Baking Contest Watermelon Feta and Mint Vanilla-Butter Shrimp Rolls Blueberry-Walnut Bars Cajun Tuna Burgers BBQ Shrimp Quesadillas Sweet Apple Barbecue Sauce Grilled Fruit With Apple

Irresistible Twist on Lunchbox Favorites

(NAPSI)—Great cooking and baking ideas can be a click away with access to the 100 recipes from the 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest. This perfectly portioned dessert from finalist Amy Siegel can delight at home and on the go.

Strawberry-Swirl Peanut-Butter Brownie Cupcakes


  • 24 foil baking cups

  • 1 (14-oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk

  • ¾ cup Jif® Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter

  • 1 (19.5-oz.) box Pillsbury® Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix

  • 3 Land O Lakes Eggs

  • ½ cup Crisco® Pure Canola Oil

  • ½ cup buttermilk

  • ½ teaspoon McCormick Pure Almond Extract

  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

  • ¼ cup Land O Lakes Unsalted or Salted Butter, softened

  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract

  • 3½ cups powdered sugar

  • ¼ cup Smucker’s® Seedless Strawberry Jam

  • 12 small strawberries, halved


Heat oven to 350°F. Place foil cup in each regular-size muffin cup. In bowl, stir together condensed milk and peanut butter until blended. In large bowl, beat brownie mix, eggs, oil, buttermilk and almond extract with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes or until blended. Spoon 1 tablespoon brownie batter into muffin cup; top with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter filling. Spoon remaining brownie batter over filling. Bake 25−35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 1 hour. In large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add jam; stir once or twice to create swirls. Spoon into decorating bag or large resealable plastic bag (cut ½-inch opening from 1 corner of plastic bag). Pipe frosting on cupcakes. Garnish with strawberry half. Store covered in refrigerator.

Visit for all 100 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest recipes.


Eagle Brand, Jif, Crisco and Smucker’s are trademarks of the J.M. Smucker Company.

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Take Dinner Outdoors With An Easy Summer Picnic

(NAPSI)—As the weather heats up, picnics offer the perfect outdoor activity for family, friends and foodies alike. A meal under the sun provides a picturesque setting to impress loved ones with an on-the-go gourmet feast while making the most of your time outdoors.

Any picnic pro knows that a great meal includes seasonal, easy dishes that celebrate the season without causing extra work or hassle.

For many, packing food for travel and anticipating the heat can put limitations on picnic dishes. Chef Edward Leonard, Certified Master Chef and Le Cordon Bleu executive chef, offers his own picnic pointers to help anyone create the perfect alfresco meal.

“Everyone loves a picnic, but eating the standard sandwich can take the excitement out of it,” said Chef Leonard. “To make the most of your picnic experience, it’s essential to think about featuring seasonal foods that celebrate summer.”

Le Cordon Bleu chef instructors suggest keeping your meal light with plenty of salads and fruit. The chefs recommend making a watermelon and feta salad or creating an heirloom tomato salad with fresh herbs like basil or sage. For protein, focus on meats that are cooked slowly at a low temperature because they tend to keep well. Try cold pulled pork or roast beef. When it comes to side dishes, consider cultured, pasteurized ingredients—like sour cream or Greek yogurt—for the base of any sauces. This will eliminate any issues with using egg-based products that can go bad in the heat.

“Picnics are a great time to try out new seasonal dishes and enjoy fresh, local produce,” said Chef Leonard. “We teach our students to appreciate local ingredients and find the best ways to showcase the flavors.”

Students at Le Cordon Bleu learn the foundational techniques necessary to use their skills and passion to create exceptional dishes. Regardless of your comfort in the kitchen, picnics provide a great opportunity to create flavorful dishes that will make for a memorable meal.

“If you are looking for fresh meal ideas or want to brush up on your cooking skills, I encourage you to attend an enthusiast cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu,” said Chef Leonard. “Our campuses around the country host hands-on classes where foodies can experience a class with a professional instructor.”

Visit to learn more.

Watermelon and Feta Salad with Mint


  • 6 cups watermelon, cubed into 1” squares

  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced

  • ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped

  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped

  • ¾ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

  • 2 oz. feta cheese, sliced into 1 inch by ¼ inch rectangles

  • 1 Tbsp white balsamic (or rice wine) vinegar

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • Juice and zest of 1 lime

  • Dash of Tabasco

  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste


Combine the watermelon, olives, feta and herbs and mix together lightly. Whisk up the remaining ingredients in a small bowl for the dressing and set aside. Dress this dish just before serving and lightly toss.

Peach and Heirloom Tomato Salad Recipe


  • 2 peaches, pitted and sliced

  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes

  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil

  • ½ tsp. salt

  • 2 tsp. lemon juice

  • 3 tsp. balsamic vinegar

  • ½ tsp. fresh thyme

  • Goat cheese, to taste


In a small bowl, combine oil, salt, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and thyme to create the vinaigrette. In an airtight container, assemble peaches and tomatoes and crumble goat cheese over the top. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

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Let Simplicity Shine

(NAPSI)—There’s a delicious flavor movement taking hold. Food lovers are embracing real, focused flavors over complex presentations that are more like science experiments than recipes. Guided by the motto that “the most memorable food is often the simplest,” now we are celebrating quality ingredients at their peak of flavor with straightforward preparations. This trend is identified in the McCormick® Flavor Forecast® 2012 as “Simplicity Shines.”

“We’re seeing a new appreciation for real, natural goodness, especially now, when warmer weather inspires a simpler approach to eating,” said Chef Mark Garcia of the McCormick Kitchens. “In this case, ‘simplicity’ isn’t just about quick and easy-it’s about a clarity of flavors that reminds us what ‘real’ food tastes like.” The pairing of vanilla with butter is a perfect example of this trend. Together, these back-to-basics flavors have the power to elevate everyday meals in a way that’s anything but basic.

Pure essentials in baked goods, these ingredients inspire new savory recipes that bring the flavors to the forefront in surprising ways. Vanilla-Butter Shrimp Rolls are a new take on a regional American favorite. Unmistakable vanilla highlights the natural sweetness of shrimp, while butter adds richness to these classic sandwiches. The vanilla-butter combination also enhances ice cream sundaes with Easy Butter Toffee Sauce—a sumptuous blend of butter, sugar, vanilla and cream.

For a delicious look at more trends, flavors and recipes, visit

Vanilla-Butter Shrimp Rolls

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • 8 New England−style hot dog rolls (top split) or regular hot dog rolls, split

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened, divided

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut in half

  • ¼ teaspoon McCormick® Paprika

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon McCormick® Ground Black Pepper

  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry or white wine

  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

  • 1 to 2 cups small salad greens, such as mâche, baby spinach or baby arugula


  1. Lightly brush rolls with 2 tablespoons of butter. Heat large skillet on medium heat. Place rolls, buttered-side down, in skillet. Toast 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove from skillet. Set aside.

  2. Heat oil and remaining 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet on medium heat. Add shallots and garlic; cook and stir 1 minute, until fragrant. Add shrimp, paprika, salt and pepper; cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes, just until shrimp turn pink. Stir in sherry and vanilla; cook until heated through.

  3. Spread mayonnaise on each roll. Place baby greens in rolls. Spoon shrimp mixture into each roll. Drizzle shrimp with remaining sauce. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings.

Easy Butter Toffee Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter

  • ½ cup sugar

  • ½ cup heavy cream

  • ½ teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract


  1. Place butter and sugar in medium saucepan on medium heat. Cook and stir until mixture turns a deep amber color.

  2. Carefully stir in cream and vanilla. (Mixture will be bubbly.) Whisking constantly, cook until sauce thickens and coats back of spoon.

Makes 1 cup or 8 (2-tablespoon) servings.

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Rethink Snacking: Defend Your Day With Walnuts

(NAPSI)—Ninety percent of American adults snack daily and could be gaining valuable nutrition. A paper published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that smaller nutritious meals eaten throughout the day contribute significantly to the nutrient quality of the diet. The key is making snacking choices that are not “empty calories” but healthful options, providing important vitamins and minerals.

Your body constantly defends against attacks from pollutants, free radicals and diseases, making it essential to fuel your body with nutrient-dense foods. According to celebrated cookbook author Mollie Katzen, “Wise snacking is essential to good health, since snacking can help keep our bodies ready to tackle anything.” California Walnuts are a natural defender of the human body, and research funded by the California Walnut Commission suggests that they may promote heart health and help protect against cognitive decline and some types of cancer. Walnuts are an excellent way to keep your body fueled.

Great snacking tips from Katzen:

• Plan Ahead: Don’t get caught ravenous. Keep walnuts on hand; they make a great portable snack.

• Measure Snack Portions: Measure a portion of your snack first and then put away the rest so you’re not tempted to overeat. Just a handful of walnuts (about one ounce) offers 2.5g of omega-3, along with protein, fiber and antioxidants.

• Make Sure Your Snack is Balanced: A balanced mini-meal should keep you satisfied; whole-food ingredients will fuel your body and defend your health. Try these vegan, gluten-free Blueberry-Walnut Snack Bars, a favorite from Katzen.

Chewy Blueberry-Walnut Snack Bars


  • Nonstick spray

  • 1 cup dried blueberries

  • 3 cups additional dried fruit (mixed, per your taste)

  • 1½ cups walnuts, chopped

  • ¼ cup rice flour

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ cup agave nectar (or to taste)

  • ¾ cup mashed silken tofu, soft or firm


Preheat the oven to 350°F (325°F for a glass pan). Lightly spray an 8-inch-square pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. Chop dried fruit into bite-sized pieces and place in a medium bowl; add the walnuts. Sprinkle in the rice flour and salt, toss until combined. Spray a ¼-cup measure with nonstick spray before measuring the agave nectar (so it slides out easily!) then pour the nectar into the fruit and walnut mixture. Add the mashed tofu and mix with a spoon or your hands until everything is thoroughly combined. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until brown around the edges and the top is dry to the touch. You can remove the pan from the oven at this point or, for a chewier result, turn off the oven and leave the pan in there for up to 40 minutes longer. Cool the pan for about 20 minutes before cutting the mixture into about a dozen small bars. Transfer bars to a cooling rack and let them sit an hour. (They’ll become chewy while “airing out” on the rack.) Store bars in a cookie tin at room temperature. If you’ll be keeping them for more than a few days, seal them in a heavy plastic bag and store in the refrigerator or freezer. Enjoy at any temperature. (They’re even good frozen.)

Yield: A dozen medium-small bars

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 280; Total Fat 10g; Saturated Fat 1g; Mono Fat 1g; Poly Fat 7g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 110mg; Carbohydrates 43g; Fiber 6g; Protein 4g

Recipe Courtesy of Mollie Katzen for the California Walnut Commission.

For more great recipes, walnut research and health tips,

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A Healthier Burger

(NAPSI)—Grilling is a rite of passage during warmer months, with hamburgers arguably being Americans’ favorite food to grill. However, hamburgers are often high in calories and fat.

How do you make this American staple healthier? Try seafood, which is low in fat and calories and filled with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Because of seafood’s many benefits, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends people should eat at least 8 ounces a week. Substituting seafood, such as tuna, for the protein a recipe calls for is an easy way to make any meal healthier.

Try this great-tasting and healthy hamburger alternative. For more healthy seafood recipes, visit

Cajun Tuna Burgers
Serves 6


  • 2 (12-oz) cans Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water, drained

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • ½ cup each: diced red bell pepper, green bell pepper and green onions

  • ¼ cup Cajun seasoning

  • 1 tsp hot pepper sauce

  • 6 whole-wheat hamburger buns


In a bowl, combine tuna, breadcrumbs and eggs. Add the next 5 ingredients and mix.

Divide and shape tuna mixture into 6 patties. On a grill, cook tuna burgers using a grill-friendly pan until browned and heated through. Or, use a nonstick skillet on the stove.

Place each burger on a bun and top with condiments and vegetables.

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Shrimp Packs A Protein Punch

(NAPSI)—If you’re looking for a tasty way to power up on protein and incorporate a healthy serving of omega-3s into your diet, consider delicious, nutritious shrimp.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) encourage everyone, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, to eat seafood at least twice each week for heart and brain benefits.

“Studies have shown eating seafood twice a week can reduce the risk for the top cause of death among both women and men—heart disease—by more than 30 percent,” said Jennifer McGuire, MS, RD, National Fisheries Institute.

Shrimp is already the nation’s favorite seafood because of its great taste, mild and slightly sweet flavor.

This incredibly versatile protein can be served piping hot or refreshingly cold and incorporated into a variety of cuisines from Mediterranean to Mexican. With a price per pound that rivals cuts of beef, chicken and pork, and at only 83 calories per 3 ounces, shrimp is a smart choice for dishes such as BBQ Shrimp Quesadillas, which are a natural for a weekday dinner on the go or a special occasion celebration.

Learn more about the health benefits of shrimp and find more easy, delicious recipes on Facebook at Eat Shrimp.

BBQ Shrimp Quesadillas
Serves 4


  • 8 ounces cooked shrimp, diced

  • 1 orange bell pepper, roasted or grilled and finely diced

  • ⅔ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed

  • ½ cup reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese

  • 2 tablespoons all-natural barbecue sauce

  • 4 10-inch flour tortillas

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil


Nutrition Information: Combine the shrimp, bell pepper, corn kernels, cheese and barbecue sauce in a bowl. Divide the mixture evenly and spread over half of each tortilla. Fold over, press down gently and set aside. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add two of the tortillas and cook until the tortillas become crisp and golden on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip the tortillas and cook an additional 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining oil and tortillas. Cut into quarters and serve.

380 calories, 11g fat (3g saturated, 0.5g omega-3s), 780mg sodium, 47g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 23g protein, 25% vitamin A, 70% vitamin C, 20% calcium, 25% iron

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What All Grillers Should Have In Their Toolkit

(NAPSI)—While most grillers are armed with tongs and a spatula, many are looking to up their game by experimenting with accessories designed to add more versatility to the grill, such as pizza stones, fish baskets and rib racks.

The new Weber GrillWatch Survey shows that Americans are spending more than five hours a week grilling. As people are grilling more frequently, as well as year-round, the demand for accessories has skyrocketed.

Here are a few of the accessories designed to bring your grilling game to a whole new level.

Must-Have Grilling Accessories:

Chimney starter: Consider a five-quart chimney starter, like Weber’s Rapidfire Chimney Starter, that holds approximately 80 to 100 charcoal briquettes. Chimney starters eliminate the need to use lighter fluid, which is costly.

Long-handled tongs: To prevent your hands from getting too close to the fire, a pair of tongs, such as Stainless Steel Chef’s Tongs, which measure more than 12 inches from end to tip, are a must for the griller’s toolbox.

Meat thermometer: Take the guesswork out of grilling with a digital thermometer to ensure your meat is cooked properly. The Digital Pocket Thermometer comes with a clip to attach easily to your pocket.

Take Your Grilling Game up a Notch with These Accessories:

Rib and roast holder: Save space on your grill with a dual-design rib and roast holder. Weber’s Original Rib and Roast Holder can handle up to five racks of ribs. Flip it over and use the roast holder for whole chickens, turkeys or roasts. Try Championship Spareribs with Sweet Apple Barbecue Sauce from the new cookbook “Weber’s Smoke—A Guide to Smoke Cooking for Everyone and Any Grill”; visit

Pizza stone: To make sure pizza is cooked through without burning the crust, a pizza stone made from cordierite, such as the Gourmet Barbecue System Pizza Stone with Carry Rack, can help make family pizza night something special.

Fish baskets: Grilling delicate fish can be a little intimidating. With a fish basket, you can ensure that flaky fish won’t fall through the grates.

Stainless Steel Fish Baskets are available in small or large. The flexible wires hold in delicate fish and provide a foolproof way to flip your fish.

Smoker boxes: Try your hand at smoking with Firespice Trial-Sized Smoking Kits. Individual tins sit on top of gas grill grates and are packed with smoking woods like hickory, mesquite and cherry. Smoking tins allow grillers to infuse the rich flavors of smoke quickly and easily into almost any dish.

For More Information

For more information about grilling accessories and recipes,

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Beat The Heat By Bringing Cooking Outdoors

(NAPSI)—It’s the time of year to retire the oven and do a little backyard cooking. With just a grill and tongs, the great outdoors can provide a natural setting for creative menus. Here are some tips and tricks for firing up your mealtime in the warm months ahead:

• Arm Yourself with the Right Tools. If it’s always grill season for you, consider investing in a high-quality grill that can be used year after year. Next, buy a set of flat metal skewers—they do not require soaking and they will not fall apart like the wooden ones. The flat edge keeps food from turning, which is an added bonus.

• Master the Classics. No barbecue is complete without hamburgers and hot dogs. Toasted buns should be placed butter side down for a few minutes until golden brown. Make handmade patties ¾ of an inch thick and use chopped onions, dry onion-soup mix, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to season. Hot dogs should be turned often until slightly blistered on all sides. For veggie lovers, portobello mushrooms marinated in equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar are a tasty alternative.

• Experiment. Grills are for more than just meat! Pizza, fruits and vegetables gain new appreciation when cooked on an open flame. Kids and adults alike will love this Grilled Fruit with Apple-Maple Syrup as a summertime treat. Brushed with a warm blend of 100 percent apple juice and pure maple syrup, this grillable dessert is ideal with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

For more grill-ready, no-bake recipe ideas, visit

Grilled Fruit With Apple-Maple Syrup


  • ½ cup Apple Nestlé Juicy

  • Juice All Natural 100% Juice

  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup

  • 4 slices ripe pineapple, peeled

  • 2 peaches, cut in half, pits removed

  • 4 scoops Vanilla Dreyer’s or Edy’s Slow Churned Light Ice Cream

COMBINE Juicy Juice and syrup in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

PREHEAT grill. Brush fruit lightly with a small amount of syrup. Grill fruit, brushing occasionally with additional syrup, for about 2 to 3 minutes per side or until nicely browned.

REMOVE fruit to individual dishes and top each with a scoop of ice cream. Drizzle with remaining syrup.

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