(Family Features) The holiday season is here, giving families an opportunity to spend quality time together in the kitchen. Engage little ones by involving them in the process and teaching them some lifelong kitchen skills while having fun.
Taking part in something as important as holiday meal prep not only reinforces confidence, but also can help teach crucial skills like math, science and reading.
Encourage your family to cook together in the kitchen, turning cooking time into family time, with these tips from Uncle Ben’s “Ben’s Beginners” campaign.
- Have Kids Set the Table. During the holidays, dinner becomes a much bigger event. With family members visiting, the dinner table can get quite crowded. Convince your kids to help set the table by putting out utensils, plates and napkins. It’s a simple task to get children of any age involved in family routines.
- Let Them Stir. Give those fidgety fingers something to do by letting kids stir room-temperature ingredients. Mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy all typically require mixing.
- Get Clean. Use this time to teach food safety as your children help you scrub produce. As a bonus, it also helps reinforce washing hands, too.
- Count on the Counter. Put your kids to the test to help count and measure ingredients as you add them to the recipe.
- Rock ’n’ Roll. Blast some fun holiday tunes. This can help hold kids’ attention while working.
- Share the Holiday Cheer. Make every moment sharable by staging the final product for a quick photo shoot. Encourage your little ones to show off what they helped make and capture their proud moments in the kitchen.
- Have Fun. Dress for the occasion with matching aprons and chefs’ hats. Tweak recipes to embrace your family’s interests and make dinner something to smile about.
The holidays are all about spending quality time with loved ones. Although it may feel as if too much time is spent in the kitchen, cooking time can become memorable family time when the whole gang is involved. For more tips and tricks on getting kids in the kitchen, and for recipes the entire family can cook together, visit beginners.unclebens.com.
Prep time: 30-45 minutes
- 1 box Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice, Original Recipe
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 cups chopped leeks (white parts only)
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 large clove garlic, passed through press
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In 2-quart saucepan, add rice and spice packet, water and 1/2 tablespoon butter. Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 25 minutes.
- In large skillet, melt remaining butter. Add leeks and cook over medium heat 15 minutes, stirring, until soft and golden. Add orange juice, lemon juice, sage and garlic. Cook over high heat 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add cooked rice to skillet and stir 1 minute until rice is hot. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and cinnamon.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Source: Uncle Ben’s
(Family Features) Cooks today crave new food inspiration, creative recipes and flavorful dishes, and they want it all at a great price. Whether you’re trying one of the year's hottest cooking trends or serving up a spread for a holiday celebration, pork offers an affordable variety of cuts and flavor profiles to help inspire every occasion.
This season, the National Pork Board is teaming up with leading chefs from across the country –Matt Abdoo, Adam Sappington and Jose Mendin – to discover their favorite pork dishes, the techniques behind them and how pork inspires their creativity in the kitchen.
Chef Mendin is a five-time James Beard semi-finalist and founding partner and chef at Pubbelly Noodle Bar, an Asian-inspired gastropub in Miami. In his Honey Balsamic-Glazed Ham recipe, pineapple combines with honey and balsamic vinegar for a flavorful centerpiece that's easily paired with smashed potatoes.
Visit PorkBeinspired.com for more pork cooking inspiration this holiday season.
Honey Balsamic-Glazed Ham with Smashed Potatoes
Recipe courtesy of Jose Mendin, Pubbelly Noodle Bar, on behalf of the National Pork Board
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- 1 3-pound boneless ham, netting removed and casing trimmed off
- 1/2 cup water
Honey Balsamic Glaze:
- 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple (2/3 cup pineapple, 1/3 cup juice)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 pounds small red potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley)
- Make the Honey Balsamic Glaze: In a small heavy saucepan, bring ingredients to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until the liquid is reduced by about half, 7-10 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and let cool to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Using a sharp knife, score ham in a crosshatch pattern. Place ham in roasting pan and add 1/2 cup water. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and spread half of the glaze over the ham, forcing it into the scored cuts. Bake for 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining glaze and bake until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the ham reads 140° F, about 15 minutes more. If necessary, to keep glaze from scorching, tent ham with aluminum foil. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Make the Smashed Potatoes: After about 30 minutes of baking the ham, place potatoes in large saucepan and add enough cold, salted water to cover by 2 inches. Cover saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover and reduce heat to medium. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well and return potatoes to saucepan. Add butter, oil, salt and pepper, and crush with a large fork then stir in the parsley. Partially cover with the lid to keep warm.
- Slice the ham crosswise and serve with the smashed potatoes.
(Family Features) Variety certainly is the spice of life, but after a long day, it’s easy to get stuck in a mealtime rut and turn to the same dishes each week. With fast-paced lifestyles, many families are left with little time to come up with new, creative meals.
However, with freshly seasoned ingredients like Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork, a delicious, healthy and hassle-free meal can be made in 30 minutes or less. These 100 percent fresh pork products are slow-marinated in delicious seasonings like Roasted Garlic & Herb and Applewood Smoked Bacon, and can be grilled, roasted, sauteed or slow-cooked for a fast mealtime solution any night of the week.
Take an extra step to simplify dinner with an easy slow-cooker recipe such as this Cheesy Pork and Enchilada Stew, or try Pork Chops Smothered in Onions and Mushrooms for a quick, savory supper. With effortless recipes like these, you’ll always have an answer to the age-old question “what’s for dinner?”
For more recipe ideas, and to see what you can do with 30 minutes, visit SmithfieldRealFlavorRealFast.com.
Cheesy Pork Enchilada Stew
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4-5 hours
- 1 package Smithfield Boneless Pork Shoulder Seasoned Carnitas
- 1/2 cup corn flour
- hot sauce
- 2 cans (10 ounces each) red enchilada sauce
- 1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chiles
- 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- fresh cilantro
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup no-salt-added chicken stock
- 1/2 large red onion, diced
- sour cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Place carnitas in 5-quart slow cooker. Add corn flour and toss to coat meat.
- Add all remaining ingredients except cream cheese and shredded cheddar. Cover and cook on high 4-5 hours (low 7-9 hours).
- Break meat apart with spoon. Add cheeses and stir until melted.
Tip: Leftover stew can be made into dip. Heat 6 cups stew; add 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese and 4 ounces cream cheese; stir until melted. Serve with tortilla chips.
Pork Chops Smothered in Onions and Mushrooms
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
- 6 slices Smithfield Hickory Smoked Bacon, cut into 1-inch slices
- 1 Smithfield Garlic & Herb Marinated Fresh Pork Sirloin Roast, cut into five 1-inch chops
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup no-salt-added chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until browned and crisp. Carefully remove bacon and drain on paper towels.
- Brown pork chops in bacon grease over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes per side; remove chops from skillet.
- Add butter to bacon grease in skillet; saute onions, mushrooms, salt and pepper until onions have browned and are tender. Stir in stock, vinegar and garlic; cook and stir until reduced by half.
- Add browned chops and cooked bacon to skillet. Cover and simmer until internal temperature of meat reaches 150° F, turning once, about 10 minutes.
Source: Smithfield Foods
Tofu Tikka Masala
- 5 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 gram jalapeno chile, chopped
- 3 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 pound Wildwood Vacuum Pack Tofu
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped in 1-inch long thin slices
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3-4 tablespoons plain or unsweetened yogurt
- 1 cup Wildwood Plain Soymilk
- Chopped cilantro (for garnish)
- In bowl, mix lemon juice, ginger, garlic, green chili, half of cilantro, chili powder, salt and tofu together; mix well and cover. Let marinate for an hour.
- In pan, heat oil and slowly add onions. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes on medium heat until translucent.
- Slowly add turmeric powder, yogurt, soy milk and remaining cilantro to the pain. Mix well for a few minutes until sauce thickens.
- Add tofu mixture into sauce and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve immediately with Indian Naan bread or heated rice.
Source: Wildwood Foods
(Family Features) In an effort to squeeze in valuable time together, more families are zooming past the drive-thru and heading home to the table for simpler, satisfying and more wholesome dinners.
Busy schedules can make dinnertime a challenge for many families. With sports practices, dance rehearsals and after-school activities galore, many parents are doing well by just getting their little ones to the right place at the right time. These days, with so much time spent outside of the home, the time spent around the dinner table is priceless.
Bring everyone together with an Italian feast
With its savory blend of cheeses, sweet garlic and rich sauces, it’s hard to deny the delicious flavors of Italian cuisine. By combining a few simple, scrumptious elements, you’ll find it’s quite easy to bring the taste of Italy into your own home. Gather the family together with the many flavorful options available at your local grocery store, such as Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods, which offers prepared Italian meals boasting homemade flavor without the fuss.
Here are a few authentic Italian meal ideas to incorporate into your next weeknight routine, so you can deliver a dinner that satisfies every family member.
Serve up a salad
A crispy, crunchy salad is the perfect starter for an Italian meal and can be tossed together in a matter of minutes. For a simple take on salad, just combine fresh greens – such as chopped romaine hearts – thinly sliced red onions and croutons. To add more flavor and texture, throw in fresh mozzarella, chopped radicchio, cherry tomatoes and pepperoncini. Don’t forget to finish with a generous splash of savory Italian dressing.
There’s nothing more comforting than a warm dish of flavorful pasta at the end of a long day. When such flavorful dishes can be created with the touch of a button, everyone wins. Serve up the delicious combination of vine-ripened tomatoes, sautéed onions, 100 percent semolina lasagna pasta, ground beef and premium cheeses in Michael Angelo’s Meat Lasagna. Or, try their Eggplant Parmesan, made with farm-fresh eggplant, imported olive oil, Italian spices and a blend of imported Pecorino and Parmesan cheeses.
Warm, garlic goodness
A plate of hearty, wholesome Italian food would not be complete without a side of fragrant, warm garlic bread. Heat up an easy, pre-made variety in the oven, or make your own by simply topping your favorite variety of sliced bread with butter, garlic, Parmesan cheese and oregano.
Fill your kitchen with ingredients and products that allow you to fix easy meals that bring the whole family together. They’re the perfect dinnertime solution for busy parents who want to serve a wholesome, better-for-you meal to their family, but don’t always have the time or skills to cook from scratch.
For more information and meal ideas, visit www.michaelangelos.com.
Source: Michael Angelo's Gourmet Foods
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 1/4 pounds ground beef
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup Kikkoman Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1 tablespoon Kikkoman Soy Sauce
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
- 4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- Cook spaghetti according to package directions, rinse and drain.
- Combine ground beef, eggs, panko, soy sauce, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and 2 cloves of garlic in large bowl; shape into 1 1/2-inch sized meatballs. Bake meatballs at 350°F on ungreased cookie sheet for 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, heat deep skillet, add oil, 1 clove garlic and onions and sauté for about 5 minutes until onions are soft. Add tomatoes and remaining garlic, cheese and oregano; simmer for at least 20 minutes.
Irish Potato Bread
Boxty is practically a national dish in Ireland. It can be served as a potato pancake, a dumpling or, as here, in a crunchy soda bread.
- 2 3/4-pound russet potatoes
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
- 1/3 cup canola oil, plus additional for greasing the baking sheet
- 3/4 cup fat-free milk
- 2 tablespoons minced chives (or the green part of a scallion)
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting and kneading
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Bring 1 inch water to a boil over high heat in vegetable steamer or large saucepan fitted with portable vegetable steamer. Peel 1 potato and cut into eighths; steam pieces until tender when pierced with fork, about 15 minutes. Rice or mash pieces in large bowl; set aside to cool 15 minutes.
- Position rack in center of oven; preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly oil large baking sheet with canola oil dabbed on paper towel.
- Peel other potato and grate it through large holes of box grater. Squeeze out any excess moisture; add to riced or mashed potatoes.
Stir in egg, egg white, oil, milk, chives and caraway seeds until fairly smooth. Add 3 1/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt; stir with wooden spoon until mixture forms soft but sticky dough.
- Lightly flour clean work surface as well as your cleaned and dried hands. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead 1 minute, adding flour in 1-tablespoon increments to keep dough from turning too sticky. Too much flour and dough turns tough; it should remain a little tacky but workable. Shape into 8-inch circle, flatten slightly keeping loaf mounded at its center and place on prepared baking sheet. Use sharp knife to slash X in top of dough, cutting into dough about 1/2 inch.
- Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch , about 55 minutes. Cool 1 hour on wire rack before slicing and serving.
Nutrition information per slice: 183 calories, 5 g fat, 14 mg cholesterol, 298 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein, 222 mg potassium, 6 mg vitamin C
Source: United States Potato Board
(Family Features) If you’re observing Lent, Friday fish dinners could be in your future, but that’s no reason to feel limited by what you can cook. Seafood pairs well with all sorts of flavors – from chili seasoning to lime extract – and bakes quickly on a sheet pan with minimal cleanup.
Follow these simple tips from Dr. Wendy Bazilian, McCormick Health Advisor and Registered Dietitian, to get your family asking for good-for-you proteins like salmon and shrimp all year long:
- While lemon is a great complement to seafood, think about pairing with other citrus flavors like orange and lime. Try marinating shrimp in a mixture of lite coconut milk, lime extract, ginger and red pepper.
- Add colorful vegetables like zoodles or asparagus to your sheet pan to boost both seafood and vegetable servings. You don’t need a spiralizer to make zoodles because many grocery stores offer pre-made zoodles in the produce section.
- Keep shrimp in your freezer to pull out for stir fries, pastas or this Coconut Lime Shrimp with Zoodles recipe.
Coconut Lime Shrimp with Zoodles
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1/4 cup Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk (regular or lite)
- 1 teaspoon McCormick Ground Ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Crushed Red Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Pure Lime Extract
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 small zucchini, cut into thin noodles with spiralizer
- 1 medium yellow squash, cut into thin noodles with spiralizer
- 1 medium carrot, cut into thin noodles with spiralizer
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Ground Black Pepper
- Heat oven to 375° F.
- In large, re-sealable plastic bag, mix together coconut milk, ginger, garlic powder, crushed red pepper and lime extract. Add shrimp; turn to coat well.
- Refrigerate 15-30 minutes. Remove shrimp from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. In center of large, shallow, foil-lined baking pan, arrange shrimp in single layer.
- In large bowl, toss vegetable noodles and oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat well. Spread noodles around shrimp in pan.
- Bake 10-15 minutes, or until shrimp turn pink and are cooked through and noodles are tender. Serve shrimp over vegetable noodles.
Test kitchen tip: For faster prep, use 4 cups store-bought spiralized vegetable noodles instead of spiralizing them yourself.
Orange Chili Sheet Pan Salmon
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Orange Extract
- 2 pounds salmon fillets, skin removed
- 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1 package McCormick Original Chili Seasoning Mix
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- Heat oven to 375° F. Spray foil-lined, 13-by-9-inch baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- In small bowl, mix together oil and orange extract. Place salmon and vegetables on separate sides of baking sheet. Brush vegetables with 1 teaspoon extract mixture. Brush both sides of salmon with remaining mixture.
- In small bowl, mix together seasoning mix and brown sugar. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons seasoning mixture over vegetables. Sprinkle both sides of salmon evenly with remaining seasoning mixture.
- Bake 20 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork and vegetables are tender.