Make Family Meals Special with a Fresh, Homemade Dish

16539 asparagusbaconandeggsalad
(Family Features) Nothing makes family time special quite like a homemade meal, especially one made with locally sourced ingredients that are as fresh and flavorful as they are thoughtfully prepared.
Whether your gatherings with loved ones take place in the family kitchen, on the patio or at a picnic area, this Asparagus, Bacon and Egg Salad makes for a perfect brunch or appetizer that leans on local ingredients like Michigan asparagus, which takes just about three days to get from the field to your table. Grown by more than 100 family farmers, it can be found in your local store at 1-4 days old, compared to 10-20 days old for imported asparagus.
Local means fresh, which makes for an especially delicious meal, but it also means sustainability. Because the Michigan asparagus season relies on the weather and uses rainwater instead of irrigation, it makes for a sustainable product that’s environmentally friendly.
As a nutrient-dense, low-calorie vegetable with no fat, no cholesterol and little sodium, it’s also easy to prepare – just don’t overcook it. Look for thicker spears at the store, as they tend to have greater texture and more flavor and tenderness because the fiber is less concentrated.

Asparagus, Bacon and Egg Salad

Ingredients:
• 6 bacon slices
• 1 pound fresh Michigan asparagus, ends trimmed
• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
• 2/3 cup halved cherry tomatoes
• 1/4 cup sliced green onion

Directions:
In skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove from pan. Set aside.
Cut asparagus into four pieces. Add asparagus to same skillet used to cook bacon. Cook until fork tender, about 4 minutes, depending on thickness of asparagus.
While asparagus cooks, prepare dressing. Whisk oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Chop bacon.
Remove asparagus from pan and place on platter. Top with chopped bacon, eggs, tomatoes and green onion. Pour dressing over top.

Say Goodbye to Basic Brunch

Quiche
The same old brunch menu can become tiresome and dull. Adding something new to the table with fresh ingredients and simple instructions can enhance your weekend spread and elevate brunch celebrations.
Try this Easy Brunch Quiche that is sure to have your senses swirling with every bite. This quiche is layered with many tastes and a variety of ingredients to give it crave-worthy flavor, from broccoli and bacon to mushrooms, eggs and melty cheese.

Easy Brunch Quiche
Servings: 12

• 1 package (10 ounces) frozen broccoli with cheese
• 12 slices bacon, chopped
• 1/2 cup green onions, sliced
• 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
• 4 eggs
• 1 cup milk
• 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese, divided
• 2 frozen deep dish pie shells (9 inches each)

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 F.
In medium bowl, add broccoli and cheese contents from package. Microwave 5 minutes, or until cheese is saucy. Set aside.
In skillet, cook chopped bacon 4 minutes. Add green onions; cook 2 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook 4 minutes, or until bacon is completely cooked and mushrooms are tender. Drain onto paper towel over plate. Set aside.
In medium bowl, whisk eggs and milk until combined. Add broccoli and cheese mixture. Add 1 cup cheese. Stir to combine. Set aside.
In pie shells, divide drained bacon mixture evenly. Divide broccoli mixture evenly and pour over bacon mixture. Sprinkle remaining cheese over both pies.
Bake 40 minutes.
Cool at least 12 minutes before serving.

Note: To keep edges of crust from burning, place aluminum foil over pies for first 20 minutes of cook time. Remove after 20 minutes and allow to cook uncovered until completed.

A full, fresh menu fit for a brunch feast

Cheese balls
Birthdays, holidays or just casual Saturdays are all perfect excuses to enjoy brunch with your favorite people. Bringing everyone together with quiches, pastries, appetizers, desserts and more offers an easy way to kick back and relax on a warm weekend morning.
Serving up exquisite flavor doesn’t have to mean spending hours in the kitchen. You can bring the cheer and favorite tastes with simple appetizers that are equal measures delicious and visually appealing.
These Savory Cheese Balls are easy to make and perfect for get-togethers and brunch celebrations. Texture and color are the name of the game with this recipe, and the result is a beautiful array of red, gold and green, all on one plate.

Savory Cheese Balls
Servings: 6-12

• 2  packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
• 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
• 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
• 2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
• 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
• 2 teaspoons thyme leaves, chopped
• 1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
• 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
• 2 tablespoons pecans, chopped
• crackers (optional)
• fruit (optional)
• vegetables (optional)

Directions:
Cut each cream cheese block into three squares. Roll each square into ball.
In small bowl, combine caraway seeds, poppy seeds and half the garlic.
In second small bowl, combine parsley, thyme, rosemary and remaining garlic.
In third small bowl, combine cranberries and pecans.
Roll two cheese balls in seed mixture, two in herb mixture and two in cranberry mixture.
Cut each ball in half and serve with crackers, fruit or vegetables, if desired.

Finish brunch with a light, layered treat

Fruit parfait
After enjoying eggs, bacon, French toast and pancakes or any other brunch combination you crave, it’s tough to top a fresh, fruity treat to round out the meal. Dish out a delicious dessert to cap off the morning and send guests out on a sweet note that’s perfectly light and airy.
The zesty zip of lemon curd in this Lemon Blueberry Trifle brings out the sweetness of whipped cream made with Domino Golden Sugar, fresh blueberries and cubed pound cake for a vibrant, layered bite. Plus, it’s a bright, beautiful centerpiece you can feel proud of as soon as guests try their first bite.

Lemon Blueberry Trifle
Prep time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8-10

Lemon Curd:
• 1 cup Domino Golden Sugar
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon lemon zest
• 6 tablespoons water
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 6 egg yolks
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Whipped Cream:
• 2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
• 2 tablespoons Domino Golden Sugar
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Trifle:
• 1 cup blueberry jam
• 12 ounces fresh blueberries, plus additional for garnish, divided
• 1 pound cake, cubed
• lemon slices, for garnish
• mint, for garnish

Directions:
To make lemon curd: In medium saucepan, stir sugar and cornstarch. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, water and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat and gradually stir in three egg yolks; mix well until combined. Stir in remaining egg yolks. Return to heat and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Stir in butter; mix until incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap, touching surface of lemon curd to prevent curd forming skin. Refrigerate until completely cool.
To make whipped cream: In large bowl, beat cream, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat.
To make trifle: Mix blueberry jam with 12 ounces fresh blueberries. Place one layer cubed pound cake in bottom of trifle dish. Top with layer of blueberries. Add dollops of lemon curd and whipped cream. Repeat layering ending with whipped cream.
Decorate trifle with lemon slices, fresh blueberries and mint.

Eat the Rainbow

16543 b
Pair seafood and seasonal produce for colorful, healthy recipes

(Family Features) Focusing your menus on health-conscious recipes that look as good as they make you feel is key to making positive lifestyle changes. Adding big flavors that satisfy cravings to easy, go-to recipes can be a big step toward reaching health goals throughout the year.
“Eating the rainbow” refers to adding fruits and veggies of varying colors to your diet, such as red tomatoes and beets, green cucumbers and avocados, orange carrots and pumpkins and beyond. Complementing fresh produce with the nutritional benefits of tuna and salmon – like heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin D and potassium – can take your meal planning one step further.
Ditch boring salads and find joy in food while maintaining healthy eating goals by upping your salad game. Say goodbye to bland, boring greens and enjoy salads with your favorite toppings, like a colorful combination of protein-packed tuna and fiber-rich veggies in this Mediterranean Tuna Salad, which is completed with a bright dressing and topped with feta cheese and parsley.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad
Prep time: 20 minutes
Servings: 1-2

Dressing
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Salad:
• 1 can (5 ounces) Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna, drained
• 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
• 1/3 cup sliced Kalamata olives
• 1 cup chopped English cucumber (about 1/2 cucumber)
• 1/4 cup feta
• 1 tablespoon minced parsley
• pita chips (optional)
• crackers (optional)


Directions:
To make dressing: In large bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil and oregano.
To make salad: In dressing bowl, add tuna, tomatoes, olives and cucumber. Gently toss to cover salad with dressing then top with feta and parsley.
Serve with pita chips or crackers, if desired.

Brighten Your Brunch Spread

16601 a
(Family Features) A staple of warm weekend days, brunch combines the best flavors of the first two meals of the day. Every great brunch spread complements its savory items with something sweet, something refreshing and a signature beverage, and there’s one ingredient that can help cover all of those bases – 100% orange juice.
An option like Florida Orange Juice is not only delicious but delivers a powerful combination of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that have associated health benefits. One of nature’s nutrient-dense foods, one 8-ounce glass of orange juice provides 100% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C and is also a good source of potassium, folate and thiamin, making it a great substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages.
When combined with a healthy lifestyle, 100% orange juice may also help support a healthy immune system. Orange juice contains beneficial plant compounds, flavonoids and colorful carotenoids to aid in fighting inflammation and cell communication. It is also rich in vitamin C, which helps strengthen immune systems by protecting cells and promoting the production and function of immune cells. Vitamin D, which can be found in fortified juices, also plays an important role in regulating immune response and helps immune cells fight off bacteria and viruses that get into the body.
Since 100% orange juice is naturally almost 90% water, it can help support hydration as it includes several electrolytes like potassium, magnesium and, in fortified juices, calcium, to aid in fluid balance. Combining Florida Orange Juice, watermelon juice and grapefruit juice, this Citrus Watermelonade is a bright, seasonal thirst quencher that is the perfect addition to your drink selection at brunch.

Citrus Watermelonade

• 1 cup hot water
• 2 cups sugar
• 6 cups watermelon, seeded, rind removed and cut into 1-inch pieces, divided
• 2 cups Florida Orange Juice
• 1 cup Florida Grapefruit Juice
• 3/4 cup lemon juice
• 3/4 cup lime juice
• 2 cups Florida Oranges, cut into 1-inch pieces, peeled
• 1/2 cup mint leaves
• ice, for serving
• Florida Orange Slices, for garnish (optional)
• watermelon chunks, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
In small saucepan over low heat, combine hot water and sugar; heat until sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate until chilled.
In blender, puree 4 cups watermelon until smooth.
In large pitcher, stir watermelon juice, chilled sugar syrup, orange juice, grapefruit juice, lemon juice and lime juice until combined.
Add remaining watermelon pieces, orange pieces and mint leaves; refrigerate 2-3 hours until well chilled.
Serve over ice in glasses. Garnish with orange slices and watermelon chunks, if desired.

A perfect sandwich for spring

Portobello mozzarella sandwiches
(Family Features) Between the welcome warmth of the sun’s rays and a nearly universal desire to get outdoors, springtime is a beloved season for enjoying an al fresco meal. Add in fresh produce to heighten the flavors of family favorites, and the table is set for a delicious picnic.
Whether your warm-weather adventures take you to a nearby park, a neighbor’s patio or simply your own backyard, satisfying those spring cravings often starts with plant-forward dishes. From tomatoes and onions to mushrooms, Brussels sprouts and other fruits and veggies, you can rely on Mother Nature to give picnic recipes a boost.
As a popular springtime lunch, sandwiches provide the opportunity to customize servings according to each person’s preferences.
These Portobello Mozzarella Sandwiches are a plant-forward version loaded with grilled mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, pesto mayo, arugula and a balsamic glaze on ciabatta rolls. For an added touch of freshness, a homemade tomato bruschetta topping combines tomatoes, red onions, basil and more to capitalize on a peak produce season.

Portobello mozzarella sandwiches
Recipe courtesy of Aramark
Servings: 4

Tomato Bruschetta Topping:
• 1/4 pound fresh plum tomatoes, cored and diced
• 2 tablespoons red onion, peeled and minced
• 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 pinch ground black pepper
• 1 pinch fresh garlic, peeled and finely minced

Sandwiches:
• 1 pound fresh portobello mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, sliced thin
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup mayonnaise
• 2 1/2 tablespoons prepared basil pesto
• 4 ciabatta rolls (4-by-4 inches), split in half
• 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced small
• 4 ounces tomato bruschetta topping
• 2 ounces fresh baby arugula
• 1/4 cup balsamic glaze

Directions:
To make tomato bruschetta topping: In bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, basil, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Set aside.
To make sandwiches: Preheat grill pan or grill to medium heat.
Toss sliced mushrooms with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Grill mushrooms until fork-tender, 3-4 minutes on each side. Let cool.
Mix mayonnaise with pesto until combined. Spread 2 tablespoons pesto mayonnaise on cut sides of each roll.
For each sandwich, layer 1/4 of grilled mushrooms, mozzarella slices, tomato bruschetta topping, arugula and balsamic glaze.
Top with other roll halves. Cut diagonally in half to serve.

Helping mothers recharge

16555 a
(Family Features) Over the last few years, self-care has taken on heightened importance for moms across the country.
That is why Mrs. T’s Pierogies is partnering with actress, entrepreneur and mom JoAnna Garcia Swisher for its “All-Star Moms” campaign to spotlight the importance of finding ways to recharge and help these real-life superheroes prioritize me-time.
Simplifying self-care for All-Star Moms everywhere can be as easy as designating a “recharging room” in the home, which offers a personal space to reset and relax. When creating your recharging room, Garcia Swisher suggests balancing beautiful with functional by making it a place that can double as an entertaining space, keeping it easy to clean, adding a personal touch by showcasing a piece that has meaning to you, and making it cozy.

Margherita Pizza Pierogy Skewers
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Servings: 9

Pizza Skewers:
• 1 box (12.8 ounces) Mrs. T’s Mini Classic Cheddar Pierogies
• 3 cups cherry tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for brushing pierogies, divided
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon oregano
• 1-2 cups mozzarella balls (18 total)
• fresh basil leaves
• bamboo skewers (10 inches)

Fresh Pesto:
• 2 cups fresh basil
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup pine nuts
• 1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
• salt, to taste
• ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat air fryer to 400 F.
To make pizza skewers: In small bowl, combine cherry tomatoes, olive oil, salt, ground black pepper and oregano; toss to coat. Transfer tomatoes to air fryer tray or basket. Cook in air fryer 10 minutes, or until tomatoes are slightly charred; remove and set aside.
Lay pierogies on same tray or basket. Make sure not to overlap. Lightly brush each side with olive oil. Cook about 12 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Flip halfway through cooking.
To make pesto: In food processor, process basil; garlic; olive oil; pine nuts; Parmesan cheese; salt, to taste; and pepper, to taste, until smooth. (If preferred, use store-bought pesto.)
Add one pierogy to bamboo skewer followed by one tomato, one mozzarella ball and one basil leaf. Repeat with ingredients until each skewer is filled. Drizzle with pesto.

More Italian comfort cuisine

16422 a
(Family Features) Cool, crisp days call for comfort foods, like the classic flavors of traditional Italian cooking. Whether you’re Italian by heritage or simply by heart, learning the art of Italian cuisine may be easier than you may think.
Perfect your pasta game. Limp, mushy, overcooked pasta can ruin an otherwise delicious Italian dish. Aim for al dente pasta, which is soft but still firm. It’s important to note variables like the type of pasta, size of your pot and amount of water can all affect cooking time. Treat the package instructions as a guide and start taste testing 1-2 minutes before you expect it to be done.
Experiment with proteins and veggies. For many Italian recipes, you can create an entirely new dish by adding or swapping the protein and adding fresh produce. Try introducing juicy strips of grilled chicken and fresh, steamed broccoli to an alfredo pasta like this Cavatelli with Cacio e Pepe Sauce. Or, if you’re a seafood lover, reimagine this Fresh Tomato Bruschetta Chicken by swapping in a mild white fish like halibut, cod or snapper.

Cavatelli with Cacio e Pepe Sauce
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

• Salt, to taste
• 1 box dry Cavatelli pasta
• 1 jar (16.9 ounces) Bertolli d’Italia Cacio e Pepe Sauce
• 1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, or to taste
• freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Bring large pot of cold water to boil. Salt water heavily.
Cook dry pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Strain pasta, reserving pasta water.
In large saucepan over low heat, warm pasta sauce 3-5 minutes. Add 1-2 tablespoons pasta water.
Transfer cooked pasta to saucepan.
Stir and toss pasta approximately 30 seconds over medium heat to integrate it with sauce. Add pasta water as needed for creamier texture.
Plate pasta and top with finely grated Pecorino Romano and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Master the art of Italian comfort cuisine

16422 b
(Family Features) Cold, crisp days call for comfort foods, like the classic flavors of traditional Italian cooking. Whether you’re Italian by heritage or simply by heart, learning the art of Italian cuisine may be easier than you think.
Be choosy about your ingredients. Many of the best Italian dishes are incredibly simple, so it’s important to select quality ingredients that allow the flavors to really stand out. Made in Italy, Bertolli d’Italia sauces are available in premium red and white varieties to elevate the at-home culinary experience and bring the authentic and delicious flavors of Italy to your table. Every jar reflects more than 150 years of authentic Italian culinary tradition using high-quality ingredients like tomatoes vine-ripened under the Italian sun, finely aged Italian cheeses, fresh cream and Mediterranean olive oil.
Give seasonings time to simmer. Great things come to those who wait. That’s why the best Italian chefs sample their sauces along the way, adding and adjusting until the taste is just right. Then, they allow the ingredients to simmer together to create a perfectly balanced harmony of flavors.

Fresh tomato bruschetta chicken
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 28 minutes
Servings: 6

• 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, plus additional, for garnish
• 3  cloves garlic, minced
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 1/2  teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/2  teaspoon dried oregano
• 6 thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
• 1 large onion, thinly sliced
• 1  jar (24.7 ounces) Bertolli d’Italia Marinara Sauce
• 2 cups multi-colored grape tomatoes, halved
• 2 stems cherry tomatoes on the vine
• 1/2  cup shredded Parmesan cheese
• 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F.
In small bowl, whisk olive oil, basil, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano until combined. Combine 2 tablespoons oil mixture and chicken in resealable plastic bag. Let stand 5-10 minutes at room temperature to marinate.
In medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil mixture over medium heat. Add onions; cook 3-4 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Stir in marinara sauce. Pour mixture into lightly greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Arrange chicken breasts in dish, overlapping if necessary. Top with grape tomatoes and cherry tomato stems. Spoon remaining oil mixture over tomatoes.
Bake, covered, 25 minutes, or until chicken is done (165 F) and tomatoes start to burst. Sprinkle with Parmesan, drizzle with balsamic glaze and garnish with fresh basil leaves before serving.

Quick Dishes from Around the Globe: Part 2

Breakfast
Mediterranean: Known for vibrant vegetables, savory sauces and incredible tastes, the Mediterranean is also home to a few classic rice dishes such as rich and creamy risotto from Italy. Other vibrant options include Spanish specialties like arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) and paella, which is made with an assortment of ingredients like seafood, spices and savory broth.
Middle East: Much like other cuisines around the world, Middle Eastern cooking uses rice almost every day. A Turkish and Arab mixed dish, shawarma is now a global street food. Traditional Persian rice uses a variety of spices like turmeric, ginger and cardamom with dried fruits and nuts.
North America: With bold flavors, few things say southern comfort quite like Louisiana cooking. Bring the taste of New Orleans to your kitchen with rice-based dishes like gumbo or jambalaya, or by pairing rice with another popular Cajun pastime – a classic shrimp boil.
Latin America: Latin American recipes vary from country to country and region to region, but rice is essential on the side or as part of the main dish across the board. A quick and easy morning meal, this Mexican Breakfast Scramble is ready in 4 minutes. Aiding the short prep time, Minute Jalapeno Rice Cups are ready in just 1 minute and can help spice up dishes with a tasty blend of onion, green peppers and jalapenos.

Mexican Breakfast Scramble
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 2 minutes
Servings: 1

• 1 Minute Jalapeno Rice Cup
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 2 tablespoons salsa
• 2 tablespoons queso fresco

Directions:
Heat rice according to package directions.
In small microwave-safe dish, combine egg, salsa and rice.
Microwave 1 minute. Stir in cheese; microwave 30 seconds.
Serving Suggestion:
For meal to go, wrap scramble in warm tortilla.

Quick Dishes from Around the Globe: Part I

Kimchi and rice
(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.
Asia: If you’ve ever been to an Asian restaurant, you’ll notice a large portion of the menu likely includes recipes made with rice. While it might be difficult to pinpoint where certain recipes originate, fried rice is a Chinese specialty. Over time, this delicious dish has made its way to many different countries and been reinvented with local ingredients. For example, this Kale and Kimchi “Fried” Rice is based on Korean cuisine and can be made in less than 5 minutes using Minute Jasmine Rice & Red Quinoa Cups, which combine the buttery taste and aromatic scent of authentic Jasmine rice with crunchy, 100% whole-grain red quinoa in a convenient, pre-portioned cup.

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.

Eat Smart with Seafood

Shrimp
(Family Features) No matter if you’re searching for a healthy family dinner, a quick lunch at home or an easy idea to meal prep for the week ahead, these Orange Shrimp Quinoa Bowls are perfect for seafood lovers who also enjoy a hint of spice. Fresh, healthy and full of deliciously prepared shrimp, these bowls are also loaded with mushrooms, peppers and cucumbers.
The homemade sauce is light with a sweet yet spicy vibe. Resting over a cup of steamy quinoa for a filling base of healthy grains, it’s a quick and easy recipe you can customize with favorite toppings like sesame seeds and cilantro.

Orange Shrimp
Quinoa Bowls

Servings: 2

• 1 cup quinoa
• 1 cup orange juice
• 1 tablespoon hot sauce
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• 1 tablespoon white miso
• 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
• 1/4 cup butter
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
• 1 red bell pepper, diced
• 1 cucumber, sliced into half moons
• 5 green onions, sliced
• 1 avocado, sliced
• 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
• 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Directions
Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Set aside.
In medium bowl, whisk orange juice, hot sauce, honey, soy sauce, vegetable oil, lime juice and miso until combined. Pour 1/4 of liquid into separate bowl. Set aside.
Add shrimp to remaining mixture and marinate 15 minutes.
Heat large skillet over medium heat with butter. Add shrimp, salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes on each side until pink. Add mushrooms and cook until tender.
In two serving bowls, divide quinoa, bell pepper, cucumber, onions, avocado and shrimp. Sprinkle sesame seeds and cilantro over both bowls.
Drizzle with reserved dressing.

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

16518 a
(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

16429 applecranberryhavartimelt
(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

16501 whippedgoatcheesesalsadip
(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

16426 vid jalapeno sweetpotato chowder ar
(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

16429 a
(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

16451 a
(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

16438 a
(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

16211 a
(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

16423 a
(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

16401 a
(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

15603 vid fresh ginger cookies a
(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

16349 vid texmexbeeflasagna
(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

16348 vid blendedcrunchymushroomwraps
(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

16339 a
(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

16121 a
(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

16332 b
(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

16332 a
(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

16229 c
(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

16285 vid greekchickenfriedrice
(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

16257 b
(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

16210 b
(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

16285 a
(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

16214
(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

16204 vid pinacoladasweetpotatoicepops
(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.