(Family Features) The start of each school year brings new routines for families to adjust to, which can leave little to no time to think about dinner. With the right ingredients, however, it’s still possible to create a healthy, home-cooked meal in a matter of minutes, allowing you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time at the dinner table catching up on the day’s events.
Cookbook author, actress, designer and mom of two Haylie Duff knows a thing or two about juggling her family’s busy schedule on top of her own. When it comes to getting a fresh, fast meal on the table, she looks for easy meal helpers that help cut down on time, but not on flavor, that she can feel good about feeding to her family, like Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork. It’s conveniently pre-seasoned, packed with protein and can be grilled, roasted, sauteed or slow-cooked – making it a versatile dinner solution for any night of the week.
For your next weeknight meal, try Haylie Duff’s recipes for Tomatillo, Pineapple and Bacon Pork Tacos or Pork Gyros with Fresh Tzatziki, which feature a few simple ingredients and can help you make dinner in a matter of minutes.
Find more time-saving tips and fresh, flavorful weeknight dinner ideas for the whole family at SmithfieldRealFlavorRealFast.com.
Tomatillo, Pineapple and Bacon Pork Tacos
Recipe courtesy of Haylie Duff
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 Smithfield Applewood Smoked Bacon Marinated Fresh Pork Loin Filet
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 fresh pineapple, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick slices
- 1 teaspoon taco seasoning blend
- 12 white corn tortillas
- 1-2 radishes, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and thinly sliced
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled queso fresco
- 1 jar (16 ounces) tomatillo salsa (salsa verde)
- Cut pork loin filet into 1-inch cubes. Bacon will fall off, but make sure to keep it.
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Saute half the pork cubes and bacon bits 7-8 minutes until browned. Repeat with remaining oil, pork cubes and bacon.
- Heat grill to medium at about 400° F. Sprinkle pineapple slices with taco seasoning; grill until char marks appear, turning once. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
- Place tortillas on grill until warm. Top tortillas with pork loin filet cubes, pineapple, radishes, jalapeno, cilantro and queso fresco. Serve with tomatillo salsa.
Pork Gyros with Fresh Tzatziki
Recipe courtesy of Haylie Duff
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes
- 1 Smithfield Slow Smoked Mesquite Marinated Fresh Pork Loin Filet
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 8-12 Greek pita breads, warm
- shredded romaine lettuce or arugula
- chopped tomatoes
- crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup tzatziki sauce
- Cut pork loin filet in half lengthwise and thinly slice. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Stir-fry half the fresh pork loin filet 7-8 minutes until browned; set aside. Repeat with remaining oil and pork slices.
- Layer warm pitas with shredded lettuce, pork slices, tomatoes and feta. Top with tzatziki sauce.
(Family Features) A traditional backyard barbecue is typically filled with a wide array of tempting foods that make it hard to keep a healthy eating plan on track. With a few simple modifications to your menu, you can transform your grilling party into a spread of better-for-you foods you can still enjoy.
Get creative on the grill. An easy swap like chicken or pork instead of burgers and brats is an instant nutrition boost. Use wood chips or a marinade to create a main dish so tasty you’ll forget it’s a health-conscious choice.
Put produce front and center. There’s no time like summer to enjoy the bounty of the garden, so pile on the veggies in place of dense, calorie-laden sides. A crisp, refreshing salad, lightly seasoned veggies on the grill and even fresh raw veggies with a light yogurt dip can all be healthier additions to your barbecue menu.
Make apps amazing. A health-conscious meal doesn’t have to mean eliminating entire courses. Appetizers while you wait for the grill to heat are practically a requirement, after all. Instead of the typical rich, creamy dips, try a lighter approach, like these cracker canapes. Add a special touch with Crunchmaster crackers, which are gluten-free, non-GMO and full of flavor. Made with wholesome ingredients from trusted sources and available in Sea Salt, Roasted Vegetable, Applewood Smoked BBQ and Aged White Cheddar flavors, these snacks are crafted to fit healthy lifestyles.
Find more delicious ideas for summer entertaining at crunchmaster.com.
Grilled Watermelon, Feta and Balsamic Cracker Canapes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
- 4 watermelon wedges (1/2-inch thick slices, 4 inches wide at base)
- 16 Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Sea Salt Crackers
- 1/4 cup finely crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup prepared balsamic reduction
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
- Heat grill to medium-high; grease grate well. Grill watermelon wedges, turning once, 3-5 minutes, or until grill-marked on both sides. Cut each watermelon wedge into four smaller wedges.
- Top each cracker with watermelon wedge and sprinkle with feta. Drizzle with balsamic reduction. Garnish with fresh mint.
Tip: Add finely chopped Kalamata olives for a tangy twist.
(Family Features) What can family members do special this year for Mom? Most Moms dream of a fine meal they don’t have to shop for, cook or clean up afterwards. Often going out for breakfast on Mother’s Day can mean dealing with long lines and slow service. But Dad and the kids can rise to the occasion and prepare a meal themselves at home that can be a real treat.
Even the dad who only makes breakfast on weekends can cater a fine restaurant meal at home, with kids as willing sous chefs. It’s easy when your family shops where the pros shop, such as Sam’s Club for frozen appetizers, readymade pastry, organic produce, fine wines, quality meats, great breads and fabulous cheesecake ready to thaw and serve. For a crowning touch, add an unexpected and affordable luxury gift and Mom just might decide to sign on for another year.
Check out www.samsclub.com — or the Sam’s Club nearest you — for more great Mother’s Day ideas.
Mother’s Day Game Plan
Here’s the game plan for catering a Mother’s Day meal at home.
- Chill the champagne or make a delicious punch a few hours before the meal.
- Read the instructions on the box, then pop those frozen appetizers in the oven.
- Prepare and cook the salmon.
- Slice up some fresh fruit or bread.
- Finish with a deliciously moist cheesecake - a Mom favorite. (Remember to thaw it beforehand.)
- Serve Mom in bed - let her relax and enjoy the meal and her day.
- Have the kids clean up the kitchen.
- Watch Mom smile.
Mom’s Secret Wish List
Mom usually puts the needs of her family first. But if she were really honest, she would say she’d love to have something from this list. And, Dads, when you shop smart, these become affordable luxuries.
- Diamonds. They’re always a girl’s best friend. Diamond solitaire earrings go with everything — jeans on the soccer field, a suit at the office or workout clothes at the gym.
- Designer Fragrances. Perfume and cologne in her special scent makes Mom feel pampered and special.
- Furniture. Surprise her with something she’s been wanting, whether it’s the armoire for the great room, a new desk for the home office or even a new leather sofa.
- Chocolate. Always a treat, especially now that health experts have declared that dark chocolate is actually good for us. Now, will it be Godiva or Ghirardelli?
- Culinary Ware. If Mom has been trying to make culinary masterpieces from a mismatched set of cookware from her early married days, it’s time for an upgrade. Or, maybe she’d love a stand mixer or a great platter.
Puff pastry encloses flavorful salmon, spinach and herbs in a main dish fit for a special occasion. Wellington preparations are thought to take a great deal of time and skill to make. However, with the time saver of purchased puff pastry, it’s a breeze. The bundles can be prepared up to a week in advance and then frozen. Just pop them in the oven when needed.
Note: Puff pastry must be cold (but not frozen) when placed into a hot oven in order for the pastry to become light and flaky.
Makes: 4 servings
- 1 tablespoon sweet butter
- 1-1/2 tablespoons shallots or onion, minced
- 1/2 cup frozen spinach, defrosted and well drained
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon thyme or dill
- minced Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 1-1/2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
- 4 thick, skinless fillets of salmon (about 6 ounces each)
- 2 packages puff pastry (defrosted in refrigerator)
- 1 lightly beaten egg
- 1 teaspoon milk
- Heat sauté pan with butter over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté 3 to 4 minutes until softened. Reduce heat to medium-low and add spinach, nutmeg, lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes; remove from heat and stir in feta. Taste for seasoning and let cool.
- Lightly salt and pepper each piece of salmon and top with 2 tablespoons of spinach mixture.
- Roll out pastry sheets on lightly floured board. Cut 1 piece of pastry for bottom of each fillet — about 1 inch larger than the salmon. Cut a second piece large enough to drape over fillet and touch counter, plus 1 inch to spare all the way around.
- Brush edge of smaller sheet with lightly beaten egg mixed with milk. Place 1 piece of salmon in center of pastry. Drape larger piece over salmon and seal the two pieces of dough together by folding and pleating like a pie crust. Repeat for each “package.” Chill at least 30 minutes or freeze up to 1 week before baking.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush top of each package with a small amount of egg/milk mixture. Put on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and a dusting of corn meal. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 23 minutes, until golden. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Cranberry Splash Punch
Makes: 8 servings
- 4 cups cranberry juice
- 3 cups pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup cherry juice
- 2 cups puréed strawberries or raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 6 cups ice cubes
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 2 limes, sliced
- 3 cups orange soda or ginger ale
- Mix all juices and puréed berries and chill thoroughly.
- To serve, put punch in handsome container and add ice and fruit. Slowly stir in orange soda.
Source: Sam's Club