Meal Ideas 16 March 2018

Easy Spring Lamb, Sides and Treats

(Family Features) This Easter holiday, hop into a new tradition and swap your classic ham for savory lamb.

Cooking lamb can be easier than many might think, especially when using a pressure cooker. You can combine aromatic herbs with white wine for a juicy leg of lamb in under an hour. Or try baking a rack of lamb crusted with a quinoa-hazelnut combination and topped with a mint pesto.

For a perfect, set-and-forget side, try slow cooker carrots, sprinkled with dill weed and lemon extract for a delightful spring dish. End the meal with festive cupcakes modeled after the Easter bunny, which can satisfy the sweet tooth of guests of all ages.

Find more Easter recipes at and find McCormick Spice on Facebook and Pinterest.
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Bunny Butt Cupcakes

Recipe courtesy of Amanda Rettke of “I am baker”
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 24

  • 1          2-layer size white cake mix
  • 1          tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, McCormick Pure Lemon Extract, divided
  • 1          tablespoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4       cup white chocolate chips
  • 2          sticks butter, softened
  • 16        ounces confectioners’ sugar
  • 2          tablespoons milk
  • 10        drops McCormick Green Food Color
  • 1-2       drops McCormick Red Food Color
  • 12        large marshmallows, halved crosswise
  • 3          tablespoons white nonpareil sprinkles
  1. Prepare cake mix as directed on package, adding 1 tablespoon lemon extract and vanilla. Spoon 3 tablespoons batter into 24 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake as directed on package for cupcakes. Cool cupcakes on wire rack.
  2. To make bunny feet: In medium, microwave-safe bowl, microwave white chocolate chips on high 30 seconds. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Spoon into pastry bag or re-sealable plastic bag. Snip small corner from bag. Pipe 24 pairs of bunny feet onto parchment or wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Use toothpick to smooth out bumps or rough edges, and gently tap cookie sheet on counter to help settle. Allow to harden 2 minutes in freezer or 15 minutes in refrigerator.
  3. To make frosting: In large bowl, beat butter and remaining lemon extract until light and fluffy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating well after each addition and scraping sides and bottom of bowl frequently. Add milk; beat until light and fluffy. Remove half the frosting and place in medium bowl. Add green food color; mix until evenly blended. Spoon into pastry bag fitted with grass decorating tip. Set aside. Remove half the remaining frosting into small bowl. Add red food color; mix until light pink. Spoon into another pastry bag.
  4. Using pink frosting, pipe three toes and padding on each bunny foot. Once frosting has set (about 1 hour) gently press down on pink frosting to create smoother look.
  5. To assemble cupcakes: Pipe green frosting onto each cupcake in series of short motions to create individual grass spots. Cover top of each cupcake completely.
  6. To make bunny butts: Place cut sides of marshmallow halves onto each frosted cupcake, leaving room for bunny feet. Shape remaining white frosting into dime-sized balls then roll with white sprinkles to cover. Pipe small drop of remaining pink or white frosting onto top of each marshmallow. Press bunny tail on top.
  7. Place both bunny feet against base of marshmallow with toes facing down.

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Lemon Dill Slow Cooker Carrots

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 3-4 hours
Servings: 6

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2          pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-1-inch chunks
  • 2          tablespoons water
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Dill Weed
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Pure Lemon Extract
  • 2          teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • teaspoon white wine vinegar
  1. Spray inside of 4-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Add carrots, water and salt; toss to coat. Cover.
  2. Cook on high 3-4 hours, or until tender.
  3. In small bowl, mix olive oil, dill weed, lemon extract, Dijon mustard and vinegar. Stir into cooked carrots in slow cooker before serving.

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Rack of Lamb with Quinoa-Hazelnut Crust and Mint Pesto

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 2          tablespoons red quinoa
  • 2          tablespoons white quinoa
  • 1/2       cup water
  • 1/4       cup, plus 1 tablespoon, finely chopped toasted hazelnuts, divided
  • 2          racks of lamb, about 1 pound each
  • 3          tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/8    teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt, divided
  • 1/4       teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Organic Black Pepper
  • 2          teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2          tablespoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Mint
  • 1/8       teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Organic Garlic Powder
  • cup plain Greek yogurt
  1. Rinse quinoa; drain well. In small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring quinoa and water to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 13 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Spread cooked quinoa on baking sheet to cool. Stir in 1/4 cup hazelnuts. Set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 450° F. Brush racks of lamb lightly with 1 teaspoon oil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt and pepper. Coat lamb with quinoa mixture, pressing firmly to adhere. Place lamb on roasting rack in foil-lined, shallow roasting pan. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons oil.
  3. Roast 20-25 minutes, or until desired doneness.
  4. To make Mint Pesto: In small bowl, mix remaining oil, remaining hazelnuts, lemon juice, mint, garlic powder and remaining sea salt until well blended. Stir 1 teaspoon pesto into yogurt.
  5. To serve: Carve lamb into chops. Drizzle with remaining pesto. Serve with yogurt sauce.

Electric Pressure Cooker Lamb

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 48 minutes
Servings: 12

  • 1          tablespoon McCormick Garlic Powder
  • 1          tablespoon McCormick crushed Rosemary Leaves
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Sea Salt
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Thyme Leaves
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground McCormick Black Pepper
  • 2          tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1          semi-boneless leg of lamb (about 4 pounds)
  • 1          cup Kitchen Basics Original Chicken Stock
  • 1/2       cup dry white wine
  • 2          medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1          medium yellow onion, cut into wedges
  • 1/4       cup water
  • tablespoons cornstarch
  1. In small bowl, mix garlic powder, rosemary, sea salt, thyme and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. In electric pressure cooker, heat oil on saute setting until simmering. Sprinkle half the seasoning mixture evenly over lamb. Place lamb in pressure cooker. Cook 8-10 minutes, or until browned on all sides, turning occasionally. Add stock, wine and remaining seasoning mixture to pressure cooker. Arrange carrots and onion around lamb. Close lid.
  3. Cook 25 minutes on high pressure. Once complete, allow pressure to release naturally with vent closed 15 minutes. Vent to release remaining pressure; remove lid. Remove lamb and vegetables from pressure cooker; set aside and keep warm.
  4. Set pressure cooker to saute. Cook, uncovered, until liquid is reduced by about half, about 5-10 minutes. In small bowl, mix water and cornstarch. Stir into pressure cooker with wire whisk. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1-2 minutes, or until thickened. Serve lamb and vegetables with gravy.

Source: McCormick

Meal Ideas 26 February 2018

Throw a Shamrockin' St. Patrick's Day Party

With Irish Classics and Green-Tinted Treats

(Family Features) It doesn’t take the Luck o’ the Irish to throw a great St. Patrick’s Day party. These tips and recipes will help you throw a festive celebration you’ll enjoy as much as your guests — including make-ahead corned beef and a minty-green cookie recipe both adults and little leprechauns will love.

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For more St. Patrick’s Day recipes, check out and visit McCormick Spice on Facebook and Pinterest.“We’ve developed recipes that make the tastes of Ireland easy to create — from a simple Irish Soda Bread to a classic corned beef and cabbage recipe that can be made in a slow cooker,” said Mary Beth Harrington of the McCormick Kitchens. “And don’t forget the treats! Our Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies are the perfect ending to a perfectly green party.”

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1–1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Green Food Color
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, food color and peppermint extract; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.
  2. Drop by heaping tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake 10–12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Savory Irish Cheese Soda Bread

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick Caraway Seed
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Red Pepper, Ground
  • 1/2 cup shredded Irish Cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and seasonings in large bowl. Stir in cheese. Set aside. Mix eggs and buttermilk in medium bowl. Add to dry ingredients; stir until well blended. Spread in lightly grease 9-inch round cake pan.
  2. Bake 30–40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Tip: Make muffins instead of bread. Prepare dough as directed and divide among 12 greased muffin cups. Bake 20–25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

  • 8 small red potatoes
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 corned beef brisket (4 pounds), rinsed and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons McCormick Mixed Pickling Spice
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 head cabbage, cored and cut into wedges
  1. Place potatoes, carrots and onion in slow cooker. Place corned beef brisket over vegetables. Sprinkle with pickling spice and minced garlic. Add enough water (about 8 cups) to just cover meat. Cover.
  2. Cook 7 hours on high. Add cabbage. Cover. Cook 1–2 hours on high or until cabbage is tender-crisp.
  3. Remove corned beef brisket to serving platter. Slice thinly across grain. Serve with vegetables.

Tip: For best results, do not remove cover while cooking in slow cooker.

Source:  McCormick & Company, Inc.

Meal Ideas 25 October 2017

Warm Up Fall Meals with Wine

(Family Features) Fall is the perfect time to welcome warm, robust flavors to your kitchen as well as your wine glass. With its bold, spicy, dark fruit flavors, cabernet sauvignon is a perfect wine for crisp fall weather.

Cabernet sauvignon is more versatile for pairing than some believe. It pairs well with different cheeses, meats, hearty vegetables and even fish. The key to creating a great dining experience is balancing the flavor of the meal with an elegantly balanced wine. When cooking, consider the three main flavors: sweet, salty and sour.

Sweet sauces can make cabernet sauvignon taste harsh and astringent, which takes away from the fresh fruit flavors in the wine. However, sour and salty flavors can make the wine taste more vibrant, creating a velvety mouthfeel of soft tannins while making the fruit taste more pronounced.

A well-balanced cabernet, such as Sequoia Grove Winery’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, pairs well with any meat or fish that is prepared with an acidic sauce or when given a squeeze of lemon juice. The winery, located in the heart of the Rutherford region in Napa Valley, specializes in the production of elegant, food-friendly cabernet sauvignon. Crafted by winemaker Molly Hill, the wine has aromatics of bright black cherries and blackberry, followed by cinnamon with a touch of black pepper. The palate is elegant with a round, full body, soft tannins and tasty blackberry flavors.

This recipe for a savory lamb shank stew has just the right amount of salt, acid and spice to create a deliciously balanced meal that is perfect to pair with an elegant glass of cabernet sauvignon. Learn more about Sequoia Grove’s wines and tasting seminars that include pairing suggestions at
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Slow Cooker Lamb Shank Stew

Serves: 4

  • 1          yellow onion, diced
  • 2          celery stalks, diced
  • 2          carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3          garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2          cups chicken stock
  • 1          cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • 2          tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1          teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1          bay leaf
  • 4          lamb shanks, external fat trimmed
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • lemon juice
  1. In slow cooker, combine onion, celery, carrots, garlic, chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme and bay leaf; stir.
  2. Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In large saute pan over medium-high heat, warm olive oil until nearly smoking. Add shanks and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker and cook on high 6 hours.
  3. Transfer lamb shanks to large serving dish. Remove bay leaf from cooking liquid. Using blender or stick blender, add generous squeeze of lemon juice to cooking liquid and puree until smooth. Pour some sauce over shanks. Serve with cauliflower puree and glass of Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Kobrand Wine and Spirits

Meal Ideas 30 November 2016

Home-Style Staples That Never Go Out of Style

(Family Features) No matter what the latest taste trend or hot new celebrity-endorsed recipe, you can always count on a few classic home-style standards to make a comeback around this time every year. Typically known as “comfort foods” for their ability to soothe and warm the soul, these familiar dishes not only taste delicious, but also make us feel warm and fuzzy all over — and are especially welcoming during the chill of the colder months.  Perhaps Grandma’s famed chicken noodle soup comes to mind, or Dad’s special meatballs with marinara. Maybe it’s Mom’s ultra-gooey, rich mac ’n’ cheese, your own fork-tender pot roast or delicious turkey and stuffing holiday leftovers.

Whatever the dish, though, all comfort foods have one thing in common — we turn to them for relief when we’re tired, stressed, under-the-weather or simply looking for a taste of home. They are typically simple, hearty, uncomplicated meals, informal and inexpensive to prepare, yet immensely satisfying to those lucky enough to be served them.
Three comfort classics that never seem to go out of style are pot roast, shepherd’s pie and beef stroganoff. The recipes included here require no extensive prep or unusual ingredients, so they’re easy to whip up, even on a weeknight.

The slow cooker pot roast offers a particularly convenient alternative to last-minute cooking, since the prep all occurs in the morning, leaving the roast to cook to tender perfection all day. By using some convenient comfort food shortcuts on your ingredient list, such as Heinz® HomeStyle Savory Beef Gravy and Wyler’s® Beef Bouillon cubes, you can add an extra layer of flavor to the roast, without the fuss of making gravy from scratch. The pot roast also includes a healthy helping of veggies, so it could easily become a complete meal with fresh bread or a green salad.

If you’re looking for a comfort food that doubles as a one-dish wonder — shepherd’s pie has it all. It includes the meat, vegetables and starch most of us associate with a complete home-style meal. Plus, using prepared Ore-Ida® Mashed Potatoes to top the pie eliminates the laborious task of making mashed potatoes from scratch.  Also, if you’re craving a comfort food with some added interest, try this creamy beef stroganoff. It’s simple to make and serves up a delicious plate of savory chunks of beef tenderloin, sautéed mushrooms and steaming noodles. And, if you want to add a little extra flare, try pairing it with a glass of merlot. That’s sure to offer some added warmth and a new level of sophistication.

So, with these simple, home-cooking classics in your culinary arsenal this season, there’s no need to rush out and purchase the latest “cookbook du jour.” Just stick to the basics this season and you’ll be sure to find some classic convenience, comfort and good taste.

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Beef Stroganoff

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 pound sirloin steak (cut into thin strips) or 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Wyler’s Beef Flavored Granules or 3 bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces wide egg noodles, prepared according to package directions
  • Chopped parsley, optional
  1. In large skillet, over medium-high heat, cook and stir steak, mushrooms and onion in margarine until steak is browned and vegetables are tender. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour to thicken, if desired; cook and stir 1 minute. Add water and bouillon; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in sour cream; heat through. (Do not boil.) Serve with hot noodles. Garnish with parsley if desired.

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Slow Cooker Savory Pot Roast

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 to 10 hours
Serves 6 to 8

  • 3 pounds bottom round beef roast
  • 1 Wyler’s Mrs. Grass Reduced Sodium Onion Recipe, Soup and Dip Mix pouch
  • 1 jar (12 ounces) Heinz HomeStyle Savory Beef Gravy
  • 2 Wyler’s Beef Bouillon Cubes or 2 teaspoons Wyler’s Beef Granules
  • 1 can (14 1/2-ounces) diced tomato with basil, garlic and oregano
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups mixed vegetables, such as sliced carrots, cut green beans, diced redskin potatoes, green peas, sliced celery
  1. In large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray, brown beef over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally.
  2. Combine soup mix, 1 jar of gravy, bouillon and diced tomato in 5-quart slow cooker. Add water and stir well. Add beef and turn until well coated. Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 10 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. Add mixed vegetables during last 2 hours, stirring occasionally. When vegetables are tender, remove beef from cooker. Slice or shred beef as desired, and serve with vegetables and sauce.

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Shepherd’s Pie

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 jar (12 ounces) Heinz HomeStyle Savory Beef Gravy
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups prepared Ore-Ida Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In large skillet, cook ground beef over medium heat until browned and thoroughly cooked. Carefully drain liquids and return to stovetop. Stir in gravy and vegetables and bring to boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes, or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. While beef mixture is still in skillet, spoon mashed potatoes onto it, forming 8 mounds, and top with cheese. Continue to simmer until potatoes are hot and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Source: Heinz Gravy / Ore-Ida Mashed Potatoes / Wyler’s Bouillon

Main Dishes 19 January 2017

Simple Slow Cooker Tips

(Family Features) Slow cookers are a simple, no-nonsense solution to making delicious meals for a family on the go. With minimal prep time, you can walk away and let the slow cooker work its magic – welcoming you home to an aromatic, ready-to-serve dinner. Here are some tips for slow cooker success:

  • Brown your meat before you heat. The extra few minutes you take to do so will greatly enhance the flavor of your meal. If you dredge your meat in a little flour before browning, you’ll also get a thicker sauce. While some foods will brown during the cooking process, they won’t have the same color and flavor they get when browned first on the stovetop. If you can find the time for this step, the results are worth it.
  • Prioritize your ingredients. Hardy, fresh vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, or turnips for example, cook more slowly than meat. To avoid undercooking these types of veggies, place them on the bottom or sides and the meat on top. Add tender veggies (peas) and strongly flavored veggies like broccoli, cauliflower or onions in the last 15 to 60 minutes. Dairy products like sour cream, milk or yogurt, tend to break down in the slow cooker. To prevent this, add them during the last 15 to 30 minutes of cooking. However, prepared items such as the Bob Evans’ Refrigerated Mashed Potatoes in this recipe can be added at the beginning. Stir in spices for the last hour of cooking. They will lose flavor if cooked with the rest of the ingredients for the duration.
  • Resist the urge to stir. Each time you lift the lid to do so, heat escapes, extending the needed cooking time by up to half an hour. Some recipes do instruct you to stir halfway through the cooking process or toward the end, but otherwise it's best to leave the lid closed. To check progress without lifting the lid, spin the cover until the condensation falls off. Then it's easy to see inside.

Here’s a deliciously simple slow cooker recipe from Bob Evans Food Products that your whole family will love:

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Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4 to 6 hours
Makes 6 servings

  • 1 pound Bob Evans Original Recipe Sausage Roll
  • 1 24 ounce package Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes
  • 2 cups frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 12 ounce jar beef gravy
  1. In medium skillet over medium heat, crumble and cook sausage until brown. Place in slow cooker. Add peas and carrots. Top with mashed potatoes. Pour gravy on top of potatoes. Cover and cook on low 4 to 6 hours.

For more family-friendly slow cooker recipes, visit





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