recipes

Healthy 25 August 2017

Think Outside the Lunchbox

(Family Features) Eating the same thing every day can make lunch seem so “blah.” Now’s the perfect time to break out of the lunch rut and add some excitement to your meals.

Thinking outside the traditional lunchbox is easy with the right ingredients. Perk up your noontime noshing with fresh, seasonal ingredients coupled with kitchen pantry classics, like California Ripe Olives, which add a unique flavor and bold, distinctive color to any dish.

California farmers grow more than 95 percent of the ripe olives consumed in the United States. From planting, pruning, harvesting and processing, they make sure that the highest quality olives come from their farms to your table – one can at a time.

Adding olives to any lunch can help bring California sunshine to each and every bite. Try some of these portable and packable recipes to add excitement to lunch on-the-go and find more at calolive.org.
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Greek Salad in Jars

Courtesy of Simply Recipes
Makes: 4 salads

Salad Dressing:

  • 3          tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste (optional)
  • pinch of black pepper, plus additional, to taste (optional)
  • 1/4       teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1          teaspoon honey
  • 5          tablespoons olive oil
  • 4          pint-size canning jars with lids

Salads:

  • 1/4       medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1          cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2       large English cucumber, sliced
  • 1          yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4       cup California black ripe olives
  • 1/2       cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
  • 4          small handfuls fresh baby spinach or other dark, leafy greens
  • 4          pita bread rounds, halved (optional)
  1. To prepare dressing: In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano and honey.
  2. Gradually whisk in oil. Taste. Add additional salt and pepper, if desired.
  3. Divide dressing between four pint jars.
  4. To assemble salads: Divide onion between four jars. Divide tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, olives and feta cheese between jars. Pack remaining space with spinach, compressing leaves slightly.
  5. Secure lids and refrigerate up to two days.
  6. To serve: Empty salads into bowls and toss with dressing. Serve with pita bread.

Note: Store and transport salads upright so dressing stays on bottom.

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Deliciously Different

Smoked California Ripe Olives can produce a crave-worthy culinary surprise and become one of your favorite flavor discoveries. There are a few easy ways to make your own smoked olives, including preparing them on the grill with these quick steps:

  1. Soak wood chips in water for 30 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Pierce a foil pan several times with a small, sharp knife and spread wood chips in a single layer in the pan. Set directly on hot coals or metal bars on a gas grill. Close the lid and set heat to high only under the pan of chips.
  3. When chips are smoking, place drained California Ripe Olives in a grill basket on grill with the burners off. Close the lid and smoke for 30 minutes.

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Maple Olive Cheesecake Bites

Makes: 16-20 mini cheesecakes

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/2       cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2          tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3          tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 6          ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3          tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2          tablespoons flour
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1          egg
  • 1/4       cup coarsely chopped California Ripe Olives
  1. Heat oven to 325° F and coat 16-20-cup mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In small bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, butter and 1 tablespoon sugar. Place equal amounts into each mini muffin cup then press firmly into bottom of each cup. Working with one cup at a time, press small piece of plastic wrap onto surface and press crust firmly into mini muffin cups.
  3. In large bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese, maple syrup and remaining sugar until smooth; beat in flour and vanilla on low speed. Add egg and beat until just combined; stir in olives.
  4. Spoon equal amounts into each cup. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until filling feels set.
  5. Let cool completely then run small, thin knife around edge of each to remove from pan.

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Black and White Pizza

Makes: 1 pizza

  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for pizza crust
  • 1          cup onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2          tablespoons roasted garlic, minced
  • 4          ounces small baby bella mushrooms, chopped flour
  • 1          package prepared pizza dough
  • 1          cup prepared Alfredo sauce
  • 1          cup smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4          ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1          small boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and thinly sliced
  • 2          tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1          can (6 ounces) extra-large California Black Ripe Olives, drained and cut in wedges
  • freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  1. Heat oven to 450° F and line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms, and cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes, or until onions are soft. Reserve.
  3. Roll pizza dough into thin oval on lightly floured surface. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil then spread evenly with Alfredo sauce.
  4. Top with mushroom mixture, cheeses, chicken and rosemary. Sprinkle olives over pizza.
  5. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned around edges.
  6. Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Source: California Olive Committee

Breakfast & Brunch 27 March 2017

Sensational Spring Flavors

(Family Features) Between blossoming flowers and warmer temperatures, there are plenty of reasons to spend more time outside. Brighten up your spring family gatherings with the sweet flavors of the season. You can prepare a delicious brunch for your family or bring a fun dessert to your next gathering without having to take away any of your time enjoying the outdoors.

Spring is also the perfect time to introduce new twists on classic desserts that will impress your loved ones. Dessert combinations, like a classic cheesecake laced with sweet cherries on a buttery chocolate chip cookie crust or a brunch-perfect cinnamon French toast with your favorite features of an apple fritter, are sure to be the talk of your family’s table.

No matter the occasion, great-tasting Lucky Leaf Premium Fruit Filling and Topping is sure to deliver. With more fruit and many options to choose from, such as apple, cherry, lemon or blueberry, you can add better flavors to your recipes. The premium line contains no high-fructose corn syrup, so you can feel good about whipping up something special for your family.

Find more easy recipes for spring at luckyleaf.com.

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Overnight Apple Fritter French Toast Casserole

Recipe courtesy of Kate of I Heart Eating
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45-55 minutes
Servings: 12

  • 1 package (24 ounces) thick-sliced cinnamon bread, divided
  • 1 can (21 ounces) Lucky Leaf Apple Premium Fruit Filling and Topping
  • 9 large eggs
  • 1 cup fat-free half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  1. Grease 9-by-9-inch baking dish.
  2. Cube cinnamon bread and add half to prepared baking dish. Add fruit filling over bread. Cover fruit filling with rest of bread cubes.
  3. In bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half and cinnamon. Pour evenly over bread.
  4. Cover and chill overnight.
  5. Heat oven to 325° F.
  6. Uncover and bake for 45-55 minutes. If it starts to brown too much, tent aluminum foil over casserole.
  7. Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes.
  8. Whisk together powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon milk, adding more as needed to make pourable glaze. Drizzle glaze over casserole just before serving.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Cherry Cheesecake Pie

Cook time: 67-82 minutes

  • 1 roll (16.5 ounces) refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 2 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cans (21 ounces each) Lucky Leaf Regular or Premium Cherry Fruit Filling, divided
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Press cookie dough evenly into bottom and sides of deep dish (2-inches deep) 9-inch pie plate.
  3. Bake 12 minutes. Cool completely. While crust is cooling, prepare filling.
  4. In large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Stir in 1 can of cherry fruit filling. Pour filling into cooled crust.
  5. Bake 55-70 minutes, or until filling is set and golden brown.
  6. Cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with remaining can of cherry fruit filling.

Source: Lucky Leaf

Dessert 23 March 2017

Pair Like a Pro

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(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

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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.

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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

Butterscotch Cheesecake

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Butterscotch Cheesecake

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 50 minutes
Makes one (9-inch) cheesecake

  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 (14-ounce) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1 (3 5/8-ounce) package butterscotch pudding/pie filling mix
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream
  • Crushed hard butterscotch candy
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine butter, graham cracker crumbs and sugar; press firmly on bottom of 9-inch springform pan.
  2. In medium saucepan, combine sweetened condensed milk and water; mix well. Stir in pudding mix. Over medium heat, cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
  3. In large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla, then pudding mixture. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 50 minutes or until golden brown around edge (center will be soft).
  4. Cool to room temperature. Chill. Garnish with whipped cream and crushed candy. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Source: Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk

Dessert 14 March 2017

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Pie

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Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Pie

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 55 minutes
Makes one 9-inch pie

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14-ounce) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice from concentrate, divided
  • 1 (9-inch) graham cracker crumb crust
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth, add egg and 3 tablespoons lemon juice; mix well.
  2. Pour 1/2 the batter into crust. Combine remaining 1 teaspoon lemon juice with preserves in small bowl. Spoon half the preserves over batter.
  3. Pour remaining batter on top. Using a knife, swirl remaining preserves into decorative pattern on top.
  4. Bake 55 minutes. Cool. Refrigerate leftovers.

Source: Eagle® Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

Main Dishes 09 March 2017

Easy Al Fresco Entertaining

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(Family Features) Warmer weather is often welcome for a variety of reasons, but there’s something nearly irresistible about enjoying a meal outdoors. Whether you plan to gather on the patio or pack a picnic for the park, dining al fresco is an easy way to turn a meal into a full-fledged event.

Begin your meal with chicken sandwiches crafted on the grill and a seasonal pasta salad on the side then finish it with a glass of white wine and a dessert made for al fresco entertaining – cheesecake topped with fresh berries and mint.

For more al fresco recipes and entertaining tips, visit Culinary.net.

Serve a Sensational Side
This pretty side dish is made for sharing. Made with fiber-rich, whole-wheat pasta, colorful plum tomatoes and balanced out by the crisp, bright flavors of balsamic vinegar and fresh basil, this pasta salad is perfect for outdoor events and gatherings. Find more good-for-you recipes at AICR.org.

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Pasta Salad with Tomatoes

Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research
Servings: 8

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat small pasta (fusilli or farfalle), cooked according to directions
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 plum or Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 slice whole-wheat or multigrain bread
  1. In bowl, cover and chill pasta.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine vinegar, 2 tablespoons basil, sugar, salt, pepper, red pepper, 2 tablespoons oil and half of minced garlic. Whisk to combine well. Add pasta, bell pepper and tomatoes, and toss gently until well coated.
  3. In food processor or blender, pulse bread to produce coarse crumbs. In medium skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Stir in breadcrumbs and garlic. Saute 1 1/2-2 minutes until browned and crisp. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Top pasta with garlic crumbs and remaining basil.

Pair Like a Pro
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.

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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.

Go for Grilled Chicken
Few things go better with warm weather than firing up the grill and enjoying a meal in the fresh air. These chicken sandwiches, which are topped with Brie, pesto, fresh tomato and arugula on sourdough bread and toasted on the grill, are just the excuse you need to get outside and enjoy the weather with family and friends. Find more patio-perfect recipes at chickenroost.com.

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Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Pesto, Brie and Arugula

Recipe courtesy of the National Chicken Council
Servings: 4

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound thin-cut chicken cutlets
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto, divided
  • 1 large tomato
  • 8 slices crusty sourdough bread
  • 4 ounces Brie, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup packed baby arugula
  1. Heat grill to high.
  2. Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper; pour into plastic zipper bag. Add chicken, seal and marinate at least 30 minutes.
  3. Grill chicken 2-3 minutes, turn and grill another 2-3 minutes, or until chicken registers internal temperature of 160 F. Remove and reserve.
  4. Spread each piece of bread with 1/2 tablespoon pesto. Slice tomato into eight slices.
  5. Place chicken on four bread slices. Top with Brie slices, arugula and two tomato slices. Top with remaining bread slices, pesto side toward tomato.
  6. Brush outside of each sandwich with about 1/2 tablespoon of remaining olive oil. Place on grill, reduce heat to medium and grill 2-3 minutes per side, or until bread is nicely toasted and cheese is melted.
  7. Remove from heat, cut each sandwich in half and serve.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (pasta salad)

Photo courtesy of 275847/Shutterstock.com (cheesecake)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (grilled chicken sandwich)

Source: Culinary.net

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Dessert 07 July 2016

Cool Watermelon Cheesecake

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Makes about 12 servings

Crust:

  • 1-1/4 cups (16 ounces) roasted salted pistachios
  • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • Leaf green icing color

Filling:

  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon imitation clear vanilla
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen whole strawberries, thawed, pureed and strained (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 envelope (1/4 ounce) unflavored gelatin
  • No-taste red icing color
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
  1. In food processor, pulse pistachios until coarsely ground. Add coconut, sugar, butter and icing color; pulse until well combined. Press into bottom and 3/4 up side of 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate while making filling.
  2. In large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until light and creamy. Add heavy cream and beat until combined.
  3. In small saucepan, bring strawberry juice just to boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over top and whisk vigorously to dissolve completely, about 3 minutes. Pour into cream cheese mixture. Add icing color and beat until well combined. Beat in 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips. Pour into chilled crust. Sprinkle top with remaining chocolate chips. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.

Source: Wilton

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Dessert 23 February 2017

Sweet Spring Desserts

(Family Features) When the scent of fresh blooms begins to fill the air, it’s a sure sign that spring has sprung. It’s the perfect time of year to gather loved ones for a leisurely meal, then linger over dessert as you enjoy this season of refreshment.

No dessert menu is complete without an array of treats, and these creamy, homemade Blueberry Key Lime Cheesecake Bars are the perfect way to put a sweet finishing touch on your celebrations. Or go for a crowd pleaser with this Cherry Cheesecake Lush Dessert and its smooth, velvety texture and plump, juicy cherries.

The secret ingredient in each of these desserts is Lucky Leaf Fruit Fillings, which are GMO-free and contain plenty of fruit – and no high-fructose corn syrup – for exceptional tasting desserts every time. With popular flavors like apple, blueberry, cherry and strawberry, you have plenty of convenient, versatile ways to dress up desserts.

Find more tasty treats for all your spring entertaining at luckyleaf.com.

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Blueberry Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

Recipe courtesy of Inside BruCrew Life blog
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Servings: 24

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 30 vanilla cream-filled cookies
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup key lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon key lime zest
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 eggs
  • green gel food coloring (optional)
  • 1 can (21 ounces) Lucky Leaf Blueberry Pie Filling, divided
  • 1 container (8 ounces) whipped topping, thawed
  • key lime slices (optional)
  1. Place baking sheet on bottom rack of oven. Fill halfway with water. Heat oven to 325° F. Line 9-by-13-inch pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Using food processor, pulse cookies until crumbly. Stir together crumbs and butter. Press evenly into bottom of prepared pan.
  3. Beat cream cheese until creamy. Add sugar and sour cream, and beat again until smooth. Add key lime juice, zest and flour, and beat until mixed thoroughly. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat gently after each. Add green food coloring to cheesecake mixture, if desired.
  4. Spread cheesecake batter evenly over crust in pan. Add 1 cup of blueberry pie filling over top of cheesecake. Use butter knife to gently swirl pie filling into cheesecake. Do not let knife go through to crust.
  5. Place pan on oven rack above tray of water. Bake 45-48 minutes. Remove immediately and place on wire rack for 1 hour then place in refrigerator until completely chilled.
  6. Cut into 24 squares and serve with whipped topping, remaining pie filling and key lime wedges.

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Cherry Cheesecake Lush Dessert

Recipe courtesy of Lemon Tree Dwelling blog
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 12

  • 1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 16 ounces whipped topping, divided
  • 2 small boxes cheesecake-flavored pudding
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 can (21 ounces) Lucky Leaf Cherry Pie Filling
  • 1/2 cup. chopped pecans
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In medium mixing bowl, combine vanilla wafer crumbs, finely chopped pecans and butter.
  3. Press into 9-by-13-inch baking pan; bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
  4. In separate mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1 1/2 cups whipped topping. Mix until smooth; spread evenly over cooled crust.
  5. Combine cheesecake pudding mix, milk and 1 1/2 cups whipped topping, and mix until smooth. Spread evenly over cream cheese layer in pan.
  6. Top with pie filling, remaining whipped topping and chopped pecans.

Source: Lucky Leaf

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Holiday 19 January 2017

Sweet Ideas for Holiday Desserts

(Family Features) The highlight of many a holiday meal, desserts are adored by young and old alike. This year, complete your festive celebration with delightful desserts that feature California Dried Figs.

Naturally sweet and available year round, figs easily add a touch of elegance to a variety of recipes. Dark purple Mission Figs have a soft, thin skin with a sweet, fruity taste, while Golden Figs are amber-colored with a firmer skin, well-developed seeds and a slightly nutty flavor. Both are interchangeable in most recipes.

Keeping holiday traditions

California Dried Figs are the perfect ingredient to star in your holiday recipes, especially for Hanukkah and Christmas. Sliced and simmered with fresh lemon and honey and spooned over cheesecake or chopped and combined with a little hazelnut liqueur and caramel for a luscious bottom layer, figs add a stunning fruit accent to popular cheesecake desserts. No matter what you are celebrating, your family will love these “figgy” recipes.

Besides the sweetness that figs bring to the table, California Dried Figs are a healthy ingredient rich in dietary fiber, complex carbohydrates and such essential minerals as potassium, iron and calcium.

Learn more about Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice and Sun-Maid California Dried Figs at www.valleyfig.com

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Fig, Lemon and Honey Cheesecake

Servings: 12

Crust:
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup chopped, stemmed Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs
Cheesecake:
  • 1 1/2 pounds (three 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced (for garnish)
Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup sliced, stemmed Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. For crust, mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press into bottom of buttered 9-inch springform pan. Bake 8–10 minutes, till edges are golden. Remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with figs.
  3. For cheesecake, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium-low speed until smooth, scraping bowl as needed. Gradually beat in sugar, then sour cream, zest and vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Scrap filling into pan over figs. Bake on middle rack for 45–55 minutes, until almost set in center. Cool. Chill 4 hours or overnight.
  4. For sauce, in small saucepan, combine water, honey and lemon juice. Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer. Add cornstarch solution and stir for a few seconds, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in figs. Cool. Chill until serving time.
  5. To serve, run thin knife around edge of cheesecake and remove side of pan. Cut into wedges and top each with sauce. Garnish with thin slices of lemon, if desired.

12091 bPO embed

Cheesecake Mousse with Fig Orange Sauce

Servings: 4

Fig-orange sauce:
  • 1 cup sliced, stemmed Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange-flavored liqueur or orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Cheesecake mousse:
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whipped heavy cream
Topping and garnish:
  • 1/2 cup crumbled shortbread cookies
  • 1/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans or almonds
  • Sprigs of fresh mint, optional
  1. To make sauce, in small saucepan, combine figs and orange juice. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup, 4–5 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and simmer until liquid is syrupy, 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in orange liqueur and lemon juice. Chill until serving time.
  2. To make mousse, with wire whisk, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Gently whisk in 1/2 of whipped cream. With rubber spatula, fold in remaining whipped cream. (Sauce and mousse can be held in refrigerator up to 1 day.)
  3. To serve, spoon mousse in bottom of 4 martini or champagne flutes. Smooth to even layer. Top with fig sauce. Sprinkle with crumbled cookies and nuts. Garnish with mint.

12091 cPO embed

Caramel Fig Mini-Cheesecakes

Servings: 12

  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped hazelnuts or pecans
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped, stemmed Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs
  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 3 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur or orange juice
  • 1 pound (two 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • Thinly sliced figs
  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur or orange juice
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 12 (2 3/4-inch) muffin cups with paper cups.
  2. Combine graham cracker crumbs, nuts and melted butter. Press firmly into bottoms of cups. Bake in middle of oven for 5 minutes, till fragrant. Remove from oven and reserve.
  3. In small saucepan, combine figs, caramel topping and liqueur. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, and cook for 1 minute or until most of liquid is absorbed.
  4. Spoon figs over crusts and press firmly with back of spoon to even layer.
  5. In bowl with electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping bowl frequently. Beat in sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. On low speed, beat in eggs, one at a time.
  6. Spoon cheese mixture into cups over fig mixture.
  7. Return to middle of oven for 18–20 minutes, till set. Remove from oven and cool in pan on wire rack. Chill in pan for 3 hours.
  8. To serve, carefully remove cheesecakes from pan and paper cups to serving plates. For topping, fan fig slices on top of cheesecakes. Combine caramel topping and liqueur; drizzle over cakes.

Fig and Goat Cheese Squares

Servings: 30

  • 2 cups stemmed Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups goat cheese, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or line 9-by-13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. In medium saucepan, combine figs, water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 5 minutes or until figs are tender. Cool slightly.
  3. Place fig mixture in food processor or blender; process until smooth. Stir in chopped walnuts. Reserve.
  4. Combine flour, brown sugar and salt in bowl. Stir to combine. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press mixture in prepared baking dish. Gently spread fig mixture over prepared crust.
  5. Beat goat cheese and eggs until smooth. Spread over fig mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until set. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Holiday 06 December 2016

Tasty Tips for a Healthier Holiday

(Family Features) The holiday season evokes thoughts of delicious, hearty and festive meals. Whether planning a family feast or flitting among gatherings, you may find it harder than ever to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep your weight management goals on track. However, with the right approach, you can still enjoy many of your holiday favorites and serve foods your guests will appreciate as much as your waistline does. The key is managing your carbohydrate and sugar intake.

If you’re looking to lose or maintain weight, you know the importance of relying on a lifestyle with proven results – without feeling deprived. A low carb approach is backed by more than 80 scientific studies and still allows you to enjoy a wide variety of delicious foods. When you control your carbohydrate intake, you start burning stored fat as your fuel source instead of carbohydrates. A long-term, well-balanced, low carb eating plan such as Atkins encourages reduced levels of refined carbohydrates and added sugars, while optimizing levels of protein, high fiber carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.

This wide range of foods makes it easy to find delicious ways to celebrate the holidays without feeling restricted. Colette Heimowitz, vice president of nutrition and education at Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., offers several tips to help stay on track this season:

  • Leading up to the big meal or holiday party, snack on proteins that contain healthy fats such as nuts or grab some cubes of cheese.
  • When crafting a holiday menu, identify a savory main dish that offers a healthy serving of protein, such as this Low Carb Cranberry-Ginger Pork Roast. Finish off the meal with a Low Carb Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake, and you and your taste buds will be very satisfied.
  • When alcoholic beverages are being served, confine yourself to a glass (or two at most) of wine or one glass of spirits. Just be sure to have your spirits with club soda and a slice of lemon or lime, or a mixer made without sugar. And make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

For step-by-step instructions for this tasty, low carb holiday roast, watch the video and find more recipes at Atkins.com.

13468 ham

Low Carb Cranberry-Ginger Pork Roast

Servings: 4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours

  • Cooking oil
  • 2 pounds pork chops or roast (center rib, bone-in)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1/2 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/8 cup sugar-free maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth, bouillon or consomme
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) water
  • 1/8 teaspoon guar gum or xanthan gum
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter stick (optional)
  1. Prepare skillet with small amount of oil over medium-high heat. Season chops or roast with salt and pepper then place into skillet and brown each side for about 1 minute, 4 minutes total, to help seal in moisture and give it color. Set aside on plate to cool slightly.
  2. Finely dice chipotle pepper and chop cranberries, if desired.
  3. In small bowl, combine syrup, diced chipotle, ginger, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Rub mixture onto roast then place it into slow cooker. Add cranberries and pour chicken broth down side of pan (avoiding rinsing rub from roast).
  4. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours.
  5. Remove roast and set on serving platter covered with tent of aluminum foil; reserving liquid.
  6. Keep slow cooker on low and add water and guar gum or xanthan gum to reserved mixture, whisking to combine. Continue to cook on low heat until sauce thickens slightly. Once thick, enrich sauce, if desired, with butter, adding additional salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Serve sauce over pork roast.

Tip: While it is not necessary to chop cranberries (they will break down while cooking), chopping them makes sauce smoother.

13468 squash

Low Carb Browned Pumpkin with Maple and Sage

Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter stick
  • 1/2 pound pumpkin
  • 1/8 cup chopped shallots
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup bouillon vegetable broth
  • 1/16 cup sugar-free maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon sage, ground
  1. In medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat butter. Cube pumpkin into 3/4-inch chunks.
  2. Add pumpkin and shallots to pan; season with salt and pepper. Saute until pumpkin is lightly browned and shallots are translucent, approximately 5-6 minutes.
  3. Turn heat to low, add vegetable broth and simmer, covered, 8-10 minutes until pumpkin is tender.
  4. Add maple syrup and sage, tossing to combine. Serve immediately.

Tip: Use fresh sage (7-8 leaves), if possible.

13468 cheesecake

Low Carb Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake

Servings: 4
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes

  • 2/3 cup halved pecan nuts
  • 2/3 cup sucralose-based sweetener (sugar substitute), plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 tablespoon unsalted butter stick
  • 1/2 large egg white
  • 9 2/3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 ounces canned pumpkin, without salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/4 large eggs
  1. To make crust: Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In food processor, combine pecans, 1 tablespoon sugar substitute and cinnamon. Process until finely ground. Toss with butter and egg white; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan, rounding up to cover pan seam. Bake until golden and set, 8-10 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.
  3. To make filling: Reduce oven heat to 325° F.
  4. In large bowl, combine cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar substitute and cream. With electric mixer at medium speed, beat until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice, mixing to combine. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until just combined.
  5. Pour batter over crust. Bake until just set, 45-50 minutes. Turn off oven and let stand 10 minutes; transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
  6. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, 4 hours or overnight. Slice and serve.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Atkins

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