(Family Features) Summer and cherries seem to go hand-in-hand, and using fresh fruits can help boost seasonal food and drink recipes.
Whether you use them as a snack, as a special ingredient in recipes or to inspire new dishes, Northwest-grown sweet cherries are one delightful way to celebrate the summer season.
Many grocery store shelves are full of these sweet, seasonal treats. Ripened on the tree and generally harvested, packed and ready for sale within just one day, it can be difficult to find a fresher summer fruit.
Cherry recipes can be enjoyed outside the summer months, too – simply rinse, pack and freeze an extra bag or two of cherries to harness the sweet flavor and health benefits in your appetizers, desserts and sweet or savory sauces throughout the year.
Impress your guests this summer with this ice-cold Cherry Lavender Spritzer. Or try Roasted Cherry Sauce for an accompaniment to your favorite barbecued meat, as an ice cream topper or paired with a cheese plate; it’s one way to have everyone asking for more.
Find more recipes and cherry tips at nwcherries.com.
Cherry Lavender Spritzer
- 4 cups pitted and halved Northwest sweet cherries
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons lavender
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 Northwest sweet cherries with stems
- 6 sprigs lavender blossoms
- In small saucepan, combine cherries, water, lavender and sugar. Heat mixture until it begins to boil. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool completely. Strain and reserve liquid.
- For each drink, combine 4 ounces cherry-lavender mixture and 4 ounces crushed ice in tall 12-ounce cocktail glass; top each with club soda. Garnish each drink with one cherry with stem and one sprig lavender blossoms.
Variation: To make alcoholic version, shake or stir strained cherry-lavender mixture and ice with 9 ounces vodka. Strain into 8-ounce martini glasses, top each with club soda and garnish each with one cherry with stem and one sprig lavender blossoms.
Roasted Cherry Sauce
Makes: 1 cup
- 2 cups pitted Northwest sweet cherries
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Heat oven to 400° F. On foil-lined baking sheet, combine cherries, sugar, cornstarch, salt and black pepper; toss to mix.
- Place in oven and roast until cherries start to release juices and become soft, about 10 minutes. Cool before serving.
Source: Northwest Cherry Growers
Take your crescent rolls to the next level with this recipe for Marshmallow Crescent Puffs. The flaky crust and sweet marshmallow filling will be a sure delight to your tastebuds. Find more recipes at www.culinary.net.
Marshmallow Crescent Puffs
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 TBS all-purpose flour
- 1 Tsp cinnamon
- 2 cans refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
- 16 large marshmallows
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 teaspoons of milk
- 1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a bowl, mix sugar, flour and cinnamon.
- Seperate crescent dough into 16 triangles. Dip 1 marshmallow into the melted butter, then roll in the sugar mixture. Place coated marshmallow at the tip of the crescent triangle (small end) and roll dough completely around marshmallow working your way to the large end of the pastry. Seal seems tightly then dip bottom of dough round into melted butter and place into muffin pan (butter side down).
- Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 1 minute. Remove puffs from muffin pan onto wire cooling racks set over waxed or parchment paper.
- How to make glaze: Mix powdered sugar, vanilla and milk. Add more milk if needed to get desired consistency.
- Drizzle glaze over warm rolls. Sprinkle with nuts (optional).
- Serve warm.
Recipe adapted from Pillsbury.
Spend more time with family in the morning and less time making breakfast with these easy-to-make Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites made with Pillsbury® Refrigerated Breadsticks.
Soft Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites
- 1 (11oz.) can Pillsbury Refrigerated Breadsticks
- 3 TBS cinnamon
- 2 TBS sugar
- 2 TBS butter, melted
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- sugar to sprinkle (optional)
- 1 TBS water
- 4 TBS powdered sugar
- Heat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Melt butter and mix with cinnamon and sugar.
- Unroll dough; separate into 12 breadsticks. With finger, press dough to make an indention length wise down the center of breadstick.
- Spoon cinnamon/sugar mixture into breadstick indention. Fold breadstick dough lengthwise over cinnamon/sugar mixture. Press to seal edges of dough.
- Twist and stretch dough to make a rope. Form a pretzel shape and seal ends of dough. Place raw pretzel onto prepared cookie sheet.
- Beat egg in a bowl and wash over pretzels.
- Sprinkle with sugar (optional).
- Bake at 375°F for 12 - 18 minutes or until golden brown.
- Mix water and powdered sugar to make a glaze. Drizzle glaze over pretzels.
- Serve warm.
Source: Recipe adapted from Pillsbury®
(Family Features) Throughout 2018, you can create easy, healthy and delicious family meals by using time-saving recipes.
For example, these “Cook Once, Eat Twice” recipes from CanolaInfo start with pork chops that double as the base for lunch or dinner the following day.
“The more you cook your own meals, the more you can control portion sizes and ingredients,” said Manuel Villacorta, registered dietitian. “Knowing the right oil to use is essential. I like using canola oil to keep the flavors of your dishes intact due to its neutral taste and light texture. Plus, it contains high levels of monounsaturated fat and plant-based omega 3 fat, and is low in saturated fat. I use it regularly in my home kitchen and recommend it to my clients.”
For more time-saving recipes, visit canolainfo.org.
Pork Loin Chops with Sweet Balsamic Mushrooms
- 8 boneless center-cut pork loin chops (4 ounces each), trimmed of fat
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 12 ounces sliced portobello mushrooms
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
- Sprinkle both sides of pork with pepper.
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil. Cook pork chops 4 minutes on each side, or until internal temperature reaches 160 F.
- Reserve four pork chops in refrigerator to make Pressed Pepperoncini-Pork Sandwiches.
- In skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining canola oil; tilt skillet to coat bottom lightly. Cook mushrooms 4-5 minutes, or until tender and juices begin to release, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Place over pork chops; cover to keep warm.
- To pan residue, add vinegar, water, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and remaining salt. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and boil 1 1/2-2 minutes, or until reduced to 2 tablespoons, scraping bottom and sides of skillet. Drizzle sauce over pork and mushrooms. Sprinkle with onions.
Pressed Pepperoncini-Pork Sandwiches
- 12 ounces crusty French bread, unsliced
- 4 leftover pork chops from Pork Loin Chops with Sweet Balsamic Mushrooms recipe
- 2/3 cup pepperoncini slices
- 1 plum tomato, chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
- 3 slices ultra-thin sliced Swiss cheese, cut in half
- Hollow out top and bottom halves of bread, leaving 1/2-inch thick shell.
- Place pork on bottom half of bread. In bowl, combine pepperoncini, tomato, onion, garlic, canola oil, vinegar, oregano and pepper flakes. Spoon pepperoncini mixture and any accumulated juices on top of pork and top with cheese.
- Cover with top half of loaf. Press down firmly to flatten sandwich and allow flavors and juices to absorb. Cut filled loaf crosswise into four equal pieces.
What does it mean for your family’s health?
(Family Features) Sugars are one of the most important health conversations today. A diet filled with too many added sugars is associated with weight gain, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. According to the 2005-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the average American consumes an average of 20 teaspoons a day, significantly more than the 6-9 teaspoons recommended daily by the American Heart Association.
Sugar can mean different things to different people, which not only adds to the confusion, but can quickly derail even your best intentions as you try to make the right choices for your family.
The difference between added and naturally occurring sugars
Many nourishing foods such as fruits, vegetables, certain whole grains and dairy products contain what are known as naturally occurring sugars; these are simple carbohydrates that are naturally present in a food’s biological structure. For example, the lactose found in milk is a sugar, as is the fructose in fruit.
In contrast, added sugars are those sugars or sweeteners you add in your kitchen – adding sugar or honey to a recipe or onto your breakfast cereal, for example – as well as sugars and sweeteners that are added to a variety of products by food manufacturers. Added sugars are often used to enhance taste and flavor, of course, but can also be included for other reasons, such as to prevent spoiling – think summer jams – or assist in fermentation, such as in baking.
“Working with the Florida Department of Citrus, I’ve seen firsthand how much confusion there is around this topic for many families,” said registered dietitian Kate Geagan, author of “Go Green Get Lean.” “Yet while too many added sugars can fill your diet with ‘empty calories,’ naturally occurring sugars are found in some of nature’s most nutrient-rich packages, delivering a bevy of benefits such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and more.”
An 8-ounce glass of 100 percent orange juice, for instance, has no added sugar. Beyond being an excellent source of vitamin C, it’s a good source of folate, especially important for women of childbearing age, as well as potassium, a vital mineral which helps nerves and muscles communicate and can help offset the effects of too much sodium in the diet. In fact, the FDA recently announced it will add potassium to the Nutrition Facts Panel because many Americans are falling short.
The benefits don’t stop there, though. A glass of 100 percent orange juice also delivers magnesium, vitamin A and niacin. Plus, it’s a significant source of hesperidin, an antioxidant that research suggests may have heart, blood pressure and cognition benefits, as well as reduce inflammation and oxidation. Furthermore, one glass counts as one serving (1 cup) of fruit to help you meet the 1.5-2 cups per day recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
How much added sugar is too much?
A delicious, vibrant eating plan that you can stick with for the long haul doesn’t mean you can’t ever consume added sugar, but it is about cutting back for most Americans – especially for groups with the highest intakes, such as adolescents and men – and replacing those calories with nutrient-rich foods.
The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting added sugar intake to a maximum of 10 percent of total calories each day, or 200 calories of a 2,000 calorie diet, which matches guidelines from the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association.
Clearing up food label confusion
In May 2016, the FDA announced a revamped Nutrition Facts Panel that includes, among other improvements, clearly listing added sugars on their own line for the first time.
Up until now, both added and naturally occurring sugars have been lumped together under one “sugars” line, making it vexing for the average eater to determine how much sugar is naturally occurring versus added, especially given the dozens of different names for sweeteners that manufacturers often use. When this change hits supermarket shelves, families will be able to more easily spot foods and beverages that contain little to no added sugar.
In addition to highlighting added sugars and potassium, the Nutrition Facts Panel will now more accurately reflect serving sizes that Americans actually eat and drink. Also, packages that are reasonably consumed in a single sitting will no longer get a free ride using smaller serving sizes and listing multiple “servings” per bag, container or can.
For best results, focus on filling your diet with an abundance of naturally nutrient-rich foods and shift to a diet that includes plenty of plant foods. For more recipes using Florida orange juice, visit floridacitrus.org.
Homemade Orange Granola
- 1 1/2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup 100 percent Florida orange juice, divided
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- Heat oven to 325° F. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
- In large bowl, combine oatmeal, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds and cinnamon; mix well. Drizzle in 1/3 cup orange juice; stir well to evenly coat oatmeal mixture.
- Repeat twice more, stirring after each addition of orange juice.
- In small bowl, combine oil, honey and vanilla; stir well to combine. Drizzle oil mixture over oatmeal mixture; stir well to coat oatmeal mixture.
- Spread oatmeal mixture on prepared baking sheet in even layer. Bake 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, to evenly brown granola.
- Remove from oven, add cranberries and cool completely. Store in airtight container up to one week.
Serving suggestion: For a morning parfait, serve homemade orange granola with milk or a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. Add in sliced fruit for extra color.
Sloppy O Joes
- 9 ounces lean ground turkey
- 1/2 large minced onion
- 1 small red bell pepper, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed, ground
- 1 teaspoon coriander seed, ground
- 1 cup Florida orange juice
- 1 cup organic tomato juice
- 1 large sweet potato, baked and diced
- 4 whole wheat dinner rolls
- In medium saute pan, saute ground turkey over medium heat until cooked thoroughly. Remove turkey; reserve.
- Saute onion until translucent. Add red pepper, cumin and coriander; saute for 1 minute then add orange juice. Cook until orange juice is reduced by two-thirds; add tomato juice and cooked turkey.
- Cook until tomato juice has reduced by two-thirds then add diced baked sweet potato and stir until combined.
- Split dinner rolls in half; spoon turkey mixture in center. Serve immediately.
Source: Florida Department of Citrus
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1 Honey Maid Graham Pie Crust (6 ounces)
- Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs and mix until blended.
- Pour into crust.
- Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.
- Top with fresh strawberry slices if desired and serve.
Source: Kraft® Foods