(Family Features) One of the best-kept chef secrets to hosting the most memorable at-home parties is keeping the food simple and adding small details to make it special. After all, a host who isn’t hard at work in the kitchen is a host who can spend more time with guests.
One way to make every minute in the kitchen count and provide crowd-pleasing food is by using wholesome, quality core ingredients like olive oil, fresh bread, cheese and artisan chocolate to create flavorful dishes that are easy to prepare, and leave you with more time to enjoy what matters most: moments with the ones you love.
When it comes to cooking, focus on the essentials and the highlights of each dish. Building recipes around quality ingredients, such as Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, makes it easy to create show-stopping dishes time and time again. Planning ahead is key to entertaining, but when it comes to cooking, make things quick and easy with a little help from powerhouse ingredients that lend themselves well to a variety of flavors and preparations.
In keeping things simple, use olive oil to add a little extra zest and create dishes that pop off the plate, like this recipe for Beet Hummus. Or if you’re looking for something comforting and wholesome, indulge in this creamy Tomato Soup with Olive Oil Croutons. For a larger event, try Mushroom Carpaccio and Creamed Spinach Au Gratin, which can leave a lasting impression on your guests. To top it all off, go for this Bitter Chocolate and Pistachio Cream Dessert for a perfect way to end a meal.
Make every moment count and find more simple recipes at Bertolli.com.
Tomato Soup with Homemade Olive Oil Croutons
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 4 tomatoes
- 3 grilled red bell peppers in oil
- 1 shallot
- 1/2 cup Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus additional for brushing on bread
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 clove garlic
- 10 basil leaves
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 4 slices crusty bread
- Cut small cross in bottom of tomatoes and submerge in boiling water 30 seconds. Let tomatoes cool in ice water 30 seconds then remove skins.
- In blender, blend tomatoes, red bell peppers, shallot, extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, garlic, basil, salt and pepper, to taste, until mixture is smooth. Add mixture to large pot and heat, stirring frequently.
- Cut bread slices, brush with olive oil and grill 2 minutes per side over medium-high heat until visible grill marks have formed.
Healthy Beet Hummus
Prep time: 15 minutes
- 3 beets
- salt, to taste
- Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 cups canned chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons sesame seed paste or tahini
- Heat oven to 375° F.
- Peel beets and boil until soft; season with salt and olive oil.
- Puree beets with chickpeas and sesame seed paste until a uniform paste forms. Transfer to oven-safe serving dish. Bake 10 minutes and serve.
Mushroom Carpaccio and Creamed Spinach Au Gratin
Prep time: 15 minutes
- 2 1/4 cups cremini mushrooms
- Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- salt, to taste
- 2 1/4 cups spinach
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Parmesan cheese
- To make Mushroom Carpaccio: Heat oven to 400° F.
- Clean mushrooms and cut into thin slivers.
- Season with olive oil and salt. Set aside.
- To make Creamed Spinach: Boil spinach 2 minutes, strain and place it into saucepan, over cream. Cook 5 minutes.
- In blender, puree mixture and pour over Mushroom Carpaccio.
- Grate Parmesan cheese over entire dish; bake 5 minutes.
Bitter Chocolate and Pistachio Cream Dessert
Prep time: 15 minutes
- 1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon, sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus additional for pistachio cream
- 4 ounces dark chocolate
- 1 1/4 cups shelled pistachios
- In saucepan, combine condensed milk and sugar; cook over low heat, stirring until mixture takes on toasted color.
- Add olive oil and dark chocolate; continue to stir until fully combined.
- Line 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and spread mixture into pan. Refrigerate until fully set.
- To make pistachio cream: Blend pistachios and olive oil until smooth paste forms.
- Remove dessert from pan and cut into slices. Serve with pistachio cream on top.
(Family Features) With school back in full swing, the days will be full, packed with classes, homework and after-school sports, music and other extracurricular activities. To make the most of all these endeavors, it’s important to eat well to sustain the critical energy and focus required throughout the day.
Smart fueling includes keeping nourishing snacks such as heart-healthy grapes on-hand – whether at home, in the car or coming off the field. Fresh California grapes – simple, convenient and nutritious – can make for a delicious snack on their own.
Available in three appealing colors – red, green and black – crisp, juicy grapes can add a tasty touch when hunger calls for an afternoon energy boost. Grapes also pair well with crackers, cheese and nuts for other snack combos.
Yet another way to enjoy fresh grapes is to blend them with other fruits and vegetables to create smoothie bowls, a nutritious option to help ensure that a variety of healthy ingredients are part of a balanced day.
Smoothie bowls work well as a snack or even a quick breakfast, and also provide a way for parents to introduce their kids to new, healthier bites.
This Grape Smoothie Bowl is fresh, flavorful and full of sweet grape taste for a quick fix that can leave bodies fueled and ready to take on the rest of the day.
Find more information and snack ideas at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.
Grape Smoothie Bowl
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 1/2 avocado
- 2 medium bananas, sliced and frozen
- 1 cup packed baby spinach
- 2 cups green California grapes, divided
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 piece fresh ginger (1-inch length), peeled and sliced (optional)
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted coconut chips
- In blender, combine avocado, bananas, spinach, 1 cup grapes, almond milk, ginger and salt; blend until smooth. Pour into two bowls. Halve remaining grapes and place on top of smoothie bowls along with chia seeds and coconut chips.
Nutritional information per serving: 370 calories; 5 g protein; 66 g carbohydrates; 13 g fat (32% calories from fat); 3.5 g saturated fat (9% calories from saturated fat); 200 mg sodium; 10 g fiber.
(Family Features) Both first-time and experienced hosts know holiday entertaining is about more than serving one large feast for family and friends. This season, think outside the dinner table and incorporate tasty brunch dishes into your holiday planning to help keep guests satisfied morning, noon and night.
Arm yourself with everything you need for effortless holiday hosting. Whether you’re making a hearty breakfast or a sweet dessert, Smithfield’s online Holiday Hub has entertaining tips and simple recipes for cooking up flavor-filled dishes all season long. With guests coming from out of town or kids returning home from school, hosts can rest assured knowing every meal is covered.
Try adding savory, slow-smoked bacon to a recipe like this Bacon Lattice Breakfast Tart with Spinach and Mushrooms. Or serve guests these Pull-Apart Rosemary Sausage Rolls made with premium pork sausage and flaky biscuits for robust flavor any time of day.
Find more holiday inspiration at Smithfield.com/HolidayHub.
Pull-Apart Rosemary Sausage Rolls
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 20 biscuits
- 1 pound Smithfield Hometown Original Fresh Sausage Roll
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary leaves, plus sprigs for garnish (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- 2 cans (12 ounces each) refrigerated small biscuits (20 biscuits total)
- Heat oven to 400° F. In bowl, unpackage sausage and lightly mix with rosemary and pepper. Divide into 20 pieces, rolling into little balls; refrigerate until needed.
- In small bowl, whisk egg and water until frothy. Remove biscuits from packaging and carefully dimple centers with thumbs. Insert sausage balls in centers and place biscuits close together on lightly sprayed or greased cookie sheet. Brush exposed biscuit dough with egg wash and top with rosemary sprigs, if desired. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until biscuits are golden and sausage is cooked through. Serve warm.
Substitution: Smithfield Hot Fresh Sausage Roll or Sausage Patties can be substituted for Original Fresh Sausage Roll.
Bacon Lattice Breakfast Tart with Spinach and Mushrooms
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
- 6 slices Smithfield thick-cut bacon, any flavor
- 1 cup sliced cremini or button mushrooms
- 3 cups lightly packed baby spinach
- 1 refrigerated prepared pie crust
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- In skillet, cook bacon over medium heat 5-6 minutes, or until slightly rendered and beginning to curl. Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels until cool enough to handle. Drain all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan and cook mushrooms over high heat 4-5 minutes, or until softened and any moisture in pan has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Add spinach leaves and cook 1 minute, or until just wilted.
- Line 9-inch pie plate with pie crust, working crust up sides with fingers; refrigerate until needed. In bowl, lightly whisk eggs and stir in half and half, Parmesan, salt and pepper; reserve.
- Add mushrooms and spinach to egg mixture and stir to combine. Pour into pie crust and bake 20-25 minutes, or until eggs are begin to set. Increase oven temperature to 400 F. Arrange bacon loosely in woven lattice form on top of pie and return to oven. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until bacon begins to crisp and crust is golden brown.
- Let cool on wire rack 10-15 minutes before serving.
Substitutions: Whole milk can be substituted for half and half. Baby kale can be substituted for baby spinach.
(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.
Baked Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Dip
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 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
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Combine artichoke hearts, spinach, yogurt, cheese, onion and garlic; mix well.
- Pour mixture into 1-quart casserole dish or 9-inch pie plate. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.
- 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.
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
- In large bowl, marinate tortellini in Italian dressing 30 minutes in refrigerator.
- 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.
- 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
How a breakfast with milk can help lead the way to academic success
(Family Features) As kids get ready to start a new school year, moms are also getting back into the swing of a morning routine. One thing that can’t be missed? A complete breakfast! Research shows eating breakfast helps kids concentrate and focus at school, giving moms good reason to serve up balanced nutrition before that first morning bell.
This back-to-school season, start the day off strong and pair your little one’s breakfast with a glass of milk. An 8-ounce glass of milk gives kids 8 grams of high-quality protein plus other essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D to the morning meal.
Most days, finding time for a balanced breakfast may be easier said than done. One way to help alleviate the morning rush is to make breakfast ahead of time, so it’s ready to go before sending kids off to school. These make-ahead Protein-Packed Eggs in a Nest are simple and fun to make. Served with an 8-ounce glass of milk, they make for a delicious breakfast to help start everyone’s school day off right.
Find more nutritious recipes to pair with milk at milklife.com.
Protein-Packed Eggs in a Nest
Servings: 6 (2 nests per serving)
- Nonstick olive oil spray
- 4 cups frozen shredded potatoes, defrosted
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/4 cup fat free milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/3 cup cooked, lean ground turkey sausage, crumbled
- 1/3 cup green bell pepper, diced
- 1/3 cup tomatoes, chopped
- 1/3 cup part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Heat oven to 400° F and spray 12-well muffin tin with nonstick olive oil spray.
- Place a scoop of shredded potatoes into each muffin hole, pressing around edges to create “nest”. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove pan from oven and using spoon, gently press any fallen potatoes back up against sides of each muffin hole. Turn oven down to 350° F.
- In a bowl, add eggs, egg whites, 1/4 cup milk, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine and place in fridge while preparing green pepper, tomatoes or additional vegetables.
- Stir cooked meat and vegetables into the bowl with egg mixture and pour equally between all “nests.” Sprinkle a pinch of cheese over each nest. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until egg is set.
- Remove from oven and serve with remaining 8-ounce glass of milk.
Note: Nests can also be stored in airtight bags in fridge once cool for 3-4 days, and be reheated for an on the go breakfast.
Nutritional information per serving: 200 calories; 4.5 g fat; 1.5 g saturated fat; 105 mg cholesterol; 17 g protein; 23 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 510 mg sodium; 381 mg calcium (40% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat free milk, and include an 8-ounce glass of fat free milk.
(Family Features) Dozens of streaming video providers are making it easier than ever to watch the TV programming you want when you want it, and exclusive programming released an entire season at a time is transforming the way Americans watch TV. The flip side of this convenience is a surge in binge-watching, which can have some negative side effects, including binge eating.
When your favorite show is available back-to-back, it’s easy to let substantial blocks of time get away as you watch “just one more” episode to follow the twists and turns of the plot. In fact, according to a recent survey by Dole, the average binge-watching session clocks in around 5 hours. The same survey found that more than two-thirds of people prefer healthy snacks to fuel their marathon viewing.
Treating yourself to an occasional binge session may give your brain a well-earned break, and it’s easy to do many forms of exercise in front of the screen. The trick to keeping your binge-watching session in check and getting rid of the guilt is to exercise good habits when you head to the kitchen.
- Opt for snacks that include valuable vitamins and minerals.
- Keep your kitchen stocked with ingredients such as high quality, ready-to-eat Dole Jarred Fruit so you can create quick and easy snacks with a serving of fruit in between episodes or during a commercial break.
- Look for quick solutions that help trim prep time and skip the cutting, peeling and mess.
- Avoid waste or spoilage with convenient, re-sealable lids that let you use what you need for a single serving and save the rest for later.
- Get creative to satisfy cravings. Instead of reaching for cookies or cake, dip fruit in melted chocolate and pop it in the freezer. Let it sit while you watch a few episodes of your favorite show and then enjoy.
Find more quick and easy snacks that can be made during a commercial break at dolesunshine.com.
- Pre-made flatbread crust
- Broccoli rabe
- Cooked and chopped turkey bacon
- Dole Jarred Mandarin Oranges
- Cover flatbread with chopped broccoli rabe, turkey bacon and oranges.
- Low-fat yogurt
- Dole Jarred Sliced Peaches
- In cup or jar, alternate layering yogurt, granola and chopped peaches. Top with mint and serve immediately.
Brightened Up Caprese Salad
- Fresh mozzarella cheese
- Dole Jarred Sliced Peaches
- Fresh basil
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- Balsamic glaze
- Arrange alternate slices of mozzarella and peaches. Sprinkle fresh basil, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and drizzle with balsamic glaze.
- Whole-wheat bread
- Dole Jarred Sliced Peaches
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Slice avocado in half, remove pit and scoop out avocado into bowl. Smash until desired consistency.
- Toast bread, layer with avocado and top with peaches. Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.
1-2-3 Chicken Wrap
- Whole-wheat tortilla
- Dole Jarred Mandarin Oranges
- Cooked chicken, chopped
- Yogurt-based dressing of choice
- Lay tortilla flat and add spinach, oranges and chicken. Top with dressing. Fold, cut and serve.
Substitution: Preferred greens can be added in place of or in addition to spinach
Tropical Fruit Salsa
- Dole Jarred Tropical Fruit
- 1 white onion
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 lime, juiced
- Tortilla chips
- Chop 2 cups fruit, dice onion, chop cilantro and seed and mince jalapeno.
- Combine ingredients and stir in lime juice. Serve alongside tortilla chips.
Source: Dole Jarred Fruit
(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.
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
- Combine mayonnaise and mustard. Lay out both wraps. Spread edges of each with mayonnaise mixture.
- 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.
- 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.
Warm Grain Bowl with Wild Salmon, Almonds and Salsa Verde
Total time: 20-25 minutes
- 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
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- In oven-proof pan, season salmon with salt and pepper, and drizzle each fillet with olive oil. Bake 12-15 minutes, until cooked through.
- In blender or food processor, combine all Salsa Verde ingredients and pulse until fully incorporated but still rustic and chunky. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Baked Greek Chicken Salad
Recipe courtesy of the National Chicken Council
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- 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.
- 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
(Family Features) What can family members do special this year for Mom? Most Moms dream of a fine meal they don’t have to shop for, cook or clean up afterwards. Often going out for breakfast on Mother’s Day can mean dealing with long lines and slow service. But Dad and the kids can rise to the occasion and prepare a meal themselves at home that can be a real treat.
Even the dad who only makes breakfast on weekends can cater a fine restaurant meal at home, with kids as willing sous chefs. It’s easy when your family shops where the pros shop, such as Sam’s Club for frozen appetizers, readymade pastry, organic produce, fine wines, quality meats, great breads and fabulous cheesecake ready to thaw and serve. For a crowning touch, add an unexpected and affordable luxury gift and Mom just might decide to sign on for another year.
Check out www.samsclub.com — or the Sam’s Club nearest you — for more great Mother’s Day ideas.
Mother’s Day Game Plan
Here’s the game plan for catering a Mother’s Day meal at home.
- Chill the champagne or make a delicious punch a few hours before the meal.
- Read the instructions on the box, then pop those frozen appetizers in the oven.
- Prepare and cook the salmon.
- Slice up some fresh fruit or bread.
- Finish with a deliciously moist cheesecake - a Mom favorite. (Remember to thaw it beforehand.)
- Serve Mom in bed - let her relax and enjoy the meal and her day.
- Have the kids clean up the kitchen.
- Watch Mom smile.
Mom’s Secret Wish List
Mom usually puts the needs of her family first. But if she were really honest, she would say she’d love to have something from this list. And, Dads, when you shop smart, these become affordable luxuries.
- Diamonds. They’re always a girl’s best friend. Diamond solitaire earrings go with everything — jeans on the soccer field, a suit at the office or workout clothes at the gym.
- Designer Fragrances. Perfume and cologne in her special scent makes Mom feel pampered and special.
- Furniture. Surprise her with something she’s been wanting, whether it’s the armoire for the great room, a new desk for the home office or even a new leather sofa.
- Chocolate. Always a treat, especially now that health experts have declared that dark chocolate is actually good for us. Now, will it be Godiva or Ghirardelli?
- Culinary Ware. If Mom has been trying to make culinary masterpieces from a mismatched set of cookware from her early married days, it’s time for an upgrade. Or, maybe she’d love a stand mixer or a great platter.
Puff pastry encloses flavorful salmon, spinach and herbs in a main dish fit for a special occasion. Wellington preparations are thought to take a great deal of time and skill to make. However, with the time saver of purchased puff pastry, it’s a breeze. The bundles can be prepared up to a week in advance and then frozen. Just pop them in the oven when needed.
Note: Puff pastry must be cold (but not frozen) when placed into a hot oven in order for the pastry to become light and flaky.
Makes: 4 servings
- 1 tablespoon sweet butter
- 1-1/2 tablespoons shallots or onion, minced
- 1/2 cup frozen spinach, defrosted and well drained
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon thyme or dill
- minced Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 1-1/2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
- 4 thick, skinless fillets of salmon (about 6 ounces each)
- 2 packages puff pastry (defrosted in refrigerator)
- 1 lightly beaten egg
- 1 teaspoon milk
- Heat sauté pan with butter over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté 3 to 4 minutes until softened. Reduce heat to medium-low and add spinach, nutmeg, lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes; remove from heat and stir in feta. Taste for seasoning and let cool.
- Lightly salt and pepper each piece of salmon and top with 2 tablespoons of spinach mixture.
- Roll out pastry sheets on lightly floured board. Cut 1 piece of pastry for bottom of each fillet — about 1 inch larger than the salmon. Cut a second piece large enough to drape over fillet and touch counter, plus 1 inch to spare all the way around.
- Brush edge of smaller sheet with lightly beaten egg mixed with milk. Place 1 piece of salmon in center of pastry. Drape larger piece over salmon and seal the two pieces of dough together by folding and pleating like a pie crust. Repeat for each “package.” Chill at least 30 minutes or freeze up to 1 week before baking.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush top of each package with a small amount of egg/milk mixture. Put on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and a dusting of corn meal. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 23 minutes, until golden. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Cranberry Splash Punch
Makes: 8 servings
- 4 cups cranberry juice
- 3 cups pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup cherry juice
- 2 cups puréed strawberries or raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 6 cups ice cubes
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 2 limes, sliced
- 3 cups orange soda or ginger ale
- Mix all juices and puréed berries and chill thoroughly.
- To serve, put punch in handsome container and add ice and fruit. Slowly stir in orange soda.
Source: Sam's Club
A perfect way to entertain around the table
(Family Features) With springtime in full bloom, brunch is the perfect way to entertain friends and family for nearly any upcoming occasion or celebration. Take advantage of the budding season with quality time spent with loved ones, more outdoor experiences and wholesome nutrition for the whole family, starting with a delicious morning meal around the table.
When it comes to the food they serve their families, moms want to provide good nutrition, especially for their kids, to help them grow up healthy and strong. Serving a nutritious meal each morning is one way to help kids get a good start to the day, so they can be their best in school, play and any other activities the day brings.
Whether moms know it or not, they are powerful role models for their children’s health and nutrition. When moms set the example and eat nutritious meals themselves, kids notice. For instance, according to a study from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, moms who drink milk are more likely to have kids who drink milk, which is a household staple that provides important nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and potassium. Setting the example for quality nutrition can be made easy with a delicious meal served with milk to celebrate any occasion this season with guests of all ages.
This simple egg casserole is the perfect excuse to bring the family together and start a beautiful spring day with a wholesome meal and quality time together. For more recipes and reasons to bring the family together, visit milklife.com.
Easy Egg Casserole
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup lean ham, cubed
- 1 cup frozen seasoned potatoes with onions and peppers
- 3/4 cup frozen spinach, chopped
- 1/2 cup lowfat cheddar or Swiss cheese, shredded
- 6 eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- Heat oven to 375° F. Lightly coat 8-by-8-inch casserole dish with nonstick spray.
- Arrange ham, potatoes, spinach and cheese in bottom of casserole dish. In large bowl, beat eggs and milk together and pour over ingredients in casserole dish.
- Bake 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffed. Serve immediately.
- Pair each serving with 8-ounce glass of milk.
Nutritional information per serving: 350 calories; 9 g fat; 3 g saturated fat; 350 mg cholesterol; 32 g protein; 34 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 630 mg sodium; 500 mg calcium (50% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat free milk, and include an 8-ounce glass of milk.
- 1 TBS corn oil
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 4 fish fillets (about 1 pound)
- Toasted bread crumbs for garnish
- In skillet heat corn oil over medium heat. Add garlic.
- Cook, stirring 30 seconds. Add spinach, nutmeg and pepper. Cook, stirring 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese and 1/3 cup bread crumbs.
- Spread about 1/3 cup mixture evenly on each fillet. Roll up. Arrange seam-side down in greased, shallow baking dish.
- Cover and bake in 400°F oven 15 minutes or until fish is firm but moist.
- Garnish with toasted bread crumbs as desired.
Source: Old London Foods, Inc.