(Family Features) School is back in session and so are hectic weeknights with little time to cook dinner. Instead of reaching for ready-made meals or takeout, make a kid-friendly, south-of-the-border casserole. All of the ingredients – from the whole grain elbow macaroni to the ground beef – are cooked in one skillet, meaning minimal cleanup and maximum quality time spent reconnecting around the dinner table.
“This simple three-step recipe is perfect for busy weeknights because it’s quick, family-friendly and just as good re-heated for leftovers,” said McCormick Executive Chef Kevan Vetter. “You don’t need a second pot to cook the pasta; it’s cooked in the skillet along with the ground beef, fresh tomatoes and corn. Season with organic taco seasoning and sprinkle with cheddar cheese and you’re sure to have a meal the kids will beg to add to the dinner rotation.”
Tex-Mex Macaroni Casserole
Makes 8 (1-cup) servings
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 package McCormick Organics Taco Seasoning Mix
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
- 2 cups uncooked whole grain elbow macaroni
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- Brown beef and onion in large skillet on medium-high heat. Drain fat.
- Stir in seasoning mix, water, chopped tomatoes and corn. Bring to boil. Add pasta. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Sprinkle with cheese, cover. Let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
(Family Features) As the fall season begins, kids go back to school and schedules once again book up with activities.
Between work, the carpool line and shuttling kids to extracurriculars, the increase in family commitments often leaves little time in the kitchen or at the dining table. Although the drive-thru is an easy solution, healthier options can be scarce and the cost of takeout piles up. Instead, add some quick family meals to your arsenal.
Southwestern Bean Mexican Pizza made with READ Southwestern Bean Salad is a fun twist on the Italian favorite that pairs perfectly with fruit, carrot sticks or a salad for a complete, family-friendly meal.
For an easy make-ahead option, grab a jar of Aunt Nellie's Beets and make Beef, Beet and Horseradish Wraps. Both recipes can help you have dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less.
Southwestern Bean Mexican Pizza
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) READ Southwestern Bean Salad
- 1 pre-baked pizza crust (10-12-inch diameter)
- 4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (about 1/4 cup crumbled)
- 1/2-3/4 cup thin bell pepper strips (1/4-inch thick), any color or combination
- 3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- chopped avocado (optional)
- sour cream (optional)
- Drain bean salads. Place half of beans in bowl of food processor; process until pureed but chunky.
- Spread puree evenly over pizza crust. Spoon remaining drained beans over puree. Sprinkle with bacon, bell pepper and cheese.
- Bake as directed on pizza crust package until heated through and cheese is melted, about 10-12 minutes.
- Sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve with avocado and sour cream, if desired.
Nutritional information per serving: 276 calories; 11 g protein; 35 g carbohydrates; 10 g fat; 648 mg sodium; 14 mg cholesterol; 5 g dietary fiber; 11 mg iron; .02 mg thiamin; 575 IU vitamin A; 7 mg vitamin C.
Beef, Beet and Horseradish Wraps
Prep time: 30 minutes
- 1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie's Sliced Pickled Beets
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1/2 cup spreadable cheese (such as goat cheese or herb soft cheese)
- 2 large soft flour tortillas (about 10-12-inch diameter)
- 10 green onions (green parts only)
- 10 thin slices deli roast beef
- Drain beets; chop. Discard beet liquid. In medium bowl, combine beets, carrots and horseradish.
- Spread 1/4 cup cheese evenly over each tortilla, leaving 1-inch border. Arrange five green onions (do not chop) on each; press lightly into cheese. Place five slices roast beef on each tortilla to cover green onions then sprinkle beet mixture evenly over beef.
- Roll up tortillas in parallel direction of green onions. Wrap each roll tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate up to 4 hours.
- To serve, remove plastic wrap; cut each tortilla into two pieces.
Substitution: If horseradish is too pungent, omit or replace with diced jarred roasted red peppers or Dijon mustard.
Nutrition information per serving: 300 calories; 17 g protein; 34 g carbohydrates; 10 g fat; 520 mg sodium; 35 mg cholesterol; 2 g fiber; 3.18 mg iron; .26 mg thiamin; 2963.87 IU vitamin A; 8.79 mg vitamin C.
(Family Features) Back-to-school time means it’s back to being busy before, during and after school, so it’s time for parents and kids to create new routines. From early wakeup calls to shuttling kids to school and activities, ease the morning mayhem by incorporating a simple meal-planning strategy.
As a parent, look for fresh, make-ahead options your kids will enjoy. Serve up lunchbox love by mixing up the classic sandwich with a spin on sushi in this Bento Box Lunch recipe. It’s a creative way to deliver nutritious, wholesome ingredients that will make the whole lunchroom drool. Plus, it’s something you can take for lunch too.
No matter what meals you’re prepping, a store like ALDI can be your solution for packing tasty and better-for-you choices for lunches and on-the-go snacks. With high-quality ingredients at affordable prices, ALDI offers what you need to get ready for the days ahead.
For more recipes and meal prepping ideas, visit aldi.us.
Bento Box Lunch
Recipe courtesy of Chef Alyssa, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
- 4 slices SimplyNature Knock Your Sprouts Off Sprouted Low Sodium 7 Grain Bread
- 4 slices Lunch Mate Never Any! Turkey
- 1 teaspoon Burman's Yellow Mustard
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 1 mini cucumber, cut into 3-inch-by-1/4-inch sticks
- 1 cup SimplyNature Organic Quinoa, cooked
- 1/4 cup Southern Grove Sliced Almonds
- 2 mandarin oranges, peeled and separated
- 1/4 cup Southern Grove Dried Cranberries
- 1 bunches green onions, sliced
- 1 teaspoon Carlini Pure Olive Oil
- Stonemill Iodized Salt, to taste
- Stonemill Ground Black Pepper, to taste
- 1 large head broccoli, chopped
- 1/4 cup Southern Grove Sliced Almonds
- 1/4 cup Southern Grove Dried Cranberries
- 1 teaspoon Fusia Soy Sauce
- 1/2 cup Friendly Farms Vanilla Nonfat Greek Yogurt
- Stonemill Ground Black Pepper, to taste
- 1 Granny Smith apple, sliced
- 1 tablespoon Nature's Nectar Lemon Juice
- 1 teaspoon Stonemill Ground Cinnamon
- To make “Sushi Roll”: Trim crust from bread. Using rolling pin, roll out bread slices to 1/8-inch thickness. Top with turkey, mustard, avocado and cucumber. Roll into cylinder, wrap with plastic wrap and cut in half.
- To make Quinoa Salad: In medium bowl, combine quinoa, almonds, oranges, cranberries, green onions and olive oil; season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To make Broccoli Salad: In medium bowl, combine broccoli, almonds, cranberries, soy sauce and yogurt; season to taste with pepper.
- To make Cinnamon Apples: Toss apples with lemon juice and cinnamon. Place in sandwich bags and wrap tightly.
- Organize equal amounts of “Sushi Rolls,” Quinoa Salad, Broccoli Salad and Cinnamon Apples in separate bento box compartments.
(Family Features) With a new school year beginning, it’s important for parents to be prepared and help their children start forming good habits. For example, most children function better on a routine. They wake up every day at a certain time, they practice the same sports and eat nutritious, fresh foods that fuel their bodies.
One healthy option for kids is seafood. When kids eat at least two servings of seafood each week, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, they can receive big benefits. Fish and shellfish supply nutrients such as vitamins B and D, choline and essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are all needed for strong bones, brain development, healthy immune systems and cardiovascular systems.
In fact, research published in “Acta Paediatrica” shows an association between kids who eat fish at least once a week and better grades.
With a new routine in place, it can sometimes be hard for parents to keep up, but with fast-cooking seafood like thin fish fillets and shrimp, a healthy dinner can be ready in minutes. However, since some kids can be picky eaters, consider these tips from Joe Urban, director of food and nutrition services for Greenville County Schools, to add seafood to your family’s table.
- Start creating meals featuring seafood early in their lives, as children who are exposed to seafood at an early age may develop a fondness for the cuisine.
- Introduce them to mild varieties such as cod, pollock and haddock, then have them try other species as they become accustomed to the taste.
- Seafood can be substituted in nearly any dish that normally calls for chicken, beef, pork or other proteins. Serving seafood in familiar dishes like tacos, enchiladas, soups, salads, burgers and baked dishes can be a beneficial way for kids to eat more seafood.
- Canned seafoods like tuna and salmon make for quick, budget-friendly options when time is short, plus they can be mixed in with a variety of recipes.
For more seafood recipes and meal inspiration, visit seafoodnutrition.org or follow #Seafood2xWk on social media.
Hearty Salmon Skewers over Brown Rice
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 pound salmon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- paprika, to taste
- 8 skewers
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup pineapple, cubed
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 lemon
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- Coat salmon with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and paprika, to taste. Slide piece of salmon onto skewer, followed by tomato and then pineapple. Repeat three times on each skewer, or until skewer is full.
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1/2 cup canola oil 1 minute.
- Place skewers in pan and turn every 2 minutes per side. Squeeze lemon on skewers while cooking.
- To serve, place 1/2 cup rice on each plate and two skewers on top. Squeeze hint of lemon over each serving, if desired.
Source: Seafood Nutrition Partnership
The original farm-to-table food kids already love – milk
(Family Features) Locally sourced foods are becoming increasingly important to families across the country – and more moms are taking note of where their family’s food comes from. In fact, more than three-quarters of moms are actively looking for locally sourced food options when grocery shopping for themselves and their families, according to a new survey from the National Milk Life Campaign. ¹
From Farm to Glass
Many people are surprised to learn that milk is one of the original farm-to-table foods. Nearly two-thirds of moms think milk takes anywhere from more than two days to more than a week to travel from the farm to grocery stores throughout the country, when it typically arrives on shelves in just 48 hours, on average, after leaving the farm. In fact, milk often originates from many family-owned and operated farms about 300 miles away from your grocery store.²
Part of a Balanced Diet
As a minimally processed and farm-fresh beverage, milk is a wholesome way to help your family get natural protein and balanced nutrition. Whether it’s reduced fat, fat free or organic, dairy milk is remarkably simple, containing just three ingredients: milk, vitamin A and vitamin D.
Whether enjoyed as a beverage or used as an ingredient in your favorite recipe, milk is a versatile pairing for any meal. Even award-winning chefs and restaurateurs like Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli use milk as a foundational farm-to-table ingredient in many of their signature dishes.
For a traditional favorite that kids are sure to enjoy, try Giorgio’s homemade ice cream recipe. The whole family will love making (and eating) this treat, and you can feel good about the wholesome and delicious ingredients like milk.
For more information and delicious recipes, visit milklife.com.
Giorgio’s Homemade Ice Cream
Servings: nine 2/3 cup servings
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and the heavy cream to a simmer, over medium heat.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks until they lighten in color. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding in small amounts and then return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. Add the vanilla, adjust the seasoning and cook the ice cream base for 3-4 hours.
- Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions.
Nutritional information per serving: 390 calories; 30 g fat; 18 g saturated fat; 260 mg cholesterol; 5 g protein; 27 g carbohydrates; 0 g fiber; 115 mg sodium; 113 mg calcium (10% of daily value).
¹ Weber Shandwick conducted an online Google survey among 1,010 moms between the ages of 18-54 on behalf of The National Milk Life Campaign between June 22 – June 26.
² “Milk: More Local Than You May Think,” http://dairygood.org, (August 06, 2014).
(Family Features) When the school bells start ringing, putting wholesome and tasty family dinners on the table can get a lot harder to schedule. These simple, seasonal recipes – from one-pot taco skillets to sheet pan pork tenderloin – can help you own the school-year dinner routine.
Fall Skillet Pot Pie
Store-bought rotisserie chicken, refrigerated biscuits and an oven-proof skillet can make this comfort food favorite a weeknight reality. Chicken stock mixed with a blend of seasonings adds savory richness to the sweet potatoes and peas for a meal that warms you inside and out.
Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Lo Mein
This dish features everything you love about the Asian take-out favorite – carrots, bell pepper and shrimp – all flavored with a savory mixture of soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Using the microwave to cook the squash means you’ll have it on the table for your family in no time.
Open-Faced Hot Turkey Sandwiches
Prepared turkey gravy makes this a sandwich you can really sink your teeth into. Stack your bread with spinach, turkey and cranberry sauce and serve it warm for a taste of Thanksgiving any time of year.
Easy Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Apples
Brush pork with brown sugar and a robust blend of seasonings for a meal that’s equal parts sweet and savory. Bake on a single sheet pan with sliced apples and onions for an easy dinner in no time.
Chicken and Vegetable Lo Mein
Simply combine noodles, fresh veggies, chicken breast strips and a tangy stir-fry sauce. You’ll be left with an Asian-inspired dish that’s ready faster than you could order in a restaurant and every bit as tasty.
Slow Cooker Korean Beef
Make everybody’s favorite Korean barbecue at home – in the slow cooker. Beef bone broth contributes to the robust, Asian-inspired flavor of this dish, and is complemented by ginger and Korean red pepper.
Quinoa Taco Skillet
Give taco night a wholesome twist with this simple skillet dish. Season ground turkey, quinoa, fresh tomatoes and corn with taco seasoning mix for a kid-friendly meal the whole family will taco-bout.
(Family Features) When the school year rolls around, switching from pool to school means finding simpler ways to kick off the day with healthy and nutritious options.
Preparing feel-good breakfasts can be as easy as picking and putting together the right ingredients, if you know where to buy them. At grocery stores like ALDI, parents can conveniently find choices they can feel good about feeding their families, including fresh produce and organic, non-GMO and gluten-free options. Parents can also shop easier knowing ALDI private label items – which make up 90 percent of its products – are free from certified synthetic colors, added trans fats and MSG.
After the shopping trip, try these make-ahead breakfast ideas to give the busy mornings a boost:
- Homemade energy bars are an easy breakfast option that can keep you fueled until lunch. For simple bars, heat coconut oil and vanilla in a saucepan until combined then transfer to a large bowl and mix with cashew butter, oats, dried fruits and granola. Press the mixture between two cookie sheets to flatten, refrigerate 2 hours and slice into bars.
- Portion out produce for daily breakfast smoothies. Seal each weekday’s smoothie ingredients in separate plastic bags and simply toss the ingredients in a blender each morning. Enjoy your smoothie in a tumbler or try something new, such as this Blackberry Avocado Smoothie Bowl.
- Use your slow cooker to make oatmeal. Before heading to bed, simply add milk, vanilla and your favorite sweetener to rolled oats and cook on low 7-8 hours. Include dried fruit to soak up moisture and provide a sweet, juicy addition. Or try these Morning Oasis Overnight Oats for a no-cook variation on traditional oatmeal for a quick, crunchy start to the day.
Make school mornings a breeze with more quick recipes at aldi.us.
Morning Oasis Overnight Oats
Recipe courtesy of Chef Michelle, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 10 minutes (plus overnight to set)
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups Millville Quick Oats
- 1 teaspoon Southern Grove Chia Seeds
- 2 cups Friendly Farms Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
- 1/8 teaspoon Stonemill Iodized Salt
- 3 tablespoons SimplyNature Organic Wildflower Honey, divided
- 1/4 cup SimplyNature Organic Quinoa, toasted
- 1/4 cup Southern Grove Whole Almonds, toasted
- 1 mango, sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped coconut
- .45 ounces Moser Roth Premium Dark Chocolate 70 percent Cocoa, shaved
- .45 ounces Moser Roth Premium Dark Chocolate 70 percent Cocoa, melted
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- In large mason jar, combine oats, chia seeds, almond milk, salt and 2 tablespoons honey. Refrigerate overnight.
- In medium bowl, combine quinoa, almonds and remaining honey. Spread onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Remove, cooling completely and crumbling. Store in re-sealable bag overnight.
- The next day, stir oats and pour desired amount into serving bowl. Top with mango, coconut, shaved chocolate and candied quinoa. Drizzle with melted chocolate.
Blackberry Avocado Smoothie Bowl
Recipe courtesy of Chef Audrey, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 3/4 cup blackberries
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup Friendly Farms Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
- 3/4 cup Friendly Farms Unsweetened Original Almond Milk
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1 teaspoon Stonemill Pure Vanilla
- 1 teaspoon SimplyNature Organic Wildflower Honey
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- SimplyNature Flax Seed
- Southern Grove Chia Seeds
- Southern Grove Sliced Almonds, toasted
- Lime zest
- Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to serving bowl and add garnishes as desired.
Fueling kids for back to school
(Family Features) As kids head back to school, it’s a good time to refocus on nutritious food and beverage choices to make sure kids are properly fueled and ready to learn. Making the best choices for her family is every mom’s priority, but it can be confusing to navigate all the options available.
For example, many celebrity websites, diet books, blogs and popular social media feeds make it appear trendy to ditch dairy. Yet experts say going dairy-free has significant downfalls, especially for kids and young adults. A survey from the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) found 6 in 10 moms have tried restricting their dairy intake, and fewer moms encourage their kids to drink milk today compared to how many were encouraged to drink milk themselves as children – in fact, some are even restricting their children’s intake of dairy.
It can be hard to get enough nutrients without milk in your diet. Drinking dairy milk during childhood through early adulthood is important to help achieve maximum bone strength. It’s also important to drink milk as an adult to help maintain bone strength and density. Most dairy alternatives don’t have the same nutrients as dairy milk and kids may not eat enough kale, spinach or sardines to replace the calcium in milk.
However, many moms know how important milk is for their kids. According to the NOF survey, more than 80 percent of moms know milk is nutrient-rich. In fact, milk is the top food source for three of the four nutrients of concern identified by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans: calcium, vitamin D and potassium.
Incorporating farm-fresh milk into your diet can be fun for the whole family. Try making your own flavored milk or smoothie at home with these recipes for Vanilla Cinnamon Milk or a Rainbow Unicorn Smoothie.
Find more information and nutritious recipes to pair with milk at milklife.com.
Vanilla Cinnamon Milk
- 8 ounces milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons honey
- In glass, combine milk with vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and honey. Stir until well mixed.
Nutritional information per serving: 130 calories; 5 mg cholesterol; 8 g protein; 24 g carbohydrates; 105 mg sodium; 308 mg calcium (30% of daily value).
Rainbow Unicorn Smoothie
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat or fat-free milk, plus additional (optional)
- 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
- 2 cups (about 10 large) frozen strawberries
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 cup frozen mango chunks
- 6 tablespoons whipped cream
- 4 teaspoons sprinkles
- horn candles, wicks trimmed
- Blend milk, yogurt and fruit until smooth, adding additional milk or water to thin, if needed.
- Divide smoothie into four glasses and, if desired, top each with whipped cream, sprinkles and horn candles.
Nutritional information per serving: 120 calories; 1 g fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 5 g protein; 25 g carbohydrates; 3 g fiber; 60 mg sodium; 175 mg calcium (20% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat-free milk.