Meal Ideas 19 January 2018

Big Flavor for the Big Game

(Family Features) When hosting a game-day party, you’d think the focus would be on the score or the award-winning commercials, but it’s actually a great reason to indulge in flavor-filled bites. When the big day rolls around, let your guests obsess over the game while you serve up ooey-gooey dips, saucy wings and football-themed desserts that can keep them happily glued to their seats.

Dip into delicious. No watch-party menu is complete without a cheesy dip. This over the top dip brings big flavor and is perfect for kicking the party up a notch as your team works to post that next big win.

Slow cook your cornbread. Not only does this recipe for cornbread amp up the flavor with paprika, garlic powder and cheese, you can set it, forget it then enjoy it with your favorite chili or ribs.

Go ahead and wing it. Wings and football go together like quarterbacks and touchdowns. This year, try a south-of-the-border version and rub wings in cheesy taco seasoning. For extra flair, serve them on a platter with taco fixings.

Fan-favorite desserts. Win or lose, there’s always room for dessert. It can be surprisingly simple to create fun and tasty football-themed treats. These bite-size truffles require just five ingredients and are the perfect finishing touch(down) for your game-day spread.

Find more flavorful game-day recipes and ideas for your party at
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Chocolate Raspberry Football Cookie Truffles

  • 4         cups crumbled chewy chocolate cookies
  • 1 1/2   cups marshmallow creme
  • 2         teaspoons McCormick Raspberry Extract
  • 12       ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1         ounce white chocolate, melted
  1. In large bowl, mix crumbled cookies, marshmallow creme and raspberry flavor until well blended. Shape mixture into 1-inch ovals. Set aside.
  2. Melt chocolate as directed on package. Using fork, dip one cookie truffle at a time into chocolate. Tap back of fork 2-3 times against edge of dish to allow excess chocolate to drip off. Place on wax paper-lined tray. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or until chocolate is set.
  3. Spoon melted white chocolate into small, re-sealable plastic bag. Cut small piece from one bottom corner of bag. Close bag tightly then pipe lines on truffles to resemble football stitching. Let stand until chocolate is set.

Note: Cookies can be stored in covered container at room temperature up to 5 days.
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Texas Trash Dip

  • 1          package (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 1          cup sour cream
  • 2          cans (16 ounces each) refried beans
  • 1          can (4 1/2 ounces) chopped green chilies, drained
  • 1          package McCormick Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 4          cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • chopped cilantro (optional)
  • tomatoes (optional)
  • sliced olives (optional)
  • avocado (optional)
  • tortilla chips
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In large, microwavable bowl, heat cream cheese and sour cream on high 1 minute, or until cheese is softened. Remove from microwave. Mix with wire whisk until smooth. Add refried beans, green chilies, seasoning mix and 2 cups cheese; mix well.
  3. Spread bean mixture into 13-by-9-inch baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Top with cilantro, tomatoes, sliced olives and avocado, if desired. Serve with tortilla chips.

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Cheesy Taco Wings

  • 2 1/2    pounds chicken wing pieces
  • 1          package McCormick Cheesy Taco Mix
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 3          cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/4       cup finely chopped tomato
  • 2          tablespoons sliced green onion
  • 1       tablespoons crumbled queso fresco
  1. Heat oven to 450° F.
  2. In large bowl, toss chicken wings with seasoning mix. On large, shallow foil-lined baking pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, arrange wings in single layer.
  3. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and skin is crisp.
  4. On large serving platter, arrange lettuce. Top with wings, tomato, green onion and queso fresco.

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Slow Cooker Cheesy Cornbread

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1          cup milk
  • 3          eggs, beaten
  • 2          packages (8 1/2 ounces each) corn muffin mix
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Paprika
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1          cup frozen corn
  • 2          cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  1. Spray inside of 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. In slow cooker, mix milk, eggs, corn muffin mix, paprika, garlic powder and salt until well blended.
  2. Stir in corn and 1 cup cheese. Place clean kitchen towel over slow cooker and cover with lid.
  3. Cook 2 hours on high, or until toothpick in center of cornbread comes out clean. Uncover.
  4. Sprinkle cornbread with remaining cheese. Let stand, uncovered, 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Source: McCormick

Dessert 13 March 2017

Sweet Surrender: Easy Chocolate Truffles

(Family Features) Named for the earthy, exotic fungi they resemble, chocolate truffles require no hunting, digging or specially trained dogs and they won’t break the budget either. Real white truffles from Italy can set back the pocketbook more than $1000 for just one pound. Of course, chocolate truffles are a visual imitation only; they are sweet, addictive, and a great way to turn some organic chocolate, cream and butter into a decadent treat.

These ultra creamy truffles are made in the tradition of the Swiss style of chocolate truffle using heavy cream and butter to create what is called a ganache – a lovely French word for a mixture of chocolate and cream. According to Monique Hooker, Organic Valley’s French-born Chef, “using the best quality, organic cream and butter makes a difference.”

This recipe is so easy that kids can help and it is open to many variations. One option is to infuse the cream with some rich, floral Organic Madagascar vanilla extract, or split a whole vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the cream as it simmers. Or, try using white chocolate, and roll the balls in finely minced sweetened coconut. For decoration, top each truffle with a small piece of roasted nut such as pistachio or pecan, a tiny candy, or if serving immediately, add one perfect raspberry to each truffle. Serve for parties, birthdays, or any occasion that needs a little chocolate.

For more dessert recipes using organic cream and butter, visit

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Easy Decadent Chocolate Truffles

Makes 25 truffles

  • 1/2 cup Organic Valley heavy whipping cream
  • 12 oz best quality semisweet chocolate (preferably Fair Trade and Organic) chopped into small pieces, or 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons Organic Valley unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  1. In a small heavy saucepan, bring the cream gently to a simmer over medium low heat. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate and butter. Stir mixture just until the chocolate has completely melted, using very low heat if necessary. Remove from heat. Pour the chocolate mixture into a shallow bowl, and allow to cool. Cover tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least two hours or overnight.
  2. Line a cookie sheet or platter with baking parchment or waxed paper. Dip a teaspoon or small scoop such as a melon baller into warm water and scrape across the surface of the truffle mixture to form a 1-inch ball. Quickly roll balls in cocoa powder. Repeat with the remaining truffle mixture. Cover and refrigerate truffles. Serve in paper candy cups which are available in cookware shops or where cake decorating items are sold.

Variations: For a variety of truffles, roll balls in finely chopped nuts, finely minced sweetened coconut flakes, chocolate sprinkles, colored sugar or powdered sugar.

Tips: Truffles make a wonderful gift. Nothing says “I Love You” better than chocolate. Wrap a selection of truffles on a small red paper plate with cellophane and tie with a ribbon.

Source: Organic Valley

Holiday 20 January 2017

Happier Holiday Hors D’oeuvres

(Family Features) Holiday entertaining is all about food, wine and quality time with family and friends. This year, try a new approach to holiday get-togethers by hosting an hors d’oeuvres party.

Skip the hassle of preparing a full meal by serving a number of small bites, dips and spreads for your guests to enjoy. Most hors d’oeuvres can be prepared ahead of time so you can spend more time with your guests instead of in the kitchen, making it easy to entertain flawlessly.
The best part is you don’t have to break the bank to host a fabulous holiday gathering. By switching from national name brands to a grocer like ALDI, party essentials and seasonal must-haves, such as holiday gifts and baking necessities, can be as much as 50 percent less. Manufactured by many of the nation’s leading food producers, these exclusive brand items often meet or exceed the quality and taste of the national name brands.

Try these hors d’oeuvre serving tips from food stylist and loyal ALDI shopper Janice Stahl:

  • Rethink the regular: Surprise guests and get creative with classic recipes by changing the presentation. Square pizza bites, circular tea sandwiches or star-shaped fruit make entertaining fun.
  • Keep hors d’oeuvres simple: Serve foods that are bite-sized and easy to pick up. Try skewers to create festive kabobs, which are perfect for nibbling.
  • Presentation is everything: Experiment with serving pieces like vases, champagne glasses or appetizer cups that add special interest to bite-sized snacks from chips and dip to shrimp cocktail.

With these simple tips and recipes, you’ll be ready to throw a festive holiday hors d’oeuvres party that’s easy and affordable. Visit for more entertaining ideas.

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Cranberry Shrimp Ceviche Cups

$0.58 per serving at ALDI
Recipe courtesy of Chef Alyssa, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill
Cook time: 3 minutes
Yields: 16 ceviche cups

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons iodized salt, divided
  • 16 ounces medium raw shrimp, thawed
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 jalapeno, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 16 ounces tortilla chips
  • 2 limes cut into wedges
  • Fresh cranberries, optional
  1. Bring medium pot of water to a boil. Season with 1 teaspoon salt.
  2. Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Immediately plunge cooked shrimp into ice water bath. Peel shrimp and place in flat dish.
  3. In food processor, combine cranberries, red onion, parsley and jalapeno. Pulse until finely chopped.
  4. Add cranberry mixture to shrimp.
  5. Add lemon juice, lime juice, remaining salt, crushed red pepper and oregano. Stir to combine ingredients thoroughly.
  6. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  7. To assemble, spoon ceviche, about 4 to 5 shrimp each, into small clear cups or glasses. Garnish with tortilla chips and lime wedges.

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Pistachio Lemon Truffles

$0.43 per serving at ALDI
Recipe courtesy of Chef Michelle, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill
Cook time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill
Yields: 24 truffles

  • 1 1/4 cups pistachios, shelled
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 ounces plain goat cheese
  • 3/4 cup dried mixed berries, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon iodized salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped lemon zest
  • Pinch ground black pepper
  1. Roughly chop pistachios, place in bowl.
  2. With electric mixer, cream together remaining ingredients. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Scoop tablespoon size balls of cheese mixture and roll in pistachios to coat.
  4. To serve, sprinkle platter with remaining pistachios and place truffles on top. Serve with crackers.
Signature Drink

A signature drink is a must at any holiday soiree. Get creative by offering guests a specialty cocktail that matches the color scheme for the event. An avid party hostess, food stylist Janice Stahl makes the occasion special by pairing white wine with a splash of cranberry-pomegranate juice, garnished with fresh fruit or herbs. Giving your signature drink an original name to reflect your personality is an added touch your guests will love. For a lasting impression, hand out recipe cards of your signature drink as party favors.

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Signature Drink

$0.58 per serving at ALDI
Recipe courtesy of ALDI Food Stylist, Janice Stahl

  • Sugar for glass rim
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup cranberry- pomegranate juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cranberries
  • Fresh fruit for garnish
  1. Dip rim of glass in sugar.
  2. Pour wine and juice into glass, stirring to combine.
  3. Drop in cranberries, along with any additional fruit desired. Serve immediately.

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