recipes

Meal Ideas 11 May 2021

A Truly Memorable Summer Menu

(Family Features) Summer days are often spent with family and friends, soaking in the sun’s rays and enjoying outdoor living with warm-weather activities. Complement this year’s summertime excitement with food that matches your enthusiasm for the season.

Your menu can start with a fruity dip and a salad before diving into steak for the main course and a kid-friendly treat to top it all off. These recipes make the most of what summer has to offer with fresh fruits and veggies, bright and refreshing greens, tender cuts of meat and frozen treats that celebrate those memorable moments together.

Find more summer recipe inspiration at Culinary.net.

Dip Up a Good Time

Whether your summer days include planning extravagant meals or your on-the-go lifestyle calls for quick and easy recipes, simple snacks can fit a wide variety of menus. Dips are a perfect solution for afternoon pick-me-ups or evening appetizers when the whole family comes together.

This Apple Guacamole can be made in mere minutes, making it an ideal shareable among loved ones, by combining mashed avocados and seasonings with chopped Granny Smith apple pieces.

Visit Culinary.net for more snack ideas.

Apple Guacamole

Recipe adapted from the Meredith Corporation
Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8-10

  • 3          ripe avocados, halved and pitted
  • 1/2       cup finely chopped Vidalia onion
  • 1/2       cup snipped fresh cilantro
  • 1          lime, juice only
  • bottled hot pepper sauce, to taste
  • 1          Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • tortilla chips
  1. In bowl, use fork to mash avocados, onion, cilantro, lime juice and hot pepper sauce to desired consistency. Stir in apple and season with salt, to taste.
  2. Serve with tortilla chips.

Savor a Bite of Steak

A hearty flavor profile and perfectly prepared, high-quality meat can make a summer meal truly spectacular, especially when paired with fresh veggies in a protein-packed sandwich.

Inspired by Vietnamese tradition, this Steak Banh Mi recipe – which features tender grass-fed flat iron steak, pickled carrots, bright lettuce and crunchy cucumbers – is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next summer gathering. Take your taste buds to new heights with Silver Fern Farms natural cuts of 100% grass-fed beef from New Zealand, which is minimally processed with no added growth hormones or antibiotics. There, the animals roam and graze freely over lush green hills and pastures, resulting in lean, flavorful, nutritious meat that tastes just as nature intended.

Visit silverfernfarms.com for more inspiration.

Steak Banh Mi

Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2

  • 10        ounces Silver Fern Farms New Zealand grass-fed beef flat iron steak
  • 2          teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 2          teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2          teaspoons honey
  • 1          teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1          clove garlic, minced
  • 1          teaspoon, plus 1/2 cup, rice vinegar, divided
  • 1/8       teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 2          tablespoons sugar
  • 1          pinch salt
  • 1          small carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1          tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4       cup water
  • 2          Vietnamese baguettes or dinner rolls
  • 1/4       cup mayonnaise
  • 4          Batavia lettuce leaves
  • 1/4       cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1          Persian cucumber, sliced
  1. Remove steak from packaging and set aside 10 minutes. Once steak reaches room temperature, place steak in deep plate or storage container. In small bowl, combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, fish sauce, garlic, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar and five-spice powder; pour over steak. Cover and marinate in fridge at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  2. In small pot over medium heat, heat remaining rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Cook and stir until sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Place carrots in deep plate or storage container. Pour cooled pickling liquid over carrots. Set aside to marinate.
  4. Remove steak from marinade and pat dry. Reserve marinade.
  5. Heat oven to 325 F.
  6. Heat heavy-bottomed pan over high heat and add oil. Once oil begins to smoke, add steak. Sear both sides, about 1 minute per side. Lower heat to medium.
  7. Add reserved marinade and water to pan. Cook, covered, 3 minutes, removing lid to flip meat occasionally. Remove lid and let sauce reduce 1 minute, or until slightly thickened.
  8. Transfer steak and sauce to large plate and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
  9. Toast baguettes in oven 5 minutes. Let cool 5-10 minutes.
  10. Slice baguettes along middle without cutting through.
  11. Slice steak into thin pieces.
  12. Spread mayonnaise on baguettes and add 1-2 lettuce leaves to each. Layer steak on lettuce leaves followed by cilantro, cucumbers and pickled carrots. Slice baguette into two sandwiches.

Go for Satisfying Summer Greens

Many summer meals start with a simple yet satisfying appetizer: salad. This year, make sure you set the table with a bright, delightful bowl of greens that sets the tone for an enjoyable and festive meal with loved ones.

This Apple, Strawberry, Blueberry Salad calls for an array of fruits, including a homemade blueberry dressing, paired with Fresh Express 5-Lettuce Mix for a fresh and flavorful base with pecan halves to add crunch. The salads are thoroughly washed, rinsed and gently dried then sealed in Keep-Crisp bags to maintain freshness.

Find more salad inspiration at freshexpress.com.

Apple, Strawberry, Blueberry Salad

Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Blueberry Dressing:

  • 2          cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4       cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2          tablespoons honey
  • 1          tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2       cup olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

           

  • 2          large apples
  • 2          packages (6 ounces each) Fresh Express 5-Lettuce Mix
  • 1          pint strawberries, cut in half
  • 1          pint blueberries
  • 1/2       cup pecan halves, toasted
  • blueberry dressing
  1. To make blueberry dressing: In blender, process blueberries, balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste, until smooth. Set aside.
  2. To prepare salad: Cut apples into 1/4-inch thick slices. Using 1-1/2-inch diameter star-shaped cutter, cut apple slices into stars.
  3. Place lettuce mix in large bowl; add apples, strawberries and blueberries. Sprinkle with pecans. Before serving, drizzle each salad with blueberry dressing.

Sweet, Summery Treats

After some fun in the pool and time spent in the sun, a cooling treat is often the perfect way to cap off a summer day. Fresh fruits make those sweet eats even tastier and easier by making dessert in the morning and letting it freeze while you enjoy the warmth outdoors.

These Watermelon Berry Frozen Pops make dessert about as simple as possible by blending watermelon, blueberries, raspberries and honey before adding to ice pop molds and freezing throughout the day. With the addition of refreshing watermelon, you’re opting for a flavorful fruit that includes just 80 calories and no fat while providing an excellent source of vitamin C (25%) and higher levels of lycopene (12.7 milligrams per 2-cup serving) – an antioxidant being studied for its role in sun protection – than any other fresh fruit or vegetable.

To find more summertime snacks, meals and treats, visit watermelon.org.

Watermelon Berry Frozen Pops

Servings: 8

  • 6          cups watermelon
  • 1          cup blueberries, divided
  • 1          cup raspberries, divided
  • 3          tablespoons honey
  1. In blender, blend watermelon, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup raspberries and honey until smooth. Press through fine mesh strainer to remove pulp and seeds.
  2. Fill ice pop molds 3/4 full with liquid. Add remaining whole blueberries and raspberries to molds. Insert sticks and freeze at least 4 hours, or until completely frozen.

 Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Apple Guacamole)

Source: Beef + Lamb New Zealand
Fresh Express
National Watermelon Promotion Board

Holiday 05 October 2020

Add Fruity Flavor and Fun to Holiday Desserts

(Family Features) Making the holiday season special is an important tradition for many families, and it’s likely to take on heightened importance this year with gatherings, celebrations and festivities taking on a different look than years past. One family-favorite way to create holiday magic is through delicious desserts that can be made and enjoyed together.

Don’t be afraid to try something new this year by turning to foods typically associated with warmer weather. For example, watermelon is available year-round and makes a surprisingly nutritious, flavorful addition to your seasonal spread, whether it’s the main ingredient or included in recipes from entrees to sides and drinks to desserts.

For a kid-friendly, tasty treat, ask your little ones to help make these Holiday Watermelon Cutouts. Because they only require a few ingredients and plenty of creativity, they’re perfect for getting the whole family involved. Or try this Watermelon and Blueberry Cheesecake as the highlight at your dessert table with its creamy, fruity flavor and eye-popping looks.

To find more holiday dessert solutions and other sweet recipe ideas, visit watermelon.org.

Holiday Watermelon Cutouts

Recipe courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board

  • 1/2       watermelon, cut into 1/2-inch thick disks
  • vanilla frosting or yogurt
  • sprinkles, for decorating
  1. Using holiday cookie cutters, cut shapes out of watermelon disks.
  2. Decorate watermelon shapes with yogurt.
  3. Top with sprinkles.

Watermelon and Blueberry Cheesecake

Recipe courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board
Servings: 12

Cheesecake:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/3       cup graham cracker crumbs (2 graham crackers)
  • 24        ounces fat-free cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8          ounces low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1          cup white sugar
  • 3/4       cup no-calorie sugar substitute
  • 3/4       cup fat-free half-and-half
  • 1/4       cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2          tablespoons lemon peel, finely grated
  • 2          teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2    cups liquid egg substitute (equivalent of 6 eggs)

Watermelon-Blueberry Sauce:

  • 3          cups watermelon juice, with pulp
  • 6          teaspoons cornstarch
  • 6          tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3          tablespoons sugar
  • 3          tablespoons no-calorie sugar substitute
  • 1-1 1/2             teaspoons lemon extract
  • 2          cups diced watermelon
  • 3          cups blueberries
  1. To make cheesecake: Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Spray bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs in pan and tilt to spread evenly over bottom and sides, leaving extra crumbs on bottom.
  3. Using electric mixer, beat fat-free cream cheese, low-fat cream cheese, sugar and sugar substitute until creamy and well-blended. Slowly add half-and-half, lemon juice, lemon peel and vanilla; continue beating. Add egg substitute until mixture is thoroughly blended and creamy. Pour into crumb-lined pan.
  4. Place springform pan in large roasting pan. Pour enough water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake cheesecake until firm, slightly golden and top is cracked, about 1 hour, 25 minutes. Remove springform pan from water and refrigerate, uncovered, until cold, about 3 hours or overnight.
  5. To make watermelon-blueberry sauce: In blender, whip watermelon juice, cornstarch, lemon juice, sugar and sugar substitute until smooth. Pour into small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to gentle boil until topping begins to thicken. Remove from heat and place in refrigerator to cool. Just before serving, add lemon extract, diced watermelon and blueberries; stir to thoroughly blend.
  6. To serve, run knife around sides of cheesecake and remove springform pan sides. Top each slice with generous helping of watermelon-blueberry sauce.

Source: National Watermelon Promotion Board

Dessert 15 April 2020

Kid-Friendly Creativity in the Kitchen

(Family Features) While so many families spend more time at home than normal, many may be seeking ways to increase fun and activity, especially for children. One way to increase engagement while teaching lifelong lessons is to head to the kitchen for a learning exercise in creating nutritious snacks and treats.

Consider these creative ways you can get your kids involved in the kitchen:

Look for simple recipes kids can help create. Logically, the first step in the process is to focus on ingredients and instructions that aren't overly complicated. For example, avoid snacks that call for cutting with knives and instead try a recipe like these Frosted Watermelon Cutouts, which involves kid-friendly cookie cutters.

Be flexible. Another way to involve children is to let them help in the meal-planning routine. Because kids' desired tastes may differ from your own, be open to outside-the-box ideas like breakfast for dinner, nutritious snacks for lunch and fruit for dessert.

Take advantage of nutritious produce. Comprised of 92% water to support hydration, an option like watermelon is a source of vitamin C and other important nutrients. At only 80 calories per 2-cup serving, one watermelon provides up to three dozen servings that can be used in a variety of nutritious family recipes, and 100% of the fruit is usable between the flesh, juice and rind. For example, this recipe for Kids Watermelon Sandwich Cookies provides a sweet treat the whole family can enjoy while calling for just a few ingredients.

Visit watermelon.org for more creative ways to use the whole watermelon, including recipes and kid-friendly carvings.

Craft a Fun, Frozen Fruit
Using leftovers can make for a fun way to avoid food waste. For example, if you have extra watermelon, simply cut into 1/2-1-inch wedges and insert clean crafting sticks into the center of the rind. Put them in the freezer for at least 1 hour to create sweet watermelon ice pops.

Kids Watermelon Sandwich Cookies

Recipe courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board
Servings: 6

  • 12        blueberry pancakes (3-inch round), cooled to room temperature
  • 1/2       cup white frosting
  • 6          seedless watermelon slices (2/3-inch thick, 3-inch round), drained to remove excess moisture
  1. Evenly frost bottom of each pancake with white frosting. Arrange six pancakes frosting side up on serving platter. Place one slice watermelon on each frosted pancake.
  2. Top each with remaining pancakes, frosting side down. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Frosted Watermelon Cutouts

Recipe courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board

  • 1          seedless watermelon, cut into 1/2-3/4-inch thick slices
  • 1          serving vanilla yogurt
  • 1          serving granola or similar cereal
  1. Using cookie cutters, cut shapes out of watermelon slices. Or, if preferred, use classic cut watermelon wedges.
  2. Frost each slice with yogurt. Sprinkle with granola.

Source: National Watermelon Promotion Board

Dessert 31 January 2020

Sweet, Luscious Snacks for Loved Ones

Valentine’s Day eats and treats

(Family Features) Valentine’s Day naturally brings thoughts of hearts, flowers, sweetness and love. Because it also occurs during American Heart Month, it’s a perfect opportunity to start taking care of your own heart and the hearts of loved ones.

Part of the charm of the day’s celebrations is in giving family and friends flavorful foods to enjoy from chocolates and candies to other sugary treats. However, the festivities don’t have to be completely focused on unhealthy bites in order to make someone feel special.

This year, it can be easy to share in the fun of Valentine’s Day by serving those you love with sweet, seasonal treats. For example, these Frosted Watermelon Cutouts make for ideal snacks for children and adults alike whether it’s an after-school treat or a sweet dessert with just three ingredients, heart-shaped cookie cutters and minimal time spent in the kitchen.

If you’re really looking to impress that special someone, this Watermelon and Chocolate Dessert Board calls for creativity and plenty of tasty morsels like berries, cashews, almonds and dark chocolate. Without any baking or cooking required, simply spread out the ingredients for a platter that’s just as visually appealing as it is appetizing.

Both recipes include the benefits of watermelon, which boasts plenty of vitamin C to boost the immune system’s defenses as a cholesterol-free, fat-free and sodium-free food. Plus, watermelon draws its red color from the powerful antioxidant lycopene (12.7 mg per serving), which may help protect cells from damage, and the healthy treat is American Heart Association Heart-Check Certified with just 80 calories per serving, making it the perfect centerpiece for Valentine’s Day recipes.

Find more Valentine’s Day inspiration and recipes at watermelon.org.

Frosted Watermelon Cutouts

  • 1          seedless watermelon, cut into 1/2-3/4-inch thick slices
  • 4          brownie bites
  • 1          cup frosting (any flavor)
  1. Using heart-shaped cookie cutters, cut shapes out of watermelon slices or simply use cut watermelon wedges, if desired. Top heart shapes with brownie bites and add frosting as desired.

Watermelon and Chocolate Dessert Board

Servings: 6-8

  • 1/2       medium seedless watermelon, cut into wedges and cubes
  • 1          cup fresh raspberries
  • 1          cup fresh red cherries
  • 1          cup strawberries, trimmed and halved
  • 1/4       cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3       cup roasted, salted cashews
  • 1          cup chocolate covered almonds
  • 1          bar dark chocolate, broken into squares
  • 1          cup coconut chips
  • mint leaves, for garnish
  1. On serving board, arrange watermelon in center and surround with raspberries, cherries, strawberries, cranberries, cashews, almonds, chocolate and coconut chips. Scatter mint leaves around board for garnish.

Source:  Watermelon Board

Kids 04 October 2019

A Creative Twist on Halloween Carvings

(Family Features) When it comes to Halloween, carving the same pumpkin designs each year can become routine. This year, save a pumpkin and carve your spooky masterpiece into a watermelon instead.

Nutrient-rich watermelon can be a healthy alternative to other sweet treats full of added sugar during Halloween festivities as it’s a source of vitamins A and C as well as the antioxidant lycopene and the amino acid citrulline.

Because they are made up of 92% water, watermelons can be an effective way to stay hydrated during trick-or-treating, and creations like a Mummy or Jack O’Melon can help satisfy sweet cravings while keeping friends and family members frightfully delighted.

To get started, consider these carving tips and tricks:

  • To make cutting and slicing easier, the watermelon should be at room temperate when carving.
  • Cut a small, thin, flat piece from the bottom of the watermelon to provide a stable base for carving.
  • Draw the design on the watermelon rind with a dry-erase marker before cutting. If you make a mistake, this can make it easier to wipe off.
  • Use a sharp knife with a pointed tip for easier, cleaner cuts. Consider a paring knife with a smaller tip for ease of detail.
  • Blend scraps of watermelon that are too messy for dicing or slicing to create an easy juice.

For more watermelon carving ideas, visit watermelon.org.

Mummy

Supplies and Tools:

  • Watermelon
  • Cutting board
  • Kitchen knife
  • Dry-erase marker
  • Paring knife
  • Melon baller
  • Scoop
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Cheesecloth or gauze
  • Straight pin (optional)
  • Battery-operated candle or light
  • Small bowl
  • Blueberries or bloody candy eyes
  • Toothpicks, pins or glue
  1. Wash watermelon under cool running water and pat dry.
  2. On cutting board, place watermelon on its side and use kitchen knife to cut off 1/4-1/2-inch of rind from bottom to provide sturdy base, being careful not to cut too deep into white part of rind. Cut 1-2 inches from stem end to create opening for bowl to be added.
  3. Using dry-erase marker, draw eyes, nose and mouth, along with wavy slits around carving. Use paring knife to cut them out, being sure to cut through to red flesh to let more light flow through.
  4. Use melon baller to hollow out inside of watermelon. Reserve watermelon balls. Use scoop to remove remaining watermelon.
  5. Using vegetable peeler, remove green skin off outside of watermelon, similar to peeling cucumber.
  6. Wrap thin strips cheesecloth or gauze around mummy carving and secure with straight pin, if needed.
  7. Place battery-operated candle or light inside carving and fit small bowl into top of carving. Trim away excess rind to make bowl fit securely.
  8. Fill bowl with melon balls. Attach candy eyes or blueberries using a toothpicks, pins or glue.

Jack O'Melon

Supplies and Tools:

  • Knife
  • Round watermelon
  • Melon baller
  • Dry-erase marker
  • Toothpicks (optional)
  • Battery-operated light
  1. Using knife, cut thin slice from bottom of watermelon to provide stable base.
  2. Cut circular piece of rind from top of watermelon big enough to reach into and remove flesh. Carefully remove top section and reserve for use as “lid.”
  3. Remove flesh from inside watermelon using melon baller, reserving melon balls for snacking. Hollow out remaining watermelon flesh and use blender to juice scraps and excess juice.
  4. Using dry-erase marker, draw outlines of eyes, nose, mouth, hair, ears and other features on side of watermelon. If mistake is made with marker, wipe off using paper towel to start over. Following outlines, carve features into watermelon and remove excess rind.
  5. Safe, battery-operated light can be firmly placed inside watermelon to provide haunting glow.
  6. Place circular piece of rind back on top of watermelon.

Source: National Watermelon Promotion Board

Tips 28 August 2019

10 Tips to Recognize Ripe Fruits

Keeping fresh fruit around the house provides a healthier alternative when your sweet tooth comes calling. Understanding how and when to buy at the peak of ripeness (or just before, in some cases) can help you avoid food waste while keeping your doctor happy.

Consider these simple tips for recognizing ripe fruits:

  • Strawberries: Check the area at the top of the berry near the stem and leaves. A ripe strawberry is fully red; green or white near the top means the fruit is underripe.
  • Watermelon: The “field spot,” or the area where the melon sat on the ground, should be yellow, and a tap on the rind should produce a hollow sound.
  • Cherries: Flesh should appear dark with a crimson color and feel firm.
  • Blueberries: Similar to cherries, color should deepen to dark blue. A reddish or pink color may be visible in unripe berries.
  • Blackberries: Look for a smooth texture without any red appearance. Because blackberries don’t ripen after being picked, they tend to spoil quickly.
  • Cantaloupe: You should detect a sweet smell, and the melon should feel heavy upon lifting.
  • Peaches: A sweet, fragrant odor should be apparent. Skin should feel tender but not soft.
  • Pineapple: Smell is again an important factor for pineapple – a sweet scent shows it’s ready, but a vinegary one likely means it’s overripe.
  • Raspberries: Generally follow the same rules as blackberries. Best eaten within a couple days of purchase, a bright red color represents ripe berries.
  • Bananas: A ripe banana features a peel lightly spotted without significant bruising. Your best bet may be to purchase bananas still slightly green and allow them to ripen at home.

Find more food tips, tricks, recipes and videos at Culinary.net.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Breakfast & Brunch 09 August 2019

School Day Solutions

Family-friendly recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner

(Family Features) Morning routines, homework, practices and more are all part of back-to-school season, and even when time is short, flavorful meals can be, too.

Whether it’s breakfast and dinner together as a family or sending your little learner out the door with a nutritious lunch, making tasty recipes in your own kitchen doesn’t have to be a drain on an already busy schedule. With dishes like a new take on French toast to a quickly packed lunchbox and bolder burgers, you can keep your loved ones fueled for everything the school year brings your way.

For more back-to-school recipes, visit Culinary.net.

Freshen Up Family Breakfasts

A truly beneficial start to the day is usually centered around breakfast. Start your family on the right foot with a meal that delivers sweet flavor along with nutritious fruits.

This Honey Leches French Toast recipe swaps out syrup for hot honey combined with the crisp taste of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.

Visit honey.com for more family-friendly recipes.

Honey Leches French Toast

Recipe courtesy of chef Rob Corliss on behalf of the National Honey Board
Servings: 4

Honey Leches:

  • 2          tablespoons blueberry honey
  • 1/4       cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4       cup light coconut milk
  • 3          large eggs
  • 1          teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground cinnamon

Berry Garnish:

  • 1/2       cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/2       cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2       cup fresh strawberries, sliced

Hot Honey:

  • 1/2       cup blueberry honey
  • 1/2       teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pound Cake:

  • 8          small slices premade pound cake
  • nonstick cooking spray
  1. To make Honey Leches: In mixing bowl, whisk blueberry honey, evaporated milk, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla extract and cinnamon to evenly combine. Keep chilled.
  2. To make Berry Garnish: In mixing bowl, lightly toss raspberries, blueberries and strawberries to evenly combine. Keep chilled.
  3. To make Hot Honey: In small mixing bowl, whisk blueberry honey and cayenne pepper to evenly combine. Keep warm so hot honey is pourable.
  4. Heat electric griddle to 375° F.
  5. Arrange pound cake slices, side by side, flat, in casserole dish or pan with sides. Pour Honey Leches over and around pound cake slices; soak 1 minute.
  6. Lightly coat griddle with nonstick cooking spray. Remove pound cake slices from Honey Leches, allowing liquid to drain off, then place each slice on hot griddle.
  7. On griddle, cook pound cake slices approximately 2 minutes on each side until golden crispy and hot throughout.
  8. To serve, place two overlapping pound cake slices on plate (four plates total). Top each with approximately 1/4 cup mixed berries then drizzle each with approximately 2 tablespoons hot honey.

A Healthy, Happy Midday Meal

Back to school means back to packing daily lunches, and for parents aspiring to send healthier options with their children, look no further than a bento box loaded with the nutritional values of fruits, dairy and protein.

Surprise your little one with this Happy Lunchbox, a sweet treat to help keep him or her hydrated throughout the school day. Start with watermelon, a portable, versatile and easy-to-serve staple composed of 92% water for a hydrating snack. Add in a favorite yogurt flavor, mixed berries, cheddar cheese cubes and smoked turkey breast for a well-rounded lunch to maintain energy all day.

By assembling this nutritious meal using a divided bento box, you can add a little fun to an already flavorful lunch. Find more refreshing recipes for back-to-school season at watermelon.org.

Happy Lunchbox

Recipe courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board

  • Watermelon, cut into sticks
  • yogurt, for dipping berries

Watermelon Kebabs:

  • 18        cubes (1 inch each) seedless watermelon
  • 6          cubes smoked turkey breast
  • 6          cubes cheddar cheese
  • 6          coffee stirrers or beverage straws
  1. In small plate with dividers, assemble watermelon sticks with yogurt in one section and berries in separate section.
  2. To make Watermelon Kebabs: Skewer watermelon, turkey and cheese cubes on stirrers or straws. Assemble in third section of plate.

A Bigger, Bolder Burger

Making a meal everyone loves can sometimes be a challenge when tastes differ and each member of the family craves something different. However, turning to a nearly universally enjoyed staple – a burger – may be just the solution.

Next time your group debates the night’s dinner menu, turn to a customizable creation like the Brooklyn Bacon Bonanza Burger created by celebrity chef and author George Duran for Jarlsberg’s Global Burger Campaign. Topped with melted cheese and optional garnishes like fried eggs and tomato slices, this burger can be personalized to appease the taste buds of everyone under your roof.

Find more back-to-school meal solutions at jarlsberg.com.

Brooklyn Bacon Bonanza Burger

Recipe courtesy of chef George Duran on behalf of Jarlsberg
Servings: 4

  • 4          thick chunks Jarlsberg cheese
  • 1          tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/4       cup mayonnaise
  • 1          pound ground beef
  • 1/2       pound ground pork
  • 1          onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1          cup chopped cooked bacon
  • 3          tablespoons sundried tomato paste
  • 3          tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 4          eggs for frying (optional)
  • 4          hamburger buns
  • 8          thin slices tomato
  1. Place cheese in freezer about 1 hour ahead of time.
  2. Heat grill to medium-high heat. In small bowl, mix hot sauce and mayonnaise; set aside.
  3. In large bowl, season beef, pork, onion, bacon, tomato paste and breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. Using hands, mix until well combined.
  4. Using hands, form meat mixture into four balls. With thumb, make indentation in centers of balls and place one chunk cheese in center of each. Begin shaping burgers around cheese until patties form.
  5. Spray grill grates with nonstick spray. Grill burgers, turning frequently, until cooked through and cheese begins to ooze out, about 8-10 minutes.
  6. In nonstick skillet, fry eggs, if desired; set aside. Serve burgers on hamburger buns with chipotle-mayo, tomato slices and fried eggs.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (French toast)

Source:  National Watermelon Promotion Board

Healthy 03 July 2019

Fuel Your Day the Healthy Way

(Family Features) Between balancing work with family and friends, squeezing in a healthy meal can be hard, and finding time for a workout can be even harder. A busy lifestyle demands quick, portable and convenient foods that let you refuel your body with better health in mind.

When time is tight, it may be tempting to reach for pre-packaged snacks or fast food, but you can make your own grab-and-go snack packs and meals at home in less time than it takes to get through the drive-thru lane.

A cool and refreshing superfood smoothie can give you a much-needed boost when your energy is dragging. Another smart snacking tip: fill sandwich bags with servings of fresh fruits and veggies that you can carry in your purse or gym bag to nibble on when hunger strikes. Options such as watermelon cubes or sticks are a great choice because they are high in fiber and water to help fill you up with nutrients instead of calories.

Also be mindful of how you answer sweet tooth cravings. A naturally sweet treat such as a slice of watermelon is a satisfying alternative to cookies or candy. In fact, working sweet flavors into your regular meals is a way to keep cravings at bay. This salad combines an ancient grain high in protein and nutrients with the sweet crunch of fresh watermelon for a rich taste and texture.

Find more tips and recipes to fuel your day at watermelon.org.

Ancient Grain Salad with Watermelon

Servings: 6

  • 3      tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4      tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3      tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2      teaspoons lemon zest
  • salt, to taste
  • 3      cups warm, cooked kamut grain (about 1 1/2 cups dry)
  • 1/2     cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/3   cup diced green onions, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/3   cup thin-sliced celery
  • 1      cup corn
  • 2      cups chopped watermelon
  1. In small bowl, blend oil, maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt. Add kamut and pecans. Stir thoroughly and let sit until cooled.
  2. In tall glass bowl, assemble salad by placing one-third of the kamut mixture on bottom, topped by half each of the onions and celery, corn and watermelon. Repeat. Add remaining kamut on top and sprinkle with remaining diced green onion. Present as layered salad and toss just before serving.

Nutritional information per serving: 247 calories; 13.2 g fat; 1.6 g saturated fat; 3.7 g protein; 28.4 g carbohydrates; 15 g sugar; 30 mg calcium; 1.2 mg iron; 291 mg potassium; 13 mg sodium; 3.7 g fiber.

Rosy Red Superfood Smoothie 

Servings: 3 (1 cup each)

  • 2       cups cubed watermelon
  • 1       cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1       cup raspberry kefir
  • 2       tablespoons orange juice concentrate
  • 2       tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 2       tablespoons agave syrup
  • ice (optional)
  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Nutritional information per serving: 201 calories; 4.4 g fat; 2 g saturated fat; 6 g protein; 34 g carbohydrates; 29 g sugar; 3 mg cholesterol; 189 mg calcium; 1.6 mg iron; 438 mg potassium; 23.5 mg sodium; 4.8 g fiber.

Source: National Watermelon Promotion Board

Snacks 07 June 2019

Sweet, Refreshing Summer Snacks

(Family Features) There’s no time like a hot summer picnic to let your patriotic spirit show. These all-American snacks featuring a classic favorite fruit – watermelon – are the perfect solution for nearly any summertime celebration.

Watermelon is a patriotic picnic staple for countless reasons, not the least of which is that it’s a beloved treat that many people associate with memories from childhood. However, nostalgia isn’t the only reason adults are just as likely to gravitate toward watermelon at a summer event. Its sweet, cool and refreshing flavor also makes it a favorite for all ages.

From a practical standpoint, watermelon is also quite portable, versatile and easy to serve, and with a composition of 92% water, it’s a simple way to sneak in some extra hydration on a hot day. Another benefit is its value; watermelon is one of the best values in the produce section among fruit, and just one watermelon can feed up to three dozen people.

Serving watermelon at a party can be as simple as slicing wedges, or you can prepare a dish such as:

  • A fruit basket, with the rind serving as a colorful bowl to hold the watermelon and other fresh fruits.
  • A charcuterie board with a selection of fruit, cheese and protein for simple snacking.
  • Creamy parfaits, perfect for a summery brunch or alternative to more traditional desserts.
  • A creatively colorful and patriotic “cake” that makes for a tasty centerpiece on the dessert table.

Find more ideas for incorporating watermelon into your summer festivities at watermelon.org.

Easy Summer Thirst Quencher

A simple fruit-infused water can give your summer event an instant upgrade in no time at all. Add extra dimension and complexity to the flavor by adding some of your favorite herbs like basil and mint.

Watermelon-Infused Water

  • 2          cups watermelon balls or cubes
  • 1          cup other fruit, such as berries
  • herbs, such as basil or mint
  1. Place watermelon, fruit and herbs in pitcher and cover with water. For best flavor, allow to chill in refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.

Red, White and Blue Watermelon Parfait

  • 1          cup blueberries
  • 1          container (6 ounces) Greek yogurt (vanilla, lemon or coconut)
  • 1          cup watermelon, plus three pieces diced watermelon
  • whipped cream, for serving
  1. In pint canning jar, layer blueberries, yogurt and 1 cup watermelon. Top with whipped cream and garnish with three diced watermelon pieces.

Note: To make ahead or make thicker, drain Greek yogurt on paper towels to absorb some liquid.

Patriotic Fruit Salad

  • 1          watermelon
  • honeydew
  • blueberries
  1. Slice 1/4 inch off bottom of watermelon, lengthwise, to create stable base.
  2. Use pencil to draw zig-zag lines for basket opening. Using paring knife, make cuts through rind.
  3. Carefully remove top section, pull out large chunks of flesh and cut them into 3-by-3-inch squares.
  4. Trim 3/4-inch thick slices off squares to use for cutting out stars with 1 1/2-3-inch, star-shaped cookie cutters.
  5. Use ice cream scoop to remove flesh from inside basket and cut scoops into quarters for fruit salad. Place in bottom of basket. Add honeydew and blueberries; stir to combine.
  6. Cut out white stripes from honeydew.
  7. Garnish top of fruit salad with watermelon stars, honeydew stripes and blueberries.

Patriotic Charcuterie Board

  • 1/2       medium seedless watermelon, cut into wedges
  • 1/2       cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 1/2    cups fresh blueberries
  • 10        strawberries (dipped in white chocolate, if desired)
  • 5          ounces fresh goat cheese
  • 1/2       cup toasted, salted cashews
  • 2          ounces cured meats like prosciutto, pancetta, coppa, salami, soppressata, sausage or pepperoni
  • 1          Honeycrisp apple, cored and sliced
  • lemon juice
  • fresh basil leaves
  1. On large board or platter, arrange watermelon, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cheese, cashews, meat and apples. Drizzle fruit with lemon juice. Garnish with basil leaves before serving.

Flag Kebab Cake

  • 1          pint fresh, washed blackberries
  • 12        wooden skewers
  • 1          seedless watermelon, flesh cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1          angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes (white part only)
  • dips, such as yogurt, chocolate, caramel or marshmallow (optional)
  1. Thread five blackberries on each of five skewers, followed by alternating watermelon and cake cubes.
  2. On remaining skewers, alternate watermelon and cake so first and last cubes are watermelon. Place skewers on platter; fruit and cake will create stars and stripes when lined properly.
  3. Serve with dips, if desired.

Source:

National Watermelon Promotion Board

Grilling-Tailgating 11 April 2019

Grill Up a Father's Day Feast

(Family Features) Make Father's Day special by combining two of Dad's favorite things - sweet treats and the grill. Hot dogs have gone gourmet and a big, juicy hamburger or steak is a tried-and-true classic. But, this year, show Dad how much you love him with a healthy twist on two American favorites - the chicken wing and watermelon.

If Dad is usually the one manning the grill, review these simple tips for cooking chicken outdoors before you begin:

  • Preheat the grill on high.
  • Make sure the grate is well oiled to prevent sticking.
  • Transport the chicken to the grill on one plate and use a clean plate to take the prepared food back to the kitchen.
  • Use tongs to turn the chicken instead of a fork, which may tear the meat.
  • Keep the grill covered as much as possible for quicker, more even cooking.
  • Have a spray bottle filled with water handy in case of a flare up.
  • Once you remove the chicken from the grill, allow it to "rest" for five minutes so it will retain its juices when cut.

Get the kids involved in the meal preparation by creating a fun dessert. They can use a small ice cream scoop or melon baller to scoop out watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew. Serve the cool, refreshing treat in a pretty bowl or thread the melon balls onto skewers. Slices of watermelon can also be cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters. Add the shapes to the plate for a fun garnish or place one or two on the rim of a glass to add a festive flair.

Grilling out is a time-honored tradition so fire up the charcoal and let the celebration begin.

Look for more fun ways to enjoy watermelon and sign up for a free newsletter, at www.watermelon.org.

Chipotle Maple Citrus Watermelon Wings

Watermelon Glaze:

  • 2 cups watermelon puree
  • Juice from 3 fresh lemons
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (can use light version)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, or to taste

Chicken:

  • Chicken wings or drumettes
  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves minced fresh garlic
  1. To prepare the watermelon glaze, simmer ingredients together in a heavy saucepan for 20 minutes or until sauce is thick. Makes 2 cups. Keep warm.
  2. To prepare the chicken, place the chicken in a large zipper lock bag with rest of the ingredients and seal tightly. Allow to marinate at least 2 hours or up to 12. Grill until cooked and arrange on a warm platter. Pour the glaze over the chicken and serve immediately.

Source: National Watermelon Promotion Board

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