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Archive | Recipes

Score big with these game day entertaining tips

(BPT) – With football and basketball season in full swing, it’s the perfect time to invite family and friends over to root on the home team. Hosting a crowd-pleasing party can be simple with a little preparation. Score big with these simple game day entertaining tips.

  • Create a game plan. Organize the menu ahead of time so you’re not scrambling to finish everything at the last minute. Tackle recipes that can be made prior to the big event, and prep any ingredients so they’re ready to cook on the day of the party.
  • Block extra mess and stress. Finger foods are a great way to reduce utensil and dish use. Look to serve items that can be eaten in one bite, and set out napkins for party guests to use.
  • Score with decor. Print out team logos and glue or tape to cups. Purchase green or yellow felt fabric—green to evoke a football field, yellow to evoke the hardwood of a basketball court—from the local craft store to use as a tablecloth. Tie team-colored ribbon bows on your door-knocker, around lamp shades or any other object you can think of, to show your team spirit.
  • Snack sack. Pick foods that are easy to make and fit with the overall game theme. Save time and money by using household staples as ingredients, like Pringles crisps. These quick and easy Loaded Twice-Baked Taters are sure to be a fan favorite.


Loaded Twice-Baked Taters


2 6.38-ounce cans of

Pringles Loaded Baked

Potato flavor

1-1/2 cup skim milk

1 egg

1 slice of American cheese

Sour cream, dried chives and bacon bits, for garnish


SUP-Game-day-tipsHeat oven to 350 F. Place one 6.38-ounce can of Pringles Loaded Baked Potato crisps in a food processor and pulse until well crushed. Add milk, egg and cheese into mixture and puree until well mixed.

Take Pringles from remaining can and place 48 crisps on a cookie sheet with the curve of the crisp facing up, and edges facing down. With a very small spoon, place a rounded scoop onto each crisp. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Remove and let cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Add a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with dried chives and bacon bits. Serve immediately.



Add some New Orleans flavor to your game day recipes


(BPT) – When it comes to planning for the big football game in New Orleans this year, instead of turning to grease-heavy and heartburn-inducing foods, why not consider some tasty and healthier options that will have everyone giving you a high score for food options?

SUP-New-Orleans2New Orleans-based executive chef Tory McPhail, of the iconic Commander’s Palace restaurant, has the perfect New Orleans-style recipe incorporating pistachios into your menu. Pistachios are a great snack, and, better yet, they’re what athletes turn to when it comes to peak performance.

Director of Sports Nutrition at USC, Becci Twombley, recommends snacking with a purpose. “On the big day, people are snacking and eating more, so why not consider snacking on something like pistachios that provides you with added nutrients,” asks Twombley. Add protein-rich snacks, like one ounce of pistachios, which contains six grams of protein, to help you feel full faster.

Whether you’re a pro athlete or are calling the shots from the sofa, don’t let what you eat during the big day throw you off-course for the new year. Enter pistachios, your guilt-free solution; they are high in protein, lowest in fat among all nuts and low in calories. Looking for an added bonus? You’ll actually eat less because the act of shelling pistachios slows you down and allows you to feel full before you’ve downed a whole bag.

Take your guests by surprise and add some New Orleans flair into your dishes. “Eat your pistachios like we would eat our crawfish, by first tasting the shell and all to get the seasoning, then peeling off the shell to get the crunchy pistachio inside,” says McPhail. Looking for additional game day recipe ideas or want to pair your pistachios with a drink?-Visit the American Pistachio Growers’ website at www.AmericanPistachios.org to find out how your game day snacks can go from boring to gourmet, but don’t fret – even a novice in the kitchen can make this recipe.

Creole Black Skillet Pistachios:


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

2-tablespoons Louisiana hot sauce, such as Crystal Hot Sauce or Tabasco

1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons bourbon

1 pound-salt-roasted pistachios in the shell

1 tablespoons black pepper

2 teaspoons creole seasoning blend

2 tablespoons sugar


SUP-New-Orleans1Bring all your premeasured-ingredients close to the stove, since this recipe goes really quickly and takes only about 30 seconds of cooking. Place a medium-size cast-iron skillet on the stove over medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until hot and starting to smoke. Add the oil to the black skillet and swirl across the bottom to coat. Add the garlic and swirl until the garlic starts to turn golden brown. Immediately add the hot sauce and Worcestershire and shake to reduce by half.

Pull the pan away from the stove, deglaze with the bourbon-and swirl while returning to the stove; flambe by lighting the bourbon-sauce mixture with a match to burn off the alcohol. When the fire goes out and the sauce is reduced, add the pistachios and-shake in the black pepper, creole seasoning and sugar while tossing the pan to coat evenly. Remove the pistachios from the skillet; immediately put in a serving bowl so the seasoning doesn’t become too dark or bitter.


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Home Cooking That’s Flavorful and Healthier

HEA-feaure-stewFamily Features

All across the country, food lovers are cooking up something wholesome and flavorful. They are making a commitment to eating better on their own terms by making more meals at home. They are finding that home cooking with real ingredients is inherently healthier — and it’s surprisingly easy. With a few simple changes, you can make a big difference in the healthfulness of everyday meals.

“By adding herbs and spices, it’s easy to make healthy foods more flavorful. And it’s a smart way to freshen up your family’s standby recipes while gradually reducing reliance on sugar, sodium or fat,” said Chef Mark Garcia, of the McCormick Kitchens.

For freshened-up family favorites, try making these simple, healthful changes that are simply delicious:

• Replace the heavy breading on chicken tenders with a flour mixture spiced with paprika, black pepper and oregano. Bake it in the oven to reduce fat and calories.

•  For a healthier take on beef stew, use low sodium broth and serve over whole grain pasta or brown rice instead of mashed potatoes.

• For a delicious twist on traditional chili, try using boneless, skinless chicken breasts with black beans and corn. Pump up the authentic Southwest flavor with cumin, garlic powder and red pepper.

Get more recipes like these at www.mccormick.com. You can also join the conversation on Twitter @Spices4Health.

Hearty Beef Stew with Roasted Vegetables

Roasting the vegetables before adding them to the stew brings out delicious caramelized flavors.

Makes 6 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

4 cups cubed winter vegetables (cut into

1/2-inch pieces), such as carrots, butternut squash, parsnips or sweet potatoes

1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 1/2 pounds boneless beef sirloin steak, cut

into 1-inch cubes

3/4 cup chicken stock OR chicken broth can be used

1/4 cup dry red wine or apple juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Black Pepper, Coarse Ground

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Thyme Leaves

3 McCormick Bay Leaves

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss cubed vegetables and onion with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Arrange in single layer on large baking sheet. Roast 20 minutes or until vegetables are golden brown.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Brown beef in batches. Return all beef to skillet. Add roasted vegetables, stock, wine, salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Serving Suggestion: Serve stew over cooked brown rice or whole grain pasta.

Nutrition information, per serving: Calories: 261; Fat: 10g; Carbohydrates: 16g; Cholesterol: 56mg; Sodium: 328mg; Fiber: 3g; Protein: 25g

HEA-feaure-chickenOven-Fried Chicken

Boneless chicken is seasoned and oven-fried for great taste that’s quick and easy enough for any day of the week.

Makes 5 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoons Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Oregano Leaves

1/4 teaspoon McCormick Black Pepper, Ground

1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast

halves or thighs

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray 15x10x1-inch baking pan with no stick cooking spray.

Mix flour, seasoned salt, oregano and pepper in shallow dish. Moisten chicken with milk. Coat evenly with flour mixture. Place chicken in single layer on prepared pan. Drizzle with melted butter.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Test Kitchen Tip: For quicker, more uniform cooking, slice thick chicken breasts in half horizontally or pound chicken breasts thin.

Flavor Variation: Use 1 teaspoon McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning or Rosemary Leaves, crushed, in place of the oregano.

Nutrition information, per serving: Calories: 190; Fat: 6g; Carbohydrates: 6g; Cholesterol: 80mg; Sodium: 457mg; Fiber: 0g; Protein: 28g


HEA-feaure-chicken-chiliChicken Chili with Black Beans and Corn

Make a batch of this Super Spice-rich chili for your next get-together. It doubles easily if you are expecting a crowd.

Makes 8 (1-cup) servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts,

cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon McCormick Paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Oregano Leaves

1 teaspoon McCormick Cumin, Ground

1 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder

1/4 teaspoon McCormick Red Pepper, Crushed

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 ounces) great Northern beans,

drained and rinsed

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup frozen corn

Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken, bell pepper and onion; cook and stir 6 to 8 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Add paprika, oregano, cumin, garlic powder and red pepper; mix well.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 20 minutes.

Nutrition information, per serving: Calories: 188; Fat: 4g; Carbohydrates: 20g; Cholesterol: 37mg; Sodium: 413mg; Fiber: 6g; Protein: 18g


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A tasty twist on turkey leftovers

(Family Features) When you’re planning your big turkey dinner, the one thing you want to be sure to do is get a turkey big enough for some delicious leftovers. While turkey sandwiches are good, there’s a lot more you can do with this tasty bird.

Breakfast or Brunch — Wake the family up to a hearty breakfast casserole that’s a creamy blend of turkey, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, cheese and hash browns. It has a crunchy topping with a surprise ingredient; and you can finish it off with a dollop of fresh and flavorful Wholly Guacamole. Make it ahead of time so all you have to do is pop it into the oven in the morning.

Lunch — Enjoy lunch on the lighter side with a turkey salad sandwich. Instead of mayo, this dish gets flavor and 20 nutrients from the avocado in Wholly Guacamole. For extra zip, go with the spicy variety.

Dinner — For another make-ahead meal, try a zesty turkey and corn enchilada casserole. This dish is easy to put together, and you may have all the ingredients in your pantry already. A cornbread base, your favorite enchilada sauce, turkey, cheese, and a generous serving of your favorite guac all add up to a new family favorite.

Get more leftover ideas with a twist at www.eatwholly.com.

Turkey Potato Cheesy Breakfast Casserole

Serves: 8

2 cups cubed turkey

1 cup low-fat sour cream

1 10-ounce can cream of chicken soup

1/4 cup milk

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1 bag (30 ounces) frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 cup corn flake cereal

1 cup Wholly Guacamole

In mixing bowl, combine turkey, sour cream, soup, milk, 1/2 cup cheese, hash browns and onion.

Spread in bottom of 2 quart dish (greased).

Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 1 hour.

Add additional 1/2 cup of cheese and corn flake cereal, and bake another 5 to 10 minutes until bubbly and slightly browned.

Let cool for 10 minutes and serve with a dollop of Wholly Guacamole.


Guacamole Turkey Salad

Serves: 6

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1 cup of turkey, diced

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 teaspoon cumin, ground

1 lime zested

2 limes, juiced, divided

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon Mexican chili powder

1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup yellow bell pepper,   diced

1/4 cup red onion, diced

2 tablespoons cilantro, rough chop

1 cup Wholly Guacamole dip


Mix oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, black pepper, cumin, sugar, chili powder, lime zest and juice of 1 1/2 limes.

Add to turkey and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes — do not exceed 30 minutes.

Mix in bell peppers, onion, cilantro, dip, turkey, the rest of the lime juice and remaining salt.

Serve in a pita, on a whole wheat bun, as a lettuce wrap, or with crackers.


Turkey and Corn Enchilada Casserole

Serves: 6

First Layer

1 15-ounce can corn, drained

1 15-ounce can creamed corn

8 ounces sour cream (non-  fat)

1/2 cup ricotta (low-fat)

1 8 1/2-ounce package corn bread mix

Second Layer

1 cup turkey, shredded

1 cup shredded cheese

1 cup enchilada sauce, divided

Wholly Guacamole dip, for garnish

Mix together all first layer ingredients in a casserole dish.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until firm.

Take out of oven, poke fork holes all around it.

Pour 1/2 cup red enchilada sauce over corn bread.

Top with turkey and cheese.

Put back in oven until cheese melts.

Top with remaining enchilada sauce, guacamole dip; serve.



Quick Turkey Tidbits

Need some more inspiration for turkey leftovers? Try one of these easy snack ideas:


Turkey nachos — Shredded turkey, peppers, onions, black olives and cheese on lime-flavored nacho chips. Top with chunky guac, salsa or sour cream.


Turkey bites — Top your favorite crackers with a little turkey and a slice of pepper Jack cheese. Microwave until the cheese starts to melt. Add a dollop of salsa or guac.


Mini mexi-pizzas — Split an English muffin, and spread a little salsa on each half. Top with turkey and shredded cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbly. Top with a dollop of sour cream or guac.

Posted in Featured, Hometown Holidays, RecipesComments Off

Surprise Lunch Box Treats

(Family Features) Summer break vanished in the blink of an eye, like it seems to every year, and it’s school time again. Although the kids may really be ready to return to a regular routine, chances are you might sense a bit of reluctance to leave the ease of summer behind.

So sweeten the trip back to school with a special lunchbox treat.

Making lunch time something your kids look forward to is something you can do every day of the school year. You can bet they won’t be swapping lunches when theirs is so special every day!

Try some of these tips that make the lunch break special:

Pack their favorite sandwich filling—if they love PBJ or cheese everyday, that’s okay!—but cut sandwiches in halves or quarters, or use a cookie cutter for fun shapes.

Use small self-sealing bags to pack bite-size servings of fruits and vegetables, such as baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, grapes and orange segments.

Make a snack mix of dried cereal, raisins, nuts and mini marshmallows.

Decorate the lunch bag with special stickers, or include a note with a special greeting for lunchtime.

Make kitchen time with your kids so they can share the fun in baking treats to tote to school or enjoy for after school with their friends.

Wrap up a home-baked treat—cookies, bars, muffins or these fun and fabulous Surprise Prize Cupcakes.

These frosted cupcakes will be prized. Each holds a surprise of chocolate chip cookie dough baked inside chocolate cupcake batter, so each bite is a delight. Since the recipe makes two dozen, there are plenty to share and enjoy after school, too.

When you’re planning special treats for the lunch box, or want to bake with the kids after school, take a sweet trip through the creative ideas at www.VeryBestBaking.com.


Surprise Prize Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

1 package (18.25 ounces) plain chocolate cake mix

1 1/3 cups water

3 large eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 package (16.5 ounces) Nestlé Toll House Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Dough

1 container (16 ounces) prepared chocolate frosting

Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Paper-line 24 muffin cups.

BEAT cake mix, water, eggs and oil in large mixer bowl on low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or until smooth. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each cup, filling about 2/3 full.

CUT cookie dough into 24 pieces; roll each into a ball. Place one ball of dough in each muffin cup, pressing it to the bottom.

BAKE for 19 to 22 minutes or until top springs back when gently touched.  Let stand for 15 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. Spread with frosting and sprinkle with morsels.

Nutrition Information per serving: 310 calories; 140 calories from fat; 16 g total fat; 5 g saturated fat; 0g trans fat; 35 mg cholesterol; 300 mg sodium; 43 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 29 g sugars; 3 g protein; 0% DV vitamin A; 0% DV vitamin C; 4% DV calcium; 8% DV iron

Jenny Harper is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.


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Just a Pinch – Sharing Hometown Recipies

Posted in Church Connection, Home and Garden, News, RecipesComments Off

Red, White and Blueberry pound cake

From the U.S. highbush blueberry council


1 package (10-¾ ounces) frozen pound cake

Raspberry-Orange Sauce (recipe follows)

1 container (8-ounces) whipped cream cheese

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice

1-½ cups fresh blueberries, divided

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries


Slice frozen pound cake lengthwise in three layers

Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet with top layer cut side up

Pierce layers with fork tines

Spread each with 2 tablespoons of the Raspberry-Orange Sauce

Let stand 10 to 15 minutes so that the cake absorbs the sauce

Meanwhile, in a bowl stir together cream cheese, sugar and orange juice until well blended

To assemble cake: Place bottom layer on a serving plate

Spread evenly with a third of the cream cheese mixture

Arrange a third of the blueberries evenly over cream cheese

Drizzle about 1 tablespoon Raspberry-Orange Sauce over blueberries

Repeat with center slice of cake

Place top layer cut side down

Spread with remaining cream cheese mixture

Decorate cake to resemble an American flag using remaining blueberries and the strawberries

Serve with remaining Raspberry-Orange Sauce

Number of servings (yield): 8


Raspberry-Orange Sauce


Stir together until smooth ¾ cup seedless raspberry jam and 6 tablespoons orange juice

Quick notes

Yield: about 1 cup

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Delicious, No-fuss desserts

Easy trifle

Family Features

Are you hungry for a sweet treat but don’t have the time or energy to create something from scratch?

These no-fuss dessert recipes are sure to delight. Start with convenient ingredients, such as Sara Lee Pound Cake, and make a few easy enhancements. In no time, you can put together an Easy Trifle, Pound Cake S’Mores, or even a Classic Strawberry Shortcake. With a few extra minutes, you can create a delectable Banana Nut Pound Cake Pudding, or Grilled Pound Cake with Ice Cream, Pineapple and Chocolate Drizzle — perfect for sharing any day of the week.

All of these easy recipes can be made with Sara Lee Pound Cake Slices, too. The pre-sliced and individually-wrapped slices are ideal for making perfectly-portioned desserts or snacks.

Get more delicious, no-fuss recipes at www.saraleedesserts.com. And to get recipes and tips delivered to your inbox, sign up for a free newsletter at www.saraleedesserts.com/enews-sign-up.

Easy Trifle

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2

2 Sara Lee Pound Cake Slices, or 2 (1/2-inch) slices from 1 package of Sara Lee Pound Cake

1/2 cup Greek peach yogurt

1 cup light whipped topping, divided

1/4 cup sliced fresh peaches

1/4 cup whole raspberries

1 tablespoon toasted almonds

Thaw 2 pound cake slices according to package directions. Cut thawed pound cake into 1-inch cubes.

Mix yogurt with 1/2 cup light whipped topping, reserving remaining whipped topping for later.

Put two parfait glasses on a work surface. Layer 1/4 of the pound cake cubes into each glass. Top each with 1 tablespoon sliced fresh peaches and whole raspberries, and 1/4 yogurt mixture. Repeat layers, ending with yogurt.

Top with remaining light whipped topping and toasted almonds.

Tip: You can make this recipe for more people, by scaling up the ingredients and presenting in a pretty glass bowl.


Pound Cake S'Mores

Pound Cake S’Mores

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 2

2 Sara Lee Pound Cake Slices, or 2 (1/2-inch) slices from 1 package of Sara Lee Pound Cake

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1/4 cup mini marshmallows

2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray an 8×8-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.

Place each pound cake slice on the bottom of the baking pan.

Top each slice with 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons mini marshmallows.

Bake for 5 minutes or until marshmallows are melted and lightly toasted.

Top with peanuts, if desired.

To cook in microwave:

Thaw 2 pound cake slices according to package directions and place each pound cake slice on a microwave-safe plate.

Top each slice with 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons mini marshmallows.

Microwave on high for 15 to 20 seconds or until marshmallows and chocolate chips are slightly melted. Top with peanuts, if desired.


Grilled Pound Cake with Ice Cream, Pineapple and Chocolate Drizzle

Grilled Pound Cake with Ice Cream, Pineapple and Chocolate Drizzle

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2

2 Sara Lee Pound Cake Slices, or 2 (1/2-inch) slices from 1

package of Sara Lee Pound Cake

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 1/2-inch pineapple rings

2 small scoops vanilla ice cream (about 1 cup)

1/4 cup chocolate sauce

Thaw 2 pound cake slices according to package directions.

Pre-heat a grill or grill pan to medium.

Brush each slice of pound cake with melted butter.

Grill pineapple slices 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until they are golden brown and caramelized on both sides.

While pineapple is grilling, place pound cake slices on the grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until each side is lightly golden brown.

Top pound cake slices with grilled pineapple and a scoop of vanilla ice cream (or other desired flavor). Finish with a chocolate sauce drizzle.


Banana Nut Pound Cake Pudding

Banana Nut Pound Cake Pudding

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 4

4 Sara Lee Pound Cake Slices, or 2 (1/2-inch) slices from 1 package of Sara Lee Pound Cake

2 eggs

1 cup half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

2 small ripe bananas, thinly sliced

1/2 cup candied pecans (optional)

Whipped topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Thaw 4 pound cake slices according to package directions. Cut pound cake slices into 1/2-inch squares and place on a baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly toasted.

Whisk eggs, half and half, vanilla and brown sugar until well blended. Set aside.

Spray a 1-quart baking dish with cooking spray. If using, sprinkle 1/4 cup pecans onto prepared baking dish. Top with toasted pound cake and banana slices and pour egg mixture on top. Press down pound cake cubes with back of spoon to submerge completely; let stand 10 minutes. If using, sprinkle with remaining pecans.

Cover baking dish with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove cover and continue baking 15 minutes or until eggs are set.

Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.



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Easter basket cupcakes add a special touch

(Family Features)

Go beyond store-bought marshmallow chicks and chocolate rabbits this year. Perfect for some-bunny special – or as a dessert to brighten any holiday table – A Tisket, A Tasket, A Cupcake Easter Basket cupcakes prove that it can be a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket.

“These cupcakes look impressive,” says Nancy Siler, vice president of consumer affairs at Wilton, “yet they require just a few easy steps. Simply bake cupcakes and use your favorite cake mix to help speed up prep time. Cool completely, place into Picket Fence Cupcake Wraps or Basket Cupcake Wraps and pipe with green-tinted icing to create grass. If piping isn’t possible, simply spatula ice the cupcakes; either way, they will impress.”

Wilton has a basketful of ideas for finishing these little cakes. Perch miniature nest decorations filled with jelly beans on the icing grass for a playful take on a robin’s springtime roost. Or, top cupcakes with pre-made icing flowers to echo the cheery hues of spring’s first blossoms. These treats will be the perfect end to any Easter hop-pening.

For more Easter or other holiday recipes and ideas, or to order decorating supplies, visit www.wilton.com.


A Tisket, A Tasket, A Cupcake Easter Basket

Yield: Each cupcake serves 1

White Standard Baking Cups

1 package (about 18 ounces) cake mix, any flavor

Water, vegetable oil and eggs to prepare cake mix

Picket Fence Cupcake Wraps or Basket Cupcake Wraps

1 can (16 ounces) White Decorator Icing

Leaf Green Icing Color

Royal Icing Nests with Jelly Beans, Pink and Purple Posies or Multi-Colored Flower Icing Decorations


Preheat oven to 350°F. Place baking cups in standard muffin pan.

Prepare cake mix following package instructions; place batter in prepared pan.

Bake 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean; cool completely. Insert cooled cupcakes into cupcake wraps. Tint icing green; pipe tip 233 “grass” over tops of cooled cupcakes. Arrange icing decorations on icing.

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Tantalizing Tomato Tidbits

Appetizers to get the party started


(Family Features)

Great appetizers are full of flavor to stimulate the appetite, but not so rich that they spoil it. To get that balance, look to fresh, flavorful ingredients like Florida tomatoes.

Ripe tomatoes add beautiful color, great taste, and a host of healthy nutrients — like vitamin C — to any appetizer. Chef Justin Timineri, known as the Florida Chef, and Florida Tomatoes have created some mouthwatering appetizer recipes using the versatile, tantalizing tomato.

—Tomato Cobb Salad Wrap — Turn a favorite salad into a tasty finger food by wrapping up Cobb salad ingredients in a flour tortilla.

—Tomato and Avocado Salsa — Whether you make it mild or spice it up, this salsa will make a lot of mouths happy. Try serving it in individual, wide mouthed glasses so guests can dip and re-dip as much as they like.

—Hot Artichoke Dip Stuffed Tomatoes — A savory party favorite, this dip gets extra flavor by being paired up with juicy baked tomatoes.

—Bruschetta with Tomatoes, Blue Cheese and Pecans — Sweet, savory, crunchy, salty — this appetizer has it all.

To get more appetizer and party-ready recipes, as well as sign up for a free newsletter, visit www.floridatomatoes.org.



Don’t Refrigerate

For the best tomato flavor, never refrigerate them. A chilled tomato will not finish ripening because cold halts the ripening process. Cold also kills the flavor of tomatoes, so even when the tomatoes are fully ripe, keep them out of the refrigerator.



How Much?

1 medium tomato, seeded = approximately 3/4 cup chopped.

1 large tomato, seeded = 1 cup chopped.

1 pound of tomatoes = approximately 2 1/2 cups chopped, or 2 cups puréed.



Tomato and Avocado Salsa

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2             large Florida tomatoes, diced

1             large avocado, peeled, seeded and diced

1/2             cup red onion, chopped

1/2             cup bell pepper, chopped

1/4             cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1             lime, juiced

1             teaspoon powdered cumin

Your favorite hot sauce (for heat)

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir to combine.

Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and hot sauce.

Serve at room temperature for best flavor.

For hotter version, substitute 1 seeded fresh jalapeño pepper for green pepper. Also, if you prefer, use toasted cumin seed instead of ground cumin.



Hot Artichoke Dip Stuffed Tomatoes

Yield: 4 servings

1             package (8 ounces) low-fat cream cheese, softened

2             large fresh Florida tomatoes, seeds removed  and diced

1/4             cup low-fat mayonnaise

1/2             cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated

1             clove garlic, minced

1             tablespoon fresh basil

1             can low-sodium artichoke hearts, drained and chopped fine

1             cup fresh spinach, chopped

1             lemon, juiced

Kosher salt and fresh

ground pepper to taste

4             large fresh Florida tomatoes

1/4             cup mozzarella cheese,  shredded

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, diced tomatoes, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, garlic and fresh basil. Stir in chopped artichoke hearts and spinach. Taste mixture and adjust seasoning with lemon juice, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Set stuffing mixture aside.

Rinse whole tomatoes under cold running water and pat dry with clean paper towels. Slice off top of each tomato with a serrated knife; cut in half. Squeeze each half to loosen seeds. Using a spoon, scoop out 1/3 of the insides of tomato. Fill tomatoes with stuffing mixture. Top each stuffed tomato with shredded mozzarella.

Place stuffed tomatoes in baking dish and put into preheated oven. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Serve warm with tortilla chips, crisp flatbreads, or sliced vegetables.



Bruschetta with Tomatoes, Blue Cheese and Pecans

Yield: 4 servings

2             ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2             cup crumbled blue cheese

2             tablespoons coarsely chopped


4             slices crusty, firm-textured bread, cut about 3/4 inch thick

2             cloves garlic peeled and halved

2             large Florida tomatoes, sliced  about 1/8 inch thick

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Chopped fresh basil or dried basil for garnish

In small bowl, mash cheeses together with fork, leaving mixture somewhat chunky. Mix in pecans.

Preheat broiler. Arrange bread on small baking sheet and broil slices for about 1 minute on each side, just until golden. Watch carefully so bread doesn’t burn.

Rub one side of each piece of bread with garlic.

Spread some of the cheese mixture over each slice and arrange 2 or 3 overlapping tomato slices on top. Pepper tomatoes lightly, then garnish with basil and serve.



Tomato Cobb Salad Wrap

Yield: 4 servings

4             large (10-inch) flour tortillas

6             tablespoons prepared blue cheese dressing

8             ounces sliced cooked turkey breast

3             medium, fully ripened fresh Florida tomatoes (about 1 pound), cut into thin slices

4             leaves Boston, iceberg or  leaf lettuce

1             ripe Hass avocado, peeled and cut into thin slices

4             strips cooked bacon

Spread each tortilla with 1 1/2 tablespoons of dressing.

Top with layers of turkey, tomato, lettuce, avocado and bacon, dividing evenly.

Roll up tortillas. If desired, tie each wrap with chives, or secure with long toothpicks, and cut each sandwich in half.

To serve, stand both halves of each sandwich on cut ends. Garnish with tomato wedges, green onions and avocado.


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Game-Winning Dips and Healthy Tips

Enjoy a game-day party and keep your resolutions on track

(Family Features)

Two of the most popular New Year’s resolutions are losing weight and eating healthier. But by the time the big game rolls around, many people are ready for a break — or looking for an excuse to cheat. But kickoff does not have to be a signal to punt your healthy-eating habits.
Registered dietitian Jodie Shield knows it can be a struggle to celebrate and stay healthy. She’s put together some win-win tips and recipes — healthy and delicious — that are sure to keep fans cheering for more:
—Know your game plan. If you’re the home team (i.e. the party host), you get to call the plays. Serve entrees that are lean and festive, such as Touchdown Turkey Chili. Or prepare a thin whole wheat crust pizza using reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and lots of sliced veggies.
—Offer a starting line-up of healthier appetizers. Whip some traditional game day favorites into shape. Instead of nachos, serve baked chips with salsa. Pass on the salt and butter and sprinkle a dash of Parmesan cheese over popcorn. Forget the fried chicken wings and serve baked chicken tenders seasoned with Hidden Valley Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix.
—Think fresh. Skip the super subs and set up a sandwich bar with lean deli meats such as turkey breast and ham, low-fat cheese slices and prepped veggies — like sliced tomato and shredded lettuce — and low-fat toppings.
—Pass on super big portions. No matter what foods are served, remember you don’t have to eat the whole thing. Grab a small plate and load half of it up with fresh veggies and baked chips.
—Get in on the action. During halftime, grab your guests and head outdoors for a quick game of touch football. You can always record the commercials so you don’t miss out.

7 Layer Fiesta Ranch Dip

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 10 (1/4 cup) servings
1     16-ounce can fat-free refried beans
1/2     cup guacamole
1     package Hidden Valley Fiesta Ranch Dips Mix
1     cup fat-free sour cream or plain nonfat yogurt
1     cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
6     green onions, chopped
1     medium tomato, chopped
1/4     cup sliced black olives (optional)
1. Spread each of the ingredients in the order listed over a 9-inch serving platter or pie dish.
2. Chill for an hour and serve.

Touchdown Turkey Chili

Touchdown Turkey Chili

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: High heat cooks for 4 hours; Low heat cooks for 8 hours
Makes: 8 (1 cup) servings
1     tablespoon olive oil
1     medium onion, chopped
1     medium green bell pepper, chopped
2     pounds lean ground turkey breast
2     cans (14.5 ounces each) Mexican-style diced tomatoes
1     can (6 ounces) reduced sodium tomato paste
1     can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1     cup low sodium tomato juice
1     package Hidden Valley Fiesta Ranch Dips Mix
1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat.
2. Add onions and bell pepper and sauté until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Remove and place in slow cooker.
4. Add ground turkey breast to the same pan and cook until crumbled and browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Add the turkey to the slow cooker along with all of the remaining ingredients.
6. Cover the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on high heat or 8 hours on low heat.

Cheesy Ranch Popcorn

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 1/2 minutes
Makes: 6 (2 cup) servings
1     bag (3 ounces) reduced-fat, low sodium butter-flavored microwave popcorn
1/4 pack (0.25 ounces) Hidden Valley Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
3     sprays from olive oil mister
3     tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1. Pop popcorn according to package directions. Immediately open the bag and pour the popcorn into a large serving bowl.
2. Spray the popcorn with three sprays from the olive oil mister, toss with salad dressing and seasoning mix and then toss with the Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Hold That Line Hummus Dip

“No need to pass on fabulous dips to maintain your diet,” said Shield. “Thanks to the protein and fiber in chickpeas, hummus is light, yet heart-healthy enough to satisfy hungry sports fans. Try this easy recipe for happy game day guests.”
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 8 (1/4 cup) servings
2     cans (15 1/2 ounces each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4     garlic cloves
1/3     cup lemon juice
1     package Hidden Valley Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
4     tablespoons cold water
1/2  cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
Dash of paprika for garnish
1. In a food processor, puree the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, salad dressing and seasoning mix and water until very smooth, about 3 minutes.
2. Add tahini paste and process an additional 2 minutes.
3. Spread hummus into a shallow serving bowl.
4. Sprinkle top with paprika.

Play Good Defense and Substitute
The best way to tackle those creamy, high-calorie dips is to make smart substitutions. Here are a few options to help you get started:
Instead of:     Use:
Guacamole     Salsa
Pesto        Chopped tomatoes and basil
Sour cream    Plain fat-free yogurt
Cheese     Reduced-fat cheese
Cream        Fat-free evaporated milk

For more recipes and tips, visit www.hiddenvalley.com.

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