recipes

Meal Ideas 03 November 2017

Spice Up the Season

Flavorful holiday dishes for every course

(Family Features) Whether this holiday marks your culinary debut or you’re a seasoned chef looking for a fresh take on seasonal favorites, you can take some notes from the pros. Every good chef has an arsenal of tricks and techniques to create amazing dishes every time, and the perfect blend of spices is one of those winning secrets.

In a properly seasoned dish, the spice accents the natural flavors without overpowering them. That’s why it’s a good idea to build your menu around spices and herbs of the highest quality, such as Spice Islands, which crafts and packages spices and herbs from around the world to deliver the most authentic and intense flavor possible.

Add flavor-rich, seasonal spices to your holiday table with these flavorful recipes for a Traditional Turkey Rub, Cranberry Apple Chutney, Butternut Squash Soup with Thyme Butter and Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes.

From the appetizers to the main dish to dessert, flavorful seasonings can make a good recipe great. Find more ideas for spicing up your holiday menu at SpiceIslands.com.

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Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Yield: 18 mini cheesecakes

  • 18        paper baking cups (2 1/2 inch diameter)
  • 18        gingersnap cookies
  • 12        ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4       cup sugar
  • 1          tablespoon corn starch
  • 1          teaspoon Spice Islands Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2          eggs
  • 1          cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3       cup light corn syrup
  1. Heat oven to 325° F. Line muffin tin with paper baking cups. Place 1 cookie in each cup.
  2. With electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, corn starch and pumpkin pie spice. Add eggs and mix well. Add pumpkin and corn syrup; beat 1 minute.
  3. Pour filling into liners, dividing evenly. Bake 30-35 minutes until just set.
  4. Chill 1 hour.

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Cranberry Apple Chutney

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 2 cups

  • 1          bag (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/4       cup water
  • 2          large apples, cored and chopped
  • 1 1/2    cups sugar
  • 2/3       cup finely chopped onion
  • 2/3       cup golden raisins
  • 2          teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1          teaspoon Spice Islands Minced Garlic
  • 1          teaspoon salt
  • 3/4       teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Allspice
  • 1/4       teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon
  • 1/8       teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Cloves
  • 2/3       cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/3       cup cider vinegar
  • 2/3       cup chopped pecans
  1. In large saucepan, combine cranberries, water, apples, sugar, onion, raisins, ginger, garlic, salt, allspice, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; cover, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Add corn syrup, vinegar and pecans. Cook uncovered 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Serve with roast turkey, pork roast or baked ham.

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Butternut Squash Soup with Thyme Butter

Prep time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings

  • 1          tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1          teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Ginger
  • 1/4       teaspoon Spice Islands Cayenne Pepper
  • 3          pounds (about 7 cups) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2          medium cooking apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 2          small onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2          cans (14 1/2 ounces each) chicken broth, divided
  • 1/2       cup water
  • Thyme Butter:
  • 1/4       cup butter, softened
  • 1/2       teaspoon Spice Islands Thyme
  • 1/2       teaspoon Spice Islands Garlic Powder
  1. Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. In large bowl, combine oil, ginger and cayenne pepper. Add squash, apples and onions; toss to coat. Transfer to 15-by-10-inch baking pan. Roast in single layer 35-45 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven.
  3. Working in batches, combine squash mixture and one can chicken broth in blender or food processor; blend until smooth. Transfer pureed mixture to large saucepan. Stir in remaining chicken broth and water. Bring soup to boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.
  4. To make thyme butter: Combine butter, thyme and garlic powder until well blended. Spoon onto wax paper and roll into 3-inch log; wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm.
  5. To serve, cut butter into thin slices. Ladle hot soup into individual bowls; top each with slice of butter.

Tip: Puree can be made in advance, covered and refrigerated up to 2 days.

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Traditional Turkey Rub

Prep time: 5 minutes
Yield: rub for 1 turkey (about 15 pounds)

  • 2          teaspoons Spice Islands Crushed Rosemary
  • 1          teaspoon Spice Islands Thyme
  • 1          teaspoon Spice Islands Onion Powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon Spice Islands Garlic Powder
  • 1/8       teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon
  • sea salt
  • Spice Islands Ground Black Pepper
  • pure olive oil (optional)
  • 1          turkey
  1. In small bowl, combine rosemary, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder and cinnamon. Generously add salt and pepper. Lightly coat turkey with oil, if desired.
  2. Rub all surfaces of turkey with seasoning. Roast according to package directions.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (whole turkey on platter)

Source: Spice Islands

Appetizers & Sides 03 November 2017

Holiday Entertaining Excellence

(Family Features) From savory appetizers to delicious holiday gifts, cheese is a must-have holiday ingredient.

These recipes from Chef George Duran, host of TLC's "Ultimate Cake Off" and Food Network's "Ham on the Street," make it easy to elevate your cheeseboard, serve up delightfully delicate puffed pastries or make glass canning jar gifts to give away to guests. Each dish features Jarlsberg Cheese, which was created in 1956 and remains based on the original Norwegian recipe, offering a slightly nutty, mild and delicious taste that helps every dish live up to festive occasions.

Best known for its classic wedge, Jarlsberg is also available sliced and in snacks and crisps for simple appetizers, savory sides and even take-home treats your guests will love.

Find more ideas to elevate this holiday season at jarlsberg.com.

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Tomatoes Gratin

Servings: 4

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 ounces balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 4 ounces, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme (or equivalent dried)
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 ounces pine (pignoli) nuts
  • 8 ounces shredded Jarlsberg Cheese
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Cut tomatoes in half. In bowl, whisk together vinegar, 1/3 cup olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper; gently mix in tomatoes. Transfer to ovenproof dish. Place tomatoes cut-side up and bake 15 minutes.
  3. In pan, toast pine nuts with remaining olive oil until golden then set aside.
  4. When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove skins and return to baking dish. Sprinkle tomatoes with shredded cheese. Return to oven and broil about 5 minutes, or until cheese turns golden and bubbly. Top with toasted pine nuts.

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Cranberry and Walnut Phyllo Triangles

Servings: 4

Filling:

  • 1 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Triangles:

  • 10 sheets fresh or frozen phyllo dough
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups Jarlsberg Chunk Cheese, cut into 25 cubes
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts
  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. In saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, raisins, honey, orange peel and orange juice; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Carefully lay one phyllo sheet on cutting board and brush with melted butter. Place another sheet of phyllo on top and brush with melted butter. Cover remaining sheets with damp towel to prevent drying out. Position brushed pastry horizontally and cut into five strips.
  4. Place 1/2 teaspoon cranberry filling, one cube of cheese and 1/2 teaspoon chopped nuts in lower corner of each strip. Fold dough over filling to form triangle. Fold triangle up then over, forming another triangle. Continue folding to end of strip. Brush top with melted butter and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon chopped nuts. Repeat with remaining strips of dough and remaining sheets of phyllo.
  5. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack before serving.

Note: If using frozen phyllo dough, thaw in refrigerator overnight.

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French-Style Marinated Cheese

Servings: 1

  • 6 ounces Jarlsberg Original, Lite or Hickory Smoked Cheese
  • 2 ounces black or green olives
  • 1 small leek, bulb only (or small shallot)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano or tarragon (or equivalent dried)
  • 1 teaspoon green or black peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or equivalent dried)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 glass canning jar
  1. Cube cheese and thinly slice olives and leek. Finely chop oregano and peppercorns, and finely mince thyme and garlic.
  2. To make marinade: Whisk vinegar with oil, oregano, peppercorns, thyme and garlic. Layer cheese, olives and leeks inside jar. Cover with marinade and seal tightly.
  3. Place jar in refrigerator to marinate 1 day. For best results, use within 3 days.

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Holiday Deviled Eggs

Servings: 12

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup shredded Jarlsberg Cheese

Topping options:

  • Paprika
  • Parsley
  • Bacon
  • Shredded Jarlsberg Cheese
  • Cooked crab meat
  • Scallions
  1. Boil large pot of water. Carefully add eggs and boil on high 2 minutes then simmer 13 minutes.
  2. While eggs cook, chop parsley and scallions, if desired.
  3. Once eggs are cooked, transfer to bowl of ice water; cool 8-10 minutes. Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Separate egg yolks into another bowl. Reserve egg white halves.
  4. Combine egg yolks with salt, pepper, vinegar and mustard. Add shredded cheese and mayonnaise; mix until smooth.
  5. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of yolk mixture into each egg white half.
  6. Add toppings, as desired. For classic deviled eggs, sprinkle paprika and chopped parsley over eggs. For a savory alternative, cook four strips of bacon and chop. Top eggs with chopped bacon and shredded cheese. For a unique variation, try topping eggs with cooked crab meat and chopped scallions.

Source: Jarlsberg Cheese

Appetizers & Sides 27 October 2017

Appealing Holiday Appetizers

(Family Features) While the main course is in the oven and guests mingle in anticipation this holiday season, tide them over with simple appetizers the whole crowd will enjoy.

That sometimes tall task may be easier said than done depending on the size of your get-together, but you can make it less daunting with quick starters that incorporate dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt, which can serve as helpful on-hand ingredients that also provide flavor and nutritional value. Since dairy foods are readily available in many family kitchens, they are ideal for creating recipes for last-minute noshes and nibbles, especially perfect for holiday entertaining.

For quick snacks to help keep appetites at bay, try these Antipasti Holiday Skewers that have something for everyone with bits of pasta, cubed cheese, pepperoni and veggies. Or for a warmer dish perfect for a snowy holiday, this Baked Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Dip can help chase away the chill.

Other easy ways to give the gift of dairy during the holidays by incorporating it into tasty dishes include:

  • Starting the day with egg casserole or a quiche made with milk and cheese.
  • Sprinkling shredded cheese on steamed vegetables, casseroles or pasta dishes.
  • Replacing mayo with plain Greek yogurt in tuna or chicken salads.
  • Creating warm, comforting soups using milk.

Find more dairy-inspired recipes perfect for holiday entertaining at midwestdairy.com.

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Baked Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Dip

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1          can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1          package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach frozen, thawed and drained
  • 8          ounces plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1          cup shredded, low-moisture, part-skim Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4       cup green onion, chopped
  • 1          garlic clove, minced
  • 2          tablespoons red pepper, chopped
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine artichoke hearts, spinach, yogurt, cheese, onion and garlic; mix well.
  3. Pour mixture into 1-quart casserole dish or 9-inch pie plate. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.
  4. Sprinkle with red peppers.

Nutritional information per serving: 179 calories; 12 g total fat; 18 mg cholesterol; 383 mg sodium; 227 mg potassium; 7 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein.

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Antipasti Holiday Skewers

Prep time: 45 minutes
Yield: 16 skewers

  • 1          package (9 ounces) cheese-filled tortellini, cooked al dente and cooled
  • 1/2       cup fat-free Italian dressing
  • 1          block (8 ounces) reduced-fat Swiss cheese, cubed
  • 2          cups baby spinach leaves
  • 32        pieces turkey pepperoni
  • 3 1/2    cups cherry tomatoes
  • 16        wooden skewers, 9-10 inches each
  1. In large bowl, marinate tortellini in Italian dressing 30 minutes in refrigerator.
  2. To assemble skewers, start with two pieces tortellini, one cheese cube, two spinach leaves, one pepperoni slice (folded in fourths), one tomato and repeat. Each skewer will have total of four pieces tortellini, two cheese cubes, four spinach leaves, two pepperoni slices and two tomatoes.
  3. Repeat until skewers are complete. Refrigerate until serving.

Nutritional information per serving: 81 calories; 2 g fat; 10 mg cholesterol; 191 mg sodium; 113 mg potassium; 8 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein.

Source: Midwest Dairy

Appetizers & Sides 27 October 2017

Tips for Using Leftover Holiday Wine

(Family Features) Whether it’s a semi-full bottle of crisp white or a half-empty bottle of leftover red, there are creative ways to make the most of unused wine after all the holiday parties come to an end.

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The World Wine Guys and Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits offer these ideas to help you put your leftover wine to good use this holiday season:

Make Red Wine Vinegar
Impress your guests by adding homemade red wine vinegar to your next dish. Add one part raw vinegar to two parts leftover red wine then store your mixture in a dark, cool place. Monitor periodically and keep testing until you get the desired vinegar smell, strain and refrigerate. Use as desired on salads and in homemade sauces and marinades.

Create Wine Ice Cubes
If you can't use your leftover white wine right away, pour the remaining liquid into ice trays and freeze. Next time you’re enjoying a glass, add some of the cubes to your wine to keep it cold. This trick can also work with a rosé or sparkling wine like Josh Cellars California Rosé or Enza Prosecco. Using the frozen wine cubes instead of ice can prevent what you pour from becoming too watered down.

Wine-Based Recipes
Both red and white wines can be used in a variety of different dishes from appetizers to desserts. Keep in mind that open bottles should be used within 2-3 days, so look to use your leftovers sooner rather than later. Try adding wine to a seasonal side dish like these White Wine Glazed Carrots. It can also be used as a savory addition to main courses such as this classic Red Wine Tomato Sauce.

For more information on wines for the holidays, visit WineFix.com.

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White Wine Glazed Carrots

Recipe courtesy of Deutsch Family and the World Wine Guys, authors of "Red Wine "

  • 6          medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2    cups water
  • 1          tablespoon honey
  • 2          tablespoons Barone Fini Pinot Grigio
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  1. In large skillet, combine carrots and olive oil; add water. Cook over medium-high heat until carrots are tender. Add honey and white wine; cook and stir 2 minutes until carrots are glazed.
  2. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Red Wine Tomato Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Deutsch Family and the World Wine Guys, authors of "Red Wine"

  • 1          teaspoon olive oil
  • 1          medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3          cloves garlic, minced
  • 1          can whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 1/8       cup Villa Pozzi Nero D’Avola
  • 1/4       cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4       teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2       teaspoon dried sea salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2       teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2       teaspoon basil
  1. In medium-size pot, heat olive oil. Add onion and saute 4 minutes then add minced garlic and saute 1 minute. 
  2. Add tomatoes, wine, vinegar, red pepper, sea salt, oregano, thyme and basil; reduce heat and simmer about 40 minutes.

Source: Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits

Meal Ideas 27 October 2017

Holiday Recipes Packed with Flavor and Crunch

(Family Features) The holiday season can be full of special occasions that bring friends and family together around the dining room table. While certain classic dishes may be expected, adding new recipes to your holiday menu can keep even the traditionalists reaching for seconds.

A staple of any holiday dinner is the tried-and-true green bean casserole. Tender green beans immersed in a creamy mushroom sauce that are then topped with a crunchy layer of classic French’s Fried Onions to complete the dish. These flavorful and crunchy onions can be the star ingredient of many of your holiday recipes.

The green bean casserole recipe may be an expected part of the holiday dinner spread, but you can add other sides to bring a new twist to this year’s meal. A fun way to start is a macaroni and cheese recipe with a twist to spice up the dinner table.

Mix French’s Crispy Jalapenos into your favorite mac and cheese recipe to kick the spice and crunch up a notch. Made with real jalapenos, the addition creates a flavor explosion of cheesy goodness paired with just the right amount of spice to become a new family favorite.

For more holiday recipe inspiration, visit Frenchs.com/Friendsgiving.

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Crunchy Jalapeno Mac and Cheese

  • 8          ramekins (4 ounces each), greased
  • 1          box (7 1/2 ounces) macaroni and cheese
  • 1/2       cup milk, divided
  • 1/2       teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon paprika
  • 1          cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2    cups shredded Italian cheese blend, divided
  • 1          cup French’s Crispy Jalapenos
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Place ramekins on baking sheet.
  2. Cook macaroni and cheese, according to package instructions.
  3. Stir in 1/4 cup milk, chili powder and paprika while macaroni is still hot. Add cheddar cheese and 1 cup Italian cheese blend and continue to stir, over low heat, until melted.
  4. Remove from heat and mix in 1/2 cup of crispy jalapenos.
  5. Fill ramekins topping with remaining Italian cheese blend and crispy jalapenos. Bake 10 minutes.

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Green Bean Casserole

  • 1          can (10 1/2 ounces) cream of mushroom soup
  • 3/4       cup milk
  • 1/8       teaspoon black pepper
  • 4          cups cooked cut green beans
  • 1 1/3    cups French's Crispy Fried Onions, divided
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In 1 1/2-quart baking dish, mix soup, milk and pepper. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup onions.
  3. Bake 30 minutes, or until hot. Stir.
  4. Top with remaining onions. Bake 5 minutes until onions are golden.

Substitution: Use 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) green beans, drained, in place of 4 cups cooked cut green beans.

Source: French’s

Meal Ideas 20 October 2017

A Holiday Ham Worth Celebrating

(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.

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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
Servings: 8

  • 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

Smashed Potatoes:

  • 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)
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Slice the ham crosswise and serve with the smashed potatoes.
Appetizers & Sides 05 October 2017

Excellent Entertaining

Elegant ideas for a meal worth celebrating

(Family Features) Delighting guests in unexpected ways is the hallmark of exceptional entertaining. With a little creative flair, you can elevate your menu to impress guests with every course.

A savory appetizer is set off beautifully by fresh, sweet grapes in this Grape and Goat Cheese Crostini. Festive, bright and refreshing, grapes are a versatile ingredient that take dishes to the next level, making them ideal for special occasions.

Not only are grapes a smart choice to keep on hand for healthy snacking and everyday eating, the vibrant colors and flavors bring extra life to a basic protein. For a unique twist on a main dish, try dressing up chicken with an elegant addition like fresh grapes, as in these Seared Chicken Breasts with Grapes and Artichokes.

The secret to a winning dessert is presentation, and the vibrant colors of red, green or black grapes lend just the right look to these tasty Mini Pavlovas with Lemon Cream and Grapes. What’s more, the juicy sweetness offsets the tartness of the lemon for an explosion of flavor perfection.

A Fresh Approach to Décor

Not only do fresh grapes’ lively flavors make for exceptional dishes, their vibrant colors can also enhance your table in other ways. Lend natural beauty to your decor while providing your loved ones with a healthy snack option with these creative ideas:

  • Arrange grapes in bowls, on platters or draped from a cake plate for attractive and edible centerpieces.
  • Dress snacking grapes up for the occasion by dipping clusters in liquid gelatin. Roll them in sugar, spices and finely chopped nuts to make a “frosted” finger food with a hint of crunch.
  • Colorful grapes lend a pretty pop when used as a garnish to decorate serving plates.

Plan your next special occasion with the host of recipes at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.

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Grape and Goat Cheese Crostini

Serves: 8

  • 2          cups quartered green, black or red California grapes (or a mixture)
  • 2          teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2          teaspoons honey
  • 1          tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4       teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 16        baguette slices, thinly cut on diagonal
  • 8          ounces fresh goat cheese
  1. In medium bowl, combine grapes, lemon juice, honey, thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil. Spread each baguette with goat cheese and top with grape mixture.

Nutritional information per serving: 200 calories; 9 g protein; 23 g carbohydrates; 8 g fat (36 percent calories from fat); 4.5 g saturated fat (20 percent calories from saturated fat); 15 mg cholesterol; 340 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

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Mini Pavlovas with Lemon Cream and Grapes

Serves: 6

  • 4          large egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1          cup sugar
  • 2          teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3       cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3       cup lemon curd
  • 1 1/2    cups halved California grapes
  • chopped smoked or tamari almonds (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. With electric mixer on medium speed, in large bowl, beat egg whites and salt until firm peaks form. On low speed, add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until meringue forms stiff peaks. Whisk in cornstarch and vanilla.
  2. Divide meringue into six 4-inch circles on baking sheet. With large spoon, make indentations in middle of each. Place baking sheet in oven and lower temperature to 300° F. Bake 30 minutes then turn off oven and leave baking sheet inside another 30 minutes. To serve, whip cream to soft peaks and stir in lemon curd. Dollop onto meringues and top with grapes. Garnish with almonds, if desired.

Nutritional information per serving: 350 calories; 4 g protein; 58 g carbohydrates; 12 g fat (31 percent calories from fat); 8 g saturated fat (20 percent calories from saturated fat); 55 mg cholesterol; 90 mg sodium.

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Seared Chicken Breasts with Grapes and Artichokes

Serves: 4

  • 2          boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 ounces each), butterflied lengthwise into 4 cutlets
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2          cloves garlic, minced
  • 1          leek, white part only, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2          tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 1/2    cups quartered artichoke hearts, frozen, canned or jarred
  • 1/2       cup dry white wine
  • 1/2       cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1          tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2       teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2          teaspoons butter
  • 3/4       cup green California grapes
  • 3/4       cup red California grapes
  • 2          tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, to taste. In saute pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chicken breasts and sear 3-4 minutes per side. Remove chicken and set aside.
  2. Add remaining olive oil to pan, along with garlic, leek and pinch of salt; cook on medium heat 2-3 minutes to soften leek. Stir in oregano, artichokes, wine, chicken stock, lemon juice, lemon zest and butter. Simmer 2-3 minutes then add chicken back to pan, basting each breast with sauce. Add grapes and simmer 3-5 minutes, or until grapes are just soft and chicken is cooked through.
  3. Stir in fresh parsley and serve.

Nutritional information per serving: 320 calories; 26 g protein; 23 g carbohydrates; 12 g fat (34 percent calories from fat); 3 g saturated fat (8 percent calories from saturated fat); 70 mg cholesterol; 390 mg sodium; 5 g fiber.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Dessert 24 March 2017

Edible Easter Fun

(Family Features) Little ones (and big ones too) will have fun making these adorable Easter Lamb Carrot Cupcakes. Easter is a special time for bringing families together. Make memories happen in the kitchen when you get hands on with these sweet cupcakes made with Dixie Crystals Sugar. Marshmallow lambs sitting atop moist carrot cupcakes on a bed of green coconut grass are a sure way to sweeten any family gathering.

For more recipes to add fun and flavor to your Easter festivities, visit www.dixiecrystals.com.

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Easter Lamb Carrot Cupcakes

Servings: 12-16

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups Dixie Crystals Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups finely shredded carrots
  • 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Frosting:

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 1 stick or 1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft
  • 4 cups Dixie Crystals Confectioners Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Royal icing:

  • 1 cup Dixie Crystals Confectioners Powdered Sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons dried egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Decoration:

  • 1 cup sweetened coconut
  • Green food coloring
  • Black food coloring
  • 1 bag regular size marshmallows
  • 1 bag miniature marshmallows
  • 24-36 pink jelly beans
  • 24 black jelly beans
  • 12-16 hard candy caramels
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place 16 cupcake liners in cupcake or muffin tin and set aside.
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger and set aside.
  4. In large bowl, whisk together eggs and vegetable oil until well blended. Add sugar, salt and vanilla; mix well.
  5. Add carrots, pineapple and nuts and combine well. Stir in flour mixture.
  6. Scoop into paper cups about 2/3 full. (May make more depending on size.)
  7. Bake until center of cupcakes bounce back when lightly pressed or inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Allow to cool before frosting.
  8. For frosting, mix cream cheese and soft butter on low speed until blended. Add one cup powdered sugar and mix on low speed. Gradually add remaining powdered sugar and mix on low to medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix well. Set aside covered in refrigerator.
  9. Place coconut in bowl and add drop of green food color, mix by gloved hand until color is well distributed. (Add touch of yellow if color is too harsh.)
  10. Fill piping bag or food storage bag fitted with medium round decorating tip with cream cheese frosting.
  11. Prepare 2 small paper piping bags; set aside to prepare icing.
  12. To make royal icing, sift together powdered sugar with dried egg whites and place in bowl. Add water and lemon juice and whip several minutes to stiff mixture. Thin mixture with water if necessary.
  13. Place 3 – 4 tablespoons of royal icing in a small bowl and tint with black food coloring.
  14. Fill 2 small piping bags; one with white and the other with black royal icing. Set aside.
  15. Using cream cheese frosting pipe generous circle of frosting onto cupcake.
  16. Cut large marshmallow crosswise in half. Lay one and a half large marshmallows horizontally onto cupcake. Pipe thin layer of cream cheese frosting onto marshmallows.
  17. Starting at bottom surround large marshmallows with miniature marshmallows. Pipe a little cream cheese frosting onto first layer of mini marshmallow and stack another layer of mini marshmallows. Continue until completely covered.
  18. Press green coconut onto edges of cupcake.
  19. Position cupcake so circle side of large marshmallow faces you.
  20. For head, place hard caramel onto top edge of large marshmallow and ensure it is resting onto miniature marshmallows. (Remove some marshmallows to fit if necessary.)
  21. For ears, cut pink jelly bean lengthwise in half. Pinch beans to make pointy. Place next to head and use a little cream cheese frosting to make them stick.
  22. Cut black jelly beans in fours to create feet. Cut black jelly bean lengthwise to create tail. Attach with cream cheese frosting.
  23. Using white royal icing pipe eyes, followed by black. Pipe with black royal icing for nostrils.

Notes: When measuring flour, avoid firmly packing measuring cup. Mixing frosting on high will make it runny and too soft.

Source: Dixie Crystals Sugar

Pork 21 March 2017

Elevate Your Easter Feast with Sweet, Simple Ham

(Family Features) For most, it’s not Easter without the classic ham centerpiece. This year, add a flavorful twist to everyone’s favorite holiday main dish with a glaze, chutney or sauce.

Ham pairs well with many flavors, making it easy to create a unique dish every time. From sweet to savory and oh-so succulent, these ham combinations can bring easy elegance and flavor to the table. Serve a decadent ham recipe to ensure your Easter feast is as memorable as it is delicious with a recipe like this Ham with Honey, Fennel and Mustard Glaze.

With this recipe, the traditional ham is now elevated with fresh spring flavors and a crowd-pleasing glaze. Served with bright, seasonal asparagus, this dish brings together unexpected flavors creating a soon-to-be family favorite.

For more Easter inspiration and ways to transform more or leftover ham into tasty baguettes, crepes, quesadillas and more, visit PorkBeinspired.com.

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Ham with Honey, Fennel and Mustard Glaze

Servings: 15

  • 1 7- to 8-pound spiral-sliced smoked ham, bone-in
  • 6 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 3 pounds asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
  2. Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to coarsely crush the fennel seeds. Set aside 1 tablespoon, then transfer the remaining fennel to a medium bowl and add the honey, mustard, and pepper. Set 1 1/2 cups of the mixture aside.
  3. Place the ham flat side down in a large shallow roasting pan and brush with about 1/2 of the remaining honey-mustard mixture. Roast the ham, basting with the same honey-mustard mixture and pan juices every 25 to 30 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 140° F., 15 to 18 minutes per pound (loosely cover with foil if ham gets too browned). Remove the ham from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, and let rest 15 to 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, add a rack to the upper third of the oven and increase the temperature to 400° F. Arrange the asparagus on two large rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and reserved fennel seeds, and bake until tender, about 15 minutes.
  5. Slice enough ham to serve and arrange on plates or a platter. Serve the asparagus and the reserved honey-mustard mixture on the side.

Source: National Pork Board

Breakfast & Brunch 07 March 2017

Easy Egg Casserole

With Jimmy Dean fully cooked Hearty Sausage Crumbles, you can whip up an Easy Egg Casserole in the morning – or even the night before – and pop it in the oven for a no-hassle breakfast that’s so comforting and delicious, they’ll be coming back for seconds.

Yield: 12 servings (1 square each)

  • 8 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 cups French bread cubes (3/4-inch pieces)
  • 1 package Jimmy Dean Hearty Original Sausage Crumbles
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Beat eggs, milk and pepper in large bowl with a wire whisk until well blended. Add bread cubes; stir gently until evenly coated. Stir in sausage crumbles and 1 1/2 cups cheese.
  3. Pour into lightly greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish; sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into 12 squares to serve.

Spinach-Egg Casserole: Add 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeeze dry, to egg mixture before pouring into prepared baking dish.

Make-Ahead Egg Casserole: Assemble casserole as directed; cover. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, uncover and bake 50 to 55 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Source: Jimmy Dean

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