(Family Features) Introducing kids to unfamiliar flavors doesn’t have to be a frightful experience. Getting creative and taking cues from some beloved characters may be all it takes for families to explore produce in a new way and discover how delicious, satisfying and enjoyable fresh fruits and vegetables can be.
A passion for produce may begin with America’s favorites, like bananas, apples, citrus, celery, carrots and broccoli, but that’s just the beginning.
Whether it’s their angry names and tough exteriors, or simply a fear of the unknown about taste and preparation, dozens more diverse and exotic fruits and vegetables like dragon fruit, horned melon and Brussels sprouts are often the sources of produce paranoia.
An initiative from Dole, in collaboration with Disney and Pixar’s Monsters, Inc., is helping to take the scare out of specialty fruits and vegetables and widen America’s produce horizons. That’s because, like a good book or the characters in a beloved film, you can’t judge a fruit or vegetable by its appearance; nature’s true beauty often lies within.
The campaign offers character-inspired recipes, serving suggestions, digital and social activations, family-friendly activities, fun trivia and influencer partnerships that celebrate the not-so-scary world of the planet’s more unusual fresh bounty.
One easy way to introduce new flavors is by trying a variation of a familiar fruit or veggie. For example, there are more than 500 edible banana varieties in the world. You might sample a red banana or a Manzano, or even an ice cream banana, with a taste resembling vanilla custard.
These fun and kid-friendly Green Slime Nacho Cups feature plantains, for example, a member of the banana family with a different taste and texture than everyday yellow bananas – more firm and starchy like a potato. Increase your family’s produce intake even further with a Slippery Slimy Smoothie and Chicken Stuffed Roz Heads, which call for green grapes, celery, avocados, strawberries and blueberries.
Find more recipes and other not-so-scary fun at dole.com/Disney, and follow #Dole and #DoleRecipes.
Chicken Stuffed Roz Heads
Prep time: 15 minutes
- 1 cup cubed, cooked chicken breast
- 1/2 cup DOLE® Green Grapes, halved
- 1/4 cup chopped Dole Celery
- 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 Dole Avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
- 6 whole-wheat pretzel twists
- 18 whole-wheat pretzel sticks
- 1 Dole Strawberry, sliced
- 3 dried, sweetened blueberries
- In bowl, stir together chicken, grapes, celery, yogurt, salt and pepper.
- Scoop three equal portions onto serving plate. Shape each into oval.
- Top each with upside down avocado half.
- Decorate each avocado half to resemble Roz’s face. Using sharp paring knife, trim each pretzel twist to create horn-rimmed glasses lens by cutting off double loop section of each pretzel twist and discarding or enjoying as snack, keeping single loop portion, which will become one lens. Two lenses are needed per Roz Head.
- Place two pretzel lenses on each avocado to form glasses. Add pretzel stick to each side of avocado to form arms of glasses. Push four pretzel sticks into top of each avocado to form hair. Add strawberry slice, trimmed to look like lips for her mouth, and place blueberry on lower left side of face to form mole.
Green Slime Nacho Cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 green starting to turn yellow DOLE® Plantain, peeled and thinly sliced on bias
- 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 Dole Avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup thinly shredded Dole Purple Cabbage
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Toss plantain slices with canola oil and season with pinch of salt. On parchment paper-lined baking sheet, arrange slices in single layer with no overlapping.
- Bake 18-20 minutes, or until crispy and lightly golden. Cool completely and set aside.
- Using spoon, scoop flesh of avocado into small bowl and mash, reserving one half avocado shell. Stir mashed avocado with lime juice, garlic and remaining salt. Stir in slaw, reserving some for garnish. Scoop into reserved avocado shell and smooth top with back of spoon. Stick reserved cabbage shreds out of avocado mixture to look like hair.
- Serve slime nacho cups with plantain chips.
Slippery Slimy Smoothie
Prep time:10 minutes
Servings: 2 (8 ounces each)
- 1/2 cup DOLE® Spinach
- 1 Dole Banana, peeled and frozen
- 1/2 cup Dole Green Grapes, frozen
- 1/3 cup cucumber, diced
- 1/2 cup Dole Pineapple
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 5 ice cubes
- In blender, blend spinach, banana, grapes, cucumber, pineapple, almond milk, Greek yogurt and ice cubes until smooth.
- Pour smoothie into two glasses and serve.
©2020 Disney/Pixar (Roz)
(Family Features) Invite your friends and neighbors over, spread out some comfy seating and dim the lights. Whether it’s a kids’ birthday party, an adult gathering or nearly anything in-between, hosting a movie night in the comfort of your own home – or on a projector in the yard – can be the perfect escape. Of course, tasty snacks only add to the fun.
Light and airy popcorn is a movie watching staple, and one you can feel good about eating. At only 30 calories per cup, whole-grain, freshly popped popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO, gluten-free, contains no artificial additives or preservatives and is sugar-free.
Enjoyed a handful at a time or as part of creative, flavorful snack recipes – like Popcorn Pepperoni Pizza Dippers, Sweet and Salty Popcorn Party Mix, Maple Bacon Popcorn Mix and Truffle Popcorn – popcorn offers plenty of versatility to fit nearly any theme.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Sweet and Salty Popcorn Party Mix
Yield: 14 cups
- 10 cups popped popcorn
- 2 cups miniature pretzel twists
- 1 cup pecans
- 1 cup peanuts
- 2 cups rice, wheat or corn cereal squares
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Heat oven to 300° F.
- In large bowl, combine popcorn, pretzels, pecans, peanuts and cereal squares; set aside.
- In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir mixture until it begins to boil. Boil 3 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Note: Mixture will foam.
- Pour syrup over popcorn mixture and stir until evenly coated. Pour mixture onto large, rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Bake 30 minutes, stirring twice during baking. Stir mixture several times as it cools. Store in airtight container.
Popcorn Pepperoni Pizza Dippers
Yield: 16 squares
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup tomato and basil reduced-fat cooking cream
- 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 10 cups popped popcorn
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced pepperoni, coarsely chopped
- marinara sauce, for dipping
- Heat oven to 350° F. Spray 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In large bowl, whisk eggs, cooking cream, parmesan cheese and black pepper. Stir in popcorn, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni.
- Spread mixture in prepared pan, patting down with spatula or spoon.
- Bake about 15 minutes until set and lightly browned. Let sit 5 minutes. Cut into 16 bars. Serve warm with marinara sauce.
Yield: 10 cups
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, white truffle oil, divided
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- In large, heavy-bottomed pot with lid, combine olive oil and 1 tablespoon truffle oil. Add about three popcorn kernels.
- Heat over medium-high heat until one kernel pops. Add remaining popcorn kernels; cover.
- Once corn begins to pop, shake pot constantly over heat.
- When popping slows, remove pot from heat and transfer popcorn to large serving bowl.
- Melt butter and mix in remaining truffle oil. Pour mixture over popcorn; toss.
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese, salt and pepper over popcorn; toss to distribute evenly.
- Serve immediately or store in airtight container.
Maple Bacon Popcorn Mix
Yield: 2 quarts
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 8 cups popped popcorn
- 2/3 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon maple extract
- Heat oven to 400° F. Line jellyroll pan with foil. Place wire rack in pan. Arrange bacon in single layer on rack. Bake 15 minutes until ends of bacon start to curl.
- Remove and reserve 2 tablespoons bacon drippings. Brush bacon with 2 tablespoons maple syrup; bake 15 minutes until browned. Cool then coarsely chop bacon.
- In large bowl, combine popcorn, pecans and cranberries.
- Combine butter, black pepper, maple extract, remaining maple syrup and reserved bacon drippings. Cook over low heat until butter is melted. Drizzle over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Spread popcorn mixture in jellyroll or roasting pan.
- Bake 5 minutes. Toss in bacon pieces. Serve warm.
Source: Popcorn Board
Spend more time with family in the morning and less time making breakfast with these easy-to-make Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites made with Pillsbury® Refrigerated Breadsticks.
Soft Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites
- 1 (11oz.) can Pillsbury Refrigerated Breadsticks
- 3 TBS cinnamon
- 2 TBS sugar
- 2 TBS butter, melted
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- sugar to sprinkle (optional)
- 1 TBS water
- 4 TBS powdered sugar
- Heat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Melt butter and mix with cinnamon and sugar.
- Unroll dough; separate into 12 breadsticks. With finger, press dough to make an indention length wise down the center of breadstick.
- Spoon cinnamon/sugar mixture into breadstick indention. Fold breadstick dough lengthwise over cinnamon/sugar mixture. Press to seal edges of dough.
- Twist and stretch dough to make a rope. Form a pretzel shape and seal ends of dough. Place raw pretzel onto prepared cookie sheet.
- Beat egg in a bowl and wash over pretzels.
- Sprinkle with sugar (optional).
- Bake at 375°F for 12 - 18 minutes or until golden brown.
- Mix water and powdered sugar to make a glaze. Drizzle glaze over pretzels.
- Serve warm.
Source: Recipe adapted from Pillsbury®
(Family Features) Americans are snacking more and more these days, with the average person consuming 25 percent of daily calories in the form of snacks. This school year, aim for an A-plus in nutrition by snacking smarter on nutrient-rich dairy products.
Snacking goes hand-in-hand with dairy products since they are a tasty, convenient and cost-effective way to fuel up throughout the day. There are a variety of grab-and-go milk, cheese and yogurt products that provide portable nutrition.
What’s more, dairy packs a nutritious punch. Together, milk, cheese and yogurt provide nine essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, an important nutrient to include in snacks since it helps you feel fuller longer.
Boost your snacking IQ with these smart tips:
- Add dairy to your favorite treats for a well-rounded snack. Pair cheese sticks with fresh fruit, such as an apple, pear or grapes. Reach for cheese cubes and whole-grain crackers when you want something savory. Or dip strawberries in yogurt for a tasty, sweet treat. For a kid-friendly snack, make it hands-on fun by creating colorful fruit and cheese kabobs.
- Flavored milk provides the same nine essential nutrients as unflavored milk. The only difference is the addition of flavorings and minimal amounts of sugar, which can lead to improved consumption, especially among children.
- Whip up a dairy-based smoothie made for an on-the-go snack or create your own yogurt parfait, such as this flavorful recipe that combines favorites like peanut butter and bananas in a deliciously refreshing treat.
For more tips and recipes to help you snack smarter, and for stories about dairy farm families and where dairy foods come from, visit MidwestDairy.com.
Peanut Butter Banana Crunch Yogurt Parfait
Recipe courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Council
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 1 cup nonfat, light vanilla yogurt
- 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
- 4 pretzel twists, crumbled (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 banana, sliced
- In small bowl, mix yogurt and peanut butter together. In separate bowl, toss walnuts and pretzels together.
- In tall glass, build parfait. Layer 1/2 cup yogurt, half of banana slices and 1 tablespoon of walnut/pretzel mixture. Repeat layers. Serve immediately.
Rainbow Fruit and Cheese Kabobs
Recipe courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Council
Prep time: 15 minutes
- 8 wooden skewers
- 6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 18 cubes
- 1/2 cup strawberries, halved
- 1/2 cup cantaloupe, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup pineapple, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 kiwi, peeled and cut into 6 pieces
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 6 purple grapes
- Thread each skewer with one piece of cheese, one strawberry half, one cantaloupe cube, one pineapple cube, another piece of cheese, one piece of kiwi, two blueberries, one grape and another piece of cheese. Repeat pattern with remaining skewers.
Want your kids to acquire healthy eating habits? Start them cooking! Taking part in snack and meal preparation encourages children to develop sound food choices and may even persuade a picky eater to try new tastes. Some of the best items for kids to work with can be found at the supermarket deli counter. Boar’s Head, makers of premium deli products, offers an assortment of fine meats and cheeses for young chefs to make some of their favorite treats. Plus Boar’s Head products meet many of a child’s daily nutritional needs.
Pretzel Stick Roll Ups
- 2 slices Boar’s Head Gold Label Swiss Cheese
- 2 slices Boar’s Head Maple Honey Ham
- 1 slice Boar’s Head American Cheese
- 1 slice Boar’s Head Bologna
- Small pretzel sticks (There are a number of varieties available — make sure to select a sturdy kind.)
- On clean work surface (plastic cutting board or plate will do), lay out cheese slices. Place 1 ham slice on each Swiss cheese slice and bologna on American cheese. Starting at one end, roll up each pair of slices and skewer with pretzel stick. (Grownup helper may need to assist small hands with pretzel spearing.)
Yield: 3 roll ups
Source: Boar's Head