(Family Features) Eating the same thing every day can make lunch seem so “blah.” Now’s the perfect time to break out of the lunch rut and add some excitement to your meals.
Thinking outside the traditional lunchbox is easy with the right ingredients. Perk up your noontime noshing with fresh, seasonal ingredients coupled with kitchen pantry classics, like California Ripe Olives, which add a unique flavor and bold, distinctive color to any dish.
California farmers grow more than 95 percent of the ripe olives consumed in the United States. From planting, pruning, harvesting and processing, they make sure that the highest quality olives come from their farms to your table – one can at a time.
Adding olives to any lunch can help bring California sunshine to each and every bite. Try some of these portable and packable recipes to add excitement to lunch on-the-go and find more at calolive.org.
Greek Salad in Jars
Courtesy of Simply Recipes
Makes: 4 salads
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste (optional)
- pinch of black pepper, plus additional, to taste (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 pint-size canning jars with lids
- 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 large English cucumber, sliced
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup California black ripe olives
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
- 4 small handfuls fresh baby spinach or other dark, leafy greens
- 4 pita bread rounds, halved (optional)
- To prepare dressing: In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano and honey.
- Gradually whisk in oil. Taste. Add additional salt and pepper, if desired.
- Divide dressing between four pint jars.
- To assemble salads: Divide onion between four jars. Divide tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, olives and feta cheese between jars. Pack remaining space with spinach, compressing leaves slightly.
- Secure lids and refrigerate up to two days.
- To serve: Empty salads into bowls and toss with dressing. Serve with pita bread.
Note: Store and transport salads upright so dressing stays on bottom.
Smoked California Ripe Olives can produce a crave-worthy culinary surprise and become one of your favorite flavor discoveries. There are a few easy ways to make your own smoked olives, including preparing them on the grill with these quick steps:
- Soak wood chips in water for 30 minutes. Drain well.
- Pierce a foil pan several times with a small, sharp knife and spread wood chips in a single layer in the pan. Set directly on hot coals or metal bars on a gas grill. Close the lid and set heat to high only under the pan of chips.
- When chips are smoking, place drained California Ripe Olives in a grill basket on grill with the burners off. Close the lid and smoke for 30 minutes.
Maple Olive Cheesecake Bites
Makes: 16-20 mini cheesecakes
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped California Ripe Olives
- Heat oven to 325° F and coat 16-20-cup mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
- In small bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, butter and 1 tablespoon sugar. Place equal amounts into each mini muffin cup then press firmly into bottom of each cup. Working with one cup at a time, press small piece of plastic wrap onto surface and press crust firmly into mini muffin cups.
- In large bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese, maple syrup and remaining sugar until smooth; beat in flour and vanilla on low speed. Add egg and beat until just combined; stir in olives.
- Spoon equal amounts into each cup. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until filling feels set.
- Let cool completely then run small, thin knife around edge of each to remove from pan.
Black and White Pizza
Makes: 1 pizza
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for pizza crust
- 1 cup onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons roasted garlic, minced
- 4 ounces small baby bella mushrooms, chopped flour
- 1 package prepared pizza dough
- 1 cup prepared Alfredo sauce
- 1 cup smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 small boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 can (6 ounces) extra-large California Black Ripe Olives, drained and cut in wedges
- freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Heat oven to 450° F and line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms, and cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes, or until onions are soft. Reserve.
- Roll pizza dough into thin oval on lightly floured surface. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil then spread evenly with Alfredo sauce.
- Top with mushroom mixture, cheeses, chicken and rosemary. Sprinkle olives over pizza.
- Bake 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned around edges.
- Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Source: California Olive Committee
(Family Features) It’s not always easy to make healthy food choices. When time is of the essence, look for delicious recipe ingredients that are convenient and easy to prepare while also offering great taste and health benefits.
In fact, 40 percent of American consumers said shorter cooking times are especially important when buying grocery items such as rice, grains and pasta, according to research from Statista, and 83 percent said taste is an important factor when purchasing food.
Ready in 10 minutes with flavor infused in every grain, Uncle Ben’s Flavor Infusions rice is ideal for those looking for quick and healthy meal options. With its one-step cooking process, it makes it easy for families to cook with their kids and quickly get dinner on the table. The re-sealable pouches ensure freshness for multiple uses, and any of the five flavors can be combined with fresh vegetables, proteins and herbs for a simple meal that’s ready in less than 20 minutes.
Simple recipe options using Flavor Infusions, such as Coconut Shrimp on Garlic-Butter Rice and Easy Thai Chicken Satay and Rice Salad, are quick meals the entire family can enjoy, even when short on time. Find more meal ideas at UncleBens.com.
Coconut Shrimp on Garlic-Butter Rice
- 1 can (13.6 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1-2 tablespoons red chili paste, to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 cup Uncle Ben’s Flavor Infusions Garlic & Butter Flavored Rice
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- In 10-inch skillet, stir together coconut milk, chicken broth, chili paste, coriander and paprika.
- Add rice and bring to boil; cover, reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes. Stir in shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes, or until shrimp just turn pink.
Easy Thai Chicken Satay and Rice Salad
- 1/4 cup canned, unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons red curry paste
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons hot water
- 1 cup Uncle Ben’s Flavor Infusions Roasted Chicken
- 1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup sliced pea pods
- 1 cup sliced red pepper
- 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
- 4-6 red radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
- To make dressing: In small glass bowl, stir together coconut milk, peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, red curry paste, cayenne pepper and hot water; set aside.
- Cook rice according to package instructions. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.
- In center of individual plates, place about 1 cup rice. Arrange chicken, carrots, pea pods, red pepper, avocado, radishes, peanuts and green onions around rice then drizzle with dressing.
Source: Uncle Ben's
(Family Features) Warmer weather has arrived and that means it’s salad season.
There are many seasonal salads to enjoy and everyone has a favorite. Change your warm-weather dining habits up a bit with this recipe for Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers. Easy to prepare, this deliciously unique salad on a skewer is perfect for entertaining family and friends.
The sweet-tangy, nutty, piquant and savory combination of ingredients provides layers of flavors in every forkful. One-bite Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets are just right for skewering with the mustard-marmalade glazed chicken and crisp romaine.
To finish, drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with toasted almonds and cheese. Add a whole grain baguette and your meal is ready. For more warm-weather recipe ideas, visit AuntNellies.com.
Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets, drained
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
- salt, to taste, plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
- pepper, to taste, plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
- 4 1/2 tablespoons stone ground mustard, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons orange marmalade, plus 1/3 cup, divided
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- 1 large lemon, zested and juiced (about 1/3 cup juice)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 bag (9 ounces) leafy romaine pieces
- 8 wooden skewers
- 1/3 cup chopped almonds, toasted
- 1/3 cup crumbled firm white cheese (such as blue cheese, feta or goat)
- Heat oven to 375° F. Drain beets; set aside.
- Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. In small bowl, combine 1 1/2 tablespoons each of mustard and marmalade. Brush mixture over chicken until completely coated. Bake chicken on aluminum foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet, 20-25 minutes, or until juices run clear; set aside.
- To make vinaigrette: In medium bowl, combine remaining mustard, remaining marmalade, chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Slowly pour in oil while whisking vigorously until completely combined.
- Slice cooled chicken into 1-inch pieces. On each skewer, thread a beet, a piece of chicken and 4- 5 pieces of lettuce; repeat twice; add one beet at end. Repeat to make eight skewers. Place skewers on large serving platter. Stir vinaigrette; drizzle lightly over skewers. Sprinkle with almonds and cheese. Serve with remaining vinaigrette.
Substitution: Whole pickled beets may be substituted. Cut beets in half.
Alternate preparation: To grill chicken, brush both sides with mustard-marmalade mixture. Grill over medium heat 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through and thermometer reads 165 F. If chicken cooks too quickly, reduce heat to medium-low.
Nutritional information per serving: 255 calories; 15 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 12 g total fat; 440 mg sodium; 40 mg cholesterol; 2 g dietary fiber; 1 mg iron; .07 mg thiamin; 2,871 IU vitamin A; 7 mg vitamin C.
Source: Aunt Nellie's
(Family Features) Sliced or diced, grilled or blended, there are countless ways to prepare watermelon. With some fruits, half or more is wasted when you throw away the seeds and peel, but you may be surprised to learn that you can use an entire watermelon, including the rind, to make delicious and refreshing dishes.
Most people think of watermelon as a sweet, juicy snack perfect for hot summer days, but with its high water content (92 percent), the fruit is more than just tasty. It’s also an ideal way to keep your body hydrated. What’s more, the ability to use the entire fruit makes watermelon one of the most versatile and value-conscious options in the produce department.
An average watermelon consists of about 70 percent fruit and 30 percent rind. Hollowed out, the rind is an attractive way to serve any number of recipes, but the rind is actually edible, too, and can be stir-fried, stewed or pickled, or even enjoyed raw. This yummy slaw gets its distinctive crunch from the watermelon rind, which is packed with citrulline and arginine, two compounds that may aid in healthy blood flow.
Watermelon is also a flavorful substitute for tomatoes, as shown in this traditional Italian appetizer, and contains higher levels of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable per serving, according to award-winning nutrition author and registered dietitian Elizabeth Somer.
Additionally, it lends some sweetness to a spicy salsa and a refreshing twist on a summery salad. You can also try blending watermelon with other fresh fruits for a super smoothie or mixing it up with some adult libations (and don’t forget, you can transform the rind into a mini-keg in minutes; just add a pour spout).
Find more ideas for using every bite of fruit, juice and rind at watermelon.org.
Watermelon Caprese Salad with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
Makes: 6 servings
- 12 slices watermelon cut into rounds or squares, approximately 3 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick, with seeds removed
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 12 slices
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 sprig basil, for garnish
- Place watermelon slices on paper towels and cover with additional paper towels to absorb excess fluid.
- In small saucepan over medium heat, add vinegar and honey. Stir to blend, bring to simmer and reduce heat. Stir occasionally until mixture is reduced by almost half. (Do not let reduce too far or allow to froth.) Set aside to cool slightly.
- On large platter, place watermelon slices and top each with slice of cheese. Add salt and pepper, to taste, then sprinkle basil leaves evenly over top. Drizzle with olive oil, followed by reduced balsamic vinegar. Garnish with sprig of basil.
Tip: Use red and yellow watermelon for an extra pretty presentation.
Watermelon Rind Slaw
Makes: 4 one-cup servings
- 1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 4 cups grated watermelon rind (fruit and green peel removed)
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 1 1/2 cups diced fresh pineapple
- In small bowl, blend Greek yogurt, sour cream, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, poppy seeds, olive oil, salt and pepper thoroughly. Set aside.
- Place watermelon rind on several layers of paper towels to soak up excess fluid.
- In medium bowl, place dressing, rind, carrot and pineapple, and toss to thoroughly coat.
Watermelon Slice Ice Pops
Makes: 5-15 servings
- 5-15 watermelon slices, cut into triangular wedge shapes, about 1/2 to 1 inch thick, with seeds removed
- 5-15 ice pop sticks
- Insert ice pop stick into rind of each slice.
Optional variation: After inserting sticks, freeze ice pops before serving.
Makes: 3 cups
- 2 cups cubed and seeded watermelon
- 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
- 1 cup raspberry kefir
- 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
- 2 tablespoons hemp
- 2 tablespoons agave syrup
- ice (optional)
- Place watermelon, raspberries, raspberry kefir, orange juice concentrate, hemp, agave syrup and ice, if desired, in blender and blend until smooth.
(Family Features) Some of the first foods that come to mind when considering dining outdoors are greasy, messy meals. Instead, opt for a nutritious outdoor experience with a turkey wrap, grain bowl or chicken salad for a backyard bite that doesn’t go overboard.
Find more nutritious recipes for outdoor dining at culinary.net.
Lunch On the Go
A healthy combination of plant-based foods and turkey easily turns into a quick lunch. This wrap brings together a variety of textures with crunchiness from the apples and spinach, substance from the turkey and creamy, simple dressing. Find more quick, healthy recipes at aicr.org.
Turkey, Spinach and Apple Wrap
Recipe reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research
- 1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons honey mustard
- 2 whole-wheat lavash wraps or flour tortillas (8 inches each)
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves, loosely packed, washed and dried
- 4 thin slices turkey breast
- 1/4 Granny Smith apple, sliced paper-thin
- Combine mayonnaise and mustard. Lay out both wraps. Spread edges of each with mayonnaise mixture.
- Leaving space on one side of wraps, arrange layer of greens on top of wraps. Top each layer with two slices of turkey. Evenly divide apple slices and lay lengthwise across turkey. Fold over one end of wrap then both sides. Roll wrap as tightly as possible toward opposite side.
- Cover each wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate seam-side down, up to 4 hours, before serving. To serve, remove plastic wrap and cut each wrap in half at an angle.
Substitution: Two large leaves of soft, leafy green lettuce can be used in place of baby spinach leaves.
Greens and Grains
Dedicating more of your plate to fresh-from-the-garden produce as well as rice and grains can lead to a healthier lifestyle, according to Cheryl Forberg, registered dietitian and award-winning chef and nutritionist for “The Biggest Loser.”
To start living healthier and greener lives, Forberg recommends starting a garden. This hands-on approach is a fun way to learn about nutrition and where food comes from. Following produce from seed to plate can compel you to eat more healthfully.
Forberg furthers her personal dedication to the seed- to-plate journey through her involvement with Seeds of Change, which invests in healthier and greener communities by offering both organic seeds and foods, and delivers an annual grant program that benefits school and community gardening as well as farming programs. This year, the grant program will award $310,000 to participants who plan to help their communities and teach people about sustainability and where fresh food comes from.
Learn more about starting a community garden and living a greener, healthier life at seedsofchangegrant.com.
Warm Grain Bowl with Wild Salmon, Almonds and Salsa Verde
Total time: 20-25 minutes
- 8 wild salmon fillets (3 ounces each)
- sea salt, to taste
- fresh pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup shitake mushroom caps, sliced
- 1 package Seeds of Change Quinoa, Brown & Red Rice with Flaxseeds
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
Salsa Verde (optional):
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup packed mint leaves
- 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- In oven-proof pan, season salmon with salt and pepper, and drizzle each fillet with olive oil. Bake 12-15 minutes, until cooked through.
- In blender or food processor, combine all Salsa Verde ingredients and pulse until fully incorporated but still rustic and chunky. Set aside.
- In medium saute pan over medium-high heat, heat remaining olive oil. Add mushrooms and asparagus and saute vigorously 3-5 minutes. Add grains and slivered almonds, and continue to saute until heated through, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Divide grains among eight plates, place a piece of salmon on each plate then finish with dollop of Salsa Verde, if desired, and serve.
Substitution: Shitake mushroom caps may be substituted with button mushrooms or other wild mushrooms.
Even when you plan to take dining outdoors, a tasty salad still makes for an ideally nutritious meal. This salad brings together an assortment of veggies for a Tomato-Cucumber Salsa to top succulent baked chicken and greens. Find more recipes perfect for dining al fresco at chickenroost.com.
Baked Greek Chicken Salad
Recipe courtesy of the National Chicken Council
- 2 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 green pepper, julienned
- 1/4 purple onion, sliced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon basil
- 1/8 teaspoon oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon Greek seasoning
- 1/8 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
- 1 package mixed Italian salad greens
- 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- black olives
- pepperoncini peppers
- To make Tomato-Cucumber Salsa: In medium bowl, mix together tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, purple onion, red wine vinegar, olive oil, vegetable oil, pepper, salt, basil, oregano, Greek seasoning, sugar and dry mustard. Chill until ready to serve.
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Place chicken in baking dish. In medium bowl, mix together butter, lemon juice, pepper, garlic powder, oregano and Greek seasoning; pour over chicken. Bake about 50 minutes, uncovered, basting occasionally.
- Place salad greens in large serving bowl. Top with Tomato-Cucumber Salsa. Slice chicken in thin strips and arrange on top of salad. Sprinkle with feta cheese and garnish with olives and pepper.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images
(Family Features) As days get longer and the weather gets warmer, take your meal outdoors for some tasty al fresco dining featuring a fresh and easy-to-prepare salad.
With minimal ingredients and maximum flavor, this combination of radicchio, California green ripe olives, chickpeas and Parmesan is sure to find its way into your seasonal meal occasions, from at-home dinners to garden parties.
Boasting vibrant purple hues, radicchio not only looks beautiful on the plate but packs a unique and pleasing, bitter flavor that is complemented by the texture added to each bite by toasted sunflower seeds and chickpeas.
Completing the salad are California Ripe Olives, which are grown by farming families across California. The California green ripe olive is similar to the black ripe olive but features a more mild and buttery flavor profile.
Find more tasty recipes at calolive.org.
Radicchio Salad with Olives, Chickpeas and Parmesan
Recipe courtesy of the Simply Recipes blog
Prep time: 15 minutes
Resting time: 10 minutes
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 large head radicchio (10-12 ounces)
- 1 can (16 ounces) California green ripe olives, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
- 1 can (16 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper, plus additional, to taste
- Add sunflowers seeds to small, dry skillet. Toast over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until seeds are toasted around edges and smell fragrant.
- Transfer seeds to bowl to cool.
- Peel away and discard a layer or two of outer radicchio leaves if they look wilted or battered. Cut head of radicchio into quarters through root. Trim away root.
- Cut each quarter crosswise into strips, 1- to 1 1/2-inches thick. Transfer to large mixing bowl.
- Add olives, chickpeas and 3/4 cup cheese to bowl with radicchio.
- Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss gently until ingredients are evenly coated. If cheese clumps together, break apart with spatula and stir in.
- Let salad stand at least 10 minutes, or up to an hour.
- Add additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve salad on individual plates or one shared platter. Top with remaining cheese and toasted sunflower seeds.
Substitution: If radicchio is unavailable, try frisee, endive or another bitter green.
Note: Salad is best served within one hour of preparation, but can be stored in airtight container in fridge for several days.
Source: California Olive Committee
America’s Top Chefs Share Their Favorite Recipes
(Family Features) Want to add taste, color and crunch to salads any time of the year? Then sprinkle on pistachios. Chefs are going nutty over them, and for good reason. California grown, these pale green nuts have a subtle, delicate flavor that is wonderful in sweet as well as savory dishes or for eating out of hand. Traditionally used in rice dishes, stuffing, ice cream and pastries, pistachios are now a key ingredient in signature salads.
Pistachio Facts & Helpful Tips
The key to including nuts in the diet without adding extra calories is portion control. Use pistachios on salads, or in main dishes, to replace meat or poultry. California pistachios have versatility, texture and great taste. They also pack a powerful nutritional punch. A 1-ounce serving — 49 pistachios — contains more than 10 percent of the Daily Value for dietary fiber, vitamin B-6, thiamin, phosphorus and copper. One serving of pistachios has as much potassium as half a large banana. Pistachios contain mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat (11 of 13 fat grams), the types of fat recommended by the 2005 Dietary Guidelines For Americans. Pistachios also are naturally cholesterol free and trans fat free.
Other Pistachio Facts:
- A serving of pistachios has more fiber (2.9g) than 1 small tomato (1.1g) or 1 cup of raw spinach (.8g).
- A serving of pistachios provides almost 1 1/2 times the amount of thiamin as 1/2 cup serving of cooked, long grain, enriched white rice and 2 1/2 times the amount of thiamin in long grain, brown rice.
- The amount of vitamin B-6 in a 1-ounce serving of pistachios is comparable to that in a standard 3-ounce serving of roasted pork loin, 2 times that in a serving of peanut butter and 5 times that in a serving of black beans.
- Pistachios contain more phytosterols such as beta-sitosterol than any other commonly eaten nut, 61mg per serving or 279mg per 100g. Phytosterols may help lower cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. Preliminary research suggests phytosterols also may offer protection from certain types of cancer.
- The largest USDA study of food antioxidants reveals pistachios are one of the best sources of beta-carotene of all tree nuts and peanuts. Pistachios also provide the most lutein and zeaxanthin of all tree nuts. Antioxidants are compounds in foods that may help fight cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, and help maintain healthy arteries.
To Make Pistachio Oil:
Toast 1 cup pistachio kernels. When cool, finely grind in food processor. In a saucepan, warm 1 1/2 cups olive oil and ground pistachios and stir until blended. Transfer to a jar and let stand overnight at room temperature. Strain. Substitute in place of olive oil to add flavor to any recipe.
Harvest Salad with Caramelized California Pistachios and Green Apples
Chef Andrew Carmellini of A Voce Restaurant in New York celebrates the bounty of the harvest with this delicious — yet simple — salad featuring crisp green apples and caramelized California pistachios.
- 4 cups arugula, picked and washed
- 2 cups watercress, picked and washed
- 1 bulb fennel, sliced in half lengthwise then thinly sliced
- 1 cored green apple, thinly sliced
- 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 4 leaves basil, washed and coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons white raisins, soaked in warm water and drained
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 whole lemons, zested then juiced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup California pistachios, caramelized
- Combine all ingredients except cheese and breadcrumbs in mixing bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Divide into 6 salad bowls; top with cheese, breadcrumbs and caramelized pistachios (see sidebar for caramelizing). Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Nutritional Analysis (Amount per Serving): Calories 250, Total Fat 16g, Saturated Fat 2.5g, Monounsaturated Fat 10g, Cholesterol less than 5mg, Sodium 610mg, Potassium 530mg, Carbohydrate 27g, Dietary Fiber 5g, Protein 6g
Goat Cheese, Beet Roots and California Pistachio Salad
Executive Chef Pascal LeSeac’h of Pastis, one of New York City’s hottest restaurants, loves serving this simple beet salad featuring California pistachios.
- 5 medium size beet roots
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup California pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch flat parsley (1⁄4 cup chopped)
- 1 log (6 ounces) Montrachet goat cheese
- Salt and white pepper, to taste
- 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Preheat oven: 375°F.
- Clean beet roots with cold water, dry with paper towel, coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt. Wrap beets in aluminum foil and place in oven 1 1/2 hours. Check doneness by poking with small knife. Remove and peel beets and slice 1/2-inch thick. Reserve and cool in refrigerator. While beets are cooling, toast pistachios, let cool, then chop.
- Clean and dry parsley, then chop with large chef knife. Slice goat cheese 1/2-inch thick.
- To Serve: Alternate slices of beets and goat cheese on salad plate. Season with salt and white pepper. Add vinegar and remaining olive oil. Garnish with pistachios and chopped parsley. Serves 2.
Nutritional Analysis (Amount per Serving): Calories 380, Total Fat 33g, Saturated Fat 9g, Monounsaturated Fat 19g, Cholesterol 20mg, Sodium 310mg, Potassium 450mg, Carbohydrate 13g, Dietary Fiber 4g, Protein 11g
Spicy Pear and Endive Salad with California Pistachios
Nationally-renowned celebrity chefs and “Too Hot Tamales” Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger offer this scrumptious salad featuring California pistachios from their award-winning Border Grill and Ciudad restaurants.
- 1/2 cup California pistachios, raw and shelled
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 Comice or D’anjou pears, quartered, cored, and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
- 4 heads Belgian endive, cored and sliced lengthwise into strips
- 1/2 to 3⁄4 cup Cabrales blue cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeños, sliced
- 1/4 cup Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
- In small frying pan, combine pistachios, salt, pepper and sugar. Sauté over low to medium heat, stirring and shaking frequently until pistachios are toasted and sugar caramelizes and coats pistachios. Transfer pistachios to non-stick or parchment-lined cookie sheet and allow to cool. In large bowl, combine pears, endive, blue cheese, jalapeños and vinaigrette.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to 4 chilled salad plates and sprinkle with pistachios. Serves 4.
Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 dry chipotle, stemmed and seeded
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey, warm
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Combine vinegar and chipotle in small saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and oil is emulsified. Adjust seasonings to taste. Makes 1 cup.
Nutritional Analysis (Amount per Serving): Calories 310, Total Fat 20g, Saturated Fat 5g, Monounsaturated Fat 10g, Cholesterol 15mg, Sodium 640mg, Potassium 500mg, Carbohydrate 30g, Dietary Fiber 6g, Protein 8g
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup California pistachio kernels
- In a medium saucepan, heat sugar with water, salt and cayenne pepper over a high flame. Cook until mixture is soft and bubbling. Add pistachios and stir 2 to 4 minutes, until caramelized (pistachios may clump together). Remove pistachios from pan and lay on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. When pistachios are completely cool, break apart and reserve.
Source: California Pistachio Commission
(Family Features) Nothing says summer quite like a barbecue. While the grill might be the main attraction, it’s deliciously simple to put a personal spin on classic summer dishes and desserts.
From Same-Old Salads to Inspired Surprises
There are a number of quick and easy ways to add your signature touch to the standard summer barbecue fare. First, trade in the predictable potato salad for a refreshing pasta sensation. Build a delicious, personalized creation your family will enjoy with easy mixes such as Suddenly Salad mixes by Betty Crocker. “Each pasta salad mix comes with pasta, special seasoning and vegetables — only oil or mayonnaise needs to be added,” said Karen Schiemo of the Betty Crocker Kitchens. “Throw in a little culinary creativity and your favorite ingredients, such as additional fresh vegetables or diced meat, and you can even create your own recipe that’s sure to be in high-demand for seconds.”
Sweet Summer Barbecue Endings
Deliver a sweet ending to the perfect barbecue. With a few ingredients, such as sprinkles, marshmallows and nuts, you can add your own twist to brownies and transform them into a customized confection. Not only are they easy to make ahead of time, but a pan of brownies is easy to carry to the festive affair, requiring only one dish from baking to the barbecue. With no utensils necessary, they score huge “brownie points” with adults and kids alike.
Between the perfect main course and delectable side dishes, barbecues will surely be a family favorite. For more ideas to make your barbecue sizzle, go to BettyCrocker.com.
Makes 24 brownies
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Start to Finish: 1 hour 25 minutes
- 1 box Betty Crocker Original Supreme brownie mix
- Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box
- 3 cups miniature marshmallows
- 4 graham crackers, broken into small pieces
- 2 bars (1.55 ounces each) milk chocolate candy, broken into 1-inch squares
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 13 x 9-inch pan with cooking spray or shortening. Make and bake brownies as directed on box for 13 x 9-inch pan, using water, oil and eggs.
- Set oven to broil. Immediately sprinkle marshmallows and graham crackers over warm brownies. Broil about 4 to 5 inches from heat 30 to 60 seconds or until marshmallows are golden brown. (Watch carefully — marshmallows and graham crackers will brown quickly.) Sprinkle with chocolate candy. To serve warm, cool about 30 minutes. For brownies, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.
Stars and Stripes Brownies
Makes 24 brownies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Start to Finish: 2 hours
- 1 box Betty Crocker Original Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch)
- Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box
- 1 container (12 ounces) whipped fluffy white frosting
- 1 tube (0.68 ounce) red decorating gel
- 1 tube (0.68 ounce) blue decorating gel
- 1 tube (0.68 ounce) white decorator icing
- Decorating Decors stars
- Heat oven to 350°F. Line 13 x 9-inch pan with foil so foil extends about 2 inches over sides of pan. Spray foil with cooking spray. Make and bake brownies as directed on box for 13 x 9-inch pan, using water, oil and eggs. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
- Remove brownies from pan by lifting foil; peel foil from sides of brownies. Continue as desired with options below.
- Flag Brownies: Frost brownies. Using red decorating gel, pipe stripes onto frosted brownie. Add decors in upper left corner of brownie.
- Fire Cracker Brownies: Using 1-inch round cookie cutter, cut out brownie rounds. Stack 2 brownie rounds together, spreading frosting between rounds and on top. Garnish with decors.
- Star Brownies: Using 2 1/2-inch, star-shaped cookie cutter, cut brownies. Place frosting in resealable food-storage bag; cut off one bottom corner of bag. Pipe frosting on star-shaped brownies. Sprinkle with decors.
Fresh Vegetable Pasta Salad
15 servings (1/2 cup each)
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Start to Finish: 1 hour 25 minutes
- 1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad classic pasta salad mix
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 2 cups small fresh broccoli florets
- 1 small red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
- 1 small yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion cut into thin wedges
- Cook and drain pasta as directed on box. Meanwhile, in large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, cold water, oil and vinegar.
- Stir drained pasta and remaining ingredients into seasoning mixture. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Greek Tossed Pasta Salad
Makes 12 servings (1 cup each)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Start to Finish: 30 minutes
- 1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad Caesar pasta salad mix
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 cups torn romaine lettuce
- 2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 small cucumber, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, slices cut in half
- 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese (1 cup)
- 1 can (2 1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
- Cook and drain pasta as directed on box. Meanwhile, in large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, cold water and oil.
- Add drained pasta and remaining ingredients to seasoning mixture. Toss with croutons and Parmesan topping (from salad mix). Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Source: Betty Crocker
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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Store in refrigerator.
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
- 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.
- In large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, cold water, and oil. Stir in pasta, chicken, artichokes, olives, and cheese. Store in refrigerator.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Pour watermelon lemonade into glasses. Spoon a dollop of frozen kiwifruit mixture on top. Serve immediately.
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
- In large bowl, mix honey, limeade concentrate, and poppy seeds.
- 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
- Cut eggs lengthwise in half. In small bowl, slip out yolks and mash with fork.
- Stir in remaining ingredients except egg white halves.
- Fill egg white halves with egg yolk mixture, heaping it lightly.
Source: Suddenly Salad
(Family Features) In an effort to squeeze in valuable time together, more families are zooming past the drive-thru and heading home to the table for simpler, satisfying and more wholesome dinners.
Busy schedules can make dinnertime a challenge for many families. With sports practices, dance rehearsals and after-school activities galore, many parents are doing well by just getting their little ones to the right place at the right time. These days, with so much time spent outside of the home, the time spent around the dinner table is priceless.
Bring everyone together with an Italian feast
With its savory blend of cheeses, sweet garlic and rich sauces, it’s hard to deny the delicious flavors of Italian cuisine. By combining a few simple, scrumptious elements, you’ll find it’s quite easy to bring the taste of Italy into your own home. Gather the family together with the many flavorful options available at your local grocery store, such as Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods, which offers prepared Italian meals boasting homemade flavor without the fuss.
Here are a few authentic Italian meal ideas to incorporate into your next weeknight routine, so you can deliver a dinner that satisfies every family member.
Serve up a salad
A crispy, crunchy salad is the perfect starter for an Italian meal and can be tossed together in a matter of minutes. For a simple take on salad, just combine fresh greens – such as chopped romaine hearts – thinly sliced red onions and croutons. To add more flavor and texture, throw in fresh mozzarella, chopped radicchio, cherry tomatoes and pepperoncini. Don’t forget to finish with a generous splash of savory Italian dressing.
There’s nothing more comforting than a warm dish of flavorful pasta at the end of a long day. When such flavorful dishes can be created with the touch of a button, everyone wins. Serve up the delicious combination of vine-ripened tomatoes, sautéed onions, 100 percent semolina lasagna pasta, ground beef and premium cheeses in Michael Angelo’s Meat Lasagna. Or, try their Eggplant Parmesan, made with farm-fresh eggplant, imported olive oil, Italian spices and a blend of imported Pecorino and Parmesan cheeses.
Warm, garlic goodness
A plate of hearty, wholesome Italian food would not be complete without a side of fragrant, warm garlic bread. Heat up an easy, pre-made variety in the oven, or make your own by simply topping your favorite variety of sliced bread with butter, garlic, Parmesan cheese and oregano.
Fill your kitchen with ingredients and products that allow you to fix easy meals that bring the whole family together. They’re the perfect dinnertime solution for busy parents who want to serve a wholesome, better-for-you meal to their family, but don’t always have the time or skills to cook from scratch.
For more information and meal ideas, visit www.michaelangelos.com.
Source: Michael Angelo's Gourmet Foods