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.
Recipe adapted from the Meredith Corporation
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Place carrots in deep plate or storage container. Pour cooled pickling liquid over carrots. Set aside to marinate.
- Remove steak from marinade and pat dry. Reserve marinade.
- Heat oven to 325 F.
- 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.
- 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.
- Transfer steak and sauce to large plate and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
- Toast baguettes in oven 5 minutes. Let cool 5-10 minutes.
- Slice baguettes along middle without cutting through.
- Slice steak into thin pieces.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 6 cups watermelon
- 1 cup blueberries, divided
- 1 cup raspberries, divided
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 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.
- 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
National Watermelon Promotion Board
Flavorful, Fun Japanese-Inspired Lunches to Cook with Your Kids
(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)
Beefy Cali Roll
(Family Features) An innovative sushi-style concept, “beefshi” features convenient beef products like pastrami, roast beef, summer sausage, hot dogs, corned beef or bologna prepared in rolls with rice and vegetables. You can beef up your menu with a trendy twist with a recipe like this Beefy Cali Roll that includes corned beef, avocado and cucumber.
Find more information and recipes at beefshi.com.
Beefy Cali Roll
Recipe courtesy of the North American Meat Institute on behalf of the Beef Checkoff
Yield: 2 rolls (16 pieces)
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 tablespoon horseradish
- 1/2 avocado, mashed until smooth
- 2 sheets nori
- 2 cups prepared sushi rice
- 6 thin slices corned beef
- 1/2 avocado, cut into slivers
- 1/4 cucumber, cut lengthwise into thin strips
- rice seasoning
- wasabi peas
- To make hand vinegar: In small bowl, stir water and rice vinegar.
- To make piquant sauce: In small bowl, blend yogurt, mustard, horseradish and avocado.
- To make maki: Lay sushi mat on clean surface. Moisten hands with hand vinegar and shake off excess. Place one nori sheet on mat, shiny-side down. Spread 1 cup rice across nori, leaving 1 inch empty at farthest end.
- Lay half of corned beef, avocado and cucumber crosswise along rice, covering half the surface closest to you.
- Securing corned beef, avocado and cucumber with fingers, use thumbs to push end of mat up and over filling until edge of the nori meets rice on opposite side. Press firmly on roll.
- Lift top of mat and roll firmly until tight and round. Squeeze gently to shape roll. Press ends in carefully to secure loose rice. Remove mat and set roll aside.
- Repeat to make second roll.
- Use thin, sharp knife to cut each roll into eight slices. Arrange on sushi platter and sprinkle with rice seasoning and wasabi peas. Serve with piquant sauce.
Sponsor: North American Meat Institute
Flavorful, On-Trend Asian-Inspired Summer Entertaining
(Family Features) Summer is the perfect time to bring out the grill and enjoy creating a flavorful meal when entertaining your family and friends. While some choose to whip up classic recipes, you can heat things up by taking advantage of all the seasonal ingredients and popular culinary trends, such as opting for authentic, Asian-inspired recipes.
With many Americans opting to eat more ethnic foods, it’s evident that global flavors continue to be on the rise. While Asian flavors are not new, they continue to pique consumers’ curiosity. Incorporating on-trend, plant-based products and ingredients that bring out Asian flavors aid in creating bright and balanced dishes for all your eating occasions both indoors and in the backyard this summer.
Consider these tips to ensure your summer gatherings are ones to remember.
Take Advantage of Seasonal Ingredients
Summer provides a variety of fresh flavors to incorporate into meals, whether you’re stirring up a classic family recipe or something new. Seasonal tastes like tomatoes, peaches, corn, blueberries, avocados and other sun-ripened fruits and vegetables can help showcase the variety of the summer harvest.
Opt for Simple, Flavorful Swaps
From sides to salads and sandwiches, many summer dishes are served with creamy condiments. However, simple, accessible swaps can provide the same robust flavors using fewer, cleaner ingredients. One time-tested example is rice vinegar, which can be an alternative to mayonnaise and creamy dressings. To help elevate the flavors of your summertime dishes with minimal calories, consider an option like the NAKANO lineup of eight delicious rice vinegars, which are made with real rice and the finest ingredients, creating a clean flavor that is smoother and mellow compared to other vinegars. Featuring easy-to-read labels with no more than seven ingredients, it has no added preservatives, no artificial flavors and no high-fructose corn syrup or MSG. These rice vinegars are available in eight delicious varieties, including the new Toasted Sesame Rice Vinegar.
Serve Up On-Trend Asian Dishes
Asian flavors and ingredients continue to be increasingly popular due to delicious flavor profiles combined with vibrant colors and presentation on the plate. When warmer weather calls for lighter meals, go for an option that blends popular culinary trends and adventurous tastes like those typically found in Asian cooking to wow your crowd. Even the most inexperienced of cooks can whip up this Asian Buddha Bowl with Lemon-Tahini Dressing, featuring tofu, nourishing veggies and a sweet-yet-tangy dressing – a combination to leave your guests eager for your next get-together.
For more recipe inspiration and tips for creating fresh summer flavors, visit NAKANOFlavors.com.
Asian Buddha Bowl with Lemon-Tahini Dressing
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 2 tablespoons NAKANO Seasoned Rice Vinegar or NAKANO Roasted Garlic Rice Vinegar
- 1/4 cup tamari (Japanese soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons chili paste
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 2 blocks extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- nonstick cooking spray
- wooden skewers, soaked in water
- 2 cups fresh, shredded carrot
- 2 cups broccoli, cooked and cut into small florets
- 3 cups brown rice, cooked
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 tablespoon NAKANO Natural Rice Vinegar or NAKANO Organic Natural Rice Vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon tamari (Japanese soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- To make Tofu Marinade: In small bowl, whisk rice vinegar, tamari, sesame oil, chili paste and diced garlic. Add tofu to bowl and place in refrigerator 10-20 minutes to allow tofu to marinate.
- Before lighting grill, spray with nonstick cooking spray then heat grill to medium-high heat. Remove tofu from marinade and thread on skewers. Grill each skewer 10 minutes, turning midway, or to desired doneness.
- To make Buddha Bowl: In six bowls, evenly combine carrots, broccoli, baked tofu, brown rice and sesame seeds.
- To make Lemon-Tahini Dressing: In medium bowl, whisk rice vinegar, tahini, sesame oil, tamari, maple syrup, garlic, ginger and lemon juice until combined. Top each bowl with dressing, as desired.
Substitutions: Tofu can be substituted with 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken or top sirloin steak.
Simple Summer Solutions
(Family Features) Summertime entertaining should be easy and fun. And it can be - with some simple solutions and fresh recipes.
Start with Simple Recipes
- For this tropical dessert pizza, make the cookie crust the day before. Mix the filling and store it in an airtight plastic container, then cut up fruit and store in individual resealable plastic bags. Be creative and substitute your family's favorite fruits. Kids will have fun arranging the sliced fruit on this yummy dessert pizza!
- Three ingredients plus three minutes equals one tasty marinade. Let the kids help pour the ingredients into a resealable plastic bag to flavor juicy pork tenderloins with a subtly sweet, spicy marinade.
- The combination of crisp watermelon, juicy tomatoes and fresh basil with balsamic vinegar creates a fantastic and refreshing light salad. Just cut up ingredients and store in separate plastic containers, then toss together right before the party to keep the flavors fresh.
- For picnics on damp ground, placing an inexpensive plastic tablecloth under a blanket helps keep dampness from reaching picnickers - and keeps your blanket cleaner, too.
- Wash, chop, measure and prepare your ingredients 1 to 2 days before an event or party. They can be stored in resealable plastic bags or airtight containers in the refrigerator to make putting together recipes much easier the day of the party.
- Save plastic grocery bags to send guests home with leftovers. Placing an empty plastic grocery bag in a picnic basket is also a great solution for collecting trash after a picnic in the park - it doesn't take up much room and will act as a waterproof barrier to prevent spills.
- Create a dipping station for barbeque and grill sauces using reusable plastic storage containers with lids. Guests can spoon sauces onto their plates; when the party is over, simply place the lids back on the sauces and store in the refrigerator. They come in all different shapes and sizes and even fun colors.
- Use resealable plastic bags for marinades. Put meat in the bags with marinade and refrigerate overnight. It helps save space in the refrigerator and clean up is easy. This also works for coating and breading.
For more tips on ways to make summer entertaining a breeze, visit www.PlasticsMakeitPossible.com.
Tropical Fruit Dessert Pizza
Makes 12 servings
- 1 18-ounce roll refrigerated ready-to-slice sugar cookie dough
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 8-ounce package fat-free cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange rind
- 1 cup fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1 26-ounce jar mango slices, drained, or 2 fresh mangoes, sliced
- 1 16-ounce can pineapple slices, drained, or 1 fresh pineapple, sliced
- 1 11-ounce can mandarin orange segments, drained
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur or orange juice
- 2 tablespoons coconut, toasted, optional
- Preheat oven 350°F.
- Press cookie dough into a 12 to 14-inch pizza pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 12 minutes, cool completely.
- In medium mixing bowl, blend together sugar, cream cheese, coconut extract until well mixed. Stir in orange rind and whipped topping, mixing until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture on top of cooled crust.
- Arrange mango slices around edge of iced pizza. Then, arrange pineapple slices around edge. Next, arrange mandarin orange slices in another ring to fill center of pizza.
- In small saucepan or in microwave, heat apricot preserves and orange liqueur just until melted. Spoon glaze over fruit. Sprinkle with toasted coconut, if desired. Refrigerate until serving.
Terrific Tidbit: Go ahead and grate more orange rind than you'll need for the recipe - you can grate a whole orange or lemon and freeze the rind in a plastic freezer bag until needed.
Watermelon and Tomato Salad
Makes 10 (1/2-cup) servings
- 4 cups scooped out watermelon balls or chunks
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Salt to taste
- 1/3 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese, optional
- In bowl, combine watermelon, onion, tomatoes and basil. Whisk together oil and vinegar and toss with salad. Season to taste. Refrigerate until serving.
3-Ingredient Marinade for Pork Tenderloin
Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 2 1-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of excess fat
- 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup roasted garlic seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Preheat oven 350°F.
- In bowl, combine all ingredients except tenderloins. Place meat in dish or large resealable plastic bag, pour marinade over meat. If time permits, refrigerate overnight, turning meat several times.
- Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the tenderloin registers 160°F. Slice tenderloin, serve.
Quick Tip: Tenderloins come two to a package. If one will be enough for you to serve, halve recipe, freeze other tenderloin in freezable plastic bag.
Source: American Chemistry Council
Simple Swaps for Serious Flavor
(Family Features) From burgers to barbecued chicken, many of the best grilled foods are served with creamy condiments – often packing on calories and fat. Next time you’re ready to grill, experiment with new ways to create simple but robust flavors using fewer ingredients through simple swaps.
Rice vinegars offer a healthy alternative to condiments like mayonnaise or a creamy dressing when grilling. Keeping meals simple is easy with naturally gluten-free Nakano Rice Vinegar, which includes six or less simple ingredients with no artificial preservatives, flavors or ingredients, and no high-fructose corn syrup or MSG. The brand recently announced a clean-labeling initiative for all of its products, which now have easy-to-read labels with recognizable ingredients.
Dawn Jackson Blatner, star of ABC’s “My Diet Is Better Than Yours,” author of “Superfood Swap” and a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant for the Chicago Cubs, has created healthy dishes to heat up the grill this season.
This fall, look for organic Nakano Rice Vinegars debuting at retailers nationwide, and find more recipes at Mizkan.com.
Grilled Meatballs and Zoodles
- 1 pound organic ground turkey or grass-fed ground beef
- 1 cup organic kale, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup crushed brown rice crackers
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- non-stick cooking spray
- 4 medium zucchini
- 2 cups organic cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup Nakano Rice Vinegar – Natural or Nakano Organic Rice Vinegar – Natural
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- Heat grill to medium.
- In large mixing bowl, combine ground meat, kale, crackers, egg, chili pepper flakes and salt. Use hands to form mixture into 12 balls. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes to help meatballs set.
- Mist meatballs with non-stick cooking spray and place them on grill. Grill each side 3-4 minutes, using tongs to flip to sides that haven’t been browned yet. Meatballs should reach internal temperature of 165°F.
- Using vegetable spiralizer, create zucchini noodles.
- Toss zucchini with tomatoes, Parmesan, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Serve each zoodle plate with three meatballs.
Nutritional information per serving: 350 calories; 20 g total fat; 6 g saturated fat; 240 mg sodium; 14 g carbs; 3 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 32 g protein.
Grilled Veggie and Ranch Bowl
- 8 ounces skinless chicken breast
- 2 ears corn, shucked
- 6 asparagus spears, trimmed
- 1 organic bell pepper, seeded and cut into 4 large pieces
- 1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 4 tablespoons Cashew Ranch Dressing (recipe below)
- Heat grill to medium.
- Season chicken breast, corn, asparagus, bell pepper and zucchini with olive oil, sea salt and pepper.
- Grill chicken 6-7 minutes per side, internal temperature reaches 165 F. Grill corn 10-15 minutes, rotating after every pop, until corn is golden. Grill asparagus, bell pepper and zucchini 3-5 minutes per side, until tender.
- Separate chicken, corn, asparagus, bell pepper and zucchini evenly into two bowls. Drizzle bowls with Cashew Ranch Dressing.
Note: Bowl leftovers can be refrigerated for up to four days.
Nutritional information per serving: 450 calories; 21 g total fat; 4.5 g saturated fat; 870 mg sodium; 31 g carbs; 6 g fiber; 10 g sugar; 38 g protein.
Cashew Ranch Dressing
Makes: 1 cup
- 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
- 3/4 cup almost-boiling water
- 3 tablespoons Nakano Rice Vinegar – Natural or Nakano Organic Rice Vinegar – Natural
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
- In food processor, puree cashews, water, rice vinegar, garlic, dill, oregano, salt and pepper 3-4 minutes, until creamy. For best results, drizzle water in gradually as food processor is running. Stir in chives.
Note: Leftover dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to seven days.
Nutritional information per tablespoon: 50 calories; 4 g total fat; 0.5 g saturated fat; 110 mg sodium; 3 g carbs; 1 g sugar; 2 g protein.
Tuna Stuffed Avocado
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 can (5 ounces) tuna packed in water, drained
- 1/2 cup finely diced celery
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 2 tablespoons Nakano Rice Vinegar – Natural or Nakano Organic Rice Vinegar – Natural
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 16 brown rice crackers
- Cut avocado in half, remove pit and scoop out flesh leaving thin wall of avocado. Dice avocado flesh and set shell aside for serving.
- In small bowl, combine tuna, celery, carrot, onion, vinegar, oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Mix well. Gently stir in diced avocado.
- Scoop mixture into avocado shells and serve with brown rice crackers.
Nutritional information per serving: 360 calories; 19 g total fat; 3 g saturated fat; 530 mg sodium; 26 g carbs; 9 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 22 g protein.
Source: Nakano Rice Vinegar
Get Grilling Like a Pitmaster
(Family Features) Summertime meals are all about the grill. This year, give your grill and your family a break from hamburgers and hot dogs, and heat things up with the flavor and versatility of fresh pork.
From tender Sweet Sriracha Pork Skewers to Memphis-Style Dry Baby Back Ribs, the possibilities are endless. Make your cookout the best on the block with these tips and recipes from world champion pitmasters Tuffy Stone and Darren Warth:
• Start with a fresh and high-quality meat like Smithfield Fresh Pork, which is available in a variety of cuts and seasonings perfect for any cookout occasion.
• Don’t lift the lid of your grill unless you are checking for doneness or turning the food to avoid letting the heat escape or interrupt the cooking process.
• Check for proper doneness with a meat thermometer and use tongs to turn the meat instead of a fork. Cutting into the meat can cause flavorful juices to escape.
• If you’re short on time, try a pre-seasoned option like Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork, so that the prep work is already done for you.
Find more great grilling tips, videos and recipes at SmithfieldGetGrilling.com.
Memphis-Style Dry Baby Back Ribs
Recipe courtesy of Pitmaster Tuffy Stone
Prep time: 10 minutes, plus 30 minutes stand time
Cook time: 4-6 hours
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 2 slabs Smithfield Fresh Pork Back Ribs, membrane removed
- 1/4 cup prepared yellow mustard
- apple juice or water, in spray bottle
- barbecue sauce (optional)
- To make dry rub: In small bowl about 30 minutes before grilling, combine brown sugar, kosher salt, chili powder, dry mustard, black pepper and celery salt; mix well.
- Spread both sides of ribs with yellow mustard and sprinkle dry rub on top. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Heat charcoal or gas grill to 250 F for indirect cooking.
- Place ribs, meaty side up, over drip pan and cook 4-6 hours until tender. Spritz ribs occasionally with water or apple juice using spray bottle.
- If using charcoal grill, add about 12 coals approximately every 45 minutes to maintain heat. Let ribs stand 10-15 minutes before serving. If desired, serve with barbecue sauce.
Sweet Sriracha Pork Skewers
Recipe courtesy of Pitmaster Darren Warth
Prep time: 15 minutes, plus marinade time
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
- 1 Smithfield Fresh Pork Tenderloin
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 pint fresh pineapple chunks
- wood skewers, soaked in water
- Trim skin off pork tenderloin and cut into 1-inch cubes.
- To make marinade: In bowl, combine agave, Sriracha sauce, garlic, soy sauce and rice vinegar, and whisk thoroughly.
- Pour marinade into re-sealable bag and add cubed pork tenderloin. Marinate for up to 24 hours in refrigerator. Place tenderloin and pineapple chunks on skewers, alternating so pineapple is tight against tenderloin.
- Heat charcoal or gas grill to medium heat. Grill skewers, turning every 5 minutes, until all sides are grilled. Cook until tenderloin chunks have reached internal temperature of 145° F.
Learn why foil-packet cooking is hot, hot, hot
(Family Features) As the saying goes, big things come in small packages and that may explain the burgeoning popularity of foil-packet recipes. Minimal preparation and cleanup are easy trade-offs for the immense flavors you can create in these tiny containers, whether you prepare them in the oven, on the grill or over an open flame.
The secret to successful foil cooking is locking in the layers of flavor from each ingredient. It’s surprisingly simple to create delicious, healthy dishes when cooking with foil. An ingredient like seasoned rice vinegar offers a wholesome alternative to many condiments and flavorings while giving your packet a big flavor boost.
With no artificial preservatives, flavors or ingredients and no high-fructose corn syrup, Nakano® Rice Vinegars are the perfect solution for building better-for-you foil-packet meals. With organic varieties and easy-to-read labels featuring real, recognizable ingredients, you can feel great about layering delicious flavor into your next foil-packet meal with rice vinegar.
Garlic seasoned rice vinegar delivers a boost of flavor to this Asian-inspired chicken, creating a sensational main dish. Add crisp fresh veggies tossed with organic rice vinegar and garlic as a side then finish the meal with a sweet take on a juicy fruit crisp.
Find more inspired ideas for healthy meals at Mizkan.com/Recipes.
7 Steps to the Perfect Foil Pouch
- A 12-inch square piece of foil is a good starting point, but you may need to adjust depending on the recipe. Remember you’ll need plenty of extra room around the ingredients for the heat to build up and cook the contents to perfection.
- Use heavy-duty foil to avoid tears or poor seals that can spill ingredients and precious seasonings and juices.
- Spread foil on a flat surface and add a light nonstick spray, if needed.
- Place ingredients and seasonings in the center of the foil.
- Bring long sides of the foil together over the food. Pinch together and make 1/2-inch folds straight across at least twice for a strong seal. Remember to leave plenty of open space between the foil and food.
- Make 1/2-inch folds on each short end, folding toward food but leaving at least 1 1/2-2 inches between the seam and food.
- Handle pouch with care to avoid piercing or tearing, and always use tongs to remove pouches from heat.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
- 4 tablespoons Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar – Roasted Garlic
- 2 teaspoons gochujang (chile bean paste)
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup
- 4 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons, olive oil
- 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 8 chicken thighs
- 4 cups fresh cauliflower, riced (use grater or food processer so cauliflower resembles rice)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh scallions, sliced
- 2 cups fresh sugar snap peas
- 3 sprigs fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Heat oven or grill to 375° F.
- In large bowl, mix together vinegar, gochujang, maple syrup, soy sauce, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper to form marinade. Dip chicken in marinade and toss lightly until coated.
- Lightly oil foil pouch and layer base of pouch with cauliflower. Add scallions and sugar snap peas then place chicken on top. Carefully pour remaining marinade over pouch contents (ensuring that liquid stays inside foil).
- Seal foil packet and bake or grill 30 minutes. Open foil to create 2-inch long vent then bake or grill another 15 minutes, or until completely cooked. Garnish with cilantro before serving.
Chef’s tip: For best results and added flavor, marinate chicken 30 minutes before preparing pouches.
Substitutions: In place of gochujang, red pepper flake paste can be made by mixing 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes with a few dashes soy sauce and 1 dash sugar. Alternatively, substitute 2 teaspoons sriracha for gochujang.
Bartlett Pear and Oat Crisp
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 4 cups fresh pears, medium diced
- 4 tablespoons Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar – Mango
- 3/4 cup quick oats
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup, plus 2 teaspoons, all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons butter, diced into 1/4-inch squares
- Heat oven to 375° F.
- Toss pears in rice vinegar and set into lightly greased foil pouch.
- Combine remaining ingredients in bowl and use two forks to combine ingredients until mixture becomes crumbly.
- Pour mixture evenly over pears, seal pouch and bake 20 minutes.
- Open top of foil and bake another 10 minutes, or until crisp and golden.
Chef’s tips: For crispier crust, refrigerate crumbly mixture 30 minutes before baking. Serve with scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 3 tablespoons Nakano Organic Rice Vinegar – Seasoned
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus extra, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus extra, to taste
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons, fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
- 1 cup fresh zucchini, sliced into 1 3/4-inch long, 1/4-inch thick planks
- 1 cup fresh green pepper strips
- 1 cup fresh red pepper strips
- 8 fresh stalks asparagus, slicing off 1/4 inch from bottom of stalk
- 1 fresh portobello mushroom, sliced into 1/2-inch squares
- 1 cup fresh eggplant, diced into 1/2-inch squares
- Heat oven or grill to 375° F.
- In large bowl, mix together rice vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley and garlic to create marinade.
- Clean vegetables then place them in marinade in small batches. Toss to coat then place in foil pouch. Pour remaining marinade over vegetables and seal pouch.
- Bake in oven or over indirect heat on grill 25 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste, after removing pouch from heat.
Chef’s tip: Open pouch after 20 minutes of cooking and allow vegetables to crisp slightly under direct heat for remaining 5 minutes.
Grilling Steak: Beef 101
(Family Features) - There's nothing better than a sizzling steak hot off the grill. If you're the grill master, you may be looking to brush up on the right techniques to make sure you have a great beef meal every time.
The Featured Cut
"Boneless top sirloin steak is perfect for the grill. It's versatile, tender and flavorful," says Chef Dave Zino, executive director of the Culinary Center for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. "Top sirloin partners well with rubs, marinades and sauces that add complimentary accents - and it's perfect for cutting into pieces for kabobs, a great way to stretch your grilling budget. Although it seems so decadently delicious, top sirloin is one of the 29 cuts of beef that meet the government guidelines for lean, providing 156 calories and 4.6 grams of fat - as well as 10 essential nutrients - per 3-ounce cooked serving."
Three Easy Steps
Prepare gas or charcoal grill according to manufacturer's directions for medium heat.
Remove beef from refrigerator and season with a spice blend or marinade as desired. Place on preheated cooking grid.
Cook boneless top sirloin steak (1 inch thick) 17 to 21 minutes uncovered (charcoal grill) or 13 to 16 minutes covered (gas grill), turning occasionally. To determine doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer horizontally from the side, penetrating the thickest part or center of the steak. Allow 10 to 15 seconds for the thermometer to register the internal temperature. Steaks should be cooked to 145°F (medium rare) or 160°F (medium). After cooking, season with salt, as desired.
BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com is the one-stop resource for tips and recipes that will help you make the most of your time at the grill.
Hoisin Beef Kabobs with Pineapple Salsa
- 1-1/4 pounds boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1 inch thick
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup diced fresh pineapple
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup diced cucumber
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- Combine Pineapple Salsa ingredients in small bowl; set aside. Combine ketchup and hoisin sauce in another small bowl; set aside.
- Cut beef steak into 1 inch pieces. Thread beef pieces evenly onto four 10 to 12 inch metal skewers. Season kabobs evenly with pepper.
- Place kabobs on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Brush beef generously with some of reserved sauce mixture. Grill kabobs, covered, 6 to 8 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered, 7 to 9 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally and brushing with remaining sauce mixture. Season beef with salt, as desired. Serve kabobs topped with Pineapple Salsa.
25 to 30 minutes
SOURCE: The Beef Checkoff