(Family Features) With summer comes the opening of farmers markets bursting with fresh produce ripe for the taking. Pair your fresh-picked bounty with wholesome pecans for power-packed seasonal recipes from salads and snacks to side dishes and main courses.
American Pecans are The Original Supernut; a naturally sweet superfood that’s nutritious, versatile and local as it’s the only major tree nut native to America. Pecans are also among the highest in “good” monounsaturated fats and contain plant protein, fiber, flavonoids and essential minerals, including copper, manganese and zinc, so you can feel good when adding them to your next meal or snack.
After a morning at the farmers market, cook up a nourishing spread for breakfast or lunch. For a quick, mess-free brunch, try Sheet Pan Eggs with Pecan Breakfast “Sausage.” Substitute flavored ground pecans for your sausage and add fresh greens for a quick, good-for-you option with plant-based protein.
For a simple yet sweet take on dessert, try Mini Pecan Lemon Berry Tarts with a three-ingredient, pecan-based crumb as the base, topped with a light filling and fresh berries.
To find additional seasonal recipes, nutrition information and cooking tips, and to learn more about America’s native nut, visit AmericanPecan.com.
Mini Pecan Lemon Berry Tarts
Mini Pecan Crusts:
- 2 cups pecan pieces or halves
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 24 Mini Pecan Crusts
- 1/2 cup lemon curd
- 1/2 cup blueberries or raspberries
- powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
- To make Mini Pecan Crusts: Heat oven to 350° F. Line mini muffin tin with paper liners.
- In food processor, blend pecans, butter and sugar until mixture forms coarse dough.
- Scoop about 2 teaspoons pecan mixture into each muffin tin. Use back of wooden spoon or fingers to press mixture evenly along bottom and up sides of each muffin cup.
- Bake 12 minutes, or until crusts are golden brown. Allow crusts to cool completely before removing from pan.
- Spoon 1 teaspoon lemon curd into each Mini Pecan Crust. Top each with one raspberry or three small blueberries. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
Sheet Pan Eggs with Pecan Breakfast “Sausage”
Pecan Breakfast Sausage:
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon sage
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup raw pecan halves
Sheet Pan Eggs:
- 12 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup fat-free or low-fat milk
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
- nonstick cooking spray
- Heat oven to 325° F.
- To make Pecan Breakfast “Sausage”: In pan over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, coconut aminos, sage, thyme, nutmeg, garlic powder, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Cook about 4 minutes until onion is translucent.
- In food processor, pulse onion mixture and pecans until consistency of ground beef is reached, about 8-10 pulses.
- To make Sheet Pan Eggs: In large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper until combined.
- Add pecan “sausage” and spinach to eggs and stir. Lightly spray nonstick 12-by-17-inch sheet pan with cooking spray. Pour egg mixture onto prepared pan. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until eggs are fully cooked.
Source: American Pecan Council
(Family Features) Families across America want to make sure that they’re starting the day strong, and getting enough high-quality protein in the morning is a simple way to do so. A breakfast with protein is a great way to energize the morning, and adding it to your family’s routine doesn’t have to be complicated.
Simply add an 8-ounce glass of milk with 8 grams of natural protein plus other essential nutrients to your favorite breakfast foods for an easy, delicious way to help meet your morning protein goals.
Kids already love milk and it’s a naturally nutrient-rich, wholesome food that moms can feel good about pairing with breakfast. Plus, experts recommend 25-30 grams of protein for adults at every meal – so getting a high-protein breakfast, including milk, gives moms the energy they need to cross everything off their to-do lists. Parenting expert, pediatrician and mom of three, Dr. Tanya Altmann, recommends serving milk at breakfast for a source of high-quality protein in the morning.
“The morning is a great time to bring the family together and start the day off with a tasty breakfast. As a mom of three, I need breakfast options that are quick and easy but also nutritious,” Dr. Altmann said. “Serving my children whole-grain cereal and milk, healthy oatmeal with fruit or a smoothie made with milk guarantees that my family will get high-quality protein and other essential nutrients to start their day off strong.”
Bring a smile to your child’s face with this charming twist on a breakfast standard. Simply make instant oats with familiar flavors – cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar – and top the bowl with a friendly bunny face. For more recipes and ideas, visit MilkLife.com.
Bunny-Faced Microwave Oatmeal
Recipe courtesy of Tiffany Edwards of Creme de la Crumb
- 1/3 cup instant oats
- 3/4 cup fat free milk
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 2/3 small banana
- 2 fresh blueberries
- 1/2 small strawberry
- chocolate syrup (optional)
- In microwave-safe bowl, stir together oats, milk, cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar. Microwave on high 30 seconds-1 minute and stir.
- Cut banana in half crosswise. Cut 1 1/8-inch thick coin slices from flat end of each banana half. Place slices in upper-third of oatmeal bowl, side-by-side, to make eyes. Top with 1 blueberry on each banana slice.
- Place remaining banana halves at the top of the bowl, hanging off edge, to create ears.
- Place strawberry in the middle of the bowl to make the nose then drizzle chocolate, if desired, to make mouth and whiskers.
- Serve with 8-ounce glass of milk.
Nutritional information per serving: 320 calories; 2 g fat; 0 g saturated fat; 10 mg cholesterol; 18 g protein; 59 g carbohydrates; 5 g fiber; 190 mg sodium; 550 mg calcium (60% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat free milk, and include an 8-ounce glass of milk.
Wake up the family with the delicious smell of blueberry-pecan scones baking in the oven.
- 1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
- Cooking spray
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gently fold in blueberries and pecans. Add milk mixture, stirring just until moist (dough will be sticky).
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface; pat dough into an 8-inch circle. Cut dough into 10 wedges, and place the dough wedges on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush egg white over dough wedges; sprinkle evenly with 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake scones at 375° for 18 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.
Watch video to see how to make this delicious recipe!
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.
(Family Features) Nutritious, well-rounded meals are essential for growth and proper brain development. A complete midday meal also helps boost mental and physical power so kids can keep on learning until the afternoon bell rings.
It’s not always easy to find new and appealing ideas to fuel kids’ bodies and minds as they head back to school, but programs for families and educators such as the Power Your Lunchbox Pledge can help.
“Families are looking for ways to start the year on the right foot and the Power Your Lunchbox Pledge offers everything they need in one spot,” said Trish James, vice president of Produce for Kids. “Families want to know their kids are receiving the right brain food to get them through the day. Our registered dietitian-approved meal inspiration, tips and ideas provide the foundation families need for success.”
In addition to kid-tested, lunchbox-friendly recipe ideas, the program provides resources and lesson plans for educators who want to create activities to inspire healthy eating in the classroom. This year’s program also includes a partnership with The World of Eric Carle, allowing students to win copies of his popular collection of children’s books. Additionally, every online pledge results in a $1 donation to Feeding America programs that support families and children.
Look for recipes, tips and ideas on Instagram and Twitter using #PowerYourLunchbox, and learn more about the program at poweryourlunchbox.com.
Banana Sushi Rolls
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
- 1 large (8-inch) whole-wheat tortilla
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter, divided
- 1 banana, peeled
- 1 strawberry, sliced
- 1/2 kiwi, sliced
- 1 tablespoon shredded coconut
- Lay tortilla on flat surface. Spread with half of peanut butter. Place banana on one end of tortilla and roll up. Cut into even slices and place strawberries and kiwi slices on top.
- Microwave remaining peanut butter on high 30 seconds, or until melted, and drizzle over banana sushi. Top with shredded coconut.
Brown Bear Bento Box
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
- 1 tablespoon soy butter
- 3 graham cracker squares
- 3 banana slices
- 9 blueberries
- variety of colorful fruit, chopped
- Spread soy butter on graham crackers. Arrange banana slices and blueberries to create eyes and noses to resemble bear faces. In another container, add colorful fruit, such as raspberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, honeydew, blueberries and blackberries, to create a rainbow fruit salad.
Suggested Side: 1 tablespoon ranch dressing and three mini sweet peppers, sliced into strips.
Source: Produce for Kids
(Family Features) Fireworks, family and food are what the Fourth of July is all about. This year, add some spark to backyard staples like grilled chicken and potato salad with a little help from tangy condiments, smoky rubs and your cast-iron skillet.
For a main dish that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser, smother grilled chicken with a white barbecue sauce – the South’s tangy little secret. It’s made with simple pantry ingredients like mayonnaise, cider vinegar and mustard.
Make a one-pan side dish next to the cooking chicken by placing your cast-iron skillet directly on the grates. Smash whole potatoes in the pan then top with bacon, cheese and a chipotle seasoning. Let it all melt together and then top with sour cream for a smoking side.
Round out the meal with a festive cake that looks as impressive as it tastes. Dye white cake mix batter red and blue using food color then assemble in a flag shape with whipped cream and berries.
Find more recipes and ideas to fire up your Fourth of July at McCormick.com.
White Barbecue Sauce with Smoky Chicken
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
White Barbecue Sauce:
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Zatarain’s Creole Mustard
- 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Coarse Ground Black Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup hickory wood chips
- 2 pounds bone-in chicken parts
- 2 tablespoons McCormick Grill Mates Applewood Rub
- To make sauce: In medium bowl, mix mayonnaise, vinegar, creole mustard, horseradish, black pepper, garlic and salt until well blended. Cover. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving to blend flavors.
- To make chicken: Cover wood chips in water and soak 30 minutes. Season chicken with rub. Drain wood chips. Fill smoker box with wet wood chips. Place smoker box under grill rack on one side of grill before lighting. Close grill.
- Prepare grill for indirect medium heat (350-375° F). Heat grill by turning all burners to medium. Once cooking temperature is reached, turn off burner(s) on one side. Place chicken on unlit side of grill. Close grill cover.
- Grill, turning occasionally, 30-40 minutes, or until internal temperature of thickest part of chicken is 165° F. Move chicken to lit side of grill with skin side down. Turn lit side of grill to high.
- Grill, uncovered, 3-5 minutes longer, or until chicken is charred. Serve chicken with White Barbecue Sauce.
Test Kitchen Tip: Refrigerate any leftover sauce and use as salad dressing, condiment for burgers or dipping sauce for pretzels and vegetables.
Grilled and Loaded Smashed Potatoes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 1 1/2 pounds medium Yukon gold potatoes
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 5 teaspoons McCormick Grill Mates Bacon Chipotle Seasoning, divided
- 6 slices Applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- Heat grill to medium.
- Place potatoes on microwavable plate. Pierce potatoes with fork several times. Microwave on high 5-6 minutes, or until fork-tender but still firm. Let stand until cool enough to handle. In large bowl, toss potatoes, oil and 3 teaspoons seasoning until well coated.
- Place potatoes on grill and cook, turning frequently, 4-5 minutes or until skin is crispy. In large cast-iron skillet on grill, cook and stir bacon 8-10 minutes, or until crisp. Add yellow onion and bell pepper; cook and stir 2-3 minutes, or until tender-crisp.
- Push bacon mixture to one side of skillet. Add potatoes to other side of skillet. Smash each potato with heavy spatula, bottom of small sturdy bowl or meat pounder. Sprinkle potatoes with remaining seasoning. Spoon bacon mixture over potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese.
- Cover pan or close grill. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. To serve, sprinkle with green onions and dollops of sour cream.
Test Kitchen Tip: Cooking potatoes before grilling reduces overall grill time.
Red, White and Blue Cake
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 package (2-layer size) white cake mix
- 2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 teaspoon Blue McCormick Assorted Neon Food Colors & Egg Dye
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons McCormick Red Food Color
- nonstick spray
- 1 container (16 ounces) white frosting
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Prepare cake mix as directed on package, adding vanilla. Transfer 1 1/2 cups batter to small bowl and tint with neon blue food color. Tint remaining batter red by adding cocoa powder and red food color. Pour each color batter into separate 9-by-5-inch loaf pans sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
- Bake blue-tinted cake 20-25 minutes; red-tinted cake 30-35 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.
- Trim cakes to remove rounded tops and edges. Slice red cake in half horizontally to form two thin layers. Place one layer on platter. Slice remaining red cake layer in half lengthwise. Slice blue cake in half lengthwise. (Blue and red cakes should be same dimensions.)
- Frost red cake layer on platter with 1/3 frosting. Top with lengthwise slices of red and blue cake side-by-side. Frost with 1/3 frosting. Repeat cake layer and frosting. Garnish with raspberries and blueberries to resemble flag.
Source: McCormick Spice