5 steps to help boost students’ immunity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take Homemade Family Favorites to New Heights

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

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

• 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take Homemade Family Favorites to New Heights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make healthy easy with grapes

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

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

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

Warm-Spiced Chickpeas and Couscous with Grapes and Arugula

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweet Summer Treats that Beat the Heat

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

“Mac” and Cheese in a Cup Recipe

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

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

Heat rice according to package directions.

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

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

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

Sweet Summer Treats that Beat the Heat

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

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

Make Weeknight Meals a Breeze

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

Pork Chops in Creamy Mustard-Peppercorn Sauce

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

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

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

A Grilled Take on a Traditional Italian Meal

(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

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

(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

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

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Servings: 4

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

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

Serve with additional vinaigrette, if desired. 

Sweeten Up Summer with a Frozen, Fruity Snack

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

Pina Colada Sweet Potato Ice Pops

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

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

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

Lobster takes sliders to a new level

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

Lobster Knuckle Sliders with Spicy Mayo
Recipe courtesy of Guy Fieri 

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

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

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

Savory Solutions for Slider Sunday

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

Chicken Parm-eroni Sliders
Recipe courtesy of Guy Fieri 

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

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

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

Celebrate spring moments with a taco feast for the senses

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Fiesta Fusion of Worldwide Flavors

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

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

Servings: 4-6

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

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

A Fiesta Fusion of Worldwide Flavors

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

Spicy Shrimp Remoulade in Lettuce Leaves
Recipe courtesy of Stephanie Banyas

Yield: 8 leaves

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

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

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

A Fiesta Fusion of Worldwide Flavors

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

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

Servings: 2

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

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

Easter Dip Goodness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easter Dip Goodness

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

Easter Bunny Rolls with Spinach Dip

Serves: 24

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

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

A Celebratory Passover Dessert

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

Simple Macaroons
Recipe adapted from marthastewart.com

Yield: 15 macaroons

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

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

A Comforting Casserole

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

Rotisserie Chicken-Biscuit Casserole

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

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

Greek Chicken Bowls

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

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

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

5 Steps for Mastering Family Meal Planning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step into spring with a sweet, fresh meal

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(Family Features) As the weather turns the corner and temperatures rise, opportunities for dining outdoors and soaking up the sunshine abound. Patio meals often mean fresh flavors, making spring a perfect time for heading outside with your favorite seasonal dishes.
The freshness of Texas 1015 Sweet Onions is an ideal starting point for recipes that heighten the enjoyment of al fresco dining. As the first spring sweet onion of the season, they’re harvested and packed fresh, meaning they’re never stored. Plus, with no burning sensation when you cut them, you can skip the tears for more enjoyable meal prep.
It’s a versatile veggie that can be grilled, roasted, eaten fresh or caramelized for delightful recipes like this Flatbread with Caramelized Onions, Bacon and Arugula. Find more recipes to celebrate spring at tx1015.com.

Flatbread with Caramelized Onions, Bacon and Arugula

Recipe courtesy of South Texas Onions

Servings: 2-3

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sweet onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 naan flatbread (rectangular shape)
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup fontina cheese, shredded
4 slices bacon
olive oil (optional)
lemon juice (optional)

To make caramelized onions: In pan over medium-high heat, heat butter and olive oil. Add onions and let sit about five minutes. Once onions start sweating, turn heat to low and cover pan. Cook onions to deep golden brown, stirring every 10-15 minutes. With 10 minutes left, stir in balsamic vinegar.

To make flatbread: Preheat oven to 425 F.
On flatbread, layer cheese, bacon and caramelized onions. Bake 13-15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and edges are golden brown.
Toss arugula with olive oil and lemon juice, if desired, before placing on flatbread.

Make Your St. Patrick’s Day Spread Green with Envy

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(Culinary.net) Freshen up your St. Patrick’s Day menu with easy, light sandwiches inspired by the traditional color of the festivities. These open-faced noshes can be perfect for lunch, snack time or even as an appetizer for get-togethers with friends and family.
Layered with a smooth cream cheese and mozzarella mixture then topped with crisp cucumber and a stem of green bell pepper, these St. Patrick’s Day Sandwiches are easy and cute, which makes them a fan favorite at nearly any green gathering. They’re also sprinkled with lemon juice to add a little acidity and create a nice, light bite.
Plus, this recipe is quick to make. When you’re in a rush to get everything on the table for the party, it’s easy to throw together and get on the platter in next to no time.
The sandwiches pop off the plate with their bright, seasonal garnishes. While sure to attract attention and have your loved ones asking “Where did you get this idea?” they’re also an easy way to sneak a few vegetables into your kids’ diets.
Find more festive recipes and ideas at Culinary.net.

St. Patrick’s Day Sandwiches

Yield: 8 sandwiches

8 ounces plain cream cheese spread, softened
1 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese
4 English muffins
24 slices cucumber
8 thin slices green pepper
fresh cilantro leaves
lemon juice
lemon slices, for garnish (optional)

In bowl, mix cream cheese spread, mozzarella cheese and salt well.
Split English muffins in half. Cut each muffin half into shamrock shape.
Spread cheese mixture over each muffin half.
Place three cucumbers on each “shamrock,” one on each “leaf.” Use green pepper slice as stem. Place cilantro leaf on top of each sandwich.
Sprinkle sandwiches with lemon juice and add lemon slices, for garnish, if desired.

Deliciously Healthy Dishes from Sweet to Savory

Prune and citrus toast
(Family Features) Supplementing meals and snacks with powerful, versatile ingredients can take healthy eating from bland and boring to delicious and adventurous.
Take your breakfasts, appetizers, dinners and desserts to new heights while maintaining nutrition goals with naturally nutritious and surprisingly versatile California Prunes. Rich and smooth with an ability to enhance both sweet and savory flavors, they can expand your menu with nearly endless powerful pairing options.
One serving of 4-5 prunes packs a powerful punch of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Together, these nutrients form a web of vital functions that support overall health.
Whole, diced or pureed, the versatility of prunes allows you to enhance the flavor of recipes from morning to night in dishes like Citrus Breakfast Toast, which brings together vitamin B6 and copper from prunes and vitamin C from citrus to support a healthy immune system.
Find more recipe ideas at CaliforniaPrunes.org.

Citrus Breakfast Toast

Prep time: 13 minutes
Cook time: 2 minutes
Servings: 2

Prune Puree: 
16 ounces pitted California Prunes
1/2 cup hot water

1 large citrus fruit, peels and piths removed with knife, sliced into rounds
1 1/2 tablespoons raw sugar
4 tablespoons sunflower butter
2 slices whole-grain sourdough bread, toasted to desired darkness
2 tablespoons prune puree
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
2 California Prunes, finely diced

To make prune puree: In blender, pulse prunes and water to combine then blend until smooth, pourable consistency forms, scraping sides, if necessary. Store in airtight container up to 4 weeks.

To make bruleed citrus wheels: Place citrus wheels on baking sheet and divide sugar evenly among each piece.
Using circular motion, pass flame of culinary torch repeatedly over sugar until it boils and turns lightly charred and amber.

To build toast: Spread 2 tablespoons sunflower butter on each piece of toast. Top each with 1 tablespoon prune puree spread evenly across sunflower butter. Sprinkle each evenly with sunflower seeds and diced prunes. Top each with half broiled citrus and serve.
Alteration: Use broiler set on high instead of culinary torch to caramelize sugar.

Fresh, Healthy Family Meals
Recipes to help boost iron levels, aid plasma donation recovery

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(Family Features) Chef Nate Appleman knows how important it is to serve healthy meals to your family – ones they actually want to eat. Before having his first child, he transformed his eating and exercise habits and lost 85 pounds to get on a healthier path.
Now, he’s cooking meals for his family, including 14-year-old Oliver who was diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease as a toddler – an inflammation of the blood vessels that can cause damage to coronary arteries – as a healthy lifestyle is important to help manage the disease. Since Oliver’s diagnosis, Appleman made it his personal mission to create awareness of Kawasaki Disease and for the critical need for plasma donations that many people with the disease rely on for treatment, which is why he partnered with Abbott to bring attention to the need for plasma donations.
Donating plasma is a safe and relatively easy process. Since plasma is replaced in the body within about 24 hours, it can be donated up to twice per week. With a donation that typically takes between 1-3 hours, you can make a lasting impact by providing lifesaving medicine for patients like Oliver.
It’s a good idea to fuel up with iron-rich foods before and after donating, so Appleman created fresh, nutritious recipes he loves to serve his family.
Learn where you can donate at bethe1donor.abbott.

Marinated Skirt Steak

Recipe courtesy of chef Nate Appleman on behalf of Abbott

1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, juice only
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small Thai bird chile or serrano chile, chopped
1/4 head finely shaved green cabbage
1/4 head finely shaved purple cabbage
2 carrots, thinly julienned

Skirt steak: 
1 1/2 pounds trimmed skirt steak
1/2 cup coconut milk
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons sriracha
salt, to taste
3 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup crushed peanuts
1 lime, quartered, for garnish

To make vinaigrette: In large bowl, mix oil, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, water, sugar, cilantro, lime juice, garlic and chile. Toss cabbage and carrots in vinaigrette; refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make skirt steak: Marinate steak in coconut milk, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, sriracha and salt, to taste, at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours.
Heat grill to high.
Grill 3-4 minutes each side until medium rare.
Let rest 3 minutes.
Thinly slice steaks against grain and serve with vinaigrette, rice and crushed peanuts; garnish with lime wedges.

Made with Love
Set the table for romance with a delicious date night at home

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(Family Features) Planning a delicious, romantic date night doesn’t have to take you any further than your own kitchen. You don’t have to be an accomplished chef to set the table for romance, but you can take inspiration from simple, quality Italian dishes to celebrate the link between food and love.
As this recipes shows, a romantic meal can be ready in minutes or, like a great love story, simmered to perfection. To plan the ultimate date night at home, start by trying this dreamy main dishes made with mouthwatering sauce.
Flavorful sauces make a great Italian meal, but the sauce doesn’t need to be made from scratch (at least, not completely). For example, Bertolli d’Italia sauces are made in Italy for authentically delicious flavor. They are crafted with tomatoes vine-ripened under the Italian sun, finely aged Italian cheeses, fresh cream and Mediterranean olive oil. The result is a sauce that’s perfect for your date-night meal.
Once you select your main course, prepare a simple salad of greens with a drizzle of Italian vinaigrette or Caesar dressing. Pop a loaf of bakery-fresh Italian or focaccia bread into the oven to warm through and serve with butter or olive oil for dipping. If you’re so inclined, cap off the meal with a classic Italian dessert from your local bakery, like tiramisu, cannoli or a creamy panna cotta topped with fresh fruit.
Find more romantic dishes perfect for sharing at Bertolli.com.

Italian Sausage Spinach and Tomato Rigatoni

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

1/2 box rigatoni pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
16 ounces sweet Italian sausage
1 jar Bertolli d’Italia Marinara Sauce
2 cups fresh baby spinach
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Bring large stockpot of water to boil. Boil rigatoni pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil. Add onions, garlic and mushrooms. Saute until vegetables start to brown. Add Italian sausage and cook until done, breaking into small pieces. Add sauce and bring to low boil.

Add baby spinach. Cook until spinach is mostly wilted. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Add drained pasta to pan with sausage and sauce. Toss and divide between plates. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Cooking swaps to help manage cholesterol

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(Family Features) When cooking, keep in mind small changes that can make a big impact on heart health.
High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for heart disease and stroke, with about 38% of American adults diagnosed with high cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. It can be managed by getting levels regularly tested and making lifestyle changes like eating a heart-healthy diet.
• Reduce saturated fat – Select lean cuts of meat or opt for plant protein, limit processed meats, broil or bake rather than pan-fry meats and remove skin from poultry before cooking.
• Eat more fish – Fish can be fatty or lean, but it’s still low in saturated fat. Choose oily fish like salmon or trout, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
• Use liquid oils in place of solid fats – For roasting, sauteing and more, use non-tropical liquid vegetable oils like canola, safflower, soybean or olive instead of butter, lard or shortening.
• Lower dairy fats – Low-fat, fat-free or non-dairy milk can be used in many recipes instead of whole milk or half-and-half.
• Increase fiber and whole grains – Add high-fiber vegetables to meals, serve fruit instead of juice and try brown rice instead of white.
These simple tips and better-for-you recipes like Chicken Tortilla Soup can help you eat healthy without sacrificing taste.
Find tips for managing cholesterol and other risk factors at heart.org/cholesterol.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
This recipe is reprinted with permission from “Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook, 2nd Edition.” Copyright 2018 by the American Heart Association. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC. 

Servings: 4

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, visible fat discarded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
2 cups fat-free, no-salt-added chicken broth
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) no-salt-added, diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ancho powder
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 corn tortillas (6 inches each), cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1 corn tortilla (6 inches), torn into pieces
2-4 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped avocado
1/4 medium red bell pepper, cut into matchstick-size strips

In slow cooker, stir chicken, corn, broth, tomatoes, onion, sugar, ancho powder, garlic and salt. Cook, covered, on low, 6-8 hours, or on high, 3-4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
On baking sheet, arrange tortilla strips in single layer. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until crisp. Transfer baking sheet to cooling rack. Let strips stand 15 minutes, or until cool. Transfer to airtight container and set aside.
When soup is ready, transfer 1 cup to food processor or blender. Stir in tortilla pieces. Let mixture stand 1 minute. Process until smooth. Stir mixture into soup. Stir in cilantro.
Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with avocado, bell pepper and reserved tortilla strips.

5 reasons to eat more tart cherries

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(Family Features) If you want to add superfoods to your diet in the new year, Montmorency tart cherries may be perfect for you.

Montmorency is the variety of tart cherries grown in America, primarily on small family farms. Compared to sweet cherries that are typically eaten fresh during the summer season, tart cherries are available year-round as dried, frozen, canned, juice and juice concentrate.

Decades of scientific research has shown Montmorency tart cherries are deserving of their superfood reputation. Here are five reasons to enjoy them more often:

Sleep: Tart cherries are one of the few food sources of melatonin and have been the focus of multiple sleep studies.

Exercise recovery: Tart cherry juice has become a popular exercise recovery drink for athletes.

Arthritis and gout: Studies have explored the impact of Montmorency tart cherry juice consumption on gout attacks and arthritis symptoms.

Heart health: Montmorency tart cherry research has examined blood pressure and blood lipids.

Versatility: Although they remain perfect for pie, tart cherries can easily transition from sweet to savory, adding complex flavors to oatmeal, smoothies, salads, granola bars, trail mix and grain bowls.
Look for dried U.S.-grown tart cherries at the store and online for enjoyment and health. Find more recipes and scientific research at ChooseCherries.com.

Tart cherry bedtime bites
Recipe courtesy of the Cherry Industry Administrative Board

Yield: 12 bites
6 medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup finely shredded coconut flakes
3/4 cup unsalted cashews
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 pinch fine sea salt

In food processor, process dates until broken into pea-sized bits. Add dried tart cherries, coconut flakes, cashews, almond extract and sea salt; process until combined. Form into 12 balls and chill two hours.

Tart cherry overnight oats
Recipe courtesy of the Cherry Industry Administrative Board

Servings: 2
1 cup dried tart cherries, plus additional for topping (optional)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup slivered almonds, plus additional for topping (optional)
2 tablespoons tart cherry concentrate
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
honey, for topping (optional)

In large jar or container, mix cherries, oats, milk, almonds, cherry concentrate, chia seeds and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Spoon into bowls and enjoy cold or warmed up. Drizzle with honey or sprinkle with extra dried tart cherries and almonds, if desired.

Positive Changes to Make in 2022

Fish taco bowl
(Family Features) Before you completely overhaul the way you live, keep in mind making positive changes may just be a few simple steps away. Starting small with attainable goals can help keep you on the right track throughout the year.

Drink more water
Preventing dehydration, keeping a normal body temperature and lubricating joints are all benefits of drinking enough water daily. Try carrying a reusable bottle as a reminder, choosing water over sugary drinks and opting for water when dining out.

Learn to cook 
If you’re not comfortable in the kitchen, start with simple recipes that don’t force you to sacrifice flavor. After all, an eating plan is easier to stick to when you enjoy the foods you’re making. For example, baja fish taco bowls take just 20 minutes for a spicy, fresh-flavored family dinner.

Eat more whole grains
Skip refined grains and instead opt for whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, which offer a more complete package of health benefits. You can be confident in options like Boil-in-Bag Brown Rice and Tri-Color Boil-in-Bag Quinoa from Success Rice, which are ready in just 10 minutes to help remove the guesswork in cooking while giving home cooks more time to focus on elevating dishes for loved ones.

Find more delicious recipe inspiration at SuccessRice.com.

Baja Fish Taco Bowls

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

2 bags Success Tri-Color Quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 white-fleshed fish fillets (5-6 ounces each)
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups packed baby kale
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced

Prepare quinoa according to package directions.
In large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Season fish with Cajun seasoning and salt. Cook 2-3 minutes per side, or until fish is lightly browned and starts to flake. Set aside.
In small bowl, stir yogurt, lime zest, lime juice and cumin.
In medium bowl, toss quinoa with kale. Divide between four bowls. Top each with fish, sliced avocado and dollop of yogurt and lime crema.
Substitutions: Taco seasoning or chili powder can be used in place of Cajun seasoning. Arugula or baby spinach may be used instead of kale.

A Cheesy Winter Warm-Up

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(Family Features) Few dishes are a standard go-to like burgers. While traditional beef patties come to mind for many, there are also healthy protein options to satisfy that burger craving without sacrificing flavor.
For example, salmon is a nutritionally well-rounded alternative that offers a variety of health benefits, and an option like gluten-free Trident Seafoods Alaska Salmon Burgers are made with wild, sustainable, ocean-caught whole filets with no fillers and are lightly seasoned. Topped with melted cheddar then piled on top of fresh arugula, peppered bacon and zesty mayo, these Alaskan Salmon Burgers with Peppered Bacon are a twist on tradition that can help you put a protein-packed, flavorful meal on the table in minutes.
Find more healthy seafood recipes at tridentseafoods.com.

Alaskan Salmon Burgers with Peppered Bacon 

Prep time: 13 minutes
Servings: 4

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 box (11.2 ounces) Trident Seafoods Alaska Salmon Burgers
4 cheddar cheese slices
4 seeded burger buns, split and toasted
4 cups arugula
6 strips peppered bacon, cooked
12 bread-and-butter pickles, drained

In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Cook salmon burgers according to package directions. When almost cooked through, top each with slice of cheese, cover and cook until melted.
Spread cut sides of buns with mayonnaise and top bottom buns with arugula. Cover with salmon burgers, bacon, pickles and top buns.

A Cheesy Winter Warm-Up

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(Family Features) One of the easiest ways to warm up at the end of a winter day — both inside and out — is by sharing a comforting meal with loved ones.
Getting your whole family to the table can be surprisingly easy when a savory dish like Cheesy Spinach Ravioli awaits. This recipe offers a kid-friendly way to get a serving of greens along with favorite flavors. Originally started by an Italian mother more than 80 years ago, having a delicious jar of RAGÙ sauce in hand, with its distinctive yellow cap, can help anyone create this mouthwatering recipe and quick real-world dishes at home.
Visit Ragu.com to find more winter recipe inspiration.

Cheesy Spinach Ravioli

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: about 1 hour
Yield: 17-20 ravioli

3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups chopped spinach, fresh or frozen
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
1 container (15 ounces) ricotta cheese

1 jar (24 ounces) RAGÙ Old World Style Traditional Sauce
shredded mozzarella cheese
2 chopped basil leaves
2 chopped sprigs rosemary
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

To make dough: Place 2 1/2 cups flour in bowl and make hole in center. Add salt, garlic powder, olive oil, eggs and egg yolks to hole. Slowly bring flour into middle and knead into ball. Cover with bowl and let rest 20 minutes.
To make filling: In pan over medium heat, add olive oil; add spinach, salt and pepper then saute until spinach is wilted. Let cool then mix in ricotta cheese; set aside.
Cut dough in half. Sprinkle remaining flour on large cutting board and roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into rectangle then cut into 2-3-inch squares. Set scraps aside. Brush water on squares then spoon 1 teaspoon spinach-ricotta filling in center of every other square. Top with remaining squares. Use fork to crimp edges. Repeat with remaining dough. Form scraps into ball and repeat.
Put ravioli in boiling water, 8-10 minutes; they will rise to top when done.
In saucepan over medium heat, heat sauce until simmering.
Place ravioli on plate and top with warm sauce, mozzarella cheese, basil and rosemary. Grate Parmesan cheese on top, if desired.

A hall of fame feast for homegating fans

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(Family Features) Gathering your team to plan for a truly memorable game day at home starts with almost everyone’s favorite part of the festivities: the food. From meaty meals and zesty appetizers to sweet, long-lasting snacks, fuel your crowd with recipes that keep them coming back from kickoff to overtime.

One superstar of the menu at many homegating parties is salsa, whether it’s used as a finishing touch in recipes or as a standalone snack to enjoy with chips, veggies or other pairings. In fact, according to the Game Day Eats Report from Fresh Cravings, 22% of guests would insist on running out to pick up salsa if it wasn’t available for the feast; 18% would even be devastated and consider leaving.

Chef Anthony Serrano recommends a Cast-Iron Smoked Queso Dip as a go-to option for armchair quarterbacks.

This crowd-pleaser makes game day worth celebrating, especially if you use a salsa with high-quality ingredients like vine-ripened tomatoes, crisp vegetables, zesty peppers and spices found in Fresh Cravings Salsas. Their flavor-packed, vibrant recipe offers a homemade-tasting alternative to the softer, duller blends of jarred salsa.

To find more championship-level game day recipe inspiration, visit FreshCravings.com.

Cast-Iron Smoked Queso Dip

Recipe courtesy of chef Anthony Serrano

2 cups cheddar cheese
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
1 teaspoon almond flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Fresh Cravings Restaurant Style Salsa
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup cooked chorizo
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
cilantro, for garnish
diced bell pepper, for garnish

In cast-iron pan, mix cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese and almond flour. Pour in heavy cream and salsa; bring to gentle simmer. Whisk while simmering 5-7 minutes, or until queso dip begins to thicken. Add paprika, salt, chorizo and liquid smoke; adjust seasoning as necessary.
Garnish with cilantro and bell pepper.

3 Holiday Hosting Hacks

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(Family Features) Despite a busy holiday schedule, you can take the stress out of entertaining and cooking by planning ahead and simplifying your menu.
Consider these tips from the entertaining experts at Sunkist and food blogger, podcaster and TV host Brandi Milloy for a fresh spin on your festivities.

Start with showstopping recipes
When hosting for the holidays, visual dishes that look as good as they taste lend themselves toward seasonal celebrations. Try shareable creations like this Baked Camembert Wreath with Navel Orange and Cranberry for a fun way to beautify your table.

Serve seasonal ingredients
For added flavor in favorite dishes, look for easy-to-find, in-season ingredients like Sunkist Navel oranges, which are at their peak and deliciously sweet. Perfect for snacking or adding to recipes from cocktails to desserts, they support your immune system by offering 90% of your daily vitamin C.

Wind down with movie night
A final touch of family festivity can be found in an evening spent watching a holiday classic. Gather loved ones, lay out favorite snacks and treats then look to the big screen for a fun way to relax and take in the joy of the season.
For more recipe ideas and ways to celebrate the holidays, visit Sunkist.com.

Baked Camembert Wreath with Navel Orange and Cranberry

Recipe courtesy of Brandi Milloy on behalf of Sunkist

Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6

1 Sunkist Navel orange
1 can (8 ounces) jellied cranberry sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 camembert cheese wheel
1 bag (25 ounces) frozen Parker House style rolls, thawed
 sprigs rosemary, for garnish
sprigs thyme, for garnish

In bowl, add zest and juice from orange.
Add jellied cranberry sauce and red pepper flakes; mix. Store in airtight container in refrigerator until ready to use.
Cover baking sheet or round pizza stone with parchment paper.
Using cheese wheel as guide in center, arrange rolls around cheese leaving about 1/4-inch space between rolls.
Create two concentric circles of rolls around cheese then place cheese back in refrigerator and let dough rise 2 hours.
Heat oven to 325 F.
Remove top of rind from cheese wheel and place in center of dough. Bake 7-8 minutes.
Remove from oven and add orange cranberry sauce. Bake 7-8 minutes until bread is golden and cheese is melted and bubbly.
Garnish with sprigs of rosemary and thyme.

Say yes to yogurt with a better-for-you snack

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(Family Features) Changing daily habits, like what you eat, can enhance your overall wellness. However, it doesn’t have to mean forgoing favorite flavors or skipping out on delicious snacks.
Treating yourself in health-conscious ways is an important tactic to keep your health goals on track. In fact, healthy eating isn’t about restricting yourself; good nutrition simply starts with a balanced plate. By incorporating nutrient-rich options like milk and dairy foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, you can establish an eating pattern that supports wellness and an overall healthy lifestyle.
This Chocolate and Strawberry Greek Yogurt Bark offers a sweet snack that curbs cravings without ditching your daily commitment to a balanced diet. With 1/4 cup of plain non-fat Greek yogurt per serving, you’re making a responsible decision at snack time because, when it comes to good nutrition, dairy is an irreplaceable source of essential nutrients.
Dairy foods provide nutrients that people need to grow and maintain stronger bodies and minds. While Americans consume about two dairy servings per day on average, adding just one more serving can help fill dairy and nutrient gaps.
Add more dairy to your diet with this easy-to-make snack and find more better-for-you recipes at MilkMeansMore.org.

Chocolate and Strawberry Greek Yogurt Bark
Recipe courtesy of Jenn Fillenworth, MS, RDN, of “Jenny With the Good Eats” on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 12

3 cups plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1/3 cup honey, plus additional for drizzling, divided (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup melted dark chocolate
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

In medium bowl, combine Greek yogurt, honey and vanilla.
On parchment-lined baking sheet, spread Greek yogurt mixture to 1/4-inch thickness. Drop spoonfuls of melted chocolate onto yogurt and use toothpick to drag in circles. Press strawberries and chocolate chips into yogurt. Freeze at least 3 hours.
Remove from freezer and break into pieces.

Quick, cozy breakfast for cold, busy mornings

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(Family Features) It’s often a challenge on cold, dreary days to pull yourself out from under the warm covers. Even though you know the importance of a satisfying breakfast before heading to work or dropping the kids off at school, that cool chill may keep you hitting snooze.
On those cold and busy mornings when breakfast seems impossible, turn to a solution like Minute Ready to Serve microwavable cups for a quick, cozy breakfast. Ready in 90 seconds or less, the cups offer a fast and easy meal that helps you spend less time cooking and more time enjoying the small moments that happen when you can slow down.
When a weekday calls for an on-the-go breakfast, make quick work of your morning meal with this Breakfast Scramble for a filling option without the unnecessary additives. Made with just four ingredients — eggs, sausage, cheese and white rice — it’s perfect for a busy lifestyle. Plus, it can be customized any way you like with toppings like avocado, tomatoes, fresh herbs and more.
Visit MinuteRice.com to find more quick breakfast ideas perfect for chilly mornings.

Breakfast Scramble

Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 2 minutes
Total time: 4 minutes
Servings: 1

1 cup Minute Ready to Serve White Rice
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup shredded cheese
¼ cup crumbled cooked sausage
salt, to taste (optional)
black pepper, to taste (optional)

Heat rice according to package directions.
In small, microwave-safe bowl, combine egg, cheese and sausage. Microwave on high 60 seconds, or until egg is set.
Transfer rice to small bowl and top with egg and sausage mixture. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, if desired.

Delightful dishes to dazzle holiday guests

Apple oat crumble
(Family Features) Entertaining guests during the holidays isn’t just about a main course that calls all to the table. What often makes a festive gathering more fruitful is a spread of delicious appetizers, delightful drinks and divine desserts that keep loved ones coming back to the kitchen for more.
For appetizing dishes from the first guest at the house to the last out the door, you can heighten the flavor and appearance of favorite recipes with one simple ingredient: apples. Ranging from tart to sugary sweet, finding the right balance for your palate is key. Scent can also influence taste, especially when you have a balanced sweetness with an uplifting, fresh aroma.
Turn to an option like Envy Apples this holiday season for satisfying texture and taste with a consistently balanced, refreshing sweetness coupled with a crisp, elegant crunch. They make for an easy snack when eaten fresh out of hand but are also perfect for appetizers, cider and tasty treats. Find more sweet holiday recipes at EnvyApple.com.

Apple oat crumble and citrus caramel topping

3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Envy Apples, diced into large cubes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup old-fashioned oats
½ cup cold butter, diced small
½ cup caramel
¼ teaspoon salt
½ orange, zest only
1 tablespoon orange juice
vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350 F.
In bowl, stir together sugar and ground cinnamon.
Toss apples in lemon juice then in cinnamon sugar mixture. Spread in 9-inch pie dish.
In another bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour and oats. Using hands or fork, cut in butter until pea size crumbs form. Sprinkle evenly over apples.
Bake 40-45 minutes until mixture is bubbling and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes.
In small pot, whisk caramel, salt, orange zest and orange juice until warm.
Spoon apple oat crumble over large scoop vanilla ice cream and top with salted citrus caramel.

Apple stuffing bites with rosemary gravy

1 box stovetop stuffing
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups diced Envy Apples
½ onion, diced small

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups beef broth
2 teaspoons kosher salt
20 turns fresh cracked pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary

Preheat broiler.
Cook stuffing according to package directions; set aside and allow to cool slightly.
In large saute pan, melt butter and saute apples and onion until tender. Set aside to cool slightly.
Stir together stuffing and apple mixture. Spread stuffing on sheet tray and allow to cool in refrigerator.
After cooling, form stuffing into medium bites and place on sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
Broil bites until golden brown and slightly crispy.

To make gravy
In small pot, melt butter and whisk in flour. Cook flour 1 minute, whisking frequently.
Whisk in beef broth, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce; bring to boil, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and stir in rosemary. If desired, continue gently simmering gravy to thicken.
Arrange stuffing bites in serving dish and drizzle with gravy. Serve hot.

Pumpkin spice apple cider

1 Envy Apple, diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
2 ounces bourbon (optional)
4 ounces pumpkin spice apple cider
demerara sugar
Envy Apple slices, for garnish
rosemary, for garnish
cinnamon stick, for garnish

In pan over medium heat, saute diced apples in butter and pumpkin spice 5-10 minutes.
In glass, combine bourbon (optional) and pumpkin spice apple cider; top with sauteed apples.
Add demerara sugar then garnish with apple slices, rosemary and cinnamon stick.

Bell-issimo brie melt
1 round brie (6-8 ounces)
2 Envy Apples
¼ cup walnuts
¼ cup dried cranberries
firm crackers

Unwrap brie and place on microwave-safe dish. Cut off top of brie round and microwave 60 seconds until middle is soft.
Slice apples into thick wedges.
Top brie with half the apples, crushed walnuts and dried cranberries.
Serve with firm crackers and remaining apple wedges.

Hearty, wholesome winter meals

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(Family Features) Seeking comfort from the cold in the form of a wholesome meal is a perfect way to cap off a day with loved ones. During the winter months when brisk temperatures chill you to the bone, warming up with hearty dishes at the family table can bring everyone together.
Full of seasonal flavors with top-notch taste, pecan-crusted pork tenderloin offers a delicious main course you don’t have to feel guilty about. This easy yet elegant entree puts a unique spin on a dinnertime staple thanks to a crunchy pecan crust.
Pecans are among the lowest in carbs and highest in fiber compared to other tree nuts, helping you stay fuller longer. As a nutrient-dense powerhouse, they have 3 grams of plant-based protein and 3 grams of fiber per 1-ounce serving with 12 grams of “good” monounsaturated fat and only 2 grams of saturated fat. Essential nutrients like thiamin, zinc, copper and manganese — a mineral that’s essential for metabolism and bone health — mean you can feel good about serving pecan-infused dishes to your loved ones.
Visit americanpecan.com to find more winter weeknight recipe inspiration.

Pecan-Crusted Pork Tenderloin
Total time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/2 pounds)
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
½ cup brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
2 teaspoons minced garlic
½ cup pecan pieces
¼ cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 400 F and lightly grease large baking dish. Season pork tenderloin with salt and pepper, to taste; set aside.
In small bowl, stir 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and minced garlic. Spread mixture over pork.
Press pecan pieces into brown sugar mixture on pork. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes.
In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine remaining brown sugar, remaining soy sauce, pineapple juice and Dijon mustard. Bring mixture to boil; reduce to simmer 3-5 minutes then remove from heat.
Slice pork, spoon sauce over top and serve.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Kebabs

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Dinnertime dishes loaded with nutrients help keep loved ones connected while refueling after busy days spent at work and school. Dairy foods — key ingredients in many at-home meals — provide nutrients for people of all ages to grow and maintain stronger bodies and minds.
However, some bodies are unable to break down the sugar found in milk, known as lactose, which causes an upset stomach and a heavy, bloated feeling. Rather than avoiding dairy and missing out on beneficial nutrients, people with lactose intolerance can enjoy real dairy products that are naturally low in lactose or don’t contain lactose, such as:
• Lactose-free milk, which is real milk with the same 13 essential nutrients as regular milk
• Hard and aged cheeses, such as cheddar, colby, Monterey Jack, Parmesan and Swiss
• Yogurt with live and active cultures, which help break down lactose, making it easier to digest
Visit MilkMeansMore.org to find more delicious dishes that fit a lactose intolerant meal plan.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Kebabs
Recipe courtesy of Rachel Gurk of “Rachel Cooks” on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 3

Nonstick cooking spray
2 chicken breasts (6 ounces each), cubed
1 ham steak (6 ounces), cubed
6 bamboo skewers (8 inches)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup lactose-free 2% milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
salt, to taste (optional)
pepper, to taste (optional)

To make skewers: Preheat broiler to 500 F. Line broiler pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Thread cubed chicken pieces and cubed ham pieces onto skewers.
In small bowl, combine Dijon mustard, maple syrup, black pepper, paprika and oil.
Brush mustard mixture on skewers.
Broil about 5 minutes, flip and cook 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

To make sauce: In small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly. Add Dijon mustard. Continue cooking 5 minutes or until thick. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese, whisking until melted.
Add salt and pepper, to taste, if desired.
Serve chicken and ham kebabs with sauce.

Make cooking fun for the whole family with this sweet, seasonal snack

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No matter how busy your schedule gets this fall, it’s important to take time to nurture your physical and mental health and wellbeing. With busy schedules underway, remember to take time to cook and eat together with loved ones.
In fact, research from the “Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health” shows regular family meals make it more likely kids and adults will eat more fruits and vegetables.
Making healthy choices, including eating fruits, like those in Apple Nachos, and vegetables have also been linked to greater happiness, according to research published in “Canadian Family Physician.” Pairing a healthy diet with other science-backed tips and recipes from the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good initiative, supported by Kroger Health, can help you and your family feel your best.
For more free recipes, and to access more health tips, visit heart.org/healthyforgood.

Apple Nachos
Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good initiative
Servings: 6

1/3 cup dried unsweetened cranberries or raisins
¼ cup sliced unsalted almonds
2 tablespoons unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
3 medium green or red apples, cored and thinly sliced into 12 wedges each, divided
1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
¼ cup smooth low-sodium peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey

In small bowl, stir cranberries, almonds and sunflower seeds.
Layer 18 apple wedges on large plate or platter. Sprinkle with lemon juice to keep apples from browning.
In small microwaveable bowl, microwave water on high 2 minutes, or until boiling. Add peanut butter and honey, stirring until mixture is smooth.
Using spoon, drizzle half peanut butter mixture over apple wedges. Sprinkle with half cranberry mixture. Layer remaining apples over cranberry mixture. Drizzle with remaining peanut butter mixture. Sprinkle remaining cranberry mixture over top.

Nutritional information per serving: 167 calories; 7.5 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 2.5 g polyunsaturated fat; 3.5 g monounsaturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 66 mg sodium; 22 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 15 g sugar; 4 g protein.

A signature side dish

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Almost every get together — whether it’s family, friends or neighbors — has one dish that’s the star of the show time after time. It’s usually a staple dish, but that doesn’t always mean it’s the main course.
It can be a side dish that pairs with almost everything else on the table. The kids gobble it up, and the adults ask, “Can I have that recipe?”
Side dishes can be some of the most enjoyed foods at a meal. There is a large variety of options and a multitude of possibilities and variations of almost every classic side dish.
There are a lot of elements that go into making a stellar side, however. It must have lots of flavor, and the seasoning needs to be on point.
Next time you’re looking for a versatile, delicious side dish nearly everyone will love, try these Horseradish Mashed Potatoes. They have a perfect potato texture and are full of creamy goodness with a horseradish kick to savor.
Find more side dish recipes at Culinary.net.

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
Servings: 4-6

2 quarts water
1 ¼ teaspoons salt, divided
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into 8 slices, divided
16 ounces sour cream
¼ cup horseradish, prepared and squeezed of moisture
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup chopped chives, plus additional for topping

In saucepan, bring water and 1 teaspoon salt to boil. Add potatoes and boil 15-20 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup liquid.
Drain potatoes and place in bowl. Add six slices of butter and mash potatoes coarsely.
In medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, horseradish, remaining salt, pepper and chives. Add mixture to mashed potatoes. Add reserved water. Mash to combine.
Transfer to serving bowl and top with remaining butter pieces and additional chives.

Family meals that deliver flavor and nutrition

Chopped chicken taco salad
As kids and parents return to busy schedules full of sports, homework and weeknight activities, building a plan for nutritious and easy meals can be challenging. Piecing together a menu that fuels active minds without spending hours in the kitchen is a common goal for many families.
For a customizable kid-pleaser, turn to chopped chicken taco salad and garnish with your family’s favorite toppings. This recipe requires minimal prep and calls for on-hand ingredients like dairy food favorites that provide nutrients people of all ages need to grow and maintain strong bodies and minds.
Visit milkmeansmore.org to find more recipes perfect for bringing loved ones together.

Chopped Chicken Taco Salad
Recipe courtesy of Megan Gundy of “What Megan’s Making” on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup buttermilk, plus additional (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice, plus additional (optional)
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons taco seasoning

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 head leaf lettuce, chopped
1 avocado, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 cup shredded cheese (Monterey Jack or Mexican)
tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips, for topping

To make dressing: In small bowl, stir yogurt, buttermilk, lime juice, cilantro and taco seasoning until combined. Taste and adjust lime juice and cilantro as needed. If dressing is too thick, add buttermilk 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To make salad: Season chicken on both sides with taco seasoning. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add chicken to pan and cook on both sides until outside is golden brown and chicken is cooked through. Remove to cutting board and slice into strips.
On large platter, heap chopped lettuce. Sprinkle chicken over top. Add avocado, beans, corn, tomatoes and shredded cheese. Drizzle dressing on top and sprinkle with tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips. 

Maytag’s four-cheese mac with fig-balsamic drizzle

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By Jolene Goodman

I share a delicious recipe from my friend Cyd Koehn this month. She is one of the best caterers in central Iowa. If you have not had the pleasure to enjoy a tasty spread from Cyd, you are in for a treat as I share her recipe for Maytag’s four-cheese mac with fig-balsamic drizzle. This recipe will bring gourmet mac and cheese right to your kitchen, satisfying your family’s tastebuds with a dish they will be asking for again. Let me know what you think!

Maytag’s four-cheese mac with fig-balsamic drizzle

By Cyd Koehn
Cyd’s Catering

Makes 6 servings.

For the macaroni and sauce:
1/2 pound dried elbow macaroni
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups heavy cream
2 cups grated Maytag White Cheddar Cheese (8 ounces), divided
2 cups cubed Havarti cheese (8 ounces)
1/4 cup Maytag Blue Cheese (1 ounce)

For the panko topping:
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Fig-Balsamic Drizzle
2 tablespoons fig jam
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar reduction

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 x 9 baking dish. Cook pasta in boiling salted water just until al dente (do not overcook). Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, for the sauce, in a heavy 3-quart saucepan melt the 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and salt and pepper to taste. Cook and stir until a smooth paste forms, about 30 seconds (do not allow this mixture to brown). Slowly pour in the cream while stirring. Cook and stir until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Add 1 1/2 cups of the Maytag White Cheddar, the Havarti, and the Maytag Blue. Cook and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Add the cheese sauce to the cooked pasta; stir to coat evenly. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of Maytag White Cheddar.

3. For the panko topping, in a small bowl, combine the panko crumbs, melted butter, and the 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Sprinkle panko topping evenly over macaroni mixture. Bake about 20 minutes or until the mac-and-cheese is bubbling and the crumbs are golden.

4. For the Fig-Balsamic Drizzle, whisk together the fig jam and balsamic vinegar reduction. To serve, divide macaroni and cheese among six shallow bowls. Spoon a little Fig-Balsamic Drizzle over each serving.

Note: To reheat the prepared casserole, cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350°oven about 25 minutes or until heated through (165°F). If the macaroni noodles are dry, to add more moisture, use milk or cream.