Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Celebrate National Margarita Day

Looking for delicious ways to celebrate National Margarita Day on February 22nd?  Why not jazz up your go-to classic margarita with a different spin on the most popular mixed drink in the world. Below I’ve include recipes of four different takes on the refreshing drink made with Sauza Tequila, the Spicy Sauzarita, the Cucumber Margarita, the Banana Margarita, and the Blackberry Margarita.

Spicy Sauzarita

1 part frozen limeade
1 part water
2 parts beer
1 part Sauza Blue Reposado 100% Agave Tequila
A few dashes of your favorite hot sauce
Sugar, salt, cayenne pepper (to rim glasses)
In a pitcher, combine 1 can frozen limeade concentrate, 1 can water, 2 beers, 1 cup tequila and a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce. Chill and serve in glasses rimmed with sugar, salt and red pepper. Garnish with the cutest chili you can find.

Banana Margarita

Serves 8
+ 1 can of frozen Pineapple-Orange-Banana Juice
+ 1 Can Sauza Gold Tequila
+ 3 Frozen Bananas
+ The juice of 3 limes
+ 2 cans of light beer
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into a pitcher, add beer and stir with a wooden spoon. Serve over ice.

Cucumber Margarita

Serves 4
3/4 cup Sauza Blue 100% Agave Tequila
1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced
6 ounces fresh lime juice
2 ounces DeKuyper Triple Sec
2 ounces simple syrup
In a pint glass, muddle together sliced cucumber (except for 8) and Sauza Blue Tequila. Let sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Strain the cucumber tequila and combine with all ingredients in a pitcher. Stir and serve over ice. Garnish with reserved cucumber slices

Blackberry Margarita

Serves 6
2 cups fresh blackberries
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup simple syrup
1 1/2 cups Sauza Silver Tequila
4 cups sparkling blackberry soda
In a blender, puree 1 cup fresh blackberries with 3/4 cup lime juice and 1/4 simple syrup. Strain into a cocktail shaker, add the tequila and ice and shake to chill. Rim Champagne flutes with sugar. Place 2-3 whole blackberries (fresh or frozen) in each glass. Pour each glass 1/3 full with the Blackberry-Lime-Tequila mixture. Top with chilled Blackberry soda.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Boost Your Recipes with Protein

Anything is possible when you have the energy to take on the
day. Protein shakes have grown in popularity because they're a convenient and healthy way to curb hunger and give your body sustained energy.

When choosing a shake, look for an option such as Premier Protein Shakes, which can help provide fuel to make the day yours with sweet and savory recipes from cinnamon rolls to twice-baked potatoes. Each single-serve, 160-calorie shake is packed with 30 grams of protein, is low in fat and contains just 1 gram of sugar.

Explore more energy-boosting recipes at PremierProtein.com or Facebook.com/PremierProtein.

Old-Fashioned Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

Servings: 9

1 cup Premier Protein Caramel Shake
2 1/4     teaspoons (1 packet) yeast
4     tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and divided, plus additional for greasing bowl and pan
1/4     cup sugar, plus 3 tablespoons, divided
1/2     teaspoon salt
1     egg
1 1/4     cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for kneading and rolling
1 1/4     cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2      teaspoons cinnamon

1/2     cup confectioners' sugar
1     tablespoon Premier Protein Caramel Shake

Heat protein shake in microwave or on stove to about 110 F, or warm to touch but not boiling.

In medium bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm protein shake and stir to combine. Let sit 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 cup sugar, salt and egg, and mix until well combined. Gradually add flour, stirring after each addition. Once dough is no longer too sticky to handle, turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead 3-5 minutes to make moderately soft dough. Shape dough into ball.

Place dough in lightly greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise in warm place until size has doubled (about 1 hour). Punch dough down, cover and let rise 1 additional hour. Punch dough down.

Grease 8-by-8-inch glass or metal baking dish and set aside.

In separate bowl combine remaining sugar and cinnamon. On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Using pastry brush, brush about 1 1/2 tablespoons of remaining butter evenly over dough. Sprinkle 2/3 of cinnamon sugar mixture over dough.

Using pizza cutter or knife, cut dough into nine even 12-inch strips. Roll each strip tightly, sealing ends by pressing into dough. Arrange rolls in prepared pan. Pour remaining butter over buns then sprinkle remaining cinnamon and sugar on top. Let rise uncovered 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 F. Bake rolls 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

While rolls cool slightly, prepare glaze. In small bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and protein shake until smooth. Drizzle rolls with glaze. Serve warm.

Twice-Baked Sweet and Savory Potatoes

Servings: 4

2     medium sweet potatoes
2     slices thick-cut bacon
1/2     cup finely chopped shallots
1/2      cup Premier Protein Vanilla Shake
1/8     teaspoon salt
1/16     teaspoon black pepper
1/8     teaspoon cumin
      cayenne pepper, to taste
1/4      cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided

Heat oven to 400 F.

Prick potatoes with fork and bake 45-60 minutes.

During last 15 minutes, cook bacon in small pan until crispy. Drain all but 1 teaspoon of fat and cook shallots over low heat until caramelized, about 5 minutes.

When potatoes are soft and cooked, remove from oven and carefully cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out soft flesh, keeping outside shell intact.

In bowl, mash potato flesh with cooked shallots, protein shake, salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne and 2 tablespoons cheese.

Fill empty potato shells with mixture. Top with remaining cheese and crumbled bacon.

Bake 10 minutes, or until potatoes are hot. Turn on broiler and cook, watching carefully, until cheese is lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Double Chocolate Breakfast Bread Pudding

Servings: 4

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 Premier Protein Chocolate Shake
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or nutmeg
1 teaspoon butter
6 cups (about 6 slices) soft white or whole-wheat bread cubes
2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar

Heat oven to 350 F.

In medium bowl, whisk together eggs and protein shake, followed by cinnamon or nutmeg.

Grease 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish with butter.

Add bread cubes. Pour egg mixture over bread. Mix gently to coat. Sprinkle in chocolate chips.

Bake uncovered 20 minutes, or until knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean.

Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm.

Orange and Vanilla Butternut Squash Soup

Servings: 4

2 pounds (about 4 cups) butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
2 tablespoons medium or dry sherry
1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup Premier Protein Vanilla Shake
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 400 F.

Line baking sheet with foil.

In large bowl, toss squash with 1 table- spoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, carda- mom and nutmeg.

Place on baking sheet and roast 25 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time.

Meanwhile, in 3-quart pot over medium-high heat, heat remaining olive oil. Add leeks, reduce heat to mediumlow and cook 15 minutes, stirring often, until caramelized. Remove squash from oven and add to leeks. Stir in sherry and broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and blend to desired consistency using immersion or standard blender.

Reheat if desired. Stir in orange zest, protein shake, remaining salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Source: Premier Protein

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Celebrating Everyday Moments

Finding time to celebrate family moments is always sweeter with a delicious ice cream dessert.

Breyers partnered with celebrity chef Curtis Stone and his wife, actress Lindsay Price Stone, to celebrate its 150th birthday. The couple created 12 delicious ice cream recipes inspired by each month of the year using Breyers Natural Vanilla ice cream. From January’s recipe featuring Fortune Cookies and Natural Vanilla Ice Cream with Mandarins and Oranges to December’s Spicy Hot Chocolate Floats, families have desserts to celebrate everyday moments all year long.

“Beyond a great taste, Breyers Natural Vanilla offers families peace of mind with its simple ingredients like sustainably farmed vanilla beans,” Curtis Stone said. “Also, it’s made with milk and cream from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones*.”

Start making the most of family time by visiting Breyers.com for more recipes and join in on the birthday celebration.

S’mores Ice Cream Birthday Pie

Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 8 hours 40 minutes freezing time
Cook time: 2 minutes
Serves: 12
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 8          ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped, divided
  • 2 1/4    teaspoons canola oil
  • 30        chocolate wafer cookies
  • pinch of salt
  • 5          graham cracker sheets, broken into bite-size pieces
  • 6          cups Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream, softened
  • 4          large egg whites
  • 1/2       cup sugar
  • birthday candles (optional)
  1. Lightly spray 9-inch springform pan with 3-inch high sides with cooking spray.
  2. In small bowl over simmering water, stir 3 ounces chocolate and oil until melted and blended.
  3. In food processor, grind chocolate wafer cookies into fine crumbs (about 1 1/3 cups). Add chocolate mixture and pinch of salt and pulse until moistened. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of pan. Freeze for about 10 minutes, or until crust hardens.
  4. In large chilled bowl, fold graham cracker pieces and remaining chocolate into ice cream. Pour mixture into frozen crust and smooth top. Freeze for about 8 hours, or until ice cream hardens. Remove pie from pan and transfer to platter. Return pie to freezer.
  5. In large bowl, using electric hand mixer on medium-high speed, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar and beat for about 5 minutes, or until firm glossy peaks form.
  6. Using large spoon, dollop meringue onto pie and spread decoratively, making sure no ice cream is exposed. Using kitchen blowtorch, torch meringue until browned all over.
    Freeze pie for about 30 minutes, or until meringue has stiffened. Decorate with lit birthday candles, if desired. Slice and serve immediately.
Note: Pie, without meringue topping, can be made up to 1 week ahead, covered and frozen.

Brookie Cherry Ice Cream Sandwiches

Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 2 hours 30 minutes freezing time
Cook time: 25 minutes
Serves: 8
  • 1/2       pound fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • 2          tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1          tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4          cups Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream, softened
  • 3          cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1          cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 4          large egg whites, at room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2       cup walnut pieces, coarsely chopped
  • nonstick cooking spray
  1. In small saucepan over medium heat, bring cherries, granulated sugar and lemon juice to simmer, mashing cherries with potato masher or fork to break up. Simmer, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes, or until mixture thickens. Transfer to shallow container, cover and refrigerate until cold.
  2. In large chilled bowl, fold cherry mixture into ice cream until blended. Cover and freeze about 2 hours, or until firm.
  3. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, egg whites and salt. Using electric hand mixer on low speed, beat for about 1 minute, or until just blended. Fold in walnuts.
  5. Immediately drop 16 mounds of batter onto prepared baking sheets, spacing evenly. Spray underside of spoon with cooking spray and spread mounds into 2 1/2-inch rounds. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until tops are shiny and cracked. Cool cookies completely.
  6. Scoop ice cream onto flat side of half of cookies. Place another cookie on top of ice cream and gently press down until ice cream spreads to edges. Return sandwiches to freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up before serving.
Note: Brookies can be baked up to 1 day ahead, stored airtight at room temperature.

Roasted White Peaches with Honeycomb and Vanilla Ice Cream

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus 20 minutes cooling time
Cook time: 25 minutes
Serves: 8
  • 1          cup sugar, divided
  • 1          lemon, zested
  • 4          ripe but firm white peaches, halved and pitted
  • 2/3       cup water, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/3       cup honey
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons baking soda
  • 4          cups Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream, divided
  1. Heat oven to 425°F.
  2. In small bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons sugar and lemon zest for about 1 minute, or until sugar is fragrant and moist. Arrange peaches, cut side up, in 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Pour water into dish. Sprinkle lemon sugar mixture over peaches and roast 25-30 minutes, or until peaches are slightly softened and have released their juices.
  3. Meanwhile, lightly spray cooking spray on small baking sheet.
  4. In medium-heavy saucepan over high heat, bring remaining sugar, honey and 2 tablespoons water to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook, without stirring, about 5 minutes, or until candy thermometer reaches 305°F.
    Remove from heat and whisk in baking soda until blended and mixture begins to bubble.
  5. Gently pour hot mixture onto prepared baking sheet and cool. Break honeycomb into small pieces and reserve in airtight container.
  6. Spoon 1/2 cup ice cream into each of 8 bowls. Top with warm roasted peaches and warm juices. Sprinkle with honeycomb pieces and serve immediately.
Note: Honeycomb can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

*Suppliers of other ingredients such as cookies and sauces may not be able to make this pledge. The FDA states that no significant difference has been shown between dairy derived from rBST-treated and non-rBST-treated cows. Find more information about the Breyers pledge at Breyers.com.

SOURCE: Breyers

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Comfort Food to Beat the Winter Blues

When the temperature drops, there's nothing quite like the pleasure of simple and delicious comfort food. Instead of letting the winter chill get you down, warm your body and heart with dishes that are both comforting and delicious. After all, there is no better time to satisfy your cravings for feel-good favorites than during the cold winter months.

These mouthwatering winter recipes will not only help warm you up, but create a loving family dining experience that everyone can enjoy. When serving up hearty winter recipes, such as a savory Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese or delectable Baked Spaghetti, there's no better way to satisfy the craving for wholesome comfort food than with Borden Cheese and its wide range of offerings. From mild cheddar and mozzarella to Mexican, Swiss, American and more, every chunk, slice and shred is pure, creamy goodness that transforms family recipes into something truly memorable.

For more inspiration and ideas for family dinners, visit bordencheese.com.

Baked Spaghetti

Cook time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6

        Nonstick spray
    1     package (16 ounces) spaghetti
    1     tablespoon butter
    1     cup chopped onion
    1     cup chopped green pepper
    1     pound ground beef
    1     can (28 ounces) tomatoes with liquid, cut up
    1     can (4 ounces) mushrooms, drained
    1     can (2 1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
    2     teaspoons dried oregano
    2     cups Borden Cheese Mild Cheddar Shreds
    1     can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
    1/2     cup water
    1/4     cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350 F.

Spray 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.

In large, nonstick skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat until hot. Saute onion and pepper until tender. Add ground beef and cook until beef has browned; drain.

Stir in tomatoes, mushrooms, olives and oregano. Bring to boil and reduce heat to medium. Simmer 10 minutes.

Place half of spaghetti in prepared baking dish. Top with half of vegetable-meat mixture. Sprinkle with half of cheddar cheese. Repeat layers.

Combine soup with water; pour over casserole. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered 30-35 minutes, or until thoroughly heated.

Ham and Gouda Quesadilla

Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1

    2     teaspoons olive oil
    1     small onion, thinly sliced
    2     teaspoons Dijon mustard
    1     flour tortilla (10 inches)
    2     slices deli ham
    8     dill pickle rounds
    1/2     cup (2 ounces) Borden Cheese Gouda Shreds

In small, nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Stir in onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions become tender and golden brown.

Spread mustard on one half of tortilla. Top with ham, onions, pickles and cheese; fold uncovered part of tortilla over filling to form semi-circle.

Cook quesadilla in dry skillet over medium-high heat until browned on both sides and cheese is melted.

Cut into four pieces and serve.

Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese

Servings: 6

    3     pounds pork shoulder
        Barbecue Sauce (recipe below)
    4     tablespoons Borden Butter
    1     loaf (1 pound) sourdough bread, sliced
    16     slices Borden Cheese Singles Sensations Extra Sharp Cheddar
Barbecue Sauce:
    2     tablespoons Borden Butter
    1     medium yellow onion, diced
    1     jalapeno, diced (optional)
    1     cup ketchup
    1/2     cup brown sugar
        liquid smoke, to taste

To make sandwiches: Heat smoker to 210 F.

Smoke pork shoulder 3-5 hours, until internal temperature reaches 150 F. Remove and wrap in aluminum foil. Refrigerate overnight.

Remove excess fat from pork. Using two forks, shred remaining meat into large bowl. Mix in Barbecue Sauce.

In skillet or griddle, brown two slices of buttered sourdough bread over medium heat.

Place slice of cheese on each piece of bread. Top with one-eighth of pulled pork mixture, second slice of cheese and another slice of buttered bread.

Turn sandwich over when bottom slice has browned and brown other side.

Tip: Use prepared pork shoulder in place of smoking pork.

To make Barbecue Sauce: In medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Saute onions until soft; stir in jalapenos, ketchup, sugar and liquid smoke. Bring to boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 1 hour, or until sauce has thickened to desired consistency.

Tips: To make sweeter sauce, add more sugar. To make spicier, add more jalapenos.

Easy Quinoa Mac and Cheese

Cook time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4

        Nonstick spray
    2     teaspoons olive oil
    1     tablespoon minced onion
    1     clove garlic, minced
    1     cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
    2 1/2     cups water
    2     large eggs
    1     cup non-fat milk
    1     cup Borden Cheese Sharp Cheddar Shreds, divided
        chopped tomato (optional)
        green onion (optional)

Heat oven to 350 F and spray 8-by-8-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

In medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add onion and garlic, and saute 1 minute, or until onion is tender.

Add quinoa and cook, stirring, until golden brown and toasted, 2-3 minutes. Add water, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until water has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

In large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Stir quinoa into egg mixture and whisk in 1/2 cup cheese. Spread in prepared baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake 30 minutes.

Garnish with chopped tomato and green onion, if desired. Serve immediately.

Source: Borden Cheese

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Perfect Cool-Weather Pairing

Some foods just seem to evoke the smell, taste and feel of chilly weather.

As a beloved flavor, maple syrup can be much more than a breakfast condiment or pancake topping - it can be an impressive way to transform simple, seasonal snacks.

A delicious beverage or dessert can be enhanced with the flavor of maple. For
example, chef Megan Miller, of Baker Miller in Chicago, recommends the crisp, fresh taste of Homemade Maple Cream Soda as a beverage that pairs perfectly with the smoky kick of Stacy's(r) Fire Roasted Jalapeno Pita Chips - a pantry staple in her home.

For a sweet treat, chef Joanne Chang, of Flour in Boston, suggests New England Maple Apple Dip. This dip delivers the flavors of the season with maple syrup, fresh apples and cinnamon as another delectable accompaniment to pita chips.

By combining these seasonal ingredients, you can create delicious pairings and mouthwatering desserts. Find more chef selections and featured pairings at stacyssnacks.com.

New England Maple Apple Dip

Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6

1     cup cream cheese
1/2     cup maple syrup
1/2     teaspoon cinnamon
      pinch of salt
1/4     cup Greek yogurt
2     apples, peeled and chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
      Stacy's Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips or Stacy's Simply Naked Pita Chips

Using food processor, blend cream cheese with maple syrup, cinnamon and salt until smooth.

Fold Greek yogurt into cream cheese mixture; mix in apples.

Serve with pita chips.

Homemade Maple Cream Soda

Prep time: 1 minute
Servings: 1

1/2     ounce maple syrup
1     tablespoon warm water
      ice cubes
6     ounces sparkling water
      orange or lemon, for garnish
      Stacy's Fire Roasted Jalapeno Pita Chips

Stir maple syrup in warm water to dissolve.

Add ice and sparkling water; stir and garnish with orange or lemon.

Serve with pita chips.

Source: Stacy's

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Healthy Flavors Worth Savoring

Adopting healthier eating habits doesn't have to mean resorting to tasteless food. In fact, you may surprise yourself by enjoying your new lineup of healthy, wholesome meals even more than the calorie-laden dishes you covet.

These recipes are just as big on flavor as they are good for you, so you can savor every last bite all day long. Take time to start off the day with a unique twist on a nutritious smoothie by enjoying it in a bowl. Then at lunch, rely on unexpected ingredients like

ripe, juicy berries and beans to transform a ho-hum salad into a true culinary delight. Round out the day with a sensible dinner that gives you a healthy serving of protein and veggies seasoned to simple perfection.

Find more nutritious recipes that make it easy to enjoy eating right at culinary.net.

Once the dinner bell rings and it's time to focus on the night's main course without overshooting a calorie count, aim for a tasty yet healthy main dish like this recipe for Chicken and Vegetables. Combining skinless chicken thighs with frozen vegetables is a simple way to keep nutrition at the forefront while still enjoying a comforting dinner. Find more health-conscious recipes at health.gov.

Chicken and Vegetables

Recipe courtesy of the USDA
Servings: 4
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup onions, chopped
  • 1 pound chicken thighs (4 ounces each), boneless and skinless
  • 1 package (10 ounces) cut green beans, frozen
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. In heavy skillet, melt margarine. Add garlic and onions; stir until blended. Cook over medium heat, until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet.
  2. Place chicken in skillet. Cook over medium heat until chicken is thoroughly done and no longer pink in color, about 12 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet; keep warm.
  3. Place green beans, pepper and cooked onions in same skillet. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until beans are tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add chicken to vegetable mixture. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3 minutes.
Note: To remove bone from bone-in chicken thighs: Place chicken on cutting board. Remove skin from thighs. Turn chicken thighs over. Cut around bone and remove.

A wealth of research shows that starting each morning with a nutritious breakfast delivers benefits throughout the day. If you're pressed for time or simply need to mix up your morning routine, put a fresh spin on a time-saving favorite by making a smoothie bowl.

According to registered dietitian and nutritionist Carolyn Brown, people love to eat with a spoon and find it more mentally and physically satisfying. The same goes for adding texture, such as a crunchy topping like goodnessknows snack squares. These satisfying, gluten free snacks are crafted with the goodness of whole nuts, real fruits and toasted oats, with no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. Divided into four snackable squares per serving and nestled in a layer made with dark chocolate, one individual, two-bite square contains only about 40 calories.

Find out more about how doing a little good for yourself can go a long way at goodnessknows.com.

Oatmeal Banana Smoothie Bowl

Recipe courtesy of Alison Ray of So Chic Life
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk, 2 percent milk or soy milk
  • 1 small banana (or 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce)
  • goodnessknows snack squares (any flavor)
  • grated coconut, to taste
  1. In small bowl, mix together oats, coconut milk, chia seeds, vanilla and pinch of salt. Cover and place in refrigerator at least 30 minutes, or overnight to help flavors soak in.
  2. In blender or food processor, combine oat mixture with remaining milk and half of the banana (or applesauce). Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour creamy oats into bowl, and top with snack squares, coconut and slices of remaining banana half.
Tip: To thin consistency, use additional milk.

The sharpness of pecorino cheese, combined with peppery arugula, complements the velvety texture of fava beans in this salad. With nutrition on your mind, a salad is always a go-to choice for a lunch that will please your taste buds without forcing you to sacrifice health goals. Find more nutritional recipes including tasty strawberries at californiastrawberries.com.

Strawberry and Fava Bean Salad with Pecorino

Recipe courtesy of California Strawberry Commission
Servings: 6
  • 2 quarts water
  • kosher or sea salt
  • 2 cups shelled fresh fava beans (about 2 pounds in pods)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups fresh California strawberries, stemmed and quartered
  • coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 cups rucola (wild arugula)
  • pecorino cheese
  1. In large pot over high heat, bring water to boil.
  2. Add pinch of salt and fava beans. Boil 1 minute; drain and cool fava beans in ice water.
  3. Drain fava beans; pinch one end and slip off tough skins of larger beans (Note: skin on small beans is not usually tough). Discard skins.
  4. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice.
  5. In large bowl, season fava beans and strawberries with salt and pepper. Add rucola and enough dressing mixture to coat salad lightly. Mix gently and spoon onto platter or six salad plates.
  6. With vegetable peeler, shave cheese generously over salad. Grind more pepper on top.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (family photo)
SOURCE: Culinary.net

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Serve a Steakhouse-Style Meal at Home

Bring the delicious tastes of a traditional steakhouse to your own dining room with simple steps that make it easier than you might expect to please a room full of hungry guests.

According to a survey conducted by Idahoan, 86 percent of Americans have avoided going out to eat at a restaurant for reasons such as crowds, bad service and noise. Instead of suffering through the inconveniences, ditch those concerns and bring steakhouse flavor home - an experience 79 percent of survey respondents said they wish was easier to recreate in their own dining room.

Set the table
Rather than plating food with any old dishware, break out your nicest dishes and set the table the way a restaurant would. Remember: forks on the left, knives on the right. Pull out the linen napkins for an added upscale feel. Properly setting the table instantly gives your kitchen or dining room the feel of heading out to a restaurant.

Change the mood
Most fancy steakhouses keep the lights dimmed low, so find creative ways to mimic that ambiance at home. If you don't have a dimmer switch, invest in a smart bulb that lets you easily convert a standard fixture into a custom light in minutes. Or skip the overhead lighting altogether and instead dine by lamp or candlelight. It'll change the way your dining room traditionally looks by setting a scene that more closely matches that of a restaurant.

Also try turning on your group's favorite music to change up the audible impression of the night. It doesn't need to sound like a rock concert - just give the room some subtle liveliness with soft tunes playing in the background.

Dress the part
Another way to change the atmosphere is to ask friends and family who attend to dress in more formal clothing. Simply acting as if everyone is out on the town can help bring an elevated sense of gaiety to the room.

Start with soups

Much like in a traditional steakhouse, please your guests' palates at the start of the meal with a warm soup. Idahoan Premium Steakhouse Potato Soups - which bring together real Idaho red potatoes, flavorful spices and rich cheeses in four varieties - provide a creamy taste in every spoonful, perfect for giving your "customers" a restaurant experience from the comfort of home.

According to the survey, Americans are more likely to order a potato soup at a steakhouse than other flavors like crab bisque or broccoli cheddar, making potato soup, which can be prepared in only five minutes, an obvious option to serve prior to the main course.

Main menuAfter everyone has their fill of a creamy pre-meal soup, pile their plates with a savory meat and side dishes. A popular combination of a home-cooked steak with mashed potatoes and asparagus can easily do the trick for those who come with a big appetite.

Decadent dessert
Be sure everyone leaves a little bit of room after the hearty meal to top it all off with something simple and sweet. With the evening winding down by this point, a scoop of cool, creamy ice cream should cap off the meal perfectly.

For more delicious ideas for creating the ideal dinner at home, visit Idahoan.com.

Dining out is as much about the experience as it is delicious food. That's why when you're creating a restaurant-like meal at home, every detail counts. The little touches go a long way toward making your meal extra special.

Presentation: When serving starters like soups, present bowls plated on a saucer and be sure to include a soup spoon on the side. For the main course, take care to create attractive dishes rather than simply mounding food on the plate.

Garnish: Remember that eating is a multi-sensory experience and making food look great is the first step toward making your guests' taste buds sing. Accent plates with a sprig of parsley or a seared wedge of citrus. For a savory, cheesy potato soup, sprinkle some freshly grated cheese over top just before serving and add a pinch of scallions for a pop of color.

Service: Take a cue from well-trained servers. Be ready with refills for depleted drinks and clear empty dishes promptly.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images(family eating dinner)
Source: Idahoan

Family Meals Make a Difference

Juggling jobs, kids and the demands of a busy, modern life often comes at the expense of family mealtime at home. Even though life never seems to slow down, now is the perfect time to renew your commitment to creating and serving meals at home that nourish your kids' brains and help them flourish.

Not only is time together around the table an opportunity to catch up and reconnect, numerous studies provide evidence of the positive, lifelong benefits of family meals. Regular family meals are linked to the kinds of outcomes that ensure a bright future for children: higher grades and self-esteem, healthier eating habits and less risky behaviors.

For example, according to research published in the "Journal of Pediatrics," kids and teens who share meals with their families three or more times per week are significantly less likely to be overweight, more likely to eat healthy foods and less likely to have eating disorders.

Other studies have shown that children who grow up sharing family meals are more likely to exhibit positive social behavior as adults, such as sharing, fairness and respect.

On the other hand, research also suggests that aside from missing out on the benefits, families that have fewer meals together can also experience adverse effects when it comes to certain risky behaviors. A study on the relationship between certain family characteristics and adolescent problem behaviors, published in the "Journal of Adolescent Health," found that teens who have infrequent family dinners (fewer than three per week) are 3.5 times more likely to have abused prescription drugs or have used an illegal drug; 2.5 times more likely to have used tobacco and 1.5 times more likely to have used alcohol.

Learn more about the positive impact regular meals at home together can have for your kids' emotional, intellectual and physical well-being at nationalfamilymealsmonth.org.

Meal Planning Tips
Planning for family mealtime can be tough, but it doesn't have to be. Take the stress out of planning and preparing family meals with these tips and begin reaping the benefits of more time together around the dinner table.

* Commit to having one additional meal with your family each week at home. It doesn't matter whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner. The benefits are the same. After a month, you may be surprised by how easily your new commitment has become a habit for the entire family.

* Rely on the resources available at your local grocery store. Even when you don't feel like cooking, there are countless meal planning solutions such as pre-prepped fresh ingredients, delicious ready-made entrees and wholesome heat-and-eat dishes.

* Make meal planning a family affair. List each family member's favorite foods in each of the main food groups and see how many combinations you can create. Then ask your children to accompany you to the store to help select the ingredients (and use the trip for age-appropriate learning, such as comparing prices, reading labels, etc.).

* Save time by engaging the whole family in meal preparation. Even the littlest hands can help with tasks like setting the table.

* Set a regular meal time so you can plan other activities around it. Sit around the table, turn off the TV and put away phones and electronic devices. Keep the focus on each other.

Make Family Meals Count
Gathering the family for a daily meal offers numerous ways to make lasting impressions. Promoting one more family meal each week is an educational program created by the Food Marketing Institute Foundation and the nation's grocery stores.

Role-modeling. Spending time with adults where they can observe positive behaviors in action teaches kids valuable life skills such as using table manners and taking turns talking without interrupting.

Family values. In a busy home where various activities and demands create divides in time and attention, family meals let everyone come together to honor the family unit. Demonstrating value for family and making this together time a priority helps teach youngsters lessons about the importance of work-life balance that they will carry into adulthood.

Time to relax. Not only is mealtime a time to nourish bodies, it's a chance to force each member of the family to pause and put a temporary hold on the chaotic pace of life. Kids and grownups alike can benefit from a daily break to recharge not only physically, but mentally as well.

Fond memories. A family meal tradition has all the makings for fond childhood memories. An activity that plays an important role in the family's schedule is sure to create a lasting impression for kids when they look back on their formative years.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Source: Food Marketing Institute