recipes

Holiday 09 November 2018

Savor Simplicity

Holiday recipes worth sharing

(Family Features) Most great holiday gatherings start with great food and end with quality time spent with loved ones. This holiday season, rely on simple recipes that let you spend less time in the kitchen and more time celebrating special moments with family and friends.

As a holiday host, it may be tempting to explore complicated new recipes to lend a festive air to your seasonal celebrations. However, with the right ingredients, a simple recipe can be equally impressive. Delicious holiday dishes start with premium ingredients like Bertolli Olive Oils, which offer enough versatility to be a must-have kitchen accessory throughout the holiday season and onward. From soups to main dishes to desserts, the rich, quality flavor works for nearly every culinary occasion.

After a long day of checking items off your holiday shopping list, there’s almost nothing better than a warm bowl of quick and easy Rustic Minestrone. This vegetarian classic is the perfect mix of marinara blended with aged cheeses, kale, zucchini and beans. One of the best parts: It can be on the table in 10 minutes, meaning less time cooking and more time spent stringing up holiday lights with family.

If you’re looking for a simple way to put a new twist on your turkey, take it to the next level with a seasonal brine made with sweet Riesling, garlic cloves, thyme, fresh cranberries and olive oil. It’s a hands-off way to make a tried-and-true dish a little more special.

Finally, when it’s time to wind down the evening, delight guests by bringing back a classic dessert: chocolate chip banana bread. Served slightly warm with a side of fresh whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream, it’s a sweet finish to any gathering that family and friends are sure to love.

Find more simple recipes to enjoy during the holidays at Bertolli.com.
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Rustic Minestrone

  • 3          tablespoons Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 1          small zucchini, sliced in 1/2-inch half moons
  • 2          cups tightly packed, thinly sliced Tuscan kale leaves
  • 1          jar (23 ounces) Bertolli Rustic Cut Three Cheese with Aged Asiago, Romano and Parmesan Sauce
  • 1          carton (32 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 1          can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1/3       cup shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  1. In 6-quart pot over medium-high heat, heat 2 teaspoons oil. Add zucchini and kale; cook, stirring frequently, about 1-2 minutes, or until kale begins to wilt. Reduce heat to medium; add sauce, broth and beans. Simmer 5-7 minutes, or until heated. Top with shaved cheese before serving.

Tips: Substitute garbanzo beans, kidney beans, pinto beans or tri-bean blend for cannellini beans. For heartier soup, add 3 cups (9 ounces) refrigerated tortellini pasta with broth and beans. Simmer soup 8-10 minutes more, or until pasta is cooked through.

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Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

Recipe courtesy of Justin Schuble on behalf of Bertolli Olive Oil

  • 3/4       cup Bertolli Olive Oil, plus additional for coating pan
  • 3          ripe medium bananas, divided
  • 1/2       cup applesauce
  • 1          large egg
  • 1          large egg white
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2    cups all-purpose flour
  • 1          cup sugar
  • 1/2       teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2       cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips
  • 1/4       cup nut spread
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Coat 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with olive oil.
  3. In mixing bowl, mash 2 bananas. Add applesauce, egg, egg white and vanilla to bananas and whisk.
  4. In separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix. Add olive oil slowly and mix until combined.
  5. Fold in chocolate chunks. Pour batter into loaf pan.
  6. Heat nut spread in microwave until it reaches pourable consistency. Swirl spread into top of batter. Thinly slice long, flat strips of banana. Add slices to top of batter for decoration.
  7. Place loaf pan in oven and bake 1 hour. Remove bread and cool before slicing.

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Cranberry Riesling Brined Turkey

  • 1          quart water
  • 6          bay leaves
  • 2          tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1          tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2    cups kosher salt
  • 1          bottle (750 milliliters) Riesling wine
  • 2          large shallots, thinly sliced, divided
  • 8          cloves garlic, crushed but left in skins
  • 1          bunch fresh thyme, divided
  • 2          cups fresh cranberries, slightly crushed, divided
  • 1          turkey (16 pounds), giblet package and neck removed
  • ice water, for covering turkey
  • 1/2       cup Bertolli Mild Olive Oil
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  1. In pot, bring water, bay leaves, peppercorns, mustard seeds and kosher salt to boil. Stir until salt is dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Pour brine into 5-gallon stock pot or container. Pour in wine then add one shallot, garlic, thyme (reserving some for stuffing turkey) and 1 cup cranberries. Slowly lower in turkey.
  3. Pour ice water into pot to cover turkey. Place lid on pot and refrigerate at least 24 hours.
  4. Heat oven to 500° F. Remove turkey from brine, pat dry and stuff with reserved shallot, thyme and cranberries.
  5. Place turkey in roasting pan. Generously massage olive oil into skin of turkey. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Use kitchen twine to tie legs together so turkey will keep its shape. Place in roasting pan and roast 20 minutes. Lightly brush skin again with olive oil, reduce heat to 350° F and roast until internal temperature reaches 155-160° F on meat thermometer.
  6. Allow turkey to rest, loosely covered with foil, 30 minutes before carving.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Cranberry Riesling Brined Turkey)

Source: Bertolli Olive Oil

Holiday 07 November 2018

Crunchy Sweet Potato Casserole

Jazz up your traditional sweet potato casserole with some nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, walnuts and crunchy cornflakes. The holidays never tasted sweeter!

For more holiday recipes, go to culinary.net.

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Crunchy Sweet Potato Casserole

• 5-6 sweet potatoes, mashed
• 1/2 cup butter, melted
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 TSP ground cinnamon
• 1/2 TSP ground nutmeg
TOPPING:
• 1 cup crushed cornflakes
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
• 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/4 cup butter, cubed

1. Preheat oven to 375° F
2. In a large bowl, combine mashed sweet potatoes, melted butter, sugar, brown sugar, beaten eggs, milk, cinnamon and nutmeg.
3. Spoon into a greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes.
4. In a small bowl, combine crushed cornflakes, walnuts, brown sugar and cubed butter.
5. Sprinkle over potato mixture.
6. Bake again 5-10 minutes or until topping is lightly browned.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

Watch video to see how to make this delicious recipe!

Holiday 07 November 2018

Simple Sides for Holiday Entertaining

(Family Features) Preparing side dishes can be time consuming. Save those precious minutes to enjoy the holidays by using refrigerated, never-frozen options like mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, baked apples and even macaroni and cheese that can be heated in the microwave and ready to serve in minutes.

Like many hosts, you are likely searching for perfection in your holiday get-togethers. With an ever-expanding guest list, each year may seem more and more difficult to pull off the perfect gathering. Make things easier and still delicious by serving ready-to-eat options like refrigerated macaroni and cheese made with real milk and cheese.

Perfect Holiday Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a staple on many holiday menus, but all that peeling and mashing can take hours. This year, save time by using refrigerated, ready-to-eat mashed potatoes, such as Bob Evans Original Mashed Potatoes, which taste just like homemade.

  • Add your family’s special ingredient, like sage butter, and no one will know they aren’t homemade.
  • Microwave the mashed potatoes just before dinner or throw them in a crockpot on low and pitch the packaging so no one knows you didn’t make them ahead of time.
  • Buy a couple extra and store them in the fridge in case you have unexpected holiday guests.

Find more ideas to make your holiday sides simply delicious at bobevansgrocery.com.
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Fancy Mac

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1          package Bob Evans Macaroni and Cheese
  • 1          package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 1/4    cups shredded Gouda cheese, divided
  • 1          package Bob Evans Thick Sliced Hardwood Smoked Bacon, cooked and broken into pieces
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2          eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Spray four ramekins with cooking spray.
  2. Heat macaroni and cheese according to package directions. Once cooked, stir in spinach, 1 cup cheese, bacon, salt and pepper.
  3. Let mixture stand 10-15 minutes to cool. Add eggs. Spoon evenly into ramekins. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake 20 minutes, or until centers are set.

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Sweet Potato Cookies

Prep time: 28-33 minutes
Cook time: 10-12 minutes
Serves: 36

  • 3/4       cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4       cup brown sugar
  • 1          large egg
  • 1          cup Bob Evans Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • 2          cups all-purpose flour
  • 1          teaspoon baking soda
  • 1          teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1          teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1          cup butter, unsalted
  • 3          cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2       teaspoon maple extract
  • chopped honey roasted pecans (optional)
  • mini marshmallows (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In large bowl, using hand mixer or paddle attachment, cream shortening and brown sugar. Add egg and sweet potatoes; mix until combined.
  3. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. With mixer on low speed, slowly add flour mixture to egg mixture until well mixed. Using small cookie scoop, drop rounds onto greased baking sheets.
  4. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely before frosting.
  5. In separate bowl, beat together butter, powdered sugar and maple extract until frosting is light and fluffy. Frost each cooled cookie with maple butter cream frosting.
  6. Sprinkle with pecans and mini marshmallows, if desired. Carefully toast marshmallows with culinary torch, if desired, while avoiding melting frosting.

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Mini Hash Brown Casseroles

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 24

  • 1          pound Bob Evans Original Roll Sausage
  • 4          large eggs
  • 1/2       cup milk
  • 1          package (20 ounces) Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns
  • 3          tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1          cup ham, cubed
  • 1/2       teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In skillet, cook sausage according to package directions.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease two 12-cup muffin tins.
  3. In bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Add hash browns, butter, ham, black pepper and cheese; mix thoroughly. Fill muffin tins two-thirds full. Bake 27-30 minutes, or until toothpick or knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  4. Substitution: For healthier alternative, substitute 1 cup AllWhites liquid egg whites instead of eggs.

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Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 40

  • 2          packages Bob Evans Thick Sliced Hardwood Smoked Bacon, slices cut in half
  • 1          package Bob Evans White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
  • 1          package garlic herb cheese spread
  • 20        jalapeno peppers, halved, seeded with membranes removed
  • 1/4       cup brown sugar
  • 1          teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Set bacon out to thaw to room temperature so it is pliable.
  2. In mixing bowl, use rubber spatula to combine mashed potatoes and garlic herb cheese. Stir until incorporated. Spread 1 teaspoon mashed potato mixture in each jalapeno half; level each with butter knife or spatula.
  3. Wrap each jalapeno with bacon; use three half slices for large jalapenos or two halves for smaller sizes. Be sure bacon is wrapped sealing in mashed potato mixture tightly.
  4. In small mixing bowl, combine brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Generously sprinkle over bacon and pat gently to make it stick.
  5. Line cookie sheet with piece of parchment paper so sugar does not burn to pan. Bake until bacon reaches desired crispiness, around 25-35 minutes.
  6. Let peppers cool slightly before serving, about 5 minutes.

Source:  Bob Evans

Watch video to see how to make this delicious recipe!

Meal Ideas 02 November 2018

Flavorful Fiesta Time

Food, family and holiday traditions

(Family Features) A tamalada, or tamale-making party, is a Mexican holiday tradition that occurs during Las Posadas and combines two of the season’s most important ingredients – quality family time and flavorful food.

Consider these tips from Sylvia Garza of Qué Mami Organics to help make your tamalada fun and easy.

  • Food: Before your tamalada, prepare the ingredients that require extra time and work. For example, if you are using roasted chilies, roast them the day before and have them peeled, seeded and cut up for seamless assembly the next day.
  • Family: When hosting a tamalada, have food or snacks ready to share with your guests. Making dozens of tamales can take most of the day, so you’ll want to keep your helpers well-fed.
  • Flavor: Add an ingredient like Tabasco Chipotle Sauce to your masa when making tamales. Not only can the sauce add smoky flavor, but it also gives the dough an appetizing golden color. You can also mix the sauce into your filling for a brighter flavor and a kick of heat.

Find more flavorful recipes at Tabasco.com.
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Zucchini and Corn Tamales

Recipe courtesy of Sylvia Garza of Qué Mami Organics
Yield: 16 tamales

  • 30        large, softened corn husks

Masa (dough):

  • 3          cups masa harina (corn flour)
  • 2          teaspoons baking powder
  • 2          teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 1/3    cups vegetable broth, warmed
  • 1/2       cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2       cup vegetable shortening

Filling:

  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2       small red onion, diced
  • 1          garlic clove, finely diced
  • 3          cups zucchini, cubed small
  • 1          tomato, cubed small
  • 1/4       teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1          teaspoon sea salt
  • 1          cup sweet white corn
  • 4          tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 5          ounces Qué Mami Organics Red Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 1/2    tablespoons Tabasco Pepper Sauce
  • 8          ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1/2-ounce strips
  1. To prep husks: Soak corn husks in hot water. Place heavy pot on top of husks to keep submerged at least 1 hour. Once pliable, rinse each corn husk.
  2. To make dough: In large bowl, mix corn flour, baking powder and sea salt. Using hands, mix in warm vegetable broth to make firm dough. In mixer, cream butter and shortening until fluffy then add dough in small amounts until well mixed. Continue mixing at low-medium speed 5 minutes, scraping dough off sides of bowl. Reserve dough.
  3. To make filling: In large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil; saute red onion and garlic until translucent. Add zucchini and mix 1 minute. Add tomato, dried oregano and sea salt; continue mixing 1 minute. Add corn and chopped cilantro. Stir and continue cooking about 2 minutes more; zucchini should be cooked but al dente. Remove filling to heat-resistant bowl.
  4. In small bowl, combine enchilada sauce and Tabasco pepper sauce. Add half of sauce mixture to filling; mix well. Reserve remaining sauce.
  5. To assemble tamales, spread 2 tablespoons dough onto wide end of each corn husk. Dough should extend across corn husks, except 1 inch on sides and about 3 inches from narrow end.
  6. Scoop about 1 tablespoon zucchini and corn filling into middle of dough. Add 1 teaspoon reserved sauce over filling and one strip cheese on top. Fold right side of corn husk over filling and seal closed with dough. Fold over left side of corn husk tightly and fold narrow end of corn husk up. Cut strips from extra corn husks and tie around each tamale to secure.
  7. Place tamales vertically, filling-side up, in steam pot with enough water to steam 40-45 minutes. Cover tamales with extra corn husks to trap in steam; place lid on pot. Tamales are ready when masa dough separates easily from husks. Add water to pot, as necessary, for longer steaming.
  8. Let tamales rest 10 minutes before unwrapping. Remove corn husks before serving.

Source: Tabasco

Holiday 30 October 2018

Take Holiday Hosting to the Next Level

(Family Features) It can be easy to impress your holiday guests without overdoing it in the kitchen by putting to use recipes that require little time to prep. After all, those precious moments with loved ones are meant for reflection and conversation, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for lesser dishes.

Appetizers like Beet Carpaccio Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts and Caprese Avocado Toast provide aesthetic appeal and taste to tide appetites. As one of the key ingredients, Filippo Berio Classic Balsamic Glaze adds tanginess and artistic flair for flavorful small bites.

Go above and beyond with a main course that’s prepped in 10 minutes and ready in less than two hours like this Rosemary and Raspberry Balsamic Roasted Leg of Lamb, which can be the center of attention as guests dig in for a delightful meal.

Finally, for a nightcap worth celebrating, this Dark Chocolate and Cherry Cheesecake can serve a crowd thanks to ingredients like Filippo Berio Raspberry Balsamic glaze, providing tangy, fruity flavor with its rich, smooth blend of raspberry juice and balsamic vinegar of Modena.

Find more holiday recipes that can take your gathering to the next level at filippoberio.com.
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Rosemary and Raspberry Balsamic Roasted Leg of Lamb

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Servings: 8

Roasted Leg of Lamb:

  • 3          tablespoons Filippo Berio Olive Oil
  • 2          tablespoons Filippo Berio Raspberry Balsamic Glaze
  • 1          tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4          teaspoons grainy mustard
  • 1          bone-in leg of lamb (about 6 pounds)
  • 2          cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1          teaspoon salt
  • 1          teaspoon pepper
  • 3          onions, quartered
  • 1          cup water

Gravy:

  • 3          tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2       cup dry red wine
  • 4          cups chicken stock
  • 2          tablespoons Filippo Berio Raspberry Balsamic Glaze
  • 1          sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon pepper
  1. To make Roasted Leg of Lamb: Heat oven to 400° F. In bowl, whisk olive oil, raspberry balsamic glaze, rosemary and mustard; set aside.
  2. Make small incisions in lamb and insert garlic slices. Rub olive oil mixture over lamb. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer to roasting pan fitted with rack. Add onions; pour water into bottom of pan.
  3. Roast 80-90 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 145° F for medium-rare, adding water to pan as needed to avoid scorching and onions drying out.
  4. Transfer lamb to carving board and tent with foil.
  5. To make Gravy: Place roasting pan on stovetop over medium-high heat; stir in flour. Whisk in wine; boil 1-2 minutes, or until reduced by half. Whisk in chicken stock and raspberry balsamic glaze. Add rosemary; bring to boil and simmer 8-10 minutes, or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with lamb.

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Dark Chocolate and Cherry Cheesecake

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Servings: 12

Crust:

  • 1 1/2    cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3       cup Filippo Berio Extra Light Olive Oil
  • 1/4       cup packed brown sugar

Filling:

  • 3/4       cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1          tablespoon Filippo Berio Classic Balsamic Glaze
  • 3          packages (8 ounces each) brick-style cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1          cup granulated sugar
  • 3          eggs
  • 1          cup sour cream
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla

Cherry Topping:

  • 3          cups frozen cherries
  • 3/4       cup packed brown sugar
  • 1          tablespoon Filippo Berio Olive Oil
  • 1/2       cup water, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 2          tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2          tablespoons Filippo Berio Classic Balsamic Glaze
  1. To make Crust: Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Mix graham wafer crumbs, oil and sugar; press into bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake 8 minutes; let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325° F.
  3. To make Filling: In heatproof bowl set over saucepan of hot (not boiling) water, melt chocolate, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in balsamic glaze. Let cool slightly.
  4. Using electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, sugar and melted chocolate mixture until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in sour cream and vanilla; pour over crust.
  5. Wrap outside of springform pan in heavy-duty foil. Set inside roasting pan and pour in boiling water until halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake 90-100 minutes, or until sides are set and center is still slightly jiggly; cool 5 minutes. Run knife between cheesecake and pan; cool completely. Refrigerate 24 hours.
  6. To make Cherry Topping: In small saucepan over medium heat, bring cherries, sugar, olive oil and 1/2 cup water to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5-6 minutes, or until sugar dissolves.
  7. Whisk cornstarch with remaining water; whisk into mixture. Cook about 3 minutes, or until thickened.
  8. Transfer to bowl; cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to one day. Spoon over cheesecake; drizzle with balsamic glaze.

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Beet Carpaccio Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts

Prep time: 10 min
Servings: 4

  • 1 1/2    pounds roasted beets
  • 2          cups microgreens
  • 4          ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4       cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
  • 2          tablespoons Filippo Berio Classic Balsamic Glaze
  • 1/4       teaspoon flaked sea salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon cracked pepper
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Using chef’s knife or mandoline, thinly slice beets; arrange on platter.
  3. Arrange microgreens over beets; scatter with goat cheese. Sprinkle hazelnuts over top and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Caprese Avocado Toast with Balsamic Glaze

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 2          tablespoons Filippo Berio Robusto Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4          slices rustic Italian bread, about 3/4-inch thick
  • 1          large clove garlic, halved
  • 2          small ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1          tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4       cup torn fresh basil, divided
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2       teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1          large ripe tomato, sliced
  • 8          ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1/4       teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 1/4       cup Filippo Berio Classic Balsamic Glaze
  1. Heat oven to broil; position rack at highest level. Brush olive oil over both sides of each slice of bread; broil, turning once, 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Rub cut side of garlic clove over bread while still hot.
  2. Mash together avocados, lemon juice, 1/8 cup basil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; spread over one side of each slice of bread. Top with tomato slices; season with remaining salt and pepper. Top with mozzarella slices; sprinkle with hot pepper flakes.
  3. Drizzle each slice of bread with balsamic glaze. Sprinkle with remaining basil; serve immediately.

Source:  Filippo Berio

Watch video to see how to make this delicious recipe!

Appetizers & Sides 07 December 2017

Create Lifelong Memories This Holiday Season

(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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Count on the Counter. Put your kids to the test to help count and measure ingredients as you add them to the recipe.
  5. Rock ’n’ Roll. Blast some fun holiday tunes. This can help hold kids’ attention while working.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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Holiday Rice

Prep time: 30-45 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 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 
  1. 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.
  2. 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

Dessert 27 November 2017

Throw a Christmas Cookie Party

(Family Features) The next best thing to baking cookies for many home chefs is baking cookies with friends. Dust off your favorite recipes, create a festive playlist and fill your home with the tantalizing aroma of baked goodies for the ultimate Christmas cookie party.

Turn things up a notch and swap classic sugar cookies for these festive Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies, Peppermint Truffle Cookies and Almond Gingerbread Cookies. Along with those tasty treats, don’t let your guests go thirsty. Add peppermint extract to a slow cooker hot chocolate so guests can sip and be merry throughout the party.

Find more holiday recipes at McCormick.com.

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Peppermint Truffle Cookies

  • 8          ounces bittersweet baking chocolate
  • 1/2       cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1          cup sugar, divided
  • 1          egg
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
  • 2          cups flour
  • 36        milk chocolate kiss-shaped candies, unwrapped
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In large, microwavable bowl, heat chocolate and butter on high 1-2 minutes, or until butter is melted. Let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly. Add 1/2 cup sugar, egg and peppermint extract. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gradually beat in flour on low speed until well mixed.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Press chocolate candy into center of each ball, forming dough around candy to enclose it. Roll in remaining sugar to coat. Place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets.
  4. Bake 9-11 minutes, or until cookies are set. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

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Almond Gingerbread Cookies

  • 3          cups flour
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Ginger, Ground
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Cinnamon, Ground
  • 1          teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4       teaspoon McCormick Nutmeg, Ground
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 3/4       cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4       cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2       cup molasses
  • 1          egg
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/3    cups sliced almonds
  1. In large bowl, mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.
  2. In separate large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla extract; beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into thick, flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours, or as long as overnight.
  3. Heat oven to 350° F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sliced almonds, pressing almonds into dough. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  4. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until edges of cookies just begin to brown. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days.

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Slow Cooker Peppermint Hot Chocolate

  • 1/2       gallon (8 cups) whole milk
  • 1          can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1          package (12 ounces) dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
  1. Place whole milk, condensed milk, chocolate chips and peppermint extract in slow cooker. Cover. Cook 60-70 minutes on high, or until chocolate is melted and mixture is heated through, stirring every 15 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to warm or low to serve.

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Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

  • 1 2/3    cups flour
  • 1/3       cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/4    cups granulated sugar
  • 2          eggs
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons McCormick Red Food Color
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2       cup confectioners’ sugar
  • nonstick cooking spray
  1. In medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, food color and vanilla extract; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Refrigerate 4 hours.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in confectioners’ sugar to completely coat. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are puffed. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Source: McCormick

Holiday 09 November 2017

Deliver Holiday Flavor with Pecans

(Family Features) The holiday season is ripe with opportunities to gather around the table with loved ones and enjoy a delicious meal.

Elevate your holiday menu with freshly harvested ingredients like naturally sweet pecans. As America’s only native tree nut, the pecan boasts a proud heritage shared by the farmers who have grown it for generations – but this tree nut is more than a pie ingredient.

While the American Pecan Council’s Classic Pecan Pie is an ideal grand finale, consider including nutrient-dense pecans throughout the holiday season as a snack or in innovative pecan-filled dishes like Roasted Acorn Squash with Pecan Vinaigrette and Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf.

In addition to being a versatile addition to your holiday feast, in each 1-ounce serving of pecans, you’ll get 12 grams of “good” monounsaturated fat with zero cholesterol or sodium, according to the USDA. Compared to other nuts, pecans are among the lowest in carbs (4 grams) and highest in dietary fiber (3 grams) per serving.

For more seasonal recipes, nutritional information and cooking tips, visit AmericanPecan.com.

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Classic Pecan Pie

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 70 minutes
Servings: 10

  • 1          pie dough (9 inches)
  • 6          tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1          cup light corn syrup
  • 1          cup light brown sugar
  • 2          teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3          large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2    cups raw pecan halves
  1. Place baking sheet in oven. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Line pie pan with rolled out pie dough. Press into edges and up sides. Use fingers or fork to create decorative edge. Set aside.
  3. In large bowl, whisk together butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Add eggs and salt, and whisk until mixture is even. Fold in pecan halves.
  4. Pour mixture into pie crust and spread evenly with spatula. Use pieces of aluminum foil to cover edges of pie crust. Place pie on prepared baking sheet and bake 60-70 minutes, or until pie is set in center.
  5. Remove pie from oven and allow to cool completely before serving or chilling.

Note: Pie can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated overnight. Allow pie to come to room temperature before serving.

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Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Pecan Vinaigrette

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Squash:

  • 1          small acorn squash
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4       teaspoon sea salt

Dressing:

  • 1/2       cup raw pecan pieces
  • 1/4       cup olive or pecan oil
  • 2          tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1          tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4       teaspoon sea salt

Salad:

  • 3-4       handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 1/2    cups cooked farro
  • 1          medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1          ounce crumbled goat cheese
  1. Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. To create base, slice small part of one side of squash. Trim ends from squash, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out sides. Place cut-side down and cut squash into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place on sheet tray and toss with olive or pecan oil and salt. Roast until squash and peels are tender, 30-40 minutes.
  3. While squash is roasting, heat small skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and toast, shaking pan, until nuts are fragrant. Transfer 1/3 cup of pecans to bowl and reserve remaining pecans for topping. Add oil, vinegar, maple syrup and salt while nuts are still warm. Stir vigorously and set aside.
  4. In large bowl, combine spinach, farro, shallot, half the squash and half the dressing. Toss to combine then lay remaining squash on top of salad. Drizzle with remaining dressing and sprinkle with goat cheese and remaining toasted pecans before serving.

Note: Acorn squash skin is edible but needs roasting long enough to make it tender. If unsure, use delicata squash or skinless butternut squash.

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Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12

  • 2          cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2          cups water
  • 1/8       teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1          teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional, to taste
  • 1/4       teaspoon cloves
  • 1          cinnamon stick
  • 3/4       cup wild rice, rinsed
  • 1          cup black rice, rinsed
  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or pecan oil
  • 1          tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2       large sweet onion, diced
  • 2          cups butternut squash, diced
  • 1          medium tart apple, peeled and diced
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2       teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4       cup chopped pecans or pecan pieces
  • 1/3       cup dried currants
  1. In medium saucepan, bring stock, water, nutmeg, ginger, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, cloves and cinnamon stick to boil. Add rice and bring back to simmer. Reduce heat to low and half cover with lid. Allow rice to simmer about 45 minutes, or until tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove and discard cinnamon stick.
  2. While rice is cooking, in large skillet, heat olive or pecan oil and butter. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add in butternut squash and cook, stirring often, until squash is tender and beginning to caramelize at edges, about 8-10 minutes. Add in apples and cook additional 3-4 minutes, or until apples soften. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, along with thyme and ground cinnamon. Stir in chopped pecans and currants, and cook until pecans are slightly golden and fragrant. Remove mixture from heat.
  3. Stir butternut squash mixture with cooked rice and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: American Pecan Council

Holiday 09 November 2017

Perfect Wine Pairings for Holiday Parties

(Family Features) With the holidays quickly approaching, it is time to begin planning menus and shopping for groceries, which may leave you facing endless shelves of wine.  Choosing wines to pair with your holiday meal is an important part of the menu planning process.

A smart rule is to select quality wines that pair with a variety of dishes, such as crisp, medium-bodied chardonnays and medium-to-full-bodied, flavorful merlots.

“I love having a bright, crisp chardonnay on hand for holiday entertaining,” said Katie Madigan, winemaker at St. Francis Winery. “Chardonnay complements so many holiday flavors. It’s a great choice to serve with appetizers and it also transitions nicely to dinner.”

A certified sustainable winery in Sonoma County, California, St. Francis Winery offers a full range of varietal wines ideal for holiday entertaining, such as the St. Francis Sonoma County Chardonnay 2015 (SRP $16.99), which is made from grapes picked in the cool of night to create delicate aromas, crisp acidity and a rich, lingering finish.

With notes of fresh pear and pineapple, it pairs well with mild cheeses and rich seafood appetizers, such as Pan Fried Crab Cakes. If you are looking for inspiration to get your holiday menu planning started, consider this simple hors d’oeuvre, which can be made the night before and cooked just before guests arrive. Pair it with a chilled glass of crisp chardonnay to start the party off just right.

A complementary option for guests who prefer red wine is the Sonoma Valley Merlot (SRP $20.99). This wine has multiple layers of aromatics with flavors of red cherry, plum, dried cranberry, espresso bean and savory spices that match well with hard cheeses, roasted turkey, lamb or steaks with blue cheese butter. Find more tips for pairing wines and recipes ideal for holiday entertaining at StFrancisWinery.com.

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Pan Fried Crab Cakes

  • 1/4       cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4       cup minced green onions
  • 2          large egg yolks
  • 2          tablespoons fresh lemon juice  
  • 1          teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
  • 1          teaspoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1          tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1          tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/4       teaspoon black pepper
  • 1          pound Dungeness crab meat
  • 2          cups panko, divided
  • 2          tablespoons butter
  • 4          tablespoons olive oil
  • Remoulade sauce, for serving
  1. Line baking sheet with waxed paper.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, green onions, egg yolks, lemon juice, tarragon, cilantro, mustard, lemon peel and black pepper. Add crabmeat and 1 cup panko, breaking up crabmeat slightly. Let mix stand 10 minutes.
  3. Form crab mixture into 16 2-inch patties, using about 1/4 cup for each cake. Place patties on baking sheet. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Using remaining panko, lightly coat each crab cake.
  4. Heat two heavy, large skillets over medium-high heat. In each skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add crab cakes to skillets and cook until golden on both sides (adding more butter and oil as needed), about 5 minutes total.
  5. Transfer cakes to napkins to drain excess oil. Plate crab cakes with dollop of remoulade on top.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Kobrand Wine and Spirits

Holiday 09 November 2017

Cook Like a Top Chef this Holiday Season

(Family Features) This holiday season, you can impress your guests with these tips and recipes from award-winning chefs Seamus Mullen and John Tesar:

  • Start with fresh, high-quality ingredients that are versatile and easy to cook, like fresh pork.
  • Look for meats with marbling, which translates to flavor and tenderness.
  • Let your meat rest before cutting into it, to help retain moisture and juiciness.

Try out these festive dishes featuring all-natural, hand-trimmed Smithfield Prime Fresh Pork. For more holiday recipe inspiration, visit smithfield.com/primechefs.

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Pork Tenderloin and Fennel with Cranberry-Ginger Relish

Recipe courtesy of Chef Seamus Mullen
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Servings: 8

  • 2          Smithfield Prime Fresh Pork Tenderloins
  • 1          piece fresh ginger
  • 2          tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4          stars anise
  • 2          cups cranberries
  • 1/4       cup honey
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 4          bulbs fennel, quartered
  • 1          lemon, sliced thin, seeds removed
  • 6          tablespoons olive oil, divided
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Remove fresh pork tenderloins from package and let rest up to 15 minutes.
  3. Use vegetable peeler to peel skin off ginger. Cut lengthwise to make paper-thin slices. Stack slices and use knife to cut into thin threads.
  4. In saucepan, heat butter until foamy. Stir in 2-3 tablespoons ginger, star anise and cranberries; saute about 5 minutes.
  5. Add enough water to cover mixture. Reduce heat to simmer; cook until cranberries break down, about 7-10 minutes. Stir in honey; season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
  6. In large baking pan, combine fennel, lemon slices and 1/4 cup olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven 25-30 minutes.
  7. While fennel is roasting, in cast-iron skillet, heat remaining olive oil over high heat. Season tenderloins with salt and pepper; brown all sides, about 5 minutes.
  8. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until internal temperature reaches 145° F. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
  9. Place tenderloins and fennel on platter; top with cranberry-ginger relish.

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Ancho Chile Rubbed Pork Loin with Fig Chutney

Recipe courtesy of Chef John Tesar
Prep time: 10 minutes, plus marinade time
Cook time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Servings: 6

Pork Loin:

  • 1          Smithfield Prime Boneless Center Cut Fresh Pork Loin
  • 1/4       cup ancho chile powder
  • 1 1/2    tablespoons paprika
  • 2 1/2    teaspoons mustard powder
  • 2 1/2    teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 1/2    teaspoons ground oregano
  • 1          teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1          teaspoon ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground chile de arbol
  • 3          tablespoons canola oil

Fig Chutney:

  • 1          cup tawny port
  • 3/4       cup dried figs, quartered
  • 1/4       cup water
  • 2          tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1          strip lemon zest
  • 1          small bay leaf
  • 1/2       cinnamon stick
  • 1/2       tablespoon sugar
  • coarse ground salt
  • ground black pepper
  1. Remove fresh pork loin from package and let rest up to 15 minutes.
  2. Mix together ancho chile powder, paprika, mustard powder, coriander, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, cumin and chile de arbol. Combine with canola oil; mix well.
  3. Rub pork loin with chile rub and refrigerate 4 hours.
  4. Heat oven to 400° F.
  5. Season pork loin with salt and pepper, and place in roasting pan; roast 1 hour until internal temperature reaches 145° F. Let stand 15 minutes; slice into 1-inch-thick slices.
  6. To make chutney: In saucepan, combine port, figs, water, butter, lemon zest, bay leaf, cinnamon and sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until liquid is consistency of jam, about 30 minutes. Discard bay leaf and cinnamon stick.
  8. Place pork loin slices in bowl and top with chutney. Serve over creamy polenta.

Source: Smithfield

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