Monday, February 8, 2016

Add Extra Spark to Valentine's Day

Cosmos are red, curacao is blue, SMIRNOFF’s got the best V-Day cocktails for you! Okay so, even if you’re not into romantic poems and heart-shaped boxes full of chocolates, there’s never a reason to turn down flirty, delicious cocktails made with SMIRNOFF’s limited time offer: Peppermint Twist.

Whether you’re spending your Valentine’s Day with your loved one or on the couch with Netflix, try indulging in one of these sweet Peppermint Twist cocktails to set the mood (and while you’re at it, enjoy the scratch n’ sniff feature of the bottle).
Pink Love Potion

·         1 oz. Godiva Milk Chocolate Liqueur
·          1 oz. SMIRNOFF Peppermint Twist
·         1 oz. strawberry nectar
·         0.5 oz. milk
·         1 piece strawberry

In a shaker with ice, add Godiva Chocolate, SMIRNOFF Peppermint Twist, strawberry nectar and milk. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a strawberry.

Raspberry Kiss

·         2 oz. Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur
·         1.5 oz. SMIRNOFF Peppermint Twist
·         Fresh raspberries

Place 4 – 5 raspberries at the bottom of a rocks glass. Lightly muddle fruit. Fill glass with crushed ice. Pour Baileys and SMIRNOFF Peppermint Twist over ice. Garnish with remaining raspberries. 

Peppermint Truffletini

·         1 oz. Godiva Milk Chocolate Liqueur
·         0.5 oz. Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur
·         0.5 oz. SMIRNOFF Peppermint Twist
·         1 Godiva Milk Chocolate Truffle

Add Godiva Milk Chocolate Liqueur, Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur and SMIRNOFF Peppermint Twist. Shake with ice and strain into a pre-chilled martini glass. Garnish with truffle.

Source:  Smirnoff

Tasty Meals in Minutes

Quick-fix dinners for the family

Busy weeknights can make for hectic meals, but these simple recipes prove you don’t have to trim out flavor or precious moments spent with family when you’re cutting minutes off your dinner prep time.

The secret to making quick meals your family will love is quality ingredients. Tasty meals are easy when you incorporate the wholesome flavor of all-natural ingredients you feel good about serving your family, such as Hunt’s tomatoes. Hunt’s peels its diced, whole and stewed tomatoes using steam from simple hot water, so no chemical byproducts get put back into the earth.

Rely on these additional tips to help save time with your weeknight dinner prep:
  • When you’re exploring new time-saving recipes, consider both prep time and total cook time. Many dishes can be assembled in minutes, leaving you time to help tackle chores and homework before sitting down to dinner.
  • Enlist backup when the prep time is a little longer. For example, an extra set of hands from a little helper can shave minutes off the assembly of this Eggplant Lasagna, while getting a youngster excited about digging into a veggie-centric dinner.
  • Make what you can ahead of time. Assemble a dish such as these Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Tomatoes in the morning and slip them in the refrigerator, so all you have to do is slide them in the oven at dinner time.
Find more family friendly recipes to fit your busy schedule at

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Tomatoes

Serves 6
Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Total Time:  30 minutes

  • 1 pound small fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) Hunt’s Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tablespoons pure canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. Heat oven to 425°F. In large bowl, toss together Brussels sprouts, drained tomatoes, oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Spread mixture in single layer on large shallow baking pan. Bake 20 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are tender and browned, stirring once halfway through.

Quick Mini Meatloaves

Serves 6
Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Total Time:  40 minutes

  • Pam Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 1 can (8 ounces) Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1 pound ground chuck beef (80 percent lean)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) Hunt’s Petite Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Lightly spray 6 medium muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In small bowl, combine tomato sauce, brown sugar and mustard; set aside.
  3. In large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add 1/4 cup reserved sauce mixture to meat mixture and incorporate. Divide meat mixture evenly and place into prepared muffin cups. Place muffin pan on baking sheet.
  4. Bake 25 minutes or until no longer pink in centers (165°F). Top each mini loaf with 2 tablespoons sauce; bake 5 minutes more or until sauce is set. Serve with remaining sauce.

Eggplant Lasagna

Serves 8
Preparation Time:  50 minutes
Total Time:  1 hour, 45 minutes

  • Pam Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 large eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 1/4-inch thick lengthwise slices
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 package (20 ounces) Italian-seasoned ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes, drained (or Hunt’s Organic)
  • 1/4 cup Hunt’s Tomato Paste (or Hunt’s Organic)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In small bowl, combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning; set aside.
  3. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush eggplant slices with oil; sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. In batches, place eggplant on grill pan. Cook each side 1-2 minutes or until lightly browned and tender. Remove and place on baking sheet lined with paper towels; pat to remove excess moisture.
  4. Spray large skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add turkey and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onion and garlic; cook 2-3 minutes more or until onion is tender and turkey is crumbled and no longer pink. Drain. Add drained tomatoes, tomato paste and basil to skillet; stir to combine. Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes more.
  5. Assemble lasagna by spreading 3/4 cup meat mixture over bottom of dish. Place 3 eggplant slices over meat mixture, top with 3/4 cup meat mixture, half of ricotta cheese mixture and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers, ending with a layer of eggplant slices topped with meat mixture and remaining mozzarella cheese.
  6. Spray underside of aluminum foil with cooking spray; cover dish tightly with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Easy Chicken Parmesan

Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Total Time:  45 minutes

  • 1 can (15 ounces) Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano, undrained
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 6 small boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti, uncooked
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Pour tomato sauce and undrained tomatoes into 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Stir in 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) Parmesan. Add chicken; turn to evenly coat both sides of each breast with sauce. Cover.
  3. Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center (165°F). Meanwhile, cook spaghetti as directed on package, omitting salt.
  4. Top chicken with remaining cheeses; bake, uncovered, 5 minutes or until mozzarella is melted. Drain spaghetti. Serve topped with chicken and sauce.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions
*Lye peeling is generally recognized as safe by the FDA and has no adverse effects on the healthful­ness of tomatoes.

SOURCE: Hunt's

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Valentine's Day Cocktails

With the amorous season in mind, Claire Smith, head of mixology and spirits for Belvedere Vodka, has concocted  a few cocktails you are sure to enjoy. Whether you're spending Valentine's day cuddled up with a significant other, curled up with a good book or hanging with the crew, there's an option that's sure to set the mood. 
Pucker up! Strawberries have been long-lauded for their seductive properties. Here's a great cocktail for couples that's sure to inspire a meeting of the lips.

Sealed with A Kiss
40ml/ 1.5 oz Belvedere Vodka
4 fresh strawberries 
1 Shiso leaf
15ml/ ½ oz Koshinokaghiroi Sake
Muddle strawberries with a dash of simple syrup. Add rest of ingredients and shake with cubed ice. Double strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a strawberry slither and Shiso leaf.
Those who are looking for love might use this cocktail to put their hearts in the winged cherub's sights. You can't go wrong with raspberries.

Cupid’s Arrow
50ml/2oz Belvedere Vodka
15ml/1/4oz simple syrup
20ml /1/2 oz Lemon juice
6 fresh raspberries or 20ml/1/2oz raspberry puree
Dash egg white
Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass top with a splash of soda and garnish with a raspberry.
Some people just like to spend Valentine's day with their friends... It's still love, just a different kind. They'll surely enjoy a toast with this cocktail.

Intense Love
2 oz Belvedere UF 80 
1oz Fresh Lemon Juice 
1/2 oz Simple Syrup 
1/3 oz Egg White 
Dash Angustura Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and strain into a serving glass.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

5 Sweet Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

With the day of love not far away, it’s the perfect time to consider all of the ways that you can share sweet indulgences with your nearest and dearest. This Valentine’s Day, try some new, delicious ways to give the gift of decadent chocolate.

Whether you make a chocolate treat from scratch or simply make a gift basket filled with an

indulgence, such as PlumSweets Dark Chocolate or Greek Yogurt Coated Prunes, you don’t have to skimp on good health – especially as dark chocolate has risen in popularity and become a Valentine’s Day favorite. These gift-worthy recipes from Sunsweet feature craveable chocolate to share with those you love most.

Mason Jar Trail Mix – This energy-boosting snack, a recipe created by registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, has all of the sweet decadence that you’d want in a treat, but with ingredients that you can feel good about putting into your body. The secret ingredient: PlumSweets. Sunsweet’s signature diced prunes are nestled inside a layer of rich dark chocolate or creamy Greek yogurt.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Nut Cookies – Chewy, chocolatey and oh-so-good, these cookies are ideal for someone conscious about keeping gluten at bay. The rich flavor and texture makes it easy to forget there’s anything missing.

Slender Blondie Brownies – At a slim 169 calories per serving, don’t worry about feeling guilty when you can’t stop at just one. Crunchy peanuts, bittersweet chocolate morsels and chopped prunes lend a uniquely flavorful take on the traditional brownie that your beloved is sure to love.

Berry Chocolate Loaf – What’s better than the melt-in-your-mouth goodness of a freshly baked loaf of bread? Nothing, except the sweetly succulent berries and hints of chocolate that take this recipe from good to great. Served warm with a delicate drizzle of glaze, each slice gives you a reason to fall in love all over again.

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti – Cocoa, espresso and hazelnuts join a special unexpected ingredient for an unforgettable taste. The prunes lend moisture, texture and a subtle, unique flavor that makes this treat perfect for sharing over a mug of steaming coffee.

For more information, go to

SOURCE:  Sunsweet

Homemade Valentine's Day Dinner for Two

Nothing's more romantic than a homemade Valentine's Day meal - it saves time, money and sets the tone for a wonderful private evening for two. Turn on the love songs, light the fireplace and make a decadent dinner with help from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas. Vanilla is one of the most popular flavors, and is a scent associated with love.

Cooking cupids can experiment with vanilla and pure flavor extracts as they are not only used in traditional dessert recipes, but are also used in savory dishes such as chicken, beef and vegetables. Below is a selection of recipes to help create a romantic at-home dinner for two.

Kheer Royale cocktails, Cherry Vanilla Chicken á la Nielsen and Vanilla-Mocha Café Cake with Cherries Jubilee Sauce are sure to delight every Valentine. Add a loaf of Artisan bread and pair the recipes below with a favorite salad and vegetable to round out the meal. 

Set the table with the flower of the season - a rose, and start the meal with a rose flavored cocktail.

Kheer Royale
Photo:  Fashionably Bombed
Courtesy of Flannery & Katherine Good of

1 ounce Cardamom Simple Syrup
1 ounce Saffron-infused Vodka
4 drops Nielsen-Massey Pure Rose Water

Add saffron-infused vodka, simple syrup and rose water to a champagne flute.  Top with champagne and gently stir. 

Cardamom Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
10 cardamom pods (crushed)

Combine water, sugar and cardamom pods in a medium saucepan. Boil until sugar has dissolved, stirring frequently. Let sit for at least one hour. Let cool, strain and store in refrigerator.

Saffron-infused Vodka
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 teaspoon saffron strands

Combine Vodka and saffron strands in a sealed container. Let sit over night, shaking occasionally. Note: the longer you let the saffron soak, the more intense the saffron flavor will be.

Makes 2
Accompany the Kheer Royal with Cherry Vanilla Chicken - an easy-to-make, yet impressive main dish. Plate two chickens and enjoy the leftovers for lunch.

Cherry Vanilla Chicken á la Nielsen

From Nielsen-Massey Vanillas A Century of Flavor

3/4 dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 cup dry white wine

Soak the cherries in the vanilla extract in a bowl for 10 minutes. Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Cut a pocket in the thickest part of each chicken breast. Spoon 1/2 tablespoon of the vanilla paste into each pocket and stuff with the marinated cherries, reserving some for the sauce. Secure each pocket closed with two wooden picks.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof skillet. Sauté the chicken in the hot oil over medium-high heat until golden brown on each side. Sprinkle with the rosemary. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or to 160 degrees on a meat thermometer.

Remove the chicken from the skillet and place one on each of four dinner plates. Remove the wooden picks. Place the skillet over medium-high heat. Pour the wine into the skillet, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, to deglaze the pan. Add the reserved cherries and vanilla extract. Cook until the liquid is reduced. Spoon approximately 2 tablespoons of the cherries and sauce over each chicken breast.

Note: Reduce is when a liquid is cooked until the liquid amount decreases and thickens, which intensifies the flavor.

Serves 4

After cherry chicken, mocha cake will please the sweetest of taste buds. Make it in a heart-shaped pan to add to the ambiance! Slice two pieces and save the rest for later.

Vanilla-Mocha Café Cake
From Nielsen-Massey Vanillas A Century of Flavor

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup cooled brewed black coffee
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Pure Coffee Extract
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Beat the eggs, canola oil, yogurt, coffee, vanilla extract, coffee extract and chocolate extract in a mixing bowl using an electric mixer on low speed. Add the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes; the batter will be thin. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the cake tests done. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto a serving platter. Serve with Nielsen-Massey's Cherries Jubilee Sauce.

Serves 12 to 16

Nielsen-Massey's Cherries Jubilee Sauce
2 (21-ounce) cans sweet cherries in heavy syrup
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract

Combine the cherries, brandy, brown sugar, chocolate extract and vanilla extract in a large sauté pan. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10  minutes or until the sauce thickens. Serve over Vanilla-Mocha Café Cake.

Makes about 5 cups

Valentine cooks can't go wrong with a delicious homemade meal, a rose decorated table, dim candlelight and romantic music.

Source:  Nielsen-Massey

Friday, February 5, 2016

Food and Wine Tips to Delight Winter Taste Buds

Emilia Nardi, Owner of Tenute Silvio Nardi Winery
With a chill in the air, it’s finally time to indulge in hearty, wholesome meals. The winter weather gives a great excuse to cook up a rich meal, sip on a glass of wine and entertain friends in front of the fireplace.

Here are some helpful suggestions for your next gathering from Emilia Nardi, owner of Tenute Silvio Nardi Winery.

Warm-Hearted Wines

Full-bodied red wines are perfect for wintry evenings. Consider picking up a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino ($68.99) for your guests to enjoy. It is a deep, ruby-red wine with intense, complex aromas of red fruit, spice and notes of toasty oak.

Produced in the Montalcino region of Italy from Sangiovese grapes, Brunello wines have profound flavor, silky structure and velvety tannins.

If you feel like splurging on your guests, a single vineyard cru such as Brunello di Montalcino Manachiara ($104.99) is another delicious wine to serve.

“Sharing a beautiful wine and meal with your loved ones is what life is about. Silvio Nardi Brunello wines will complement any hearty meal or conversation,” says Nardi.

Jovial Mealtime

Feature a dish in the style of the Montalcino region, such as steak, lamb or heavy fish. Brunello wines are particularly well-suited for winter weather.

If you really want to impress your loved ones recreate a recipe out of Nardi’s family cookbook:

"Gran Pezzo,” Beef Short Ribs


• 5 Beef Ribs

• 1 bottle of Red Wine

• 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

• 1 tsp garlic

Mixture for Marinade:

• 1 juniper tablespoon

• 1 rosemary tablespoon

• 15 leaves of sage

• 4 cloves of garlic

• 2 spoons of sea-salt

• 1 teaspoon of black pepper


• Marinate the five beef ribs in 3/4 of a bottle of red wine, turning the meat for flavor and then cut the meat.

• Mix all ingredients in mixer and add mixture in between ribs and cover exterior.

• Wrap with saran wrap and leave overnight in the fridge.

• Bake at 150 degrees with a cup of extra-virgin olive oil, garlic and the rest of the red wine. Cook for two hours, basting from time to time with the juices.

• Increase to 200 degrees for an additional hour.

• Once ready, let the meat rest for half an hour and cut the "Gran Pezzo" into beefsteaks.

• Serve with the au jus, favorite vegetable or starch and a good glass Tenute Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino or Brunello di Montalcino Manachiara. Recipe serves eight people.

Delight winter taste buds and keep guests cozy with food and wine fit for the season.

PHOTO CAPTION: Emilia Nardi, Owner of Tenute Silvio Nardi Winery, offers food and wine tips for winter.

Elevate Your Superbowl Party Cocktails

With football season wrapping up, throwing a winning Superbowl party is a must. Fire up the grill and mix up some great cocktails to keep your party going strong from kickoff to the final horn.

This year, take your game to new heights by putting an unexpected twist on traditional tailgate eats and drinks. Ditch the wilted stalk of celery and soggy slice of bacon, and bolster your Bloody Mary with any variety of sausage – a game-changing play sure to turn heads, experiment with different flavor in your garnish and earn the respect of your comrades.

A Bloody Mary is more than just a crave-worthy cocktail. It’s a spectacle, a cultural phenomenon and an opportunity to make a statement at your next tailgate party.

No matter which team you’re rooting for this Superbowl, you can customize your Bloody Mary with a smoked cooked Johnsonville sausage and other garnishes. For added fun, offer a complete Bloody Mary bar to let guests call their own audible. Include options such as:
  • Johnsonville Summer Sausage
  • Johnsonville Smoked-Cooked Andouille Sausage
  • Plain or flavored salt for glass rims
  • A variety of hot sauces
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Horseradish
  • Pepper
  • Pickled green beans or okra
  • Pickles
  • Wedges of lemon and lime
  • Pearl onions
  • Olives stuffed with pimento or blue cheese
  • Cheese cubes
Find more game day recipes worth cheering for at

Sweet ’n Southern Bloody Mary

Serves 4 cocktails
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes


  • 1 cup sweet tea vodka
  • 3 cups Bloody Mary mix or tomato juice
  • 1/4 cup okra juice
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 dash ground black pepper
  • 4 skewers
  • 4 Johnsonville Smoked Beef Brats, grilled
  • 4 okra spears

  1. In shaker or pitcher, mix vodka, Bloody Mary mix or tomato juice, okra juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, celery salt and black pepper. Pour into 4 glasses with ice.
  2. For garnish, assemble each skewer with smoked beef brat and okra spear and place into cocktails.

Bratty Mary

Serves 4 cocktails
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes


  • 1 cup vodka
  • 3 cups Bloody Mary mix or tomato juice
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 dashes pepper
  • 1 Johnsonville Brat, grilled
  • 1 brat bun
  • 4 skewers
  • 4 cheddar cheese cubes
  • 2 dill pickle spears, cut in half

  1. In pitcher, mix vodka, Bloody Mary mix or tomato juice, horseradish sauce, hot sauce, lime juice and pepper. Pour into 4 glasses with ice.
  2. Assemble grilled brat in bun and slice into four pieces.
  3. For garnish, assemble each skewer with one quarter of brat with bun, one cheese cube and half dill pickle and place into cocktails.

SOURCE: Johnsonville

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Add Variety to Your Game Day

While burgers and brats are the traditional tailgating fare and have their place on the menu, sometimes you need to mix things up when preparing that game day spread.

For easy, delicious entertaining, add Sabra Hummus to the tailgate menu. Available in more than a dozen appetizing flavors and made with fresh chickpeas and a touch of garlic and tahini, hummus is the perfect smooth and creamy accompaniment for chips, crackers, veggies and even tailgating favorites like chicken wings and burgers.

Start your game day crowd off with a 7-layer hummus dip, the perfect blend of hummus, Greek yogurt, vegetables and cheese, and then serve up a hearty batch of Basil Pesto Hummus Pasta Salad, a main course sure to delight the home fans and bring them back week after week.
For more tasty ideas on how to include hummus in your pre-game lineup, rush on over to

Basil Pesto Hummus Pasta Salad

Serves 4-6 (as a main dish)
Total Time: 15 minutes

  • 1 pound fusilli pasta
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, rough chopped
  • 1 cup fennel (2 small bulbs), finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and chopped
  • 3/4 cup roasted red pepper
  • 1/2 cup chives, minced
  • 1 container (10 ounces) of Sabra Basil Pesto Hummus
  • 1 cup pasta cooking water, reserved
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • fennel fronds for garnish

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1-cup pasta cooking water.
  2. Prepare all vegetables. In big bowl, toss vegetables with Basil Pesto Hummus. Add pasta and pasta water, stir to combine. Sprinkle with black pepper.
  3. Serve at room temperature, drizzle each portion with splash of olive oil and sprinkle fennel fronds overtop.

Individual 7-Layer Dip

Serves 8
Total Time: 15 minutes

  • 9 ounces Sabra Mediterranean Herb Greek Yogurt
  • 10 ounces Sabra Classic Hummus
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of paprika
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 roasted red peppers, halved then diced
  • feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley
  • Kalamata olives, chopped for garnish (optional)
  • 1 bag pita chips

  1. In individual-serving cups, dollop Greek yogurt evenly over bottom of each cup.
  2. Top layer with portion of hummus, followed by another dollop of Greek yogurt. Sprinkle with salt and paprika.
  3. Top each cup with handful of tomatoes, roasted red peppers and feta cheese.
  4. Garnish with parsley and olives. Serve with pita chips.


Healthy Game Day Party Fare

There's no better time to be a football fan, as armchair quarterbacks across the country begin counting down the days until the big game. Fans everywhere are assembling their shopping lists for the last game day parties of the season.

Bryan Snyder, Director of Nutrition for the Denver Broncos, has
winning suggestions for feeding the home team at your party on game day.

"It's easy to incorporate healthy and nutritious foods into your game day parties without sacrificing the fun or the flavor," Snyder said.  "One easy way is to replace unhealthy snacks, such as potato chips or cheese crackers, with healthy nuts.  Pistachios are one of the best recommendations I can make because they’re packed with nutrients, have six grams of protein per serving and contain the least fat of any nut."

Pistachios contain important nutrients, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus,
which can contribute to a lower risk of heart disease. According to recent studies, pistachios also help with weight management and may prevent hypertension and low blood pressure. In addition, people who eat a handful of nuts, such as pistachios, each day have a 20 percent lower death rate, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
"Pistachios on their own are a great replacement for fatty potato chips because they still give you that salty crunch that people crave," Snyder said. "We're all concerned about heart health and living a healthy, active lifestyle. Even when it's time for a party, it’s still important to make smart nutrition choices and pistachios are just one healthy and delicious swap you can use to support these goals."

Roasted pistachios straight from the store will satisfy and nourish, but for a dazzling game day snack, try this tasty pistachio recipe from Chef Robert Del Grande of Houston, Texas.

For more information go to


Pistachios Roasted with Smoked Chile Tequila and Limes

  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large chipotle chilies (approximately 3 ounces) canned in adobo
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from canned chipotle chilies)
  • 6 tablespoons silver tequila
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds pistachio nuts, in shell
  • lime wedges

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. In blender, combine lime juice, sugar, chipotle chilies, adobo sauce, tequila and salt. Puree until smooth. Place pistachio nuts in mixing bowl.
  3. Add sauce and toss or stir until sauce is fully incorporated into nuts.
  4. Transfer nuts to sheet pan. Toast nuts 5-10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
  5. To serve, place pistachio nuts in serving bowl. Sprinkle nuts with salt and garnish with lime wedges.

SOURCE:   American Pistachio Growers

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sweet & Savory Valentine's Day Recipes

Treat your Valentine to some fun this Valentines Day - Two heart shaped recipes!

Heart-Shaped Blinis with Smoked Salmon and Lemon Caper

Sour Cream
Ultra-creamy sour cream mixed with capers and zesty lemon adds the perfect touch to these savory appetizer bites. Got some gluten-free guests? Simply substitute your favorite gluten-free all-purpose baking flour blend and one teaspoon xanthan gum for the all-purpose flour or use gluten free Buckwheat.

Makes about 36 heart-shaped blini (3 per serving)

Blini Batter
1 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 Tbs. warm water (110°F to 115°F)
1 cup warm soy, rice or dairy milk (110°F to 115°F)
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Redwood Hill Farm Plain Kefir
2 Tbs. melted butter or Earth Balance Buttery Spread, plus 1/4 cup for cooking
2 large eggs, separated

Lemon Caper Sour Cream
1 (12-oz) container Green Valley Organics Sour Cream
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced (1 tsp.)
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. fresh lemon zest
2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
2 Tbs. finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup capers, chopped, plus more for garnish
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1/2 lb. thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut into 36 bite-size pieces

1. Stir together yeast, sugar and water in a large bowl to dissolve. Stir in milk and let stand 5 to 7
minutes, until frothy.
2. Sift flours and salt into a separate bowl. Whisk in yeast mixture, then whisk in Redwood Hill Farm
Plain Kefir, melted butter and egg yolks. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, set in a warm
place and allow to rise for one hour.
3. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into batter, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise 30
minutes longer. The batter should be bubbly.
4. While the batter rises, whisk together sour cream, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, dill, onion and
capers in a small bowl. Adjust seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate
until ready to use.
5. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Place batter in a squeeze bottle using a funnel. Add a tablespoon
of melted buttery spread and swirl the pan to coat evenly.
6. Squeeze the batter into the outline of a heart and fill in the heart outline with batter. Cook about 1
to 2 minutes, until bubbles appear, flip and cook 30 seconds longer.
7. Place cooked blini on a parchment-lined baking sheet and keep warm in a 200°F oven until ready
to serve. Serve topped with smoked salmon and a dollop of Lemon Caper Sour Cream.

Chef’s Make-Ahead Tip:
To freeze blini, place parchment paper between each blini, wrap in plastic wrap and foil. To reheat,
arrange blini on a parchment-lined baking sheet and warm in a 300°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake with Cherry Vanilla Yogurt Sauce

Rich, chocolaty and decidedly decadent, our no-fail sour cream chocolate cake is oh-so-moist and lactose free (thanks to our silky sour cream) and begs for a fork when topped with sweet-n-tangy cherry vanilla yogurt sauce. Share a heart-shaped cake with your sweetheart for the perfect way to say "I love you" on Valentine's Day. Going gluten free? Simply substitute your favorite gluten-free all-purpose baking mix and one teaspoon xanthan gum for the all-purpose flour.

 Makes one bundt cake or 8 heart-shaped cakes (using 1/2-cup batter for each cake)

1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup butter or non-hydrogenated butter alternative (like Earth Balance), softened
2 cups Green Valley Organics Sour Cream
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

Chocolate Frosting Glaze
3 Tbs. butter or non-hydrogenated butter alternative (like Earth Balance)
2 Tbs. cocoa powder
3 Tbs. lactose free milk or soymilk
1 cup confectioners/powdered sugar
1 tsp. almond extract

Cherry Vanilla Yogurt Sauce
2 (6 oz.) containers Vanilla or Wildflower Honey Redwood Hill Farm Yogurt
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 cup chopped dark cherries (frozen and thawed is fine)
1/2 tsp. almond extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour bundt pan.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, combine butter, sour cream and eggs, beating with a hand or stand
mixer until smooth.
4. Mix wet and dry ingredients together, and beat with a hand or stand mixer for 3 minutes.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 50 to 55 minutes, until a wooden skewer inserted
into the cake comes out clean. Cool before removing from pan.
5. While cake cools, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cocoa and milk
until smooth. Remove from heat, add confectioners sugar and almond extract and beat
using a stand or hand mixer until silky smooth. Drizzle over top of cooled cake. Allow to set
before serving.

To make the Cherry Vanilla Yogurt Sauce, whisk together yogurt, vanilla bean paste, cherries
and almond extract. Refrigerate until needed.

Slice the vanilla bean horizontally down the middle. Using a paring knife, scrape out the vanilla
bean seeds from inside the sliced pods. Instead of discarding the used vanilla bean pods, tuck
them into a cup or two of granulated sugar in a covered container. Allow to sit for a week or so
and enjoy vanilla-scented sugar in coffee, hot chocolate, baked goods, sprinkled over sugar
cookies, and more.

You'll find more great recipes online at

Swap Up for Big Game Day

Chicken wings, guacamole, and cheesy dips are America’s top choices for most Big Game day menus, but the same recipes year after year can get tiring. Forget the same-old spread and surprise your guests with a little more taste and pizazz this year.

Put these tips into play for a winning combination your team can celebrate.

Swap Up with Sausage. Transform typical dishes, by swapping sausage into recipes, such as chili and nachos, which typically incorporate ground beef. The built-in flavor lends great taste and convenience to these dishes. Instead of chips and queso, add brat sausage to your nachos to make brat-chos. Or give this MVP Chili recipe a try!

MVP Chili
  • 2          packages of Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausage Links (use mild links for less spicy chili)
  • 1          large onion
  • 3          cloves garlic, minced
  • 2          tablespoons chili powder (use mild chili powder for less spicy chili)
  • 1/4       teaspoon cumin
  • 1          bottle (12 ounces) dark beer (OK to substitute light beer or 1 cup beef stock)
  • 1          can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 2          tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1          can (15.5 ounces) red kidney beans
  • 1          can (15.5 ounces) black beans
  • 1-1.5    cups corn (frozen or fresh off the cob)
  • salt and pepper
  1. De-case sausage and sauté in large pot; use wooden spoon to crumble sausage as it cooks.
  2. Once sausage is nicely browned, stir in onion, garlic, chili powder and cumin and continue cooking until onion softens, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add beer and allow it to simmer for an additional 5 minutes scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  4. Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste and allow it to simmer, uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes on medium-low, stirring occasionally.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
  6. Finally, stir in beans and corn.
  7. Let this come to a simmer and it’s ready to serve! (Can be prepared a day ahead.)
Use Unexpected Ingredients. Many dips and sides prominently feature the gooey goodness of cheese. Put a fresh spin on these dishes with high-quality, sophisticated options that feature more robust flavors, such as pungent blue cheese, smoked Gouda or tangy goat cheese.

Sweeten Up Your Spread. To mix in sweet with the savory options, find a spot on the table for some fresh fruit flavor. Favorites such as fruit salad, fruit pizza or fruit kabobs can make for a delectable treat to accompany the rest of your game-day fare.

Mix it Up. Smoky flavors and bourbon are trending upward in kitchens, backyards, bars and restaurants across the country. Combine the two for a creative spin to your beverage spread. Seep Johnsonville Fully Cooked Smoked Brats in bourbon for about a day to extract smoky and savory flavors, and mix the bourbon for a modern twist on the Manhattan cocktail.

Smokey Sausage Manhattan
  • 2          ounces Sausage-Infused Bourbon
  • 1          ounces Sweet Vermouth
  • 1          dash Angostura Bitters
  • 3          Cherries
In ice filled mixing glass, add all ingredients and stir for at least 30 seconds. Strain into martini glass and garnish with 3 cherries on a pick.
Sausage-Infused Bourbon
  1. Cut Johnsonville Fully Cooked Smoked Split Rope Sausage into 1/2-inch slices.
  2. In glass jar with tight lid (canning jar is ideal) add sliced brat with 6 ounces of bourbon and let sit for 24-48 hours.  
  3. Strain through coffee filter into clean container.  
  4. Discard sliced brats.
Find more creative recipes to spice up your game-day spread at