(Family Features) After an extended period of social distancing, this year will be a time for reuniting with family and friends. Picnic get-togethers filled with delicious food are one of the best ways to reunite with loved ones when you’re ready for those long-overdue laughs.
While planning the perfect outdoor gathering can feel overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. With these simple tips, it can be easy to organize a memorable picnic reunion.
Make it fun. Whether it’s a water balloon toss or a three-legged race, organizing a few games for your guests can be a simple way to reconnect and have fun together. Outdoor games like ring toss and potato sack races or arts and crafts are activities all ages can enjoy.
Reach for pantry staples. No picnic is complete without good food. When planning your menu and packing your cooler, don’t stress. Before you make an extra trip to your local farmers market or grocery store, be sure to check your pantry. You probably already have the makings for simple yet delicious meals and snacks. For example, canned fruits, vegetables and proteins – like wild-caught tuna, salmon and sardines – can help you create and elevate your picnic recipes.
Host an eco-friendly picnic. Good food and good weather help make a successful picnic, but ensuring you leave your space as you found it is equally important. To minimize waste, invest in reusable picnicware, like utensils and plates. Also consider swapping your paper napkins for cloth versions. Not only are they more environmentally friendly, but they’ll also elevate the overall look of your picnic.
No grill, no problem. As more people seek out substitutes for red meat, change up your menu and serve seafood as a delicious alternative. For example, an Albacore Bliss Bowl made with Chicken of the Sea Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water is a versatile choice that can be topped with veggies like cabbage, cucumber and carrot then drizzled with a homemade dressing. Since there’s no cooking required, you can easily prep ahead of time or even on-site. For those taking part in the day’s games and activities, try these Salmon Rollups which make perfect handheld snacks.
For more recipe inspiration while planning your next picnic reunion, visit chickenofthesea.com .
Albacore Bliss Bowl
Total time: 10 minutes
- 2 cans (5 ounces each) Chicken of the Sea Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water, drained and flaked
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup chopped purple cabbage
- 1/3 cup diced cucumber
- 1/3 cup shredded carrot
- 1/3 cup diced red pepper
- 1/3 cup diced mango
- 1/3 cup chopped green onions
- 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds or black sesame seeds
- Divide cooked quinoa between four bowls. Top each with evenly divided tuna, cabbage, cucumber, carrots, red peppers, mango and green onions.
- In small bowl, whisk apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle over each bowl. Garnish with sesame seeds.
Total time: 15 minutes
- 1 can (5 ounce) Chicken of the Sea Pink Salmon
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup thick and chunky salsa, plus additional for dipping (optional)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup corn chips, crushed
- 4 flour tortillas (8 inches)
- 4 large leafy green lettuce leaves, washed and patted dry
- In bowl, combine cream cheese and 1/2 cup salsa until light and fluffy. Stir in salmon, cheese and corn chips.
- Spread 1/4 filling to within 1/2 inch of each tortilla edge. Arrange one lettuce leaf over filling. Roll up tortillas and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1-3 hours.
- To serve, remove plastic wrap, trim ends from rolls and cut each into 3-4 slices. Serve with additional salsa, if desired.
Source: Chicken of the Sea
(Family Features) Grilling gives summertime a special meaning for many people – especially when it comes to food. Those savory whiffs of barbecuing might call to mind burgers and drumsticks, but don’t forget the sweet smell of seared, steamed or skewered garden-fresh vegetables to make those colorful, flavorful side dishes too.
This summer consider adding a vegan twist to those classic veggie sides like grilled corn on the cob or crunchy coleslaw with the help of Violife 100% Vegan Cheese. By adding a vegan cheese to these recipes, you can spice them up or make them sweet and colorful – and plant-based. They’re sure to go hand-in-hand with your summer menus and satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
The corn on the cob in this creamy Grilled Corn with Garlic and Herbs recipe can be grilled alongside your main protein and is an easy way to add healthy veggies without the dairy. Or try this Sweet and Spicy Vegan Coleslaw recipe that puts a plant-based spin on a classic and asks for just 10 minutes of prep time in the kitchen.
By using Violife 100% Vegan Cheeses in your favorite summer recipes, you won’t be sacrificing taste or texture with your meal. Each option is non-GMO and free from dairy, soy, nuts, gluten, preservatives and lactose. Made from the goodness of plants and available in shreds, slices, wedges, blocks or as a cream cheese alternative, these vegan cheeses melt, stretch and are perfect for including as part of any plant-forward summer menu.
To find more summer recipe ideas, visit violifefoods.com .
Grilled Corn with Garlic and Herbs
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 pack Violife Just Like Cream Cheese Original
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon oregano, chopped
- salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 6 corn cobs
- pink pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 F or heat grill to medium.
- Mix cream cheese substitute, chopped garlic, parsley and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and place on baking sheet. Twist sides and refrigerate 1 hour.
- Grill corn or bake 30-35 minutes, or until tender.
- Remove cream cheese mixture from baking sheet and cut into slices. Place on top of each corn cob. Sprinkle with pink pepper, to taste, and serve with lime.
Sweet and Spicy Vegan Coleslaw
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 1 carrot, grated
- 10 Brussels sprouts, finely sliced
- 1 small red cabbage, grated
- 1 cup peas
- 3 spring onions, sliced diagonally
- 1 cup coriander, chopped
- 1 pack Violife Just Like Cream Cheese Original
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons agave
- 1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes or chili paste (optional)
- toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- In large bowl, toss carrot, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, peas, onions and coriander; mix thoroughly.
- In small bowl, whisk cream cheese substitute, garlic, olive oil, wine vinegar, agave, ginger and chili flakes, if desired.
- Pour dressing into salad and toss well. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, if desired.
(Family Features) Taking care of your heart health requires a commitment to the right routines and smart decisions, such as adopting a heart healthy diet. Foods you might already have in your kitchen can offer powerful vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds that may help contribute to heart health.
Decades of research shows that each 8-ounce serving of 100% orange juice, such as Florida Orange Juice, is packed with key nutrients and valuable plant compounds, which may play a beneficial role in helping lower blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease. Consider these additional heart health benefits of 100% orange juice:
- While many people associate vitamin C with its ability to help promote a healthy immune system, it’s also been shown to support cardiovascular health. Orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C providing more than 100% of the recommended daily value in an 8-ounce glass.
- In several research studies, higher intakes of the flavonoids typically found in citrus were associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
- In one 8-ounce serving, 100% orange juice provides 10% of the daily value of potassium, which is an electrolyte that helps maintain fluid balance affecting blood pressure. Diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
- Some studies found folate and vitamin B6, both water-soluble vitamins, may help protect against heart disease by lowering homocysteine levels in the blood, an amino acid believed to cause damage to the arteries and increase the risk of blood clots when elevated. One 8-ounce glass of orange juice contains 15% of the daily value of folate and 8% of the daily value of vitamin B6.
“Drinking Florida Orange Juice is not only delicious, it delivers a powerful combination of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds,” said Dr. Rosa Walsh, director of scientific research at the Florida Department of Citrus. “From helping to reduce hypertension to fighting inflammation, it is an excellent choice to include in a heart-healthy diet.”
You can add the heart health benefits of 100% orange juice to your diet with the powerfully nutritious punch of Orange Juice Shrimp Quinoa Bowls, the perfect mixture of textures with tangy, spicy and sweet flavors. Or start the day strong with a Florida Sunshine Grapefruit Smoothie for a breakfast beverage that requires just a few minutes of prep and blending.
Find more heart healthy inspiration at floridacitrus.org.
Orange Juice Shrimp Quinoa Bowls
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup Florida Orange Juice
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 English cucumber, sliced into half moons
- 3 scallions, sliced
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- In pot, bring water to boil.
- Add quinoa, reduce to simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes. Fluff with fork.
- In bowl, whisk orange juice, hot sauce, honey, soy sauce, 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, lime juice and miso. Remove half and set aside.
- Add shrimp to remaining half and marinate 15 minutes.
- Heat large skillet over medium-high heat and add remaining oil.
- Season shrimp with salt and pepper then add shrimp to wok and saute, cooking approximately 2 minutes per side until pink and cooked through.
- Place 1/2 cup quinoa in bowl and top with bell pepper, cucumber, scallions, avocado and shrimp.
- Drizzle with dressing that was set aside and garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro.
Florida Sunshine Grapefruit Smoothie
- 1 cup Florida Orange Juice
- 1/2 cup Florida Grapefruit Juice
- 1 ripe banana
- 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In blender, blend orange juice, grapefruit juice, banana, yogurt and vanilla extract until smooth. Serve immediately.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (smoothie)
Source: Florida Department of Citrus
(Family Features) As a key part of a nutritious eating plan, protein intake can be a healthy step to take in the new year. One increasingly popular way to add protein to your at-home menu is with protein-packed, plant-based foods like tempeh.
Tempeh’s roots date back thousands of years and originate in Indonesia. It’s an all-natural protein source made with simple, whole-food ingredients – most often fermented soybeans, water and rice – and is high in protein, packed with fiber and low in fat, sodium and calories. Tempeh is also loaded with vitamins and minerals like calcium, manganese, phosphorus and iron, and has all nine essential amino acids. Because it’s fermented, the nutrients in tempeh are easy for the body to digest.
The health benefits of tempeh, including 18 grams of protein per serving, are one reason to give it a try, but another is it’s easy and versatile to cook. It has a firm texture, nutty taste and can be baked, fried, steamed or grilled. Tempeh also easily absorbs marinades, spices and sauces. To prepare tempeh, cut it into cubes, strips or crumble it then toss into a stir-fry, layer it onto a BLT sandwich or simply warm a skillet and sear it until golden brown.
The possibilities for tempeh are nearly endless, and it’s also increasingly easy to find. For example, Lightlife, founded in 1979 as “Tempeh Works,” was among the first commercial producers of tempeh in the United States. Today, it offers its Original Tempeh at more than 18,500 retail stores nationwide.
Find protein-packed meal ideas, like Sesame Ginger Tempeh Power Bowls with Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes, at lightlife.com.
Sesame Ginger Tempeh Power Bowls with Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes
Pickled Pink Onions:
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 package (8 ounces) Lightlife Original Tempeh
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 cups baby spinach or kale
- 2 cups cooked tri-color quinoa, at room temperature
- 1/2 ripe avocado, cubed
- 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 6 red grape cherry tomatoes, halved
- 6 yellow grape cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup pea shoots
- To make pickled pink onions: In small pot, bring white wine vinegar, sugar and salt to boil. Add onions and toss to coat 15 seconds. Turn off heat and let sit 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and bright pink. Set aside.
- To make sesame ginger vinaigrette: In small bowl, stir vegetable and sesame oils with ginger, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and sesame seeds. Pour into two small ramekins. Set aside.
- To make sweet potatoes: In large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add sweet potato slices and cook, turning occasionally, 15-17 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary until tender when pierced with knife. Remove to cutting board and cut each slice into quarters. Wipe out skillet.
- To make tempeh: Cut tempeh crosswise into eight triangles. In nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, heat vegetable oil. Cook tempeh with soy sauce until golden brown and warm, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove tempeh from pan and add baby spinach or kale; stir 1-2 minutes just until wilted.
- To assemble bowls: On bottoms of two shallow bowls or plates, spread cooked quinoa. Top with piles of warm sweet potatoes, pickled pink onions, sauteed spinach or kale, avocado, chickpeas, grape tomatoes and pea shoots. Top with tempeh and serve with sesame ginger vinaigrette.
(Family Features) Cooking with your kids is a fun way to bond while teaching basic culinary skills. It provides practical lessons like counting ingredients and dividing portions. Plus, meals cooked together offer kids something to look forward to during lunchtime. They can enjoy the food they helped prepare, and you’ll be able to check at least one meal off your to-do list while teaching valuable life lessons.
One way to make cooking more exciting for the family is to prepare food for a bento box using pantry staples. Bento boxes are considered an act of love in Japan and are a fun way to get your family involved in the kitchen. Bento boxes are similar to single-portion lunchboxes except they feature small compartments for each element of your meal, making it easy to encourage kids to eat fresh fruits and veggies. They also offer a whimsy visual appeal that can make mealtime more entertaining.
Next time you plan a meal with loved ones, try incorporating authentic Japanese recipes like a Simple Teriyaki Bowl, a Miso-Glazed Salmon Bento or Garlic Shrimp with Jasmine Rice. These dishes call for simple preparations, short cook times and pantry basics, making it easy to involve your family in the process.
To create a taste-tempting family meal with genuine Japanese flavors, try Mizkan premium sauces and rice vinegars. For more than two centuries, the vinegars have helped chefs and families around the world delight in the flavors of Japan. Now the taste can be at your table, helping you create authentic meals your whole family can enjoy.
Find more tips and ideas for creating flavorful and authentic Japanese recipes at mizkanflavors.com.
Garlic Shrimp with Jasmine Rice
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 1/2 cup Mizkan Ponzu Citrus Seasoned Soy Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons Mizkan Organic Rice Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Mizkan Ponzu Citrus Seasoned Soy Sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 pound (about 21-25) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup red onion, large chopped
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
- 1 cup sugar-snap peas
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- To make ponzu rice: In small saucepan, combine jasmine rice, ponzu and water; cook according to rice directions.
- To make stir fry: In bowl, whisk rice vinegar, seasoned soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, vegetable stock and cornstarch to combine. Set aside.
- In large saute pan over high heat, heat oil; add shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes until pink.
- Add red onion and cook 1 minute. Add garlic, red bell peppers, carrots, snap peas and broccoli; cook 3 minutes until tender.
- Add reserved sauce and cook 2 minutes until thickened.
- Divide rice among six bowls and top with shrimp stir fry. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds; serve.
Miso-Glazed Salmon Bento
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus marinating
Cook time: 6 minutes
- 1/4 cup miso paste
- 2 tablespoons Mizkan Mirin Sweet Cooking Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon sake
- 2 skinless center-cut salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
- 1 cup thinly sliced seedless cucumbers
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons Mizkan Seasoned Rice Vinegar
- 2 cups cooked short-grain sushi rice, cooled
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 6 cherry tomatoes
- 2 lemon wedges
- In medium bowl, whisk miso paste, mirin and sake. Add salmon, turning to coat evenly. Marinate 10-30 minutes. Discard remaining marinade.
- Heat large nonstick pan on medium-high heat. Cook fish 2-3 minutes on each side, or until internal temperature reaches 145 F. Cut each fillet into four small pieces.
- In strainer or colander, toss cucumbers with salt; let stand 5 minutes. Squeeze out excess liquid; toss with rice vinegar.
- Pack each bento box evenly with rice, pickled cucumbers and salmon. Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds. Garnish with tomatoes and lemons.
Substitutions: If ingredients are unavailable or difficult to find: Use 1/4 cup soy sauce to glaze salmon in place of miso paste; use low-carb rice such as cauliflower or broccoli rice in place of sushi rice.
Tip: To prevent sogginess, separate wet components like cucumber pickles by using aluminum foil or silicone muffin liners inside bento box.
Simple Teriyaki Bowl
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
- 1 large boneless chicken thigh
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons Mizkan Mirin
- 3 tablespoons Mizkan Natural Rice Vinegar
- 1/2 scallion
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 2 servings hot, cooked rice
- 1 teaspoon dried seaweed sheet (nori), sliced (optional)
- Slice chicken thigh meat into bite-size pieces. In bowl, mix soy sauce, mirin and rice vinegar; marinate chicken pieces in seasoning mix 10 minutes.
- Cut scallion into 2-inch pieces. In frying pan, saute until soft, about 1 minute. Set aside.
- In frying pan, heat oil and cook chicken until browned.
- When meat is browned, pour marinade over chicken and continue cooking on low heat until sauce thickens.
- Place hot, cooked rice in individual bowls. Spread sliced dried seaweed pieces over rice, if desired, and top with chicken and scallions to serve.
Photo courtesy of NPDstock/Shutterstock (Simple Teriyaki Bowl)
Makes 4 servings
- 1 pound boneless beef top sirloin
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1-1/2 tablespoons Kikkoman Soy Sauce
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry
- 2 teaspoons Kikkoman Hoisin Sauce
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 2 bunches green onions, cut into 1-1/2-inch lengths, separating whites from tops, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Mongolian Sauce*
- 1 teaspoon sesame seed, toasted
- Cut beef across grain into thin strips. Combine next 4 ingredients; stir in beef. Let stand 15 minutes. Stir-fry half of beef in 1 table-spoon hot oil in wok or large skillet over high heat 1 minute; remove.
- Repeat cooking procedure with remaining beef and 1 tablespoon oil; remove. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same pan. Add whites of green onions, garlic, ginger and red pepper; stir-fry 1 minute.
- Stir in green onion tops. Add beef and Mongolian Sauce.
- Cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens. Sprinkle with sesame seed before serving.
*Mongolian Sauce: Combine 1/3 cup water, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch, 2-1/2 tablespoons Kikkoman Soy Sauce, 1 tablespoon dry sherry and 1 teaspoon Kikkoman Hoisin Sauce.