California Avocados, The Breakfast Superfood
(NAPSI)—Breakfast has long been considered the most important meal of the day, but hectic morning routines can sometimes get in the way of starting the day with a wholesome meal. California avocados, in season now, are the perfect fruit and nourishing breakfast solution for any busy morning schedule.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, eating a nutrient-dense breakfast can help with weight maintenance, calorie balance and improved nutrient intake. Nutrient-dense foods provide substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, and relatively few calories. With nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and 50 calories per serving ( 1/5 of a medium avocado), California avocados are a nutrition power house choice for breakfast.
In addition to helping the mind and body get started in the morning, studies show that breakfast eaters tend to have a higher intake of vitamins and minerals than breakfast skippers. You can eat good-for-you California avocados as part of a healthy breakfast any number of ways, from topping your eggs with creamy slices of the fruit to using it to replace saturated fat in breakfast breads, muffins and shakes. It’s also a delicious and creamy alternative to traditional breakfast spreads such as butter or cream cheese, with the added benefit of contributing “good” mono- and polyunsaturated fats, with no cholesterol or sodium.
Registered dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RDN, CDN partnered with the California Avocado Commission to create a satisfying breakfast dish featuring nutrient-dense California avocados. Her Eggs-traordinary California Avocado Breakfast Muffins are moist and use California avocados as a replacement for other fat sources, and each muffin contains 90 calories.
“Avocados are one of the most versatile and flavorful fruits which is why I recommend them to my clients looking for quick, easy and filling breakfast ideas,” said Taub-Dix. “My breakfast muffin recipe combines high-quality protein from eggs and good fats from avocados to create a dish sure to help keep you feeling filled and fueled in the morning.”
For this and other California avocado breakfast recipes created by registered dietitians, visit CaliforniaAvocado.com
Eggs-traordinary California Avocado Breakfast Muffins
Yields: 15 mini muffins
¾ cup grape tomatoes, chopped
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, chopped
1 ripe, fresh California avocado, seeded, peeled and diced
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
¼ tsp. chipotle seasoning (optional)
2 large eggs
½ cup egg whites
1 Tbsp. crumbled feta cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Spray a standard-sized non-stick mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine tomatoes, spinach, avocado, salt, pepper and optional chipotle seasoning.
4. Spoon two tablespoons of vegetable and avocado mixture into each mini muffin cup.
5. Beat eggs and egg whites together in a separate bowl.
6. Pour eggs over the vegetables until about a little more than three-quarters full.
7. Sprinkle egg muffin mixture with cheese.
8. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until eggs spring back to the touch.
Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 90; Total Fat 7 g (Sat 1.5 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 1 g, Mono 4 g); Cholesterol 75 mg; Sodium 140 mg; Potassium 270 mg; Total Carbohydrates 4 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Total Sugars <1 g; Protein 4 g
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Experts Say Planning Ahead Is The Key To Reducing Stress In The Kitchen
(NAPSI)—From busy schedules to picky eaters, mealtime can seem overwhelming for many moms and dads. According to a study by the University of Illinois, some parents report that preparing a meal is so stressful it feels like being in a “pressure cooker.”*
The Pampered Chef, the largest direct seller of kitchen tools, is committed to helping these families come together around the table each night. Through its partnership with the Family Resiliency Center, it has developed a few tips to simplify busy weeknight dinners.
• Get in a food mood. Set aside 10 minutes once a week to jot down upcoming meals and build your shopping list. This can save time and cut down your food budget.
• Take stock of your pantry. Before your grocery trip, double-check your pantry to eliminate last-minute trips for “forgotten” must-have items during the week.
• Add a prep step. Cook one extra thing tonight to make tomorrow’s meal easier. This works best with time-consuming steps, such as browning ground beef, preparing rice or cleaning and cutting vegetables.
• Schedule a fuss-free meal. Enjoy a build-your-own-pizza night or soup and sandwiches—bring the family into the kitchen and let the primary cook off the hook, creating a fun family tradition in the process.
• Cook with others. Collaborate with friends to prepare several meals ahead of time that can be frozen and ready to use on nights you don’t have the time or energy to cook.
Another way to make mealtime quick, simple and affordable is with this family-friendly One-Pot Chicken Dinner. It costs about $2 a serving and is cooked to tender perfection in the microwave in 30 minutes, with two options for a side:
One-Pot Chicken Dinner
For the chicken:
1 whole chicken (3½-4 lbs/1.6-1.8 kg)
Canola oil for spritzing
3 Tbsp (45 mL) Bell Pepper Herb Rub (or any rub or seasoning mix of your choice)
Select one side:
Herbed Rice Variation
2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped with Food Chopper
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped with Food Chopper
1 cup (250 mL) uncooked converted white rice
2 cups (500 mL) chicken stock or broth
2 garlic cloves, pressed with Garlic Press
1 Tbsp (15 mL) Bell Pepper Herb Rub (or any rub or seasoning mix of your choice)
Garlic Mashed Potatoes Variation
2 lbs (1 kg) “B” size unpeeled Yukon gold potatoes
6 garlic cloves, peeled
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper
1. Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken cavity. Trim excess fat from chicken with Professional Shears, if necessary.
2. Place chicken onto Flexible Cutting Mat; lightly spray with oil using Kitchen Spritzer. Completely coat outside of chicken with 3 Tbsp (45 mL) rub.
3. Prepare Herbed Rice or Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
For Herbed Rice, place carrots, onion, rice, stock, garlic and 1 Tbsp (15 mL) rub in Rockcrok (4-qt./3.8-L) Dutch Oven; mix well. Place chicken, breast side up, into Dutch Oven.
For Garlic Mashed Potatoes, place chicken, breast side up, into Rockcrok (4-qt./3.8-L) Dutch Oven. Arrange potatoes and garlic around chicken. The potatoes fit closely around the chicken. No need to add extra liquid; the drippings are enough to cook the potatoes!
4. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 25-30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165° F (74° C) in thickest part of breast and juices run clear.
5. Remove Dutch Oven from microwave. Let stand 10 minutes (temperature will rise to 170° F/77° C). Remove chicken to Large Grooved Cutting Board; carve.
6. For Herbed Rice, stir before serving with chicken. For Garlic Mashed Potatoes, add salt and pepper; mash with Mix ‘N Masher. Serve with chicken.
U.S. Nutrients per serving (One-Pot Chicken with Herbed Rice): Calories 500, Total Fat 22 g, Saturated Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 125 mg, Sodium 680 mg, Carbohydrate 30 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 44 g
U.S. Nutrients per serving (One-Pot Chicken with Garlic Mashed Potatoes): Calories 490, Total Fat 22 g, Saturated Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 125 mg, Sodium 760 mg, Carbohydrate 28 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 41 g
At in-home Cooking Shows, guests see and try products, prepare and sample recipes, and learn quick and easy food preparation techniques and tips on how to entertain with style and ease—transforming the simple to the spectacular.
For more mealtime tips, recipes and free resources, visit www.pamperedchef.com/mealtimeminutes. For more information, call (800) 266-5562 or visit www.pamperedchef.com and www.facebook.com/ThePamperedChef.
*A Formative Evaluation of Shared Family Mealtime for Parents of Toddlers and Young Children, Health Communication, 2011
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Peanut Oil Crisps Your Deep-Fried Turkey
(NAPSI)—For the perfect juicy turkey this holiday or for your next tailgating party, cook a flavorful, deep-fried turkey in 100 percent peanut oil in half the time. Roasting a turkey can take many hours, making it hard to get a crispy skin without drying out the meat. Deep-frying a turkey in 100 percent peanut oil produces a delicious, tender and juicy bird with crispy skin in much less time and frees up oven space.
Peanut oil has a delicious nutty flavor and because of its high smoke point, foods are cooked quickly at a high temperature and absorb less of the fat and calories from the oil. A 4-ounce serving of roasted turkey has 244 calories and 12 grams of fat while a 4-ounce serving of turkey deep-fried in peanut oil comes in at 255 calories and under 14 grams of fat, a very subtle difference.
Peanut oil also doesn’t absorb any of the flavors from foods fried in it and can be reused three to four times before it needs to be replaced. Just let the oil cool completely after use, strain it, and store in a cool place. Or, dish up some mouthwatering sides that can be prepared in the same oil as you fry your turkey, such as hush puppies, fried okra, sweet potato fries, and veggie chips.
As a bonus, peanut oil is very healthy. It is high in good monounsaturated fat. Major studies show peanut oil reduces the risks of heart disease. And, according to the FDA, refined peanut oil is allergen-free.
So try one of America’s hottest growing trends, deep-fried turkey. It’s the only way to go!
Crispy and Juicy Deep-Fried Turkey
1 whole turkey
1 tablespoon of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of your favorite dry rub
3 to 4 gallons of 100 percent peanut oil (enough to cover the turkey)
1. Wash bird inside and out and allow it to drain.
2. Rub turkey with the salt, pepper, garlic and dry rub.
3. Allow turkey to sit at room temperature for 1 hour or until completely thawed and dry.
4. Preheat peanut oil in an outdoor or countertop turkey fryer to 350º F.
5. Make sure there is no moisture on the skin and carefully lower turkey into hot oil either in a fryer basket or using a sturdy tool inserted into the chest cavity. Submerge the turkey completely.
6. Fry turkey for 3 minutes per pound plus 5 minutes per bird. Internal temperature should reach 165º F.
7. Remove turkey from the oil and let sit 20 minutes before serving.
Visit www.turkeyfrying.net to view recipes from celebrity chefs, instructional videos, and nutritional information on deep-frying your turkey this year.
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Four Steps To Help Your Family Eat Right
(NAPSI)—Here’s food for thought: You may be able to nudge your family in the right direction toward healthful eating if you heed these four facts and hints.
1) Families that eat together may be the healthiest, according to research published in Pediatrics and ScienceDaily. Added bonus: Kids who eat with their families are less likely to be overweight and tend to perform better in school than their peers.
2) Need recipe ideas? In September, which is National Chicken Month, or at any time of year, you can try preparing dishes that celebrate this popular poultry that’s high in protein and low in fat.
3) Get creative at mealtime and dress up your chicken (or other healthy dishes) with dressings and sauces. A variety of salad dressings can be used as a marinade, and barbecue or hot sauces can add additional flavor to your meal.
4) Involve your kids in the preparation of their own healthful meals. They’re more likely to enjoy it if they have a stake in the process.
Try preparing grilled chicken quesadilla, chicken ranch casserole or perhaps a raspberry walnut tropical chicken salad—or you can go all the way to this “ultimate chicken” recipe:
4 (6-oz.) boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and black pepper
½ tsp. paprika
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 lg. Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
1 C. sliced celery
1/3 C. sliced shallots or red onions
8 oz. clean baby spinach leaves
¼ C. toasted pine nuts
¾ C. blue cheese salad dressing
Season chicken with salt, pepper and paprika. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and sear both sides of chicken. Continue to cook on medium heat until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. In same skillet, heat remaining olive oil and sauté apples, celery and shallots until tender. Gently heat blue cheese dressing in a saucepan. Do not bring to a boil. Arrange spinach on plates, top with hot vegetables, apples and chicken. Spoon warm blue cheese dressing over all and sprinkle with pine nuts.
More recipes, along with tips on healthful eating, can be found at ww
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Transport Your Taste Buds With Duck Tacos
(NAPSI)—Some may be surprised to learn that duck and Mexican-style dishes pair well together. In fact, both domestic and wild duck have been used in Mexican cuisine for centuries.
Here’s an easy, delicious dinner idea from chef Sara Moulton that uses duck as the key ingredient in tacos. This updated take on tacos can make family taco night more fun and flavorful with shredded duck meat, making it an easy way to enjoy the luxurious taste of duck any night of the week.
recipe by Celebrity Chef
For the Spice Blend:
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon oregano, crumbled
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon salt
? teaspoon cayenne
For the Filling & Toppings:
1 Maple Leaf Farms Roast Half Duck, thawed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water
12 ready-to-eat regular-size taco shells, warmed according to package directions
1 16-ounce can refried beans (or make your own)
Shredded iceberg lettuce or finely shredded cabbage
To taste, shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese blend
Light sour cream (optional)
Make the spice blend: Add the ingredients to a bowl and stir well to combine.
Make the fillings and toppings: Shred enough duck meat to yield 2½ cups. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the duck and spice blend and stir to combine. Stir in the water and cook, covered, for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Divide the filling among the taco shells. Add refried beans if you like. Top with the lettuce and tomatoes, and sprinkle with cheese. Spoon on the salsa and sour cream, if desired. Serve immediately. Note: In a pinch, substitute about 1 tablespoon of your favorite packaged chicken taco seasoning mix for the spice blend.
Farm-raised White Pekin duck has a mild flavor that adapts to a variety of cuisines and is a delicious alternative to beef and chicken. Aside from the great taste, fully cooked duck products like roast half duck from Maple Leaf Farms save time in the kitchen. It’s already perfectly roasted, so if you’re shy about cooking duck, precooked duck products are the way to go.
“It’s tasty and it’s good to go. If you don’t want to eat it heated, straight up, you can shred it and use it in any number of recipes—sandwiches, soups, salads, etc.,” says celebrity chef Sara Moulton, host of “Sara’s Weeknight Meals,” which is sponsored by Maple Leaf Farms.
Where To Get It
You may find fully cooked roast half duck in the meat case of gourmet grocery stores and retailers and online at www.mapleleaffarms.com/roasthalfduck.
For additional information, call (800) 348-2812.
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Global Recipes Explore Ancient Spice Route
(NAPSI)—Today’s cooks have their pick of exotic spices, but these ingredients were once rare enough to inspire wars, send explorers on missions around the globe and, by some accounts, even factor in the purchase of the island of Manhattan by the Dutch.
In honor of this rich history, CanolaInfo’s latest recipe collection, “Spice Route: A Journey of Global Flavors,” celebrates these once-exotic spices with an array of international dishes inspired by the famous trade passage.
“These recipes integrate spices with regional flavors from some of the most important ports of call at the time of the ancient spice trade, including China, India, Persia, Arabia, North Africa and the Mediterranean,” says award-winning chef Raghavan Iyer, who developed the collection. “Spices such as black pepper, cumin and cinnamon are standard ingredients around the world today, but it’s fascinating—and delicious—to see how each cuisine handles them differently.”
Iyer showcases the transformative flavor of whole spices in dishes such as an Indian-style wild halibut, rubbed with turmeric and finished with cracked black pepper, or a Persian lamb stew scented with cumin and cayenne pepper.
Each flavorful recipe is made with canola oil, which is neutral in flavor, light in texture and has the least saturated fat and most plant-based omega-3 fat of all common cooking oils. It is also free of trans fat and, like other vegetable oils, is cholesterol-free.
Recipes, all available at www.canolainfo.org, include:
• Phyllo Bundles with Saffron-Flavored Chickpeas
• Persian Lamb Stew with Dried Apricots
• Turmeric-Rubbed Wild Halibut with Cracked Black Pepper
• “Lentils of Arabia” with Rice, Cumin and Caramelized Onions
• Pork Tenderloin with Five-Spice Powder and Peppers
• Ethiopian Chicken with Berberi Sauce and Fresh Ginger.
“Canola oil is ideal for cooking with spices,” Iyer explains. “It allows the aroma of a spice, whether delicate or assertive, to come to the forefront of a dish.
“These dishes are truly a ‘passport’ to flavors around the globe and a wonderful glimpse into the history of spices and cuisines we enjoy today.”
Persian Lamb Stew
With Dried Apricots
Here’s a sweet and savory example of the rich flavors that can be found in the recipe collection.
¼ cup coarsely chopped, firmly packed fresh mint leaves
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic cloves
1½ tsp coarse kosher or sea salt
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1¼ lbs boneless leg of lamb, fat trimmed off and discarded, cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup canola oil
4 cups finely chopped red onion
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup water
1 Tbsp firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp malt or cider vinegar
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1. In medium bowl, combine mint and all spices; mix well. Add lamb and toss to coat with marinade rub. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes or overnight, to allow meat to absorb flavors.
2. Preheat wok, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Drizzle canola oil down its sides. As soon as oil forms shimmering pool at bottom, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, while it stews in its own juices, about 5 minutes. Once liquid evaporates, reduce heat to medium and stir-fry until onion turns honey-brown with deep purple hue, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Add lamb and apricots and raise heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, until meat sears and starts to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Some canola oil will separate from onion and lamb, and glisten on top of mixture. Apricots will start to soften.
4. Add water and stir once or twice. Once it boils, which will be almost instantaneously, reduce heat to medium-low, cover wok and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lamb is fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer lamb, apricots and onion to serving bowl and leave behind some sauce in wok.
5. Stir brown sugar into wok. Heat from sauce will melt sugar. Pour sauce over lamb and stir in vinegar. Sprinkle cilantro over stew and serve.
Yield: 8 Servings. Serving Size: 1 cup.
Nutritional Analysis per Serving: Calories 260, Total Fat 12 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 55 mg, Carbohydrates 22 g, Fiber 3 g, Sugars 13 g, Protein 19 g, Sodium 510 mg, Potassium 578 mg
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Turkey-Carving Tips: Three Easy Steps
(NAPSI)—If you want the turkey you serve to be “gobbled up” this holiday, consider improving the presentation with these simple carving tips:
Be sure to use a good, sharp knife. Sharp knives are not only safer, they will help you smoothly cut thin, even slices without shredding the meat. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert to put a razor-sharp edge on your knife. A sharpener such as Chef’sChoice® EdgeSelect® 120 can make sharpening easy. The sharpener uses 100 percent diamond-coated disks (2.5 karats’ worth of diamonds!) and a polishing stage to create a more durable, arch-shaped edge in seconds. The precision guides eliminate all guesswork and that means predictable, professionally sharp edges every time it’s used. For help finding a sharpener that’s right for you, call 800-342-3255 or visit www.chefschoice.com.
After the turkey is cooked, a meat thermometer should read 165° F when inserted in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. Cool the bird for 15 minutes. Cooling makes the meat firmer and easier to slice. Remove and set aside the turkey legs and the last joint of each wing. Make a long, deep (to the bone) horizontal “base cut” into the breast just above the wing.
Slice down vertically through the breast until you meet the original base cut. This will release perfect, even slices.
Keep your carving knife sharp and follow these easy steps for an elegant, beautifully carved bird that will look as good as it tastes!
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Teaching an Old Grain New Tricks: The Health Benefits of Ancient Grains and Seeds
by Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN
(NAPSI)—According to recent data, whole grain breads are flying off the shelves and into homes more than ever before. Why the surge? One reason may be that consumers are becoming more aware of the health benefits of whole grains. The superstars—and superfoods—of the whole grain family are ancient grains and seeds, which date back to when our ancestors lived off the land.
Ancient grains and seeds are a popular and smart choice for anyone craving authentic flavors while capitalizing on their health benefits. Naturally gluten free, these grains and seeds are great for everyone, but especially for people who have developed sensitivities to more widely used grains like wheat and corn. If you’re not already familiar with these special grains, here’s a closer look at these superfoods:
• Amaranth is high in protein, fiber and iron for improved brain function. It is also a good source of vitamins A, C and E, which promote a healthy circulatory system, and phytochemicals that lower cancer risk.
o Use amaranth flour to healthfully thicken soups and sauces.
• Chia is nutrient dense and full of cancer-fighting antioxidants, protein and loads of fiber to keep you feeling full.
o Add chia seeds to your breakfast cereal or yogurt for a breakfast boost.
• Flax contains lots of fiber, antioxidants and loads of omega-3s that improve heart and brain health. It also contains lignans, which fight against certain types of cancers and reduce plaque buildup that can lead to heart disease by up to 75 percent.
o Make a smarter smoothie by adding ground flaxseed.
• Millet is an easily digestible, heart-healthy choice rich in magnesium, which studies show can reduce asthma and migraines. It also contains serotonin that helps to level hormones and maintain a calm mood.
o Try roasting this grain before boiling to bring out a nuttier flavor.
• Oats have a high fiber content, which slows down the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream, helping to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels and support a healthy cardiovascular system. In addition, oats contain phytochemicals that help to reduce the risk of cancer.
o Udi’s Steel Cut Oats are naturally sweetened with currants and chia and have as much protein as one ounce of chicken.
• Quinoa has high amounts of protein to help sustain energy and riboflavin to reduce the frequency of migraines. It also contains essential amino acids that aid in building muscle and maintaining healthy skin, hair and nails.
o Choose quinoa over white rice for a new take on stir-fry.
Easy Ancient Grains Apple Berry Cobbler
4 Pink Lady apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin pieces
1 cup blueberries, fresh
½ cup cherries, pitted and cut into pieces
¼ cup unsalted nuts, chopped
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 Udi’s Gluten Free Ancient Grain Granola Bars, softened for 10-15 seconds in the microwave and crumbled into small pieces
1. Spray a pie dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine fruit, nuts, brown sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and cornstarch.
3. Place fruit mixture into pie dish.
4. Top fruit mixture evenly with crumbled Udi’s Ancient Grain granola bars.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbly.
For more information and mouthwatering recipes incorporating these great grains and seeds, or to learn how to safely go gluten free, please visit www.udisglutenfree.com.
Bonnie Taub-Dix is director and owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants, LLC.
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