Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The lean protein that can help save you from the holiday spread in 2010

(ARA) - If feasting on holiday spreads has left your waistline experiencing some spreading of its own, you may feel more committed than ever to keeping that New Year's resolution to live a healthier lifestyle. And you're probably looking for ways to make it as easy as possible.

You're not alone in wanting to do something for your health. More than half of Los Angeleans - generally perceived to be some of the healthiest people in America - want to lose between 10 and 50 pounds in 2010, according to a recent survey by Kelton Research, conducted on behalf of Jennie-O Turkey Store. Making changes that are good for your health seems to be on everyone's mind.

The turn of a new year is a great time to make some good-for-you changes like exercising more, getting better sleep and managing stress. It's actually simple - although not always easy - to keep your positive resolutions. Here's some practical advice:

When it comes to exercise, be sure to set realistic goals for yourself and remember that even the smallest incremental step is an improvement. For example, don't require yourself to begin jogging five miles every morning right away, especially if you've been pretty sedentary until now. Instead, start out with simple steps like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking at the far end of the lot, and spending at least 10 minutes of your lunch hour taking a brisk walk instead of surfing the Internet.

Commit to getting better sleep by giving up just one half hour of television a night. Instead of staying up for late shows, hit the sack 30 minutes earlier and you'll be amazed at how much better you'll feel in a short time. Realize that managing stress is also an important part of your overall health goals. Explore techniques that have proven to work for others - from yoga to running to reading - and find what's right for you. Engage in some stress-relieving activity every day, even if it's something as simple as walking your dog or playing with the cat.

But without improving your diet as well, any resolution to improve your health will fall short of success. When it comes to eating better, replacing higher fat meats like beef with lean protein like turkey is an easy, flavorful way to improve your diet without making yourself feel deprived. "Ground turkey is especially versatile and, with a few simple tweaks, can replace higher fat ground beef in virtually any recipe," notes Devin Alexander, host of Discovery Health's program "Healthy Decadence with Devin Alexander," and author of "The Biggest Loser Cookbook." "Turkey is a lean protein that easily replaces beef to create fulfilling, full flavor dishes. Adding turkey to your diet can help you reduce fat without feeling like you're giving anything up. You can still have that burger with all the fixins - just make it a turkey burger!"

For those watching what they eat, turkey is a satisfying, lighter dish. In fact, 40 percent of those polled in the Kelton survey say turkey is a lean meat that has helped them with their weight-loss efforts. Advantages of cooking with ground turkey include:

* Turkey is naturally leaner than beef while still packing in the protein.
* The delicate flavor of turkey will not overpower any dish you use it in.
* Turkey can be a more satisfying alternative than non-meat protein substitutes like tofu.
* In many cases, turkey products cost less than other proteins.

Jennie-O Turkey Store has partnered with Chef Alexander to share special, signature recipes that help you create lean, healthy meals that are full of flavor. These nutritious recipes are part of Jennie-O Turkey Store's "30 Days/30 Ways" program, which offers hundreds of recipes with turkey that will help improve your diet.

Here is a sample of one of the "30 Days/30 Ways" turkey recipes you'll find on

Turkey Enchilada Soup


Olive oil spray
1 package (20 ounces) Jennie-O extra lean ground turkey breast
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon salt-free Mexican or Southwest seasoning
1-1/4 cups uncooked instant brown rice
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (no more than 100 mg sodium per cup)
2 cups mild red enchilada sauce
14-1/2 ounce can, no salt-added, diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chipotle queso (all-natural, if possible; salsa con queso will work as a second option)
1-1/2 cups rinsed and drained, 50 percent less-sodium black beans
6 lime wedges, divided
6 teaspoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, divided
24 baked tortilla chips, divided

Place a large nonstick soup pot over medium-high heat. Lightly mist the pot with olive oil spray and add the turkey, onion and garlic. Sprinkle the Mexican seasoning over the turkey mixture, then cook the mixture, breaking the turkey into large chunks as it cooks, until no longer pink, about five to seven minutes. Add the rice, broth, enchilada sauce, and tomatoes. Turn the heat to high, cover the soup and bring it to a boil. When the soup reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer it for 20 minutes, or until the rice is completely cooked.

Stir in the cheese sauce. Continue cooking for an additional 20 minutes, uncovered, or until the soup begins to thicken slightly. Stir in the black beans and continue cooking until they are just warmed through.

Divide the soup among six serving bowls (about 2 cups per bowl). Squeeze the juice of one lime wedge over each bowl, then top each bowl with 1 teaspoon of the cilantro. Using your hands, break four chips over each bowl of soup. Serve immediately.

Makes six 2-cup servings. Each serving has 340 calories, 31 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, trace amounts of saturated fat, 38 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 787 mg sodium.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Be party smart - simple rules to avoid calories

(ARA) - With the abundance of parties this time of year - from the holidays to Mardi Gras - it can be easy to over-indulge and see the result in your waistline. Even so, it's possible to enjoy party favorites with the right approach.

Mitzi Dulan, registered dietician, author and nutritionist for NFL and Major League Baseball teams, offers a party game plan everyone can follow that emphasizes moderation, avoiding hunger extremes and eating real foods like avocado, shrimp and all-natural honey.

"Some people think they cannot enjoy the food at parties and maintain their figure," Dulan says. "This isn't true. I encourage people to eat the foods they love, but do so in moderation. It is easy to over-eat at parties, which is why I created this guide to avoid extra calories."

Mitzi Dulan's party game plan includes obeying five simple rules:

1. Portions, portions, portions: The No. 1 rule of the party game plan is one of the easiest steps, yet most often violated. Eat foods in smaller amounts. It's when you go back for seconds and thirds that the pounds accumulate. The first bites are always the tastiest anyway.

2. Avoid the chemistry test: Xanthan Gum. Sodium Alginate. Erythorbic Acid. What may seem like questions on an annoying high school science quiz are actual ingredients found in party dips, marinades and appetizers. Stick to foods with short ingredient lists like chicken, vegetables and cheese.

3. Drink in moderation: Alcoholic beverages are full of empty calories. If you drink, stick to light beers and avoid sugary beverages like margaritas.

4. Bring an appetizer: Hosts and hostesses will not mind - some may even find it helpful - if you bring your own appetizer. This will ensure there are smart alternatives at the party. Dulan has designed several recipes with this idea in mind including Honey Guacamole and Honey Glazed Shrimp.

5. Steer clear of extremes: Don't come to a party ravenous or leave stuffed; stay somewhere in the middle. Have a snack or appetizer before the party, like a Chicken Lettuce Wrap, to curb hunger. At the party, stop eating before you feel full or sick. Eat until satisfied, regardless of how much food is left on your plate.

The following recipes, created by Dulan for the National Honey Board, are all designed with the party game plan in mind. For more recipes, visit

Honey Guacamole
Makes eight servings

2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and mashed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Sea salt
Mash avocados. Stir in lemon juice, honey and cilantro. Add sea salt to taste. Serve immediately with multigrain tortilla chips.

Nutrition facts: 80 calories, one gram of protein, six grams of carbohydrates, seven grams of fat.

Honey Glazed Shrimp
Makes eight servings

2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined

Mix together soy sauce, honey and lemon juice in a small bowl. Brush shrimp with half of the glaze and set aside remaining glaze. Grill shrimp over medium-high heat for about three minutes on each side or until pink. Remove from grill and baste with remaining glaze.

Nutrition facts: 168 calories, 23 grams of protein, 14 grams of carbohydrates, two grams of fat.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Makes 12 servings

1 tablespoon walnut oil
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup shredded carrots
1/3 cup sliced almonds
12 leaves of Boston Bibb or butter lettuce leaves

Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry. Add 2 teaspoons oil to a large skillet over medium heat, then sautee the chicken until cooked thoroughly, about seven to 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and honey until thoroughly mixed. Add chicken, carrots and almonds. To serve, allow guests to scoop chicken mixture onto a lettuce leaf. Wrap the lettuce around the meat like a burrito.

Nutrition facts: 120 calories, 16 grams of protein, five grams of carbohydrates, four grams of fat.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Healthy Cooking Made Easy

(NAPSI)-Eating healthy doesn't have to be bland or boring.

To add fun and nutrition to your plate, just brush up on some simple French such as "en papillote," a method of cooking where food is wrapped in a packet made from parchment paper. Because you're cooking right on the parchment paper, there is no need to add any extra grease. En papillote allows food to steam in its own juices, capturing flavor and nutrients. Plus, cleanup is a breeze.

Surprisingly simple, en papillote is an easy way to keep fish from drying out and vegetables perfectly cooked. What's more, you can serve the parchment packets right out of the oven for an elegant and aromatic table presentation.

Try this easy, delicious salmon recipe and visit for more recipes and step-by-step instructions for en papillote cooking.

Salmon en Papillote

Serves 4

Reynolds Parchment Paper

1 tsp. tarragon leaves

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. grated lemon peel

½ tsp. seasoned salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1 pound fresh asparagus

4 salmon fillets (4 to 6 oz. each)

4 lemon slices

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Mix tarragon, garlic, lemon peel, seasoned salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Tear off four 15-inch sheets of Reynolds Parchment Paper. Fold each sheet in half and crease it in the center. Unfold.

Place ¼ of asparagus evenly on ½ of each sheet near crease. Place salmon fillet on top of asparagus. Spread each fillet with ¼ of herb mixture. Top each fillet with a lemon slice. Drizzle ¼ tsp. olive oil over fish, if desired, for more intense flavor.

Fold over other half of sheet to enclose ingredients. Starting at top corner, make small overlapping folds down entire length of packet to seal edges together. Twist the last fold several times to make a tight seal. Repeat to make 4 packets. Place parchment packets on a large cookie sheet.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes. Place packets on plates. Carefully cut an X in top of each packet to allow steam to escape. Serve immediately.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Clementines from Spain, Winter's Sweetest Citrus, Arrive in Atlanta

/PRNewswire/ -- Juicy. Easy to peel. Bursting with flavor. Clementines from Spain, winter's seasonal delight and popular fruit snack, have hit the grocery aisles of Atlanta, and local favorite Chef Hector Santiago is sharing the sweetness! Available during their peak season of December through February, these juicy gems play a starring role on the menu of one of Atlanta's most popular restaurants. To celebrate the Clementines from Spain season, Chef Santiago has developed signature dishes that serve up these tasty treats, adding a burst of citrus to his Spanish-influenced cuisine.

The world's best clementines originate in Spain. Known for their superior quality and their trademark sun-kissed sweet, juicy taste, Clementines from Spain are a delicious delight looked forward to and enjoyed by adults, children and chefs, each year. Spain is also the world's largest producer and exporter of this citrus fruit, exporting an average of 579 million tons to the United States each year.

Refreshingly sweet and easy to peel, Clementines from Spain make a great on-the-go snack during this busy time of year. They are nutrient-packed, offering a good source of vitamin C, folate, fiber and potassium and contain only about 50 calories each. Packaged in charming five-pound crates, they are also a welcome holiday gift for family and friends.

But they're for more than just snacking. Professional chefs and home cooks alike know that they can add a twist of citrus freshness and flavor to their holiday meals and menus by incorporating this season's star ingredient.

Local Atlanta Chef Hector Santiago, owner of Pura Vida, eagerly awaits this time of year when Clementines from Spain - one of his favorite seasonal ingredients - become available. Chef Santiago is an expert when it comes to understanding the freshest flavors and ingredients from Spain. Chef Santiago recently debuted new signature menu items at Pura Vida that capture the season's finest ingredient. "I look forward to this time of year when Clementines from Spain start arriving," says Santiago. "They are a very versatile ingredient, and their crisp citrus essence adds the perfect zesty lift. I use the juice, the zest or even the whole fruit in everything from salads and soups to main dishes and of course, desserts."

Chef Hector Santiago offers the following recipe ideas for home cooks looking to add a citrus note of flair and flavor to their dishes and holiday menus:

-- Clementines from Spain Chipotle Roasted Chicken - An easy recipe to do
at home, this entree plays on the sweet-spicy flavor combinations that
Chef Santiago loves to work with. The Clementines from Spain have the
perfect tenderness and sweet-tart balance that allows for the entire
fruit to be eaten in this dish.
-- Clementines from Spain-Pumpkin Seed Bread - This bread is based on a
classic orange bread but features Clementines from Spain and adds
pumpkin seeds. It is great as a breakfast or brunch bread or with
afternoon tea.

And, at a time when nutritional fresh produce is in demand and the number of people visiting food banks is on the rise, the Trade Commission of Spain is sharing the sweetness of the season and donating crates of Clementines from Spain to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

For the full seasonal recipes featuring Clementines from Spain from Chef Santiago's kitchen at Pura Vida, visit A new "Chef's Corner" section on the site features these recipes along with other Spanish-inspired culinary creations from notable chefs, along with tips and nutrition information.

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Stay Healthy With Brown Rice

(NAPSI)-The next time you're looking for a healthy and affordable ingredient, think rice. Brown rice, more specifically, is a versatile and inexpensive anchor for any meal and provides numerous health advantages to go along with its more flavorful qualities.

In general, all kinds of rice are complex carbohydrates free of trans-fat, sodium and gluten. In addition, brown rice is a 100 percent whole-grain product. Research has shown diets rich in whole grains reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes. Brown rice also contains plenty of fiber, an important nutritional source and good tool for dieters. Foods rich with fiber are more filling and may decrease the likelihood of overeating.

Health benefits aside, brown rice boasts a variety that is convenient and tastes great. With its nutty flavor and satisfying texture, natural brown rice provides whole-grain goodness any time of the day. Products such as Success Brown Rice let you get the nutritional value of brown rice in 10 minutes, one-fourth the time of the long-cooking variety. It is the original no-measure, no-mess boil-in-bag rice. That feature also eliminates any potential cooking mistakes and it can even stay in the water up to 30 minutes after it cooks and still be excellent.

For those who want to make even more of brown rice, here are a few "stir-in" suggestions:

• Citrus Rice--To hot, cooked brown rice, add grated orange, lemon or lime zest for a fresh lively taste.

• Coconut Rice--While cooking brown rice, substitute light coconut milk for one cup of water. After the rice is done, stir in fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro.

• Slightly Mexican--To hot, cooked brown rice, add diced tomatoes, green onions, Monterey Jack cheese and cilantro. Alternatively, instead of tomatoes, try your favorite salsa.

• Portobello Mushroom Rice--To hot, cooked brown rice, add sautéed chopped portobello mushrooms and toasted chopped pecans. Top with crumbled feta cheese.

You can find more tips, nutritional information and brown rice recipes at or (800) 226-9522.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

All about broth

(ARA) - Cooler weather, warm coats and the approaching holidays - it's the season when heartier, warmth-building fare arrives on American dinner tables. And heartier fare cries out for the rich flavorful versatility of broth!

Whether you're looking to enhance your holiday fare or simply seeking hearty cuisine to carry your family through the winter months, broth can be your best friend in the kitchen.

"Weeknight family meal or a weekend soiree, the secret to an easy, fantastic meal isn't in the sauce, it's in the pantry - and it's broth," says Chef Michael Chiarello, the culinary genius behind Bottega restaurant in the Napa Valley and an Emmy-winning TV chef who appears on Food Network and Bravo.

Chiarello has teamed with Progresso to create a series of videos on how to use broth to enhance your cooking. "I am a big advocate for using broth to ramp up the flavor and depth of your dishes, but it can't be just any broth. It has to have great flavor," says Chiarello. "Progresso is my choice for rich flavor - the kind of flavor that will take any dish from average to amazing."

Here are some of Chef Chiarello's top tips for how you can use broth to turn ordinary dishes into extraordinary ones:

1. Just baste it.

Who hasn't watched the turkey slowly dry out while waiting for enough natural jus to collect in the bottom of the pan for a reasonable run at basting? Don't wait for the juices to cook out of the meat, begin basting right away with broth. "It's impossible to over-baste," Chiarello says. "Baste chicken, turkey, pork or beef with broth as it roasts and your main dish will come out juicy and delicious every time."

2. New life for leftovers

Refrigerators can steal moisture from the most succulent meal. Before you reheat last night's pasta or casserole, drizzle a little broth over it to rehydrate and add flavor.

3. When you're out of wine

If a pan sauce calls for wine and your pantry happens to be "dry" that day - or you prefer to cook without it - you can easily replace wine with broth. It's the perfect substitute, imparting rich flavor without the cost of wine.

4. Stuffing that won't stop

Stuffing can be just so-so. Using broth to moisten the bread crumbs pushes your stuffing over the edge when you're making your favorite stuffing recipe.

5. Mashed potatoes to the max

Replace milk and butter with broth to boost the flavor of your mashed potatoes - and reduce the calorie count. Cook potatoes in broth, save the broth when you strain the potatoes and add it back in when mashing until you achieve the perfect consistency.

6. Perfect pasta

Cook pasta risotto in chicken broth for a delectable treat. The broth has all the benefits of water as a cooking medium, plus it adds the great flavor of chicken broth to your pasta.

Broth adds flavor and depth to any recipe so it's a great base for soups. Here are two of Chef Chiarello's favorite recipes that rely on broth:

Very green broccoli soup

Prep time: 50 minutes
Start to finish: 50 minutes

Soup ingredients

1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
Gray salt
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
5 cups Progresso chicken broth (from two 32-ounce cartons)
2 cups packed fresh spinach leaves
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel
1 cup whipping cream or buttermilk (if using buttermilk, use 1 teaspoon lemon peel)
Freshly ground pepper

Gremolata ingredients

1/4 cup Progresso panko crispy bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted


Cut broccoli florets from stems. Peel tough outer skin from stems; trim off fibrous ends. Cut stems into 1/2-inch pieces.

In four-quart Dutch oven, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat until butter is melted. Add garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until light brown. Stir in onion and celery; season with salt. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir together gremolata ingredients; set aside.
Stir thyme, broccoli stems and broth into soup. Heat to boiling. Cook uncovered over medium heat about three minutes. Stir in broccoli florets; cook about seven minutes, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is very tender. Stir in spinach and lemon peel (spinach will wilt).

In blender, cover and puree soup in small batches. (At this point, soup can be covered and refrigerated up to one day or frozen up to one month.) Return soup to Dutch oven; reheat over medium-low heat. Stir in cream; season to taste with additional salt and the pepper.

Ladle soup into warm individual soup bowls. Sprinkle one tablespoon gremolata onto each serving. Pass remaining gremolata at table.

Serves eight.

Spinach Arancini
Prep time: Ninety minutes
Start to finish: Three hours

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cup uncooked Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups Progresso reduced-sodium chicken broth (from 32-ounce carton), heated
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup chopped fresh spinach leaves
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 24 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups Progresso Italian style panko crispy bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
Vegetable oil for frying

Line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper. In three-quart saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook about one minute, stirring frequently. Add garlic; cook and stir five minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in rice and wine; cook five to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until liquid is absorbed. Add one cup broth; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broth is absorbed. Add remaining one cup broth; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broth is absorbed.

Season with pepper. Stir in spinach, butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Spread onto cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 90 minutes or until firm. (Mixture can be refrigerated overnight.) On cookie sheet, shape rice mixture into 12-by-8 inch rectangle. Cut into six rows by four rows to make 24 squares. Place one mozzarella cheese cube in center of each square; shape rice around cheese cubes to make balls.

Place flour and bread crumbs in separate bowls. In another bowl, beat egg and water until blended. Coat each ball with flour, then dip into egg mixture and coat with bread crumbs. Place coated balls on unlined cookie sheet; refrigerate 30 minutes.

Line platter or shallow pan with paper towels. In four-quart Dutch oven, heat about two inches of vegetable oil to 350 F. Fry eight balls at a time three to four minutes, turning once, until golden brown. With slotted spoon, remove balls from Dutch oven to towel-lined platter to drain. Serve hot.

For more great broth recipes, a copy of a new recipe book, tips and videos, visit

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Baking No-Knead Artisan Bread At Home

(NAPSI)-Artisan bread that is handcrafted in small batches has become a popular purchase at farmer's markets, bakeries and specialty stores.

While a traditional store-bought loaf might have 20 ingredients, bakery artisan bread will start with only the basics, then be customized with the addition of fresh and simple, flavorful ingredients such as cheese, olive oil or herbs. These delicious, crusty loaves can be enjoyed every day, but their distinctive flavor and appearance can also add a special touch when entertaining.

It's easier than you might imagine to make fresh and authentic artisan bread at home. Specialty bread mixes can help you re-create the delicious flavor and distinctive crust of artisan bread but with much less work. For example, Krusteaz Supreme bread mixes, which come in several delectable flavors, don't even require kneading. And you can store the unbaked dough in the refrigerator for up to three days until you have time for rising.

At you can find a step-by-step instructional video that shows you how to make artisan bread, complete with its delicious crust, in five easy steps. The site also offers tips on how to customize your basic bread recipe with simple additions or toppings. For example, you can flavor bread by simply topping with kosher salt or adding chopped herbs to the dough before baking.

Create Your Own

Use Krusteaz's White, Sourdough and Italian Herb mixes to create these specialty breads:

• Rosemary Parmesan Bread: Add ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese to the dry mix; sprinkle finely chopped rosemary on top of the loaf before baking.

• Sun-Dried Tomato Bread: Mix in two tablespoons finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes to the dry mix and then bake as directed.

• Decorating the bread can also make it distinctive. Cutting a pretty pattern into the crust is an easy way to impress company, and easy-to-follow directions can be found on the site.

Bread Baking Tips

• To make sure bread rises, be sure to add yeast as directed and measure the temperature of the water used.

• If dough looks uneven or bumpy, simply add water a tablespoon at a time until dough forms into a smooth round ball.

• For a crunchy crust, make sure to remove the bread from the pan to cool.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pears And Cheese: A Tempting Duo

(NAPSI)-Get-togethers large and small can be enhanced in a delicious way when you serve cheese and pears together as an appetizer, dessert or side dish. Pears and cheese have a natural affinity, as the flavor, aroma and characteristics of each enhance the other.

To make a successful match, the secret is to understand the "personality" of your pear. Each pear variety has its own distinct flavor and texture, so you should begin by picking the pears you want to spotlight. Use these suggestions or create your own delectable combinations and let your taste buds be your guide.

• The green Anjou pear is refreshingly sweet and juicy with a hint of citrus. Try it with a soft, mild goat cheese or Brie that won't overpower the mild Anjou flavor.

• Bartlett is a very juicy pear that is exceptionally aromatic with a smooth texture. Try Bartlett pears with a rich mascarpone cheese or with Gouda.

• Partner earthy and honey-sweet Bosc pear slices with aged white cheddar that has a bold, nutty flavor and a pleasant, grainy texture. The spicy-sweet Bosc pear flavor contrasts nicely with the cheese's tangy finish.

• Wow your guests with juicy Comice pears and a strong blue cheese like Stilton. Comice is a sweet dessert pear with a custard-like texture that contrasts nicely with a salty, slightly grainy cheese like Stilton.

• Forelle pears are small with a mild, sweet flavor and a crisp texture even when fully ripe. Port Salut is a semisoft cheese with mild, nutty flavor and a creamy texture--a perfect complement to the pear's juicy flavor and crisp texture.

• Red pears are a thing of beauty, especially when paired with buttery Brie. Red Bartlett is a variety with floral aromas and a supple sweetness and works well with Brie's creamy texture and slightly nutty flavor.

• Fontina cheese paired with bite-size Seckel pears makes for pleasing flavors on the palate. Seckel is a very sweet and juicy pear when ripe. Fontina is a semi-soft cheese with a slightly pungent aroma and a creamy texture.

Find more pairings, recipes and information, including how to tell when a pear is ripe, at

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Adding A Fashionable Touch To At-Home Celebrations

(NAPSI)-Style-savvy hosts are always looking for ways to create chic celebrations for family and friends. This season it's all about bringing the hottest fashion trends and runway looks into your party-planning process. According to celebrity stylist and entertaining expert Robert Verdi, this season is all about the color purple, using layers of accessories, combining a mix of high-end and affordable items, and customizing your look to make sure your own style shines through. Below, Robert and Ecco Domani Wines of Italy share the top five tips for hosting an unforgettable fete.

1. First impressions are crucial when people enter your home, and just like in fashion, making a memorable statement goes a long way! Create a warm and welcoming environment for guests by illuminating your entryway--just place a collection of candles around the space to create a festive but intimate vibe.

2. Just as you would with your wardrobe, take inspiration from one signature piece and build your party around it. For example, pick a signature wine for the evening that not only tastes great but looks great on your table and make it the centerpiece of your chic gathering. Ecco Domani just introduced a Pinot Noir with vibrant blueberry and blackberry aromas that can serve as the perfect accessory for stylish get-togethers. The sleek black, purple and silver bottle will add a fashion-forward accent to your decor.

3. Chic and easy touches add a personal dimension of style to your tabletop without breaking your budget. For example, think outside the box when creating place cards--show your flair for fashion by placing brooches from your favorite local vintage shop on each plate with your guest's name attached. Or, if you want to add a splash of color to your table, try draping a vibrant purple scarf over plain linen for added interest.

4. From the hottest shows on TV to the trendiest looks on the runway, '60s style is back in a big way! Put your own spin on that stylish era by treating guests to a modern version of the classic cocktail party punch bowl. Or try mixing and matching inexpensive glassware to create a statement by using unique vessels that match your theme and add character. A set of mason jars or a collection of handblown artisan glassware will give your guests a unique style from which to sip.

5. To ensure an unforgettable evening, send your guests home in style with a fashionable gift bag. Fill a purple-colored tote with a collection of small candles, a vibrant printed silk scarf and a bottle of the new 2008 Pinot Noir.

For more entertaining and recipe ideas, visit

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Don't Skip A Beat With The “I Heart” Mango Tart

(NAPSI)-When cooking up a romantic dinner for two, reach for the fruit that is revered as a symbol of love in some countries-the luscious mango. With its intense fruity flavor and aroma, the mango is a perfect partner to help you celebrate with your special someone.

For a sweet yet sultry end to your meal, try Ingrid Hoffmann's "I Heart" Mango Tart, which shines with a flaky crust, fresh mango and a crumbly cinnamon and coconut topping. The tropical flavors will transport you to a paradise for your senses and create a memorable evening for two.

Need more reasons to keep mangos near and dear to your heart? Not only do versatile mangos bring an essence of the tropics to an array of dishes and beverages, but they are available year-round and are an excellent source of vitamins A and C and a good source of fiber, making them a healthy way to tempt the taste buds anytime of year.

"I Heart" Mango Tart

Makes 6 Servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 to 12 minutes

6 frozen 3-inch individual tart shells

3 ripe mangos, peeled, pitted and diced

½ cup sugar, divided

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray and place tart shells on sheet.

To make the topping: Combine the flour, coconut, cinnamon and the remaining ¼ cup sugar in a large bowl. Add butter, squeezing mixture together to form a loose ball, then break into small pieces and sprinkle evenly over each tart. Bake until filling is bubbly and topping is golden, about 10 to 12 minutes.

To make the filling: Combine the mangos, ¼ cup sugar, lemon juice and salt in a large bowl; spoon into the tart shells.

Serve with whipped cream and diced mango.

To see a video of Ingrid Hoffmann preparing her "I Heart" Mango Tart, visit For more recipes and instructions on how to select and cut a mango, visit

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Entertaining Made Simple And Delicious With California Avocados

(NAPSI)-Hosting a get-together is a great way to enjoy the warm days of summer with friends and family. When it comes to your menu, be sure to take advantage of the seasonal fruits and vegetables available during the summer--they can add a great fresh flair to your meals.

California avocados are just one of the many fruits that are in season and available now. This locally grown fruit is a perfect addition for relaxed summer meals, as it can add a creamy texture and delectable flavor to a variety of dishes such as grilled meats, salads and sandwiches.

While well-known for their exceptional flavor, California avocados have a nutrient punch. Naturally sodium and cholesterol free, one-fifth of a medium avocado, or about one ounce, has 50 calories and contributes nearly 20 beneficial nutrients to the diet. So you can feel good about incorporating this fruit into your meals.

For a simple and fresh summer dish, try this recipe for Couscous with California Avocado, Mango and Shrimp. For other recipes that feature fresh California avocados, visit the California Avocado Commission Web site at

Couscous with California Avocado, Mango and Shrimp

Serves: 8

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cooking Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 48 minutes


24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 Tbsp. seafood grill seasoning

Olive oil, optional

2 cups water

1 (10-oz.) box plain couscous

1 Tbsp. olive oil

½ tsp. salt

2 ripe, fresh California avocados, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes*

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal

1 cup cooked edamame (shelled soybeans)

2 cups Mango-Lime Dressing (see make-ahead recipe below)


1. Toss shrimp with seasoning. Barbecue or sauté in olive oil for about 3 minutes, turning over once. Remove to plate; set aside.

2. In a 2-quart pan, bring water to a boil. Stir in couscous, oil and salt. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

3. In a bowl, combine avocado and lemon juice; set aside.

4. Remove lid from pan and fluff couscous; cool. Pour couscous into a large mixing bowl. Add avocado, mango, onions and edamame.

5. Pour dressing over salad, as needed. Toss to coat.

6. Serve onto plates and top with cooked shrimp.

Mango-Lime Dressing


1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and cut into 1-inch cubes

½ cup fresh lime juice

¼ cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp. Dijon-style mustard

½ tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp. ground white pepper

¼ tsp. ground cumin

2 Tbsp. snipped fresh mint leaves

2 Tbsp. snipped fresh cilantro leaves


1. In a food processor, add mango, juice, oil, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper and cumin. Purée, using the pulse button; set aside.

2. Mix mint and cilantro into dressing immediately before using.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 270; Total Fat 16 g (Sat 2 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 2 g, Mono 11 g); Cholesterol 30 mg; Sodium 560 mg; Total Carbohydrates 25 g; Dietary Fiber 5 g; Protein 9 g

*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados, adjust the quantity accordingly.

California avocados are just one of the many fruits that are in season and available now.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Spicing Up Cold-Weather Gatherings

(NAPSI)-When temperatures drop, you can add some heat to your get-togethers by serving up spicy green pepper jelly. The zesty treat can be spread across sour cream corn bread, dolloped on cheddar cheese biscuits or spooned on top of cream cheese and gourmet crackers. The key is to find taste combinations with enough bite to satisfy guests but that are light enough to not interfere with a meal.

The recipe below is made with fruit pectin to help create a delicious jelly that captures the freshness of green and jalapeño peppers. You can find fruit pectin in original and liquid varieties, sugar and no-sugar-needed varieties and a no-cook freezer variety from the Ball® brand. Try using the products to preserve fresh fruits year-round.

Green Pepper Jelly

Yield: about 6 half-pint jars

7 sweet green peppers

1 jalapeño pepper

1½ cups cider vinegar, 5% acidity, divided

1½ cups apple juice

1 box (13/4 ounces) Ball® Original Fruit Pectin

½ teaspoon salt

5 cups sugar

Green food coloring (optional)

Stem, seed and cut green and jalapeño peppers into ½-inch pieces. Puree half the peppers and ¾ cup vinegar in a food processor or blender. Repeat with remaining peppers and vinegar. Combine puree and apple juice in a large bowl; cover bowl and refrigerate overnight. Strain pureed mixture through a damp jelly bag or several layers of cheese cloth. Measure 4 cups strained juice.

Combine 4 cups juice, pectin and salt in a large saucepot. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return mixture to a rolling boil.

Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Stir in a few drops green food coloring, if desired. Ladle hot jelly into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Adjust 2-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

As a final tip, try preparing the jelly in Ball® 4-ounce jars to give to your guests as take-home party favors.

For more recipes, tips and comments, visit

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

History You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

(NAPSI)-In 1902, America was a rapidly growing and changing nation. It was a time of invention, industrial innovation and accelerated immigration, blending cultures and cuisines. It was also a time when many favorite all--American foods-such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, animal crackers and banana splits--first became popular.

That year also marked the very first time light and dark corn syrups became available in tins. Karo Corn Syrup, founded that year, quickly became a favorite ingredient in desserts, breads, sweet rolls, sauces and fillings.

The syrup, now considered as American as apple pie, is an essential ingredient in a Stars and Stripes Cheesecake or a delicious Cran-Blueberry Pie:

Stars and Stripes Cheesecake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Chill Time: 1 hour

Yield: 15 servings

Graham Cracker Crust:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

2 tablespoons sugar


3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature

⅓ cup sugar

2 tablespoons Argo or Kingsford's Corn Starch

1 cup Karo Light Corn Syrup

3 eggs

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 pound strawberries, halved (about 3 cups)

1 cup heavy or whipping cream, whipped; or whipped topping

Preheat oven to 325ºF. To prepare graham cracker crust: Combine crumbs, butter and 2 Tbsp. sugar. Press into the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

To prepare cheesecake: Beat cream cheese, sugar and corn starch in a large bowl with mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in corn syrup, eggs and lemon juice until blended and smooth.

Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or just until set.

Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate until well chilled. Arrange blueberries (about 30 to 40) in rows in upper left corner of cheesecake to form a rectangle, spacing rows about ½ inch apart (to leave room for whipped cream).

Arrange halved strawberries on top of remaining portion of cheesecake also in rows about ¾ inch apart, like a flag. Place whipped cream in a plastic bag and snip off the corner of the bag.

Use the bag to pipe whipped cream between the rows of blueberries and strawberries, completing the flag design. Keep refrigerated.

Cran-Blueberry Pie

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 to 45 minutes

Yield: 1 pie (8 servings)

1 package (12 ounces) frozen blueberries (about 2½ cups)

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

¾ cup sugar

½ cup Karo Light Corn Syrup

¼ cup Argo or Kingsford's Corn Starch

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

⅛ teaspoon salt

2 (9-inch) unbaked pie crusts


¼ cup powdered sugar

1 to 1½ teaspoons milk

Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine blueberries, cranberries, sugar, corn syrup, corn starch, cinnamon and salt in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until cranberry skins begin to pop.

Assemble pie by placing one crust in pie plate. Pour in filling. Top with remaining crust. Flute edges and cut slits in top crust to vent. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

Prepare Glaze: Stir powdered sugar and milk together until smooth. Spread over hot crust. Cool pie on wire rack. (Let pie cool completely before cutting, or filling will be runny.)

You will find more recipes and tips at, or call (866) 430-KARO (5276).

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Simple One-Dish Meals Provide Delicious Comfort

(NAPSI)-Recent studies have shown that U.S. consumers have responded to the faltering economy by altering their dining habits, including preparing more meals at home. However, with time at a premium, Americans are turning to the ease and comfort of one-dish meals, such as hearty soups, stews and pasta.

One-dish meals offer busy home cooks the benefits of a traditional meal but require less time for ingredient shopping and food preparation. One-dish meals also offer recipe flexibility. For example, prep time can be shortened by substituting precooked sausage for raw, or using canned or frozen vegetables instead of fresh. The end result will still be a satisfying and nourishing dish the entire family will enjoy.

"Americans are embracing a new style of comfort food with recipes that are hearty and full of wholesome ingredients," said Jones Dairy Farm President Philip Jones, who is also a professionally trained chef. "One-dish meals have widespread appeal because they're easy, fresh-from-scratch dishes that taste like you spent hours in the kitchen."

This modern Italian pasta dish is gluten-free but can also be prepared with whole-wheat spaghetti.

Spaghetti Puttanesca with Sausage

Makes 4 servings

8 ounces brown rice gluten-free spaghetti

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 (28 oz.) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, undrained

½ cup coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives

1 tablespoon chopped capers

2 teaspoons anchovy paste or 2 minced anchovy fillets

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 (7 oz.) package Jones All Natural Golden Brown Sausage Links/Patties, sliced or cubed

1 cup (4 oz.) diced fresh mozzarella cheese or quartered ciliegine mozzarella balls

¼ cup julienned fresh basil leaves

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until onion is tender. Add tomatoes, olives, capers, anchovy paste and pepper flakes; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Stir in sausage; simmer 5 minutes. Drain spaghetti; transfer to 4 shallow bowls. Stir fresh mozzarella cheese into sausage mixture; serve over spaghetti and top with basil.

More delicious one-dish meal recipes are available by visiting

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Buffalo Chex® Mix: Fan Favorite in 2009

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Creative cooks competed against each other in the search to find the next 15-minute Chex® Party Mix family favorite recipe, and enthusiasts across the country have chosen! From Knoxville, Tenn., Monica Flatford’s Buffalo Chex Mix has won the hearts—and tastebuds—of Chex Party Mix fans.

Inspired by her husband's and son’s love for buffalo hot wings, Flatford perfected the winning combination of Chex cereals, spice, celery, and ranch dressing. As a nod to the entire Flatford family, she was sure to add her daughter’s much-loved fish-shaped crackers into the mix.

Thousands of consumers submitted their original 15-minute recipe earlier this year and an expert panel of judges narrowed down the recipes to five flavorful finalists. The public voted online to determine the winner, ultimately crowning Flatford’s Buffalo Chex Mix as America’s Favorite. Flatford received a grand prize of $5,000 cash, a $1,000 grocery gift card and an all-expense paid trip for two to the Betty Crocker® Kitchens for a holiday Mix & Mingle event with Katie Lee, best-selling cookbook author.

“It took quite a few trials, but in the end I knew I had a winner when my family couldn’t stop eating my Buffalo Chex Mix. I’ve made countless batches since—from game-day snacks for players and fans, to Monday night football at home… it is the perfect recipe for any snacking occasion,” says Flatford.

Buffalo Chex® Mix
Prep Time: 15 Minutes

4 cups Rice Chex® cereal
4 cups Wheat Chex® cereal
2 cups Parmesan-flavored tiny fish-shaped crackers
2 cups pretzel twists
6 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 packet ranch dressing mix
2 teaspoons celery seed

1. In large microwavable bowl, mix cereals, crackers and pretzels; set aside. In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 40 seconds or until melted. Stir in hot sauce and seasonings. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.

2. Microwave uncovered on High 4 to 5 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container.

Of the five crunchy snacks competing against each other, this football fan favorite scored big by receiving more votes than the contenders: Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch, Chexicago Party Mix, Deviled Chex Mix and Lemon Rosemary Chex Mix. From sweet to spicy, there is a 15-minute recipe to fit any snacking occasion during the holiday—and football—season. All five finalist recipes are available at

“Chex Party Mix has been a favorite party snack for more than 50 years and creative cooks demonstrated how versatile Chex cereals are when mixing up a snack for hungry friends and fans. Monica’s Buffalo Chex Mix scored big by providing an unexpected twist on the classic snack, wowing the crowd with her creativity,” said Joe Driscoll, marketing manager, Chex cereals.

Since 1955, the Original Chex Party Mix has been a party tradition—especially during the holiday season. The delicious snack is easier-than-ever to prepare with 15-minute recipes that utilize the fast-cooking technology of the microwave. Whether you’re looking for something sweet, salty or a little in between, there is a great-tasting recipe to fit any snacking style, including a gluten-free diet. For recipe ideas, visit

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Save money while hosting smashing family gatherings

(ARA) - Whether it's Christmas, New Year's, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, chances are you plan to host at least one family gathering this holiday season. Which means it's time for you to think of some creative ways to keep expenses down, but still have excellent food and festivities.

Here are some tips to save you time and money on your holiday planning:

* Entertain at home rather than eating out. Walmart has great deals on all the fixings you need to create fabulous holiday meals for eight people for as low as $30.

* Stock up on non perishable items ahead of the party - when sales happen. Beverages, dried and canned goods and even produce can be stored to help spread the cost out and get you the best prices. Blanch and freeze fresh vegetables so all you'll have to do is grab the freezer bag and toss in the veggies while cooking your favorite dishes.

* Plan your meals and your shopping list in advance using your grocery circular. For example, if you're serving bacon for breakfast, hang on to four strips to add in to Creamed Corn Gratin for dinner (recipe below). Or if you fix mashed potatoes for one dinner as a side dish, use the leftovers for a shepherd's pie to serve on a different night.

* Disposables may make life easier and allow you to spend more time with friends and family rather than clean-up in the kitchen. You can spice up the table decorations with paper plates and napkins featuring holiday prints, or mix and match different patterns for cups so everyone can remember which cup is theirs. However, if you have a large family gathering, the cost of using disposables might add up quickly, so consider using the dishes in your cupboard instead, and make sure you have plenty of dish detergent or dish washer soap on hand to tackle the pile.

* Look for simple-to-prepare recipes that don't require a lot of time in the kitchen, so you can spend more time visiting with your guests. A good meal doesn't have to be super fancy to be a success.

Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian has created great holiday recipes for Walmart so you can enjoy flavorful and wholesome meals for your holiday gathering and stay on budget. Here are two recipes to make for your next gathering:

Creamed Corn Gratin

4 strips bacon, chopped
2 medium sweet onions, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cans creamed corn
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter (for greasing)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

In a large saute pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon pieces from the pan and in the remaining bacon fat, cook onions slowly over low heat until caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Add back the bacon, and the thyme and cook another minute or two to release flavors. Add creamed corn and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat broiler to high. Place the corn mixture in a buttered gratin dish. Top with parmesan cheese and broil until golden brown and bubbly, about two minutes.

Warm Cinnamon Caramel Sauce

3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt

In a medium heavy saucepan, mix water and sugar and then place on medium high heat. Allow to boil (without stirring; only swirl pan if needed) until the mixture turns a pale golden brown, approximately seven minutes. Watch this closely, sugar burns quickly. Remove the mixture from heat, add butter and cream and stir vigorously (mixture will bubble). Return to heat and bring to boil and then remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Allow to cool a few minutes before drizzling over pumpkin roll cake, pie, or vanilla ice cream.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Adding Nutrients To Everyday Dishes

(NAPSI)-Some have called it the new wonder food, but many home cooks hoping to easily add nutrients to meals have simply called it a wonderful relief.

It's flaxseed, a seed with a lightly nutty taste that-when purchased ground or ground in a coffee grinder or baby-food mill-can be sprinkled on just about anything, from cereal to salad to ice cream and smoothies.

In addition to being a great source of protein, fiber and nutrients including calcium, magnesium and folic acid, about two tablespoons of ground flax provide your daily dose of omega-3s, making the seed one of the best plant-based ways to add the all-important fatty acid to your diet. The seed is also rich in plant-derived compounds called "lignans" that have been shown to help in the fight against cancer, and that might also help with symptoms of menopause.

Getting More Flax

Try stirring ground flax into soups, mixing it in meatloaf, or sprinkling it in your morning juice or oatmeal. You can also use flax-seed to coat chicken. Jane Reinhardt-Martin, R.D., L.D., does just that in this recipe for healthful oven-baked fried chicken, taken from her cookbook "The Amazing Flax Cookbook."

Oven-Baked Fried Chicken

Yield: 4 servings

1 egg, beaten

¼ cup skim milk

½ cup ground flaxseed

½ cup plain breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp whole flaxseed

1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes

½ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp Italian seasoning

¼ tsp garlic powder

Salt to taste

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 oz. each)

Heat oven to 375° F. Combine egg and milk in shallow bowl. Mix dry ingredients in another shallow bowl. Dip chicken in egg mixture; then completely coat in breading mixture. Place on ungreased baking sheet; bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

For more recipes, tips and nutrition information, visit

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Crowd-Pleasing Meals Can Be Easy To Prepare

(NAPSI)-If preparing tasty, home-cooked meals seems like one more thing to fit into your busy schedule, you're not alone.

A recent survey from ConAgra Foods revealed that 49 percent of Americans say they are often short on time and energy when it comes to preparing meals, let alone baking. According to Sandra Lee, bestselling author of the "Semi-Homemade" cookbook series, you can use a slow cooker to prepare not only dinner but dessert as well. Try her hassle-free Semi-Homemade Strawberries and Cream Cake.

Sandra Lee's Strawberries And Cream Cake

Prep 25 minutes

Cook 1½ to 2½ hours (High)

Makes 8 servings

PAM® cooking spray

1 box (18.25-ounce) strawberry cake mix

1¼ cups strawberry-banana nectar

¾ cup Egg Beaters®

½ cup sour cream

⅓ cup Wesson Canola Oil®

¼ cup cake flour

2 cans (12-ounces each) whipped cream cheese frosting

1 cup frozen (thawed) or fresh strawberries, sliced (plus more for garnish, optional)

1. Coat an 8x3-inch round cake pan with PAM. Wrap foil around the bottom of pan. Crumple aluminum foil to create a "ring base" about 5 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat cake mix, nectar, Egg Beaters, sour cream, Wesson oil and flour with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl; beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3. Place foil ring in bottom of slow cooker; pour ½ inch of hot water into bottom of slow cooker. Using 2 long strips of foil, make an X over foil ring and bring up sides of slow cooker to assist removing pan from slow cooker.

Place pan on top of ring and the X in slow cooker. Stack 6 paper towels; place on top of slow cooker. Secure with lid.

4. Cook on high heat setting for 1½ to 2½ hours or until a wooden tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. (Do not lift the lid for the first hour of cooking.)

5. Use foil strips to lift pan from slow cooker. Place pan on wire rack; cool completely.

6. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup of the cream cheese frosting with sliced strawberries until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

7. To assemble, remove cooled cake from pan and slice horizontally to make 2 layers. Place 1 layer on serving plate. Spread strawberry filling evenly over layer and top with second cake layer. Frost entire cake with remaining cream cheese frosting. Garnish with fresh strawberries.

Recipe excerpted from "Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Money Saving Slow Cooking" by Sandra Lee. Copyright © 2009 Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade, For easy entertaining tips, visit

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Monday, November 23, 2009

A Quick, Healthy Dish For People With Diabetes And Their Families

(NAPSI)-Diabetes is a serious disease that results in high glucose (sugar levels) in the blood, which can lead to serious health problems. Almost 24 million people in the United States have the disease. If you have diabetes, you know that the day-to-day steps needed to manage the disease can be hard. Diabetes can lead to blindness, loss of limb, kidney failure, heart disease, and early death. Managing diabetes can be easier if you set goals and make a plan. Talk with your health care team about making a plan, which should include ways to make healthier food choices, increase your physical activity, and reach and stay at a healthy weight. One part of your plan may be learning how to prepare a quick, healthy dish for your family. Follow these tips from the National Diabetes Education Program to make healthier meals that your whole family can enjoy:

• Before going to the grocery store, check flyers, ads, and websites to see what is on sale. Make a list of what you need, and check to see what foods you already have at home.

• Find recipes online or at your local library that have five to 10 ingredients or less.

• Buy fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season-they usually cost less.

• Buy items like fat-free or low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt in the largest size you know your family will consume so you are not paying for extra packaging.

• Instead of flavored rice, buy plain brown rice. Add fresh or dried herbs and spices to add flavor.

• Look for deals on whole-grain, day-old breads in the bakery department. Search for specials on lean cuts at the meat counter.

• Prepare meals in advance to make mealtime less stressful, and use the leftovers to make other dishes.

Here's an example of a healthy dish that serves four and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Red Snapper

(This recipe also works well with chicken breast used in place of

red snapper)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

½ cup red pepper, chopped

½ cup carrots, cut into strips

1 clove garlic, minced

½ cup dry white wine*

¾ pound (12 oz.) of red snapper fillet

1 large tomato, chopped

2 Tbsp. pitted ripe olives, chopped

2 Tbsp. crumbled low-fat feta or low-fat ricotta cheese

*Water or fat-free broth can be used in place of white wine.


In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add onion, red pepper, carrots, and garlic. Sauté for 10 minutes then add wine and bring to a boil. Push the vegetables to one side of the pan. Arrange fillets in a single layer in center of skillet. Cover to cook for 5 minutes. Add tomato and olives. Top with cheese then cover and cook for 3 minutes or until fish is firm but moist. Transfer fish to a serving platter and add vegetables and pan juices. Serve fish on top of vegetables with brown rice. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information Per Serving for Red Snapper: Serving size ¼ red snapper (or 3 oz.) with ½ cup vegetables. Calories 285, Calories From Fat 80, Total Fat 10g, Saturated Fat 2g, Cholesterol 35mg, Sodium 160mg, Dietary Fiber 2g, Total Carbohydrate 8g, Protein 19g.

For more tasty, quick, and healthy recipes, order your free copy of the National Diabetes Education Program's Mas que comida recipe book by visiting or calling 1-888-693-NDEP (6337), TTY: 1-866-596-1162.

By the National Diabetes Education Program

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Delicious Quick-Fix Ideas

(NAPSI)--Maintaining healthy habits even as the weather gets colder and the days shorter can be simple, quick and delicious. No matter if you want a warm lunch in the office or need a fast meal in the evening, with Minute Ready to Serve Rice you can enjoy a hot dish in no time. Minute Ready to Serve Rice offers a portion-controlled, single serving of rice in a variety of flavors, including 100 percent whole-grain Brown Rice and Brown & Wild Rice. Research shows that a diet rich in whole grains reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Now you can be healthy and enjoy nutritious, hearty meals in just 60 seconds.

Keep your waistline from expanding and your fall cravings satisfied with the help of Minute Ready to Serve Rice. Here are a few quick dishes that can be enjoyed at work or without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

Chicken and Rice Burritos

Microwave two containers of Minute Ready to Serve Brown Rice on high for two minutes. Mix salsa and cooked, diced chicken breast and microwave on high for two more minutes. Stir in shredded cheddar cheese and rice to salsa and chicken. Divide mixture onto whole-wheat tortillas and top with cilantro and sour cream, if desired.

Cheesy Turkey and Broccoli Rice

Combine one container of Minute Ready to Serve White Rice, cooked, chopped turkey, and broccoli florets (fresh or frozen). Microwave on high for two minutes. Stir in your favorite shredded cheese and two tablespoons water or milk. Microwave on high for one minute. Stir until well blended and creamy.

Cranberry Pecan Brown and Wild Rice

Microwave one container of Minute Ready to Serve Brown & Wild Rice on high for one minute. Add dried cranberries, toasted pecans and butter; blend well. Stir in a little orange juice. Enjoy!

Stay healthy through the holiday season while still enjoying tasty warm recipes with Minute Ready to Serve Rice.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holiday dinners are more than turkey

Thoughts of Thanksgiving dinner most often turn to turkey. “Last year’s bird was so dry. Perhaps we should try frying it this year.” But, there’s more to a memorable holiday meal than just the meat in the middle. Many family traditions are found in the trimmings.

For as long as anyone close to him can remember, Charles Fleming has opened the doors of his Atlanta home to family, neighbors and friends on Thanksgiving morning in what he dubs his “Family, Friends and Outcasts Feast.” By his estimation, it’s the dressing that makes or breaks a holiday meal.

Fleming’s oyster dressing is legendary in his circle of friends.

“My grandparents on my father’s side were from Pensacola, Fla., so oyster dressing was their family tradition,” Fleming said. While many Southerners swear by traditional cornbread dressing, along the Gulf coast oyster dressing is a staple on holiday tables.

“You definitely want fresh oysters if you can get them,” he said. A dash of salt, pepper, cayenne, sage and basil give Fleming's dressing flavor. “And, don’t forget the Cajun trinity: celery, bell pepper and onions,” he added.

“You have to start with a good French baguette that you let go stale and then cube,” he said. The bread holds the dressing together and soaks up all the rich flavors.

For others, holiday meals are a time to enjoy special twists on everyday vegetables. From green bean casseroles to corn puddings, there’s no shortage of tempting treats to try. “I never ate a sweet potato I didn't like,” said Wayne McLaurin, a retired University of Georgia Cooperative Extension horticulture specialist who now makes his home on the Mississippi coast.

“Growing up with the greatest cook in the world, we learned early to eat pretty much everything. In the blending of French, Italian, Creole and Cajun, though, there was always true ‘Southern cooking,’ which involved sweet potatoes,” he said.

“Mamma fixed them french fried for breakfast with cinnamon and brown sugar. For other meals, she baked, boiled or candied them with marshmallows. She made mouth-watering pies and sweet-potato chips. We ate many cold sweet potatoes, too, as a snack after school,” he remembered.

But his favorite, often reserved for special occasions, was the sweet-potato surprise.

“Mamma made them from baked sweet potatoes she mashed with spices and rolled into golf-ball-size pieces,” he said. “Poking her thumb into the ball made just enough space to insert one or two miniature marshmallows.”

“Then, she reformed the ball, rolled it in fresh-grated coconut and chopped pecans and baked it until the outside was crusty and the marshmallow melted inside,” he said.

The names "sweet potato" and "yam" have been used interchangeably over the years. “We called our sweet potatoes yams because the variety we grew was the Puerto Rican type that was moist-fleshed and very sweet,” McLaurin said.

By any name, the sweet tubers are rich with Vitamin A, provide a high-energy staple to many diets and are instrumental in preventing childhood blindness in developing countries. And, they are an important Georgia crop. Tift, Tattnall and Colquitt are Georgia’s largest sweet potato-producing counties, growing more than half of the state’s 684-acre crop.

Including a colorful, nutritional mix of locally grown vegetables in your holiday menu is a healthy choice and good for Georgia’s economy, too. Georgia farmers grow more than 150,000 acres of vegetables in more than 40 different varieties. Just over 90 percent of them are sold at fresh markets. Georgia-grown vegetables had a 2008 farm-gate value of $850 million.

Holiday meals provide the perfect setting to celebrate heritage, to honor loved ones with traditional recipes and to try new trimmings to dress up the tried-and-true.

By Faith Peppers
University of Georgia

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Cooking Up Classic Comfort Foods With Fiber

(NAPSI)-Whether it's chocolate chip cookies, macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes, many home chefs say favorite comfort foods are the cooking equivalent to a warm blanket or a heartfelt hug.

However, classic comfort foods often lack the fiber the body needs to work and feel its best, possibly leaving you at a nutritional loss.

"Getting the right amount of fiber promotes regularity, increases energy and impacts overall digestive health," explains registered dietitian and director of nutrition marketing at Kellogg Company, Cheryl Dolven.

Fortunately, there are simple ways to boost fiber content without sacrificing taste. For instance, you can find a number of simple and tasty comfort-food recipes made with Kellogg's All-Bran cereal to help you more easily fit fiber into every meal. The new recipes include:

• Herb-Topped Pork Tenderloin Casserole

• Tuscan Apricot-Berry Crostata

• Sloppy Joes

• Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

• Tomato-Artichoke Casserole

• Gruyère and Ham Quiche.

Pair the great-tasting recipes with the All-Bran 10-Day Promise to get nearly half the daily fiber the body needs to work and feel better. Simply add one serving of any All-Bran product, which include four varieties of cereal, crackers and now, any of these new, simple recipes, into your daily diet. Try these recipes:

Herb-Topped Pork

Tenderloin Casserole

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Servings: 6


1/2 cup sliced green onions

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided

11/2 cups fat-free half-and-half or milk

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 medium white potatoes, very thinly sliced (about 11/2 lbs. total)

2 cups Kellogg's All-Bran Complete Wheat Flakes cereal (crushed to 1 cup)

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or chopped fresh sage

Fresh rosemary sprigs or whole sage leaves (optional)


1. In small nonstick saucepan, cook onions and garlic in 1 teaspoon of the butter for 1 to 2 minutes or until tender. In small bowl, whisk together half-and-half, flour, salt and pepper. Stir into onion mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thickened and boiling. (Mixture will be very thick.) Remove from heat.

2. In 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish or shallow 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray, layer half of the potatoes. Spread half of the onion mixture over top. Repeat layers. Tightly cover with foil. Bake, covered at 350° F, for 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, melt remaining 5 teaspoons butter. In shallow dish, combine cereal and Parmesan cheese. Coat pork slices with butter. Roll in cereal mixture.

4. Arrange pork on top of hot potatoes. Sprinkle with any remaining cereal mixture. Drizzle with any remaining butter. Bake uncovered at 350° F for 30 minutes more. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon rosemary. Bake uncovered at 350° F about 10 minutes more or until potatoes are tender and pork is done. Garnish with rosemary sprigs (if desired).

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 260; Total Fat 7g; Saturated Fat 3.5g; Cholesterol 55mg; Sodium 410mg; Total Carbohydrates 32g; Dietary Fiber 4g; Sugars 6g; Protein 18g; Vitamin A 6%DV; Vitamin C 25%DV; Calcium 10%DV; Iron 8%

Tuscan Apricot-Berry


Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Servings: 10


11/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup Kellogg's All-Bran Original cereal (crushed to 2/3 cup)

1/2 cup sugar, divided

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup butter or margarine

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups fresh blueberries or red raspberries

1 cup apricot all-fruit spread or apricot preserves


1. In medium bowl, stir together flour, cereal, 1/3 cup of the sugar and baking powder. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

2. In small bowl, combine egg, milk and vanilla. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened.

3. On lightly floured surface, knead for 10 to 12 strokes or until dough just clings together. Remove one-third of the dough. Cover and refrigerate. Press remaining dough onto bottom and up sides of 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Arrange berries in bottom. Gently dollop apricot spread over berries. (Filling will look skimpy.)

4. On lightly floured surface, roll chilled dough into 10-inch circle. Cut into 1-inch-wide strips. Arrange strips over fruit in lattice pattern. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 375° F for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Serve warm.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 340; Total Fat 15g; Saturated Fat 9g; Cholesterol 60mg; Sodium 100mg; Total Carbohydrates 52g; Dietary Fiber 3g; Sugars 34g; Protein 4g; Vitamin A 10%DV; Vitamin C 6%DV; Calcium 8%DV; Iron 6%DV

For more information and recipes, visit

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Holiday Baking With A Regional Twist

(NAPSI)-Bakers everywhere are dusting off their rolling pins and gathering up their measuring cups. Every corner of the country has its own unique spin on holiday cookies and candies, with recipes that are often inspired by local ingredients or a reflection of traditions unique to the people who live there.

Wherever you may live on the map, there is a recipe-or two-to add to your holiday cookie plate, such as:

• Bananas Foster Bars, a dessert synonymous with New Orleans-the place where it was created. This recipe takes all those great flavors-the rum, the bananas and, of course, the butter-and transforms them into a bar cookie that's sure to make any dessert plate a hit.

• Almond Butter Buckeyes, buttery and nutty chocolate confections inspired by the nuts that fall from Ohio's famous buckeye trees. Come holiday time, they are produced-and consumed-in mass quantities in "The Buckeye State," as well as in neighboring states throughout the Midwest.

Bananas Foster Bars

Makes 16 2-inch bars



½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 egg

1 tablespoon dark rum or 1 teaspoon rum extract

1 cup flour

⅛ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup bananas, diced

½ cup (2 ounces) pecans or walnuts, chopped


2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon rum or pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1-2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted



Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour 9-inch-square pan*.

In large bowl, beat together butter and sugar with electric mixer until creamy. Add egg and rum; mix to combine.

In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to butter mixture. Mix in bananas and pecans; stir to incorporate. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove pan to a wire rack to cool completely.


In large bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, sugar and extract with an electric mixer. Beat until light and fluffy. Add cinnamon and 1 cup confectioners' sugar; blend until smooth. (Careful; overmixing will cause separation.) Add additional confectioners' sugar to create desired consistency.

Spread frosting immediately over cooled bars. Cover and store bars in refrigerator for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, cut bars into 2-inch squares.

*For a thicker bar, use an 8-inch-square pan.

Almond Butter Buckeyes

Makes 4 dozen candies



1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1¼ cups almond butter*

3 tablespoons dark rum or 1½ teaspoons rum extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

3¾ to 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted


12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped



In large bowl, combine butter, almond butter, rum, almond extract and confectioners' sugar using electric mixer. Dough will be smooth and firm. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place on parchment-lined baking sheets.

Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.


Melt chocolate in shallow, microwave-safe dish. Heat 30 seconds; stir; then continue in 10-second intervals, stirring after each cook time. Chocolate should be melted and smooth.

To dip balls, insert a toothpick about ½ inch into the ball, dip into melted chocolate, leaving a small circle of dough visible at the top, and place on parchment paper to dry until chocolate is firm. Repeat with remaining candies. Store in airtight container for up to three days.

*You may substitute peanut or cashew butter for almond butter; omit almond extract if you use a substitution.

Visit for more regionally inspired recipes, from Mount Rainier Macaroons to Apple Cider Buttons. While there, sign up for the daily holiday cookie e-newsletter, "Better Baking with Butter," available to subscribers from Nov. 27 through Dec. 24.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Delicious And Festive Traditional Fare

(NAPSI)-One tasty way to honor the nation's Founding Fathers is to sample a dish that might have appeared on their menus and is still prepared in some of the nation's oldest inns.

Back in Colonial times, hungry settlers headed to the taverns and inns that dotted the Colonies. Some of those same establishments still serve up delicious traditional fare.

In Pennsylvania's oldest continuously operating country inn, the William Penn Inn, the Penn family zucchini bread is still baked daily. General Lafayette Inn & Brewery was part of the Barren Hill encampment in 1778. It serves Colonial-inspired dishes like meat loaf and crab cakes.

Historic General Warren Inne, once a Tory stronghold, was renamed in honor of an American hero who died during the Battle of Bunker Hill. The inn now serves a variety of Continental cuisine.

Legend has it that Colonial troops quenched their thirst from a water pump at The Old Guard House Inn. The inn offers this mouthwatering, easy recipe, ideal for holiday entertaining.


serves 1

2 4-oz. cold-water lobster tails

1 oz. flour

1 egg

2 oz. butter

Salt and pepper

Remove lobster meat from the shell. Slice tails down the middle. Roll in flour. Dip tails in egg wash. Melt butter in sauté pan. Place lobster in hot sauté pan, sauté for 2 minutes per side. Serve with your favorite vegetables: asparagus, corn, etc.


Soft roll, toasted

1 cold-water lobster tail

1 oz. butter

Salt and pepper


3 parts mayonnaise

1 part ketchup

Salt and pepper

Grand Marnier to taste

Prepare lobster tail the same way as Lobster Guard House. Brush both halves of the roll with lobster sauce. Place lobster in roll.

For more information on visiting Valley Forge, you can go to

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blueberry Pumpkin Bread: A New Tradition

(NAPSI)-What do blueberries and pumpkins have in common? Both are native to the Americas. Blueberries, in fact, are one of only three fruits that originated in North America. (The others are Concord grapes and cranberries.)

European settlers in the 17th century were not familiar with blueberries or pumpkins. Blueberries were a delightful new discovery and they found many ways to enjoy them in baked goods and puddings, drying the berries for winter use. Pumpkins quickly became a staple for soups and stews, pies and breads.

Now, Blueberry Pumpkin Bread puts the two together for an ideal combination. You'll want to make several loaves so you'll have plenty to give to friends and to keep for yourself.

For more nutrition information and great blueberry recipes, visit


1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup orange juice

2 large eggs

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, not thawed

White icing, optional

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter an 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan. In large bowl with electric mixer, beat pumpkin, sugar, orange juice, eggs and oil until smooth, about 1 minute. In small bowl, stir flour, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice; add to pumpkin mixture; stir just until combined. Spoon ½ of batter into pan; spread evenly. Stir blueberries into remaining batter in bowl and spoon over batter in pan; spread evenly. Bake until a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 60 to 65 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes; turn out onto rack; cool completely. May be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 4 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. If desired, drizzle with White Icing.

Yield: 1 loaf (8 servings)

White Icing: In bowl, combine 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons softened butter. Add 1½ to 2 tablespoons milk and ½ teaspoon vanilla; beat until smooth; drizzle over cake. Makes about ½ cup.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shake Things Up This Holiday: Unique Beverages for Your Next Party

/PRNewswire/ -- With the holidays just around the corner, party hosts everywhere are beginning to plan their event menus. This year, why not cast aside the old standbys in favor of something new, delicious and sure to please guests.

This holiday season, USA-grown peanuts are adding familiar flavor in unfamiliar territory. Peanuts and peanut butter were recently featured in beverage recipes on two Fine Living Network series: Bartender Wars and Great Cocktails.

The program pit three master mixologist contestants against one another to see who could create the tastiest peanut cocktail as judged by special guests, including Texas peanut farmer Roger Neitsch, Chairman of the National Peanut Board.

Now you can bring the spoils of war home and create these delicious cocktails for your party guests. These decadent beverages - the Peanutini, the Peanut Pear-adise and the Creamy Rye Flip - will no doubt be hits at your next party.

Mixologist Kimble Knight walked away as champion of the peanut round of the competition with his Creamy Rye Flip - a delicious take on the beloved PB & J.

Creamy Rye Flip
Courtesy of Kimble Knight

2 1/2 oz. rye whiskey
3/8 oz. Kijafa cherry wine
3/8 oz. Grand Marnier
3/16 oz. Chambord
3/8 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. raw sugar
1 egg white
2 dashes orange bitters
Cinnamon for garnish

Build ingredients in the pint glass and add ice; shake vigorously for two
minutes and strain in to a coupe glass. Garnish with a light dust of
cinnamon on the side of glass.

Fine Living is also airing a Great Cocktails segment, which features a holiday-inspired creation called The Nutcracker Sweet. This seasonal, peanut infused rum cocktail is smooth and tasty - ideal for any holiday gathering. Not only is the drink delicious, but infusing your own rum is fun and easy to do.

The Nutcracker Sweet

The Rum Infusion:
In a sealable jar, cover 1 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts with 12 oz of
dark aged rum (best to use Dominican or Puerto Rican rum)
Leave the mixture in a cool, dark place for 4 days
Strain out the peanuts and place into the fridge for another day
Strain the liquid through cheesecloth, and it's ready to use

The Cocktail Recipe:
Into a chilled tumbler:
1 1/2 oz. peanut-infused rum
1/2 oz. creme de cacao
Add ice, stir and then strain into a chilled coupe
Whip some heavy cream using a vigorous 10 second shake, and add a thin
layer on top of the cocktail.

For the other recipes featured on the program and for more information about the National Peanut Board, visit

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Save the Best for Last with’s Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

(BUSINESS WIRE)--This Thanksgiving holiday, has a dessert to please every sweet tooth. Whether looking to create the perfect traditional pumpkin pie or an innovative, new dish, boasts a bevy of sweet endings. (

Here are just a few of the dozens of stand-out Thanksgiving dessert recipes available at

1. Pumpkin Roll Cake - This cake, made with everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving staple, plus cinnamon and ginger, is combined with a delicious filling and caramel garnish. From the kitchen of Paula Deen, it’s sure to become a new family preference.
2. Tony’s Chocolate Pecan Pie - Why settle for just pecan or chocolate pie this Thanksgiving season, when you can have both? Chef Tony Neely shows how to combine these two beloved pies into one mouthwatering dessert.
3. Alton’s Sweet Potato Pie - Don’t fret over this holiday dessert must-have. Chef Alton Brown has the perfect recipe for a moist, flavorful sweet potato pie.
4. Pecan Shortbread - This easy-to-make recipe combines the fall flavors of almond and vanilla into scrumptious, pecan-filled cookies. features quick and easy dessert recipes, as well as ideas for those on a budget. Plus, every home cook could use tips on how to bake the perfect pie and entertaining, helpful videos from the most loved Food Network chefs. For these recipes, plus information and ideas on creating every aspect of the Thanksgiving spread, visit the definitive destination for Thanksgiving meal planning on the Web:

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Monday, November 9, 2009

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

Total Recipe Time: 30 minutes

Marinade Time: 15 minutes to

2 hours

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

Drain bocconcini, reserving and combining ⅓ 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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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Entertain At Home, Inexpensively--Bring An Easy Cobb Scramble To Brunch

(NAPSI)-Going out is out, eating in is in. Home entertaining has become big again, as folks look for an economical way to gather friends and family together but still stay within a budget. This easy meal in a skillet is just right for any brunch occasion--pregame, lazy Sunday or "just let's get together"--or for a weekend breakfast or weekday supper.

The cook gets a break because this unique dish is as simple as scrambled eggs plus the traditional Cobb salad ingredients: avocados, chicken or turkey, bacon, blue cheese and some green onion. Serve the scramble right from the skillet, pass whole grain rolls or crisp French bread and add a side of seasonal fruit such as apples or citrus.

This winter there's a bumper crop of beautiful Hass Avocados from Chile. The seasons down there are just the reverse of ours, so Hass Avocados from Chile complement the California supply. Use leftover chicken or turkey and select less expensive blue cheese crumbles and you'll have an impressive main dish. The food cost is low and so is the calorie count--less than 250 per serving!

Avocados are more than just pretty and tasty--they provide nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, including phytonutrients thought to help prevent many chronic diseases, and all for just 50 calories in a 1-ounce serving. They have no sodium and no cholesterol. A 1-ounce serving of avocados contains MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids)--the "good" fats.

For other eating-in events, consider a fruit plate of citrus and avocado slices sprinkled with some fresh mint, or Hass avocado slices atop a frittata, in a club sandwich, on a burger or even scattered over a hot dog--a Chilean favorite.

For plenty of great recipes, visit


Makes 4 servings

All the great flavors of the famous Cobb salad--turkey, bacon, blue cheese and, of course, avocado--in an easy, easy skillet breakfast, brunch or supper. Complete the quick-to-make meal with a fruit salad and you're done.

1 Hass Avocado from Chile

6 eggs OR 1½ cups egg substitute

½ cup chopped turkey or chicken

2 slices turkey bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled

¼ cup crumbled blue cheese

¼ cup chopped green onions

Rinse avocado and cut in half. Spoon out pit. Spoon out flesh and cut into chunks. In medium bowl, beat eggs. Stir in avocado, turkey, bacon, blue cheese and onions.

Heat nonstick skillet sprayed with pan coating over medium-high heat. Add egg-avocado mixture and scramble, stirring occasionally, until eggs are set but still moist.

Or, scramble eggs and then top with avocado, turkey, bacon, blue cheese and onions.

Nutritional information per serving--calories 243, fat 17g, monounsaturated fat 7.8g, saturated fat 5g, protein 19g, carbohydrates 5g, cholesterol 345mg, sodium 327mg, fiber 1.4g.

With egg substitute: calories 183, fat 11.5g, monounsaturated fat 5.74g, saturated fat 3.27g, protein 17g, carbohydrates 4.5g, cholesterol 25mg, sodium 328mg, fiber 1.4g.

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