Keeping Your Health In Check Starts With Lunch
(NAPSI)—Taking control of your midday meal can benefit both your health and your wallet. One of the easiest ways to reach your wellness goals is by taking charge of your lunch with simple, flavorful ingredients you can stock in your pantry or desk drawer.
When you just have a few minutes for lunch, Minute® Ready to Serve Rice can be a wholesome solution. In just 60 seconds and with nothing to add, you have delicious, fully cooked rice. Plus, there are a variety of options to change up your midday meal or on-the-go snack. Packaged in individual, single-serve cups, the rice makes portion control simple, too. With whole-grain options such as Brown Rice, Multi-Grain Medley, and Brown & Wild Rice and flavors including Black Beans & Rice and Fried Rice Mix, you can revamp last night’s leftovers, jazz up a boring salad or turn your favorite ingredients into a tasty and filling wrap.
Packing your lunch doesn’t have to be drab or time consuming when you plan ahead and use common ingredients from your fridge or pantry. Try this delicious, satisfying Provencal Rice Salad recipe and challenge yourself to create other healthful lunch options a few days a week.
Provencal Rice Salad
1 container Minute® Ready to Serve—any whole grain variety such as Multi-Grain Medley, Brown & Wild Rice, or Whole Grain Brown Rice
1 can (6 ounces) canned tuna, drained
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 black olives, sliced
2 tablespoons red wine vinaigrette
1 cup salad greens
Prepare rice according to package directions. In a medium bowl, combine rice, tuna, tomatoes, olives and vinaigrette; mix well. Serve over greens and/or with pita chips.
Serves: 2 (about 1 cup each)
For this recipe and many more, visit www.minuterice.com.
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Freshen Up Salads With Sweet And Juicy Pears
(NAPSI)—Bring a sweet touch to your salads by adding fresh pears. In season nearly year-round, USA Pears make a great addition to salads at any meal. Their sweet flavor pairs well with other seasonal produce, and the classic combination of pears, nuts and cheese can improve any green salad.
An excellent source of fiber, pears are also a good source of vitamin C. Adding them to salads can help you pump up your meal’s nutrition content with one tasty ingredient.
To tell if a pear is ripe, simply check the neck. Apply gentle pressure to the stem end of the pear with your thumb. If it gives to pressure, then it’s ripe, sweet and juicy.
For more recipe ideas, visit www.usapears.org and follow USA Pears on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Crunchy Vegetable Salad with Pears and Creamy Cheddar Dressing
Yield: 6 servings
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 small head radicchio, chopped
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced on a diagonal
2 large USA Pears, such as Anjou, Bosc or Bartlett, cored and sliced
1 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts
5 tablespoons mayonnaise
¾ cup buttermilk
¾ cup finely grated vintage sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives
½ teaspoon salt
Several turns of freshly
ground black pepper
Place the chopped lettuce and radicchio into a large bowl of ice water to crisp and set aside for 15 minutes. The dressing can be prepared in the meantime (see below). After 15 minutes, drain the lettuce and radicchio and spin in a salad spinner until dry. Add the sliced celery and pears and gently toss. Divide the salad among six plates and spoon the dressing over the top. Sprinkle each serving with the chopped hazelnuts.
For the dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a pint jar and shake vigorously to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
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Take Kids Snacking Into The Wild With Mangos
(NAPSI)—The next time you’re looking for creative ways to enhance some of your kids’ go-to favorites, consider this: Snacking now accounts for more than half of all eating occasions in the U.S. Parents are increasingly challenged to create quick bites that give kids the energy and nutrition they need.
The good news is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. With fresh mango, it’s easy to transform kitchen staples into snack time adventures. Mango is available year-round and its versatility makes it an excellent addition to your family’s meal plan. It’s packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals and all for just 100 calories per cup.
Stacking nutrient-rich mango and berries with dessert items such as brownies and marshmallows on a kebab can make for fun treats for kids to prepare. Mango popsicles are another popular go-to treat. Just puree fresh-cut mango in a blender or food processor, pour into ice cube trays, insert a Popsicle stick and freeze.
When selecting a mango, don’t judge the fruit by its color. Instead, squeeze it gently to find a ripe mango that “gives” slightly like a peach or avocado. Store your ripe mangos for up to a week in the refrigerator until you’re ready to whip up your favorite snack or keep slices and cubes frozen for up to six months in an airtight container.
Just like adults, kids eat with their eyes first, so it can be fun to turn a traditional personal-size pizza into a Lion Pizza with mango and red bell pepper slices for the mane. The sweet and slightly tangy mango is a good substitute for tomato, making it a natural complement to Italian-style dishes.
You can even pair this Lion Pizza with a viewing of Disney’s “The Jungle Book”—available for the first time on Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital HD on February 11—and you’re likely to create a roaring good time that your kids won’t forget.
Now that you’re in the party mood, think about an adventure-filled, five-night vacation for your family. You can “like” Mango Board on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mangoboard and enter the Jungle Jetsetter Giveaway for your chance to win a Funjet Vacations family getaway to Punta Cana with all-inclusive accommodations at the RIU Palace Punta Cana courtesy of Funjet Vacations.
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 8 Minutes
4 whole-wheat pitas
1 cup low-sodium pizza sauce
½ cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
½ cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
8 pepperoni slices
8 black olive slices
1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted, cut into thin strips
1 large red bell pepper, seeds removed, cut into thin strips
4 mushroom slices
Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread ¼ cup pizza sauce on one side of each pita. Sprinkle ? cup mozzarella cheese in the center of each pita. Sprinkle ? cup cheddar cheese around the outer edge of each pita. Place two pepperoni slices in the middle of each pita and top with two olive slices to make the lion’s eyes. Alternate mango and red pepper strips around the edge of each pita, creating the lion’s mane. Add a mushroom slice in the center of each pizza for the lion’s nose. Place the pitas on a large baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Serve warm.
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Create Great Food—Fast
(NAPSI)—You can enjoy delicious, healthful dishes in minutes: The secret is a good imported extra virgin olive oil (EVO). It’s nutritious, a trans fat−free food and loaded with flavor.
To make every meal special:
• Toss cooked whole wheat penne, spaghetti or cavatelli with EVO, garlic and parsley to taste. Add steamed mixed vegetables of your choice for a quick and colorful pasta primavera.
• Pan sear shrimp or scallops in EVO for about five minutes. Cut red and green peppers into thin strips and toss with a tablespoon of EVO. Microwave peppers briefly until tender. Combine seafood with peppers and serve on top of instant brown rice.
• Make your own signature salad dressing by combining EVO, vinegar or lemon juice with favorite herbs like oregano, chives or ground pepper. The flavor will permeate the salad greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and vegetables.
Share your favorite recipes and tips with the Gourmet Factory, makers of Capatriti Extra Virgin Olive Oil, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gourmetfactoryoliveoil.
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Suggestions On Sausages
(NAPSI)—Sausages are enjoying great popularity in the United States these days as new flavors, convenient products and many great-tasting old standards are tastefully meeting Americans’ breakfast, lunch and dinner needs.
Before you get to sausage sizzling, however, remember: Different types of sausage require different preparation techniques. Here’s a look at a few favorites:
• Fresh linked sausage, including fresh bratwurst, fresh Italian sausage and fresh kielbasa, must be cooked thoroughly to 160° F for meat-based sausages and to 165° F for poultry sausages. They can be parboiled and then fried or grilled, or cooked in a frying pan or grill.
To parboil, place sausage links in a heavy skillet. Add water to cover and parboil until the sausage is gray throughout (about 10 to 15 minutes). The sausage can then be fried until nicely browned. Parboiled sausage may also be grilled slowly over coals, turning frequently until gray-brown throughout.
• For a special taste treat, parboil sausage in beer instead of water prior to grilling. Stronger-flavored beers tend to impart more flavor to sausage. Beers heavy on malt will impart a sweeter flavor, suitable for strong sausages. Lagers tend to be more bitter and complement a sweeter sausage.
• Sausages may also be grilled slowly, thoroughly and evenly over mature coals or gas flames.
• Cooked sausage such as wieners, knockwurst, cooked bratwurst and smoked sausage need only be heated until hot, which can be done in a variety of ways. To steam precooked sausage, bring a pan of water or beer to a boil. Remove the pan from heat and add sausage. Cover the pan and let it stand seven to 10 minutes. Adding sausages to vigorously boiling water may cause the casings to split.
• Cooked sausage can be baked in a casserole dish, microwaved, grilled or panfried.
• All sausages in casings should be turned with tongs during cooking—not with a fork, which can puncture the casing and permit flavorful juices to escape.
You can find further facts in a colorful brochure: “A Guide To Sausage Varieties, Culture and Cooking,” online at http://hot-dog.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/94387. Free copies are also available for a self-addressed 6x9” envelope with 66 cents postage sent to NHDSC, 1150 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20036.
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Throwing A ‘60s Dessert Party… Disney Style
(NAPSI)—A party doesn’t have to deplete your monthly budget as long as you realize the purpose of entertaining is to have fun with friends. A dessert party is the perfect answer. Everyone loves dessert and, with only one course, the shopping is less expensive and you can often prepare the food beforehand. But what about the theme for the party? That leads us to an idea based on the Disney film “Saving Mr. Banks,” starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson—a ‘60s Dessert Party!
A little background. Walt Disney’s “Mary Poppins,” one of the world’s most beloved and enduring family films ever, was released in the mid-1960s, the setting for “Saving Mr. Banks,” which is now on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD. The film tells the little-known story of how Walt (Hanks) convinced author Pamela “P. L.” Travers (Thompson) to agree to a movie based on her best-selling book series. In many meetings, the stubborn Travers insists Disney and his team stick to the exact details of her novels. Eventually, Walt makes her understand that despite taking some liberties, using imagination and creativity does achieve what Travers really wanted to say.
Creativity, of course, went into duplicating the early to mid-‘60s style and look of “Saving Mr. Banks,” a key component of which was food. TV and film food stylist Chris Oliver (“About Last Night,” “The Master”; TV’s “Parenthood,” “Masters of Sex,” “Boardwalk Empire”) was brought in to handle the design.
Ms. Oliver’s primary focus was the writers’ room scenes where Walt had plentiful dessert fare wheeled in for breaks. Some of the most popular desserts from the ‘60s were featured. “The food was meant to reflect a time line for Mrs. Travers, who, at first, was entirely negative about everything Disney. When she first arrives in the room, we put out tons of premade desserts loaded with preservatives—Sno Balls, Twinkies, etc. (I was particularly proud of the red/green/orange Mickey Jell-O mold.) As the film progresses and Travers softens, we brought in more homemade items with pure ingredients.”
Oliver sees the movie as the perfect inspiration for a retro-themed ladies’ dessert party. To throw a classic ‘60s party, she recommends starting with “a pastel color scheme, Pyrex serving dishes, fun Jell-O molds, cheese and fruit platters, and cakes with lots of frosting. Popular desserts of the ‘60s are coconut or butter cakes, baked Alaska, soufflés, berry pies and pineapple upside-down cake.”
One of Chris Oliver’s favorite dishes inspired by the ‘60s is cherry pie, but her special recipe is a timeless classic with ingredients that haven’t changed for more than a century. For Chris’ Cherry Pie and other favorite ‘60s recipes, visit www.facebook.com/SavingMrBanks.
To get more into the spirit of the era as you watch the film together, put on a pot of tea and provide a few side snack dishes like deviled eggs or Walt Disney’s personal favorite, chili: (http://blogs.disney.com/insider/recipes/2013/02/04/walts-own-chili/).
For more information about Chris Oliver and her cooking and food styling tips, please visit www.hollywoodfoodstyling.com. For more information about the “Saving Mr. Banks” Blu-ray™ and DVD, please visit www.movies.disney.com.
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Fire Up The Fun With Extreme Burgers
(NAPSI)—Nothing says summer like hamburgers and hot dogs sizzling on the grill. In fact, according to the 25th annual Weber GrillWatch Survey, more than 80 percent of grill owners say that burgers are their favorite thing to grill, followed by hot dogs (75 percent).
To celebrate America’s love affair with hamburgers, brats and other classic grilled fare, Weber Grills has released “Weber’s Big Book of Burgers”-their first cookbook dedicated to fueling America’s passion for backyard classics.
“This book is truly a start-to-finish guide to throwing the ultimate backyard bash,” says New York Times best-selling cookbook author Jamie Purviance. “Each of the 160 recipes features a photo and goes beyond the burger, with fun twists on hot dogs, side dishes and even cocktails.”
“Weber’s Big Book of Burgers” also explores famous regional favorites in its America the Burgerful section, including Santa Fe, where the green chili cheeseburger rules, to Columbia, South Carolina’s own pimento cheeseburger.
An in-depth Sausage and Hot Dog Geography section salutes regional favorites like Classic Chicago-Style Hot Dogs topped with pickled “sport” peppers and neon-green relish, and New York Hot Dogs with Sweet Red Onions.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Grilling Time: 6−8 minutes
4 slices thick-cut bacon
? cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
2 ripe Hass avocados
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 pounds ground chuck (80 percent lean)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon onion powder
8 thin slices cheddar cheese
4 hamburger buns, split
4 leaves Boston lettuce
1 ripe beefsteak tomato, cut crosswise into 4 slices about ? inch thick
In a skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally. Drain on paper towels.
Whisk the mayo ingredients, including ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Mash the guacamole ingredients, including ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Mix the ground chuck with the Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, the smoked paprika and onion powder, and then gently form eight patties of equal size, each about ½ inch thick and a little wider than the buns.
Refrigerate the patties until ready to grill. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat (400° to 500° F). Grill the patties over direct medium-high heat, with the lid closed, until cooked to medium doneness (160° F), 6 to 8 minutes, turning once.
During the last 30 seconds to 1 minute of grilling time, place a slice of cheese on each patty to melt, and toast the buns, cut side down, over direct heat.
Build each burger on a bun with garlic mayo, a lettuce leaf, a tomato slice, two patties, as much guacamole as you like, a slice of bacon (torn in half) and more garlic mayo.
For more information or to get a copy of “Weber’s Big Book of Burgers,” visit www.weber.com or www.amazon.com.
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Pairing The Right Wine With A Meal Can Make A Difference
(NAPSI)—No matter what you’re cooking, and whether you’re dining alone or entertaining a crowd, the right wine can elevate a simple meal. Fortunately, selecting, serving and enjoying great wine doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive if you join the right wine club. Consider this easy recipe and wine pairing tip provided by one of the oldest clubs around.
Makes 4 servings
4 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat grill to medium heat, pierce chicken several times with a fork. Place chicken into a resealable plastic bag and pour in olive oil. Seal and shake bag to coat chicken; add rosemary, thyme, oregano, garlic, salt and black pepper to the bag, seal, and shake again to coat chicken with herbs. Grill chicken until the juices run clear and the meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads at least 165 degrees F. Add fresh-squeezed lemon to finish the chicken.
This works well with a bright, fresh, crisp white wine. According to the experts at The California Wine Club, top picks are New World Sauvignon Blanc, Unoaked California Chardonnay, French Pinot Gris and Italian Pinot Grigio.
Wines like these are meant to be uncorked and enjoyed while young, so look for newer vintages, 2011 or later, depending on the winemaker and region. The acidic level of the wine is what makes for a good food and wine pairing. The flavors of the food and wine should complement each other, neither one overtaking the other and each becoming better because of the other.
The club was created to provide recommendations and selections, just as a friend would recommend a great bottle of wine to another. Members say The California Wine Club is like touring wine country from the comfort of home.
As a member, you can get convenient home delivery—monthly, every other month or even quarterly—and the best choice of handcrafted wine from small, family-owned wineries at the lowest possible price. There are experienced wine consultants to assist you with your wine choices and questions and even wine country travel experts to help you plan a wine country getaway.
What’s more, each shipment includes a newsletter called Uncorked that’s a fun and easy way to learn about wine and get to know the families behind each winery.
Bruce and Pam Boring, who founded the club, discover these small wineries and leverage their years of experience, exquisite taste and long-built relationships with craft winemakers to hand select and deliver award-winning wines to you. They know the wineries and vintners know them, so club members get introduced to wineries and wines they might never have found on their own.
Five kinds of membership are available:
• Premier Series—the most popular
• Signature Series—for collectors and connoisseurs
• International Selections—from small wineries around the world
• Aged Cabernet Series—Napa’s most prestigious Cabernets, aged eight to 12 years.
• Pacific Northwest Series—limited-production, award-winning wines from Oregon and Washington.
There are no membership fees, and customers can stop or modify their preferences at any time.
For further facts, tips and wine suggestions and to learn how to get a gift membership or become a member yourself, visit www.cawineclub.com or call (800) 777-4443.
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