(BPT) - What image does the word “grilling” bring to mind? Do you envision thick, juicy burgers or steaks? What about sauce-slathered chicken breasts sizzling over coals? Cooking out is one of the great joys of warm weather, but if you leave side dishes out of your grilling plans - or stick with cold sides like salads - you’re missing out on some great flavors.
Side dishes give you a chance to really show off your grilling chops, savor the farm fresh flavors of summer harvests, and indulge in wholesome, organic fare. Here are six summer side dishes that go great on the grill:
Corn on the cob - If you’ve always wanted to try grilling vegetables but weren’t sure which of your favorites would go well on the grill - take heart! Virtually any veggie can be prepared on a grill, but corn becomes a show-stopper when grilled. Remove the husks and silk and toss the cobs right on a preheated grill. Watch them careful and keep turning them to ensure they brown but don’t burn. The heat from the grill causes the natural sugars in the corn to carmelize, and you’ll end up with the sweetest sweet corn you ever tasted!
Fries - A trip to the grocery store or farmer’s market for fresh produce may not fit in your schedule if you’re grilling on the fly. There’s good news - frozen options like Alexia Organic Oven Crinkles with Sea Salt deliver farm to flavor taste when prepared on the grill or in the oven. Made from Pacific Northwest russet potatoes, Alexia’s organic fries are sprinkled with bright sea salt to bring out even more of the rich flavor that Mother Nature delivered. Make a tray out of aluminum foil, spread the Oven Crinkles in a single layer, and grill for about 20-25 minutes at 400-450 degrees F. Turn once or twice during the cooking process.
Tomatoes - If you’ve only grilled small tomatoes on a kabob, or never tried grilled tomatoes at all, this is your summer to discover grilling tomatoes couldn’t be easier. Start with large, meaty tomatoes - a variety that’s dense and has fewer seeds works best. Slice in half, brush with your favorite seasoned oil and place the halves cut-side down on the grill. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side. Top with your favorite cheese when done.
Kale - Grilling greens like kale helps all those wonderful nutrients and flavor stay in the vegetable and don’t disappear into the cooking water - which is what can happen when you boil veggies on the stovetop. Grilling kale couldn’t be easier. You can adapt virtually any of your favorite kale recipes to grilling by tossing the kale with the recipe seasonings and some oil. Arrange the seasoned leaves in a single layer on the grill and they’ll cook to crispy splendor in just minutes.
Cheese - A slice of gooey melted cheese is the crowning glory atop your grilled burger, but cheese can also handle the grill on its own, and be a delicious, different side dish or appetizer. Many cheeses will work on the grill, and you can find recommendations for the best cheeses to cook on the grill with a simple online search. Slice your chosen cheese in thick pieces. Most grilling cheeses will need minimal seasoning and little or no oil. Generally, cheese takes just a minute or two to brown each side and allow the inside to melt.
Dinner rolls - Craving dinner rolls to go with that thick juicy steak, but in no mood to fire up the oven when it’s 90 degrees outside? You can make frozen dinner rolls on the grill. Choose your favorite variety, such as Alexia Artisan French Rolls or Artisan Focaccia Rolls, set your gas grill to the temperature recommended on the package’s directions, wrap the rolls in foil and place directly on the grill. Keep an eye on the rolls to ensure they don’t burn as they can cook quickly on a grill.
(BPT) - As a kid, it didn’t get much better than grilled cheese: the buttery toast, the molten cheese and the savory satisfaction from that first bite to the last. Fast-forward to adulthood. Somehow throwing together two pieces of white bread with a slice of processed cheese simply doesn’t have the same appeal.
Fortunately, chefs around the country are reimagining the kid-approved favorite and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches are popping up on the menus of restaurants everywhere. Their secret: Mix up the ingredients and cooking methods to reinvent this classic comfort food into a palate-pleasing meal for all ages. Here are our secrets for recreating a gourmet grilled cheese in your own kitchen.
Think beyond the slice
The heart of any great grilled cheese sandwich is the cheese itself. Don’t limit yourself to plastic-wrapped options. Taste buds will dance when you blend different flavorful varieties. Some of the best options for a simply better grilled cheese include:
Havarti: Has a light buttery, creamy taste with a mellow aroma and is semi-soft, so it melts perfectly. Pair Havarti with fruit, jam or honey in your next grilled cheese for a sweet surprise.
Gouda: Has a rich buttery, slightly sweet flavor and a smooth, creamy texture that’s irresistible when melted. Savory flavors complement Gouda - try it with prosciutto or tomato.
Muenster: Has a mild flavor and smooth, soft texture that stands out alone or is the perfect complement when melted alongside other cheese varieties. Match Muenster with sliced avocado for a sandwich that’s a smashing success.
Fontina: A semi-soft cheese with a slightly sharp edge that is the perfect upgrade to any melty dish. Add fresh basil or pesto to a Fontina grilled cheese for a refreshing twist.
Get decadent flavor without the guilt
Classic comfort foods like grilled cheese will fill the belly and warm the heart, but they don’t necessarily have the healthiest reputation. A more wholesome grilled cheese doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor. Elevate your grilled cheese with these healthful tricks:
Get choosy with cheese: Not all cheese is created equally. Try Arla cheese - a better-for-you cheese from a farm-to-fridge company. The naturally delicious cheese is made without any artificial flavors or preservatives and follows traditional recipes that have been handed down from generations.
Veg out: Fresh fruits and vegetables can be the perfect addition for a nutrition and flavor boost to grown-up grilled cheese recipes. Add in avocado, amp it up with apple slices or get a little crazy with cucumber. The sky is the limit. A bonus tip is to stack your veggies inside the slices of cheese to lock in every bit of gooey, delicious flavor.
Pack in the protein: The average person should get approximately 30 grams of protein at each meal, according to the Journal of Nutrition. You can get a jumpstart with Arla cheese, which has between 4 and 6 grams of protein in each slice. Visit www.ArlaUSA.com/GrilledCheese to learn more.
Opt for whole grain: Say goodbye to the pasty sliced white bread of your youth and instead select a lovely whole grain bread from a local bakery for a tasty sandwich with a more wholesome crunch.
Banish butter: Traditionally grilled cheese is made with butter or margarine, but you can still grill a mean sandwich when you select a lighter option. For example, swap in coconut oil or olive oil, which feature nutrient-packed fats and omegas, so you feel good as you munch on grilled goodness.
Polish your cooking strategy
The final step in creating a better grilled cheese is to revise your cooking strategy. Some ideas to try:
Skip the spread: Put down that butter knife entirely and instead add oils directly to the skillet rather than spreading it on bread. Warm up the pan, melt your oil and then get ready to grill to a golden brown.
Grill both sides: The perfect pairing to that awesome Havarti or Gouda is lightly toasted bread. To get a decadent crunch, try grilling both sides of the bread. Start by placing the plain bread slices on the skillet in oil to toast, then flip and add the cheese. Both sides get grilled and the cheese melts quicker.
Cook low and slow: Have patience! You’ll get better results when you use medium-low heat rather than rushing. If you use too high of a temperature, you’ll burn the bread without thoroughly melting the cheese.
(BPT) - While 2016 is the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese calendar, in the world of food and nutrition, it’s the Year of the Egg.
The recently released 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides key recommendations for healthy eating patterns for the consumption of a variety of protein foods in nutrient-dense forms, like eggs. For eggs to be considered a nutrient-dense protein, eating the yolk is a must because the yolk is where key nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids are found.
What’s more, the new Dietary Guidelines no longer limit the consumption of dietary cholesterol which was a nutrient of concern in the past. Instead, the Guidelines recommend limiting the intake of saturated fats and trans fats.
“For years, many Americans were led to think that whole eggs should be limited or even cut out of their diets to avoid high cholesterol,” says Registered Dietitian Lyssie Lakatos. “These new recommendations show that eggs truly are a great source of protein and are filled with important nutrients we need. I’ve always recommended Eggland’s Best eggs since they are packed with three times more vitamin B12, five times more vitamin D, 10 times more vitamin E and double the omega-3 fatty acids, when compared to ordinary eggs, thanks to their proprietary hen feed.”
Below, Lakatos gives tips on how to incorporate eggs into a healthy meal plan any time of day.
Breakfast: There isn’t a more classic breakfast food than the egg. Whether you like your eggs scrambled, poached or over-easy, they can be great all by themselves or paired with a bowl of fruit or whole grain toast. When pairing your eggs with other breakfast items, be mindful of foods high in saturated fat. Lakatos chooses Eggland’s Best eggs which contain 25 percent less saturated fat than ordinary eggs.
Snacks: Although eggs are a great breakfast food, we often forget they can also be the perfect snack. Lakatos keeps EB Hard Cooked Peeled Eggs in her refrigerator for a post-workout snack because they are rich in vitamins necessary for optimal muscle recovery such as B vitamins, vitamin D and vitamin E.
Lunch and dinner: Whether it’s meatless Monday or you’re just looking to incorporate more eggs into your diet, there are plenty of ways to include eggs in your lunch and dinner. Lakatos loves mixing Eggland’s Best eggs into a great stir fry for dinner and using leftovers for lunch the next day.
For more information and recipes using Eggland’s Best eggs, such as a No-Fuss Stir Fry, visit www.egglandsbest.com.
(BPT) - She’s spent years taking care of you, whether it was mending your first broken heart, helping you pack and move for college, or moving in to help take care of your first child. Mom has always been around to help. For all the times she’s been there for you, now is the time to be there for her. This Mother’s Day, plan the perfect day to show mom just how thankful you are.
Plan a day together. Set aside all other plans and treat your mom to a day filled with her favorite people, places and things. Whether it’s a day spent indoors playing games or reminiscing, or grabbing the extended family and heading to her favorite park, lake or ocean for a picnic, simply sharing in these moments is sure to bring your mom joy and delight.
Host an afternoon tea. While breakfast in bed may have been your Mother’s Day tradition growing up, perhaps it’s time for something new. This year, treat mom to a relaxing and indulgent afternoon tea filled with delicious treats like these Lavender Buttermilk Scones.
8 ounces self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, plus extra for greasing
3 ounces lavender-flavored sugar, sifted if preferred (see Cook’s Tip below)
1 pint buttermilk, plus extra for brushing
Your choice of Bonne Maman Preserves
Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir in the lavender sugar (sifted if preferred) and a pinch of salt and make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the buttermilk and mix to combine, making a soft dough.
Briefly knead the dough on a floured surface, then lightly roll out to about 3/4-inch thick. Cut scones with a 2-inch pastry cutter and place on a greased baking sheet.
Brush the top of each scone with a little extra buttermilk and bake for 12–15 minutes, until lightly browned on the top. Cool on a wire rack, dust lightly with flour and serve with your favorite choice of Bonne Maman preserves.
To make lavender-flavored sugar, push 2–3 small washed and dried sprigs of fresh lavender into a jar of caster sugar. Leave for at least 24 hours before using.
Brushing the scones with beaten egg before baking will give them a shiny golden top.
Give Mom a well deserved day off. Even after a perfect day spent with loved ones, sometimes all mom really wants is a day to herself doing whatever she pleases. While you may not be able to give her just that, Bonne Maman, maker of 100 percent natural preserves and jellies, is here to help through the Share The Love national sweepstakes. Mom can enter for a chance to win a $4,500 day off to spend doing whatever she’d like, plus she can download a $2 off coupon for her next Bonne Maman purchase. For more information and to enter, visit www.BonneMaman.us.
(BPT) - A great way to start your day is to add breakfast to your morning routine. But as we all know, routines can get dull fast, especially after you’ve been eating the same breakfast for a few months. If you find your family is in a breakfast rut, it may be time to switch things up and add some excitement to those early hours.
Here are a few new ideas to brighten up everyone’s morning:
Get the whole family to cook.
Getting everyone in the family to help out in the kitchen is easy, especially on weekends, and they’ll love feeling more involved. The next time you make breakfast, ask your kids to help you. Enjoy connecting as a family and building memories you will all cherish for years to come.
Set up a pancake bar.
Make a weekend breakfast extra special by setting up a short-order pancake station in your kitchen. Offer different flavors of pancake mix, set out chocolate chips, sliced fruit or any other ingredients to create special pancakes that appeal to your family. Don’t forget to top each pancake with a pat of butter or a dollop of whipped cream and, of course, warm syrup. If you use a microwavable syrup bottle, like Hungry Jack, you can microwave the whole bottle and pour hot syrup straight onto your pancakes with no mess.
Host a breakfast lottery.
Do your kids complain about having to eat the same thing every day? Surprise them with a special breakfast lottery. Have ingredients on hand for several breakfast entrees, like pancakes, waffles, or crepes. Put the names of each breakfast item in a hat and make whichever one you draw. This makes for an entertaining and suspenseful breakfast.
Try a new recipe.
Mini Pancake Kabobs
When it comes to breakfast kabobs, the possibilities are endless. Mini pancake kabobs are a lively twist on a classic breakfast. All you need for this recipe, courtesy of I Heart Naptime Blog, is a pancake mix, like Hungry Jack Complete Buttermilk Pancake and Waffle Mix, syrup, kabob skewers and your favorite pancake toppings. Cook small, cookie-sized pancakes on a griddle. Then, stack them on skewers with toppings like fruit and peanut butter. Top each kabob off with a drizzle of warm syrup.
Lemon ricotta pancakes, courtesy of Lauren’s Latest blog
Yield: Six 4-inch pancakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
1 cup pancake mix, such as Hungry Jack Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix
3/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
zest of 2 small lemons
powdered sugar, for garnish
Hungry Jack syrup
In a medium sized bowl, stir pancake mix, water, ricotta cheese and lemon zest together until mostly smooth with a few small lumps. Fry on a lightly greased nonstick skillet until golden brown. Serve with powdered sugar and warm syrup.
Start your day with a satisfying breakfast while enjoying the company of your loved ones. Get creative and try some of these ideas for a whole new take on the first meal of the day.
(BPT) - Nearly one-third of adults have high LDL-cholesterol levels, which is also known as bad cholesterol, a key risk factor for heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, unfortunately, about 70 percent of adults with high LDL-cholesterol don’t have the condition under control.
For the many people working to manage their cholesterol levels with the help of their diet, including corn oil may provide important heart-health benefits. Recent research in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology shows that a diet with corn oil, like Mazola, helps lower LDL-cholesterol and total cholesterol more than extra virgin olive oil. Additionally, corn oil has four times more cholesterol-blocking plant sterols than olive oil and 40 percent more than canola oil. Plant sterols are plant-based compounds naturally present in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals, legumes and vegetable oils. When consumed as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, plant sterols can help reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the gut, which, in turn, can lower LDL-cholesterol.
And, when it comes to heart health, the type of fat in the diet matters. In fact, in the newly released 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the emphasis is no longer on eating a low-fat diet but instead choosing quality fats. This includes replacing saturated fats that are known to contribute to heart disease with unsaturated fats, including polyunsaturated fats, like those in Mazola Corn Oil. Corn oil has more than five times the amount of polyunsaturated fats compared to olive oil. Replacing saturated fat with heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats can reduce the risk of heart disease.
What’s more, corn oil’s neutral taste complements the natural flavors of foods, making it perfect for stir-frying, sautéing, grilling and even baking. Get more delicious recipes at Mazola.com.
Warm Tomato & Kale Pasta
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
12 ounces uncooked whole grain rotini pasta
2 tablespoons Mazola Corn Oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups chopped kale
1/2 cup no-salt or reduced sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup lime juice
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Cook and drain pasta according to package directions. Set aside.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion; cook and stir until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, kale, vegetable broth, lime juice, chili powder, garlic salt and crushed red pepper. Cook 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Combine hot pasta, tomato mixture, feta cheese and cilantro in a large serving bowl. Toss lightly and serve.
Quinoa & Sweet Potato Chili
Yield: 3 quarts
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
1 tablespoon Mazola Corn Oil
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 quart unsalted chicken OR vegetable broth
4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cans (15 ounces each) no salt added diced tomatoes
1/2 cup quinoa
1 can (15 ounces) no salt added OR reduced salt black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups frozen corn
Garnish with green onions, chopped cilantro or sliced jalapeños
Heat Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat and add oil. Add onion, bell and jalapeño peppers and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until vegetables are softened. Add chili powder and cumin and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until spices are aromatic.
Add chicken broth, sweet potatoes and garlic. Bring soup to a boil; reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Add tomatoes, quinoa, black beans and corn and cook an additional 15 to 20 minutes until potatoes and quinoa are tender.
Serve with fresh green onion, cilantro or jalapeños for garnish.
(BPT) - As the weather warms up and you're beginning to think about sunny brunches and breezy dinners on the patio, it may be time to take a fresh approach to your spring entertaining. From Easter and Mother's Day to a number of other spring holidays, who wouldn't want to step up their hosting game?
During a season of celebration, temptations can preoccupy you, but that doesn't mean you have to give in. These tips will help you plan a spring gathering to impress your guests while treating them to better-for-you choices.
Choose dishes that can be prepared ahead of time.
While you may be looking to wow your family and friends with your impressive entertaining abilities, you also want to catch up and spend time with them. After all, isn't that the point of hosting a gathering? Find a main course that can be prepped before your gathering so you'll have more time to laugh and talk with your guests. Make a plan so everything will be ready for your guests to enjoy at the same time.
Reach for home-style-tasting and simple ingredients.
Take pride in each ingredient you use while preparing to entertain. Read labels and be conscious of what you are putting on your table. A brand such as Naturally Fresh(R) offers delicious, home-style-tasting salad dressings and dips with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
Make better-for-you substitutions.
Sticking with a better-for-you theme doesn't mean you have to skip dessert. You can find plenty of dessert recipes that substitute ingredients to increase nutrition and lower fat and calorie content. For example, you can substitute applesauce for oil and butter, or coco nibs for chocolate chips. Get creative and your guests will marvel at your fresh approach to cooking and baking.
Opt for fresh foods when possible.
Include various types of fresh fruits and vegetables in your appetizers, main course and side dishes. Fresh foods contain wonderful vitamins and minerals, so why not share some of the benefits with your friends? A veggie tray with Naturally Fresh(R) Classic Ranch Brand Dressing is a classically refreshing hors d'oeuvre to serve at any spring gathering while beautifully displayed watermelon makes a sweet and guilt-free dessert.
Create shared platters.
To avoid loading your guests' plates with huge portions, create platters that everyone can share. While you're setting up, be mindful of the number of people you're hosting compared to the amount of food you prepare. Serve the meal family style and encourage everyone to try a little bit of everything.
Bring a better-for-you mindset to your spring gatherings when you follow these tips. For more recipes and to find Naturally Fresh(R) Brand Dressings in store, visit: naturallyfresh.com/recipes or naturallyfresh.com/find-a-store.
Grilled Ranch Chicken Quesadilla
1/2 cup Naturally Fresh(R) Classic Ranch Dressing
8 - 12 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 medium red bell peppers
Olive oil, as needed
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 tbsp. green onions, chopped
1 tbsp. cilantro, fresh, chopped
1/4 tsp. cumin, ground
8 (6"- 8" size) flour tortillas
Marinate chicken in ranch dressing, cover and refrigerate for one hour. Grill 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until no longer pink. Cool slightly; slice thinly.
Brush peppers with olive oil. Grill over high heat, turning frequently, until charred. Remove from grill; peel off skins, remove seeds, and chop coarsely. Combine cooked chicken, chopped roasted peppers, cheeses, green onions, cilantro and cumin in medium bowl; mix well.
Brush one side of tortilla with olive oil; turn over. Spread chicken mixture on one half. Fold other half over filling; press firmly. Grill tortilla over low heat for 4 to 5 minutes on each side; increase heat to medium to crisp. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. Cut into wedges and serve.