recipes

Healthy 06 June 2017

Go Ahead ... Eat the Whole Watermelon

(Family Features) Sliced or diced, grilled or blended, there are countless ways to prepare watermelon. With some fruits, half or more is wasted when you throw away the seeds and peel, but you may be surprised to learn that you can use an entire watermelon, including the rind, to make delicious and refreshing dishes.

Most people think of watermelon as a sweet, juicy snack perfect for hot summer days, but with its high water content (92 percent), the fruit is more than just tasty. It’s also an ideal way to keep your body hydrated. What’s more, the ability to use the entire fruit makes watermelon one of the most versatile and value-conscious options in the produce department.

An average watermelon consists of about 70 percent fruit and 30 percent rind. Hollowed out, the rind is an attractive way to serve any number of recipes, but the rind is actually edible, too, and can be stir-fried, stewed or pickled, or even enjoyed raw. This yummy slaw gets its distinctive crunch from the watermelon rind, which is packed with citrulline and arginine, two compounds that may aid in healthy blood flow.

Watermelon is also a flavorful substitute for tomatoes, as shown in this traditional Italian appetizer, and contains higher levels of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable per serving, according to award-winning nutrition author and registered dietitian Elizabeth Somer.

Additionally, it lends some sweetness to a spicy salsa and a refreshing twist on a summery salad. You can also try blending watermelon with other fresh fruits for a super smoothie or mixing it up with some adult libations (and don’t forget, you can transform the rind into a mini-keg in minutes; just add a pour spout).

Find more ideas for using every bite of fruit, juice and rind at watermelon.org.

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Watermelon Caprese Salad with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

Makes: 6 servings

  • 12 slices watermelon cut into rounds or squares, approximately 3 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick, with seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 12 slices
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig basil, for garnish
  1. Place watermelon slices on paper towels and cover with additional paper towels to absorb excess fluid.
  2. In small saucepan over medium heat, add vinegar and honey. Stir to blend, bring to simmer and reduce heat. Stir occasionally until mixture is reduced by almost half. (Do not let reduce too far or allow to froth.) Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. On large platter, place watermelon slices and top each with slice of cheese. Add salt and pepper, to taste, then sprinkle basil leaves evenly over top. Drizzle with olive oil, followed by reduced balsamic vinegar. Garnish with sprig of basil.

Tip: Use red and yellow watermelon for an extra pretty presentation.

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Watermelon Rind Slaw

Makes: 4 one-cup servings

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Slaw:

  • 4 cups grated watermelon rind (fruit and green peel removed)
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 1/2 cups diced fresh pineapple
  1. In small bowl, blend Greek yogurt, sour cream, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, poppy seeds, olive oil, salt and pepper thoroughly. Set aside.
  2. Place watermelon rind on several layers of paper towels to soak up excess fluid.
  3. In medium bowl, place dressing, rind, carrot and pineapple, and toss to thoroughly coat.

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Watermelon Slice Ice Pops

Makes: 5-15 servings

  • 5-15 watermelon slices, cut into triangular wedge shapes, about 1/2 to 1 inch thick, with seeds removed
  • 5-15 ice pop sticks
  1. Insert ice pop stick into rind of each slice.

Optional variation: After inserting sticks, freeze ice pops before serving.

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Superfood Smoothie

Makes: 3 cups

  • 2 cups cubed and seeded watermelon
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup raspberry kefir
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons hemp
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • ice (optional)
  1. Place watermelon, raspberries, raspberry kefir, orange juice concentrate, hemp, agave syrup and ice, if desired, in blender and blend until smooth.

Source: National Watermelon Promotion Board

Meal Ideas 01 May 2017

Delicious, Nutritious Outdoor Dining

(Family Features) Some of the first foods that come to mind when considering dining outdoors are greasy, messy meals. Instead, opt for a nutritious outdoor experience with a turkey wrap, grain bowl or chicken salad for a backyard bite that doesn’t go overboard.

Find more nutritious recipes for outdoor dining at culinary.net.

Lunch On the Go

A healthy combination of plant-based foods and turkey easily turns into a quick lunch. This wrap brings together a variety of textures with crunchiness from the apples and spinach, substance from the turkey and creamy, simple dressing. Find more quick, healthy recipes at aicr.org.

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Turkey, Spinach and Apple Wrap

Recipe reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research

  • 1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons honey mustard
  • 2 whole-wheat lavash wraps or flour tortillas (8 inches each)
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, loosely packed, washed and dried
  • 4 thin slices turkey breast
  • 1/4 Granny Smith apple, sliced paper-thin
  1. Combine mayonnaise and mustard. Lay out both wraps. Spread edges of each with mayonnaise mixture.
  2. Leaving space on one side of wraps, arrange layer of greens on top of wraps. Top each layer with two slices of turkey. Evenly divide apple slices and lay lengthwise across turkey. Fold over one end of wrap then both sides. Roll wrap as tightly as possible toward opposite side.
  3. Cover each wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate seam-side down, up to 4 hours, before serving. To serve, remove plastic wrap and cut each wrap in half at an angle.

Substitution: Two large leaves of soft, leafy green lettuce can be used in place of baby spinach leaves.

Greens and Grains

Dedicating more of your plate to fresh-from-the-garden produce as well as rice and grains can lead to a healthier lifestyle, according to Cheryl Forberg, registered dietitian and award-winning chef and nutritionist for “The Biggest Loser.”

To start living healthier and greener lives, Forberg recommends starting a garden. This hands-on approach is a fun way to learn about nutrition and where food comes from. Following produce from seed to plate can compel you to eat more healthfully.

Forberg furthers her personal dedication to the seed- to-plate journey through her involvement with Seeds of Change, which invests in healthier and greener communities by offering both organic seeds and foods, and delivers an annual grant program that benefits school and community gardening as well as farming programs. This year, the grant program will award $310,000 to participants who plan to help their communities and teach people about sustainability and where fresh food comes from.

Learn more about starting a community garden and living a greener, healthier life at seedsofchangegrant.com.

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Warm Grain Bowl with Wild Salmon, Almonds and Salsa Verde

Total time: 20-25 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 8 wild salmon fillets (3 ounces each)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • fresh pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup shitake mushroom caps, sliced
  • 1 package Seeds of Change Quinoa, Brown & Red Rice with Flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

Salsa Verde (optional):

  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. In oven-proof pan, season salmon with salt and pepper, and drizzle each fillet with olive oil. Bake 12-15 minutes, until cooked through.
  3. In blender or food processor, combine all Salsa Verde ingredients and pulse until fully incorporated but still rustic and chunky. Set aside.
  4. In medium saute pan over medium-high heat, heat remaining olive oil. Add mushrooms and asparagus and saute vigorously 3-5 minutes. Add grains and slivered almonds, and continue to saute until heated through, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Divide grains among eight plates, place a piece of salmon on each plate then finish with dollop of Salsa Verde, if desired, and serve.

Substitution: Shitake mushroom caps may be substituted with button mushrooms or other wild mushrooms.

Savory Salad

Even when you plan to take dining outdoors, a tasty salad still makes for an ideally nutritious meal. This salad brings together an assortment of veggies for a Tomato-Cucumber Salsa to top succulent baked chicken and greens. Find more recipes perfect for dining al fresco at chickenroost.com.

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Baked Greek Chicken Salad

Recipe courtesy of the National Chicken Council
Servings: 4

Tomato-Cucumber Salsa:

  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 green pepper, julienned
  • 1/4 purple onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon Greek seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard

Salad:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
  • 1 package mixed Italian salad greens
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • black olives
  • pepperoncini peppers
  1. To make Tomato-Cucumber Salsa: In medium bowl, mix together tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, purple onion, red wine vinegar, olive oil, vegetable oil, pepper, salt, basil, oregano, Greek seasoning, sugar and dry mustard. Chill until ready to serve.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F.
  3. Place chicken in baking dish. In medium bowl, mix together butter, lemon juice, pepper, garlic powder, oregano and Greek seasoning; pour over chicken. Bake about 50 minutes, uncovered, basting occasionally.
  4. Place salad greens in large serving bowl. Top with Tomato-Cucumber Salsa. Slice chicken in thin strips and arrange on top of salad. Sprinkle with feta cheese and garnish with olives and pepper.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Culinary.net

Healthy 07 April 2017

A Colorful, Crunchy Salad

(Family Features) As days get longer and the weather gets warmer, take your meal outdoors for some tasty al fresco dining featuring a fresh and easy-to-prepare salad.

With minimal ingredients and maximum flavor, this combination of radicchio, California green ripe olives, chickpeas and Parmesan is sure to find its way into your seasonal meal occasions, from at-home dinners to garden parties.

Boasting vibrant purple hues, radicchio not only looks beautiful on the plate but packs a unique and pleasing, bitter flavor that is complemented by the texture added to each bite by toasted sunflower seeds and chickpeas.

Completing the salad are California Ripe Olives, which are grown by farming families across California. The California green ripe olive is similar to the black ripe olive but features a more mild and buttery flavor profile.

Find more tasty recipes at calolive.org.

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Radicchio Salad with Olives, Chickpeas and Parmesan

Recipe courtesy of the Simply Recipes blog
Prep time: 15 minutes
Resting time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4-6

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 large head radicchio (10-12 ounces)
  • 1 can (16 ounces) California green ripe olives, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 1 can (16 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper, plus additional, to taste
  1. Add sunflowers seeds to small, dry skillet. Toast over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until seeds are toasted around edges and smell fragrant.
  2. Transfer seeds to bowl to cool.
  3. Peel away and discard a layer or two of outer radicchio leaves if they look wilted or battered. Cut head of radicchio into quarters through root. Trim away root.
  4. Cut each quarter crosswise into strips, 1- to 1 1/2-inches thick. Transfer to large mixing bowl.
  5. Add olives, chickpeas and 3/4 cup cheese to bowl with radicchio.
  6. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss gently until ingredients are evenly coated. If cheese clumps together, break apart with spatula and stir in.
  7. Let salad stand at least 10 minutes, or up to an hour.
  8. Add additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve salad on individual plates or one shared platter. Top with remaining cheese and toasted sunflower seeds.

Substitution: If radicchio is unavailable, try frisee, endive or another bitter green.

Note: Salad is best served within one hour of preparation, but can be stored in airtight container in fridge for several days.

Source: California Olive Committee

Healthy 04 April 2017

Celebrating Salads With Pistachios

America’s Top Chefs Share Their Favorite Recipes

(Family Features) Want to add taste, color and crunch to salads any time of the year? Then sprinkle on pistachios. Chefs are going nutty over them, and for good reason. California grown, these pale green nuts have a subtle, delicate flavor that is wonderful in sweet as well as savory dishes or for eating out of hand. Traditionally used in rice dishes, stuffing, ice cream and pastries, pistachios are now a key ingredient in signature salads.

Pistachio Facts & Helpful Tips

The key to including nuts in the diet without adding extra calories is portion control. Use pistachios on salads, or in main dishes, to replace meat or poultry. California pistachios have versatility, texture and great taste. They also pack a powerful nutritional punch. A 1-ounce serving — 49 pistachios — contains more than 10 percent of the Daily Value for dietary fiber, vitamin B-6, thiamin, phosphorus and copper. One serving of pistachios has as much potassium as half a large banana. Pistachios contain mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat (11 of 13 fat grams), the types of fat recommended by the 2005 Dietary Guidelines For Americans. Pistachios also are naturally cholesterol free and trans fat free.

Other Pistachio Facts:

  • A serving of pistachios has more fiber (2.9g) than 1 small tomato (1.1g) or 1 cup of raw spinach (.8g).
  • A serving of pistachios provides almost 1 1/2 times the amount of thiamin as 1/2 cup serving of cooked, long grain, enriched white rice and 2 1/2 times the amount of thiamin in long grain, brown rice.
  • The amount of vitamin B-6 in a 1-ounce serving of pistachios is comparable to that in a standard 3-ounce serving of roasted pork loin, 2 times that in a serving of peanut butter and 5 times that in a serving of black beans.
  • Pistachios contain more phytosterols such as beta-sitosterol than any other commonly eaten nut, 61mg per serving or 279mg per 100g. Phytosterols may help lower cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. Preliminary research suggests phytosterols also may offer protection from certain types of cancer.
  • The largest USDA study of food antioxidants reveals pistachios are one of the best sources of beta-carotene of all tree nuts and peanuts. Pistachios also provide the most lutein and zeaxanthin of all tree nuts. Antioxidants are compounds in foods that may help fight cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, and help maintain healthy arteries.

To Make Pistachio Oil:
Toast 1 cup pistachio kernels. When cool, finely grind in food processor. In a saucepan, warm 1 1/2 cups olive oil and ground pistachios and stir until blended. Transfer to a jar and let stand overnight at room temperature. Strain. Substitute in place of olive oil to add flavor to any recipe.

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Harvest Salad with Caramelized California Pistachios and Green Apples

Chef Andrew Carmellini of A Voce Restaurant in New York celebrates the bounty of the harvest with this delicious — yet simple — salad featuring crisp green apples and caramelized California pistachios.

  • 4 cups arugula, picked and washed
  • 2 cups watercress, picked and washed
  • 1 bulb fennel, sliced in half lengthwise then thinly sliced
  • 1 cored green apple, thinly sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 4 leaves basil, washed and coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons white raisins, soaked in warm water and drained
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 whole lemons, zested then juiced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup California pistachios, caramelized
  1. Combine all ingredients except cheese and breadcrumbs in mixing bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Divide into 6 salad bowls; top with cheese, breadcrumbs and caramelized pistachios (see sidebar for caramelizing). Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Nutritional Analysis (Amount per Serving): Calories 250, Total Fat 16g, Saturated Fat 2.5g, Monounsaturated Fat 10g, Cholesterol less than 5mg, Sodium 610mg, Potassium 530mg, Carbohydrate 27g, Dietary Fiber 5g, Protein 6g

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Goat Cheese, Beet Roots and California Pistachio Salad

Executive Chef Pascal LeSeac’h of Pastis, one of New York City’s hottest restaurants, loves serving this simple beet salad featuring California pistachios.

  • 5 medium size beet roots
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup California pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch flat parsley (1⁄4 cup chopped)
  • 1 log (6 ounces) Montrachet goat cheese
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste
  • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  1. Preheat oven: 375°F.
  2. Clean beet roots with cold water, dry with paper towel, coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt. Wrap beets in aluminum foil and place in oven 1 1/2 hours. Check doneness by poking with small knife. Remove and peel beets and slice 1/2-inch thick. Reserve and cool in refrigerator. While beets are cooling, toast pistachios, let cool, then chop.
  3. Clean and dry parsley, then chop with large chef knife. Slice goat cheese 1/2-inch thick.
  4. To Serve: Alternate slices of beets and goat cheese on salad plate. Season with salt and white pepper. Add vinegar and remaining olive oil. Garnish with pistachios and chopped parsley. Serves 2.

Nutritional Analysis (Amount per Serving): Calories 380, Total Fat 33g, Saturated Fat 9g, Monounsaturated Fat 19g, Cholesterol 20mg, Sodium 310mg, Potassium 450mg, Carbohydrate 13g, Dietary Fiber 4g, Protein 11g

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Spicy Pear and Endive Salad with California Pistachios

Nationally-renowned celebrity chefs and “Too Hot Tamales” Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger offer this scrumptious salad featuring California pistachios from their award-winning Border Grill and Ciudad restaurants.

  • 1/2 cup California pistachios, raw and shelled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Comice or D’anjou pears, quartered, cored, and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 4 heads Belgian endive, cored and sliced lengthwise into strips
  • 1/2 to 3⁄4 cup Cabrales blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeños, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  1. In small frying pan, combine pistachios, salt, pepper and sugar. Sauté over low to medium heat, stirring and shaking frequently until pistachios are toasted and sugar caramelizes and coats pistachios. Transfer pistachios to non-stick or parchment-lined cookie sheet and allow to cool. In large bowl, combine pears, endive, blue cheese, jalapeños and vinaigrette.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to 4 chilled salad plates and sprinkle with pistachios. Serves 4.

 

Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 dry chipotle, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey, warm
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Combine vinegar and chipotle in small saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and oil is emulsified. Adjust seasonings to taste. Makes 1 cup.

Nutritional Analysis (Amount per Serving): Calories 310, Total Fat 20g, Saturated Fat 5g, Monounsaturated Fat 10g, Cholesterol 15mg, Sodium 640mg, Potassium 500mg, Carbohydrate 30g, Dietary Fiber 6g, Protein 8g

 

Caramelize Pistachios

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup California pistachio kernels
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat sugar with water, salt and cayenne pepper over a high flame. Cook until mixture is soft and bubbling. Add pistachios and stir 2 to 4 minutes, until caramelized (pistachios may clump together). Remove pistachios from pan and lay on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. When pistachios are completely cool, break apart and reserve.

 Source: California Pistachio Commission

Holiday 01 July 2016

New Stars of the Barbecue

(Family Features) Nothing says summer quite like a barbecue. While the grill might be the main attraction, it’s deliciously simple to put a personal spin on classic summer dishes and desserts.

From Same-Old Salads to Inspired Surprises

There are a number of quick and easy ways to add your signature touch to the standard summer barbecue fare. First, trade in the predictable potato salad for a refreshing pasta sensation. Build a delicious, personalized creation your family will enjoy with easy mixes such as Suddenly Salad mixes by Betty Crocker. “Each pasta salad mix comes with pasta, special seasoning and vegetables — only oil or mayonnaise needs to be added,” said Karen Schiemo of the Betty Crocker Kitchens. “Throw in a little culinary creativity and your favorite ingredients, such as additional fresh vegetables or diced meat, and you can even create your own recipe that’s sure to be in high-demand for seconds.”

Sweet Summer Barbecue Endings

Deliver a sweet ending to the perfect barbecue. With a few ingredients, such as sprinkles, marshmallows and nuts, you can add your own twist to brownies and transform them into a customized confection. Not only are they easy to make ahead of time, but a pan of brownies is easy to carry to the festive affair, requiring only one dish from baking to the barbecue. With no utensils necessary, they score huge “brownie points” with adults and kids alike.

Between the perfect main course and delectable side dishes, barbecues will surely be a family favorite. For more ideas to make your barbecue sizzle, go to BettyCrocker.com.

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S’more Brownies

Makes 24 brownies
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Start to Finish: 1 hour 25 minutes

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Original Supreme brownie mix
  • Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 4 graham crackers, broken into small pieces
  • 2 bars (1.55 ounces each) milk chocolate candy, broken into 1-inch squares
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 13 x 9-inch pan with cooking spray or shortening. Make and bake brownies as directed on box for 13 x 9-inch pan, using water, oil and eggs.
  2. Set oven to broil. Immediately sprinkle marshmallows and graham crackers over warm brownies. Broil about 4 to 5 inches from heat 30 to 60 seconds or until marshmallows are golden brown. (Watch carefully — marshmallows and graham crackers will brown quickly.) Sprinkle with chocolate candy. To serve warm, cool about 30 minutes. For brownies, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.

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Stars and Stripes Brownies

Makes 24 brownies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Start to Finish: 2 hours

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Original Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch)
  • Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box
  • 1 container (12 ounces) whipped fluffy white frosting
  • 1 tube (0.68 ounce) red decorating gel
  • 1 tube (0.68 ounce) blue decorating gel
  • 1 tube (0.68 ounce) white decorator icing
  • Decorating Decors stars
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 13 x 9-inch pan with foil so foil extends about 2 inches over sides of pan. Spray foil with cooking spray. Make and bake brownies as directed on box for 13 x 9-inch pan, using water, oil and eggs. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  2. Remove brownies from pan by lifting foil; peel foil from sides of brownies. Continue as desired with options below.
  3. Flag Brownies: Frost brownies. Using red decorating gel, pipe stripes onto frosted brownie. Add decors in upper left corner of brownie.
  4. Fire Cracker Brownies: Using 1-inch round cookie cutter, cut out brownie rounds. Stack 2 brownie rounds together, spreading frosting between rounds and on top. Garnish with decors.
  5. Star Brownies: Using 2 1/2-inch, star-shaped cookie cutter, cut brownies. Place frosting in resealable food-storage bag; cut off one bottom corner of bag. Pipe frosting on star-shaped brownies. Sprinkle with decors.

 

Fresh Vegetable Pasta Salad

15 servings (1/2 cup each)
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Start to Finish: 1 hour 25 minutes

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad classic pasta salad mix
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 cups small fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 small red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion cut into thin wedges
  1. Cook and drain pasta as directed on box. Meanwhile, in large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, cold water, oil and vinegar.
  2. Stir drained pasta and remaining ingredients into seasoning mixture. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

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Greek Tossed Pasta Salad

Makes 12 servings (1 cup each)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Start to Finish: 30 minutes

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad Caesar pasta salad mix
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cups torn romaine lettuce
  • 2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 small cucumber, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, slices cut in half
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese (1 cup)
  • 1 can (2 1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  1. Cook and drain pasta as directed on box. Meanwhile, in large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, cold water and oil.
  2. Add drained pasta and remaining ingredients to seasoning mixture. Toss with croutons and Parmesan topping (from salad mix). Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Source: Betty Crocker

Healthy 04 April 2017

Picnics With Panache

Swing into summer with a basketful of delicious picnic fare ready to share in minutes

(Family Features) Good friends, great food, and the best season for outdoor entertaining add up to one thing — a glorious picnic season. If you’re just warming up to the idea of planning a picnic at the park or a backyard potluck, it’s the prime time to prepare and make your plans.

First set the date with your best mates. Then grab the gingham tablecloth and break out the picnic basket. What to serve? Start simple with a menu that’s casual, delicious, and easy to make and take, especially if you’re off to the perfect picnic destination.

Choose light, flavorful pasta salads that combine summertime flavors, such as creamy ranch and Dijon mustard, or chicken with marinated artichoke hearts. Be prepared to pass the deviled eggs more than once. Bring along fresh fruit for a refreshing dessert. And, try a cool lemonade that combines two favorite summertime flavors — watermelon and kiwi.  All that’s left is to savor every moment and every bite!

Picnic Season’s Top Tips

Consider these hints for summer gatherings:

  • An “eggs-cellent” way to tote deviled eggs: sandwich two halves with filling sides together, wrap well with plastic wrap, and place in a chilled, insulated box.
  • When the ants begin their march, reach for a natural deterrent — vinegar. Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar to have at the ready.
  • Cooking for a crowd? Streamline your menu by choosing convenience products, such as boxed salad mixes that only require a few on-hand ingredients. Reach for prewashed, precut veggies. And, sprinkle a bit of flavor onto grilled potatoes and salads by adding a tasty topper, such as Bac~Os (an easy option that is less messy than frying bacon).
  • Got sunscreen? Make sure it’s in your pack.

For more great summertime recipes and tips, visit www.bettycrocker.com.

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Creamy Ranch Pasta Salad

Makes: 6 servings

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad ranch and bacon pasta salad mix
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 medium green onions, chopped
  • 1 medium stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, sliced
  • Paprika
  1. Empty pasta into 3-quart (or larger) saucepan 2/3 full of boiling water. Gently boil uncovered 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water. Shake to drain well.
  2. In large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, mayonnaise, mustard, onions and celery. Add pasta and chopped eggs and stir until evenly coated. Garnish with egg slices and paprika.
  3. Store in refrigerator.

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Chicken and Artichoke Pasta Salad

Makes: 6 servings

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad classic pasta salad mix
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cubed, cooked chicken
  • 1 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Empty pasta into 3-quart (or larger) saucepan 2/3 full of boiling water. Gently boil uncovered 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water. Shake to drain well.
  2. In large bowl, stir together seasoning mix, cold water, and oil. Stir in pasta, chicken, artichokes, olives, and cheese. Store in refrigerator.

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Watermelon Lemonade With Kiwifruit Splash

Makes: 6 1-cup servings

  • 2 kiwifruit, peeled and cut into fourths
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 cups cubed, seedless watermelon
  • 1 12-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 2 cups water
  1. Place kiwifruit and sugar in blender; cover and blend on medium just until smooth. Pour into another container; freeze 1 to 2 hours or until firm.
  2. Place watermelon in blender; cover and blend on medium until smooth. Place frozen lemonade concentrate and water in large pitcher. Add watermelon mixture; mix well.
  3. Pour watermelon lemonade into glasses. Spoon a dollop of frozen kiwifruit mixture on top. Serve immediately.

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Poppy Seed Salad

Makes: 6 servings

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1 cup strawberries, halved
  • 1 cup cubed pineapple
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup cubed watermelon
  1. In large bowl, mix honey, limeade concentrate, and poppy seeds.
  2. Carefully toss in fruits.

 

Devilishly Good Eggs

Makes: 6 servings

  • 6 hard-cooked eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 2 tablespoons Betty Crocker Bac~Os bacon-flavored bits or chips
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon or yellow mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  1. Cut eggs lengthwise in half. In small bowl, slip out yolks and mash with fork.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients except egg white halves.
  3. Fill egg white halves with egg yolk mixture, heaping it lightly.

 

Source: Suddenly Salad

Main Dishes 13 March 2017

Easy-to-Make Italian Meals

(Family Features) In an effort to squeeze in valuable time together, more families are zooming past the drive-thru and heading home to the table for simpler, satisfying and more wholesome dinners.

Busy schedules can make dinnertime a challenge for many families. With sports practices, dance rehearsals and after-school activities galore, many parents are doing well by just getting their little ones to the right place at the right time. These days, with so much time spent outside of the home, the time spent around the dinner table is priceless.

Bring everyone together with an Italian feast
With its savory blend of cheeses, sweet garlic and rich sauces, it’s hard to deny the delicious flavors of Italian cuisine. By combining a few simple, scrumptious elements, you’ll find it’s quite easy to bring the taste of Italy into your own home. Gather the family together with the many flavorful options available at your local grocery store, such as Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods, which offers prepared Italian meals boasting homemade flavor without the fuss.

Here are a few authentic Italian meal ideas to incorporate into your next weeknight routine, so you can deliver a dinner that satisfies every family member.

Serve up a salad
A crispy, crunchy salad is the perfect starter for an Italian meal and can be tossed together in a matter of minutes. For a simple take on salad, just combine fresh greens – such as chopped romaine hearts – thinly sliced red onions and croutons. To add more flavor and texture, throw in fresh mozzarella, chopped radicchio, cherry tomatoes and pepperoncini. Don’t forget to finish with a generous splash of savory Italian dressing.

Fuss-free entrees
There’s nothing more comforting than a warm dish of flavorful pasta at the end of a long day. When such flavorful dishes can be created with the touch of a button, everyone wins. Serve up the delicious combination of vine-ripened tomatoes, sautéed onions, 100 percent semolina lasagna pasta, ground beef and premium cheeses in Michael Angelo’s Meat Lasagna. Or, try their Eggplant Parmesan, made with farm-fresh eggplant, imported olive oil, Italian spices and a blend of imported Pecorino and Parmesan cheeses.

Warm, garlic goodness
A plate of hearty, wholesome Italian food would not be complete without a side of fragrant, warm garlic bread. Heat up an easy, pre-made variety in the oven, or make your own by simply topping your favorite variety of sliced bread with butter, garlic, Parmesan cheese and oregano.

Fill your kitchen with ingredients and products that allow you to fix easy meals that bring the whole family together. They’re the perfect dinnertime solution for busy parents who want to serve a wholesome, better-for-you meal to their family, but don’t always have the time or skills to cook from scratch.

For more information and meal ideas, visit www.michaelangelos.com.

Source: Michael Angelo's Gourmet Foods

Main Dishes 09 March 2017

Easy Al Fresco Entertaining

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(Family Features) Warmer weather is often welcome for a variety of reasons, but there’s something nearly irresistible about enjoying a meal outdoors. Whether you plan to gather on the patio or pack a picnic for the park, dining al fresco is an easy way to turn a meal into a full-fledged event.

Begin your meal with chicken sandwiches crafted on the grill and a seasonal pasta salad on the side then finish it with a glass of white wine and a dessert made for al fresco entertaining – cheesecake topped with fresh berries and mint.

For more al fresco recipes and entertaining tips, visit Culinary.net.

Serve a Sensational Side
This pretty side dish is made for sharing. Made with fiber-rich, whole-wheat pasta, colorful plum tomatoes and balanced out by the crisp, bright flavors of balsamic vinegar and fresh basil, this pasta salad is perfect for outdoor events and gatherings. Find more good-for-you recipes at AICR.org.

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Pasta Salad with Tomatoes

Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research
Servings: 8

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat small pasta (fusilli or farfalle), cooked according to directions
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 plum or Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 slice whole-wheat or multigrain bread
  1. In bowl, cover and chill pasta.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine vinegar, 2 tablespoons basil, sugar, salt, pepper, red pepper, 2 tablespoons oil and half of minced garlic. Whisk to combine well. Add pasta, bell pepper and tomatoes, and toss gently until well coated.
  3. In food processor or blender, pulse bread to produce coarse crumbs. In medium skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Stir in breadcrumbs and garlic. Saute 1 1/2-2 minutes until browned and crisp. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Top pasta with garlic crumbs and remaining basil.

Pair Like a Pro
When it comes to pairing wine with food, even experts agree that desserts can pose a challenge. A wide variety of flavor combinations can make it hard to find the perfect selection to serve with your sweet treat. While there’s no exact science to wine pairing, these simple tips can help you make your selection.

Sweet Cheesecake
A good rule: the lighter the dessert, the lighter the wine. Avoid heavy reds for a sweeter dessert and instead pair with a crisp white like Chardonnay, such as Joseph Carr from Sonoma, California.

Citrusy Lemon Meringue Pie
Lemon flavors can sometimes be polarizing, but complementing this dessert with an equally citrusy wine can work wonders. Try pairing with a food-friendly pinot grigio or a sauvignon blanc.

Rich Chocolate Cake
Red wine with chocolate seems like a no-brainer, but not all red wines are created equal. For a richer delicacy like this devil’s food cake, try something like Villa Pozzi Nero D’avola, a more fruit-forward, easy-drinking red varietal.

For more tips and wine selections, visit winefix.com.

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New York-Style Honey Cheesecake

Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • fresh berries, for garnish
  • fresh mint, for garnish
  1. To make crust: In small bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs and butter until well blended. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and sides of greased 9-inch springform pan; set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F.
  3. To make filling: In electric mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, honey and flour. Beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in cream, lemon zest and vanilla.
  4. Pour cream cheese mixture over crust; bake 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 200 F and bake 1 hour and 30 minutes longer, or until center no longer looks wet or shiny.
  5. With oven off and door ajar, let cheesecake cool 1 hour in oven. Remove cheesecake to rack to cool completely.
  6. Cover and refrigerate cheesecake at least 4 hours before serving. Garnish with fruit and fresh mint. Pair with chardonnay like Joseph Carr.

Go for Grilled Chicken
Few things go better with warm weather than firing up the grill and enjoying a meal in the fresh air. These chicken sandwiches, which are topped with Brie, pesto, fresh tomato and arugula on sourdough bread and toasted on the grill, are just the excuse you need to get outside and enjoy the weather with family and friends. Find more patio-perfect recipes at chickenroost.com.

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Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Pesto, Brie and Arugula

Recipe courtesy of the National Chicken Council
Servings: 4

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound thin-cut chicken cutlets
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto, divided
  • 1 large tomato
  • 8 slices crusty sourdough bread
  • 4 ounces Brie, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup packed baby arugula
  1. Heat grill to high.
  2. Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper; pour into plastic zipper bag. Add chicken, seal and marinate at least 30 minutes.
  3. Grill chicken 2-3 minutes, turn and grill another 2-3 minutes, or until chicken registers internal temperature of 160 F. Remove and reserve.
  4. Spread each piece of bread with 1/2 tablespoon pesto. Slice tomato into eight slices.
  5. Place chicken on four bread slices. Top with Brie slices, arugula and two tomato slices. Top with remaining bread slices, pesto side toward tomato.
  6. Brush outside of each sandwich with about 1/2 tablespoon of remaining olive oil. Place on grill, reduce heat to medium and grill 2-3 minutes per side, or until bread is nicely toasted and cheese is melted.
  7. Remove from heat, cut each sandwich in half and serve.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (pasta salad)

Photo courtesy of 275847/Shutterstock.com (cheesecake)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (grilled chicken sandwich)

Source: Culinary.net

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One Dish Meals 08 October 2016

German Potato Salad Soup

Cooler weather heralds the return to warm, satisfying soups. Versatile German Potato Salad Soup is an easy main dish that takes advantage of ready-to-use canned German potato salad. Simply combine the potato salad with sautéed bell pepper and onion, beer and a meat choice, if desired. Ready in 30 minutes. Tip: Top the soup with crunchy rye croutons and crumbled bacon.

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German Potato Salad Soup

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Makes 4 servings (about 1 1/2 cups each)

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) READ German Potato Salad, chopped*
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer, preferably a light ale**
  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium, fat free chicken broth
  • 6 ounces (1 cup) diced ham, smoked turkey or sliced smoked sausage, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • Rye croutons, optional
  • Crumbled bacon, optional
  1. Sauté onion and bell pepper in oil in a Dutch oven or 3-quart saucepan over medium heat until onion just starts to brown, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add potato salad, beer, broth and meat, if using; stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt, if desired, pepper and parsley.
  3. Serve topped with rye croutons and bacon, if desired.

*Note: To chop potato salad, remove top from can, insert clean kitchen scissors into potato salad and snip until chopped.
**Substitute 1 can (14 ounces) chicken broth for the beer and chicken broth in the above recipe.

Source: Aunt Nellie's® (Seneca Foods Corporation)

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One Dish Meals 03 January 2017

A Blended Take on Family Favorites

(Family Features) It’s not always easy to create meals that are both nutritious and satisfying. Managing intake of added sugar and saturated fat takes effort and planning, but transforming your favorite recipes into more nutritious family meals can be simpler than you imagined.

The nutrient-dense mushroom masterfully bridges that divide, offering rich and meaty flavor while still being fat-free, low-calorie and low-sodium. All mushrooms contain vitamin D at various levels, which helps build strong bones. Additionally, mushrooms are a source of B vitamins, including riboflavin and niacin, which help provide energy by breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

“Mushrooms are an incredibly versatile ingredient,” said Mary Jo Feeney, MS, RDN, nutrition research consultant for the Mushroom Council. “They can be the meaty star of a vegetarian dish or a nutritious complement to burgers and other hearty recipes.”

For a healthy weekday lunch, consider building a salad bowl around the earthy mushroom. Pair roasted or marinated mushrooms with crunchy vegetables and nutty grains, beans and pulses, and top with a simple vinaigrette or squeeze of citrus.

For lightened-up versions of classics such as burgers and meatballs, try adopting a culinary technique known as “The Blend.” Simply chop any mushroom variety to match the consistency of ground meat, blend the mushrooms into the meat and cook the mushroom-meat blend to complete the recipe. Substituting at least 25 percent of the meat for mushrooms can enhance the taste of your favorite meaty meals, deliver an extra serving of nutrient-rich vegetables and trim calorie and fat intake.

For additional mushroom recipes that incorporate the blending technique, visit mushroominfo.com.

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Mighty Mushroom Blended Burger

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1/2 pound any variety mushroom
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 buns
  1. Finely dice mushrooms or gently pulse in food processor.
  2. In skillet, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium-high heat and add mushrooms, cooking 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer cooled mushrooms to medium bowl. Add ground beef and salt, mixing until combined. Make four patties.
  4. Add remaining olive oil to pan and cook burger patties on medium-high heat until internal temperature reaches at least 160° F. Plate and add desired toppings to bun.
  5. Recommended toppings include: pickled red peppers, crumbled blue cheese and watercress greens.

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Marinated Mushroom Bowls with Lentils and Wild Rice

Prep time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4

Mushrooms:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili oil
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cups cooked French lentils
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  1. To marinate mushrooms: In shallow bowl, whisk together olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili oil.
  2. Stir in green onion, cilantro and sesame seeds. Add mushrooms and gently toss in marinade. Cover and let rest 30 minutes.
  3. Place cabbage in bowl and toss with lime juice and pinch of salt. Set aside.
  4. Stir in 1 teaspoon of soy sauce to both lentils and wild rice.
  5. To serve, arrange equal amount of mushrooms, cabbage, lentils, wild rice and cucumbers in each bowl. Drizzle with remaining marinade and garnish with chopped cilantro, sliced green onions and black sesame seeds. Serve with lime wedges.

Note: Can be served at room temperature or cold.

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Roasted Mushroom and Wheat Berry Salad with Orange Curry Vinaigrette

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, halved
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked wheat berries, warm
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Place mushrooms on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  3. Bake 10 minutes. Carefully stir mushrooms and bake 5 more minutes, until tender.
  4. Transfer mushrooms to medium bowl. Add wheat berries, green onions and cranberries.
    In small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.
  5. Pour dressing over salad. Toss to mix all ingredients. Serve warm.

Source: Mushroom Council

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