Sonoma Steaks Tomato-Mango Salsa Tomato Pesto Tart Slow Cooker Pot Roast Mashed Sweet Potatoes Ham and Swiss Hash Brown Bake

Bringing Home The "Best Of Beef"

(NAPSI)-Fresh, flavorful ingredients and nutrient-rich beef cuts won the prize at this year's Best of Beef competition. With her recipe for Sonoma Steaks with Vegetables Bocconcini, home cook Mary Hawkes of Prescott, Ariz. won the 28th National Beef Cook-Off® $25,000 grand prize, topping recipes from 14 other finalists.

The winning recipe featured grilled beef top loin steaks, zucchini, yellow bell pepper and red grape tomatoes tossed with herb-marinated fresh mozzarella balls. In addition, the dish is an excellent source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, selenium and zinc, and a good source of iron.

The judges raved about Hawkes' recipe because of its overall simplicity, her efficient use of ingredients and the mellow flavor and texture of the mozzarella balls partnered with the smoky grilled steak and vegetables:

Sonoma Steaks with Vegetables Bocconcini


  • 2 boneless beef top loin (strip) steaks, cut ¾ inch thick (about 8 ounces each)
  • 1 container (9 to 16 ounces) herb-marinated, small fresh mozzarella balls (bocconcini)
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut diagonally into ¼-inch thick slices
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into ¾-inch-wide strips
  • 1 cup small red grape tomatoes

Total Recipe Time: 30 minutes
Marinade Time: 15 minutes to 2 hours


Drain bocconcini, reserving and combining 1/3 cup marinade and vinegar in small bowl; toss zucchini and bell pepper with 2 tablespoons marinade mixture, refrigerating until ready to use. Place beef steaks and remaining marinade mixture in food-safe plastic bag, closing bag securely; marinate in refrigerator 15 minutes to 2 hours.

Remove steaks and vegetables from marinade, discarding marinade. Place steaks on one half of grill over medium, ash-covered coals; place vegetables in grill basket on other half of grill. Grill steaks, uncovered, 10 to 12 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered, 7 to 10 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally. Grill vegetables 10 to 13 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally, adding tomatoes during last 2 minutes of grilling.

Combine grilled vegetables and bocconcini in large bowl, tossing gently to combine, and carve steaks into slices, seasoning with salt, as desired. Serve beef with vegetable mixture.

Makes 4 servings

To view this year's winning recipes, visit

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Spicing Up Holiday Parties

(NAPSI)-Adding an authentic Mexican twist to the traditional holiday menu and drink list can add some spice to this year's festivities.

Party experts suggest serving up dishes and cocktails that add distinctive flair and flavor to your get-togethers.

"In Mexico, the holidays, or las fiestas, are times of celebration, spirit and sharing, marked by bold tastes and flavors," explains chef Roberto Santibanez.

He offers these two recipes to help holiday partygoers capture that spirit. They're both made with Tequila Cazadores® Reposado. Made from 100 percent blue agave, the spirit has a smooth, authentic flavor that can be used in a variety of cocktail and food recipes or can be enjoyed on its own.

Tomato-Mango Salsa


  • 1 firm, ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced (1/3 inch)
  • 3 Tbsp. Tequila Cazadores® Reposado
  • 2 tsp. sugar, to taste (depending on sweetness of mango)
  • 1 lb. tomatoes, cored
  • ½ cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp. minced habanero chili (1/2 chili), including seeds
  • 11/8 tsp. fine salt
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro


Toss together mango, tequila and sugar in a bowl and let macerate for one hour. Preheat a toaster oven to 450°F. Place tomatoes, cored side up, on a small baking pan and bake until charred and softened to the core, 20 to 25 minutes. Peel the tomatoes and chop coarsely, retaining the seeds and juices. Stir onion, lime juice, habanero and salt with tomatoes and taste to be sure that salt level is just right. Stir in mango mixture and cilantro just before serving. Serve with tortilla chips or vegetable crudités.

Makes 21/2 to 3 cups.

Mistletoe Margarita


  • 11/2 parts Tequila Cazadores® Reposado
  • 2 parts pomegranate juice
  • ½ part sour mix
  • ½ part triple sec
  • ½ part grenadine
  • Splash of fresh lime juice


Shake ingredients and pour into rocks glass. Garnish with a slice of lime.

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Party-Pleasing Tomato And Pesto Tart

(NAPSI)-Easy to make and elegant to serve, tiny tomato tarts make a great party appetizer or luncheon side dish.

In addition, because they're made with freshly canned tomatoes, they're a natural source of lycopene, an antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of heart disease. According to scientists, the body absorbs more lycopene from cooked tomatoes than from raw.

In addition to serving up lycopene, canned tomatoes make a great addition to a wide range of recipes, according to chef George Duran, host of "Ham on the Street" and author of "Take This Dish and Twist It." "I'm a huge fan of using Hunt's® diced, whole and stewed tomatoes in my recipes because they go from vine to can in mere hours and are flash-steamed to help keep their backyard garden−fresh taste," said Duran.

For an appetizing crowd-pleaser in any season, try this tomato pesto tart made with canned tomatoes:

Tomato Pesto Tart


  • PAM Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed according to package directions (1 sheet = ½ of 17.3-oz. pkg.)
  • ½ cup prepared basil pesto
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (1 cup = 4 oz.)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz. each) Hunt's®
  • Whole Peeled Tomatoes, drained, cut into ¼-inch- thick slices
  • Thinly sliced fresh basil, optional

Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: Makes 9 servings


Preheat oven to 400ºF. Spray rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside. Unfold 1 puff pastry sheet onto lightly floured surface; roll out to 12-inch square. Crimp edges; place on prepared baking sheet. Spread pesto evenly over puff pastry. Sprinkle with ½ cup cheese, then add tomato slices in a single layer. Finish by topping evenly with remaining cheese. Bake 17-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Garnish with some fresh basil, if desired. For small bites, cut into 16 pieces. Serve immediately.

Garnishing with fresh basil serves up another layer of appealingly fresh taste and aroma.

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Slow Cooking Calls For Storage Onions

(NAPSI)-Busy cooks who want convenience and flavor often use a slow cooker to prepare family-pleasing, one-dish meals.

Slow cookers can save time and energy by letting ingredients like onions perform their magic while you work or play. At the end of a hectic day, the aroma of a home-cooked meal will greet you.

Many cooks find that onions are indispensable for adding healthy nutrients and flavor to slow cooker recipes. Because of their intense flavor that mellows with heat, storage or cooking-type onions are perfect for soups, stews and savory dishes with longer cooking times. Yellow, red and white storage onions, unlike sweet onions, have multiple layers of thick, papery skin. Look for storage onions grown in the U.S.A. in supermarkets and grocery stores through April.

In this recipe, storage onions smother a pot roast and after hours of cooking become part of a hearty meal with a rich and savory sauce.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast


  • 1 2½-pound boneless beef sirloin tip or chuck roast
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1½ pounds yellow onions, trimmed and cut into
  • ½-inch slices
  • 1 pound red potatoes, trimmed and halved
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (stems removed)
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • ½ cup red wine or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Pepper and salt to taste (optional)


Trim fat from beef roast. Place roast in bottom of 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Spread horseradish over surface of meat. Top and surround roast with onions and potatoes. Sprinkle with thyme and rosemary and pour in tomato juice and beef broth. Cover and cook on high setting for 6 to 8 hours or until beef is fall-apart tender.

Mix wine (or beef broth) with flour. Pour mixture around the meat in the slow cooker. With a spoon, gently stir the flour mixture into existing sauce without disturbing the meat. Replace cover and cook on high setting for 15 minutes or until thickened. Season with pepper and salt to taste before serving.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

More information and recipes are available at the National Onion Association Web site at

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Enjoy Sweet Potatoes With A Heart-Healthy Twist

(NAPSI)-This holiday season, you can use olive oil to give your dishes a dose of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats without sacrificing taste.

For a lighter and more flavorful alternative to candied yams and other marshmallow-topped sweet potato dishes, try Mashed Sweet Potatoes. This twist on the comfort food favorite combines cardamom, fresh ginger and grated orange peel for a sweet-savory flavor. It uses olive oil instead of butter for a creamy consistency. And a crunchy baked topping of cinnamon breadcrumbs helps to ensure that even picky eaters will enjoy a healthy dose of the sweet potatoes' vitamins A and C. Holiday meals don't have to be elaborate to be festive and satisfying.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes


  • 4 large sweet potatoes (about 5 lbs.), peeled and quartered
  • Extra-light olive oil for greasing casserole
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 to 3 tsp. grated fresh gingerroot
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. grated orange peel (approx. 2 oranges)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. cardamom, optional
  • ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 slices cinnamon bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tsp. extra-light olive oil

Prep. Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 57 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes


Place potatoes in Dutch oven with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover loosely and simmer 15 to 25 minutes or until tender. Drain well in colander; place in large bowl; set aside.

Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease 2-quart casserole with olive oil. In medium skillet or saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and gingerroot; cook and stir until tender.

Lightly mash potatoes with spoon or potato masher. Add onion mixture and remaining ingredients except cinnamon bread and 2 tsp. olive oil. For smoother consistency, beat with mixer to blend. For a chunkier mixture, mash with potato masher or wooden spoon to blend. Spoon into prepared casserole.

In food processor or blender, process bread pieces until completely chopped. Blend in remaining 2 tsp. olive oil. Sprinkle over potato mixture.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until lightly browned and thoroughly hot.

Makes 16 to 20 servings.

For more recipes, as well as additional information about olive oil, visit

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Simple Secrets For Entertaining The Holiday Houseful

(NAPSI)-When the holiday season leaves little time to spend in the kitchen, you may need some help cooking for festive get-togethers or a houseful of hungry guests. With award-winning cookbook author Pam Anderson's secrets for a stress-free holiday, you can prepare quick and easy recipes for all your festive celebrations.

The following are a few tips for creating simple meals for those festive gatherings, so you can spend less time stressing and more time celebrating with loved ones:

Start new family traditions: From baking cookies to helping decorate the dining room table, there are many things you can do as a family every year to bring tradition to the season. Plus, having the kids help out will keep them busy and make them feel like a part of the festivities.

Keep your pantry stocked: Stock up on must-have staples such as CARNATION® Evaporated Milk, flour, sugar and canned pumpkin; because they are shelf stable you can always have them on hand. For example, when a recipe calls for 1 cup of milk, just use 1 cup of CARNATION Evaporated Milk instead. Not only is it at your fingertips, but it provides a richer taste and creamier texture than regular milk.

Don't let any food go to waste: Leftovers make a great addition to new recipes and are quick and convenient when you are hosting a houseful of guests. You can even save all your leftovers for a special buffet at the end of the week.

Lighten the cooking load: When hosting a holiday celebration, ask friends and family to bring their own signature dish. This helps lighten your cooking load and allows everyone to showcase their favorite holiday recipe. The next time you are asked to share your special dish, try this Ham and Swiss Hash Brown Bake:

Ham and Swiss Hash Brown Bake


  • 1 bag (16 oz.) or 4½ cups frozen, shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 2 cups (about 8 oz.) cooked ham, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) CARNATION Evaporated Milk
  • 1 can (10 oz.) condensed reduced-sodium cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon or yellow mustard
  • ½-1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed of moisture
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese


PREHEAT oven to 400° F. Grease 2½- to 3-quart casserole dish.

COMBINE potatoes, ham, evaporated milk, soup, mustard and pepper in large bowl. Pour half of potato mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with spinach and top with remaining potato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.

BAKE for 40 to 45 minutes or until heated through and lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

To learn more about Pam Anderson, visit the Carnation Virtual Kitchen at There you will find many more rich recipes-be sure to sign up for a free "Holiday Houseful" Recipe Guide (while supplies last).

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