Ranch Taco Sauce, to taste
  1. Add olive oil to skillet over medium heat. Coat chicken with chili powder. Cook chicken 8 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Remove chicken from pan and let rest. Slice chicken into strips when cooled.
  2. Prepare tortilla bowls as directed on package. Fill with shredded lettuce, black beans, corn and sliced chicken. Top with diced avocado, tomato and cotija cheese. Finish with taco sauce.

Source:  Ortega

Healthy 04 April 2017

Picnics With Panache

Swing into summer with a basketful of delicious picnic fare ready to share in minutes

(Family Features) Good friends, great food, and the best season for outdoor entertaining add up to one thing — a glorious picnic season. If you’re just warming up to the idea of planning a picnic at the park or a backyard potluck, it’s the prime time to prepare and make your plans.

First set the date with your best mates. Then grab the gingham tablecloth and break out the picnic basket. What to serve? Start simple with a menu that’s casual, delicious, and easy to make and take, especially if you’re off to the perfect picnic destination.

Choose light, flavorful pasta salads that combine summertime flavors, such as creamy ranch and Dijon mustard, or chicken with marinated artichoke hearts. Be prepared to pass the deviled eggs more than once. Bring along fresh fruit for a refreshing dessert. And, try a cool lemonade that combines two favorite summertime flavors — watermelon and kiwi.  All that’s left is to savor every moment and every bite!

Picnic Season’s Top Tips

Consider these hints for summer gatherings:

  • An “eggs-cellent” way to tote deviled eggs: sandwich two halves with filling sides together, wrap well with plastic wrap, and place in a chilled, insulated box.
  • When the ants begin their march, reach for a natural deterrent — vinegar. Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar to have at the ready.
  • Cooking for a crowd? Streamline your menu by choosing convenience products, such as boxed salad mixes that only require a few on-hand ingredients. Reach for prewashed, precut veggies. And, sprinkle a bit of flavor onto grilled potatoes and salads by adding a tasty topper, such as Bac~Os (an easy option that is less messy than frying bacon).
  • Got sunscreen? Make sure it’s in your pack.

For more great summertime recipes and tips, visit www.bettycrocker.com.

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Creamy Ranch Pasta Salad

Makes: 6 servings

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad ranch and bacon pasta salad mix
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 medium green onions, chopped
  • 1 medium stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, sliced
  • Paprika
  1. Empty pasta into 3-quart (or larger) saucepan 2/3 full of boiling water. Gently boil uncovered 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water. Shake to drain well.
  2. In large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, mayonnaise, mustard, onions and celery. Add pasta and chopped eggs and stir until evenly coated. Garnish with egg slices and paprika.
  3. Store in refrigerator.

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Chicken and Artichoke Pasta Salad

Makes: 6 servings

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad classic pasta salad mix
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cubed, cooked chicken
  • 1 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Empty pasta into 3-quart (or larger) saucepan 2/3 full of boiling water. Gently boil uncovered 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water. Shake to drain well.
  2. In large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, cold water, and oil. Stir in pasta, chicken, artichokes, olives, and cheese. Store in refrigerator.

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Watermelon Lemonade With Kiwifruit Splash

Makes: 6 1-cup servings

  • 2 kiwifruit, peeled and cut into fourths
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 cups cubed, seedless watermelon
  • 1 12-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 2 cups water
  1. Place kiwifruit and sugar in blender; cover and blend on medium just until smooth. Pour into another container; freeze 1 to 2 hours or until firm.
  2. Place watermelon in blender; cover and blend on medium until smooth. Place frozen lemonade concentrate and water in large pitcher. Add watermelon mixture; mix well.
  3. Pour watermelon lemonade into glasses. Spoon a dollop of frozen kiwifruit mixture on top. Serve immediately.

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Poppy Seed Salad

Makes: 6 servings

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1 cup strawberries, halved
  • 1 cup cubed pineapple
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup cubed watermelon
  1. In large bowl, mix honey, limeade concentrate, and poppy seeds.
  2. Carefully toss in fruits.

 

Devilishly Good Eggs

Makes: 6 servings

  • 6 hard-cooked eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 2 tablespoons Betty Crocker Bac~Os bacon-flavored bits or chips
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon or yellow mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  1. Cut eggs lengthwise in half. In small bowl, slip out yolks and mash with fork.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients except egg white halves.
  3. Fill egg white halves with egg yolk mixture, heaping it lightly.

 

Source: Suddenly Salad

Kids 11 August 2015

A Simple Twist on After School Snacks

(Family Features) We all know it's important to start the day off with a healthy breakfast. As a parent, you also have lunch covered for your hungry student, whether it's packed in a brown bag or eaten in the cafeteria. But after a busy day of learning, young tummies often need a wholesome after-school snack to tide them over until dinner.

Keeping a stash of kid-friendly snacks handy is a sure-fire way to keep snack time manageable, while making sure kids don't have a full afternoon meal, which would spoil their appetite for dinner.

Instead of potato chips or cookies, try crunchy veggies paired with a flavorful dip. As an added (and educational) bonus, invite kids to help make snacks ahead of time, assigning them age-appropriate tasks like measuring and mixing. This introduces them to family meal prep and helps teach them about healthy eating habits at an early age.

Kick off your new after-school snack routine with a recipe like this one for Ranch Pimento Cheese Celery Logs, created by country music star and busy mom of seven, Sara Evans, on behalf of Hidden Valley. For a little kick, Evans suggests substituting with Hidden Valley® Spicy Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix. If your kids resist celery or you want a little variety, this spread also makes great finger sandwiches when layered between two slices of sandwich bread and cut into small triangles.

For more kid-friendly after-school snack ideas, visit www.HiddenValley.com.

 

Ranch Pimento Cheese Celery Logs

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Hidden Valley® Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar pimentos, drained
  • 30 (2-inch) celery logs, cut from about 1 bunch of celery
Preparation
  1. Place cheese, mayonnaise, seasoning mix and pimentos in bowl of food processor. Pulse a few times until well combined but still chunky, taking care not to over mix. Alternatively, you can mix by hand, but it won't be quite as spreadable.
  2. Divide cheese mixture among celery logs (about 2 teaspoons per log), mounding it into cavity.
  3. Serve cold.
Preparation Time

15-20 minutes

Serves

30 filled celery logs

SOURCE: Hidden Valley

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