(Family Features) When families fire up their grills and turn to favorite summer recipes for filling meals, nutritional considerations are often not the focus. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. This year, you can rethink traditional seasonal menus by opting for main courses – and even desserts – that offer healthier returns by incorporating ingredients like whole oranges, which provide a multitude of nutritional benefits.
Adding an ingredient like California Valencia oranges to your family’s dishes means you’re including a rich source of vitamin C (70% of the daily value) and an excellent source of folate (20% of the daily value) in your seasonal spread. As a balance of sweet and tart, the extra juicy oranges reach their peak in summer, making them perfect for warm-weather recipes, juicing or as portable snacks to take along on adventures.
Plus, their anti-inflammatory benefits help support the body, especially as outdoor activities increase in the warm weather. The potassium found in oranges also helps support cell function, healthy blood pressure levels, bone health and hydration.
When it comes to meal planning, oranges are a highly versatile fruit that can be added to both sweet and savory dishes, as well as beverages, cocktails, sauces, frozen desserts, smoothies and more. To introduce a depth of flavor and burst of nutrition to dishes, add a sprinkle of zest, segments or fresh-squeezed juice, or even grill the fruit to bring out the flavor.
Try combining them with tastes of the Mediterranean for dinner with Orange and Harissa Glazed Beef Kebabs or end your meal with a refreshing sweet treat like Orange Ice Cream the entire family can enjoy.
By introducing the sweetness of oranges to your warm-weather menu, you can infuse fresh flavor while rethinking family favorites. Visit CaliforniaCitrusGrowers.com for more information on California oranges.
Orange and Harissa Glazed Beef Kebabs
Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1/2 cup California Valencia orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 California Valencia oranges, zested and segmented
- 2 tablespoons harissa paste
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 8 ounces beef tenderloin, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch squares
- 1 red onion, cut into 2-inch squares
- 16 broccoli florets, raw
- kosher salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- cooked couscous
- mandarin chutney
- In mixing bowl, combine orange juice and zest, harissa, honey, oil, mint and garlic; mix well.
- Add beef cubes and toss to coat; marinate 2 hours in refrigerator.
- Using long skewers, build kebabs, alternating beef, peppers, onions and broccoli on each.
- Heat grill to medium-high heat.
- Season kebabs with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill until vegetables are cooked through and beef reaches desired doneness.
- Serve over bed of couscous and top with mandarin chutney.
Orange Ice Cream
Prep time: 1 hour
- 2 cups California Valencia orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 2 tablespoons glucose syrup or corn syrup
- 1/4 cup non-fat dry milk powder
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 California Valencia oranges, zest only
- California Valencia orange slices, for garnish
- Prepare ice cream making vessel or unit, such as old-fashioned churner or ice cream machine with motor.
- Reduce orange juice to 1 cup; ice down to chill.
- In saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, cream, vanilla scraped pod and seeds, and glucose syrup until hot; remove from heat. Steep 30 minutes.
- In bowl, combine milk powder and sugar. Add dry mixture into hot cream mixture. Whisk to combine. Return mixture to medium heat.
- In separate heat-safe bowl, combine egg yolks and orange zest.
- In small increments, pour hot mixture over yolks and zest. Mix vigorously while pouring.
- Cook to 185 F.
- Remove from heat and pour through fine strainer. Hand-blend until smooth.
- Ice down immediately. Add cooled, reduced orange juice. Hand blend to combine.
- Spin and freeze then follow directions according to machine or vessel to make ice cream.
- Serve with orange slices.
Source: California Citrus Growers
(Family Features) Freshen up family dinners by adding new ingredients like pecans, with natural richness and subtle sweetness coupled with irresistible crunch.
Kitchen staples are being used to add twists to traditional dishes, so finding an item you can use to mix up classic family recipes is key. Pecans pack flavor, texture and nutrition all in one bite, and they have a long shelf life. Shelled pecans can be kept in airtight containers in the refrigerator for about nine months and for up to two years in sealed plastic bags in the freezer.
While pecans are beloved in classic desserts, like pecan pie, they also offer a variety of nutrition benefits that can be added to nearly any meal. They are among the highest in “good” monounsaturated fats, contain 3 grams of plant protein per serving and are a source of fiber, flavonoids and minerals like manganese, which is essential for metabolism and bone health.
Nearly two decades of research document the heart-health benefits of pecans. In fact, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1 1/2 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pecans, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of pecans (28 grams) has 18 grams of unsaturated fat and only 2 grams of saturated fat.
Add crunch to this Chinese Chicken Salad with Pecans by swapping out croutons, use chopped pecans as a flavorful and nutrient-dense coating for Pecan Chicken Meatballs and bake this Pecan Banana Bread as a nutritious and kid-friendly breakfast or snack to fill your home with a delicious scent.
Pecan Chicken Meatballs
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yield: 9 meatballs
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1/4 cup spinach, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh pecan pieces, divided
- Heat oven to 400° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In large bowl, mix ground chicken, spinach, lemon juice, egg, garlic, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne (if desired) and 1/2 cup pecans until well combined.
- Roll chicken mixture into 1 tablespoon- sized meatballs.
- Place reserved pecans in bowl. Roll meatballs in pecans to coat then place on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake 20-30 minutes until meatballs are cooked through.
- Serve warm with sauces for dipping or over pasta.
Chinese Chicken Salad with Pecans
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1/4 cup pecan butter
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons warm water, plus additional as needed (optional)
- 4 ounces dried thin rice noodles
- cold water
- 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 4 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
- 1/4 cup toasted and chopped pecans
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup crispy wontons
- 1 cup mandarin oranges
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken breast, chopped
- To make dressing: In medium bowl, whisk pecan butter, rice vinegar, honey, sesame oil and soy sauce until smooth.
- Add 2 tablespoons warm water and whisk until incorporated. Add additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if desired, until dressing reaches pourable consistency.
- To make salad: Cook rice noodles according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain and transfer to bowl with cold water to keep from sticking.
- In large bowl, toss romaine and iceberg lettuces, pecans, scallions, bean sprouts, crispy wontons, mandarin oranges and sesame seeds.
- Divide salad among four plates; top each with 1/2 cup chicken and serve with dressing.
Pecan Banana Bread
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
- 10 ounces gluten-free baking flour mix
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 flax eggs
- 1 cup organic brown or coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1/2 cup vegan yogurt
- 3/4 cup mashed bananas, ripe
- 1 cup raw pecan pieces, chopped, plus additional for topping
- Heat oven to 350° F. Prepare 9-by-5-inch banana bread pan.
- In medium bowl, sift flour mix, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt; whisk to combine.
- In mixer bowl, mix eggs, sugar and coconut oil 2 minutes on medium-low speed.
- Scrape vanilla bean and add to mixture. Add vegan yogurt and mashed bananas; mix 2 minutes on medium-low speed.
- Remove bowl from mixer and fold 1 cup raw pecan pieces into batter until evenly distributed.
- Add batter to banana bread pan and use spatula to smooth down top. Sprinkle additional pecan pieces on top.
- Bake banana bread on top rack 60 minutes until toothpick comes out with few crumbs but not completely clean.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes in pan. Hold sides of pan and flip onto wire rack.
- Allow bread to cool completely. Slice as desired.
Source: American Pecan Council