(Family Features) Committing to healthier habits in the new year often starts in the kitchen. Adding better-for-you recipes to your arsenal is the start of a more nutrition-focused lifestyle, and whether you’re a true home chef or just learning the basics, these dishes can be the gateway to a healthier you.
From fresh spins on family night and quick solutions in a pinch to homemade lunches and satisfying salads, consider these delicious and nutritious ways to enhance your homemade meals in 2022.
Visit Culinary.net to find more health-conscious recipe ideas.
A Fresh Take on Family Dinner
If your family gets stuck in a dinner routine rut, it can feel like you’re eating the same recipes over and over again.
However, this fresh and unique recipe for Cuban Chicken with Salsa Fresca might inspire you to think outside the culinary box and give your family members the satisfactory flavor they desire at dinnertime. With fresh ingredients and a wholesome flavor, this meal is perfect to add to your menu.
Find more recipes and family dinner ideas at Culinary.net.
Cuban Chicken with Salsa Fresca
- 1 cup grapefruit juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup grapefruit segments
- 1/2 jicama, cubed
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 3/4 cup grapefruit juice
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
- Heat oven to 400 F.
- In large bowl, mix grapefruit juice, oil, garlic powder, cumin, paprika and red pepper until combined. Add chicken to bowl and turn to coat. Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer.
- To make salsa fresca: In medium bowl, mix grapefruit segments, jicama, red onion, grapefruit juice, olive oil, cilantro and jalapeno pepper until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Remove chicken from marinade. Place chicken in baking dish. Bake 25-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
- Serve chicken with salsa fresca.
Take Your Salad from Bland to Bold
Step aside, boring salads. A new year and a healthier eating plan can include better-for-you greens and dressings that hit the spot.
Veggies roasted with aromatic spices served on Fresh Express 5-Lettuce Mix are drizzled with lemon tahini dressing in this Moroccan Roasted Vegetable Salad, a delicious vegetarian way to turn a bland meal into a bona fide delight. With green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, romaine and radicchio, the mix of greens offers a bold combination of textures and flavors for those who love variety and color.
Find more ways to enhance your at-home salads at FreshExpress.com.
Moroccan Roasted Vegetable Salad
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Lemon Tahini Dressing:
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 teaspoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- nonstick cooking spray
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons ras el hanout or garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into long wedges
- 4 whole large carrots, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 packages (6 ounces each) Fresh Express 5-Lettuce Mix
- 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup dried apricots, sliced
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
- To make lemon tahini dressing: In small bowl, whisk tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, Dijon mustard and salt. Add cold water; mix well. If dressing thickens, mix in more cold water.
- Heat oven to 400 F. Spray two baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.
- In large bowl, mix olive oil, ras el hanout, salt and pepper. Add sweet potatoes; toss to coat. Transfer to first prepared baking sheet. Add carrots and peppers to leftover oil; toss to coat. Transfer to second prepared baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Let cool.
- Arrange lettuce mix on four plates. Top each with sweet potatoes, carrots, red pepper, chickpeas, apricots and almonds. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with parsley.
A Lean, Nutritious Lunch
Meal prepping is one of the most common strategies for improving eating habits, however, this tactic is often focused primarily on nutritious breakfasts and family dinners. Don’t let lunch go by the wayside; you can skip the fast food breaks by opting for a recipe you can make quickly at home.
Made with nutritious Wisconsin Potatoes loaded with goodness, low in calories, high in fiber and a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants, a Turkey-Potato Wrap provides a simple solution for swapping out saltier foods for a lean lunch. By making four at a time in just half an hour, lunch is served for most of your work week to help save time on busy mornings while adding vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants to your afternoon meal.
Find more better-for-you recipe ideas at eatwisconsinpotatoes.com.
Recipe courtesy of Wisconsin Potatoes
- 3/4 pound Wisconsin russet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3/4 pound ground lean turkey
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 1/3 cup sliced green onions with tops
- 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
- 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning or basil
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 4 large whole-wheat or high-fiber tortillas
- light sour cream (optional)
- Place potatoes in microwave-safe bowl; sprinkle with water. Cover, venting one corner. Microwave on high 5-8 minutes until potatoes are tender.
- In large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add and break up turkey; cook 5 minutes, tossing occasionally. Mix in carrot; cook 2 minutes. Add potatoes and onions; toss and cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; mix in tomato sauce, cheese and Italian seasoning.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, 4-5 minutes until mixture is hot and most sauce is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. On work surface, lay out tortillas. Place 3/4 cup hot turkey mixture on each; fold and roll for burritos.
- Cut in halves. Serve each with sour cream, if desired.
- Eating Well When You’re Short on Time
- Committing to a better eating plan doesn’t change the fact there are simply times when a hectic schedule calls for a quick solution.
- When you need an easy-to-make lunch or dinner, opt for this Loaded Smoked Salmon Rice Bowl that takes just 5 minutes for a satisfying meal. With Minute’s fully cooked Ready to Serve Brown Rice, it’s easy to add whole grains to your diet even when you’re short on time. One cup of cooked brown rice is equal to two servings of whole grains, making it a nutritious option when time is of the essence.
- Packaged in convenient, single-serve, BPA-free cups, the brown rice cups provide a quick, easy solution for dishes from breakfast to dessert. Ready in just 1 minute, they’re non-GMO, gluten free and cholesterol free with no preservatives.
Find more easy-to-assemble recipes at MinuteRice.com.
Eating Well When You’re Short on Time
Committing to a better eating plan doesn’t change the fact there are simply times when a hectic schedule calls for a quick solution.
When you need an easy-to-make lunch or dinner, opt for this Loaded Smoked Salmon Rice Bowl that takes just 5 minutes for a satisfying meal. With Minute’s fully cooked Ready to Serve Brown Rice, it’s easy to add whole grains to your diet even when you’re short on time. One cup of cooked brown rice is equal to two servings of whole grains, making it a nutritious option when time is of the essence.
Packaged in convenient, single-serve, BPA-free cups, the brown rice cups provide a quick, easy solution for dishes from breakfast to dessert. Ready in just 1 minute, they’re non-GMO, gluten free and cholesterol free with no preservatives.
Find more easy-to-assemble recipes at MinuteRice.com.
Loaded Smoked Salmon Rice Bowl
Prep time: 4 minutes
Cook time: 1 minute
- 1 cup Minute Ready to Serve Brown Rice
- 2 ounces smoked salmon
- 1/2 cup julienned cucumber
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon everything bagel seasoning mix
- Heat rice according to package directions.
- Top rice with smoked salmon and cucumbers. Drizzle with soy sauce and sprinkle with seasoning mix.
(Family Features) Warmer months typically call for lighter bites, and one of the first things that comes to mind for many is a fresh and flavorful salad. While a salad is a quick and easy way to up your veggie intake and get food on the table in next to no time, the same formula over and over again can make mealtimes feel mundane.
To take your salads to the next level, think of those greens as a blank slate for creativity and look beyond the bowl for elements that can help create new, satisfying meals. For example, Fresh Express Chopped Salad Kits are tasty and versatile salad mixtures with premium ingredients that can also be eaten as sides with your favorite protein or used as toppers for favorites like pizza and tostadas to help kick mealtime up a notch. The salads are thoroughly washed, rinsed and gently dried then sealed in keep-crisp bags for long-lasting freshness.
These easy Kickin’ Chicken Tostadas are made using the Kickin’ Bacon Ranch Chopped Kit, which includes garden fresh cabbage, green leaf lettuces, carrots, green onions, tortilla strips, uncured bacon bits and some heat from jalapeno ranch dressing. Just add the mixture to tostada shells topped with salsa verde chicken and avocado for a flavorful combination.
Or for a tasty twist on traditional favorites like pizza and burgers, try this Thousand Island Burger Pizza using the Bacon Thousand Island Chopped Kit – a combination of iceberg and green leaf lettuces, uncured bacon bits, Parmesan cheese crisps, honey butter cornbread crisps and creamy Thousand Island dressing – to bring sweet and savory flavors together with beef and cheese on top of a homemade pizza crust.
Find more ideas to elevate salad season at freshexpress.com.
Thousand Island Burger Pizza
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
- 1 can (11 ounces) refrigerated thin pizza crust
- 12 ounces lean ground beef
- 1 cup pizza sauce
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 package (9.4 ounces) Fresh Express Bacon Thousand Island Chopped Kit
- 1/3 cup dill pickle slices
- Heat oven to 400 F.
- Unroll dough and spread on 13-by-9-inch nonstick baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes; remove from oven.
- In small skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef, stirring frequently, 8-10 minutes, or until no longer pink; drain. Spread sauce evenly on baked dough to within 1/2 inch of edge. Top with beef and cheese.
- Bake 8-10 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Top with lettuce, bacon and salad toppings from kit and pickle slices. Drizzle with Thousand Island dressing from kit. Cut into 12 (3-by-3-inch) pieces.
Kickin’ Chicken Tostadas
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 jar (16 ounces) salsa verde, any heat level
- 2 packages (10.2 ounces each) Fresh Express Kickin’ Bacon Ranch Chopped Kit
- 12 tostada shells
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- In large, covered skillet over medium heat, cook chicken in salsa verde 20 minutes, turning once, until internal temperature reaches 165 F.
- Remove chicken, reserving 1/2 cup salsa verde; shred with two forks. Toss with reserved salsa verde.
- Place salad from kit in large bowl; toss with half the salad dressing from kit. Add toppings from kit; toss to combine.
- Divide salad evenly among tostada shells. Top each salad with chicken and avocado; drizzle with remaining dressing.
Source: Fresh Express
(Family Features) The spring season brings to mind flowers blooming and plants springing back to life, making it the ideal time to enjoy fresh produce in meals throughout the day. Salads are of course one of the easiest ways to combine the flavors of your favorite fruits and veggies, but you can take your greens to the next level with refreshing recipe ideas.
Creating a cool, satisfying salad can be easy when you start with quality ingredients like Fresh Express salad blends, NatureSweet Cherubs Tomatoes and Litehouse dressings for versatile bases in a nearly endless array of options. For example, salads aren’t limited to lunch or appetizers – this Breakfast Salad Bowl makes for an energizing start to the day by combining classic salad ingredients with quinoa, bacon and avocado.
Perfect for those busy weeknights, heartier salad recipes can also provide quick, simple dinner options. As a more traditional mix to enjoy at the family table, this Salmon and Grains Salad Bowl brings together salmon, tomatoes and chickpeas on a bed of lettuce topped with ranch dressing.
Find more ways to create hearty salads this spring at litehousefoods.com/iheartsalad.
Salmon and Grains Salad Bowl
- 4 ounces salmon
- 2 tablespoons paprika, divided
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 15 ounces chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ounces Fresh Express Sweet Butter Lettuce
- 1 cup red quinoa, cooked
- 6 ounces NatureSweet Cherubs Tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons Litehouse Homestyle Ranch Dressing
- Heat oven to 350° F. Sprinkle salmon with 1 teaspoon paprika; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake on lined baking sheet 15 minutes, or until it reaches desired doneness.
- In bowl, toss chickpeas in olive oil and remaining paprika; add salt and pepper, to taste. Add chickpeas to lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 F 30-40 minutes.
- Add lettuce to plate or bowl. Top with quinoa, chickpeas, salmon and tomatoes. Drizzle with ranch dressing.
Breakfast Salad Bowl
- 10 ounces NatureSweet Cherubs Tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 ounces Fresh Express Baby Spinach
- 1 egg
- 2 bacon strips, halved
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 2 tablespoons Litehouse Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
- Heat oven to 400° F. Toss tomatoes in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake tomatoes on lined baking sheet 40 minutes.
- In skillet, add remaining olive oil and cook baby spinach until wilted, stirring as necessary.
- Cook egg as desired. Remove egg from skillet and set aside. Add bacon to skillet and cook until crispy, turning halfway through.
- In bowl, layer quinoa, bacon, avocado, egg, spinach and tomatoes. Drizzle with jalapeno ranch dressing.
(Family Features) From breakfasts to salads, desserts and beyond, fruit is unique in its ability to add both flavor and nutrition to family-favorite dishes. As you look for ways to incorporate produce in your family’s recipes, consider an option with a sweet-tart flavor and eye-catching color: red raspberries.
In the cool, marine climate of the Pacific Northwest, Washington state produces approximately 90% of the nation’s frozen red raspberry crop. Picked at the peak of ripeness and frozen within hours of being harvested, flavor and nutrition are locked in to offer convenience and consistent quality out of the freezer section at most grocery stores, perfect for better-for-you desserts like Pecan-Topped Raspberry Cake and Red Raspberry Whole-Fruit Sorbet.
With a distinct flavor that works well in dishes from sweet to savory, red raspberries can add bright flavor and balance to recipes ranging from salads like Spinach and Frisee Salad with Raspberry Pickled Onions and Raspberry Vinaigrette to a morning meal such as this Raspberry Coconut Smoothie Bowl. Plus, 1 cup of the flavorful red fruit includes just 80 calories and contains 6 grams of fiber while providing 28% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant.
Find more recipes at redrazz.org
Raspberry Coconut Smoothie Bowl
- 2 cups frozen raspberries
- 1 large frozen banana
- 2/3 cup light coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- shredded coconut
- shaved dark chocolate
- chia seeds
- edible flowers
- In blender, puree raspberries, banana, coconut milk and chia seeds until smooth. Mixture will be thick; ingredients may need pushed down to get blender going. If necessary, add more coconut milk.
- Pour into two bowls. Garnish each with shredded coconut, shaved dark chocolate, hazelnuts, chia seeds and edible flowers, if desired.
Red Raspberry Whole-Fruit Sorbet
Servings: 8 (1/2 cup each)
- 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 18 ounces frozen raspberries
- 1 egg white, pasteurized
- In blender, blend sugar and frozen raspberries until smooth.
- Add egg white and blend 30 seconds.
- Serve immediately or place in container, cover and store in freezer.
Spinach and Frisee Salad with Raspberry Pickled Onions and Raspberry Vinaigrette
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- 2 cups vinegar
Raspberry Pickled Onions:
- 1/2 cup Raspberry Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 pound sweet onions, peeled and julienned
- 1 cup frozen raspberries, partially thawed
- 1 cup Raspberry Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh shallot, peeled and minced
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup olive oil
Spinach and Frisee Salad:
- 8 ounces baby spinach, cleaned and dried
- 8 ounces frisee lettuce, cleaned, dried and torn
- 2 ounces Raspberry Vinaigrette
- 6 ounces Raspberry Pickled Onions
- 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 ounces almonds, slivered and toasted
- To make Raspberry Vinegar: In clean glass container, combine frozen raspberries and vinegar; cover tightly. Refrigerate 3-7 days prior to use.
- Pour vinegar through fine strainer or cheesecloth-lined strainer into clean glass container. Cover container tightly and store in refrigerator. Discard raspberries.
- To make Raspberry Pickled Onions: In medium, non-reactive container, combine Raspberry Vinegar, oil, sugar and salt. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add onions and raspberries. Toss well to blend and coat onions.
- To make Raspberry Vinaigrette: In blender, combine Raspberry Vinegar, shallot, Dijon mustard, honey and salt. With motor running, slowly add oil in steady stream. Reserve remaining Raspberry Vinegar.
- Once blended, pour Raspberry Vinaigrette into clean, non-reactive container; cover and reserve in refrigerator until ready to use.
- To make Spinach and Frisee Salad: In medium mixing bowl, combine spinach and lettuce. Add Raspberry Vinaigrette and toss well to coat.
- Plate 4 ounces mixed greens.
- Top mixed greens with 1 1/2 ounces Raspberry Pickled Onions, 1/2 ounce feta cheese crumbles and 1/2 ounce toasted almonds. Repeat with remaining greens, Raspberry Pickled Onions, feta cheese crumbles and toasted almonds.
Pecan-Topped Raspberry Cake
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 bag (12 ounces) frozen raspberries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- whipped cream
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- In bowl, cream 3/4 cup sugar and butter. Add eggs one at a time and continue beating until well incorporated. Add flour, baking powder and vanilla; beat well.
- Pour batter evenly into 9- or 10-inch prepared pan.
- Place frozen raspberries on top of batter. Sprinkle with pecans, remaining sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon.
- Bake about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Serve with whipped cream.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(Family Features) When cooking for the family, don’t sacrifice flavor in order to create a quick meal. Mouthwatering recipes can be at your fingertips with simple, tasty twists on family favorites for the dinner table.
Consider Chicken Soft Tacos with Pickled Beet Salsa featuring Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets or a READ 3 Bean and Steak Salad to make dishes without delay the whole household can enjoy.
Chicken Soft Tacos with Pickled Beet Salsa
Prep time: 25 minutes
Pickled Beet Salsa:
- 1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets
- 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon jalapeno mustard
- 4 soft flour tortillas (6 inches)
- 2 cups fresh arugula
- 2 cups chopped cooked rotisserie chicken (hot or cold)
- 1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
- To make Pickled Beet Salsa: Drain beets; chop. In medium bowl, combine beets, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper.
- In small bowl, stir together sour cream and mustard; set aside.
- On one half of each tortilla, place equal amounts Pickled Beet Salsa, arugula, chicken and cheese. Top with dollops of mustard-sour cream. Fold over.
3 Bean and Steak Salad
Recipe courtesy of Carolyn Mazzocco
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
- 1 can (15 ounces) READ 3 Bean Salad
- 1 ribeye or top sirloin steak (about 8 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups arugula
- 1/2 cup chopped herbs, such as parsley, thyme, dill, basil, chives or tarragon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon plain fat-free yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Drain bean salad. Reserve half of liquid. Place beans and reserved liquid in large bowl.
- Heat cast-iron skillet or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
- Lightly brush both sides of steak with oil. Sprinkle evenly with salt.
- In skillet, cook steak 4 minutes on each side, or to desired doneness. Remove from pan. Allow steak to rest 10 minutes, covered lightly with aluminum foil; slice.
- In bowl, combine arugula and herbs with bean salad. Toss gently to combine.
- To make dressing: In small bowl, whisk oil, yogurt, lemon juice, horseradish, salt and pepper. Set aside. Whisk again before serving.
- Divide salad between two plates. Top evenly with steak slices. Drizzle dressing over salads.
(Family Features) Packing and prepping wholesome lunches doesn't have to be a chore. You can kick health into high gear this school year with new ideas to make creative, nutrient-rich meals.
Fit to satisfy various dietary restrictions, the Power Your Lunchbox program offers kid-friendly options and allergy-sensitive selections. The program, which is dedicated to helping families make healthier lunches during the school year, features more than 80 registered dietitian-approved, family-tested meal ideas with produce as a focal point.
Consider skipping the typical sandwich, chips and apple. Instead, it only takes a few minutes to embark on a creative approach to lunch. Get the kids involved by having them use small cookie cutters to make fresh fruits and vegetables into fun shapes. Try complementing the produce with wraps or soups to add extra excitement to typical lunchbox fare.
Regardless if your child is a picky eater or is on the more adventurous side, bento box lunches such as Chinese Mandarin Pasta Salad Bento Box and Turkey Taco Salad Bento Box can prove to be satisfying, power-packed meals.
For more lunchbox inspiration, visit poweryourlunchbox.com.
Chinese Mandarin Pasta Salad Bento Box
Prep time: 20 minutes
- 16 ounces rotini pasta
- 6 mini sweet peppers, sliced
- 3 mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
- 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
- 1/2 cup sesame ginger dressing
- 1/4 cup chow mein noodles
- 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 cup steamed edamame
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water.
- In large bowl, mix pasta, peppers, oranges, green onions, spinach, carrots and dressing. Toss to coat well. Top with chow mein noodles.
- Place in lunchbox with kiwi and edamame.
Turkey Taco Salad Bento Box
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
- 1/4 cup cooked turkey meat, seasoned with taco seasoning
- 2 tablespoons shredded cheese
- 4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 2 tablespoons guacamole
- 1 ounce tortilla chips
- Assemble taco salad with lettuce, taco meat, cheese and tomatoes.
- Place in lunchbox with guacamole and chips.
Source: Produce for Kids
(Family Features) Backyard barbecues and family picnics are plentiful during the summer months, so chances are good you’ll host (or attend) at least one event this season. While you’ll likely feast on a bevy of hamburgers, hot dogs and summer salads, a menu filled with fresh, delicious sides makes for a meal worth celebrating.
There’s certainly more than one way to create a menu for a casual backyard picnic, so it’s easy to plan dishes that everyone can enjoy. When organizing your menu, be sure to consider your guests and prepare a selection of side dishes that are both age-appropriate and satisfy a wide range of cravings. Here are some creative ways to put a twist on classic side dishes to make your meal memorable:
Pasta medley. When you’re serving a group with kids, a simple pasta salad is a must-have side that even picky eaters will enjoy. Simply prepare your favorite noodles (fun shapes like spirals or bowties if you’re thinking kid-friendly) then add an array of ingredients like cubed cheese, olives, cherry tomatoes and broccoli florets with some extra-virgin olive oil. For a more grown-up flavor, combine feta cheese and bits of fresh basil with a drizzle of Bolthouse Farms Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing for an extra kick of flavor.
Naturally sweet treats. Many traditional sweet dishes are simply impractical for a hot summer day. As an alternative, something lighter can help satisfy a sweet tooth without the bulk of a heavy cake or pie. Try a mixed berry bowl with all your favorite seasonal fruits like fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. It’s a cheerful presentation and an option all ages can enjoy. Add a few sprigs of mint for garnish for a little festive fun.
Crisp coleslaw salad. A refreshing salad is almost always a crowd-pleaser. Instead of a traditional tossed garden salad, try adding some crunch with a zesty coleslaw salad. This recipe uses all chopped vegetables, allowing you to help reduce food waste by choosing veggies that are not the most beautiful on the shelf, but still taste delicious. Try using an option like Bolthouse Farms Coleslaw dressing to make these veggies and coleslaw even more delicious by giving you the classic, tangy, creamy and sweet coleslaw taste you love with less fat and fewer calories than other refrigerated brands. Just pour, mix in with cabbage and enjoy. Another tip: balance your crunchy veggies with some sweetness, like bits of apple, pear, persimmon or nectarine, for a truly flavorful salad.
Look in the refrigerated area of the produce section to pick up any of the Bolthouse Farms dressing varieties or visit Bolthouse.com to learn more.
“Ugly” Summer Coleslaw Salad
Recipe courtesy of Two Purple Figs
- 1/2 head white cabbage (about 4 cups)
- 2 scallions
- 1 carrot
- 1 apple
- 1 pear
- 1/2 bottle Bolthouse Farms® Coleslaw dressing
- 1 cup pomegranate arils (optional)
- Using shredder disc in food processor, shred cabbage, scallions, carrot, apple and pear. Add dressing and pulse until smooth.
- Sprinkle with pomegranate arils, if desired, and serve.
Content courtesy of Bolthouse Farms®.
Source: Bolthouse Farms
(Family Features) There’s no time like a hot summer picnic to let your patriotic spirit show. These all-American snacks featuring a classic favorite fruit – watermelon – are the perfect solution for nearly any summertime celebration.
Watermelon is a patriotic picnic staple for countless reasons, not the least of which is that it’s a beloved treat that many people associate with memories from childhood. However, nostalgia isn’t the only reason adults are just as likely to gravitate toward watermelon at a summer event. Its sweet, cool and refreshing flavor also makes it a favorite for all ages.
From a practical standpoint, watermelon is also quite portable, versatile and easy to serve, and with a composition of 92% water, it’s a simple way to sneak in some extra hydration on a hot day. Another benefit is its value; watermelon is one of the best values in the produce section among fruit, and just one watermelon can feed up to three dozen people.
Serving watermelon at a party can be as simple as slicing wedges, or you can prepare a dish such as:
- A fruit basket, with the rind serving as a colorful bowl to hold the watermelon and other fresh fruits.
- A charcuterie board with a selection of fruit, cheese and protein for simple snacking.
- Creamy parfaits, perfect for a summery brunch or alternative to more traditional desserts.
- A creatively colorful and patriotic “cake” that makes for a tasty centerpiece on the dessert table.
Find more ideas for incorporating watermelon into your summer festivities at watermelon.org.
Easy Summer Thirst Quencher
A simple fruit-infused water can give your summer event an instant upgrade in no time at all. Add extra dimension and complexity to the flavor by adding some of your favorite herbs like basil and mint.
- 2 cups watermelon balls or cubes
- 1 cup other fruit, such as berries
- herbs, such as basil or mint
- Place watermelon, fruit and herbs in pitcher and cover with water. For best flavor, allow to chill in refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.
Red, White and Blue Watermelon Parfait
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 container (6 ounces) Greek yogurt (vanilla, lemon or coconut)
- 1 cup watermelon, plus three pieces diced watermelon
- whipped cream, for serving
- In pint canning jar, layer blueberries, yogurt and 1 cup watermelon. Top with whipped cream and garnish with three diced watermelon pieces.
Note: To make ahead or make thicker, drain Greek yogurt on paper towels to absorb some liquid.
Patriotic Fruit Salad
- 1 watermelon
- Slice 1/4 inch off bottom of watermelon, lengthwise, to create stable base.
- Use pencil to draw zig-zag lines for basket opening. Using paring knife, make cuts through rind.
- Carefully remove top section, pull out large chunks of flesh and cut them into 3-by-3-inch squares.
- Trim 3/4-inch thick slices off squares to use for cutting out stars with 1 1/2-3-inch, star-shaped cookie cutters.
- Use ice cream scoop to remove flesh from inside basket and cut scoops into quarters for fruit salad. Place in bottom of basket. Add honeydew and blueberries; stir to combine.
- Cut out white stripes from honeydew.
- Garnish top of fruit salad with watermelon stars, honeydew stripes and blueberries.
Patriotic Charcuterie Board
- 1/2 medium seedless watermelon, cut into wedges
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
- 10 strawberries (dipped in white chocolate, if desired)
- 5 ounces fresh goat cheese
- 1/2 cup toasted, salted cashews
- 2 ounces cured meats like prosciutto, pancetta, coppa, salami, soppressata, sausage or pepperoni
- 1 Honeycrisp apple, cored and sliced
- lemon juice
- fresh basil leaves
- On large board or platter, arrange watermelon, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cheese, cashews, meat and apples. Drizzle fruit with lemon juice. Garnish with basil leaves before serving.
Flag Kebab Cake
- 1 pint fresh, washed blackberries
- 12 wooden skewers
- 1 seedless watermelon, flesh cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes (white part only)
- dips, such as yogurt, chocolate, caramel or marshmallow (optional)
- Thread five blackberries on each of five skewers, followed by alternating watermelon and cake cubes.
- On remaining skewers, alternate watermelon and cake so first and last cubes are watermelon. Place skewers on platter; fruit and cake will create stars and stripes when lined properly.
- Serve with dips, if desired.
(Family Features) Summer means it’s time to stock up on fresh produce and light the grill for a season of outdoor gatherings with friends and family. Make entertaining easier with flavorful options that can make menu-planning a breeze all summer long.
A nutritious and versatile ingredient, American Pecans can be your secret weapon for a variety of entertaining occasions. Add one bag of pecans to your shopping list and transform standby recipes into wholesome and delicious meals and snacks for the whole crowd.
Enjoy the long summer nights on the back porch with a Spiced Pecan Grilled Peach Salad, packed with the essential flavors and textures of summertime. Or serve up Pecan-Crusted Asian Turkey Meatball Lettuce Wraps, a light and delicious appetizer or easy entree to keep guests satisfied.
Discover more summertime entertaining recipes and cooking tips at AmericanPecan.com.
Spiced Pecan Grilled Peach Salad with Goat Cheese
- 1 egg white
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 1/4 cup, plus 2 teaspoons, extra-virgin olive oil or pecan oil, divided
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 large peaches, halved and pitted
- 6 cups mixed baby greens
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese
- To make spiced pecans: Heat oven to 275° F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In bowl, whisk egg white, brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and salt until well combined. Fold in pecans and mix until evenly coated. Spread in single layer on baking sheet.
- Bake 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally until pecans are fragrant and golden brown. Allow to cool completely.
- To make salad: In bowl, whisk 1/4 cup olive oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Brush cut sides of peach halves with remaining olive oil; grill until grill lines appear and peaches become tender, about 3-5 minutes. Remove peaches and slice.
- Divide greens among four plates. Top with grilled peach slices and goat cheese. Divide 1 cup spiced pecans evenly among salads and reserve remaining for snack. Top each salad with drizzle of vinaigrette.
Pecan-Crusted Asian Turkey Meatball Lettuce Wraps
- 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey thigh
- 1/3 cup chopped green onions (about 2 stalks)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1 cup fresh pecans
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 head butter lettuce leaves
- 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
- chopped scallions (optional)
- cilantro leaves (optional)
- Heat oven to 375° F.
- To make meatballs: Using hands, combine ground turkey, green onions, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, garlic and powdered ginger.
- In food processor, pulse pecans until coarsely ground to similar consistency as panko bread crumbs.
- Scoop 1 tablespoon meat mixture at a time and roll into meatballs. Roll meatballs in ground pecans until evenly coated.
- Place pecan-crusted meatballs on parchment-lined baking sheet; bake approximately 20 minutes. Flip after 15 minutes.
- To make sauce: In small saucepan over medium heat, combine soy sauce, cornstarch, fish sauce and sesame oil. Stir until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Sprinkle lettuce cups with shredded carrots. Place meatballs on top and drizzle with sauce. Garnish with scallions and cilantro, if desired.
Source: American Pecan Council