recipes

Holiday 02 November 2018

Light Bites for Healthier Holidays

(Family Features) For those who are always on the go leading up to the holidays, the season can feel more like madness than merrymaking. From planning get-togethers to building out a perfect menu for the events, there can be difficulties for hosts and guests alike to ensure proper nutrition is still top of mind.

Instead of sacrificing taste or eating less, aim for simple changes that give you the energy to power through the busy season. For example, instead of opting for a carb-loaded breakfast in the morning, try a low-carb Milk Chocolate Protein Muffin, which takes just a few minutes of prep and microwave time. The quick cook time leaves you with ample opportunities to run errands or divvy up precious seconds toward other activities, while the protein can fuel you for the day ahead.

Almost nothing beats warm soup on a chilly day, and this Butternut Squash and Pear Soup provides feel-good flavor without weighing you down. Finally, when snacks are on the mind – as it tends to happen when constantly on the go – Coconut Muesli Clusters are simple to make and won’t undo the nutritious efforts you’ve made throughout the day.

This full menu of tasty recipes is part of the Atkins low-carb lifestyle, a long-term, healthy eating approach focused on high-fiber carbohydrates, optimal protein and healthy fats. The plan also aims to reduce levels of refined carbohydrates, added sugars and the “hidden sugar effect,” – when carbohydrates convert to sugar when digested. You don’t see the sugar, but your body does.

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An On-the-Go Energy Boost

As a hectic holiday season unfolds, it can be difficult to maintain energy while making dishes for get-togethers and keeping up with the festivities.

To stay fueled and energized throughout the season, try incorporating Atkins Plus Protein and Fiber Shakes. Sweet and creamy, they make for ideal snacks, containing 30 grams of high-quality dairy protein and 7 grams of fiber. To help ensure steady blood sugar levels, the shakes also have a low glycemic impact and are made with 20 vitamins and minerals.

Available in Creamy Milk Chocolate and Creamy Vanilla flavors, the ready-to-drink shakes provide hunger satisfaction for those who are on the go and seeking to maximize production with a busy schedule.

Find more ways to live healthier during the holidays and learn more about the benefits of a balanced, low-carb lifestyle at Atkins.com.
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Milk Chocolate Protein Muffin

Recipe courtesy of Atkins
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 1 minute
Servings: 1

  • 2          tablespoons full-fat cream cheese
  • 1          egg
  • 3          tablespoons Atkins Milk Chocolate Protein Powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1          dash salt
  1. In microwave-safe mug, heat cream cheese 10-15 seconds to soften. Add egg and blend briskly using fork. Add protein powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; blend until smooth.
  2. Microwave on high 1 minute; muffin will puff up then deflate slightly once done. Remove from mug and enjoy warm.

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Coconut Muesli Clusters

Recipe courtesy of “Atkins: Eat Right, Not Less”
Active time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8

  • Olive oil spray
  • 1          cup plain protein powder
  • 1/2       cup unsalted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • 1          cup whole raw pecans
  • 1          cup unsweetened whole flake shredded coconut
  • 1/2       cup chia seeds or ground flaxseeds
  • 1          tablespoon stevia
  • 2          teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1          tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1          tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2          large eggs
  • 1/4       cup water
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper, coat with olive oil spray and set aside.
  2. In large bowl, mix together protein powder, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, pecans, coconut, chia seeds or flaxseeds, stevia, cinnamon and turmeric.
  3. In large skillet, combine coconut oil, peanut butter and vanilla extract; melt completely then stir in nut mixture. Turn heat off and add eggs and water, tossing well. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and spread mixture in layer about 1/2-inch thick.
  4. Bake 10-15 minutes until mixture starts to brown and clumps together to make clusters. Cool completely on baking sheet then store in airtight container, refrigerated, up to 1 week.

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Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

Recipe courtesy of Atkins
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1          tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1          medium (2 1/2-inch diameter) onion, chopped
  • 2          pounds butternut winter squash, cubed
  • 1          medium pear, sliced, plus additional, for garnish (optional)
  • 1          teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 5          cups chicken broth
  • 1          teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2       cup heavy cream
  • nutmeg (optional)
  1. In large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add squash, pear, curry powder, salt and white pepper; saute 3 minutes. 
  2. Increase heat to high and add chicken broth. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low; simmer 20-25 minutes, uncovered, until cubed squash is very tender. Allow to cool about 10-15 minutes.
  3. In blender or food processor, puree soup in batches until smooth. Return pureed soup to pot and add lemon juice and heavy cream. Stir soup over low heat until hot. Garnish with additional sliced pears and sprinkle of nutmeg, if desired.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Butternut Squash and Pear Soup, Milk Chocolate Protein Muffin)

Source:  Atkins

Dessert 14 September 2018

Coconut Custard Pie

There's no better way to top off a scrumptious dinner than with a big slice of this yummy coconut custard pie. With a mild taste of coconut and the sweet taste of custard, you'll be wanting to go back for seconds. If desired, top with toasted coconut or better yet, some whipped cream.

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Coconut Custard Pie

  • Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, chopped
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2-1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Toasted sweetened shredded coconut, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Line a 9-in. deep-dish pie plate with pastry. Line pastry with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake 10 minutes. Remove foil; bake 5 minutes longer. Sprinkle coconut over crust; set aside. Reduce oven setting to 350°.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sugar, flour, vanilla and salt. Pour over coconut; sprinkle with nutmeg.
  3. Bake, uncovered, 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate leftovers.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

Source: Culinary.net

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Dessert 12 July 2018

Pop Up Sweet Treats

(Family Features) When the weather is warm and it’s time for a sweet treat, look for seasonal goodies that complement summertime fun. For example, reach for an option like whole-grain, fluffy and crisp popcorn which can be an easy, DIY snack.

Combine sweet and salty flavors to create something delicious to devour like Coconut Popcorn Crunch Pie or delightful Down Home Apple Pie Popcorn.

To better serve a crowd, try these Perfect Picnic Popcorn Squares, Popcorn S’mores or Key Lime Popcorn Clusters at your next family pool party or summertime barbecue with friends.

For more creative, DIY popcorn recipe ideas, visit popcorn.org.
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Down Home Apple Pie Popcorn

Yield: 10 cups

  • 3          tablespoons melted butter
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2          tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1          teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8       teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8       teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8          cups popped popcorn
  • 1          cup dried apple chips, broken into large pieces
  • 1/4       cup toffee bits
  1.  Heat oven to 300° F. Whisk melted butter with vanilla. Toss brown sugar with cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
  2. Toss popcorn with butter mixture. Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar mixture. Stir. Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Sprinkle apple chips and toffee bits over top. Bake 15 minutes, or until toffee bits start to melt. Cool before serving.

Tip: Add chopped pecans for extra crunch.

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Key Lime Popcorn Clusters

Yield: about 32 clusters

  • 8          cups popped popcorn
  • 4          whole graham crackers, finely chopped, divided
  • 1          jar (7 1/2 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • 1/4       cup butter or margarine
  • 2          tablespoons grated lime peel
  • 1          tablespoon key lime juice
  1. Line 9-inch square pan with foil.
  2. In large bowl, combine popcorn and all but 2 tablespoons graham cracker pieces.
  3. In large glass bowl, microwave marshmallow creme and butter on high 1 minute. Stir until butter is melted. Stir in lime peel and lime juice.
  4. Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn, mixing thoroughly.
  5. Using damp hand, firmly press mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with reserved graham cracker pieces. Refrigerate 2 hours until firm.
  6. Lift foil from pan. Break popcorn mixture into clusters.

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Coconut-Popcorn Crunch Pie

Yield: 12 servings

  • 2          quarts popped popcorn, unsalted
  • 1          can (4 ounces) flaked coconut, toasted
  • 1          cup sugar
  • 1          cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2       cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4       cup water
  • 2          teaspoons salt
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla
  • 1          quart vanilla, spumoni or butter pecan ice cream
  • fresh fruit, for topping (optional)
  • chocolate sauce, for topping (optional)
  1. In large, buttered bowl, mix popcorn and coconut. In saucepan, combine sugar, syrup, butter, water and salt. Bring to boil over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking until syrup reaches hard crack stage (290-295 F).
  2. Stir in vanilla. Pour syrup in fine stream over popcorn mixture; stir until particles are evenly coated with syrup.
  3. On buttered, 12-inch pizza pan, spread half of popcorn mixture in thin layer, covering bottom of pan. Mark off into wedge-shaped servings; set aside. Repeat using remaining popcorn mixture; cool.
  4. Cover one layer with ice cream; top with second popcorn layer. Store in freezer. To serve, cut in wedges. Serve with fruit or chocolate sauce, if desired.

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Perfect Picnic Popcorn Squares

Yield: 12 squares

  • 1          cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2       cup sugar
  • 1/2       cup brown sugar
  • 1          cup reduced-fat peanut butter
  • 3/4       cup raisins
  • 8          cups air-popped popcorn
  • nonstick cooking spray
  1. In large saucepan, combine corn syrup, sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter.
  2. Bring to boil over low heat, stirring constantly; boil 2-3 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat.
  3. In large bowl, combine raisins and popcorn; pour hot mixture over popcorn and toss carefully with wooden spoons until well-coated.
  4. Spray 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray; press popcorn mixture into pan and cool completely.
  5. Cut into squares and serve.

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Popcorn S’mores

Yield: 20 pieces

  • 1          cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2       cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  • 1/2       cup corn syrup
  • 1/2       teaspoon baking soda
  • 10        cups freshly popped popcorn
  • 1          package (10 1/2 ounces) miniature marshmallows
  • 2          cups mini graham cookies
  • 1          cup chocolate chips
  1. In medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup.
  2. Cook over high heat 5 minutes; remove from heat and stir in baking soda.
  3. In large bowl, combine popcorn and marshmallows.
  4. Pour sugar mixture over popcorn to coat.
  5. Gently stir in graham cookies and chocolate chips.
  6. Spread mixture evenly into greased 15-by-10-inch pan.
  7. Let cool completely. Break into pieces.

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Ballpark Popcorn Crunch (VIDEO)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 quarts unsalted popped popcorn
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Cream together butter and brown sugar till light and fluffy.
  2. In a separate bowl, toss popcorn and walnuts.
  3. Add creamed mixture to popcorn and nuts. Combine until coated.
  4. Spread on a large baking sheet in a single layer.
  5. Bake at 350-degree oven for 10 minutes or until crisp.

Source: Popcorn Board

Dessert 16 March 2018

Sweet Ways to Welcome Warmer Days

(Family Features) Warmer, longer days are made for quality time with friends and family. There’s no better way to cap off an afternoon in the sun than a good meal followed by a great dessert. Plan to end your next gathering on a sweet note with these fruity desserts to conclude a day spent with loved ones.

Fruity treats are hard to resist, especially when paired with tasty, complementary flavors and textures. If you’re looking for a treat that travels a bit off the beaten path, this pie may be just the answer. A crushed pretzel crust and creamy peanut butter filling provide a salty, savory background for plump, sweet strawberries. Or serve up a taste of the tropics with a cream pie that celebrates a medley of textures and flavors from lively blueberries to toasted coconut.

When you make fruit the star of the dessert, there’s no question you need top-quality ingredients. Each of these desserts features Lucky Leaf Fruit Fillings, which are made from fresh fruit, contain no high-fructose corn syrup and are GMO-free, for a delicious dessert every time. With a variety of flavors to choose from, including apple, blueberry, cherry, peach and strawberry, there are plenty of convenient, versatile dessert options for any occasion.

Find more tasty treats for entertaining and beyond at luckyleaf.com.

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Strawberry Peanut Butter Pie

  • 1 1/4    cups crushed pretzels
  • 1/4       cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2       cup butter, melted
  • 1          cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1          package (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 1/2       cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2    cups frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed
  • 1          can (21 ounces) Lucky Leaf Premium Strawberry Fruit Filling and Topping
  1. Combine pretzels and granulated sugar then stir in butter. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and sides of 10-inch pie plate. Cover and chill.
  2. With electric mixer on medium speed, beat together peanut butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar. Fold in whipped dessert topping.
  3. Spoon 1/2 cup pie filling into crust-lined pie plate. Carefully spread peanut butter filling over top. Top with remaining pie filling. Cover and chill 2 hours before serving.

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Fluffy Blueberry Cream Pie with Toasted Coconut

  • 1          package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3       cup sugar
  • 1          tablespoon milk
  • 2          cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1          can (21 ounces) Lucky Leaf Premium or Organic Blueberry Fruit Filling or Topping
  • 1/2       cup toasted coconut flakes, plus additional for topping, if desired
  • 1          graham cracker crust (9 inches)
  1. In large bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar and milk until creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Add whipped topping, pie filling and coconut; carefully fold together until no streaks remain.
  2. Spoon filling mixture into graham cracker crust. Sprinkle top with additional coconut flakes, if desired. Cover and chill 2 hours, or until firm.

Source: Lucky Leaf

Dessert 23 February 2018

Watergate Salad

It only takes 5 ingredients to make this creamy delight that is so simple to make and so delicious.  You’ll want to double or even triple the recipe because it will not last long.

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Watergate Salad

  • 1 package instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 (8oz) can crushed pineapple, with juice
  • 1 cup minature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 (8oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  1. In a large bowl mix all ingredients together.  Chill.

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

Healthy 14 December 2017

Fresh Fruit Flavors

(Family Features) When it comes to fresh fruit, watermelon is a top pick in many households.

It’s available year-round and makes for a nutritious snack, but its great taste is the reason most people buy watermelon, according to research from the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

Not only is watermelon a tasty snack by itself, it’s a great complement to other flavors, making it easy to create flavorful pairings. This sweet take on pizza combines watermelon with a host of other good-for-you ingredients for a delicious treat. Healthy enough for breakfast and sweet enough for dessert, this pizza can make its way into your weekly meal rotation.

For another nutritious option, consider this Buddha bowl featuring watermelon, which contains higher levels of lycopene, an antioxidant, than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. Watermelon is also an excellent source of vitamin C, and it provides vitamin B6 and potassium. It’s the perfect sweet addition to balance the savory flavors of this traditional plant-based Buddha bowl.

Each of these recipes leaves plenty of room for personalization; experiment with your favorite flavors to make each dish your own. Also remember that watermelon travels well, so these recipes make for ideal take-along snacks when you’re on the go.

Find more fresh, fruity recipes to enjoy any time of year at watermelon.org.

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Watermelon Buddha Bowl

Citrusy Tahini Dressing:

  • 3          tablespoons tahini (ground sesame seed paste)
  • 1/3       cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4       cup rice vinegar
  • 1          teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1          teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt

Buddha Bowls:

  • 2          cups seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 4          mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1          cup sweet cherries, pitted and halved
  • 2          avocados, sliced
  • 2          cups cooked black rice
  • 1          cup sliced, toasted almonds
  • Citrusy Tahini Dressing
  1. To make Citrusy Tahini Dressing: In bowl, whisk tahini, orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger and salt. If dressing seems thick, add more orange juice or water to reach desired consistency.
  2. To arrange Buddha Bowls: Separate watermelon, cucumbers, cherries, avocados and rice in four bowls. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.

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Sweet Watermelon Pizza

  • Greek yogurt
  • Watermelon, cut to 1-inch thick round slice
  • Shredded coconut
  • Mint
  • Berries, such as blueberries, strawberries or blackberries
  • Slivered almonds
  1. Spread yogurt to cover fleshy part of watermelon, leaving room to hold rind. Sprinkle with coconut, mint, berries and almonds, or other toppings, as desired.

Source: National Watermelon Promotion Board

Breakfast & Brunch 28 September 2017

Make it with Maple

(Family Features) Autumn is the perfect time to fall in love with maple syrup. The caramelized flavor of syrup pairs well with other fall flavors, like apples, cinnamon and pumpkin.

From spiced syrups to game-day dips, McCormick Executive Chef Kevan Vetter has tasty ideas for incorporating this fall flavor in dishes throughout the day:

  • Maple syrup is a perfect complement to sweet banana pancakes. Mix mashed bananas into the pancake batter. Once cooked, top with sliced bananas, chopped walnuts and maple syrup.
  • Add maple syrup to a melty grilled cheese sandwich. Layer cheddar cheese, bacon, sliced apples and maple syrup mixed with apple pie spice between two slices of buttered bread.
  • For a twist on a traditional game-day appetizer, drizzle maple syrup over a cheddar bacon dip.
  • For a sweet treat, mix vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice into maple syrup then drizzle over a coconut pumpkin bread pudding.

Find more recipes featuring fall flavors at mccormick.com.
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Maple Banana Bread Pancakes

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Servings: 3

  • 2          large ripe bananas
  • 2          eggs
  • 2          tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2          tablespoons melted butter
  • 1          tablespoon McCormick Maple Extract
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon
  • 3/4       cup flour
  • 2          teaspoons baking powder
  1. Heat lightly greased griddle or skillet to medium heat.
  2. In large bowl, use potato masher to mash bananas. Add eggs, brown sugar, butter, maple extract, vanilla and cinnamon; mix well. Add flour and baking powder; mix until well blended.
  3. Pour 1/4 cup of batter per pancake onto griddle or skillet. Cook 1-2 minutes per side, or until golden brown, turning when pancakes begin to bubble.

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Coconut Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spiced Maple Syrup

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Servings: 16

Bread Pudding:

  • 2          cans (13 2/3 ounces each) Thai Kitchen coconut milk
  • 4          eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1          cup sugar
  • 1          cup canned pumpkin
  • 1          tablespoon McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1          tablespoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 8          cups cubed challah bread (or cubed French or Italian bread)
  • 1          cup flaked coconut
  • 1          cup chopped pecans

Spiced Maple Syrup:

  • 1          cup maple syrup
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4       teaspoon McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. To make Bread Pudding: Pour coconut milk into large bowl. Stir with wire whisk until smooth. Add eggs, sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla; mix until well blended. Add bread cubes; toss to coat well.
  3. Pour into greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle evenly with coconut and pecans. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly on wire rack.
  4. To make Spiced Maple Syrup: Mix syrup, vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice in microwavable bowl or measuring cup. Microwave on high 1 minute, or until warm, stirring once. Serve with bread pudding.

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Maple Bacon Dip

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 16

  • 1          package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2       cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2       cup milk
  • 8          slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1          package McCormick Original Country Gravy Mix
  • 1 1/2    cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/3       cup chopped red apple
  • 2          tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In large bowl, mix cream cheese, mayonnaise, milk, bacon, gravy mix and 1 cup cheese until well blended.
  3. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Spread mixture in plate and top with apple and remaining cheese.
  4. Bake 25 minutes, or until heated through and cheese is melted. Drizzle with syrup.

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Maple Apple Grilled Cheese

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1/4       cup maple syrup
  • 1/4       teaspoon McCormick Apple Pie Spice
  • 3          tablespoons butter
  • 8          slices whole-wheat bread
  • 8          slices sharp cheddar cheese (1-ounce slices)
  • 1          medium Golden Delicious apple, cored and cut into 16 thin slices
  • 4          slices cooked bacon, coarsely chopped
  1. Mix maple syrup and apple pie spice. Set aside.
  2. Butter one side of each bread slice. Layer two slices of cheese and four slices of apple on each bread slice with buttered side down. Sprinkle with chopped bacon then drizzle with maple syrup mixture. Top with remaining bread slices with buttered side up.
  3. Place sandwiches in large skillet or griddle on medium-low heat. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, or until bread is browned and cheese is melted. Cook in batches, if necessary.

Source: McCormick

Snacks 07 August 2017

Back-to-School Power for Body and Mind

(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.

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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
  1. 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.
  2. Microwave remaining peanut butter on high 30 seconds, or until melted, and drizzle over banana sushi. Top with shredded coconut.

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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
  1. 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

Meal Ideas 07 July 2017

Quick, Flavorful Meal Ideas

(Family Features) It’s not always easy to make healthy food choices. When time is of the essence, look for delicious recipe ingredients that are convenient and easy to prepare while also offering great taste and health benefits.

In fact, 40 percent of American consumers said shorter cooking times are especially important when buying grocery items such as rice, grains and pasta, according to research from Statista, and 83 percent said taste is an important factor when purchasing food.

Ready in 10 minutes with flavor infused in every grain, Uncle Ben’s Flavor Infusions rice is ideal for those looking for quick and healthy meal options. With its one-step cooking process, it makes it easy for families to cook with their kids and quickly get dinner on the table. The re-sealable pouches ensure freshness for multiple uses, and any of the five flavors can be combined with fresh vegetables, proteins and herbs for a simple meal that’s ready in less than 20 minutes.

Simple recipe options using Flavor Infusions, such as Coconut Shrimp on Garlic-Butter Rice and Easy Thai Chicken Satay and Rice Salad, are quick meals the entire family can enjoy, even when short on time. Find more meal ideas at UncleBens.com.

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Coconut Shrimp on Garlic-Butter Rice

Servings: 4-6

  • 1 can (13.6 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1-2 tablespoons red chili paste, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 cup Uncle Ben’s Flavor Infusions Garlic & Butter Flavored Rice
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  1. In 10-inch skillet, stir together coconut milk, chicken broth, chili paste, coriander and paprika.
  2. Add rice and bring to boil; cover, reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes. Stir in shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes, or until shrimp just turn pink.

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Easy Thai Chicken Satay and Rice Salad

Servings: 4-6

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup canned, unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot water

Salad:

  • 1 cup Uncle Ben’s Flavor Infusions Roasted Chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup sliced pea pods
  • 1 cup sliced red pepper
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 4-6 red radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  1. To make dressing: In small glass bowl, stir together coconut milk, peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, red curry paste, cayenne pepper and hot water; set aside.
  2. Cook rice according to package instructions. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.
  3. In center of individual plates, place about 1 cup rice. Arrange chicken, carrots, pea pods, red pepper, avocado, radishes, peanuts and green onions around rice then drizzle with dressing.

Source: Uncle Ben's

Snacks 19 June 2017

Pop-ular Summer Snacks

(Family Features) From casual gatherings with friends to outdoor athletic activities and leisurely time at home, all of the best summer pastimes have one thing in common: tasty snacks make them more enjoyable.

Light, airy and fresh popcorn is a perfect summer snack. It’s naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO and gluten free – all the makings of an ideal guilt-free treat. Whether you enjoy it one delicious handful at a time, sprinkled with seasonings or as an ingredient in fun summertime recipes, popcorn offers plenty of versatility for every occasion.

You can kick up the heat with a zesty popcorn mix or take a sweeter route with a blend of toasted coconut and bananas. No summer sporting event is complete without some good old toffee-style popcorn and nuts, and even a favorite like ice cream sandwiches can only get better with the addition of sweet, crunchy popcorn and candy.

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Spice Up Summer Snacks
Freshly popped popcorn is a light snack perfect for summer, and you can add just about any flavor to satisfy whatever you may be craving. Start by sampling these topping favorites then taste your way to other creative combinations.

  • Garlic salt
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Dry taco seasoning mix
  • Dry ranch-style seasoning mix
  • Lemon pepper
  • Italian herbs: oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme and crushed rosemary
  • French herbs: marjoram, thyme, summer savory, basil, rosemary, sage and fennel
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown sugar
  • Nutmeg

Find more popcorn recipes perfect for summer at popcorn.org.

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Coconut Monkey Mix

Yield: 7 cups

  • 1 cup flaked coconut (unsweetened or sweetened)
  • 6 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 cup dried banana chips
  1. Heat oven to 325° F.
  2. Spread coconut in 13-by-9-inch baking pan, breaking up any clumps as needed. Bake 10 minutes, or until edges of coconut begin to brown.
  3. Spread popcorn over coconut and sprinkle with butter; toss. Sprinkle popcorn mixture with sugar, salt and nutmeg; toss.
  4. Bake 5 minutes longer, remove from heat and toss with banana chips. Serve immediately or cool and store in airtight container.

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Popcorn Chipwiches

Yield: 12

  • 2 1/2 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package (6 ounces) chocolate pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 pints brick-style vanilla ice cream
  1. Keep popcorn warm.
  2. In 3-quart saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, vinegar and salt. Cook and stir until sugar dissolves. Continue to cook until hard ball stage (250 F on candy thermometer).
  3. Pour syrup over popcorn; stir to coat. Add chocolate pieces and nuts; stir just until mixed.
  4. Pour into two 13-by-9-by-2-inch pans, spreading and packing firmly. Cool.
  5. In each pan, cut 12 rectangles. Cut each pint of ice cream into six slices. Sandwich each ice cream slice between two popcorn rectangles.

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Ballpark Popcorn Crunch

Yield: 3 quarts

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 quarts unsalted popped popcorn
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. In separate bowl, toss popcorn and walnuts. Add creamed mixture to popcorn and nuts. Combine until coated.
  4. Spread on large baking sheet in single layer.
  5. Bake 10 minutes, or until crisp.

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Beach Party Popcorn

Yield: 2 1/2 quarts

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1-2 drops hot pepper sauce
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 quarts popped popcorn
  • 2 cups assorted seasoned snacks (crackers, pretzels, etc.)
  • 1/2 package (0.56 ounces) bacon-onion dip mix
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Add soy sauce and hot pepper sauce to melted butter.
  3. Put popcorn and seasoned snacks in large bowl. Pour butter mixture over popcorn and snacks; toss. Sprinkle with bacon-onion dip mix; toss again.
  4. Spread mixture in 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-by-1-inch jelly roll pan and bake 8-10 minutes, stirring once.

Source: The Popcorn Board

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