Breakfast & Brunch 28 March 2019

A Savory Springtime Brunch

(Family Features) Warm breezes, blooming flowers, pretty pastels - when spring is in the air, there's plenty of reason to celebrate. It's the perfect time to bring family and friends together for a welcoming brunch.

When planning your menu, be sure to have plenty of savory dishes on hand to satisfy your guests. And rest easy, you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen to prepare your feast. Using ingredients already full of flavor, such as Johnsonville Breakfast Sausage, lets you create memorable brunch dishes without a lot of work.

These recipes are simple yet satisfying - and leave you plenty of time to enjoy the company gathered around your table.

For more savory brunch recipes, visit www.johnsonville.com.

Amazing Muffin Cups

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 12 servings

  • 3 cups refrigerated shredded hash browns
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 links Johnsonville Original
  • Breakfast Sausage
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded 4-cheese
  • Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • Chopped fresh chives or green onions, for garnish
  1. Place 12 paper liners in a muffin pan; spray liners with cooking spray.
  2. In bowl, combine hash browns, butter, salt and pepper. Press hash brown mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the muffin cups.
    Bake at 400°F for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. Meanwhile, cook sausage according to package directions; cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Divide sausage between muffin cups.
  4. Combine eggs, cheese and bell pepper. Pour over sausage. Sprinkle with chives. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until set.

Sunrise Breakfast Casserole

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 70 minutes
Yield: 12 to 15 servings

  • 2 packages (12 ounces each) Johnsonville Breakfast Sausage Links
  • 9 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 packages (20 ounces each) refrigerated shredded hash browns
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 cups salsa or picante sauce, optional
  1. Place sausage on a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan. Bake at 375°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink, turning once; drain and slice into 1/4-inch coins.
  2. In large bowl, combine eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper. Add hash browns, sausage, cheese, sweet red pepper and green onions; mix well. Pour into a greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 65 to 70 minutes or until set and golden brown.
    Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  4. Serve with salsa or picante sauce if desired.

Blue Ribbon Skillet

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 3 servings

  • 7 links Johnsonville Original Breakfast Sausage
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 cups refrigerated shredded hash browns
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped orange bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese
  1. In large skillet, cook sausage per package directions. Cut links into 1-inch pieces and set aside.
  2. In the same skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add hash browns, onion, green and orange peppers, jalapeños, salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes until hash browns are lightly browned and tender, turning occasionally.
  3. Return sausage to skillet and sprinkle with cheese. Cover skillet for 2 minutes until cheese is melted.

Option: This recipe can be doubled to make a "2-Skillet Breakfast." Cook sausage in one skillet and hash browns, onion and peppers in another skillet.

Easy Sausage Roll-Ups

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 16 roll-ups

  • 1 package (12 ounces) Johnsonville Breakfast Sausage Links
  • 2 containers refrigerated crescent rolls (16 rolls total)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  1. Prepare sausage according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Unroll crescent roll dough according to directions on package. Place one cooked sausage onto one end of a dough triangle. Roll dough around sausage according to directions on dough package and place on jelly-roll pan with the seam side down. Repeat with remaining sausage and dough. (You will have 2 extra rolls. Bake and enjoy with jam.)
  3. Mix cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle evenly over roll-ups. Bake according to directions on dough package. Serve hot.

Suggestion: Serve with warm maple syrup, honey or your favorite preserves for dipping.

Sausage Mushroom Quiche

Yield: 8 servings

  • 1 package (12 ounces) Johnsonville Original Breakfast Sausage Patties
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Dash ground nutmeg
  • 1 pastry shell (9 inches), baked
  1. In skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, chopping into small pieces. Add mushrooms, onion and peppers. Cook and stir 5 minutes longer or until sausage is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender; drain well and set aside.
  2. In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in eggs and cream.
  3. Stir in cheeses, salt, pepper, nutmeg and sausage mixture. Pour into baked pastry shell. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. If necessary, cover edges of crust with foil to prevent over-browning. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Source: Johnsonville

Appetizers & Sides 14 March 2019

Big Flavor for the Big Game

(Family Features) Looking for a way to kick up the flavor for your game-day party? Tailgating by the stadium or watching on a big screen, you can add great taste to the menu with a versatile cheese such as Jarlsberg.

Great for snacking, sandwiches and cooking, this popular cheese has a mellow, nutty flavor, a creamy, buttery texture and melts beautifully. You can find it in wedges, random-weight pieces and convenient slices.

Jarlsberg can be a tasty part of any tailgate experience - try some of these ideas to score big with your guests:

* Super Sliders: Mini beef, turkey or bison burgers topped with sliced Jarlsberg (or Jarlsberg Lite).
* Deep Fried Cheese Sticks: Creamy goodness battered and fried; take their flavor up a notch with marinara or spicy barbecue sauce for dipping.
* Ham & Cheese Calzones: Salty, smoky ham and gooey melted Jarlsberg all wrapped up in a munch-and-carry pastry.
* Kickin' Kebabs: Skewer great taste by alternating cheese cubes with pickled vegetables and chunks of cured ham or smoked sausage.

This recipe for Cheese Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers is an easy way to bring some heat to the game - they can be made ahead of time, then just popped onto the grill or under the broiler to be ready before the next time out.

For more recipes with big flavor, visit www.jarlsberg.com/us.

Cheese Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers

Makes 16 appetizers

  • 16 pickled jalapeño peppers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 4-ounce logs fresh goat cheese
  • 1 cup grated Jarlsberg cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Manchego cheese*
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion (scallions)
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Optional garnish: pickled mini hot red pepper
  1. Using small sharp knife, cut slit down one side of each pepper. Leave stem intact and remove seeds and veins. In bowl, mash goat cheese with Jarlsberg, Manchego, onion and hot sauce. Divide among peppers, stuffing each generously. Refrigerate. (Recipe can be made ahead to this point.)
  2. Arrange peppers in heavy aluminum foil packet. Grill 8 - 10 minutes until cheese begins to melt. Garnish with cilantro and, if desired, hot red peppers.

*If you can't find Manchego, use 1-1/2 cups Jarlsberg cheese.

Source: Norseland

Holiday 13 March 2019

Pantry Secrets for Easter Dinner

(Family Features) You probably don't know it, but you may have the secret ingredients for an exceptional Easter dinner in your pantry right now. The holidays are a perfect opportunity to sprinkle creativity into special meals by using staples like pancake mix, syrup and instant mashed potatoes in unexpected ways to craft new and delicious dishes the whole family will love.

Here are ways to use up what you already have to make a complete Easter menu, including savory Bacon and Cheese Appetizer Bites, Spinach Salad with Warm Maple Dijon Vinaigrette, Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin, and a sweet Spiced Mocha Fudge Cake. You'll create an Easter meal worth celebrating and make your hungry family a happy one.

For more creative recipes and tips, visit www.hungryjack.com.

Spiced Mocha Fudge Cake

Makes: 12 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour

CAKE:

  • Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 4 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1cup hot brewed Folgers Classic Roast® Coffee
  • 2/3 cup Hungry Jack Instant Mashed Potato Flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Powdered sugar

SPICED WHIPPED CREAM:

  • 1/2 pint whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. HEAT oven to 350°F. Line bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Coat paper with no-stick cooking spray. Place chocolate and butter in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH power 45 to 60 seconds or until chocolate is melted and smooth when stirred.
  2. COMBINE coffee, potato flakes, cinnamon and cayenne in large mixing bowl, stirring until moistened. Blend in sugar and vanilla. Blend in chocolate mixture and egg yolks. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually blend into chocolate mixture.
  3. BEAT egg whites on medium speed of electric mixer until stiff. Add to chocolate mixture and blend on low speed until completely blended, scraping sides and bottom of bowl frequently. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until set in center. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Remove from pan. Sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar.
  4. COMBINE whipping cream, powdered sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in medium mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed of electric mixer until stiff. Serve with cake.

Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons Hungry Jack Original Regular Syrup
  1. COMBINE thyme, marjoram, salt, onion powder and garlic powder in large resealable food storage bag. Seal bag and shake well. Add pork slices. Seal bag. Shake to coat.
  2. MELT butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork mixture. Cook and stir 8 to 10 minutes or until pork is browned and no longer pink in center. Add syrup. Cook and stir until pork is glazed.

Spinach Salad with Warm Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute

  • 1/4 cup Hungry Jack Original Syrup
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup Crisco 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 (6-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 small unpeeled red apple, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled cooked bacon or real bacon bits
  1. WHISK together syrup, vinegar, mustard, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium microwave-safe bowl until well blended. Gradually whisk in oil, stirring until thickened.
  2. COMBINE spinach, apple, cheese and bacon in a large bowl. Just before serving, microwave vinaigrette on HIGH for 30 to 45 seconds or until warm. Drizzle salad with desired amount of vinaigrette; toss salad and serve immediately.

Bacon and Cheese Appetizer Bites

Makes: 24 appetizers
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

  • Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup Hungry Jack Buttermilk Complete Pancake & Waffle Mix (Just Add Water)
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Paprika
  1. HEAT oven to 400°F. Spray cookie sheet with no-stick cooking spray.
  2. MIX sour cream and water in medium bowl until well combined. Add pancake mix, cheese and bacon pieces. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto prepared cookie sheet.
  3. BAKE 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with paprika. Serve warm.

(c)/® The J.M. Smucker Company. Folgers Classic Roast is a trademark of The Folgers Coffee Company. Pillsbury BEST is a trademark of The Pillsbury Company, LLC, used under license.

Source: Hungry Jack

Meal Ideas 28 February 2019

Give Your Diet a Veggie Boost

It's little secret that eating more nutritious veggies is an essential element of healthier eating. Fortunately, finding ways to boost the veggie content of your favorite dishes may be easier than you think.

Put a creative twist on your meals from breakfast through dinner with these tasty tips:

  • Experiment with new flavors to enhance the dishes you enjoy regularly. If a ham and cheese omelet is your standard breakfast fare, try adding fresh tomato, peppers and mushrooms for a whole new taste. If you tend to keep things simple, get creative when it comes to topping your morning toast, such as this version that features avocados and radishes. Then at dinner time, give basic pasta a bump by adding broccoli or spinach to your sauce.
     
  • Look for veggie-rich versions of your favorite condiments, dips and sauces. For example, Sabra's Veggie Fusions Guacamole has tons of added vegetables with 30 percent less fat than classic guacamole. Available in Garden Vegetable and Mango Lime, you can also opt for the Southwest flavor and get your fiesta fix with a hearty combination of guacamole, sweet corn and rich black beans - the perfect complement to a spicy steak taco.
     
  • Find new flavor combinations by swapping out calorie-laden carbs. Ditch the bread and instead use leaves of lettuce to wrap your sandwich. Traditional cold cuts, chicken salad and even burgers taste great nestled in fresh, crisp leafy greens.

Get inspired with more ideas to up your veggie intake at sabra.com.

Avocado Toast with Radish and Cotija Cheese

Avocado Toast with Radish and Cotija Cheese

Recipe courtesy of The Lemon Bowl

Yield: 4

  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • salt, to taste
  • 4 slices crusty, whole-grain bread, toasted
  • 1 cup Sabra Veggie Fusions Southwestern Guacamole
  • 2 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 4 large radishes, thinly sliced
  • cilantro sprigs (optional)
  1. In small bowl, toss together onion slices with lime juice and salt, to taste; let sit 5 minutes, or as long as overnight.
  2. Top each piece of toasted whole-grain bread with 1/4 cup guacamole.
  3. Place equal parts pickled red onions, crumbled Cotija cheese and radish slices on top of each piece of toast. Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve.

Spicy Steak Tacos with Southwestern Guacamole

Spicy Steak Tacos with Southwestern Guacamole

Recipe courtesy of Emily Bites

Yield: 8

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound raw lean, trimmed flank steak, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 8 tortillas (6 inches each)
  • 1 cup chopped lettuce leaves
  • 8 tablespoons Sabra Veggie Fusions Southwestern Guacamole
  • 4 tablespoons clover sprouts
  • 4 grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 radish, thinly sliced
  1. In small dish, combine chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper, and stir together until well mixed.
  2. Place uncooked steak strips into re-sealable plastic bag and add spice mixture. Seal bag and shake/turn until steak is coated with seasoning.
  3. Pour oil into large skillet and bring to medium heat. Add seasoned steak strips and stir to coat steak with oil. Cook, stirring and flipping occasionally, about 5 minutes, or until steak strips are cooked to taste. Remove from heat.
  4. Warm tortillas slightly in microwave then lay out to fill. Divide lettuce and steak between tortillas and top each with 1 tablespoon of guacamole. Sprinkle each taco with sprouts and slices of tomato and radish.

Source: Sabra

Kids 01 September 2018

School Mornings Made Easy

(Family Features) Most parents know the first few weeks of school season and new daily routines can be hectic. From stocking up on school supplies to finishing up homework, there's few unused minutes in the day.

One thing that's particularly easy to forget in the mad dash to catch the bus or make it to morning drop-off is a well-balanced, protein-packed breakfast. According to a No Kid Hungry study, when students have a balanced breakfast in the morning, they are more likely to attend school and perform better on standardized tests.

Start the school year off right by giving your kids a breakfast they'll love that also provides the protein they need to kick-start their day. Recipes like Simple Ham and Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches or Baked Eggs in Avocado can be ready in minutes and provide fuel long past the first morning school bell.

As a simple time-saver, Smithfield offers pre-diced, cubed and sliced ham that can make breakfast a breeze any day of the week. Incorporate it into a simple breakfast sandwich for a protein boost you can enjoy on-the-go. Served crispy or chewy depending on your preference, Thick Cut Bacon also puts a savory spin on nearly any breakfast plate, whether paired with eggs and avocado or a simple side of toast.

For more information and breakfast ideas, visit smithfield.com.

Simple Ham and Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches

Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 8 frozen prepared waffles, toasted
  • 8 ounces Smithfield Anytime Favorites Quarter Boneless Sliced Ham, any flavor
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 slices cheddar or American cheese
  • maple syrup (optional)
  1. Prepare waffles according to package directions; keep warm.
  2. In nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook ham slices until lightly browned, about 30 seconds per side; keep warm. In same skillet over medium heat, fry eggs until desired doneness.
  3. Lay out four waffles and top each with sliced cheese, ham and fried egg, topping with remaining waffles to finish. Serve warm with maple syrup, if desired.

Tip: Try spreading fruit jam on your sandwich for a change of pace.

Baked Eggs in Avocado

Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 large avocados
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 strips Smithfield Thick Cut Bacon, diced and cooked until crispy
  • 1 cup blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  1. Heat oven to 450 F. Spray baking sheet or glass baking pan with cooking spray. Cut avocados in half. Scoop out 1-2 tablespoons of avocado to create well for eggs. Place avocados flesh-side up on prepared baking sheet or glass pan.
  2. Gently crack one egg in each avocado well, making sure to keep yolk intact. Bake 10 minutes, or until eggs reach desired temperature. Remove.
  3. Top with bacon pieces, blue cheese and cilantro.

Source: Smithfield

Meal Ideas 02 July 2018

Create Family Moments and Memories this Summer

(Family Features) Take advantage of slower summer schedules and warmer weather by rounding up the family and heading to the backyard for fun, food and family time.

The opportunities for quality family time during the warmer months are nearly endless, especially with just a little creativity and ingenuity, like these fun summer ideas from Borden Cheese.

Let your inner kid run free
Celebrate your favorite summer memories with your kids by breaking out the flashlights to play tag and other fun games in the backyard all night long. Whether it’s kick the can, ghost in the graveyard, capture the flag or a good, old-fashioned game of hide and seek, backyard games are a great way to get the whole family to unplug and enjoy summer evenings together. Don’t be surprised if the neighbors join in the fun, too.

Fire up your appetite
Ditch the kitchen and get the whole family engaged by recreating everyone’s favorite pizza on the grill. The perfect base for everyone to cook up their own creations, this deliciously easy Cheesy Flatbread Pizza recipe can be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. Keep it simple for kids with Borden Cheese Mild Cheddar Shreds or dress it up with some fresh veggies straight from your garden or local farmer’s market. For added fun and flavor, toss your family’s pizza on the grill for a crispy, authentic crust.

Rethink family movie night
Get off the couch and take your family movie outside. All you need is a sheet, a projector and some comfy pillows and throws to turn your backyard into an open-air movie theater. Watch new releases, old favorites or even home movies on the big screen right in your own backyard. To keep the fun going, pitch a tent and spend the night outside sleeping under the stars.

Find more family-friendly recipes for summer at BordenCheese.com.

Cheesy Flatbread Pizza

Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1          piece (12 inches) cracker bread or flatbread
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for brushing
  • 1          package (8 ounces) Borden Cheese Mild Cheddar Shreds, divided
  • 8          strips thick-sliced bacon, cooked crisp and broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 4          whole garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4          plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2       red onion, cut in strips
  • 1/4       cup chopped Italian parsley
  • fresh basil leaves (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Brush bread with small amount of olive oil and place on cookie sheet. Spread 1 1/2 cups cheese evenly around bread. Top evenly with bacon pieces.
  3. In small skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil until hot. Add garlic and saute until lightly browned. Sprinkle onto pizza. Arrange sliced tomatoes and red onions on pizza.
  4. Add parsley to remaining cheese and spread over ingredients.
  5. Bake 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Cut into squares and serve immediately. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired.  

Tip: For a different flavor profile, try grilling pizza rather than baking. Brush raw side of dough with olive oil and grill until bottom of crust is golden brown.

Source: Borden Cheese

Healthy 29 January 2019

Eat Healthy with Easy Meal-Planning Tricks

(Family Features) If you’re having trouble getting started, or even sticking to, a healthy eating regimen, you may be surprised that one highly effective practice doesn’t require counting calories or hours of exercise. You simply need to plan out your meals.

When hunger strikes, it’s tempting to grab the fastest, easiest-to-make food available, but that’s rarely the best choice for your health. Planning your meals encourages you to invest in better-for-you options ahead of time and reduces food waste, while saving significant time and money in the long-term. If you don’t know where to start, follow these easy tips to help make meal planning a breeze:

  1. Build meals around themes like taco night or seafood night. This can help narrow down your options but still allow you to experiment with new recipes or variations on favorites that can be added to your regular rotation. 
  1. Be sure to include breakfast, lunch and snacks. Whether these are meals on the go or foods you’ll eat at home, planning ahead can help ensure you have tasty, healthy options at your fingertips all day long.
  1. Make it a family affair. Invite meal feedback from everyone and keep kids involved in the prep process to create more family time together.
  1. Take inventory of your pantry and leftovers before heading to the store – yesterday’s grapefruit breakfast could be today’s citrus salad.
  1. Shop wisely. Maximize time and money savings by shopping at a store such as ALDI, where you can find all your weekly must-haves, like fresh produce and organics, dairy, USDA Choice beef and bakery items. ALDI also offers a variety of healthy eating resources, including weekly meal plans and recipes like these Quinoa Lentil Tacos, at aldi.us/hellohealthy.

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Quinoa Lentil Tacos

Recipe courtesy of Chef Michelle, ALDI Test Kitchen

  • 32        ounces SimplyNature Vegetable Broth
  • 3/4       teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Iodized Salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Ground Black Pepper
  • 1          tablespoon Stonemill Essentials Paprika
  • 1          teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Ground Cumin
  • 1          teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Garlic Powder
  • 1          teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Chili Powder
  • 1          teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Onion Powder
  • 1          cup SimplyNature Organic Tri-Color Quinoa, rinsed
  • 1          cup dry lentils, rinsed
  • 1          tablespoon Baker’s Corner Corn Starch
  • 10        Pueblo Lindo White Corn Tortillas
  • 1/2       cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1          avocado, diced
  • 1/2       cup crumbled Pueblo Lindo Fresco Cheese
  • 2          limes, cut into wedges
  1. In medium saucepan, bring broth, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, quinoa and lentils to boil; reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes, partially covered.
  2. Remove lid and add corn starch. Stir 5-8 minutes until lentils are cooked through.
  3. Heat medium pan over high heat. Heat tortillas 1 minute on each side.
  4. Divide lentil mixture evenly among tortillas. Top with red onion, avocado and fresco cheese. Serve each with lime wedge.

Source: ALDI

Breakfast & Brunch 30 August 2018

Farmer's Casserole

Plan ahead for your weekend brunch with this delicious Farmer's Casserole recipe.  You'll enjoy this hearty combination of meat, cheese, eggs and a little bit of spice with some jalapenos.  You can also prepare this recipe the night before and let it chill till you are ready to pop it in the oven.

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Farmer's Casserole

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup diced cooked ham, cooked breakfast sausage or Canadian-style bacon
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Coat a 2-quart square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange hash browns evenly in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle cheese, ham, and green onions over hash browns.
  2. In a bowl combine eggs, milk, salt, pepper and jalapenos. Pour egg mixture over hash brown mixture in dish.
  3. Bake, uncovered, in a 350° F oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  4. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Source: Culinary.net

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Meal Ideas 06 August 2018

Save Time on School Nights

(Family Features) Back-to-school season means plenty of evening hours spent completing homework, attending extracurricular activities and preparing to repeat the school-day routine the next day. For many families, having time to prepare and cook quality, nutritious meals can be next to impossible.

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Instead of choosing between valuable family time and hours spent in the kitchen, RAGÚ blogger, fitness enthusiast and busy mom Jamie Krauss Hess recommends stocking up on go-to pantry staples you feel good about and including them in quick, nutritious recipes everyone can enjoy together.

Try recipes such as Mini Turkey Sloppy Joes, which swap out beef for ground turkey to provide a flavorful alternative while offering a special twist to a classic family favorite. Quinoa Penne with Savory Tomato-Basil Sauce can hit the spot with just a handful of ingredients. Or, if the little ones clamor for a more kid-friendly dish and the adults don’t mind a throwback to childhood, Grown-Up Tomato Mac and Cheese can provide the best of both worlds.

All three recipes take less than an hour to make and feature RAGÚ Simply pasta sauces, which are made with 100 percent olive oil and contain no added sugar. They’re available in four varieties including: Traditional, Chunky Marinara, Chunky Garden Vegetable and Flavored with Meat. By using simple ingredients like California vine-ripened tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, zucchini, onions and spices, the result is a taste-tempting sauce with recipe versatility.

Find more family-pleasing and simple-to-prepare recipes ideal for busy school nights at ragu.com.
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Grown-Up Tomato Mac and Cheese

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1          box (16 ounces) gemelli pasta
  • 4          cups water
  • 2 1/2    cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
  • 1/2       cup (2 ounces) Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1          tablespoon corn starch
  • 1          can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1          jar (24 ounces) RAGÚ Simply Traditional Pasta Sauce
  • 2          teaspoons cracked black pepper
  1. In large pot, combine pasta and water. Cook over medium-high heat 20-22 minutes, or until pasta is done, stirring occasionally.
  2. In bowl, combine 2 cups cheddar cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese and corn starch. Reduce heat to medium; stir milk, cheese mixture and sauce together with cooked pasta. Cook 5-7 minutes, or until cheese is melted and mixture is thickened, stirring frequently.
  3. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and pepper; serve immediately.

Tip: This stovetop method eliminates the need to drain the pasta after cooking. The starchy pasta water gets stirred in and helps create an extra-rich sauce. Elevate this dish by sprinkling crushed Parmesan cheese crisps on top before serving.
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Mini Turkey Sloppy Joes

Recipe courtesy of Honey and Birch
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1          teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1          cup onion, diced
  • 3          cloves garlic, minced
  • 1          pound ground turkey
  • 1          cup carrots, finely diced
  • 1          medium green pepper, diced
  • 1          medium red pepper, diced
  • 1          jar (24 ounces) RAGÚ Simply Chunky Marinara Sauce
  • 1          tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1          teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2       teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon black pepper
  • 8          mini buns
  1. In large skillet over medium heat, heat extra-virgin olive oil. When hot, add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is translucent.
  2. Add ground turkey to pan. Break up meat and stir frequently until meat is browned. Add carrots, green pepper and red pepper. Cook 5 minutes so vegetables can begin to soften.
  3. Add marinara sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ground mustard, kosher salt and black pepper. Stir and bring to boil. Reduce heat so it simmers; partially cover pan. Cook 10 minutes.
  4. Serve on mini buns.

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Quinoa Penne with Savory Tomato-Basil Sauce

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 12        ounces (about 5 cups) uncooked quinoa penne pasta
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 1          large shallot, chopped
  • 4          cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4       cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1/2       teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1          jar (24 ounces) RAGÚ Simply Chunky Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce
  • 1 1/4    cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, chopped, divided
  1. Cook pasta as directed on package.
  2. In large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add shallots; cook 5-7 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add garlic, tomatoes and paprika; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in sauce and basil, reserving small amount of basil for garnish.
  3. Drain pasta; add to sauce mixture. Mix well. Cook 1-2 minutes until heated through. Sprinkle with reserved basil before serving.

Tip: For extra protein, add 1 pound sliced, grilled chicken when stirring in pasta.

Source:  RAGÚ

Kids 06 June 2018

Raise a Toast

Eye-popping recipes worth sharing

(Family Features) It seems that taking pictures of mouthwatering food to share online is all the rage for social media users. Food is art, and toast and its trimmings can be the perfect canvas. Creating a social media-worthy slice requires a bit of creativity, some patience, quality and, of course, aesthetically pleasing ingredients.

The versatility and distinct flavor profile of California Ripe Olives make them an ideal ingredient to fuel your imagination and add an extra bit of finesse to your edible creation.

California farmers are responsible for producing more than 95 percent of the ripe olives consumed in the United States. From planting, pruning, harvesting and processing, they make sure the highest quality olives come from their farm to your table – one can at a time. Adding olives to any dish helps bring California sunshine into each bite.

Put your creativity to the test with these delicious designs. For more delightful and artistic recipes with California Ripe Olives, visit calolive.org.
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Toast Like a Butterfly

  • 2          slices wheat bread
  • large butterfly cookie cutter
  • 1/2       avocado, mashed
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1          cheese stick
  • 2          slices orange bell pepper
  • 2          thin slices red bell pepper
  • 6          black California Ripe Olives
  • 3          green California Ripe Olives
  • 1          sugar snap pea
  1. Lightly toast wheat bread and use cookie cutter to cut one wing from each slice.
  2. Mash avocado and mix with salt and pepper, to taste. Spread on both wings.
  3. Slice cheese stick to fit between wings and act as body of butterfly.
  4. Slice orange bell pepper into antenna and red bell pepper into thin slices to line body of butterfly.
  5. Slice black olives in half, lengthwise, and place on upper and lower portions of each wing. Slice green olives into rounds and place on middle of each wing.
  6. Decorate plate with quartered olives and place sugar snap pea in center.

Pro Tips for Creating Shareable Slices:

These pro tips can take you from toast trainee to skillful slice creator.

  1. Have a vision. Don’t be afraid to sketch it out.
  2. The base of your toast is everything. Pick a sturdy variety.
  3. Consider your ingredients and play with flavors, textures and colors. For example, try to incorporate both green and black California Ripe Olives for greater versatility.
  4. Shapes, colors and textures can add excitement.
  5. Toast is a small canvas, so consider the tools you’re working with and get creative.

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A Toast to Summer

  • 2          slices white bread, toasted
  • 4          tablespoons cream cheese
  • 3          crackers, crushed
  • 1/4       cup sliced almonds
  • handful leafy greens of choice (green onions, parsley, cilantro or chives)
  • 2          black California Ripe Olives
  • 1          green California Ripe Olive
  1. Slice each piece of toast into a square and place one above other on plate.
  2. Spread layer of cream cheese on bottom third of lower piece of toast and cover spread with crushed crackers.
  3. Spread layer of cream cheese from lower-right corner to upper-left corner and, starting at bottom, layer sliced almonds on top of each other to create trunk spreading across both pieces of bread.
  4. Arrange greens into palm fronds at top of trunk. Use cream cheese as glue if they begin to slip.
  5. Arrange black olives and green olive as coconuts between top of trunk and base of leaves, covering bottom of leaves.

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Singing in the Grain

  • 1/4       avocado, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1          slice sourdough bread, toasted
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • handful of green California Ripe Olives, sliced into rounds
  • 1          orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1          red bell pepper, sliced
  • handful of black California Ripe Olives, sliced into raindrop shapes
  • 1          large sugar snap pea
  1. Arrange sliced avocado on toasted sourdough bread and top with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Slice green olive rounds in half and arrange in line beneath toast.
  3. Place one slice orange bell pepper below bread as handle and one small piece orange bell pepper above bread.
  4. Place one straight slice of red bell pepper on bottom edge of toast.
  5. Arrange black olive slices and sugar snap peas around toast as raindrops.

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Walking in a Toasty Wonderland

  • 2          slices white bread, toasted
  • 2          tablespoons cream cheese, divided
  • 5          slices red bell pepper
  • 1          orange bell pepper, sliced small
  • 2          black California Ripe Olives, 1 jumbo and 1 medium
  • 5          small sugar snap peas, divided
  • 1          pretzel stick, cut in half
  • 3          green California Ripe Olive rounds
  • small snowflake cookie cutter
  • large snowflake cookie cutter
  • 4          slices gouda or white cheddar cheese
  • 8          cilantro or parsley leaves
  1. Slice one piece of toast into circle with 4-inch diameter.
  2. Slice second piece of toast into half-circle with 4-inch diameter, which will act as base of snow globe.
  3. Spread 1 tablespoon cream cheese onto bottom fifth of circular toast.
  4. Cover base of snow globe with slices of bell pepper, cut to correct width.
  5. Stack medium black olive on top of jumbo black olive and affix to toast with cream cheese.
  6. Add decorations to olive snowman by affixing two small sugar snap peas to body of snowman, pretzel stick arms to sides, small piece orange bell pepper for nose and two small dots cream cheese for eyes.
  7. Decorate base with green olive rounds and three sugar snap peas in center.
  8. Use cookie cutters to cut four small snowflakes and four large snowflakes out of slices of cheese. Arrange snowflakes around outside of plate and place cilantro leaves between each snowflake.
  9. Place remaining cream cheese in small plastic bag and cut small hole in corner. Pipe small dots on circular toast around snowman.

Source: California Ripe Olive Committee

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