(Family Features) While there are many ways to enhance the taste and texture of your family’s favorite dishes, perhaps one of the simplest and most impactful is the addition of cheese. From fish and seafood to veggie-inspired recipes, the dairy delight provides a versatile, flavorful ingredient.
One wholesome option is cheese made with 100% sustainably sourced Real California Milk from dairy farm families, which helps bring out the full flavor of dishes like California Queso Fresco Fish Tacos. Quality, authentic dairy can be part of flavor-driven experiences with your loved ones whether you enjoy the tacos during a “fish Friday” event or simply as an opportunity to share a meal as a family. You can also use queso fresco to elevate the flavor of dishes like chilaquiles, or turn to other varieties like Oaxaca for a capirotada or asadero for quiche.
If a vegetarian-friendly meal suits your style, cheese can also enhance plant-forward dishes like Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers. These red bell peppers are cooked and seeded before being stuffed with onions, mushrooms, cheese and seasonings. Once they’re baked to an ooey-gooey doneness, they’re served with white rice for a filling yet healthful meal.
Visit realcaliforniamilk.com/hispanic-dairy to find more cheesy, delicious recipes.
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: about 1 hour
- 4 red bell peppers
- 1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon, vegetable oil, divided
- 1 cup white onion (about 1 medium), 1/4-inch diced
- 4 cups cremini or brown mushrooms (about 1 pound), 1/4-inch diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup Real California Oaxaca cheese, shredded
- cooked white rice, for serving
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Rub bell peppers with 1 tablespoon oil then use grill, broiler or gas stovetop burner to cook peppers, turning occasionally, until well charred, 12-15 minutes. Transfer to bowl, cover and set aside until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
- In large skillet over medium heat, warm remaining oil. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, 3-5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic salt and black pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned and liquid is almost entirely evaporated, 7-10 minutes.
- Rub charred skin from bell peppers. Slice off tops and remove seeds. Fill bell peppers with mushroom mixture, top with cheese and arrange in baking dish. Replace bell pepper tops and bake until cheese melts, 8-10 minutes. Serve with cooked rice.
California Queso Fresco Fish Tacos
Servings: 6 (12 tacos)
Avocado Radish Salsa:
- 2 medium avocados, chopped
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 3/4 cup diced radish
- 5 serrano chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 lime, juice only
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 pounds swordfish, or other whitefish, steaks or fillets
- vegetable oil
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 12 corn tortillas
- 6 ounces Real California Queso Fresco cheese, crumbled
- 2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup shredded cabbage
- To make avocado radish salsa: In small bowl, combine avocados, onion, radish, chile peppers, cilantro, garlic and lime juice. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
- Heat grill to medium heat.
- Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Rub oil on both sides to coat; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill fish 6-9 minutes until cooked through; cool slightly. Remove skin and bones; cut fish into 1 1/2-inch strips.
- In medium bowl, toss fish with lime juice and cumin. Warm tortillas in microwave or at 275 F in oven.
- Place equal amounts of fish, cheese, tomatoes, cabbage and salsa in center of each tortilla. Roll up tacos to serve.
Substitution: Use Real California Asadero or Monterey Jack cheese for Queso Fresco.
Source: Real California Milk
(Family Features) Cook once, eat twice. It’s a kitchen practice as simple as it sounds. Cook a base dish that can be enjoyed today and used for an entirely different meal tomorrow. For example, bake some fish for tonight’s dinner, and enjoy fish tacos for tomorrow’s lunch.
With so many Americans preparing meals at home, the practice of cooking once and eating twice can extend your grocery budget while also making meal planning less stressful and more comforting.
Cooking meals that feed the entire family is essential and even better if they give you a jump on a second meal. Whether your love for cooking runs deep or is being newly discovered, keep the following in mind when planning to cook once and eat twice:
Stock up on staples. Before heading out to the store, develop a list of ingredients that can be used for multiple dishes. Canned goods, such as black beans and corn, are great items to store in the pantry and have on hand for a variety of favorite family recipes. Other basics like corn tortillas can be used in multiple ways, such as tacos, casseroles and even salads.
Don’t forget produce. To increase flavor and nutrition, adding produce is key in your planning. Mushrooms are a favorite among chefs and home cooks alike for many reasons. Traditionally known for their inherent umami flavor, mushrooms are filling, healthy and versatile. Crimini and portabella are excellent sources of selenium, an antioxidant that protects cells from damage that may lead to serious chronic diseases. For example, four crimini mushrooms provide 38% of your daily recommended value. Also, the variety of mushrooms contain essential vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamins B and D and riboflavin.
Make meat go further. A three-step cooking technique called “The Blend” combines finely chopped mushrooms with ground meat to create dishes that are more nutritious while still tasting delicious. You can use the process to create multiple dishes such as tacos, pasta sauce and burgers. Mushrooms’ ability to mimic the texture of meat makes them easy to incorporate, and the addition of finely chopped mushrooms to meat dishes stretches portions, allowing the family to enjoy a meat-mushroom base two days in a row in two different ways in dishes like Mexican Lasagna and Blended Tacos, both of which include a Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend.
Makes: 8 tacos
- 1 cup sour cream
- 6 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 8 yellow corn tortillas
- 2 cups Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend
- diced avocado (optional)
- shredded lettuce (optional)
- shredded cheese (optional)
- salsa (optional)
- In small bowl, mix sour cream, cilantro and lime juice. Cover and refrigerate.
- Warm tortillas in microwave or on stovetop according to package directions. Spoon 1/4 cup Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend into each tortilla. Top with sour cream mixture and avocado, lettuce and cheese as desired.
Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend
Makes: 8 cups
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 8 ounces fresh button or crimini mushrooms
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, drained
- 1 package (1 ounce) reduced-sodium taco seasoning mix
- 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 1 can (11 ounces) yellow kernel corn, drained
- In food processor, pulse onion and mushrooms to coarse texture. Set aside.
- In large frying pan, brown ground beef. Drain fat. Set aside.
- In same frying pan, heat oil. Add mushroom mixture and saute 3-4 minutes, or until most moisture has been released. Add black beans and mix.
- Add beef, taco seasoning, tomatoes and corn to black bean and mushroom blend. Mix and cook until heated through.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 16 yellow corn tortillas
- 6 cups Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend
- 1 cup shredded, low-fat Mexican cheese blend
- sour cream (optional)
- chopped cilantro (optional)
- salsa (optional)
- Heat oven to 350° F. Spray bottom of 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place four corn tortillas on bottom of dish and layer 2 cups Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend on top. Repeat layers, ending with tortillas as top layer. Top with cheese.
- Bake uncovered 25 minutes, or until cheese melts and lasagna is heated through. Top with dollops of sour cream, cilantro and salsa as desired.
Source: Mushroom Council
(Culinary.net) If your family is looking for a simple way to serve up a south-of-the-border classic, this Enchilada Casserole can be your ticket to a warm, filling meal.
Find more meal ideas at Culinary.net.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 12 ounces ground beef
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 15 ounces pinto beans, drained
- 20 ounces diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 12 corn tortillas, 6 inches
- 20 ounces enchilada sauce
- 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
- Heat oven to 350° F. Spray baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In large skillet, cook onion and ground beef until cooked through. Drain, if necessary.
- Stir in chili powder and cumin. Stir in pinto beans and diced tomatoes; set aside.
- In small bowl, combine sour cream, flour and garlic powder.
- Place six tortillas in bottom of baking dish, overlapping as needed. Top tortillas with beef mixture and sour cream mixture. Top with 10 ounces enchilada sauce. Repeat layers.
- Bake 35-40 minutes.
- Sprinkle shredded cheese and green onion over casserole. Bake 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.
(Family Features) If you’re having trouble getting started, or even sticking to, a healthy eating regimen, you may be surprised that one highly effective practice doesn’t require counting calories or hours of exercise. You simply need to plan out your meals.
When hunger strikes, it’s tempting to grab the fastest, easiest-to-make food available, but that’s rarely the best choice for your health. Planning your meals encourages you to invest in better-for-you options ahead of time and reduces food waste, while saving significant time and money in the long-term. If you don’t know where to start, follow these easy tips to help make meal planning a breeze:
- Build meals around themes like taco night or seafood night. This can help narrow down your options but still allow you to experiment with new recipes or variations on favorites that can be added to your regular rotation.
- Be sure to include breakfast, lunch and snacks. Whether these are meals on the go or foods you’ll eat at home, planning ahead can help ensure you have tasty, healthy options at your fingertips all day long.
- Make it a family affair. Invite meal feedback from everyone and keep kids involved in the prep process to create more family time together.
- Take inventory of your pantry and leftovers before heading to the store – yesterday’s grapefruit breakfast could be today’s citrus salad.
- Shop wisely. Maximize time and money savings by shopping at a store such as ALDI, where you can find all your weekly must-haves, like fresh produce and organics, dairy, USDA Choice beef and bakery items. ALDI also offers a variety of healthy eating resources, including weekly meal plans and recipes like these Quinoa Lentil Tacos, at aldi.us/hellohealthy.
Quinoa Lentil Tacos
Recipe courtesy of Chef Michelle, ALDI Test Kitchen
- 32 ounces SimplyNature Vegetable Broth
- 3/4 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Iodized Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tablespoon Stonemill Essentials Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Ground Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Onion Powder
- 1 cup SimplyNature Organic Tri-Color Quinoa, rinsed
- 1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon Baker’s Corner Corn Starch
- 10 Pueblo Lindo White Corn Tortillas
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/2 cup crumbled Pueblo Lindo Fresco Cheese
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- In medium saucepan, bring broth, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, quinoa and lentils to boil; reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes, partially covered.
- Remove lid and add corn starch. Stir 5-8 minutes until lentils are cooked through.
- Heat medium pan over high heat. Heat tortillas 1 minute on each side.
- Divide lentil mixture evenly among tortillas. Top with red onion, avocado and fresco cheese. Serve each with lime wedge.