(Family Features) Supplementing meals and snacks with powerful, versatile ingredients can take healthy eating from bland and boring to delicious and adventurous.
Take your breakfasts, appetizers, dinners and desserts to new heights while maintaining nutrition goals with naturally nutritious and surprisingly versatile California Prunes. Rich and smooth with an ability to enhance both sweet and savory flavors, they can expand your menu with nearly endless powerful pairing options.
One serving of 4-5 prunes packs a powerful punch of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Together, these nutrients form a web of vital functions that support overall health.
Whole, diced or pureed, the versatility of prunes allows you to enhance the flavor of recipes from morning to night in dishes like Citrus Breakfast Toast, which brings together vitamin B6 and copper from prunes and vitamin C from citrus to support a healthy immune system.
Try Caramelized Onion, Mozzarella, Prune and Thyme Flatbreads for a tasty family meal, and while you wait for dinner to cook, you can serve up Prune, Mozzarella and Basil Skewers. These easy appetizers provide several key nutrients. Mozzarella is a good source of calcium and prunes provide vitamin K and copper, all of which support overall bone health.
Make dessert a bit better for you but equally delectable with a vegan option like gluten-free, plant-based Prune and Almond Truffles. The soluble fiber in prunes helps lower serum cholesterol and blunt the effects of excessive sodium in the diet. Nuts like almonds provide good fats that help lower the risk for heart disease.
Find more recipe ideas at CaliforniaPrunes.org.
Caramelized Onion, Mozzarella, Prune and Thyme Flatbreads
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: 4 flatbreads
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup butter
- 6 large yellow sweet onions, sliced into thin half circles
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- coarse kosher salt, to taste
- 4 personal flatbreads
- 1 cup caramelized onions
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 10 California Prunes, diced small
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- sea salt, to taste
- coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
- To make caramelized onions: Preheat oven to 400 F.
- In large stockpot over medium-low heat, warm oil and melt butter. Add onions and cover; cook 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add thyme sprigs and season with salt, to taste; turn pan lid slightly ajar. Place pot in oven 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- To make flatbreads: Preheat oven to broil. On sheet pan, toast flatbreads under broiler 4 minutes, or until toasted, flipping halfway through.
- Spread 1/4 cup of caramelized onions over each toasted flatbread. Refrigerate leftover onions.
- Tear mozzarella and place over onions. Divide prunes among flatbreads and place flatbreads under broiler 4-6 minutes until cheese has melted and is beginning to brown.
- Sprinkle flatbreads with fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Citrus Breakfast Toast
Prep time: 13 minutes
Cook time: 2 minutes
- 16 ounces pitted California Prunes
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 large citrus fruit, peels and piths removed with knife, sliced into rounds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons raw sugar
- 4 tablespoons sunflower butter
- 2 slices whole-grain sourdough bread, toasted to desired darkness
- 2 tablespoons prune puree
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
- 2 California Prunes, finely diced
- To make prune puree: In blender, pulse prunes and water to combine then blend until smooth, pourable consistency forms, scraping sides, if necessary.
- Store in airtight container up to 4 weeks.
- To make bruleed citrus wheels: Place citrus wheels on baking sheet and divide sugar evenly among each piece.
- Using circular motion, pass flame of culinary torch repeatedly over sugar until it boils and turns lightly charred and amber.
- To build toast: Spread 2 tablespoons sunflower butter on each piece of toast. Top each with 1 tablespoon prune puree spread evenly across sunflower butter. Sprinkle each evenly with sunflower seeds and diced prunes. Top each with half broiled citrus and serve.
- Alteration: Use broiler set on high instead of culinary torch to caramelize sugar.
Prune and Almond Truffles
Recipe courtesy of Meg of "This Mess is Ours"
Prep time: 45 minutes
- 1 cup California Prunes
- 1 1/2 cups toasted slivered almonds, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, plus additional, to taste, divided
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla paste or extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Boil water and pour over prunes. Soak 30 minutes; drain.
- In food processor fitted with "S" blade, pulse 1/2 cup toasted almonds with salt, to taste, until fine crumbs form. Transfer to shallow bowl and set aside.
- Add remaining almonds to food processor with 1/4 teaspoon salt and cocoa powder. Pulse 30 seconds to combine. Add prunes, vanilla paste and almond extract; process until combined. Mixture should be creamy with slight texture from almond crumbs. Transfer prune mixture to bowl and refrigerate 1 hour.
- Once chilled, use small cookie scoop to portion out individual truffles on parchment-lined baking sheet. Gently roll each truffle in reserved toasted almond crumbs. Store on parchment-lined plate in refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Serve chilled.
Prune, Mozzarella and Basil Skewers
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 5 pieces prosciutto, halved lengthwise (optional)
- 10 California Prunes
- 10 basil leaves
- 10 cherry-size mozzarella balls
- If using prosciutto, fold each half in half lengthwise so width of prune is wider than width of prosciutto. Starting at one end of prosciutto, wrap one prune; repeat with remaining prosciutto. Set aside.
- Wrap one basil leaf around each mozzarella ball then thread onto skewer. Thread one prune or prosciutto-wrapped prune onto each skewer.
Source: California Prunes
(Family Features) No matter how busy your schedule gets this fall, it’s important to take time to nurture your physical and mental health and well-being. With busy schedules underway, remember to take time to cook and eat together with loved ones.
In fact, research from the “Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health” shows regular family meals make it more likely kids and adults will eat more fruits and vegetables.
Making healthy choices, including eating fruits, like those in Apple Nachos, and vegetables have also been linked to greater happiness, according to research published in “Canadian Family Physician,” and can help you through the transition back to school, the office or wherever your routine takes you. Pairing a healthy diet with other science-backed tips and recipes from the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good initiative, supported by Kroger Health, can help you and your family feel your best.
For more free recipes, and to access more health tips, visit heart.org/healthyforgood.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good initiative
- 1/3 cup dried unsweetened cranberries or raisins
- 1/4 cup sliced unsalted almonds
- 2 tablespoons unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
- 3 medium green or red apples, cored and thinly sliced into 12 wedges each, divided
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup smooth low-sodium peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- In small bowl, stir cranberries, almonds and sunflower seeds.
- Layer 18 apple wedges on large plate or platter. Sprinkle with lemon juice to keep apples from browning.
- In small microwaveable bowl, microwave water on high 2 minutes, or until boiling. Add peanut butter and honey, stirring until mixture is smooth.
- Using spoon, drizzle half peanut butter mixture over apple wedges. Sprinkle with half cranberry mixture. Layer remaining apples over cranberry mixture. Drizzle with remaining peanut butter mixture. Sprinkle remaining cranberry mixture over top.
Nutritional information per serving: 167 calories; 7.5 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 2.5 g polyunsaturated fat; 3.5 g monounsaturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 66 mg sodium; 22 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 15 g sugar; 4 g protein.
Source: American Heart Association
(Family Features) On top of being tasty, certain foods contain specific nutrients and natural compounds that may help fight inflammation, a condition linked to arthritis and gout. With that in mind, try heading to the fridge or pantry the next time you feel joint pain, swelling or stiff knees.
Colorful fruits and vegetables, including ruby red tart cherries and dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, are among the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods, along with oily fish (salmon, sardines and scallops), nuts, seeds and whole grains. Ingredients such as ginger, turmeric and olive oil may also help combat inflammation.
For an inflammation-fighting boost, Montmorency tart cherries contain the “highest anti-inflammatory content of any food,” according to research conducted at Oregon Health & Science University. Results show that cherry intake can help reduce blood levels of gout-causing uric acid and reduce the painful symptoms of osteoarthritis. Research also shows that Montmorency tart cherry juice can reduce post-exercise inflammation and muscle pain.
“For decades, people with arthritis and gout have consumed tart cherry juice for pain relief. Now there’s scientific evidence to back up this popular folklore remedy,” said registered dietitian Michelle Babb, author of “Anti-Inflammatory Eating Made Easy.” “Since Montmorency tart cherries are one of the richest sources of anthocyanins, a potent type of flavonoid, they can offer a natural way to help ease the pain related to arthritis and gout.”
To help fight inflammation with food, try this recipe for Bay Scallop, Baby Kale and Corn Salad with Tart Cherry Granola, which is packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients. Learn more about the research on Montmorency tart cherries and inflammation, and find more recipes, at choosecherries.com.
Bay Scallop, Baby Kale and Corn Salad with Tart Cherry Granola
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 1 salad
- 1/3 cup oats
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons buckwheat groats
- 2 tablespoons pepitas
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
- 1/4 cup dried Montmorency tart cherries
- 1 shallot, minced
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dried Montmorency tart cherries
- 2 tablespoons Montmorency tart cherry juice
- 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 10 ounces baby kale
- 1 grilled ear of corn, kernels sliced off
- 1 cup sprouts (alfalfa or microgreens)
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 8 ounces bay scallops, patted dry
- To make savory granola: Heat oven to 350° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or baking mat.
- In large bowl, combine oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, buckwheat groats and pepitas. In small bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey, mustard, salt and pepper.
- Pour wet ingredients into large bowl and toss until well combined.
- Spread mixture onto baking sheet in single layer and bake 18-20 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until granola starts to turn golden brown and crispy around edges.
- Remove from oven, add cherries, toss to combine, spread into single layer and let cool.
- To make dressing: In food processor, process shallot, olive oil, cherries, cherry juice, mustard, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper until smooth.
- To make salad: Place kale, corn kernels and sprouts in large bowl; set aside.
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Once hot, add scallops and cook until golden and starting to caramelize on one side. Flip and repeat on other side.
- Add scallops to large salad bowl. Pour dressing over top and toss until well combined.
- Break up granola into small pieces and add to salad bowl. Toss lightly before serving.
Source: Cherry Marketing Institute
(Family Features) Whether you’re a casual exerciser, a professional athlete or just looking for a nutritious breakfast, kick off your day with protein-packed recipes.
As an expert in the nutritional needs of professional athletes, Megan Chacosky, chef and registered dietitian for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team, stresses the importance of protein in any fitness enthusiast’s diet. Protein helps build, maintain and repair muscles while increasing energy and endurance, which can help strengthen the body and avoid injuries. Adding a protein beverage like Rockin’ Protein, made from fresh Shamrock Farms milk with up to 30 grams of protein per serving, into healthy breakfast recipes is one way to increase the protein level and nutritional benefits of your breakfast.
These recipes are quick to prep for grab-and-go mornings to start your day with proper nutrition. To learn more, visit rockinprotein.com.
- 1 bottle (12 ounces) Chocolate Rockin’ Protein Builder
- 12 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 cup oil
- 2 cups roasted hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- Heat oven to 325° F.
- In large bowl, combine protein builder, rolled oats, maple syrup, oil, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds; mix until oats, hazelnuts and seeds are coated. On baking sheet, spread granola in thin layers and bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes.
- Cool completely then sprinkle in chocolate chips and serve with yogurt, on smoothie bowl or as cereal.
Nutritional information per serving: 295 calories; 32 g carbohydrates; 7.5 g protein; 16 g fat; 6 g sugar.
Blueberry Cornbread Muffins
Servings: 12 muffins
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 egg
- 1 cup Vanilla Rockin’ Protein Builder
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Heat oven to 400° F. Line muffin tin with 12 paper or foil muffin liners and set aside.
- In medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; once mixed, toss in blueberries to coat.
- In separate bowl, combine egg, protein builder, oil and lemon juice. Pour liquid ingredients into dry mix and stir until just combined. Divide into lined muffin tins and bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
Nutritional information per serving: 245 calories; 25 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 15 g fat; 6 g sugar.
Source: Rockin’ Protein
(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