Meal Ideas 01 July 2018

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.

Simply Entertaining

  • 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
  1. Preheat oven 350°F.
  2. Press cookie dough into a 12 to 14-inch pizza pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 12 minutes, cool completely.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  1. 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
  1. Preheat oven 350°F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

Holiday 01 November 2018

Fast, Flavorful and Festive Holiday Dishes

(Family Features) From office potlucks and cocktail parties to family dinners and beyond, the mealtime celebrations during the holidays are endless. Whether you're serving as a host or bringing your signature dish to a get-together, these tips can help you own the holiday season without breaking a sweat:

  1. Stick with fewer, easy-to-find, high-quality ingredients.
  2. Look for products that help you cut down on time but don't skimp on flavor, like Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork, which is pre-seasoned and comes in a variety of cuts and flavors.
  3. Sprinkle and decorate finished dishes with fresh, seasonal herbs for a festive touch.

To help get you inspired in the kitchen, try this recipe for Fresh Pork and Kalamata Flatbreads for a savory appetizer made with less than 10 ingredients, or Fresh Pork with Sweet Balsamic-Red Wine Reduction for a decadent main course you can have ready in just 30 minutes.

For more quick and easy holiday recipe ideas, visit SmithfieldRealFlavorRealFast.com.  

Fresh Pork with Sweet Balsamic-Red Wine Reduction

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1          Smithfield Applewood Smoked Bacon Marinated Fresh Pork Loin Filet
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1/3       cup dry red wine
  • 3          tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2          tablespoons sugar
  • 1          teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  1. Cut pork loin filet into 3/4-to-1-inch thick chops.
  2. In large, nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.
  3. Cook half the pork chops 4-5 minutes on each side until internal temperature reaches 150° F. Remove pork chops from skillet and place on rimmed serving platter; cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining olive oil and pork chops.
  4. In same skillet, combine wine, vinegar and sugar. Bring to boil over medium-high heat; cook 3-5 minutes until slightly thickened, or until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup.
  5. Serve pork chops drizzled with wine reduction and sprinkled with rosemary.

Fresh Pork and Kalamata Flatbreads

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1          Smithfield Roasted Garlic & Cracked Black Pepper Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloin
  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1          can (13.8 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust dough
  • 3/4       cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
  • 1/2       cup sliced Kalamata olives, drained
  • 1          teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
  1. Cut pork tenderloin into 3/4-inch cubes.
  2. Heat oven to 400° F. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Stir-fry pork 8-10 minutes, or until well browned.
  3. Unroll pizza dough and press onto greased sheet pan, about 18-by-13 inches; cut into six rectangles.
  4. Drain tomatoes, reserving oil. Brush tops of flatbreads with sun-dried tomato oil, reserving about 1 tablespoon. Top with pork, drained tomatoes, olives and rosemary, pressing into dough lightly with fingertips.
  5. Bake 18-21 minutes until edges are golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven. Drizzle remaining sun-dried tomato olive oil evenly over flatbreads; let stand on baking sheet 2 minutes before serving.

Source: Smithfield

Holiday 01 November 2018

A Sicilian Twist on Holiday Entertaining

(Family Features) When it comes to preparing a spread for a holiday gathering, some may look to traditional wine varieties such as Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. However, as holiday traditions become less traditional, you can also branch out in your selection of wines.

Produced from the indigenous grapes of Sicily, wines from Sicilia DOC offer fresh taste, quality and variety. The wines come to life when paired with a variation of holiday dishes.

These three tips can help you pair Sicilian wines with the dishes you may serve as part of your holiday spread:

For the Light White Wine Fan
With a low alcohol percentage and fruity notes, an option such as Grillo can be a fan favorite at any holiday gathering and makes for a perfect hostess gift. This white wine features notes of white peaches and grapefruit and can pair well with seafood appetizers, baked casseroles, vegetarian sides or a well-known Sicilian dish like this Green Bean and Blood Orange Salad.

For Guests Looking for a Graceful Red Wine
A modern take on Pinot Noir, Frappato is a light-to-medium-bodied wine with a lingering freshness that’s persistent and balanced with notes of cherry and strawberry. This wine pairs well with both white and dark meat of flavorful holiday turkeys as well as pastas, pizza, roasted meats, potatoes and cheeses.

For Friends Who Favor a Complex Red
For guests who favor Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, an option such as Nero d’Avola is a nice alternative, with aromas of ripe cherry, rose, sweet spices, licorice and cocoa. As a go-to red wine, it pairs well with a hearty charcuterie platter, roasted meats, lamb, pizza and pastas.

For more holiday wine pairings and recipes, visit winesofsicily.com.

Green Bean and Blood Orange Salad

Recipe courtesy of Wines of Sicilia DOC Servings: 8

  • Salt
  • 2 pounds thin green beans
  • 6 blood oranges
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • maple syrup
  • almonds
  1. Add salt to large pot of boiling water. Add green beans and cook until tender and bright green. Drain beans in colander and transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Once cool, drain and pat dry with towel.
  2. Peel four oranges and remove white pith. Working over bowl, cut between membranes to release sections into bowl. Zest one remaining orange and juice both uncut oranges; reserve zest. Transfer juice to saucepan and add vinegar, honey and pepper flakes. Bring to boil then simmer over moderate heat until reduced to syrup, 10 minutes. Season with salt.
  3. In large bowl, toss beans, orange sections and 3 tablespoons vinegar syrup. Transfer to serving platter; drizzle with maple syrup, almonds and orange zest.

Pair each serving with a glass of Grillo.

Source: Wines of Sicilia DOC

Meal Ideas 30 January 2019

Find Better Balance for Family Meals this Year

(Family Features) This New Year, set a realistic resolution to take time to sit down with your family and eat balanced meals together. A few simple solutions and a dash of inspiration are all you need to set the tone for a year of health and wellness.

13583 lasagna

Last year, Americans were only meeting the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate recommendations for vegetables, fruit, protein, dairy and grain consumption one week out of the entire year. While many families try to cook nutritious meals at home, a balanced plate can be hard to achieve. Educational programs, such as Nestlé’s Balance Your Plate, make it simple to create delicious and balanced meals by pairing frozen prepared meals and pizzas with made-from-scratch side dishes, which makes meeting the dietary guidelines a more attainable goal.

Frozen entrees are a convenient starting point for a well-rounded meal.

“It’s so important to me that we sit down as a family and have a nutritious meal,” said Kim Stoegbauer, creative director and founder of The TomKat Studio, who created a few easy ways to add some special touches to your next family dinner.

By pairing Stouffer’s Lasagna with Meat & Sauce, made with ingredients you would find in your own kitchen cupboard, with a homemade Panzanella Salad and Garlic Roasted Asparagus with Tomatoes and Balsamic, Stoegbauer demonstrates how easy it is to create a family-friendly meal without the hassle.

“It’s a frozen entree that you can feel good about feeding your family, especially paired with some delicious and easy-to-prepare sides,” Stoegbauer said.

Find more simple, delicious and well-balanced meal ideas to share with your family at nestleusa.com/nutrition/balance.

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Panzanella Salad

Recipe courtesy of The TomKat Studio blog on behalf of Stouffer’s
Serves: 8-10

  • 1          whole wheat baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2          cloves garlic, minced
  • 1          tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3          tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1          cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1          hothouse cucumber, diced
  • 3          assorted bell peppers, diced
  • 1/2       red onion, diced
  • 10        sprigs basil leaves, julienned
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. On baking sheet, spread bread in single layer and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
  3. In bowl, whisk together garlic, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper with remaining olive oil to make vinaigrette. 
  4. In large bowl, toss ingredients together, making sure to coat all ingredients with vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Garlic Roasted Asparagus with Tomatoes and Balsamic

Recipe courtesy of The TomKat Studio blog on behalf of Stouffer’s
Serves: 6

  • 2          pounds asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1          pint cherry tomatoes 
  • 4          garlic cloves, minced
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • reduced balsamic vinegar
  1. Heat oven to 375° F. 
  2. On baking sheet, toss together all ingredients, except balsamic vinegar. Roast 15 minutes, or until asparagus is tender. Transfer asparagus and tomatoes to platter. Drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar to taste and serve.

Tip: Add some leftover fresh basil to the top of your lasagna for a pretty and flavorful garnish that complements your sides.

Source: Stouffer’s

Meal Ideas 16 January 2019

Warm Up with Sweet and Savory Comfort Food

(Family Features) If chocolate for dinner sounds too good to be true, it’s because chocolate is usually associated with decadent desserts. However, it can also take comfort food to a whole new level when paired with savory ingredients like red meat.

A bit of bittersweet cocoa powder helps balance out the richness of red meats like duck. Although it’s leaner and lower in saturated fat than other red meats, duck has a bold flavor and texture similar to steak.

In this Mocha-Rubbed Duck Breast recipe, cocoa powder, ground coffee and savory spices are rubbed onto the meat before it’s seared and smothered with a luscious sweet cherry and red wine sauce. The toasty, nutty flavor of coffee complements the cocoa while dark sweet cherries, red wine and toasted almonds complete the sweet and savory dish.

Find more comfort food recipes and tips for cooking with duck at mapleleaffarms.com.
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Mocha-Rubbed Duck Breast with Cherry and Red Wine Pan Sauce

Prep time: 2 hours, 10 minutes 
Cook time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Mocha Rub:

  • 2          tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2       teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground coffee
  • 2          teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1          teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2       teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 4          Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breasts, thawed


Cherry and Red Wine Pan Sauce:

  • 2          tablespoons reserved duck fat
  • 1/2       cup minced shallots
  • 3/4       cup dry red wine
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 5          ounces frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed and halved
  • 5          sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • toasted sliced almonds, for garnish
  1. To make Mocha Rub: In small bowl, mix brown sugar, paprika, coffee, salt, pepper and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  2. Pat duck breasts dry and score according to package directions. Use half of rub on meat side of breasts. Cover breasts and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. In cold saute pan, place duck breasts skin-side down. Place pan over low-medium heat 8-12 minutes, or until fat is rendered and skin is crisp and brown.
  4. Turn breasts over and sprinkle remaining rub on skin side. Cook breasts 1-2 minutes skin-side up. Turn breasts back to skin-side down 1-2 minutes to caramelize rub. Reserve approximately 2 tablespoons duck fat for sauce.
  5. Heat oven to 350° F.
  6. Place duck breasts skin-side up on rimmed baking sheet; bake 5-6 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 155° F. Let breasts rest 4-5 minutes before slicing. Temperature will rise during resting period to reach 165° F.
  7. To make Cherry and Red Wine Pan Sauce: Place saute pan with reserved duck fat over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened. Add wine to pan to deglaze. Stir in balsamic vinegar, sugar, cherries and thyme sprigs; simmer until reduced. Remove thyme sprigs. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. Serve sauce over cooked duck breasts. Garnish with toasted almond slices.

Source: Maple Leaf Farms

Healthy 07 April 2017

A Colorful, Crunchy Salad

(Family Features) As days get longer and the weather gets warmer, take your meal outdoors for some tasty al fresco dining featuring a fresh and easy-to-prepare salad.

With minimal ingredients and maximum flavor, this combination of radicchio, California green ripe olives, chickpeas and Parmesan is sure to find its way into your seasonal meal occasions, from at-home dinners to garden parties.

Boasting vibrant purple hues, radicchio not only looks beautiful on the plate but packs a unique and pleasing, bitter flavor that is complemented by the texture added to each bite by toasted sunflower seeds and chickpeas.

Completing the salad are California Ripe Olives, which are grown by farming families across California. The California green ripe olive is similar to the black ripe olive but features a more mild and buttery flavor profile.

Find more tasty recipes at calolive.org.

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Radicchio Salad with Olives, Chickpeas and Parmesan

Recipe courtesy of the Simply Recipes blog
Prep time: 15 minutes
Resting time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4-6

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 large head radicchio (10-12 ounces)
  • 1 can (16 ounces) California green ripe olives, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 1 can (16 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper, plus additional, to taste
  1. Add sunflowers seeds to small, dry skillet. Toast over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until seeds are toasted around edges and smell fragrant.
  2. Transfer seeds to bowl to cool.
  3. Peel away and discard a layer or two of outer radicchio leaves if they look wilted or battered. Cut head of radicchio into quarters through root. Trim away root.
  4. Cut each quarter crosswise into strips, 1- to 1 1/2-inches thick. Transfer to large mixing bowl.
  5. Add olives, chickpeas and 3/4 cup cheese to bowl with radicchio.
  6. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss gently until ingredients are evenly coated. If cheese clumps together, break apart with spatula and stir in.
  7. Let salad stand at least 10 minutes, or up to an hour.
  8. Add additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve salad on individual plates or one shared platter. Top with remaining cheese and toasted sunflower seeds.

Substitution: If radicchio is unavailable, try frisee, endive or another bitter green.

Note: Salad is best served within one hour of preparation, but can be stored in airtight container in fridge for several days.

Source: California Olive Committee

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