RECIPES:
Herb-Baked Salmon On Bed Of Asparagus Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice Mango and Ham Popovers 10-Minute Veggie Soup Peanut Butter Quesadillas  Light Georgia Pecan Pie

Holiday Helpers Key To Easier Entertaining

(NAPSI)-The frozen and refrigerated aisles of the grocery store have many "holiday helpers" to make preparations easier and more enjoyable for holiday events, family gatherings and even unexpected guests. Try these ideas:
  • Shop early to beat the crowds and stock your refrigerator and freezer.
  • Great side dishes, such as ready-to-heat-and-eat vegetables, potatoes and breads, can mean less work in the kitchen and more time with friends and the family.
  • Delicious breakfasts of waffles, pancakes, bagels, breakfast sandwiches, fruits and yogurts can be found frozen and ready for holiday mornings.
  • Easy appetizers such as cheeses, dips, egg rolls, shrimp, pizza, wings and meatballs are ready to heat and serve so the party can begin.
  • Start with frozen pies, cakes and ice cream and add fruit, toppings and sauces.
  • Fully prepared entrées are easy to heat and serve on busy shopping nights or when you are too tired to cook.

The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association suggests you try this easy yet impressive holiday dinner you can get from the freezer to the table in minutes.

Herb-Baked Salmon On Bed Of Asparagus

Ingredients:

  • 4 frozen thawed salmon fillets
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • ½ tsp basil
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper
  • 1 pkg. frozen asparagus spears
  • Radish slices, mixed greens and lemon slices

Directions:

Place salmon in lightly greased baking dish. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and spices. Pour over salmon. Bake at 400º for about 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily. Meanwhile, heat asparagus according to package directions. To serve, place radish slices on each plate; top with asparagus spears and salmon. Garnish with mixed greens and lemon slice. Serves 4.

For additional recipes, serving suggestions and food safety tips on frozen and refrigerated foods, visit EasyHomeMeals.com.

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Get Inspired To Break Out Of The Same Mealtime Routine

(NAPSI)-With families preparing more meals at home, it's easy to run out of ideas and slip into a mealtime slump. Christy Jordan, a stay-at-home mom, food columnist and blogger on Southern Plate.com, is no stranger to mealtime madness.

"Like so many busy Americans, I'm always on the lookout for no-hassle recipes that my family will actually eat," says Christy. "No matter if you're a beginner or pro in the kitchen, all it takes is a bit of prep and a dash of creativity to whip up simple and delicious dishes the whole family will love."

Helpful Hints

Christy offers her personal strategies that help her organize meals to leave more time for family fun:

  • Designate a day, like Saturday, to grocery shop and plan out meals for the week. Try to make it a family activity-the more you get the kids involved in the process, the more they'll enjoy the end result.
  • Stock up on refrigerator or pantry staples when they're on sale, so you'll have items on hand for last-minute needs. Christy's go-to entertaining recipe is a simple, delicious queso dip made from VELVEETA and a can of RO*TEL.
  • Make your meals multitask for you-repurpose leftovers and turn them into a whole new dish. Save leftover queso dip in the refrigerator and pour over a baked potato or cooked pasta for an easy, cheesy sauce.
  • It's great to incorporate your family's heritage or traditions into mealtime and recipes. Or create new memories, such as having the kids choose what home-cooked meal to eat on their birthdays.
  • The next time you're out at your favorite restaurant, start up a conversation with your servers to see if they'll dish on the ingredients in your favorite menu item. You'll be amazed how you can re-create a restaurant-inspired dish at home for less.

For additional mealtime advice and recipe inspiration, log on to www.Velveeta.com. Until October 30, 2009, VELVEETA is teaming up with five "Kitchenistas" to share recipes and daily cooking tips. Visitors to the site also have the opportunity to enter a daily sweepstakes for a chance to win a VELVEETA it! prize package worth $75.

Take the Guesswork Out of Mealtime

If you're in search of a go-to weeknight meal, look no further than this guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice

Prep Time: 10 min.
Total Time: 25 min.
Makes: 6 servings, 1 cup each

What You Need!
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 can (14½ oz.) chicken broth
  • 2 cups instant white rice, uncooked
  • ½ lb. (8 oz.) VELVEETA Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

Make It!

COOK chicken in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat 5 minutes or until chicken is done.

STIR in broth. Bring to boil.

ADD rice, VELVEETA and broccoli; cover. Remove from heat. Let stand 10 min. Stir until VELVEETA is completely melted and mixture is well blended.

For more mealtime inspiration and recipes like this one, visit www.Velveeta.com.

RO*TEL is a product of ConAgra Foods, Inc.

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Pop Mangos Into Your Favorite Seasonal Dish

(NAPSI)-Waste not, want not this holiday season. Stretch those traditional staple ingredients even further and add a tropical twist with fresh mangos for a fun spin on comfort food with Mango and Ham Popovers. The dash of cinnamon paired with sweet mango and salty ham is a delicious and unique alternative for your post-holiday dish line-up. Perfect as a warm breakfast treat or light snack the next day, these popovers will help you bring something new to the table.

Mangos bring an essence of the tropics to any dish or beverage. They're an excellent source of vitamins A and C and a good source of fiber.

Mango and Ham Popovers

Makes 6 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 to 30 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 2 ripe mangos, peeled, pitted and cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1½ cups ¼-inch cubes ham
  • 3 tablespoons sliced green onions
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted, plus extra-soft butter for coating muffin cups
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (slightly heaping)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Stir together mangos, ham, green onions and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Coat 12 muffin cups liberally with softened butter and fill with equal amounts of mango mixture. Whisk together milk, water and eggs in a medium bowl. Slowly add butter, whisking constantly. Add flour and salt and whisk until smooth. Ladle equal amounts into muffin cups and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 12 popovers (2 per serving).

Serving note: May substitute leftover turkey for ham.

Warm up with tropical mangos this season and see why they're the world's most popular fruit.

For more recipes and instructions on how to select and cut a mango, visit www.mango.org.

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Eat Healthfully On A Budget
by Elizabeth Pivonka, President, Produce for Better Health Foundation

(NAPSI)-Here's food for thought: Eating lots of colorful fruits and vegetables can be a sound investment in long-term health. They're loaded with healthy fiber, vitamins and minerals, and eating them helps maintain a healthy weight and may reduce the risk of many diseases.

All forms of fruits and vegetables-fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100 percent fruit and vegetable juice-can be an affordable part of a healthful lifestyle.

Making produce instead of protein the main focus of a meal can mean less cost, less fat, fewer calories and more vitamins and minerals. Use meat as a side dish rather than the main course. Replace it with extra fruits and vegetables.

For a quick-to-fix dish that offers 1¼ cups of veggies in each serving and is an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C and fiber, try this 10- Minute Veggie Soup.

10-Minute Veggie Soup

Preparation time: 10 minutes; allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving

Ingredients:
  • 2 29-oz. cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes - no salt added
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ cup macaroni, dry
  • 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Combine chicken broth, diced tomatoes, basil and onion powder. Bring to a simmer and add pasta and frozen vegetable mix (broccoli, cauliflower and carrot mix is great in this recipe). Cook for 6 minutes and remove from heat, adding salt and pepper to taste.

The pasta will not be cooked all the way through. Let soup sit for 5 minutes and pasta will become soft.

Serves: 6

Nutrition Information per serving: calories: 112, total fat: 0.5g, saturated fat: 0.3g, percent calories from fat: 4, percent calories from saturated fat: 3, protein: 6g, carbohydrates: 21g, cholesterol: 3mg, dietary fiber: 4g, sodium: 244mg.

Round out your meal with a slice of whole grain bread, add fresh, canned or frozen fruit for dessert and you've just put a delicious, nutritious dinner on the table in nearly no time.

Learn More

You can find healthful, easy-to-prepare recipes online at www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org. There's even an entire section of recipes that can be made in 30 minutes or less. You'll also find a healthful meal-planning guide with advice on making a weekly menu and shopping list.

"

Note to Editors: Latest in a series of columns by Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D., president and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation. More stories at naps net.com-pdf archive keyword: "Pivonka."

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Peanuts Can Provide The Perfect Lunch

(NAPSI)-Preparing a lunch that's packed with protein, vitamins and minerals, that's economical and also tastes terrific, is not a problem-if you include peanuts.

Peanuts are packed with nutrition, providing more than 30 nutrients and phytonutrients. They are rich in niacin, are a good source of folate and vitamin E, and provide a beneficial balance of fatty acids, containing primarily unsaturated fatty acids, otherwise known as "good" fats. They also have more protein than any nut, an important consideration for children and vegetarians.

Peanuts and peanut butter are among the most affordable sources of quality protein available, an important consideration in challenging economic times.

Peanuts are also versatile, fitting into a classic staple such as PB&J sandwiches and lending exotic flavor to noodles when mixed with sesame oil, garlic and ginger.

Mix them up with dried cranberries, raisins and sunflower seeds and you have a healthy lunch box or party snack.

Because of their versatility, peanuts are a crowd-pleaser, appealing to kids as well as adults.

A study conducted by Weekly Reader showed that 64 percent of kids would eat more produce if it were paired with peanut butter. So you could serve celery sticks, cucumbers or carrots with a dipping sauce of peanut butter.

Here's another delicious way to serve up the nutritional goodness of peanuts: sweet Peanut Butter Quesadillas.

Peanut Butter Quesadillas

Ingredients:
  • 4 6" whole wheat tortillas
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 thinly sliced banana
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Preparation:

Spray saucepan with non-stick cooking spray. Spread peanut butter evenly over 2 of the tortillas. Place thinly sliced bananas over the peanut butter. Cover each tortilla with peanut butter and another tortilla and heat in a skillet until warm on both sides. Cut both quesadillas into quarters and serve hot.

Nutritional information:

Per serving: Calories 113 (39 percent from fat); Fat 5g (sat 1g, mono 3g, poly 1g); Protein 3g; Carb 14g; Fiber 2g; Chol 0mg; Calc 10 mg; Sodium 115mg.

Makes 2 Quesadillas

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Pecan Pie: A Powerhouse Of Antioxidants

(NAPSI)-Pecan pie is a perennial favorite, but what many people may not know is that tasty pecans also make it a great source of antioxidants.

"Pecans are the highest antioxidant nut, which makes them a nutritional powerhouse," says registered dietitian and nutritionist Tara Gidus, who runs the Diet Diva site at www.dietdiva.net. "They work well in sweet or savory recipes but I especially love them to top my oatmeal or in a lightened-up version of pecan pie."

A one-ounce serving of Georgia pecans contains over 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and zinc. Pecans are also a good source of oleic acid, vitamin B1, thiamine, magnesium and protein.

"Pecan pie always pops up as a favorite, but this simple, light, six-ingredient recipe will quickly win your heart with a showstopping honey pecan topping," says Holly Clegg, author of six cookbooks. Here's her recipe:

Light Georgia Pecan Pie with Honey Pecan Topping

Makes 8 -10 servings

Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell or prepared rolled pie dough (formed into a 9-inch pie pan)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In mixing bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, corn syrup, flour and vanilla until creamy. Stir in pecans.
  3. Pour into pie shell, bake 40-50 minutes or until pie is set.

Honey Crunch Topping

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup pecan halves

Directions:

  1. In small pot, combine brown sugar, butter and honey.
  2. Cook over low heat until ingredients come to a boil, stirring. Stir in pecans. Remove from heat.
  3. During last 5 minutes of baking, remove pie from oven, spread topping evenly over top. Return to oven, broil until topping is bubbly and golden brown. Watch carefully.

Terrific Tidbit: The pie may be made without the topping for an even more lightened version. For more information and recipes, visit GeorgiaPecansFit.org.

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