A DIY Halloween Creation

Carve out some quality time to make memories during the eeriest time of the year with this Scary Sweet Cemetery….

(Family Features) When it comes to family fun, it’s hard to beat Halloween, and with all the candy flying around, it’s an opportunity to add something nutritious and delicious to festive celebrations.   

Chocolate milk can provide the best of both worlds. It satisfies kids’ sweet tooth while providing all the nutrients of classic white milk, like calcium, vitamin D and high-quality protein to help keep little skeletons strong, making it a Halloween hit for kids and parents alike.

Carve out some quality time to make memories during the eeriest time of the year with this Scary Sweet Cemetery – including chocolate pudding, gummy worms and sandwich cookies – to get kids cooking and crafting, all while nourishing their bodies and bones with nutritious chocolate milk.

Visit MilkLife.com for more kid-friendly, DIY Halloween treats.

Scary Sweet Cemetery

Recipe courtesy of MilkPEP
Servings: 6

Pudding:

  • 2          tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2          tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2          cups cold chocolate milk
  • 1          pinch salt
  • 1          large egg
  • 4          ounces chopped semisweet chocolate (about 3/4 cup)
  • 10        ounces chocolate vanilla sandwich cookies (about 20 cookies)
  • 12        gummy worms
  1. In large saucepan over high heat, stir cocoa powder, cornstarch, chocolate milk and salt to incorporate dry ingredients into milk. Cook until mixture starts to boil then reduce heat to simmer until mixture starts to thicken, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. In large bowl, using whisk, beat egg, slowly drizzling hot chocolate mixture into bowl, whisking continuously. Fold in chopped chocolate and stir until chocolate has completely melted.
  3. Pour pudding mixture into glass baking dish. Place piece of parchment paper on top of surface of pudding. Chill in refrigerator 3 hours, or overnight.
  4. To prepare “dirt,” place chocolate vanilla sandwich cookies in large re-sealable bag. Using rolling pin, crush cookies into crumbs. 
  5. When ready to serve, sprinkle cookie crumbs over pudding and place gummy worms on cookie crumb layer, making sure to “bury” parts of gummy worm ends as if worms are coming out of dirt.

Nutritional information per serving: 460 calories; 18 g fat; 8 g saturated fat; 35 mg cholesterol; 6 g protein; 75 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 250 mg sodium; 104 mg calcium. Nutrition figures based on using low-fat chocolate milk.

SOURCE:
MilkPEP

A Creative Twist on Halloween Carvings

This year, consider carving your spooky masterpiece into a watermelon instead….

(Family Features) When it comes to Halloween, carving the same pumpkin designs each year can become routine. This year, save a pumpkin and carve your spooky masterpiece into a watermelon instead.

Nutrient-rich watermelon can be a healthy alternative to other sweet treats full of added sugar during Halloween festivities as it’s a source of vitamins A and C as well as the antioxidant lycopene and the amino acid citrulline.

Because they are made up of 92% water, watermelons can be an effective way to stay hydrated during trick-or-treating, and creations like a Mummy or Jack O’Melon can help satisfy sweet cravings while keeping friends and family members frightfully delighted.

To get started, consider these carving tips and tricks:

  • To make cutting and slicing easier, the watermelon should be at room temperate when carving.
  • Cut a small, thin, flat piece from the bottom of the watermelon to provide a stable base for carving.
  • Draw the design on the watermelon rind with a dry-erase marker before cutting. If you make a mistake, this can make it easier to wipe off.
  • Use a sharp knife with a pointed tip for easier, cleaner cuts. Consider a paring knife with a smaller tip for ease of detail.
  • Blend scraps of watermelon that are too messy for dicing or slicing to create an easy juice.

For more watermelon carving ideas, visit watermelon.org.

Mummy

Supplies and Tools:

  • Watermelon
  • Cutting board
  • Kitchen knife
  • Dry-erase marker
  • Paring knife
  • Melon baller
  • Scoop
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Cheesecloth or gauze
  • Straight pin (optional)
  • Battery-operated candle or light
  • Small bowl
  • Blueberries or bloody candy eyes
  • Toothpicks, pins or glue
  1. Wash watermelon under cool running water and pat dry.
  2. On cutting board, place watermelon on its side and use kitchen knife to cut off 1/4-1/2-inch of rind from bottom to provide sturdy base, being careful not to cut too deep into white part of rind. Cut 1-2 inches from stem end to create opening for bowl to be added.
  3. Using dry-erase marker, draw eyes, nose and mouth, along with wavy slits around carving. Use paring knife to cut them out, being sure to cut through to red flesh to let more light flow through.
  4. Use melon baller to hollow out inside of watermelon. Reserve watermelon balls. Use scoop to remove remaining watermelon.
  5. Using vegetable peeler, remove green skin off outside of watermelon, similar to peeling cucumber.
  6. Wrap thin strips cheesecloth or gauze around mummy carving and secure with straight pin, if needed.
  7. Place battery-operated candle or light inside carving and fit small bowl into top of carving. Trim away excess rind to make bowl fit securely.
  8. Fill bowl with melon balls. Attach candy eyes or blueberries using a toothpicks, pins or glue.

Jack O’Melon

Supplies and Tools:

  • Knife
  • Round watermelon
  • Melon baller
  • Dry-erase marker
  • Toothpicks (optional)
  • Battery-operated light
  1. Using knife, cut thin slice from bottom of watermelon to provide stable base.
  2. Cut circular piece of rind from top of watermelon big enough to reach into and remove flesh. Carefully remove top section and reserve for use as “lid.”
  3. Remove flesh from inside watermelon using melon baller, reserving melon balls for snacking. Hollow out remaining watermelon flesh and use blender to juice scraps and excess juice.
  4. Using dry-erase marker, draw outlines of eyes, nose, mouth, hair, ears and other features on side of watermelon. If mistake is made with marker, wipe off using paper towel to start over. Following outlines, carve features into watermelon and remove excess rind.
  5. Safe, battery-operated light can be firmly placed inside watermelon to provide haunting glow.
  6. Place circular piece of rind back on top of watermelon.

SOURCE:
National Watermelon Promotion Board

Ethnic Dishes to Celebrate Diversity

I recently enjoyed a Cuban Sandwich for lunch, while JP and I were visiting our favorite area Up North (near the 45th Parallel). Although I ordered mine off the menu at Short’s Brewing Co. Pub/Deli,(Bellaire, MI)  it would be easy to make the recipe  included here at home…….

I recently enjoyed a Cuban Sandwich for lunch, while JP and I were visiting our favorite area Up North (near the 45th Parallel). Although I ordered mine off the menu at Short’s Brewing Co. Pub/Deli,(Bellaire, MI)  it would be easy to make the recipe  included here at home. 

(Family Features) Incorporating the tastes and traditions of Hispanic-style cuisine into at-home meals is as simple as choosing your favorites, preparing with quality, authentic ingredients and watching your family devour them.

If you’re looking to elevate your dishes with new flavors, Hispanic Heritage Month is a perfect time to experiment with recipes celebrating and inspired by classics, like Cuban Sandwiches or creamy Rajas con Crema. Made with dairy products from California, the nation’s leading producer of Hispanic-style cheeses and crema, these easy-to-make meals provide loved ones with a cultural dinner experience.

Visit realcaliforniamilk.com for more ways to add ethnic inspiration to your family meals and to find a variety of products with the Real California Milk seal at a supermarket near you.

Cuban Sandwiches

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 4          teaspoons Real California butter, softened, divided
  • 4          telera breads or French rolls, split
  • 8          teaspoons mustard
  • 24        thin slices smoked ham
  • 3          large dill pickles, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2    pounds roast pork, sliced
  • 4          slices (6 ounces) Real California Hispanic-Style Manchego cheese
  1. Spread 1/2 teaspoon butter on outside of bottom halves of each roll, arranging buttered side down on work surface. Top each with mustard, ham, pickles, pork and one slice cheese. Spread 1/2 teaspoon butter on outside of top halves of rolls and arrange buttered side up on top of sandwiches.
  2. Heat skillet over medium-low heat. One or two at a time, place sandwiches in skillet, place heavy skillet on top and cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Wipe out skillet as necessary.
  3. Cut each sandwich in half and serve.

Note: Panini maker can be used to cook sandwiches.

Rajas con Crema

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Servings: 4-6

  • 5          poblano or pasilla peppers
  • 1/4       cup, plus 1 tablespoon, vegetable oil, divided
  • 2          cups thinly sliced white onion
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt, to taste, plus additional (optional)
  • 1          cup Real California Mexican crema agria or sour cream
  • 1          cup white corn (fresh, frozen or canned and drained)
  • 1/2       cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3          cups shredded Real California Oaxaca cheese
  • corn tortillas
  1. Rub peppers with 1 tablespoon oil. In medium saucepan, cook peppers, turning occasionally, until well charred, 12-15 minutes. Transfer to bowl, cover and set aside until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
  2. Rub charred skin from peppers. Remove stems and seeds. Cut peppers into 1/4-inch strips. Set aside.
  3. In large saucepan over medium heat, warm remaining oil. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5-6 minutes. Add peppers and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers and onion are tender, 5-6 minutes. Add crema, corn and broth; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to maintain simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is thickened and saucy, about 20 minutes.
  4. Add cheese, stirring until melted, and additional salt, to taste, if desired. Serve with tortillas.

Substitution: Canned roasted poblano strips (2 3/4 cups, drained) can be used in place of fresh peppers.

SOURCE:
Real California Milk

A Hearty Breakfast to Start Your Day

Watch the video to see how to make this classic recipe!…..

(Culinary.net) For a simple yet satisfying breakfast idea, try this easy and delicious recipe for Cheesy Hash Browns.

Find more breakfast recipes at Culinary.net.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Cheesy Hash Browns

  • 2          teaspoons canola oil
  • 1          onion, chopped
  • 1          bell pepper, chopped
  • 1          pound frozen hash browns, thawed
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon pepper
  • 4          ounces ham, diced
  • 5          cheese slices
  • 2          garlic cloves, minced
  1. In skillet, heat oil. Add onion; cook 5-7 minutes. Add bell pepper and garlic; cook 3-5 minutes. Add hash browns, salt, pepper and ham; cook 18-20 minutes until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
  2. Top with cheese slices; cook until melted. Stir into hash brown mixture.

SOURCE:
Culinary.net

A Berry Balanced Breakfast

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!…

(Culinary.net) Add fruit to your breakfast with this take on French toast, which includes a mixture of berries, bananas and vanilla yogurt wrapped in tortillas and topped with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Find more breakfast recipes at Culinary.net.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Fruity Yogurt French Toast Wraps

  • 1          cup blueberries
  • 1          cup strawberries, sliced, plus additional for garnish (optional)
  • 1          cup bananas, sliced
  • 1          cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4       cup granola
  • 1          egg
  • 1/4       cup milk
  • 1          teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6-8       tortillas
  • 2          teaspoons butter
  • 4-6       teaspoons powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)
  1. In medium bowl, combine blueberries, strawberries, bananas, yogurt and granola. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Using pie plate, crack egg and whisk. Add milk, cinnamon and nutmeg; whisk until combined.
  3. Coat both sides of tortillas in egg mixture.
  4. In skillet, melt butter. Place coated tortillas one at a time in pan and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Move to plate.
  5. Spoon yogurt mixture into center of tortillas. Fold edges over to form wraps.
  6. Dust each with powdered sugar and top with additional strawberry slices, if desired.

SOURCE:
Culinary.net

Get Back into the Swing of Dinnertime

Consider these quick, flavor-filled recipes….

(Family Features) After juggling work, school, extracurricular activities, homework and preparing dinner, getting back into a weeknight routine may feel impossible.

With Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork in your fridge, you can cut down on meal prep and add quality time back into your day. Perfectly seasoned with ingredients like Applewood Smoked Bacon and Steakhouse seasonings,  just saute or roast and you can have a delicious meal ready in 30 minutes or less any night of the week.

Consider these quick, flavor-filled recipes for Smoked Bacon Pork Alfredo and Arugula Salad with Steakhouse Pork Tenderloin that everyone will enjoy.

Find more time-saving meal ideas at SmithfieldRealFlavorRealFast.com.

Smoked Bacon Pork Alfredo

Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 22 minutes
Servings: 6-8

  • 1          Smithfield Applewood Smoked Bacon Topped Pork Loin Filet
  • 3          tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1          pound dry penne pasta
  • 1          package (8 ounces) sliced fresh mushrooms
  • salt, to taste, divided
  • 2          jars (15 ounces each) Alfredo sauce
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/4       cup finely chopped green onion
  • grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Cut pork loin filet into 1/2-inch thick slices then into 1/4-inch wide strips. Bacon will fall off, but reserve for later.
  2. Working in two batches, in large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Stir fry half the pork and bacon pieces 7-8 minutes until well browned. Set aside on separate plate; repeat with 1 tablespoon oil and remaining pork and bacon.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  4. In skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining oil; add mushrooms and sprinkle lightly with salt, to taste. Cook 3 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  5. Drain pasta and return to pot; stir in pork and bacon, mushrooms and Alfredo sauce. Stir over medium heat, about 4 minutes, until heated through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Sprinkle with green onions and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

 

Arugula Salad with Steakhouse Pork Tenderloin

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 6 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1             Smithfield Steakhouse Seasoned Pork Tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1             sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed from stem and chopped
  • 2             tablespoons olive oil
  • 6             cups arugula or fresh spinach, washed
  • 1             small sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1             Fuji or other sweet red apple, cored and thinly sliced into half moons
  • salt (optional)
  • pepper (optional)
  • blue cheese salad dressing
  1. Season pork medallions with chopped rosemary. In skillet over medium heat, heat oil until hot. 
  2. In skillet, cook meat 3-4 minutes per side until medallions are browned and internal temperature reaches 145 F. Remove pork from pan and let stand 3 minutes.
  3. In bowl, toss arugula, onion and apples; season with salt and pepper, if desired. Divide salad into four portions and arrange pork on top of greens. Serve with blue cheese dressing.

SOURCE:
Smithfield

Caramel-Flavored Breakfast Fit for a Crowd

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!….

(Culinary.net) Cooking for a small crowd can be daunting. With this recipe for Caramel French Toast, you can prepare it the night before, bake in the morning and satisfy your guests without going overboard in the kitchen.

Find more breakfast and brunch recipes at Culinary.net.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!


Caramel French Toast

  • 6          slices white bread, halved
  • 1/4       cup butter, cubed
  • 1/2       cup brown sugar
  • 1          tablespoon corn syrup
  • 3          eggs
  • 3/4       cup half-and-half
  • 1/2       teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2       teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar (optional)
  1. Cut bread slices in half.
  2. In saucepan, melt butter. Add brown sugar and corn syrup. Bring to boil, stirring frequently.
  3. Pour into 8-inch square baking dish. Arrange bread slices over caramel mixture.
  4. In small bowl, whisk eggs, half-and-half, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. Pour over bread slices. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Heat oven to 350 F.
  6. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking and remove aluminum foil.
  7. Bake 25-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  8. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired; serve.

SOURCE:
Culinary.net

5 Steps to Grill Vegetables

Before you plan your next backyard barbecue, incorporate tasty vegetables…..

(Culinary.net) Burgers, brats, steak, chicken, pork chops and all the flavors of fresh meat get all the love on the grill, but a well-rounded meal calls for sides and veggies.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Before you plan your next backyard barbecue, incorporate tasty vegetables – peppers, asparagus, onions, tomatoes, zucchini and more – for an all-out blitz of fresh-grilled flavor. Consider these simple steps to properly grill your crispy veggies:

  1. Light the grill. Step one, of course, is to prep a hot grill. For the best cooking experience, you’ll want medium-high heat or even high heat for quick, direct grilling. By lighting the grill ahead of veggie prep, you’ll allow plenty of heating time to complete your other tasks.
  2. Prepare vegetables. Depending on what you plan to cook, there’ll likely be some preparation to undertake, such as cutting off stems and blemishes or removing pits and seeds. In addition to cleaning up your ingredients, you may want to chop, dice or slice based on the recipe.
  3. Coat vegetables with olive oil. Drizzling just a small amount of olive oil over your vegetables and tossing to coat adds a couple benefits. First, it helps the outer layer crisp rather than dry out, plus it aids in seasonings – like salt and pepper – sticking to the vegetable instead of falling off while on the grill or in a pan.
  4. Consider using foil packets or skewers. If char marks aren’t your thing, tossing chopped or diced veggies into a foil packet before hitting the grill steams them for a bit of a softer texture. Alternately, wooden skewers soaked in water (to prevent burning) can help keep smaller chunks of veggies from slipping through the grill grates while still achieving a crispy exterior.
  5. Pay attention to grill times. Different types of vegetables and preparation methods call for different cook times, but 5-10 minutes over direct heat generally gets the job done. The smaller you chunk, chop, slice or dice, the less time it’ll take.

Find more grilling tips at Culinary.net.

SOURCE:
Culinary.net

Protein-Packed Peanut Butter Breakfast

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

(Family Features) Recipes that are both nutritious and flavorful can help bring your loved ones together at the family table. Power up your family meals with protein-packed dishes like Peanut Butter Breakfast Bread Pudding with Maple Peanut Sauce.

Find more recipes at Culinary.net.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Peanut Butter Breakfast Bread Pudding with Maple Peanut Sauce

Recipe courtesy of the Georgia Peanut Commission
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 35-40 minutes
Servings: 4

  • Butter
  • 2/3       cup creamy peanut butter, divided
  • 2          eggs
  • 1/2       cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3       cup milk
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 4          cups cubed brioche or challah bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2/3       cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3       cup crushed peanuts
  • powdered sugar, for garnish
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Butter four 4-ounce ramekins.
  2. In bowl, mix 1/3 cup peanut butter, eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla and salt. Toss bread cubes in mixture until thoroughly coated. Divide evenly among prepared dishes. Bake until custard is set in middle and tops are golden, about 35-40 minutes. If tops of bread brown too quickly, cover ramekins loosely with aluminum foil.
  3. In small saucepan over low heat, combine remaining peanut butter and maple syrup until thoroughly warmed.
  4. To serve, drizzle ramekins with maple-peanut sauce and garnish with chopped peanuts and powdered sugar.

Substitution: Whole wheat rolls may be used in place of brioche or challah bread.

SOURCE:
Georgia Peanut Commission

Add Mexican Flair to Game Day Favorites

Mexican foods are ideal for tailgate season……

(Family Features) Football season, for many people, is just as much about the food as it is about the action. No matter who’s playing and whether you’re at a tailgate or living room watch party, one thing is for sure: football and flavor go hand-in-hand.

When you’re huddling up to figure out how to score a touchdown with your game day spread, consider taking your snacks to the next level by adding an authentic Mexican flair. Opt for traditional Mexican ingredients like chorizo, queso fresco or cotija in meals and snacks that are already football mainstays, including nachos, tacos and quesadillas, and consider all the possibilities that incorporating these flavorful ingredients can add to other classic dishes like sliders and potato skins.

Ideal for tailgate season, Cacique, one of the country’s top Mexican food brands, offers Mexican-Style Queso Dips – made with real queso fresco and available in Queso Blanco, Southwestern, Jalapeño and Chipotle flavors – and Fully Cooked Chorizos – made with authentically seasoned premium pork shoulder and available in classic, Chorizo with Bacon & Potato, Chorizo with Eggs and Chorizo with Queso varieties – to help fans easily add Mexican flavor to indulgent game day favorites. Both use high-quality ingredients and are microwavable, so they taste authentic and can be ready in minutes so no one misses any of the big plays or touchdowns.

Consider these twists you can add to your favorite game time snacks:

  • Loaded Avocados: Give avocados the potato skin treatment by loading them up with delicious toppings like chorizo, queso fresco and crema – just don’t eat the skin.
  • Cheese Fries: Drizzle queso dip over French fries or top with crumbles of flavorful Cacique Chorizo and Cotija in a recipe like these Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chorizo and Cotija.
  • Robust Sliders: Skip regular beef patties and spoon the rich seasoning and punch of flavor that chorizo brings to your favorite slider rolls then top with your favorite cheese and salsa.
  • Mac and Cheese: For a new take on mac and cheese, toss cooked macaroni noodles with your favorite Cacique Queso Dip and top with crushed tortilla chips in a recipe like this Southwestern Mac and Queso.

Discover more ways to incorporate Mexican flair into your game day spread at caciqueinc.com .

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chorizo and Cotija

  • 4          large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wide sticks
  • 3          tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1          package Cacique Fully Cooked Chorizo
  • 1          cup Cacique Cotija, crumbled
  • 2          tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Heat oven to 400° F and lightly grease large, rimmed baking sheet.
  2. In large bowl, toss sweet potato sticks with olive oil.
  3. Lay fries in single layer on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake 15-18 minutes, shaking pan several times, until tender and lightly browned.
  4. When fries are almost done baking, microwave chorizo 3-4 minutes.
  5. To serve, place golden brown fries on serving platter and spoon chorizo over top. Sprinkle with cotija and fresh cilantro.

Southwestern Mac and Queso

  • 1          package Cacique Queso Dip
  • 1          box macaroni, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1/4       cup Cacique Queso Fresco, crumbled
  • 1/2       cup tortilla chips, crushed
  1. Microwave queso dip 2-3 minutes; stir. Pour over cooked macaroni and toss until thoroughly coated.
  2. Sprinkle crumbled queso fresco and crushed tortilla chips over macaroni before serving.

SOURCE:
Cacique

Flavorful, On-Trend Asian-Inspired Entertaining

Asian flavors and ingredients continue to be increasingly popular due to delicious flavor profiles combined with vibrant colors….

(Family Features) Summer is the perfect time to bring out the grill and enjoy creating a flavorful meal when entertaining your family and friends. While some choose to whip up classic recipes, you can heat things up by taking advantage of all the seasonal ingredients and popular culinary trends, such as opting for authentic, Asian-inspired recipes.

With many Americans opting to eat more ethnic foods, it’s evident that global flavors continue to be on the rise. While Asian flavors are not new, they continue to pique consumers’ curiosity. Incorporating on-trend, plant-based products and ingredients that bring out Asian flavors aid in creating bright and balanced dishes for all your eating occasions both indoors and in the backyard this summer.

Consider these tips to ensure your summer gatherings are ones to remember.

Take Advantage of Seasonal Ingredients
Summer provides a variety of fresh flavors to incorporate into meals, whether you’re stirring up a classic family recipe or something new. Seasonal tastes like tomatoes, peaches, corn, blueberries, avocados and other sun-ripened fruits and vegetables can help showcase the variety of the summer harvest.

Opt for Simple, Flavorful Swaps
From sides to salads and sandwiches, many summer dishes are served with creamy condiments. However, simple, accessible swaps can provide the same robust flavors using fewer, cleaner ingredients. One time-tested example is rice vinegar, which can be an alternative to mayonnaise and creamy dressings. To help elevate the flavors of your summertime dishes with minimal calories, consider an option like the NAKANO lineup of eight delicious rice vinegars, which are made with real rice and the finest ingredients, creating a clean flavor that is smoother and mellow compared to other vinegars. Featuring easy-to-read labels with no more than seven ingredients, it has no added preservatives, no artificial flavors and no high-fructose corn syrup or MSG. These rice vinegars are available in eight delicious varieties, including the new Toasted Sesame Rice Vinegar.

Serve Up On-Trend Asian Dishes
Asian flavors and ingredients continue to be increasingly popular due to delicious flavor profiles combined with vibrant colors and presentation on the plate. When warmer weather calls for lighter meals, go for an option that blends popular culinary trends and adventurous tastes like those typically found in Asian cooking to wow your crowd. Even the most inexperienced of cooks can whip up this Asian Buddha Bowl with Lemon-Tahini Dressing, featuring tofu, nourishing veggies and a sweet-yet-tangy dressing – a combination to leave your guests eager for your next get-together.

For more recipe inspiration and tips for creating fresh summer flavors, visit NAKANOFlavors.com.

Asian Buddha Bowl with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

Tofu Marinade:

  • 2          tablespoons NAKANO Seasoned Rice Vinegar or NAKANO Roasted Garlic Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4       cup tamari (Japanese soy sauce)
  • 1          tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2          teaspoons chili paste
  • 2          garlic cloves, diced
  • 2          blocks extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • wooden skewers, soaked in water

Buddha Bowl:

  • 2          cups fresh, shredded carrot
  • 2          cups broccoli, cooked and cut into small florets
  • 3          cups brown rice, cooked
  • 2          teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

Lemon-Tahini Dressing:

  • 1          tablespoon NAKANO Natural Rice Vinegar or NAKANO Organic Natural Rice Vinegar
  • 2          tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 3          tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1          tablespoon tamari (Japanese soy sauce)
  • 1          tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1          garlic clove, grated
  • 1          teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2          tablespoons lemon juice
  1. To make Tofu Marinade: In small bowl, whisk rice vinegar, tamari, sesame oil, chili paste and diced garlic. Add tofu to bowl and place in refrigerator 10-20 minutes to allow tofu to marinate.
  2. Before lighting grill, spray with nonstick cooking spray then heat grill to medium-high heat. Remove tofu from marinade and thread on skewers. Grill each skewer 10 minutes, turning midway, or to desired doneness.
  3. To make Buddha Bowl: In six bowls, evenly combine carrots, broccoli, baked tofu, brown rice and sesame seeds.
  4. To make Lemon-Tahini Dressing: In medium bowl, whisk rice vinegar, tahini, sesame oil, tamari, maple syrup, garlic, ginger and lemon juice until combined. Top each bowl with dressing, as desired.

Substitutions: Tofu can be substituted with 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken or top sirloin steak.

SOURCE:
NAKANO

Take Down a Tantalizing Tailgate

o tailgate is complete without a game day staple: burgers……

(Family Features) Whether you prefer watching your favorite teams in-person or on TV, tailgate season means it’s time to break out your party’s favorite foods from appetizers and snacks to all-out meals.

Go long for a touchdown-worthy tailgate or settle in for game day on the couch with these recipes for a bold burger, sweet-and-spicy wings and creamy coleslaw. For an appetizing pregame warmup, try this assortment of nacho toppings to give your whole party something to cheer about.

Find more recipes to amp up your tailgate atmosphere at Culinary.net.

Homemade Nachos Worth the Hype

A truly beneficial start to the day is usually centered around breakfast. Start your family on the right foot with a meal that delivers sweet flavor along with nutritious fruits.

This Honey Leches French Toast recipe swaps out syrup for hot honey combined with the crisp taste of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.

Visit honey.com for more family-friendly recipes.

Perfect for pairing with game day dishes of nearly any variety, nachos allow a special amount of personalization for guests of all ages and taste preferences. Along with tortilla chips, of course, try nibbling on these topping options throughout your party:

  • Shredded cheese
  • Melted nacho cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Black olives
  • Shredded meat
  • Sliced peppers
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Beans

A Flavorful, Exotic Spin

No tailgate is complete without a game day staple: burgers. For a twist on tradition, try serving a different style of beef to give guests a new take on an all-time favorite.

This Grass-Fed Wagyu Burger with Red Radish Chili Pickles uses First Light 100% grass-fed Wagyu beef from New Zealand, home to some of the world’s most natural tasting beef and lamb. With cattle allowed to roam and graze freely over lush green hills and pastures all day, every day, the result is a tender, flavorful meat that tastes as nature intended.

Remember to cook the patties quickly over high heat to help retain juiciness, tenderness and flavor. With a touch of chili pepper in the pickles, you can add just enough spice with a sweet kick.

Find more recipes for game day gatherings at beefandlambnz.com.

Grass-Fed Wagyu Burger with Red Radish Chili Pickles

Red Radish Chili Pickles:

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sliced fresh red chili peppers
  • 1/2 cup sliced red radish

Wagyu Burgers:

  • 1 1/3 pounds First Light New Zealand Grass-Fed Wagyu Grind
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran oil
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons onion jam
  1. To make Red Radish Chili Pickles: In small saucepan, heat vinegar, water and sugar. Add chili and radish; remove from heat.
  2. To make Wagyu Burgers: Season Wagyu grind with salt and pepper, to taste. Mix in mustard, if desired. Form into four patties.
  3. Lightly brush both sides of burgers with oil. In frying pan, sear burgers over high heat then reduce heat to medium and cook until well caramelized. Flip and repeat process on other side.
  4. In frying pan, lightly toast burger buns.
  5. Spread mayonnaise on buns; top with lettuce, tomato and burger.
  6. Spread spoonful onion jam on each burger then finish with Red Radish Chili Pickles.

Crunch into Coleslaw

Appetizers, main courses and snacks may dominate many tailgate parties, whether at home or the stadium, but don’t forget to incorporate sides that can accompany all the flavors of your festivities.

This Honey-Dill Coleslaw, for example, makes for a complementary dish to just about any protein from burgers to wings and beyond. Plus, with only a few simple ingredients, it’s an easy side to whip up yourself or enlist help from an eager guest.

Find more sweet side recipes at honey.com.

Honey-Dill Coleslaw

Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board
Servings: 4

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1 package (16 ounces) coleslaw mix
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  1. In small bowl, combine honey, sour cream and dill.
  2. In large bowl, toss coleslaw mix with onion and honey-sour cream mixture. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.

A Sweet-Hot Handheld

Ditch the plates and dive right into a sweet and spicy snack perfect for the whole party with these Honey-Sriracha Grilled Wings.

To help simplify prep, try grilling ahead of time and keep in the oven until guests arrive. Or, if you’re tailgating in style at the stadium, toss into a pan and cover with foil to keep them warm until it’s time for a bite.

Visit honey.com to find more tailgating recipes.

Honey Sriracha Grilled Wings

Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board
Servings: 8

  • 4 pounds fresh chicken wings
  • water
  • 3 cups rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha sauce
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 cups honey, divided
  1. Heat grill to 225-240 F.
  2. In large bowl, rinse wings with cool water. Add rice wine vinegar, Sriracha, salt and 1 cup honey. Fold to incorporate all ingredients and coat wings evenly.
  3. Place wings on grill, cover with lid and cook 12-14 minutes before turning once and cooking additional 15-18 minutes.
  4. Open lid and turn wings. Brush remaining honey on wings. Cook 5-8 minutes, remove from heat and serve.

SOURCE:
New Zealand Beef & Lamb