Festive Recipes for Hosting an Inclusive Holiday Gathering
A family-favorite meal starts with a main course that looks and smells as good as it tastes. Creamy Mushroom Pasta Nests deliver that festive flavor with a robust blend of breadcrumbs, earthy mushrooms and a homemade sauce crafted with Violife Just Like Cream Cheese. Developed to capture the taste of dairy cream cheese, it’s designed to be enjoyed by everyone at the table this holiday season as a non-GMO solution free from dairy, soy, nuts, gluten, preservatives and lactose.
Dishing out a dessert that boasts the colors of the season is a perfect way to cap off a gathering of friends and family. With pops of red and deliciously sweet flavor, Pomegranate Cheesecake is ideal for serving in individual tins so guests can delight in the creamy deliciousness together without the hassle of cutting and serving.
Visit ViolifeFoods.com to find more holiday-worthy recipes.
Creamy Mushroom Pasta Nests
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 1/2 ounces hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic chili paste
- 2 tablespoons black and white sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon harissa paste
- 1 tablespoon Violife Plant Butter
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried garlic
- 17 1/2 ounces mushrooms, roughly sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 10 1/2 ounces fresh spinach
- 1 package Violife Just Like Cream Cheese Original
- 17 1/2 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 1/2 ounces Violife Just Like Parmesan Wedge, grated
- To make marinade: Whisk olive oil, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, garlic chili paste, sesame seeds and harissa paste. Set aside.
- To make breadcrumbs: In frying pan, heat plant butter. Add breadcrumbs, rosemary and garlic; saute 3-5 minutes until golden. Remove from heat and set aside.
- To make pasta: Saute mushrooms in olive oil 5-7 minutes until golden. Add spinach, 2-3 minutes, and pour over marinade. Add cream cheese and whisk until creamy.
- Boil pasta according to package instructions. Sieve and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water, adding to pasta sauce. Whisk constantly until combined.
- Using tongs, make small nests in pasta, place on plates and pour creamy mushroom sauce on top.
- Sprinkle with breadcrumbs, red pepper flakes and grated Parmesan.
Prep time: 5 hours, 30 minutes
Servings: 6 individual cheesecakes
- 10 1/2 ounces vegan gingerbread biscuits
- 6 ounces plant-based butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 0.07 ounces agar-agar
- 3 1/2 ounces canned coconut milk
- 2 packages Violife Just Like Cream Cheese Original
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 10 fluid ounces pomegranate juice, divided
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- pomegranate seeds, for garnish
- To make crust: In blender, blitz gingerbread biscuits until they form powder. Add butter and salt; blitz again until combined.
- Place in six individual greased tart tins and smooth over base with back of spoon. Refrigerate to set.
- To make cheesecake: In small pot over low heat, dissolve agar-agar in coconut milk, whisking constantly. Once boiling, remove from heat and set aside.
- In large bowl, mix cream cheese, maple syrup, lemon juice and vanilla essence; slowly pour over warm coconut milk, whisking until combined and creamy. Divide evenly among tart tins and refrigerate 4 hours.
- To make pomegranate syrup: In small bowl, combine 3 fluid ounces pomegranate juice with cornstarch. In small pot, boil remaining pomegranate juice 5 minutes. Pour in cornstarch and pomegranate mixture; whisk 5 minutes until syrup forms. Cool.
- When cheesecakes have set, remove from tins and serve on plates. Pour pomegranate syrup on top and garnish with pomegranate seeds.
Infuse Bright, Nutritional Flavor into Summer
(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
Support Your Immune System with Grapes
(Family Features) Boosting immune function through a healthy diet has become an important new focus for many people these days. One key dietary recommendation is to eat more fruits and vegetables each day to improve immune function and prevent heart disease and diabetes. When looking to guide your family to healthier snacks and meals or simply trying to mix up your at-home menu, success can be as simple as rethinking the ingredients you choose to use, including your favorite produce, such as grapes.
Fresh California grapes, for example, make for an ideal snack because they are tasty, healthy, hydrating and refreshing, but grapes can also be used to make good-for-you dishes that are also satisfying and delicious. Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols. Plus, they are naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free and contain virtually no sodium.
Try recipes like Moroccan Grape and Grilled Chicken Bowls with Grape Vinaigrette, Spiced Chickpeas and Grapes with Yogurt, and Cauliflower Steaks with Grapes to pair heart-healthy grapes with other nutritious ingredients and add variety and fresh appeal in the kitchen.
Visit GrapesFromCalifornia.com for more nutritious family recipes
Moroccan Grape and Grilled Chicken Bowls with Grape Vinaigrette
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup parsley, leaves only
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ras el hanout (Moroccan spice blend)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 chicken breasts (8 ounces each)
- 1 tablespoon harissa paste
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup green California grapes
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 1 preserved lemon, rind only
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- salt, to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup red California grapes, halved
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- To make couscous: Cook couscous in boiling salted water. Drain, rinse with cold water and combine with olive oil. Add carrots, tomatoes, parsley leaves, ras el hanout and salt. Mix well and set aside.
- To make chicken: Heat grill to medium-high heat.
- Rub chicken breasts with harissa paste, olive oil and salt. Grill on both sides until just done. Set aside to cool. Slice into 1/4-inch slices.
- To make vinaigrette: In blender, puree green grapes, lemon juice, lemon rind, olive oil and cilantro until smooth. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Toss couscous mixture with vinaigrette and portion into four bowls. Top with sliced chicken, red grapes and almonds.
Nutritional information per serving: 590 calories; 30 g protein; 44 g carbohydrates; 32 g fat (49% calories from fat); 4.5 g saturated fat (7% calories from saturated fat); 65 mg cholesterol; 720 mg sodium; 3 g fiber.
Spiced Chickpeas and Grapes with Yogurt
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
- 1 cup California grapes
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 garlic clove, grated
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
- In large bowl, mix chickpeas and grapes.
- In small skillet, warm oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mustard seeds and cover. Cook until seeds stop popping then add cumin and fennel seeds; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper flakes; pour over chickpeas and grapes. Mix well.
- In separate bowl, stir yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and remaining salt. Spread on serving platter and top with chickpea mixture, cilantro and scallions.
Nutritional information per serving: 220 calories; 11 g protein; 31 g carbohydrates; 6 g fat (25% calories from fat); 1.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 280 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.
Cauliflower Steaks with Grapes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 large head cauliflower, leaves trimmed off
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 cup halved California grapes
- 1/4 cup chopped Castelvetrano olives
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped, toasted pistachios
- Heat oven to 450 F.
- Cut stem off cauliflower and cut remaining head crosswise into four 1-inch-thick slices, keeping as intact as possible. Place on sheet pan and brush sides with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast until browned and tender, about 25 minutes.
- Combine remaining olive oil, remaining pepper, grapes, olives, parsley and pistachios. When cauliflower is roasted, transfer to serving plates and top with grape mixture.
- Nutritional information per serving: 210 calories; 5 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 14 g fat (60% calories from fat); 2 g saturated fat (9% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 480 mg sodium; 5 g fiber.
- Healthy Eating is Easy with Grapes
- Grapes are prized for their taste and crisp, juicy texture, but fresh grapes are also a heart-healthy, hydrating snack choice. Grapes contain more than 1,600 natural plant compounds, including antioxidants and other polyphenols, which help protect the health and function of the body’s cells. Grapes can be paired with other healthy foods to enhance flavor and nutrition, including dark leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, whole grains, legumes and lean proteins.