Recipes

A Fruity Twist on Breakfast

Tart
(Family Features) Whether it’s a weekend celebration or a simple morning bite on the go, it’s often said breakfast is the most important meal. Starting off your day with some fruity nutrition is a sweet way to add vitamin C to your diet without skimping on flavor.
With a tasty granola crust and yogurt filling, this Brunch Fruit Tart is an easy way to impress guests or fuel your morning at the office. Balanced and easy to make, the crunchy crust and smooth center make it an enjoyable addition to at-home menus. This version calls for strawberries, blueberries and kiwi, but you can get creative with your own favorite fruits for a different flavor each time you make it.

Brunch Fruit Tart
Recipe adapted from homemadeinterest.com
Crust:
• 4 cups granola mixture
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 4 1/2 tablespoons honey
nonstick cooking spray

Filling:
• 2 1/4 cups vanilla Greek yogurt
• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 package gelatin

Toppings:
• strawberries, sliced
• blueberries
• kiwis, sliced

Directions to make crust
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In large bowl, combine granola, butter and honey. Grease 11-inch tart pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of tart pan with parchment paper.
Press granola mixture into tart pan. Place tart pan on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Directions to make filling
Using mixer, combine yogurt, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and gelatin until whipped completely.
Pour yogurt mixture into tart crust. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Top with strawberries, blueberries and kiwis.

Start the New Year with a Savory Salad

Pasta salad
(Family Features) Starting the new year with fresh intentions, whether you’re trying to reset for 2023 or simply add more greens to your meals, begins with delicious, nutritious and easy recipes.
With more than 100 varieties of fresh, healthy and convenient ready-to-eat salads, Fresh Express provides plenty of inspiration, information and incentives to help you achieve your goals. For example, this Pesto Pasta Salad features red lentil rotini and Twisted Pesto Caesar Chopped Salad Kits loaded with a fresh blend of crisp iceberg and green leaf lettuces, crunchy garlic brioche croutons, Parmesan cheese and creamy pesto dressing. Add fresh grape tomatoes and toasted walnuts for a simple side or easy lunch that can be made ahead of time.

Pesto Pasta Salad
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

• 1 quart cooked red lentil rotini
• 2 packages (9 1/2 ounces each) Fresh Express Twisted Pesto Caesar Chopped Salad Kits
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
• 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

Directions
Prepare red lentil rotini according to package directions; cool 15 minutes.
In bowl, mix rotini and one dressing packet from salad kits. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; mix well. Refrigerate, covered, 30 minutes, or until rotini is cold.
In large bowl, mix lettuce from both salad kits with remaining salad dressing package. Add rotini and tomatoes; toss to combine. Sprinkle with garlic brioche croutons and shredded Parmesan cheese from salad kits and walnuts.
Substitution: Traditional rotini can be used for red lentil rotini.

Meatless meals made easy

Meatless lasagna
(Family Features) Regardless of your motivation, opting for meatless meals regularly provides plenty of benefits that extend from the health of you and your loved ones to your wallet and the environment.
 Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, considering making some lifestyle changes or just want to give an on-trend meal prep strategy a try, going meatless can help reduce your intake of red and processed meats, decrease greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change and save money on substitute ingredients like grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes that are often cheaper than meat.
For example, starting with a versatile pantry staple like Success Brown Rice can make mealtimes quick and easy. Ready in just 10 minutes without measuring or the mess, the fluffy, nutty, non-GMO rice is free of MSG and preservatives, lending itself perfectly to satisfying and hearty meals like mushroom spinach “lasagna.”

Mushroom Spinach “Lasagna”
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

• 2 bags Success Tri-Color Quinoa
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 2 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1/2 cup onion, chopped
• 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
• 4 cups baby spinach leaves
• 3 cups tomato sauce
• 2 cups ricotta cheese
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
• 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
• 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Directions
Prepare quinoa according to package directions.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions; saute 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach and stir until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and keep warm.
In medium bowl, combine ricotta, egg, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning.
Place 1 cup sauce in bottom of 2-quart baking dish. Spread half of quinoa evenly over sauce. Top with half of ricotta mixture. Top with 1 cup sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat layers, finishing with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Bake uncovered 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Quick and easy dishes from around the globe

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(Family Features) One of the best parts of traveling is trying the local cuisine, and that’s particularly true on an international scale. No matter where you go around the globe, however, there is one ingredient you’ll likely find is an integral part of many cultures and cuisines: rice.
Grown on almost every continent, this staple ingredient is a large part of meals around the world, which means there are nearly endless varieties and recipes to try. However, you don’t need to go on vacation to try authentic-tasting international food; easy-to-make versions of popular dishes from around the globe can be made right at home in mere minutes.

Kale and Kimchi “Fried” Rice
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 3 minutes
Servings: 1
• 1 Minute Jasmine Rice and Red Quinoa Cup
• 1 cup kale, chopped
• 1/4 cup kimchi, chopped
• 1 teaspoon soy sauce
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
Directions
Heat rice according to package directions.
In medium microwave-safe bowl, combine kale, kimchi and soy sauce. Cover and microwave 1 minute.
Add rice and egg; mix well to combine. Cover and microwave 30 seconds. Stir and serve.
Serving Suggestions: Drizzle with sesame oil. Add cooked shrimp.

A Sweet, Melty Holiday Sandwich

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(Family Features) All that holiday hustle and bustle can work up some real hunger. Between decorating, baking and preparing for entertaining, hosts often earn an afternoon snack.
When you and your loved ones need a boost of energy before guests arrive, turn to a fresh ingredient like Envy apples, which provide an easy way to whip up a delicious sandwich due to their sweet taste and availability. The sweet, sophisticated flavor; uplifting, fresh aroma; delightfully satisfying crunch; beautiful appearance; and naturally white flesh all lend themselves to this Apple Cranberry Havarti Melt. As a quick, simple way to reenergize before the big party, it’s a perfect snack the whole family can enjoy together.

Apple Cranberry Havarti Melt
Servings: 4
• 2 tablespoons melted butter
• 8 oat-wheat bread slices
• 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
• 12 ounces Havarti cheese
• 2 Envy apples
Directions
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Lightly butter one side of each bread slice and place on baking sheet butter side down. On side without butter, spread cranberry sauce on half of bread slices.
Slice Havarti cheese about 1/4-inch thick and place over cranberry layer. Thinly slice apples and layer over cheese. Top with remaining bread slices with butter side up.
Bake 5 minutes then carefully flip each sandwich. Bake 3-5 minutes until cheese is melty.

Satisfy guests with a savory snack and wine pairing

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(Family Features) Pairing an easy, delicious appetizer with the perfect wine doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds. When you’re ready to elevate your home entertaining, turn to a simplistic recipe featuring fresh, bold flavors.
Developed by sommelier and founder of “The Lush Life,” Sarah Tracey, this Whipped Goat Cheese Salsa Dip is part of her “Dips and Sips” partnership with Fresh Cravings, makers of authentic-tasting chilled salsas.
“When I entertain at home, I’m always looking for ways to impress my friends with fresh, creative bites I can pair with wine,” Tracey said. “My favorite hack is finding great products with high-quality ingredients then creating simple, elevated ways to serve them. The less time I spend in the kitchen, the more time I get to spend with my guests.”
Ready in just 15 minutes and paired with a rosé, this savory recipe provides an ideal way to satisfy guests without spending too much time in the kitchen. Plus, with goat cheese at the heart of the dip, it’s a delicious way to capitalize on trendy butter boards with an approachable main ingredient.

Whipped Goat Cheese Salsa Dip
Recipe courtesy of Sarah Tracey
Total time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6
• 1 goat cheese log (8 ounces), softened at room temperature
• 1 pinch sea salt
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• Chunky Salsa, Mild
• 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
• 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
• crackers, chips or vegetables
• Rosé
Directions
In food processor or blender, blend goat cheese with sea salt and 2 tablespoons heavy cream. If mixture is too firm, add cream little by little while pulsing blender until a light, fluffy consistency is reached.
Spread whipped goat cheese into shallow serving dish or onto board.
Top with salsa.
Garnish with toasted pine nuts and fresh parsley, if desired.
Serve with crackers, chips or veggies. Pair with rosé.

Kick Winter’s Chill with Hearty Chowder

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(Family Features) Colder, shorter days call for a little comfort. Cozying up with a hearty meal on brisk winter evenings can help fight off the chill while savoring favorite flavors alongside the ones you love.
Avoid venturing into the cold for a trip to the store by turning to a pantry staple like sweet potatoes. As one of the most versatile veggies, they’re easy to add to a variety of recipes while enhancing both flavor and nutrition. Perfectly suitable for both simple and elevated dishes, they can be baked, microwaved, grilled, slow cooked or prepared on the stove so their sweet taste never goes out of style.
Their long shelf life — up to four weeks if stored properly in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from heat sources — means you can rely on sweet potatoes throughout the winter as an on-hand ingredient. Additionally, as a “diabetes superfood” according to the American Diabetes Association, they’re rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, all of which are good for overall health and may help prevent disease, making them a key source of nutrients during wintertime.
When your family needs a warm-up on those frosty days, put sweet potatoes at the center of mealtime (with an added kick) in this Jalapeno Sweet Potato Chowder. Loaded with the flavors of winter comfort, it’s a filling meal that makes enough for a crowd so no one goes hungry.

Jalapeno Sweet Potato Chowder
Recipe courtesy of the North Carolina SweetPotato Commission
Servings: 6
• 2 large North Carolina sweet potatoes, baked
• 1 small onion, 1/4-inch diced
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
• 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
• 1 1/2 cups whole corn kernels
• 2 teaspoons minced jalapenos
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon salt
• chopped scallions, for garnish
Directions
Peel baked sweet potatoes; discard skin and puree.
In soup pot, saute onion in butter until softened. Add pureed sweet potato and stock, as desired. Bring to boil, reducing liquid slightly.
Add chicken, corn, jalapenos, heavy cream and salt. Simmer 10 minutes.
To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped scallions.

Hanukkah recipes

Hanukkah recipe donut holes
In the Hanukkah story, one tiny jar of oil keeps the lamps burning for eight full nights. Since Hanukkah celebrates this miracle, it’s traditional to eat foods fried in oil as part of the festivities. We got together with Los Angeles PJ Library Connector Jennifer Stempel, aka the Cuban Reuben, to find kid-friendly, easy to prepare, Hanukkah recipes that make preparing fried (or unfried) foods easy.

Mini donut holes

Ingredients
• Vegetable oil
• 1 package of prepared pizza dough
• ¼ cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon cinnamon
• Optional: Powdered sugar
• Optional: Cocoa

Preparation
In a large sauté pan (or electric skillet), add enough oil so that it is about one inch deep. Heat over medium high heat (between 375 and 400 degrees).
Roll out pizza dough until it is about ½-1 inch thick. Cut rounds of dough using a one-inch cookie or biscuit cutter. If you’ve got a kid helper on hand, pass off the cookie cutters and put them to work, just make sure a grownup does the next step.
Carefully place each dough round in the oil, and cook about 1 minute per side.
Remove the rounds from the oil, and place them on a plate lined with paper towel.
Now it’s time for your toppings! Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, and while the rounds are still warm, roll them in the mixture to coat. You can try some of the alternate toppings listed above here, too!
Serve immediately.

Hanukkah recipes

Hanukkah recipe fried pocket
In the Hanukkah story, one tiny jar of oil keeps the lamps burning for eight full nights. Since Hanukkah celebrates this miracle, it’s traditional to eat foods fried in oil as part of the festivities. We got together with Los Angeles PJ Library Connector Jennifer Stempel, aka the Cuban Reuben, to find kid-friendly, easy to prepare, Hanukkah recipes that make preparing fried (or unfried) foods easy.

Nutella Pocket

Ingredients
• Vegetable oil
• Wonton wrappers
• Chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella)
• Banana, sliced in rounds to make coins
• 1 egg, beaten
• Optional: Powdered sugar

Preparation
In a large sauté pan (or electric skillet), add oil until it is about 1 inch deep. Heat over medium/high heat (between 375 and 400 degrees).
Lay wonton wrapper flat. Add 1 teaspoon of Nutella and top with a banana coin.
Dip your finger in the egg and run it along the edges of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half to form a triangle. Push down the edges to seal.
Fry each wonton packet in oil, about one minute per side, and drain on a plate lined with paper towel.
Optional: Top with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Serve immediately.
If you’re making these for a guest with a nut allergy, swap out the Nutella for sunbutter or Wowbutter.

Make Holiday Memories with Sweet Eats

Pie  cropped
(Family Features) Whether your festivities include immediate family or bring together relatives from around the country, the holidays are about making memories with loved ones. From the first days of the season to the last, many families spend their precious time together with favorite activities and the best foods the holidays have to offer.
This year, you can change things up and start new traditions with a fresh ingredient like Envy apples, which provide an easy way to update classics due to their sweet taste and availability. The sweet, sophisticated flavor; uplifting, fresh aroma; delightfully satisfying crunch; beautiful appearance; and naturally white flesh that doesn’t brown as quickly as other apples all lend themselves to shareable recipes like this Apple Wreath Salad.

Brown Butter Apple Pie

Streusel Topping:
• 1/2 cup flour
• 1/4 cup chopped pecans
• 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
• 4 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Filling:
• 4 tablespoons butter
• 2 pounds Envy apples, cut into 1/4-inch slices
• 1/2 cup light brown sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 1 deep dish frozen pie shell

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F.
To make streusel topping: Mix flour, chopped pecans and light brown sugar. Stir in butter using fingertips until incorporated with small lumps of butter visible. Refrigerate.
To make filling: In large skillet over medium heat, melt butter until amber, stirring often. Set aside to cool. In large bowl, stir sliced apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla and flour using spatula. Pour brown butter over apples and mix, scraping skillet with rubber spatula to incorporate brown butter bits.
Place frozen pie shell on baking sheet. Add 2 cups apple mixture into shell, gently pressing apple slices for even base. Add remaining apple slices and gently press. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over apples.
Bake 30 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 F and bake 35-45 minutes until topping is golden and apples feel tender when pierced with fork.

Make Holiday Memories with Sweet Eats

Nov 28 wreath
(Family Features) Whether your festivities include immediate family or bring together relatives from around the country, the holidays are about making memories with loved ones. From the first days of the season to the last, many families spend their precious time together with favorite activities and the best foods the holidays have to offer.
This year, you can change things up and start new traditions with a fresh ingredient like Envy apples, which provide an easy way to update classics due to their sweet taste and availability. The sweet, sophisticated flavor; uplifting, fresh aroma; delightfully satisfying crunch; beautiful appearance; and naturally white flesh that doesn’t brown as quickly as other apples all lend themselves to shareable recipes like this Apple Wreath Salad.

Apple Wreath Salad
Recipe courtesy of “The Produce Moms” (@theproducemoms)

Balsamic Dressing:
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, finely ground
• 1 large garlic clove, minced
• 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
• 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salad:
• 10 ounces baby arugula
• 3 Envy apples, sliced
• 9 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
• 3 ounces pomegranate arils
• 3 ounces pecans, toasted

Direction:
To make balsamic dressing: In small serving bowl, whisk honey, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, garlic, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Place dressing bowl in center of large board or platter. Arrange arugula around dressing bowl in wreath shape.
Place apple slices on top of arugula. Sprinkle on goat cheese, pomegranate arils and pecans.

Make Holiday Memories with Sweet Eats

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(Family Features) Whether your festivities include immediate family or bring together relatives from around the country, the holidays are about making memories with loved ones. From the first days of the season to the last, many families spend their precious time together with favorite activities and the best foods the holidays have to offer.
This year, you can change things up and start new traditions with a fresh ingredient like Envy apples, which provide an easy way to update classics due to their sweet taste and availability. The sweet, sophisticated flavor; uplifting, fresh aroma; delightfully satisfying crunch; beautiful appearance; and naturally white flesh that doesn’t brown as quickly as other apples all lend themselves to shareable recipes.
Because cherished memories are made with sweet ingredients, you can turn cozy movie nights into festive and memorable events year after year by pairing Hallmark Channel’s popular “Countdown to Christmas” holiday movies with delicious desserts like this Apple Custard Sponge Trifle.

Apple Custard Sponge Trifle
Servings: 8-10

• 6 Envy apples
• 2 tablespoons golden caster sugar
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, water
• 1 tablespoon corn flour
• 1 large plain sponge cake
• 2 cups vanilla bean custard
• 1/2 cup caramel or butterscotch sauce, plus additional for garnish, divided
• 1/2 cup cream
• fresh apple slices
• fresh strawberry slices

Directions
Peel, core and dice apples; place in large saucepan. Add caster sugar, cinnamon and 1/2 cup water. Simmer apples 5-8 minutes until tender.
Combine corn flour and remaining water. Stir corn flour mixture into apples until apples are syrupy.
Cut sponge cake into 2-centimeter diced pieces. Arrange 1/3 of sponge pieces in base of serving bowl. Add half of cinnamon apple pieces, including syrupy juices. Add 1 cup custard and drizzle with 1/4 cup caramel sauce. Repeat with remaining ingredients, finishing with sponge cake; chill.
Whip cream and spoon dollops over sponge cake to cover top. Garnish with apple slices, strawberry slices and caramel sauce.

Holiday Fun with a Joyful Pop

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(Family Features) With countless ways to enjoy the holiday season from decorating and hosting parties to wintertime activities, it’s a perfect time to bring family and friends together for some festive fun. One simple ingredient can be your go-to for just about any tradition: popcorn, which is an inexpensive, versatile, whole grain that makes holiday occasions better.

Gingersnap Popcorn Snack Mix
Yield: 2 quarts
• 2 quarts popped popcorn
• butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar substitute
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black or white pepper
Directions
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Spread popcorn on baking sheet and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
In small bowl, combine sugar substitute, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and freshly ground pepper; sprinkle evenly over popcorn.
Spray again with nonstick cooking spray and toss to coat evenly.
Bake 7 minutes and serve warm.

White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn Bark
Yield: 1 pound
• 5 cups popped popcorn
• 12 ounces white chocolate baking chips, chopped white chocolate or white candy coating
• 1 cup crushed hard candy peppermints
Directions
Cover baking pan with foil or wax paper; set aside.
Place popcorn in large bowl; set aside.
In double boiler over barely simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring until smooth, or melt according to package directions.
Stir in crushed peppermints after chocolate is melted. Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn mixture and stir to coat. Spread onto prepared pan; cool completely.
When chocolate is cooled and set, break into chunks for serving.
Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Easy, Elegant Holiday Popcorn
Yield: 8 cups
• 8 cups popped popcorn
• 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
• 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
• candy sprinkles
Directions
On serving platter, spread popcorn in thin layer.
Over double boiler or in microwave, melt milk chocolate chips. Drizzle over popcorn.
Over double boiler or in microwave, melt white chocolate chips. Drizzle over popcorn.
Sprinkle candy sprinkles over warm, chocolate-coated popcorn. Allow drizzles to set until firm. 

An Easy Appetizer to Add Holiday Cheer

16408 vid roastedgarlicwhippedfetacrostini
(Family Features) Before the big meal, gifts and cherished moments at the family table, almost every holiday party starts with an important tradition: breaking the ice. This year, you can serve up a smile and start the party with this crave-inducing appetizer to get everyone talking.
The sweet touch of Roasted Garlic Whipped Feta Crostini from Milk Means More can be your delightful way to brighten the season of gifts and gatherings. With its creamy cheesiness from a homemade whipped topping boasting the richness of feta and whole milk, it’s an easy and tasty way to invite friends, family and neighbors into your home. This shareable treat comes together in a cinch while adding pops of cheerful color to plates and platters.

Roasted Garlic Whipped Feta Crostini
Recipe courtesy of Liz Della Croce of “The Lemon Bowl” on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 16

• 1 bulb garlic (about 12 cloves)
• 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for drizzling, divided
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
• 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper divided
• 32 baguette slices
• 8 ounces feta cheese
• 1/2 cup whole milk, plus additional, if necessary (optional)
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
• 1/4 cup parsley, minced

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 F. Slice garlic bulb in half, exposing garlic heads, and place in center of large piece of tinfoil. Drizzle each half with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Wrap foil tightly around garlic and roast until caramelized, about 30 minutes.
Place baguette slices on large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake on second rack in oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes; set aside.
In high-speed food processor, pulse feta cheese, milk, lemon juice, remaining salt, remaining pepper and roasted garlic cloves until whipped and creamy, adding more milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Check for seasoning and adjust to taste.
To serve, spread each baguette slice with whipped feta and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and minced parsley.

Serve up smiles with favorite holiday sides

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(Family Features) Turkey and ham may sit centerstage, but classic holiday sides can make the season truly special. You can bring smiles to your loved ones’ faces by dishing out those favorite recipes everyone asks for year after year.
When it comes to feeding a crowd, it’s often best to let your oven do the work. This brussels sprouts and ham rice gratin recipe allows you to serve up a filling favorite with little effort using pantry staples. Plus, it’s a kid-friendly way to encourage veggies at this year’s holiday meal with gooey cheese providing tempting taste bud motivation.
It can be made quick and easy with an option like Success Boil-in-Bag Rice, a pre-measured, mess-free way to make fluffy, high-quality rice. It’s cooked by simply dropping a bag of rice in a pot of water or broth then boiling it for 10 minutes.
An added bonus: If you’re aiming to achieve a particular flavor, just season the rice by cooking in water infused with herbs, spices, broth, coconut milk or other liquids like juice for sweeter recipes.

Brussels Sprouts and Ham Rice Gratin
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

• 1 bag Success White Rice
• 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
• 1/3 cup diced ham
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
• 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
• 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 F. Prepare rice according to package directions.
In large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts, ham, garlic, olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place on parchment paper-lined baking tray and roast 12-15 minutes, or until caramelized. Decrease oven temperature to 425 F.
In large bowl, toss rice, Brussels sprouts mixture, cream, chives, Dijon mustard, remaining salt and remaining pepper. Stir in cheddar and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Transfer mixture to greased, 2-quart baking dish.
In small bowl, stir breadcrumbs, remaining Parmesan and melted butter. Sprinkle over rice mixture.
Bake 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling.

Spooky snacks that make Halloween pop

Zombies
(Family Features) From watching scary movies to dressing up as ghouls and goblins, spooky season means it’s time to pop up your loved ones’ favorite snacks for a ghostly good time. Before heading out to trick-or-treat, gather your minions in the kitchen for some family-friendly fun crafting these haunting yet tasty treats.

Green Halloween Zombies 
Yield: about 7 pieces
• 2 1/2 quarts popped popcorn
• 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
• 3 cups mini marshmallows
• 4 tablespoons lime gelatin powder
• red gum balls
• candy corn
• flat green candy strips or fruit leather
• green sugar sprinkles

Directions
Place popcorn in large bowl; set aside.
In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir marshmallows into butter until melted. Stir in gelatin powder until evenly colored.
Pour melted mixture over popcorn and stir until evenly coated. With buttered hands, shape popcorn into seven ovals.
Flatten one oval slightly and squeeze one end to form “skull” shape. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ovals.
To decorate: Press two gumballs into each skull to form “eyes.”  Press candy corn into skull to form “teeth.” Use scissors to trim candy strips and press into top for “hair.” Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.
Allow “zombies” to set about 20 minutes before wrapping individually in plastic wrap or serve immediately.

Popcorn Caramel Apples 
Yield: about 7 pieces
• 1 quart freshly popped popcorn
• 1 package (9 1/2 ounces, 35 total) caramels, unwrapped
• 1/4 cup light cream or half-and-half
• 4 lollipop sticks or wooden candy apple sticks
• 4 apples
• 1/2 cup chocolate chips
• sugar sprinkles
• decorative ribbon (optional)

Directions
Place popcorn in large bowl; set aside. Place sheet of waxed paper on work surface.
In small saucepan over medium-low heat, heat caramels and cream.  Stir frequently until caramels are melted and cream is blended into caramels.
Push one stick into apple center and dip into caramel. Spoon caramel over apple to coat. Repeat with remaining apples
Place caramel-coated apple in bowl of popcorn and press popcorn onto caramel to cover. Place apple on waxed paper to set; repeat with remaining apples.
In small, resealable plastic bag, microwave chocolate chips 10 seconds and press chips to aid melting. Repeat, heating at 10-second intervals, until chips are completely melted. Cut small corner off bag and squeeze chocolate onto each apple, allowing chocolate to drip down sides. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.
Tie bow to each apple stick, if desired. To serve, cut apples into slices.

Warm Up Winter with Watermelon Fun

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(Family Features) When this year’s first snowfall offers a canvas for creativity and entertainment, gather your loved ones to make this Watermelon Snowman. Fresh-cut and personal-sized watermelons are the predominant options in wintertime, and they’re perfect for putting together this festive work of art. All you’ll need is a collection of kitchen knives, an ice cream scoop, melon ballers, skewers, some decorative “clothing” and blueberries for a fruit salad served right out of the snowman. To find more family-friendly crafts and sweet snack ideas, visit Watermelon.org.

Watermelon Snowman 
• Kitchen knives
• 1 round seedless watermelon
• 2 personal-sized watermelons, one larger than other
• ice cream scoop or large spoon
• melon baller
• mini melon baller or paring knife
• blueberries
• large wooden skewers
• y-shaped sticks
• scarf
• hat

Directions
 Using knife, cut 1/4-inch slice off bottom of round seedless watermelon and both personal watermelons to provide stable bases. Use smallest melon for head, second largest for torso and largest for lower body. Set aside smallest watermelon.
Cut tops off large and medium watermelons to create bowls. Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop out flesh.
Using melon baller, scoop eyes out of smallest watermelon. Invert melon balls and reinsert.
Using mini melon baller or paring knife, scoop out holes for nose and mouth. Carve one piece of watermelon into triangle for nose and fill mouth holes with blueberries.
On platter, using large wooden skewers, connect all three watermelons.
Insert y-shaped sticks in middle watermelon for arms.
Fill bottom sections with fruit salad of melon balls and blueberries. Decorate with scarf and hat.

Spooky snacks that make Halloween pop

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(Family Features) From watching scary movies to dressing up as ghouls and goblins, spooky season means it’s time to pop up your loved ones’ favorite snacks for a ghostly good time. Before heading out to trick-or-treat, gather your minions in the kitchen for some family-friendly fun crafting these haunting yet tasty treats.
Throughout October, you can honor National Popcorn Poppin’ Month with eerie, delicious eats. As a perfect ingredient in treats of all types, popcorn is beloved sugar-free snack that’s naturally low in fat and calories. Add in its irresistible smell, taste and versatility, and it’s easy to see why it pairs so well with spooky celebrations.

Spooky Popcorn Spider Web 
Yield: 1 spider web

1/4 cup butter
8 cups mini marshmallows, divided
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
9 cups popped popcorn, divided
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
black string licorice
candy eyes

Directions
Line round pizza pan with parchment paper; set aside. In large saucepan over low heat, melt butter; stir in 5 cups marshmallows, stirring constantly, 3-4 minutes, or until completely melted. Stir in vanilla. Remove from heat. Stir in 8 cups popcorn until coated. Spread onto prepared pizza pan in irregular round shape, about 1-inch thick, to resemble spider web. Refrigerate about 15 minutes, or until firm.
In microwave, melt remaining marshmallows about 20 seconds, or until melted. Using spatula, string strands of melted marshmallow over popcorn spider web to create cobweb effect.
In heatproof bowl, set over saucepan of hot (not boiling) water, melt 3/4 cup chocolate chips; cool slightly. In large bowl of remaining popcorn, pour chocolate over popcorn, folding gently to coat. Spread mixture on waxed paper-lined baking sheet, separating into eight small clusters. Affix two candy eyes to each popcorn cluster. Refrigerate 10-15 minutes, or until set.
Melt remaining chocolate chips. Cut licorice into 1-inch lengths. Using small spoon, dab circles of chocolate onto spider web. Affix chocolate-coated popcorn onto chocolate circles. Affix licorice lengths to chocolate popcorn clusters to resemble spider legs.
Refrigerate 15 minutes, or until set. To serve, cut into smaller pieces.

Warm up fall with filling family meals

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(Family Features) Cooler fall months call for comforting, hearty meals that taste just as delicious as they look. Filling recipes like chili make the season a special time for spending quality moments with those you love.
This fall, turn to a time-saving ingredient like Newman’s Own Sockarooni Pasta Sauce with its blend of tomatoes, mushrooms and bell peppers plus a few signature spices. This versatile sauce, made with high-quality ingredients, is ready to be a new favorite at your home in recipes like Chili Con Carne, a satisfying dish that can simmer on the stove while you help little ones with homework.
Along with comforting foods, fall is also a time for giving. You can put tasty food on your own table while helping nourish and transform the lives of children who face adversity with Newman’s Own’s radically good commitment to “giving it all away.” As with all of its products, 100% of profits from Sockarooni Pasta Sauce is donated to organizations that help kids.

Chili Con Carne 
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Servings: 8

• 2 cups diced onion
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
• 2 tablespoons cooking oil
• 2 pounds coarsely ground lean beef
• 2 cups kidney beans, soaked overnight
• 1 jar Newman’s Own Sockarooni or Marinara Pasta Sauce
• 2-3 cups water
• 2-3 tablespoons chili powder
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• salt, to taste
• pepper, to taste
• 1 cup chopped celery
• 1 can (8 ounces) corn
• sour cream, for garnish
• lime wedges, for garnish

Directions
Saute onion, garlic and green pepper in oil until soft. Add beef and brown. Add kidney beans, pasta sauce, water, chili powder, cumin and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer, uncovered, 1 hour, stirring frequently.
Add celery and corn; simmer 1 hour. Garnish with sour cream and lime wedges.
Substitution: Use 3 cups cooked rice for meat to make vegetarian chili.

Show-stopping cookies with a crunch

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(Family Features) Sweet treats are a favorite food, especially when they have a unique or unusual twist that makes them stand out from the crowd. When a dessert isn’t the classic chocolate or vanilla flavor, it can pique eaters’ interest. Cupcakes, macaroons and even pies have some intense flavors, however, it’s hard to top the delightful taste of these fresh ginger cookies.
They are sweet and sugary with the perfect amount of ginger. Baked until golden brown, this dessert is a showstopper for family events and celebrations alike. Even the little ones will love to munch on this sweet treat with fresh, appealing flavor.
From parties to picnics, these cookies can be a hit. They are simple to make, don’t take much time to bake and are unique enough to bring along to nearly any occasion. With ground and fresh ginger, these cookies are equally as appetizing as they are satisfying and sure to turn heads in the kitchen.

Fresh Ginger Cookies 
Servings: 24

• 2 cups flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup salted butter, softened
• 1 cup, plus 3 tablespoons, sugar, divided
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 1/4 cup grated fresh ginger

Directions
Heat oven to 350 F.
In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
In stand mixer, beat butter, 1 cup sugar and brown sugar until fluffy. Add egg and fresh ginger; beat until combined. Gradually add dry ingredients to mixer until combined.
In small bowl, add remaining sugar. Using spoon, portion out dough, roll into balls then roll in sugar. Arrange balls on baking sheet at least 1 inch apart.
Bake 14 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Transfer cookies to cooling rack and cool completely.

Turn to Tradition for Tex-Mex Taste

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(Family Features) The next time your loved ones crave a comforting dish that’s warming from the inside-out, turn to an all-time classic with a touch of southern flair.
Take inspiration for this Tex-Mex Beef Lasagna from season 3 of “BBQuest: Beyond the Pit,” a video series that dives into the long-held traditions, new flavors and everyday inspiration that make Texas barbecue legendary. Developed from the show by BBQuest co-host and “Hardcore Carnivore” cookbook author Jess Pryles, this tasty take on comfort food can be the perfect solution for a family meal with plenty of leftovers.

Tex-Mex Beef Lasagna 
Total time: 60 minutes
Servings: 10

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 onion, diced
• 2 pounds ground beef
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin
• 2 teaspoons chipotle powder
• 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
• 15 ounces canned corn, drained
• 15 ounces canned seasoned black beans, drained
• 10 ounces canned diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
• 15 ounces canned red enchilada sauce
• 1 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
• nonstick cooking spray
• 12 corn tortillas
• 8 ounces shredded Mexican blend cheese
• cilantro (optional)
• green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In large pan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat then add onion. Cook until softened, 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly.
Add ground beef and cook, stirring regularly, until beef has browned.
Add kosher salt, garlic powder, cumin, chipotle powder and onion powder; stir well. Add corn, black beans and diced tomatoes. Turn heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
In bowl, combine enchilada sauce and crema; mix well.
Spray casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Pour about 1/4 cup enchilada sauce mixture on bottom to prevent tortillas from sticking.
Layer 2-4 tortillas across bottom then top with layer of ground beef mixture. Use ladle to spoon some enchilada sauce mixture on top, distributing evenly. Top with another layer of tortillas then repeat layers until casserole is full, 3-4 layers. Top with shredded cheese.
Loosely cover dish with foil in tent shape to help prevent cheese from sticking then bake 30 minutes.
Remove foil and bake 10-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
Cool 5 minutes before serving. Top with cilantro and green onions, if desired. 

A homemade crunchy mushroom wrap to save your grocery budget

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(Family Features) If the prices of your favorite ingredients have you dreading the next trip to the grocery store, finding ways to stretch your budget can help you feel better at the checkout counter.
One such way: turning to versatile ingredients that help make every dollar count by using them in a variety of your family’s favorite meals. Flavorful options like mushrooms enhance recipes by extending portions. Blending finely chopped mushrooms with ground meat allows you to extend the volume of dishes like burgers, tacos, pasta, wraps and more. Simply chop your desired mushroom variety to match the consistency of ground meat, blend the chopped mushrooms and meat together then cook your blend to complete the recipe. Visit MushroomCouncil.com for more blended recipe ideas.

Blended Crunchy Mushroom 
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
• 8 ounces mushrooms, such as white button, crimini or portabella, finely chopped
• 1/2 pound lean ground beef
• 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
• 6 burrito-size flour tortillas (about 10 inches each)
• 1/3 cup nacho cheese sauce
• 6 tostada shells
• sour cream
• 6 mini soft taco-size flour tortillas (about 4 1/2 inches each)
• shredded lettuce
• diced tomatoes
• shredded Mexican cheese blend
• nonstick cooking spray

IIn large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Cook onions 1-2 minutes until translucent. Add mushrooms and ground beef. Cook about 5 minutes, or until beef is no longer pink. Stir in taco seasoning. Cook 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
Lay one large flour tortilla on flat surface. Spread 2 tablespoons mushroom-meat mixture on center of tortilla.
Drizzle a dollop of nacho cheese over the mushroom-meat mixture. Top meat with one tostada shell then spread thin layer of sour cream over tostada shell.
Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and shredded Mexican cheese then one small tortilla. Make sure not to overstuff so wrap doesn’t break apart while cooking. 

Sweet and Spicy Bratwurst Subs

Brat subs (cropped)
Servings: 8

Kimchi:
• 1 1/2 cups green cabbage, cut into thick strips
• 1/4 cup water
• 4 teaspoons white vinegar
• 1 tablespoon gochujang paste
• 2 teaspoons fish sauce
• 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1/2 teaspoon minced, peeled ginger root
• 1/2 cup daikon radish strips
• 1/4 cup shredded, peeled carrot
• 1/4 cup sliced green onion

Mango Slaw:
• 2 cups shredded green cabbage
• 1/3 cup diced mango chunks, thawed from frozen
• 1/4 cup shredded, peeled carrot
• 1/4 cup sliced green onion
• 1/4 cup red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
• 2 tablespoons minced, peeled ginger root
• 2 tablespoons white vinegar
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

Spicy Sesame Mayonnaise:
• 1/3 cup mayonnaise
• 1 tablespoon sriracha
• 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
• 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned rice wine vinegar

• 8 bratwursts (4 ounces each)
• 8 hoagie rolls (6 inches), split

Directions
To make kimchi: Place cabbage in microwavable bowl. Add water. Cover and microwave on high 2 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Rinse with cold water and drain well.
In large bowl, mix vinegar, gochujang, fish sauce, garlic and ginger. Add steamed cabbage, daikon, carrot and onion; toss to coat. Cover and chill.
To make mango slaw: Mix cabbage, mango, carrot, onion, red bell pepper, cilantro, ginger, vinegar, salt and garlic. Cover and chill.
To make spicy sesame mayonnaise: Mix mayonnaise, sriracha, sesame oil and vinegar until well blended. Cover and chill.
Heat grill to medium and lightly oil grill rack. Grill bratwursts 8 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 155 F.
Spread mayonnaise on rolls. Place grilled bratwurst on rolls and top with kimchi and slaw. n

Tackle tailgate menus with fast, flavorful foods

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(Family Features) While they may not strap on helmets and head to the field for kickoff, football fans often feel like they’re as much a part of the game as the players themselves. When the team is in the locker room laying out the game plan, scores of fans are fueling up with tantalizing tailgate foods.
In fact, many tailgaters believe food is the most important aspect of the pregame festivities, and one trendy way to feed your crowd is with small plates, appetizers, samplers and innovative sides that feature a variety of flavors like these ideas from the experts at Aramark.
An easy hack for your next game day meal can be a recipe you prepare at home before heading to the stadium. The toppings are what set these Korean-inspired Sweet and Spicy Bratwurst Subs apart. Just make the crunchy kimchi, bright mango slaw and spicy sesame mayonnaise up to two days ahead of time so grilling the bratwursts is all you need to do before kickoff.
As tailgate grub continues to trend toward easy and quick, Sweet Heat Foil Packets provide another no-mess, single-serve solution. Load up individual packets with shrimp, chicken, andouille sausage and favorite veggies then head to the game and grill on-site for a hot meal to fire up your fellow fans.
Find more game day recipe inspiration by visiting Aramark’s Feed Your Potential website, fyp365.com.

Sweet heat foil packets
Servings: 8
 
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, diced
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced, peeled potatoes
  • 1 cup diced, peeled carrots
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 cups diced skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 16 extra-large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
  • 8 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1 cup andouille sausage, cut in half and sliced
  • 8 frozen mini corn cobs, cut in half (16 pieces)
  • 1 cup sliced green onion
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Directions
Heat grill to medium. Place eight 18- by 18-inch squares heavy-duty aluminum foil on work surface.

On half of each foil square, evenly layer butter, onions, potatoes, carrots, red bell peppers, chicken, shrimp, seasoning, pineapple, sausage, corn cobs and green onions.

Fold foil in half over filling. Fold edges of foil tightly toward filling to seal packets.

Place packets on baking sheet.

Grill 15 minutes with lid closed until chicken and shrimp are cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make school day meals a breeze

Cheeseburger turnovers
(Family Features) There’s a lot to remember when sending your student off to school each morning, from backpacks and school supplies to last night’s homework. Don’t forget one of the key ingredients to a successful day: lunch.
These cheeseburger turnovers provide the energy little learners need to power through their afternoon lessons. One winning idea to make the week easier is to prep a full batch of these easily packable, kid-friendly handhelds Sunday night so you’ve got lunch ready for each day.

Cheeseburger turnovers
• 1 pound ground beef
• 1/2 cup onion, chopped
• 2 tablespoons ketchup
• 1 tablespoon mustard
• 1 can flaky biscuits
• 1 cup shredded cheese
• dill pickle slices, halved
• 1 egg, beaten
Directions
Heat oven to 375 F.
In large skillet, cook ground beef and onion until beef is thoroughly cooked and onions are tender. Drain. Stir in ketchup and mustard.
Separate biscuit dough. On ungreased baking sheet, flatten biscuit dough to form 6-inch rounds. Spoon beef mixture onto one side of flattened dough. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with dill pickle half. Fold dough over filling. With fork tines, press dough edges to seal. Cut two slits in top of dough to release steam. Repeat with remaining dough, beef mixture, cheese and pickles.
Brush each turnover with egg wash.
Bake 18-22 minutes, or until deep golden brown.

5 steps to help boost students’ immunity

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(Family Features) Heading to the classroom means opening doors to opportunities for educational and social growth, but to keep students at school day after day, it’s important to keep health top of mind. When close proximity to other children exposes them to illnesses like common colds, strong immune systems can be the difference between perfect attendance and a few days of absences.
To help boost your children’s immunity, consider these tips from the experts at Healthy Family Project.

Eat Healthy Foods: Focusing on foods that are rich in antioxidants and vitamins can help boost immunity by protecting the body from free radicals that cause inflammation and damage cells. For example, vitamin C boosts the function of immune cells, and foods high in fiber help keep the digestive system healthy.
Broccoli provides a good source of vitamin C, but if your kids aren’t big fans of the green veggie, turn to these Broccoli Tater Tots for an easy way to sneak some greens onto the family table.

Get Plenty of Sleep: The Sleep Foundation recommends 9-11 hours of sleep each night for kids ages 6-13.

Exercise Regularly: Whether your children participate in sports or just enjoy playtime, encourage exercise to help boost the immune response.

Reduce Stress: Talk to your children about anxiety, stress and mental health, as stress can leave them feeling run down while weakening the immune system.

Drink Water: Hydration plays a major role in keeping immune systems functioning properly by aiding the production of white blood cells.

Broccoli Tater Tots
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

2 russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
cold water
2 cups broccoli florets
1 large egg
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 F.
In large stockpot, cover potatoes with cold water. Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce to low and simmer 3 minutes. Add broccoli; don’t stir. Cover and cook 4-5 minutes, or until tender. Drain.
In large bowl, mix egg, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and garlic powder until just combined.
In food processor, pulse potatoes and broccoli 8-10 times until finely grated. Add to breadcrumb mixture and stir to combine.
Use tablespoon to scoop potato mixture into 40 mounds. Shape each into oval and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake 10 minutes; flip and bake 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Take Homemade Family Favorites to New Heights

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(Family Features) When it’s time to settle down for the night, end the day on a high note with the sweetness of Strawberry Shortcake. Toss strawberries with sugar, create your own whipped plant cream and make shortcakes from scratch for a true taste of home.

Strawberry Shortcake
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Servings: 8

Strawberries:
• 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced
• 6 tablespoons sugar

Whipped Plant Cream:
• 2 cups Country Crock Plant Cream, directly from refrigerator
• 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Shortcakes:
• 3/4 cup chilled Country Crock Plant Cream, plus additional for brushing, divided
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 2 cups flour
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) Country Crock Plant Butter Sticks with Avocado Oil, melted
• 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

To make strawberries: In bowl, toss sliced strawberries and sugar. Let berries sit 30 minutes to 2 hours before serving.

To make whipped plant cream: In chilled bowl, using electric hand mixer or stand mixer on high, whisk chilled plant cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until plant cream thickens and stiff peaks form.
To make shortcakes: Preheat oven to 475 F.
In small bowl, mix 3/4 cup plant cream and lemon juice; set aside 2-3 minutes, or until it begins to curdle.

In large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in plant butter and plant cream mixture.

Knead dough a few times then shape into 1-inch-tall circle. Cut circle into eight wedges. Transfer wedges onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush tops of biscuits generously with additional plant cream and sprinkle turbinado sugar on top.

Bake 10-12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Biscuits should be golden brown. Cool before assembling.

Split each biscuit in half. Spoon strawberries over half of biscuits. Add dollop of whipped plant cream on top. Layer other biscuit halves on top followed by more strawberries and plant cream.

Take Homemade Family Favorites to New Heights

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(Family Features) Gathering together to enjoy a meal at the family table or a sweet treat at the end of a long day is what time with loved ones is all about. Turning to beloved classics can bring everyone running to the kitchen to share the flavors of those familiar favorites.
Savor the timeless taste of pasta with this Penne Alla Vodka, a classic dish high on flavor and low on hassle so you can have a meal ready in just 30 minutes. Plus, it offers an alternative to traditional recipes by using Country Crock Plant Cream, a new dairy-free substitute for heavy whipping cream perfect for using in a variety of your favorite dishes.
Made with delicious plant-powered ingredients, it provides the taste of heavy whipping cream without the heaviness. As a 100% vegan, dairy-free and soy-free solution, it’s a 1-for-1 swap for heavy whipping cream in cooking and baking recipes, making it ideal to have on hand year-round.

Penne Alla Vodka
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 5

• 1 tablespoon Country Crock Plant Butter with Olive Oil
• 1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion
• 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
• 1/2 cup tomato paste
• 1 pinch red pepper flakes
• 1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) vodka
• 16 fluid ounces Country Crock Plant Cream
• 1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) water
• 3 cups dry penne pasta, cooked and drained
• 1/4 cup grated vegan Parmesan cheese
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
In pan over moderate heat, melt plant butter. Add onions and garlic. Cover and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Cook until tomato paste starts to lightly brown.

Add vodka and stir well, scraping bits of browned tomato paste from bottom of pan. Cook over high heat until liquid is reduced by about half to concentrate flavors.

Add plant cream and water; stir to incorporate tomato paste evenly. Bring to simmer.

Toss in cooked pasta. Add vegan Parmesan, salt and fresh basil.

Make healthy easy with grapes

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(Family Features) If you’re like many Americans who put a priority on well-being, choosing simple yet healthy snacks and ingredients is an easy first step. For example, grapes are a popular and convenient fruit that can also be an ally in wellness, offering an abundance of health benefits that can help you get (and stay) on the right track.

The next time you enjoy an outdoor adventure, pack along a healthy snack such as California grapes. They can go with you on hikes and bike rides or to the gym as a healthy and hydrating source of energy. Heart-healthy grapes also deliver beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols and are a good source of vitamin K, which supports bone and heart health. With no need to peel, cut, core or slice, grapes are perfectly portable when you’re on the go.

As an easy, versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide variety of recipes, grapes offer delicious taste, texture and color – plus a healthy boost – that make them an appealing addition to snacks and meals. An added bonus: Grapes help support heart, brain, colon and skin health.

Warm-Spiced Chickpeas and Couscous with Grapes and Arugula

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional, to taste, divided
• 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1 cup Israeli pearl couscous
• 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 1 can (15 ounces) no-salt-added chickpeas, drained
• 1 cup red California grapes, halved
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
• freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 4 cups lightly packed baby arugula
• lemon wedges

In large saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and allspice; cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Add couscous and stir 1 minute to toast lightly. Add turmeric and water; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until couscous is tender, about 15 minutes.
Stir chickpeas, grapes and cilantro into couscous then season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer couscous-grape mixture to large bowl, add arugula and toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon wedges.

Nutritional information per serving: 370 calories; 12 g protein; 61 g carbohydrates; 9 g fat (17% calories from fat); 1 g saturated fat (2% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 160 mg sodium; 8 g fiber.

Elevate a family-favorite side dish to a flavorful, protein-packed meal

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(Family Features) Taking the stress out of family meals at home can be as simple as turning your attention toward recipes that pack plenty of flavor without complicated prep. In fact, you can even turn an easy, everyday side dish into a full-blown dinner by simply adding your favorite protein.

This Greek Chicken Fried Rice, for example, transforms a traditional side dish into a filling meal for four in less than 30 minutes. Plus, it requires just one wok or skillet, leaving hardly any cleanup on those busy weeknights when homework, after-school activities and social calendars fill your schedule.

Greek Chicken Fried Rice
Recipe courtesy of Lori Yates of “Foxes Love Lemons” on behalf of Milk Means More

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 13 minutes
Servings: 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large chicken breast, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cups prepared white rice
2 eggs
1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup crumbled cow’s milk feta cheese
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, halved
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

In wok or large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook until almost cooked through, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
Add onion; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.

Add rice; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Push rice to sides of wok, creating well in center of wok. Crack eggs into well and scramble vigorously with wooden spoon; cook 2 minutes, keeping eggs in well, or until eggs are fully cooked.

Add chickpeas, parsley, cheese, tomatoes, olives, lemon juice, salt and pepper; cook 2 minutes, or until warmed through, stirring frequently.

Sweet Summer Treats that Beat the Heat

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(Family Features) When the back-to-school season brings jam-packed schedules full of learning and homework, every minute counts for the parents who make those school days possible. Create some extra time for special moments with the special people in your life by prioritizing easy yet delicious dinners that can help refuel parents and students.
In just five minutes, you can take on a kid-friendly classic with “Mac” and Cheese in a Cup, a creamy rice version of the familiar favorite made with milk, cheddar and cream cheese. Just because you may not have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen doesn’t have to mean suffering through boring meals — simply use the microwave to enjoy this speedy yet tasty option.
It’s easy to enjoy the buttery taste and aromatic scent of jasmine rice — regardless of how packed your schedule is — by using Minute Jasmine Rice Cups to make quick dinners a reality. This taste bud-tingling take on mac and cheese made in a microwaveable cup saves you from clean-up duty and leaves more time for homework, after-school activities, school projects and all the excitement that comes with a new school year.

“Mac” and Cheese in a Cup Recipe

Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 3 minutes
Servings: 1

1 cup Minute Jasmine Rice
1/3 cup 2% milk
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pinch dry mustard powder (optional)

Heat rice according to package directions.

In a microwave-safe cup, stir rice, milk, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, garlic powder and mustard powder, if desired.

Microwave on high, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes, or until heated through and cheese is melted and saucy.

Tips: For extra-cheesy rice, add 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Substitute garlic powder with 1/2 clove minced, fresh garlic.

Sweet Summer Treats that Beat the Heat

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(Family Features) Whether your family’s ideal summer day consists of swimming, hiking, biking or simply enjoying the sunshine, all that time in the heat calls for a sweet way to cool off. It’s hard to beat a homemade treat loaded with favorite summertime flavors that’s as cold and creamy as it is sweet and delicious.
For a lighter, better-for-you solution, this Watermelon Gelato has about half the fat and fewer calories than traditional ice cream but with equally mouthwatering flavor. In fact, the word “gelato” means “ice cream” in Italian, and while the two frozen desserts have much in common, gelato is typically lower in fat with more density.
If you’re looking for an added touch of tastiness, try adding a few chocolate chips to the mix in the last few minutes of churning in your ice cream maker, or simply add some on top before serving.
While sweet and tasty, these desserts also provide a bite of hydration with the power of watermelon, which is 92% water, for a delicious way to rehydrate. Because what you eat also provides a significant portion of daily fluids, fruits and vegetables like watermelon can help you and your family stay hydrated for whatever summer days bring your way.

Watermelon Gelato
Servings: 8
2 cups pureed watermelon
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup fat-free half-and-half
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup whipping cream
Directions
In blender, blend watermelon, sugar, cornstarch, half-and-half, lemon juice and whipping cream until smooth.
Using ice cream maker, process gelato according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Make Weeknight Meals a Breeze

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(Family Features) After a long day in the classroom or at the office, it’s tough to top bringing the family together with a home-cooked meal. When evenings are busy with homework and activities, however, there might be little time left for complicated dishes.
Take those schedules on with a menu of delicious recipes that require 30 minutes or less so you can focus on celebrating the day’s accomplishments with loved ones. These simple yet flavorful ideas from Milk Means More call for limited instructions and ingredients lists fueled by dairy favorites that provide nutrients to recharge the entire family.

Pork Chops in Creamy Mustard-Peppercorn Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Marcia Stanley, MS, RDN, Culinary Dietitian, on behalf of Milk Means More
Total time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

3/4  cup evaporated 2% milk
3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard or Dijon mustard
3/4  teaspoon coarsely cracked black peppercorns
1/2  teaspoon all-purpose flour
4 boneless pork loin chops (1 1/4 pounds), cut 3/4-inch thick
1/4  teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4  cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
cooked noodles or rice (optional)
chopped fresh parsley (optional)

In bowl, whisk milk, mustard, peppercorns and flour. Set aside.
Pat pork chops dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of chops with salt.
In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook pork chops 3-4 minutes, or until browned. Turn and cook 3-4 minutes, or until thermometer inserted in thickest part of chops reads 145 F. Transfer chops to serving platter. Loosely cover with foil to keep warm.
Add garlic to drippings in skillet. Cook 15 seconds. Stir in broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until most liquid evaporates. Stir in milk mixture and any accumulated juices from cooked pork. Cook and stir until just boiling. Immediately remove from heat and spoon sauce over chops.
Serve with noodles or rice, if desired. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

A Grilled Take on a Traditional Italian Meal

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(Family Features) Warm weather means grilling season is back, but evenings spent around the grill are no longer just for hot dogs and burgers. This summer, impress family and friends with creative new recipes that put a spin on your traditional go-to meals.
To start, try bringing other cultural influences to the table. Get inspired by this Sweet Italian Sausage Polenta, starring flavor-packed Carando Sweet Italian Sausage and vinegar-laced peppers over soft, creamy polenta. Simple and satisfying, this recipe may just earn a permanent spot on your summer menu.
Whether you’re grilling for neighbors or gathering the family for a weeknight meal, the sausage is convenient, easy to prepare and can help turn any occasion into a memorable one. Made from 100% pork and loaded with traditional Italian herbs and spices, it pairs perfectly with this creamy polenta, as well as pizzas, sandwiches, kebabs and more.

Sweet Italian sausage polenta

Total time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
1 package Carando Sweet Italian Sausage
8 cups chicken stock
2 cups dry polenta
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 medium yellow onion, julienned
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons oregano

Directions
Heat grill to medium-low. Grill sausages 15-20 minutes, using tongs to turn frequently; reserve.
In heavy-bottomed pot, whisk stock and polenta; bring to boil. Cook, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes, or until thick and creamy.
Remove polenta from heat and whisk in butter and cheese. Reserve until ready to serve.
Heat pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, peppers, onions and garlic; and saute until vegetables soften and just begin to color.
Deglaze pan with white wine and reduce by half. Add vinegar, honey and oregano; cook until reduced by half.
Add sausages to pan to warm.
When sausages are warm, place polenta on large platter then top with sausages, peppers and onions.

Savor the Flavors of Summer

Kabobs
(Family Features) Bringing your family together for a meal that tastes like summer is what the season is all about. If you’re spending an evening firing up the grill, flipping on the oven, forming a homemade salad or anything in-between, the time spent together enjoying warm weather flavors is what everyone truly craves.
Take advantage of its mouthwatering taste with these Summer Shrimp and Squash Kebabs, an easy way to bring loved ones together both before and during the meal. Put an adult in charge of heating the grill while the entire family works together to marinate a concoction of shrimp, tomatoes, corn, red onion, squash and zucchini before threading onto skewers that are ready to hit the grates.

Summer Shrimp and Squash Kebabs

Servings: 4 (2 skewers per serving)

8 wooden skewers (12 inches each)
1 cup Newman’s Own Garlic Vinaigrette & Marinade, plus additional for serving
16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
16 cherry tomatoes
2 ears fresh corn, each cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
2 yellow squash, sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 zucchini, sliced 1/2-inch thick

Soak skewers in water at least 30 minutes.

In large bowl, combine vinaigrette, shrimp, cherry tomatoes, corn, red onion, yellow squash and zucchini; marinate 30 minutes-1 hour.

Preheat grill to medium heat. Skewer pieces of cherry tomato, shrimp, corn, zucchini, red onion and yellow squash on wooden skewer. Repeat with remaining ingredients and skewers. Grill kebabs about 8 minutes, turning frequently until shrimp and veggies are cooked. Serve with additional vinaigrette. 

Savor the Flavors of Summer

Orzo salad
(Family Features) Bringing your family together for a meal that tastes like summer is what the season is all about. If you’re spending an evening firing up the grill, flipping on the oven, forming a homemade salad or anything in-between, the time spent together enjoying warm weather flavors is what everyone truly craves.
Your next backyard meal can start with a flavor infusion from Newman’s Own Garlic Vinaigrette & Marinade, a versatile option that can be tossed with salads or added to proteins before cooking. Made with premium ingredients and a special blend of herbs and spices, it sets itself apart by mixing garlic into the dressing in four different forms – minced, powder, granulated and chopped – to deliver a delightfully bold and zesty flavor with every bite.
If hot weather means lighter fare is on the menu, this Mediterranean Orzo Salad can be ready in mere minutes. Just toss together a handful of tantalizing ingredients for a simple bite of summer that’s perfect as a meatless meal or al fresco side dish. Or you can turn it into a quick weeknight dinner by adding cooked chicken, shrimp or a protein of your choice.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Servings: 4

2 cups cooked orzo
2 mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup arugula
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata and green olives, cut in half
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup Newman’s Own Garlic Vinaigrette & Marinade, plus additional for serving (optional)

In large bowl, combine orzo, cucumbers, tomatoes, chickpeas, arugula, olives and feta cheese. Toss with vinaigrette.

Serve with additional vinaigrette, if desired. 

Sweeten Up Summer with a Frozen, Fruity Snack

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(Family Features) Whether you spend your summer afternoons sitting by the pool, splashing in the shallow end or just soaking up the sun’s rays, part of the fun is beating the heat with a cool, refreshing snack. Heading to the freezer for a fruity ice pop can transport you from your own backyard to a tropical island, and the experience can be even more rewarding when the tasty treat is homemade.
Cool down after fun in the sun with these kid-friendly Pina Colada Sweet Potato Ice Pops, a tropical-inspired dessert made with coconut cream, sweet potatoes, fresh pineapple, lime juice and honey.
Sure to please kids and adults alike, they’re a better-for-you option when a cold snack calls your name. As a “diabetes superfood,” according to the American Diabetes Association, sweet potatoes provide a main ingredient that’s rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber along with a “sweet” flavor without the added sugar.

Pina Colada Sweet Potato Ice Pops

Prep time: 5 minutes
Freeze time: 3-4 hours
Yield: 8 small ice pops

1/2 cup coconut cream
3/4 cup mashed and cooked sweet potato
3/4 cup diced pineapple
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
coconut flakes (optional)

Directions
In a food processor or high-speed blender, mix coconut cream, sweet potato, pineapple, honey and lime juice. Transfer batter to freezer molds.
Place in freezer 3-4 hours. Top with coconut flakes, if desired.

Lobster takes sliders to a new level

Lobster sliders
(Family Features) Elevate your Slider Sundays (remember last week’s slider recipe) with lobster. A quick 15 minutes of preparation and 15 of cooking, and you can have these sliders ready for family or for a relaxed evening with friends. They are sure to be impressed.

Lobster Knuckle Sliders with Spicy Mayo
Recipe courtesy of Guy Fieri 

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients
1 package King’s Hawaiian Slider Buns
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tomato, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1/2  cup Japanese mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sriracha
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lemon, cut in half
1 package tempura flour mixture
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning
9 ounces cooked lobster knuckle meat
2 1/2  cups white cabbage, shredded fine
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chives, finely chopped

Directions
Separate slider buns and brush inside halves with melted butter. Toast rolls on griddle until golden brown; flip and slightly toast outsides of rolls.
In mixing bowl, combine diced tomatoes, celery, mayonnaise and sriracha. Season with salt and pepper, to taste; add juice and zest from 1/2 lemon. Mix well to fully incorporate. Place in refrigerator to chill.
Mix tempura batter per package instructions and season with seafood seasoning.
Preheat deep fryer to 350 F.
Pat lobster dry with paper towels. Place lobster in tempura batter and allow to sit 30-60 seconds.
Remove lobster one piece at a time, allowing excess batter to drip off. Working in batches, fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
While lobster is frying, place cabbage in mixing bowl; add extra-virgin olive oil and juice from remaining 1/2 lemon. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Mix well to incorporate evenly.
Place 2 tablespoons cabbage mixture on each bun, making bed on each bun to hold lobster in place.
Remove lobster from fryer and allow excess oil to drain completely. Toss lobster in mayonnaise mixture and sprinkle with chopped chives. Place lobster on cabbage mixture then add top buns and secure with bamboo skewers.

Savory Solutions for Slider Sunday

Chicken parmeroni
(Family Features) Enjoying a meal as a family might seem farfetched with schedules full of work, activities and social commitments. However, you can make bringing everyone together a bit easier (and more delicious) with a weekly tradition like Slider Sunday that gets the whole crew excited about time around the kitchen table.
No matter what your loved ones crave, you can savor a different flavor and enjoy the soft, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness of King’s Hawaiian Rolls and Slider Buns, including Pretzel Slider Buns, each and every Sunday. Plus, toppings can be customized so everyone’s favorites are on the menu.

Chicken Parm-eroni Sliders
Recipe courtesy of Guy Fieri 

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup minced garlic
1 package King’s Hawaiian Pretzel Slider Buns
3 cups vegetable oil
2 cups pepperoni, julienned
1 1/4 cups marinara sauce
9 breaded chicken tenders, cooked crispy
5 slices fresh mozzarella
5 slices provolone cheese
9 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley

Directions
In small saucepot over medium heat, melt butter and add minced garlic. Cook 3-4 minutes until garlic softens but does not brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Separate pretzel slider buns and brush inside halves with melted garlic butter. Toast rolls on griddle until golden brown; flip and slightly toast outside of rolls. Set aside.
In 4-quart saucepot with thermometer, heat oil to 350 F. Fry pepperoni until bubbles start to slow. Carefully remove from oil and place on plate with paper towel.
In small saucepot, heat marinara sauce. Place 1 tablespoon sauce on bottom halves of slider buns.
On lined sheet pan, place one chicken tender on each slider bun. Place 1 tablespoon marinara sauce on top of each tender followed by half slice mozzarella then half slice provolone. Top each slider with 1 teaspoon grated Parmesan. Place baking sheet in broiler and melt cheese.
Top cheese with 1 tablespoon crispy pepperoni on each slider.
Top sliders with other halves of toasted slider buns. Brush tops with garlic butter and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Use bamboo picks to secure.

Celebrate spring moments with a taco feast for the senses

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(Family Features) Busy calendars loaded with holidays, celebrations, parties and reunions make spring a perfect time for gathering with family and friends. Plus, springtime itself is worth celebrating thanks to warmer temperatures and longer days. Making the most of those joyous occasions calls for a menu filled with variety to keep everyone coming back for more.
Few options say “variety” quite like this epic taco party feast from Ericka Sanchez, creator of “Nibbles and Feasts.” Pay homage to Hispanic-style culinary and cultural traditions by loading your table with an array of family favorites like taquitos, tacos, rice, guacamole, pico de gallo and more. Add in the wholesomeness of Real California dairy like Cotija and Queso Fresco cheeses and cremas for a top-notch feast.
Elevating your dishes starts with these delicious options, but freestyling the menu is what truly makes it your own. Mix up proteins based on your loved ones’ preferences from carne asada and carnitas to shredded chicken and meatless options. Sprinkle, drizzle and layer cheeses according to your own cravings then finish with a range of toppings for customized classics.

Epic Taco Party Feast
Recipe courtesy of Ericka Sanchez (@nibblesnfeasts) on behalf of Real California Milk

Top row, left to right:
• Cheese taquitos
• Salsa verde
• Real California Cotija Cheese, crumbled
• Pico de gallo
• Potato taquitos
• Real California Queso Fresco, crumbled
• Real California Crema
• Tequila with chili salt (optional)

Middle row, left to right:
• Carne asada tacos
• Real California Queso Fresco, crumbled
• Chicken street tacos
• Real California Chipotle Crema
• Carnitas tacos with hard shells

Bottom row, left to right:
• Real California Cotija Cheese, crumbled
• Real California Crema
• Mexican rice
• Carne asada tacos
• Guacamole

To assemble top row: Place cheese taquitos in pan, salsa verde in bowl, Cotija cheese in bowl, pico de gallo in bowl, potato taquitos on plate and Queso Fresco in bowl. Garnish potato taquitos with pico de gallo, guacamole, Queso Fresco and crema. Optional: Add tray with tequila, cups and chili salt.
To assemble middle row: Place carne asada tacos on plate, queso fresco in bowl, chicken street tacos on plate, chipotle crema in bowl and carnitas tacos on serving tray.
To assemble bottom row: Place Cotija cheese and crema in bowls, potato taquitos on serving tray, Mexican rice in bowl, carne asada tacos on plate and guacamole in bowl. 

A Fiesta Fusion of Worldwide Flavors

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(Family Features) If you’re seeking inspiration to take mealtime from bland and boring to new and vibrant, look no further than this at-home fiesta recipe. This recipe from “The New York Times” bestselling cookbook author and recipe developer Stephanie Banyas offers delightful flavor fusions. Mexican Style Paella with Chicken and Sausage pop with the high-quality ingredients of Fresh Cravings Salsas.
These boldly flavored salsas are made with vine-ripened tomatoes, crisp onions, zesty peppers and spices. Plus, they’re never cooked or pasteurized, meaning you’re enjoying a vibrant dip that’s never soggy or dull. Available in a range of heat levels among restaurant style, chunky and pico de gallo, they complement any at-home fiesta. n

Mexican Style Paella with Chicken and Sausage
Recipe courtesy of Stephanie Banyas

Servings: 4-6

1 container (16 ounces) Fresh Cravings Chunky Salsa (mild or medium)
12 ounces chicken tenders, patted dry
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional, to taste, divided
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
12 ounces fully cooked chicken sausage or pork sausage links
3 cups low-sodium canned chicken stock, water or combination
2 cups long-grain rice
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
lime wedges

Directions
Remove 1/2 cup salsa and set aside. In blender or food processor, process remaining salsa until smooth.
Put chicken in bowl, add 1/2 cup pureed salsa and toss to coat. Cover and marinate at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours in refrigerator.
In large, high-sided saute pan over high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil until it begins to shimmer. Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook until both sides are golden brown and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to plate, loosely tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes then slice into 2-inch pieces.
Add remaining oil to pan and heat until shimmering; cook sausage until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to plate, loosely tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Slice on bias into 2-inch pieces.
Wipe out pan with paper towels. Add remaining pureed salsa and stock; bring to boil. Add rice and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring mixture to boil, cover and reduce heat to medium-low; cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 18 minutes.
Remove from heat and sprinkle peas on top. Let sit, covered with lid, 5 minutes. Fluff with fork then stir in chicken, sausage, peas and cilantro. Spoon remaining salsa on top.
Drain in colander. Transfer shrimp to ice bath and let sit 5 minutes. Drain again.
 To make remoulade sauce: In large bowl, whisk mayonnaise, mustard, lime juice, chile powder, sugar, salt and pepper until combined; fold in salsa.
 Put half of remoulade sauce in large bowl. Fold in shrimp and cilantro, adding remoulade as needed to make mixture creamier; taste for seasoning. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to 6 hours.
 Arrange lettuce cups on platter. Spoon equal portions shrimp mixture into lettuce cups. Garnish with cilantro leaves, lime wedges, black olives if desired, and eggs if desired.

A Fiesta Fusion of Worldwide Flavors

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(Family Features) If you’re seeking inspiration to take mealtime from bland and boring to new and vibrant, here is an at-home fiesta recipe. The lively taste of the Spicy Shrimp Remoulade in Lettuce Leaves pops with the high-quality ingredients of Fresh Cravings Salsas. n

Spicy Shrimp Remoulade in Lettuce Leaves
Recipe courtesy of Stephanie Banyas

Yield: 8 leaves

Shrimp:
1/2 cup Fresh Cravings Chunky Salsa (mild or medium)
9 cups water, divided
 ice water
1 lime, sliced
12 sprigs cilantro
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound fresh shrimp (31–35), peeled and deveined

Remoulade Sauce:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon chile powder or smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup Fresh Cravings Chunky Salsa (mild or medium), drained well
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced, plus additional for garnish
8 butter or Boston lettuce leaves
cilantro leaves, for garnish
lime wedges, for garnish
chopped black olives, for garnish (optional)
chopped hard-cooked eggs, for garnish (optional)

Directions
To make shrimp: In food processor or blender, blend salsa with 1 cup water until smooth.
 Fill large bowl with ice water; set aside. Transfer salsa mixture to large saucepan and add remaining water, lime slices, cilantro sprigs and salt. Bring to boil over high heat; stir in shrimp, cover, turn off heat and let shrimp poach off heat in liquid 10 minutes.
Drain in colander. Transfer shrimp to ice bath and let sit 5 minutes. Drain again.
 To make remoulade sauce: In large bowl, whisk mayonnaise, mustard, lime juice, chile powder, sugar, salt and pepper until combined; fold in salsa.
 Put half of remoulade sauce in large bowl. Fold in shrimp and cilantro, adding remoulade as needed to make mixture creamier; taste for seasoning. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to 6 hours.
 Arrange lettuce cups on platter. Spoon equal portions shrimp mixture into lettuce cups. Garnish with cilantro leaves, lime wedges, black olives if desired, and eggs if desired.

A Fiesta Fusion of Worldwide Flavors

16172 a
(Family Features) If you’re seeking inspiration to take mealtime from bland and boring to new and vibrant, look no further than at-home fiesta recipes made with Fresh Cravings products.
For a fiery, zesty twist, this Red Pepper Chickpea Soup with Gazpacho Relish and Tortilla Croutons calls for Fresh Cravings Hummus, as its ideal creamy texture and savory taste balances out the spice. Made with a short list of high-quality ingredients like chickpeas, tahini and Chilean extra-virgin olive oil, this hummus has a smooth, creamy mouthfeel.
The hummus adds loads of flavor and makes this thick, rich soup totally dairy and gluten free, so there is no need for heavy cream, cornstarch or flour. It’s as beautiful to look at as it is delicious to eat.

Red Pepper Chickpea Soup with Gazpacho Relish and Tortilla Croutons
Recipe courtesy of Stephanie Banyas

Servings: 2

1/4 cup finely diced seeded English cucumbers
1/4 cup finely diced seeded Roma tomato
2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 lime, juice only, divided
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 cups canned low-sodium vegetable stock, divided
1/2 cup Fresh Cravings Restaurant Style Salsa (mild or medium)
1 container (10 ounces) Fresh Cravings Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
tri-color fried tortilla strips

Directions
In small bowl, combine cucumber, tomato, onion and cilantro. Add half the lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit at room temperature.
In blender or food processor, process 1 cup stock and salsa until smooth.
Pour mixture into medium saucepan. Add remaining stock and hummus, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining lime juice.
Divide soup between two bowls and top with relish and tortilla strips.

Easter Dip Goodness

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(Family Features) It’s hard to top a brunch feast spent snacking on delicious treats in the sunshine with loved ones. At the center of your celebration can be a springtime tradition with nearly endless possibilities: eggs. As a natural source of vitamins and minerals, eggs are a delicious protein powerhouse with just 70 calories per large egg. Boiled, scrambled, poached, baked and any other way you like them, they’re a kitchen superhero. This spring, add eggs to your menu and explore fresh ways to celebrate the season at incredibleegg.org.

Eggy Lemon Sandwich Cookies
Recipe courtesy of the American Egg Board and “Joy the Baker” 

Total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Yield: 16-18 cookies

Dough: 
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Lemon Curd:
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Buttercream: 
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1-2 tablespoons warm milk
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

To make dough: In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together shortening and butter until well combined. Scrape down sides of bowl, add sugar and beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
Add egg, milk and vanilla extract; beat until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat on low until dough forms. Scrape down sides of bowl to ensure no dry pockets at bottom. Wrap and refrigerate dough 30 minutes.
Place rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 350 F.
Roll half of dough on lightly floured counter to 1/4-1/2-inch thickness. Cut with 2-3-inch egg cookie cutter and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Use 1-inch round or egg-shaped cookie cutter to cut yolk holes out of half the cookies. Bake 8-10 minutes until just golden around edges. Cool completely before filling.
To make lemon curd: In 2-quart heavy saucepan, whisk juice, zest, sugar and eggs. Stir in butter and cook over low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and bubbles appear on surface, about 6 minutes.
Transfer lemon curd to bowl and chill, covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour.

To make buttercream: In medium bowl using electric hand mixer, beat butter until well softened. Add powdered sugar, salt and lemon zest; beat on low. Add milk and whip to combine. Beat in poppy seeds. Transfer frosting to zip-top bag with corner cut off or piping bag with medium round tip. Leave buttercream at room temperature until ready to pipe.
 
To assemble cookies:
Flip each whole egg cookie so bottoms are facing up. Pipe buttercream frosting around edges. Spoon 2-3 teaspoons lemon curd into centers of cookies. Top each with one cookie with hole; press gently and spoon 1 teaspoon lemon curd into cookie hole. n

Easter Dip Goodness

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(Culinary.net) Easter is about coming together with loved ones, enjoying beautiful spring weather and eating your family’s favorite foods. The kids will be playing, adults will be chatting and all will be patiently waiting for the table to be set.
If you’re visiting and making memories with family and friends you haven’t seen in a while, there are few things better than diving into a marvelous Easter spread.
While eyeing the table, you notice all the colors popping off the dishes. Fruits and veggies make the feast come to life, but a warm Easter dip paired with rolls for dipping is a perfect way to start the festivities.
These Easter Bunny Rolls with Spinach Dip are as eye-catching as they are delicious. Not only will the kids love its shape, but the layers of taste will wow your Easter crowd.
This dish is made for a crowd, served warm and full of cheesy goodness. You can watch as your family dips into the spinach and one-by-one, before you know it, the rolls will have disappeared and the dip will be devoured.

Easter Bunny Rolls with Spinach Dip

Serves: 24

16 ounces frozen spinach, thawed
8 ounces cream cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 crescent roll tubes (8 ounces each)

Directions
Heat oven to 375 F.
In skillet, over medium heat, cook spinach, cream cheese and garlic 3-4 minutes until cream cheese is melted. Stir in mayonnaise, salt, onion powder, chili powder, pepper and Italian seasoning. Stir in Parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Cook until cheese is melted. Keep skillet on burner over low heat.
Remove dough from tubes. Leaving dough intact, roll and stretch into 18-inch ropes. Cut each rope into 12 pieces for 24 total.
On baking sheet with parchment paper, form bunny head by placing one piece of dough in middle then surrounding it with six more pieces. Use 13 pieces to form round body. Use remaining pieces to form ears on top of head.
Scoop hot spinach dip into center. Spoon small portions on each ear. Sprinkle ears and belly with remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake 18 minutes, or until crescent dough is golden brown and thoroughly cooked. 

A Celebratory Passover Dessert

15603 vid simple macaroons
(Culinary.net) When celebrating with family, there is nearly nothing better than passing a light and sweet dessert around the table. These Simple Macaroons are crisp, dipped in decedent chocolate and a completely scrumptious option for celebrating Passover.
Simple to make and easy to eat, this sweet dessert is a crowd favorite. With a fresh kick of lemon zest and crunch of shredded coconut, they are a bite-sized, delicious way to end your meal.
They take little to no time to make, only baking 10-12 minutes for a tray full of tasty dessert bites ready to devour.
With sweet honey and vanilla, the flavors come together to create something sweet but not overpowering. It’s a small, crumbly bite that’s perfect for sharing during Passover.

Simple Macaroons
Recipe adapted from marthastewart.com

Yield: 15 macaroons

1 large egg
2 1/4 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups shredded coconut
5 ounces dark chocolate, melted

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In bowl, whisk egg. Add honey, vanilla, lemon zest and salt; whisk. Stir in coconut until completely coated with egg mixture.
Using 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, make 15 balls, transferring each to parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.
Bake macaroons 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway through, until coconut starts to brown on edges.
Transfer sheet to wire rack and let cool.
Before serving, drizzle with melted chocolate or dip bottom sides of macaroons in melted chocolate to cover bases. Refrigerate 15 minutes to set. 

A Comforting Casserole

Rotisserie chicken biscuit
(Culinary.net) Almost nothing says comfort food quite like a freshly baked casserole. Next time your family asks for a warm, comforting meal, try this Rotisserie Chicken-Biscuit Casserole with just a handful of ingredients and less than 15 minutes of cook time.

Rotisserie Chicken-Biscuit Casserole

1 whole rotisserie chicken
8 refrigerated biscuits
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups frozen vegetables
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions
Heat oven to 450 F.
Remove meat from rotisserie chicken and shred; set aside. Discard bones.
Cut biscuits into quarters; set aside.
In saucepan, stir soup, milk, sour cream, chicken, vegetables, basil and pepper. Cook until boiling.
Spoon chicken mixture into baking dish. Arrange quartered biscuits over filling.
Bake 10-12 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown.

Greek Chicken Bowls

Greek chicken bowls
Recipe courtesy of Healthy Family Project’s Mission for Nutrition

1 cup cooked white or brown rice
1 grilled chicken breast, sliced
1 RealSweet onion, sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 cucumber, cut into quarters
1/2 cup black olives
1 tablespoon feta cheese
2 tablespoons tzatziki sauce

Directions
Place cooked rice and chicken in bowls.
Top each bowl with sweet onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and black olives. Sprinkle each with feta cheese. Drizzle each with tzatziki sauce. 

5 Steps for Mastering Family Meal Planning

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 (Family Features) As you and your family embark on a mission to create delicious, nutritious meals all while saving money, it’s key to remember meal planning is essential for success. From tracking a list of ingredients you’ll need to noting your loved ones’ favorite foods, there are some easy steps you can take to make dinners at home enjoyable and budget friendly.
Getting on track with your own plan can start with these tips from Healthy Family Project’s Mission for Nutrition, which aims to help families find weekly meal success with an internationally inspired e-cookbook including grocery lists, recipe ideas and cooking hacks.

1. Work together. Before heading to the store or heating up the oven, sit down with your loved ones and make a list of easy-to-make recipes you all enjoy. Each time you discover a new favorite, add it to the list so you’ll have a reference guide when it’s time to plan a week’s worth of meals.

2. Stick to a schedule. Set a day and time each week your family can meet and plan out dinners. This also offers an opportunity to bring to light any newfound favorites or fresh ideas while bringing everyone to the same room for quality time together.

3. Plan time-saving processes. Think ahead while planning meals and consider the equipment you’ll need. Saving time while cooking can be as easy as sticking to recipes that call for hands-off appliances like a slow cooker or pressure cooker and using a food processor rather than a knife and cutting board.

4. Schedule a “leftovers night.” When you prep dinners that call for crossover ingredients, it’s easier to turn one meal into two. For example, buying sweet onions and chicken breast to make Chicken Apple Enchiladas means you’ll have those ingredients on hand for Greek Chicken Bowls later in the week.

5. Make a list. Once you’ve decided on recipes for the week, create a list of all the ingredients you’ll need. While you’re at the store, stick to your plan and avoid impulse buys to help stay on track while getting in and out quicker.

Find more recipes and meal planning tips by downloading the free e-cookbook at healthyfamilyproject.com/mission-for-nutrition and join the conversation by following #missionfornutrition on social media.

Chicken Apple Enchiladas
Recipe courtesy of Healthy Family Project’s Mission for Nutrition

1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 Envy or Jazz apple, diced
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
8 flour tortillas
6 ounces shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
1 can red enchilada sauce
cilantro (optional)

Directions
Heat oven to 350 F.
In skillet, cook onions until translucent. Add jalapeno and apple; saute 2-3 minutes.
Add cooked chicken and mix well. Remove from heat.
Lay out tortillas and sprinkle cheese on each. Add chicken mixture and roll. Place in baking dish and cover with enchilada sauce.
Bake 20 minutes, or until heated throughout.