Chocolate-Covered Cherry Fudge: Fun And Fancy
(NAPSI)—Here’s sweet news: This delicious dessert can be easy to make and elegant to serve.
Chocolate-Covered Cherry Fudge
20 maraschino cherries with stems
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips*
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (or bittersweet chocolate chips)*
2 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons flour*
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
1 teaspoon maraschino cherry juice
1 cup walnuts, chopped
Pat the cherries dry with paper towels and set aside. Generously spray an 8-inch by 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray* or brush with oil.
In a small saucepan, combine the chocolates and cook over low heat until most of the chocolate is melted. Stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, flour, baking powder, salt, and maraschino cherry juice. Add the melted chocolate and stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth and starts to thicken. Stir in the walnuts.
Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan and press the cherries into the top, leaving the tops of the cherries and the stems showing. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until hard. Cut into 20 squares.
Makes 20 pieces of fudge
*Go gluten-free! Replace non-stick cooking spray with gluten-free nonstick. Substitute gluten-free chocolate chips and gluten-free dark chocolate where indicated. Replace flour with gluten-free flour.
You can make it dairy-free with dairy-free chocolate.
You can find lots of great recipes—with a cherry on top—fom the National Cherry Growers and Industries Foundation at www.nationalcherries.com. For gluten-free advice and recipes, go to www.simplygluten-free.com.
Recipes and photos courtesy of Carol Kicinski, Professional Recipe Developer, TV Chef and Editor In Chief of Simply Gluten Free Magazine.
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Healthful Eating While Living Away From Home
(NAPSI)—Being away on business or vacation can mean frequent unhealthy fast food or expensive restaurants but one clever cook has the perfect solution.
The winner of the national “Away From Home Cooking Recipe Contest,” Lauren Wyler, created a delicious travel-friendly one that can be made in Extended Stay America’s fully equipped hotel room kitchens. Chosen from entries from around the country, Lauren’s Baja Fish Taco Tortas were taste tested by Food Network host Sunny Anderson, who also creates recipes for the hotel chain’s “Away From Home Cooking” cookbook.
Baja Fish Taco Tortas with Smoky Cilantro Slaw
by Lauren Wyler
2 cups shredded cabbage mix
2 tablespoons ranch dressing
1 teaspoon chipotle hot sauce
¼ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pit removed
4 tablespoons salsa verde
1 pound cod
1 teaspoon cumin
4 torta or bolillo rolls, split in half
2 tablespoons oil
1¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, ranch dressing, hot sauce, chopped cilantro and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir until the slaw is well mixed.
2. In a small bowl, place the peeled avocado, salsa verde and ¼ teaspoon salt. Using a fork, roughly mash and mix together.
3. Cut the lime in half. Take one of the halves and cut it into wedges to serve with the finished tortas.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. While the pan is heating, sprinkle the cod with the cumin, ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. When the oil is hot, add the fish to the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes. Flip the fish and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily and is opaque. Remove the pan from the heat and squeeze the half of lime over the fish.
5. To assemble, place the halved torta rolls on each plate. Spread each of the torta bottoms evenly with the avocado spread, divide the fish evenly between each and then top each with the slaw. Serve with lime wedges.
To view full recipes as well as obtain money-saving grocery tips, visit www.AwayFromHomeCooking.com.
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Rice Can Make For A Nice Holiday Dessert
(NAPSI)—When the holidays are at your house (or you’re asked to bring a dish to someone else’s), you can please family and friends if you serve an elegant dessert that’s also easy to make—such as RiceSelect’s Coconut Rice Sweet Potato Cheesecake.
Coconut Rice Sweet Potato Cheesecake
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1½ cups cooked RiceSelect Arborio (prepared with water)
1 (15-oz.) can sweetened coconut milk
1½ cups cooked mashed sweet potato mixed with 1 tablespoon cream
3 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese
¾ cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flaked coconut
Additional flaked coconut, toasted
Butter a 10-inch springform pan; dust with powdered sugar. Combine crust ingredients and press in bottom and partially up sides of pan. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350º F. Using a food processor, puree cooked Arborio, sweetened coconut milk and sweet potato. Using an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add coconut milk mixture, lemon juice and vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in flaked coconut. Pour into prepared pan. Place pan on baking sheet and bake until filling is set, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove from oven; cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days. Run knife around edge to loosen; remove pan sides. Place on cake plate and sprinkle with toasted coconut.
Because it’s made with Arborio premium rice from RiceSelect, it develops a creamy texture around a slightly chewy center and has an exceptional ability to absorb flavors.
Other party prep steps to take can include: Set a warm mood with candles—just don’t put the scented kind in the dining room, as they can interfere with the taste of the food. Welcome guests with music. Fill your player with holiday tunes. And deck the halls: Drape some red and green crepe around the entry.
You can find further facts, tips and recipes online at www.riceselect.com or call (800) 993-7423.
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Stress-Free Dessert Can Make The Season Sweeter
(NAPSI)—Here is some news that can help to make the winter season more comforting and holidays less stressful.
According to an American Psychological Association study, the leading worries during the holidays are time and money, causing many to feel fatigued and stressed.
To help alleviate stress when preparing meals for friends and family, look for recipes that are quick and effortless to make.
For example, for a sweet ending to the meal, try creating a semi-homemade treat by transforming a store-bought snack into a delicious dessert.
Mrs. Freshley’s is offering quick and easy recipes that use their snacks to create delectable treats with minimal stress.
Here’s a new take on a classic fall comfort food—Pumpkin Bread Pudding.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
5 Mrs. Freshley’s Honey Buns
2 eggs, beaten
½ 15-oz can of pumpkin puree
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp cinnamon
Slice Mrs. Freshley’s Honey Buns into bite-size pieces.
Place honey buns in greased 2-quart baking dish.
Beat eggs, pumpkin puree, milk, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl.
Pour milk mixture over honey buns.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and pudding is firm.
For a quick treat with great flavor, try this recipe for Crisp Cranberry Trifle.
Crisp Cranberry Trifle
7 Mrs. Freshley’s Donut Sticks
4 mason jars
2 cans of whole cranberry sauce
1 tub of frozen whipped topping, thawed
Cut Donut Sticks into bite- size pieces and place a layer in the mason jar.
Next, apply a layer of whole cranberry sauce, then a layer of whipped topping.
Repeat layers until jar is full.
More stress-free dessert recipes and holiday entertaining tips can be found at www.MrsFreshleys.com and www.facebook.com/mrsfreshleys.
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Spiced Cranberry-Apple Iced Tea: A Frosty, Fun Treat
(NAPSI)—When it comes to beverages, cold is hot this holiday season. Iced tea appears to be America’s favorite, representing 85 percent of all U.S. tea consumption. With so many wintry and seasonal tea flavors available—including gingerbread, cranberry, peppermint, spiced apple cider, citrus almond, pumpkin spice, candied apple and more—iced tea is becoming one of the most popular beverages at the holiday table.
Frosty iced tea is also one of the easiest holiday beverages to prepare, so the hosts can enjoy the party along with the guests. Brew it ahead of time and store it in the fridge, and then just pour over ice to serve. Or, use an automatic iced tea maker such as the Capresso Iced Tea Maker, for custom brewed iced tea,from either loose tea or bags, at the touch of a button.
If the holidays inspire your creativity in the kitchen, try this favorite:
Cranberry-Apple Iced Tea
6-8 black tea bags
1 cup cranberry-apple juice
2 medium-sized Fuji apples, unpeeled, sliced
Dash of ground cinnamon
Dash of ground nutmeg
Simple syrup to taste
Custom brew this tea in minutes in a Capresso Iced Tea Maker.
Fill the pitcher with ice and sliced apples. Save some of the sliced apples for garnish. Fill the water tank with fresh cold water, and place 6 to 8 bags of black tea (or your desired portion of loose tea) in the filter basket. Push the brew button and allow the tea to brew.
Once brewing is complete, pour 1 cup of cran-apple beverage into the pitcher and stir. Pour into tall serving glasses and sprinkle with ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Garnish with remaining apple slices and enjoy.
You can find more iced tea recipes at www.capressoblog.com and more information at www.capresso.com
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Baking Powder Pointers
(NAPSI)—At holiday time, successful baking is more important than ever; favorite recipes, family dinners and annual traditions count on it. With baking season right around the corner, here is a fresh idea for better baking: Start the season with new ingredients. For the best baking results, ingredients such as baking powder, baking soda, and flour must be fresh.
According to a recent survey of home bakers, freshness is very important. More than 70 percent of people surveyed ranked freshness as a significant factor when buying baking ingredients and 74 percent say they look for the manufacturer’s expiration date when shopping and when baking. To ensure freshness of your baking powder, the makers of Clabber Girl are introducing a new “fresh lid” that encourages you to write the “opened date” on the top of the can.
To get the best leavening, it’s not only important to know the expiration date, but also to remember when you opened the can. Baking powder starts to react as soon as the can is opened and the powder is exposed to heat and moisture. That’s why you should get a new can after six months. The manufacturer’s date stamped on the bottom refers to the latest date you should open the sealed can. After that, the baking powder may not react well.
Baking powder should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from heat or moisture. Make sure the lid is on securely at all times. Don’t store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Condensation will gather on the inside of the can, causing the powder to react in the can.
If you’re not sure whether your powder has been properly stored, you can test it easily. Take 1 teaspoon of baking powder and mix it with 1/3 cup very hot water. If it fizzles and bubbles, go ahead and bake away. If it doesn’t react or the reaction is delayed or weak, it’s time to get a new can.
Once you know your powder is fresh, you may care to try it out with this delicious cake:
Bourbon Pecan Pound Cake
½ c. vegetable shortening
½ c. butter
1½ c. granulated sugar
2 c. cake flour
1½ tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda
½ tsp. salt
1/3 c. sour cream
3 Tbsp. bourbon whiskey
3/4 c. chopped pecans
1 c. confectioners’ sugar
1½ tsp. bourbon whiskey
1½ Tbsp. water
Set oven rack to middle location and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, cream together shortening, butter and sugar until smooth then set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, Clabber Girl Baking Powder, Clabber Girl Baking Soda and salt; combine well, add to creamed mixture, and mix on low speed 1 minute. Add sour cream, whiskey, eggs, and beat on medium speed 2 minutes; mix in pecans. Pour batter into greased 9-inch tube pan or 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.
Bake (middle rack) at 350 degrees F for 55 minutes or until cake tests done. To test cake, insert a toothpick into the cake and visually check to ensure toothpick is clean when removed. Allow cake to cool before applying glaze.
Beat sugar, whiskey and water together until smooth. Pour over cake.
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Grand Prize—Winning Recipes By Young Chefs
(NAPSI)—You could have a secret weapon for keeping your family healthy right in your own home: your kitchen table.
That’s because research shows that children who help cook dinner with their family are more likely to have a healthier diet with more fruits and vegetables. To help families spend more time around the kitchen table and improve their lives, the UNCLE BEN’S® Brand launched the Ben’s Beginners™ Cooking Contest. It strives to inspire healthful lifelong eating habits by getting children interested in cooking at an early age.
Through the contest, the UNCLE BEN’S® Brand has been able to award nine school cafeteria makeovers in just two years. Its two grand-prize winners have been able to impact their schools for years to come with their entries. Check out the updates from their schools and their prize-winning recipes below.
Sydney Fialkow from Atlanta, Ga.
Sydney Fialkow from Atlanta, Ga., won the first Ben’s Beginners™ Cooking Contest Grand Prize in 2012 for Epstein School. She and her mother, Stacy, cooked up her winning rice and chicken recipe and rallied their community to support her entry by voting online. Epstein School was able to use the prize funds as a springboard to launch its capital campaign and update many areas of the school. It began by purchasing new seating for the cafeteria and a yogurt machine. Check out Sydney’s winning recipe:
Sydney’s Rice and Chicken
1 cup chopped onions
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breast fillets (about 1½ lb.)
½ tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. coarse-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup UNCLE BEN’S® ORIGINAL CONVERTED® Brand Rice
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup frozen green peas
1 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. dried oregano
As needed, yellow food coloring (optional)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray glass baking dish evenly with cooking spray.
Place onions in baking dish; top with chicken fillets. Season the chicken evenly with salt, black pepper and garlic powder.
Pour chicken broth into baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove baking dish from oven. Transfer chicken breast fillets to container and reserve.
In baking dish, add rice, bell peppers, peas, cilantro and oregano. If desired, add 2 shakes of yellow food coloring. Stir rice mixture.
Arrange reserved chicken breast fillets over rice.
Cover and bake for 25 minutes.
Remove from oven, gently stir rice mixture, cover with foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked, rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed.
Claire Noles from Boaz, Ala.
In 2013, the second year of the contest, Claire Noles of Boaz, Ala., won the Grand Prize for her school, Corley Elementary. Since winning, Corley purchased new tables for the cafeteria, a sound system and projection screen with the prize funds. The school is currently still finalizing its new-and-improved cafeteria to unveil later this school year. The updated cafeteria equipment and lunchroom facility will help the school prepare food on-site; lunch was previously prepared at another location and driven in each day.
“All in all, this prize money will greatly impact the students in our community by giving them an opportunity to eat freshly prepared and healthier meals,” said Rachel Noles, Claire’s mother. “This has been the gift that just keeps on giving!”
Check out Claire’s delicious and easy recipe:
Claire’s Crockpot Chicken and Rice Supreme
6-8 chicken breasts
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup of green chilies
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
1 tsp of butter
1 tsp of “secret seasoning” (celery salt)
1 bag of Uncle Ben’s Creamy Four Cheese Rice
Mix all the ingredients together in a crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
You can learn more about the contest and see more terrific recipes at www.unclebens.com
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Infuse Pears With Wintertime Flavors
(NAPSI)—It’s peak pear season, and with it comes an endless variety of ways to enjoy this versatile fruit, like sliced into salads, layered in sandwiches or simply enjoyed, fresh and ripe, with a napkin in hand. Multiple varieties of USA-grown pears are available in markets from coast to coast nearly year-round. Reach for everyday favorites like Bartlett, Bosc and Anjou, and experiment with the delicate flavors of Starkrimson, Forelle and Comice.
Poaching pears is the perfect way to get creative with this cold weather staple. It turns firmer pears into a tender treat and infuses them with subtle, sweet flavors and spices, which are absorbed during this easy and gentle simmering process. In this recipe, coconut milk as the cooking liquid and star anise as the spice come together to create a simple but indescribably delicious sauce for classic poached pears. Dish up as a dessert or a filling breakfast with granola and protein-rich Greek yogurt.
Creamy Coconut and Star Anise Poached Pears with Greek Yogurt and Granola
Preparation time: 25 minutes Serves six
3 firm USA Pears, such as Bosc, Anjou, Red Anjou or Concorde
2 cans (14 ounces each) coconut milk
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
3 whole star anise pods
2 cups Greek yogurt, divided
1 cup granola, divided
Peel and halve the pears, and scoop out their cores using a spoon. In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm coconut milk, sugar and anise until sugar is dissolved. Submerge the pears in the coconut milk. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes, keeping the heat at low to prevent burning the coconut milk, until the pears are just tender when pierced with a fork. Gently stir the mixture every 8-10 minutes to prevent scorching. Once tender, remove the pears and let cool slightly. Remove the sweetened, spiced coconut milk from heat and set aside.
Spoon 1/3 cup Greek yogurt into 6 serving bowls, and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of granola atop each bowl. Place one poached pear half in each bowl. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the poaching sauce over the top and serve. Refrigerate any leftover pears in the reserved coconut milk.
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