Meal Ideas 01 June 2018

Savoring Salad Season

(Family Features) Even though salads can be enjoyed year-round, the warmer months signal salad season for some fans of al fresco dining. Barbecues, family reunions, picnics, potlucks, block parties, pool parties or simple family dinners are a few reasons to savor the season, and all are ideal occasions to serve a salad.

This versatile Middle Eastern-Inspired Bean Salad can be assembled ahead of time and served chilled or at room temperature.

Beginning with a can of READ 3 or 4 Bean Salad can help streamline prep and provide a pleasing flavor to complement the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, parsley and mint in the salad. The hummus-based dressing combined with a traditional Middle Eastern spice blend gets a bright accent from a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Colorful Pickled Beet and Red Quinoa Salad is also an option that can be served chilled or at room temperature, and can make for a vegetarian main dish or side salad.

At just the right size for a salad, Aunt Nellie’s Whole Baby Pickled Beets are teamed with red quinoa and punctuated with chickpeas, almonds and feta. The fresh orange vinaigrette helps tie the flavors together.

For additional salad inspiration, visit READSalads.com and AuntNellies.com.
14197 detail image embed1

Middle Eastern-Inspired Bean Salad

Prep time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1          can (15 ounces) READ 3 or 4 Bean Salad
  • 1/2       cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1          small cucumber (4-5 inches long), cut in half lengthwise then thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2          green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2       cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2          tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1          small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4       teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Dressing:

  • 2          tablespoons prepared hummus
  • 1          tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4-1/2   teaspoon za'atar seasoning blend
  1. Drain bean salad. Discard liquid. Place bean salad in large bowl.
  2. Add tomatoes, cucumber, onions, parsley, mint, garlic and red pepper flakes to bean salad. Toss to combine.
  3. To make dressing: Combine hummus, lemon juice and seasoning; set aside.
  4. Add dressing to salad just before serving; toss to combine well. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

14197 detail image embed2

Pickled Beet and Red Quinoa Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Servings: 8

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4       cup fresh orange juice
  • 1          tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2       teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil

Salad:

  • 1          jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie's Baby Whole Pickled Beets
  • 1          can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2       cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1/2       cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2       cup red quinoa, cooked according to package directions (about 1 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 1/2       cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
  • 1/3       cup crumbled reduced-fat or traditional feta cheese
  • 1          tablespoon orange zest
  1. To make vinaigrette: In small bowl, whisk together orange juice, orange zest, black pepper, salt, if desired, and olive oil; set aside.
  2. To make salad: Drain beets. Place in large bowl; set aside.
  3. Add chickpeas, green onion, parsley and quinoa to beets. Add vinaigrette; toss to combine well.
  4. Just before serving, add almonds to salad; toss to combine well. Sprinkle with feta cheese and orange zest. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Source: Seneca Foods

Meal Ideas 26 October 2018

Try the Trendiest Flavors Tonight

New seasonings make it easy

(Family Features) Exotic flavors common in the Middle Eastern region of the world like harissa, za’atar and shawarma are having a moment, appearing on restaurant menus and in popular make-at-home recipes.
 
Now is the perfect time to give these flavors a try. Thanks to new global seasonings from McCormick Gourmet, the spice combinations are already blended for the ultimate taste and simplicity.

Made from high-quality herbs and spices, the seasonings are USDA-Organic certified and Non-GMO Project verified so you can feel good about the ingredients used in your cooking. The expertly blended spices help create distinctive global-inspired dishes that take your home dining experience to the next level so you can explore these flavors from around the world without leaving the comfort of home.

  • Za’atar: This traditional Middle Eastern blend of spices including thyme, oregano and sesame seeds is perfect for sprinkling on flatbreads, roasted vegetables, nuts
    or popcorn. It can also be mixed into hummus or oil
    for dipping.
  • Harissa: A spicy flavor found in North African cuisine, this seasoning is made from a combination of chilies, warm spices and mint. Add it to meat and veggies before roasting, stir it into cooked rice and grains, mix it into yogurt to make a dip or combine it with roasted bell peppers and oil to turn this spice into its namesake sauce.
  • Shawarma: Often associated with the slow roasting of meat, this Middle Eastern street food favorite is made with cinnamon, coriander, cardamom and more. Use this seasoning to flavor an easy marinade for chicken, pork or steak.

Look for these flavors as well as new Peruvian and Berbere seasonings in the spice section of retailers nationwide. Find more recipe ideas at McCormickGourmet.com.
14507 detail image embed1

Grilled Chicken Shawarma

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1 1/4    cup plain Greek yogurt, divided
  • 5          teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Shawarma Seasoning, divided
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 1          tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
  • 2          pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 4          pita pockets, halved
  • 1          medium seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 8          lettuce leaves
  1. In small bowl, mix 1 cup yogurt and 1 teaspoon shawarma seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. In small bowl, mix oil, lemon juice, remaining yogurt, remaining shawarma seasoning and sea salt. Reserve 2 tablespoons of mixture; set aside.
  3. Place chicken in large re-sealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 1 hour, or longer for extra flavor.
  4. Heat grill or skillet to medium heat.
  5. Remove chicken from marinade. Discard remaining marinade. Grill or saute 6-8 minutes per side, or until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 165 F, brushing with reserved marinade.
  6. Slice chicken into thin strips. Serve in pitas with cucumber, lettuce and yogurt dressing.

14507 detail image embed2

Shaved Carrot Salad with Pomegranate Harissa Dressing

Prep time: 20 minutes
Servings: 5

  • 1/4       cup chopped fresh mint
  • 3          tablespoons pomegranate juice
  • 1          tablespoon honey
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Harissa Seasoning
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Organic Black Pepper, coarse ground
  • 3          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2       pound multicolor carrots, washed and peeled
  • 1/2       cup shelled roasted pistachios
  • 1/2       cup dried cranberries
  • 3          cups baby arugula
  • 1/4       cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. In large bowl, mix mint, pomegranate juice, honey, harissa seasoning, sea salt and pepper. Gradually add oil while mixing with wire whisk until well mixed. Set aside.
  2. Trim carrot ends. Slice each carrot lengthwise into ribbons with vegetable peeler or mandoline. In medium bowl, toss carrots with 1/4 cup prepared dressing. Stir in pistachios and cranberries.
  3. Arrange arugula on serving platter. Drizzle with remaining dressing and top with carrot mixture. Sprinkle with feta before serving.


14507 detail image embed3

Za’atar Labneh

Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 (2 tablespoons each)

  • 1          cup labneh (yogurt cheese)
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Za’atar Seasoning, divided
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • pita bread, for serving (optional)
  • pita chips, for serving (optional)
  • sliced fresh vegetables, for serving (optional)
  1. In small bowl, mix labneh and 1 teaspoon seasoning until well blended.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining seasoning.
  3. Serve with fresh pita bread, pita chips or sliced fresh vegetables, as desired.

Source:  McCormick

Meal Ideas 13 July 2018

Savory Summer Entertaining

(Family Features) Flavorful foods and cold drinks are the focal points of just about any summer gathering. Create a party atmosphere that can stand out by adding a bit of island infusion to both bites and beverages so your warm-weather soiree can soar to new heights.

14386 detail embed image5

To help add that island spark, an ingredient like bitters provides a potent flavor made from botanicals like aromatic herbs, bark, roots and fruit. While known for their ability to balance countless cocktails, it may come as a surprise that bitters are regarded by some chefs as a pantry staple, adding real depth of flavor to a variety of dishes. Bitters can be added to classic and contemporary cocktails and a range of cuisines to create taste-tempting creations.

Much like vanilla extract, when cooked, the alcohol in bitters evaporates, so bitters-infused recipes can be enjoyed by the whole family at your next backyard barbecue or patio party.

Center your spread around a summer favorite like Pulled-Pork Sliders with Bitters, a tangy Caribbean twist on a classic dish featuring a spicy chili rub. Coupled with a vinegar-based sauce dashed with Angostura aromatic bitters, an unmistakable culinary and cocktail essential made with the same secret recipe since 1824, the flavorful sliders make for a crowd-pleasing main course.

Add to the island vibe with a unique take on a tried-and-true sweet treat like cake. Orange Butter Sponge Cake enhances every party's dessert course with the sweet and tangy combination of citrus and bitters.

These tasty foods paired with hot temperatures call for cooling off with inventive bitters-forward drink recipes like the Queen's Park Swizzle, Angostura's signature Trinidadian cocktail, and a summertime go-to, the Traditional Mojito. These drinks balance the art of the swizzle with the tastes of tiki to provide guests with refreshing beverage options.

Whether you're an aspiring home chef, an amateur bartender or anything in between, you can elevate summer entertaining with bitters to complement an array of ingredients for exceptional entertaining all summer long.

Find more summertime food and drink recipes to savor at AngosturaBitters.com.


14386 detail embed image1

Pulled-Pork Sliders with Bitters

Servings: approximately 14 small sandwiches

Chili Rub:

  • 3-3 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil

Bitters Sauce:

  • 1 can (15 ounces) unseasoned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Nature's Intent apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Angostura aromatic bitters
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
  • 14 small slider buns
  1. To make Chili Rub: Stir together aromatic bitters, chili powder and salt; let stand 10 minutes.
  2. Cut pork shoulder across grain into 1 1/2-2-inch thick slices; trim excess fat. If needed, cut into chunks to remove some fat.
  3. Rub meat with chili mixture. In 8-quart pot or 9-10-inch wide, high-sided saute pan with lid, heat oil. Add meat and brown on both sides, about 15 minutes total. Remove meat and place on plate; keep warm.
  4. To make Bitters Sauce: Combine tomato sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, aromatic bitters, chili powder and garlic cloves; stir well. Pour into hot, empty pan. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring and scraping bottom of pan.
  5. Return meat to pan; spoon sauce over meat. Cover and cook 1 hour and 15 minutes on low, rearranging meat halfway through cooking. Transfer meat to plate; cover with foil to keep warm.
  6. To thicken sauce, if desired: Let sauce cool in pan 5 minutes then whisk in cornstarch. Bring to boil; continue to cook and whisk until slightly thickened.
  7. To serve: Pull meat apart with two forks or fingers. Serve warm on buns, drizzled with sauce.

14386 detail embed image2

Queen's Park Swizzle

Makes: 1 cocktail

  • 12-14 mint leaves
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce Demerara simple syrup
  • crushed ice
  • 2 ounces Caribbean rum
  • 6-8 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • 1 mint sprig, for garnish
  1. In highball glass, muddle mint leaves in lime juice and simple syrup, then fill glass with dry, crushed ice.
  2. Pour rum over crushed ice and swizzle well until glass is ice cold and frosted.
  3. Pack glass with more crushed ice and top with aromatic bitters. Garnish with mint sprig.

14386 detail embed image3

Traditional Mojito

Makes: 1 cocktail

  • 1 cube brown sugar
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 12-15 mint leaves
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • crushed ice
  • 1 bottle club soda
  • 1 mint sprig, for garnish
  1. In Collins glass, muddle brown sugar cube and simple syrup, then add mint and lightly press to extract flavor. Add lime juice, rum and aromatic bitters.
  2. Fill glass with crushed ice and swizzle.
  3. Repack with crushed ice and top with club soda. Garnish with mint sprig.

14386 detail embed image4

Orange Butter Sponge Cake

  • 8 ounces butter, plus additional for buttering pan
  • 2 cups cake flour, plus additional for flouring pan
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon Angostura orange bitters
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • powdered or extra-fine sugar, for dusting
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Sift flour three times and add baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. With electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 10 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add vanilla and orange bitters.
  4. Divide flour mixture into four portions. Set electric mixer on medium low and add flour alternately with orange juice, starting and ending with flour. Mix just until incorporated after each addition.
  5. Divide batter evenly between cake pans and bake 35-40 minutes, or until cake pulls away from sides of pans. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes in cake pans before turning out.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Pulled-Pork Sliders with Bitters, Orange Butter Sponge Cake)

Source:

Appetizers & Sides 11 June 2018

Host a Better-for-You Barbecue

(Family Features) A traditional backyard barbecue is typically filled with a wide array of tempting foods that make it hard to keep a healthy eating plan on track. With a few simple modifications to your menu, you can transform your grilling party into a spread of better-for-you foods you can still enjoy.

Get creative on the grill. An easy swap like chicken or pork instead of burgers and brats is an instant nutrition boost. Use wood chips or a marinade to create a main dish so tasty you’ll forget it’s a health-conscious choice.

Put produce front and center. There’s no time like summer to enjoy the bounty of the garden, so pile on the veggies in place of dense, calorie-laden sides. A crisp, refreshing salad, lightly seasoned veggies on the grill and even fresh raw veggies with a light yogurt dip can all be healthier additions to your barbecue menu.

Make apps amazing. A health-conscious meal doesn’t have to mean eliminating entire courses. Appetizers while you wait for the grill to heat are practically a requirement, after all. Instead of the typical rich, creamy dips, try a lighter approach, like these cracker canapes. Add a special touch with Crunchmaster crackers, which are gluten-free, non-GMO and full of flavor. Made with wholesome ingredients from trusted sources and available in Sea Salt, Roasted Vegetable, Applewood Smoked BBQ and Aged White Cheddar flavors, these snacks are crafted to fit healthy lifestyles. 

Find more delicious ideas for summer entertaining at crunchmaster.com.
14375 detail image embed1

Grilled Watermelon, Feta and Balsamic Cracker Canapes

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 4          watermelon wedges (1/2-inch thick slices, 4 inches wide at base)
  • 16        Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Sea Salt Crackers
  • 1/4       cup finely crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4       cup prepared balsamic reduction
  • 2          tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  1. Heat grill to medium-high; grease grate well. Grill watermelon wedges, turning once, 3-5 minutes, or until grill-marked on both sides. Cut each watermelon wedge into four smaller wedges.
  2. Top each cracker with watermelon wedge and sprinkle with feta. Drizzle with balsamic reduction. Garnish with fresh mint.

Tip: Add finely chopped Kalamata olives for a tangy twist.

Source: Crunchmaster

Meal Ideas 10 October 2017

Family-Focused Foods

Hearty meals to bring the family together

(Family Features) Gathering the family around the table with delicious, traditional meals is the ultimate combination for many home chefs like Catherine Lowe, winner of the 17th season of ABC’s “The Bachelor.”

13875 detail image embed2b

Lowe, who partnered as a celebrity spokesperson with Bertolli to create this Roasted Garlic Marinara Braised Chicken with Linguine recipe, enjoys adding authenticity to the table with recipes that provide homemade taste and layers of flavor.

“I pride myself on my strong Italian roots,” Lowe said. “My dad taught me how to cook at a young age, and growing up, it was an event to make and enjoy dinner with his side of the family. It’s important for me to remember and celebrate that heritage.”

Full of hearty vegetables you can see and taste, and inspired by the simple goodness of Tuscan cooking, Bertolli Rustic Cut Pasta sauces help bring homemade flavor to your table. Offered in four varieties – Marinara with Traditional Vegetables, Spicy Marinara with Traditional Vegetables, Roasted Garlic Marinara with Garden Vegetables and Sweet Peppers with Portobello Mushrooms – it’s Lowe’s secret ingredient to helping make family meals more enjoyable.

Find more family-friendly recipes to bring everyone together at bertolli.com.

13875 detail image embed1

Roasted Garlic Marinara Braised Chicken with Linguine

Recipe courtesy of Sean and Catherine Lowe
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Servings: 4-6

  • 23        ounces Bertolli Rustic Cut Roasted Garlic Marinara Sauce
  • 6-8       bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2          teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1          pound whole-wheat linguine
  • 8          ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2       cup small diced onion
  • 1/4       cup white wine (optional)
  • 3          ounces baby kale
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In 3-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, heat sauce. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add chicken, skin-side down, and cook 3-5 minutes, or until skin is crisp and deep golden-brown. Turn chicken over and cook 3-5 minutes until golden-brown on second side.
  4. Remove chicken from skillet, leaving fat in pan. Set aside skillet to be used later.
  5. Add chicken to sauce in Dutch oven in single layer, skin-side up, with skin just above surface of sauce. Cover and bake 40 minutes. Begin to boil water for pasta.
  6. Remove cover from Dutch oven and cook in oven 10 minutes.
  7. Cook pasta al dente according to package instructions. Drain.
  8. Heat reserved skillet and fat over medium-high heat; add cremini mushrooms and onions; saute until lightly browned. Deglaze with white wine, if desired, and cook until dry. Add kale to mushrooms and toss gently to wilt.
  9. Remove Dutch oven from oven and gently transfer chicken to large plate. Add pasta to sauce in Dutch oven and stir gently to coat.
  10. Place portion of pasta in pasta bowl and make well in middle. Spoon mushroom-kale mixture into center of well and top with one piece of chicken.
  11. Shave Parmesan cheese over dish to finish.
  12. Spoon polenta into serving dish and make a well in middle. Place mushroom-kale mixture in well. Top with marinara sauce and one piece of chicken.

Substitution: Portobello, shiitake or button mushrooms may be used in place of cremini mushrooms.

Tip: Serve with creamy polenta instead of pasta. In saucepan, combine 2 cups chicken stock, 2 cups milk, 2 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to boil and whisk in 1 cup instant polenta and cook, while stirring, 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and whisk to combine.

13875 detail image embed3

Grilled Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 2          tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2    cups (10 ounces) uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1          can (14 1/2 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 1          jar (23 ounces) Bertolli Rustic Cut Spicy Marinara with Traditional Vegetables Sauce, divided
  • 6          ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2       cup (2 ounces) coarsely chopped smoked almonds
  • 1/2       cup chopped fresh mint, divided
  • 6          large red, yellow or orange bell peppers, top 1/2 inch removed and seeded
  1. Heat grill to high.
  2. In medium skillet on medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add pasta; cook and stir 2-3 minutes, or until light golden brown. Stir in broth and 1 cup sauce; bring to boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low; cover. Cook 4 minutes, or until pasta is al dente, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
  4. Stir in cheese, almonds and 1/4 cup mint. Brush outsides of peppers with remaining oil. Grill 4-6 minutes, or until crisp tender and lightly marked on all sides, turning frequently; cool slightly.
  5. Place peppers in center of 12-by-12-inch square of heavy duty foil. Bring sides of foil up and shape foil around each pepper, leaving tops open. Shape foil into stable base to secure peppers firmly. Keep upright while grilling.
  6. Fill each pepper with 1 tablespoon sauce and about 3/4 cup orzo mixture. Grill peppers 8-10 minutes, or until filling is heated through. Remove from foil. Warm remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mint before serving with warmed sauce.
  7. To prepare peppers: Heat oven to 400° F. Prepare orzo mixture as directed but do not grill peppers. Fill raw peppers with orzo mixture and place on foil squares. Bring sides of foil up and seal tops to fully enclose each pepper.
  8. Arrange on rimmed baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes, or until peppers are soft and filling is heated through.

13875 detail image embed4

Three-Cheese Farmstand Cups

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 2          cups cooked mini penne pasta
  • 1          cup small broccoli florets, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/4       cup mascarpone cheese
  • 3          eggs, beaten
  • 1/2       cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1          jar (23 ounces) Bertolli Rustic Cut Sweet Peppers and Portobello Mushroom Sauce, divided
  • 1 1/2    cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/4       cup chopped fresh basil
  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Divide penne pasta and broccoli evenly between 12 standard muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray. Whisk in mascarpone until smooth; gradually whisk in eggs.
  2. Stir in Parmesan, 2 cups sauce and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Spoon 1/4 cup egg mixture over pasta and broccoli in each cup; with spoon press filling down gently. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until set.
  3. Sprinkle tops with remaining mozzarella cheese halfway through bake time. Let stand 3 minutes before unmolding. Warm remaining sauce and serve over top of cups with basil.

Source: Bertolli

Meal Ideas 19 June 2017

Good Eats with Grapes

Make a heart-healthy menu with flavorful fruit

(Family Features) Heart-healthy foods can play a role in healthy aging. Whether you enjoy them by the handful as a refreshing snack or use them to add color, crunch and a touch of sweetness to a meal, grapes are a heart-healthy option that make eating better easy.

Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols. At just 90 calories per serving, they also contain no fat, no cholesterol and virtually no sodium.

With a juicy burst of flavor, grapes show how simple it can be to make good-for-you-dishes that also taste great. Even though California grapes are a snacking staple in most kitchens, you may not realize how versatile they can be for cooking. For example, grapes add a sweet touch to a crunchy yogurt salad and complement the bold spice on a skewer of grilled shrimp. Fresh, flavorful grapes even put a tangy, fresh twist on a soothing glass of iced tea.

Grapes and Brain Health

A grape-enriched diet helped protect against metabolic brain decline in Alzheimer’s-related areas of the brain, according to research from the University of California-Los Angeles. The pilot study, funded by the California Table Grape Commission, was conducted among people with early memory decline and showed that subjects who didn’t consume grapes exhibited significant metabolic decline in these critical regions. Additionally, those consuming the grape-enriched diet showed beneficial changes in regional brain metabolism that correlated to improvements in cognition and working memory performance, according to a report published by Experimental Gerontology.

Find more delicious recipes to make healthy eating easy at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.

13776 detail image embed1

Zahtar Shrimp and Grape Kabobs

Servings: 6

  • 2 tablespoons zahtar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 36-40 large shrimp (about 2 pounds), shelled and deveined
  • 1 cup whole green California grapes
  • 1 cup whole red California grapes
  1. In medium bowl, combine zahtar, garlic, thyme, vinegar, honey, salt, pepper and olive oil. Whisk to combine. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  2. Thread shrimp and grapes onto skewers. Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high.
  3. Grill skewers, turning once, until shrimp are lightly charred and cooked through and grapes are caramelized but firm, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Nutritional information per serving: 190 calories; 20 g protein; 12 g carbohydrate; 6 g fat (28% calories from fat); 1 g saturated fat (5% calories from saturated fat); 180 mg cholesterol; 870 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

13776 detail image embed2

Savory Yogurt with Grape and Cucumber Salad

Servings: 4
Dukkah:

  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Yogurt:

  • 3 cups plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup green California grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup red California grapes, halved
  • 1 cup English cucumber, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons dukkah
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  1. To make dukkah: Heat oven to 350 F. Spread cashews and hazelnuts on baking sheet and toast 6-8 minutes. Transfer to food processor and set aside. In skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds until fragrant, 1-2 minutes, then transfer to food processor. Add dried thyme and salt. Pulse mixture until coarsely ground. Makes about 1 cup that can be stored in an airtight container.
  2. Divide yogurt into four 3/4-cup portions. In small bowl, combine grapes, cucumber, shallots, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Top each bowl of yogurt with 1/2 cup grape mixture, 1 tablespoon dukkah and sprinkle of lemon zest.

Nutritional information per serving: 220 calories; 19 g protein; 18 g carbohydrate; 8 g fat (33% calories from fat); 1.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 10 mg cholesterol; 140 mg sodium; 2 g fiber.

13776 detail image embed3

Sparkling Hibiscus Tea with Grapes and Mint

Servings: 8

  • 6 cups water, divided
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 6 hibiscus tea bags
  • 2 cups green California grapes, divided
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 1 navel orange, sliced
  • ice
  • 16 ounces sparkling water
  1. Using tea kettle or saucepan, bring 3 cups water and honey to boil. Add tea bags, turn off heat and steep 6-8 minutes. Remove tea bags and allow remaining liquid to cool 15 minutes.
  2. In martini shaker or bowl, muddle 1 cup grapes with mint leaves. Add muddled grape and mint mixture to 48-60 ounce pitcher along with remaining water and orange slices. Stir in hibiscus tea mixture. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Strain before serving.
  3. To serve, add ice to 8-ounce glass. Top with 3-4 grapes, 2 ounces sparkling water and hibiscus tea mixture.

Nutritional information per serving: 70 calories; 1 g protein; 16 g carbohydrate; 10 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Main Dishes 27 March 2017

Modern Spins on Spring Traditions

(Family Features) From Easter to Passover to the Kentucky Derby and beyond, there is a lamb dish for nearly every spring occasion.

While many traditions rely on lamb as a centerpiece, it doesn’t have to be prepared like grandma’s overcooked, tough and often tasteless roast. Today’s home cooks are forgoing the jar of mint jelly and using fresh mint in pesto and salsas, while serving their lamb medium-rare to preserve its tender juiciness.

If a rack of lamb is your preferred cut for spring celebrations, the American Lamb Board offers six simple steps for the perfect entree. For those who opt for roasting a boneless leg of lamb that is tender and full of flavor, try using these step-by-step instructions for a succulent lamb roast. For a real showstopper, turn off the oven, fire up the grill, butterfly a leg of lamb, season well and grill to desired doneness.

Toss grandma’s jar of mint jelly and brighten up your feasts with fresh condiments like this Mint-Pistachio Pesto or a Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Sea Salt. For more tips and spring celebration-worthy recipes, visit americanlamb.com/spring/.

13698 detail image embed1

Mint-Pistachio Pesto

Recipe courtesy of the American Lamb Board

  • 1 cup shelled, toasted, unsalted pistachios
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  1. In food processor, pulse all ingredients until mixed but still somewhat chunky.

13698 detail image embed2

Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Sea Salt

Recipe courtesy of the American Lamb Board

  • 1/2 cup coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 1/2-3 pounds boneless leg of American lamb, trimmed and butterflied
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lemons
  1. In food processor, grind salt and rosemary leaves together until mixture is texture of coarse sand.
  2. Season lamb generously with rosemary salt, working it into all crevasses; it should take about 2 tablespoons. Set lamb aside at room temperature at least 30 minutes before grilling, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.
  3. Heat charcoal or gas grill. Pat lamb dry, if needed, and rub lightly with olive oil to coat.
  4. Grease grill grates with oil and place lamb on hottest part of grill. Cook with grill covered, turning once, until brown and crusty.
  5. Move lamb to cooler part of grill and continue cooking until instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 130° F for medium-rare, 15-25 minutes total. Transfer lamb to platter, cover with foil and let rest at least 10 minutes before cutting into thick slices against the grain.
  6. Halve lemons and brush cut sides lightly with oil. Place cut-side down on grill until deeply charred, 2-3 minutes.
  7. Arrange lamb slices on large platter or directly over salad. Serve with charred lemon halves for squeezing and additional rosemary salt.

Source: American Lamb Board

Dessert 23 March 2017

Pair Like a Pro

13668 detail image embed3

(Family Features) When it comes to pairing wine with food, even experts agree that desserts can pose a challenge. A wide variety of flavor combinations can make it hard to find the perfect selection to serve with your sweet treat. While there’s no exact science to wine pairing, these simple tips can help you make your selection.

Sweet Cheesecake
A good rule: the lighter the dessert, the lighter the wine. Avoid heavy reds for a sweeter dessert and instead pair with a crisp white like Chardonnay, such as Joseph Carr from Sonoma, California.

Citrusy Lemon Meringue Pie
Lemon flavors can sometimes be polarizing, but complementing this dessert with an equally citrusy wine can work wonders. Try pairing with a food-friendly pinot grigio or a sauvignon blanc.

Rich Chocolate Cake
Red wine with chocolate seems like a no-brainer, but not all red wines are created equal. For a richer delicacy like this devil’s food cake, try something like Villa Pozzi Nero D’avola, a more fruit-forward, easy-drinking red varietal.

For more tips and wine selections, visit winefix.com

13668 detail image embed1

New York-Style Honey Cheesecake

Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • fresh berries, for garnish
  • fresh mint, for garnish
  1. To make crust: In small bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs and butter until well blended. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and sides of greased 9-inch springform pan; set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F.
  3. To make filling: In electric mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, honey and flour. Beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in cream, lemon zest and vanilla.
  4. Pour cream cheese mixture over crust; bake 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 200° F and bake 1 hour and 30 minutes longer, or until center no longer looks wet or shiny.
  5. With oven off and door ajar, let cheesecake cool 1 hour in oven. Remove cheesecake to rack to cool completely.
  6. Cover and refrigerate cheesecake at least 4 hours before serving. Garnish with fruit and fresh mint. Pair with chardonnay like Joseph Carr.

13668 detail image embed2

Honey Devil’s Food Cake with Rich Chocolate Frosting

Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups honey, divided
  • 1/2 cup 2 percent low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • milk chocolate shavings, for garnish
  1. To prepare cake: Heat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
  2. In large bowl, combine flour, 1 cup cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups honey, milk, oil, eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla; beat 2 minutes. Gradually beat in water.
  3. Divide batter between pans. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until sides pull away slightly from pan and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Turn onto wire racks and cool completely.
  4. To prepare frosting: In medium bowl, combine remaining cocoa powder, honey and vanilla, and cream. Beat until just thick and fluffy.
  5. To assemble: Spread frosting evenly over sides and top of one cake layer. Place second cake layer on top. Spread remaining frosting evenly over sides and top.
  6. Garnish with milk chocolate shavings. Pair each serving with a glass of prosecco, like Nero D’avola from Villa Pozzi.

Photo courtesy of 275847/Shutterstock.com (cheesecake)
Photo courtesy of Barnaby Chambers/Shutterstock.com (chocolate cake with wine)

Source: Deutsch Family Wines

Dessert 14 March 2017

Mucho Choco Tacos

F1122 detail image embed1

Mucho Choco Tacos

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Start to Finish: 40 Minutes
Makes: 8 tacos

  • 8 Old El Paso Stand 'N Stuff taco shells (from 4.7-oz box)
  • 1 (24-ounce) package chocolate-flavored candy coating (almond bark)
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups sliced bananas
  • 3/4 cup hot fudge ice cream topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 aerosol can whipped cream topping
  • 8 mint leaves, if desired
  1. Heat oven to 325°F. Heat taco shells as directed on box. Meanwhile, melt chocolate candy coating as directed on package.
  2. Carefully dip each taco shell into melted chocolate, using spoon to get chocolate on inside of shell; hold shells above bowl to let excess chocolate drip off. Stand shells upright on waxed paper; let stand until chocolate hardens, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. In medium bowl, mix strawberries and bananas. Divide fruit evenly into taco shells.
  4. In small microwavable bowl, microwave fudge topping on High 30 to 45 seconds or until soft. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla. Drizzle topping over fruit in shells. Top with whipped cream; garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately.

Source: General Mills Inc.

Beverages 14 March 2017

Moscato Moscow Mule

12179 detail image embed1

Moscato Moscow Mule

Servings: 1

  • 4 ounces ginger beer
  • 3 ounces Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1 lime wheel
  • 1 mint sprig for garnish
  1. Pour ginger beer, Moscato and lime juice into ice-filled copper mug. Garnish with lime wheel and mint sprig.

Source: Gallo Family Vineyards

About Us

We love cooking, eating, and connecting with people from around the world.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.