Summer Brunch Fare

Warmer weather calls for putting a summer twist on brunch classics……..

(Family Features) When it comes to planning brunch, there really are no rules. It’s the perfect opportunity to combine your favorite flavors and foods in one delicious meal.


Warmer weather calls for putting a summer twist on brunch classics. Breakfast Tacos Al Pastor are a fresh, flavorful addition to a festive summer brunch, while this Brunch Bruschetta Bar is a gorgeous way to feed a crowd and highlight your favorite summertime ingredients. These recipes are made and served with not-from-concentrate Florida’s Natural Brand Orange Juice, made entirely from oranges grown, picked and squeezed in Florida, with no water or sugar added.

Both recipes are from the Florida’s Natural Brunch Club, a collection of brunch experts creating recipes to celebrate brunch throughout the year. Brighten up your brunch with more fresh takes on classic recipes at


Breakfast Tacos Al Pastor
Recipe courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4-6


2          tablespoons olive oil

1          pound ground chicken or pork

1/2       sweet onion, chopped

2          cloves garlic, minced or grated

2          teaspoons chili powder

1          teaspoon paprika

1          teaspoon, plus pinch, kosher salt, divided

2          chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped

1/2       cup not-from-concentrate Florida’s Natural Brand Orange Juice

1/4       cup water

2          cups fresh pineapple chunks, divided

1/4       cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4       cup fresh basil, chopped

1          jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1          lime, juice only

4-6       fried eggs

6-8       corn or flour tortillas, warmed

sliced avocado

feta or cheddar cheese


In large skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. When oil shimmers, add ground chicken and onion. Cook, stirring often and breaking up meat as it cooks, until chicken is browned, about 5 minutes.


Add garlic, chili powder, paprika, salt, chipotle peppers, orange juice, water and 1 cup pineapple. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce has thickened slightly around chicken, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.


In bowl, combine remaining pineapple, basil, jalapeno, lime juice and pinch of salt.


To serve: Divide fried eggs among tortillas and top with chicken. Add pineapple-basil salsa, avocado and cheese.


Brunch Bruschetta Bar
Recipe courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

Prep time: 20 minutes

Servings: 8-12


1          cup basil pesto

1          cup sun-dried tomato spread

2          cups cherry tomatoes, marinated cherry tomatoes or diced tomatoes

6-8       soft-boiled or poached eggs

6-8       scrambled eggs

12        slices grilled or toasted bread

olive oil, to taste

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

2-3       varieties of soft cheeses

2          cups fresh fruit

1          sliced avocado

2          cups sauteed veggies, such as spinach and mushrooms

6-8       pieces fried bacon

2-3       varieties of prosciutto, salami or smoked salmon

1          cup fruit jam

1          cup nut butter

1/2       cup honey

1          carton not-from-concentrate Florida’s Natural Brand Orange Juice


On large serving board, arrange sauces and spreads. Add poached eggs, scrambled eggs and bread. Drizzle poached eggs with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange cheese, fruits, veggies, meats, jams, nut butter and honey around eggs.


Pour orange juice into juice glasses for sipping.

Easy Eating

There are many seasonal salads to enjoy and everyone has a favorite……………..

(Family Features) Warmer weather has arrived and that means it’s salad season.


There are many seasonal salads to enjoy and everyone has a favorite. Change your warm-weather dining habits up a bit with this recipe for Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers. Easy to prepare, this deliciously unique salad on a skewer is perfect for entertaining family and friends.


The sweet-tangy, nutty, piquant and savory combination of ingredients provides layers of flavors in every forkful. One-bite Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets are just right for skewering with the mustard-marmalade glazed chicken and crisp romaine.

To finish, drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with toasted almonds and cheese. Add a whole grain baguette and your meal is ready. For more warm-weather recipe ideas, visit


Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Servings: 8


1          jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets, drained

2          large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)

salt, to taste, plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided

pepper, to taste, plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided

4 1/2    tablespoons stone ground mustard, divided

1 1/2    tablespoons orange marmalade, plus 1/3 cup, divided

2          tablespoons minced fresh chives

1          large lemon, zested and juiced (about 1/3 cup juice)

1/4       cup olive oil

1          bag (9 ounces) leafy romaine pieces

8          wooden skewers

1/3       cup chopped almonds, toasted

1/3       cup crumbled firm white cheese (such as blue cheese, feta or goat)


Heat oven to 375 F. Drain beets; set aside.


Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. In small bowl, combine 1 1/2 tablespoons each of mustard and marmalade. Brush mixture over chicken until completely coated. Bake chicken on aluminum foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet, 20-25 minutes, or until juices run clear; set aside.


To make vinaigrette: In medium bowl, combine remaining mustard, remaining marmalade, chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Slowly pour in oil while whisking vigorously until completely combined.


Slice cooled chicken into 1-inch pieces. On each skewer, thread a beet, a piece of chicken and 4- 5 pieces of lettuce; repeat twice; add one beet at end. Repeat to make eight skewers. Place skewers on large serving platter. Stir vinaigrette; drizzle lightly over skewers. Sprinkle with almonds and cheese. Serve with remaining vinaigrette.


Substitution: Whole pickled beets may be substituted. Cut beets in half.


Alternate preparation: To grill chicken, brush both sides with mustard-marmalade mixture. Grill over medium heat 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through and thermometer reads 165 F. If chicken cooks too quickly, reduce heat to medium-low.


Nutritional information per serving: 255 calories; 15 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 12 g total fat; 440 mg sodium; 40 mg cholesterol; 2 g dietary fiber; 1 mg iron; .07 mg thiamin; 2,871 IU vitamin A; 7 mg vitamin C.


Create Family Moments and Memories this Summer

For a different flavor profile, try grilling pizza rather than baking…………

(Family Features) Take advantage of slower summer schedules and warmer weather by rounding up the family and heading to the backyard for fun, food and family time.


The opportunities for quality family time during the warmer months are nearly endless, especially with just a little creativity and ingenuity, like these fun summer ideas from Borden Cheese.


Let your inner kid run free

Celebrate your favorite summer memories with your kids by breaking out the flashlights to play tag and other fun games in the backyard all night long. Whether it’s kick the can, ghost in the graveyard, capture the flag or a good, old-fashioned game of hide and seek, backyard games are a great way to get the whole family to unplug and enjoy summer evenings together. Don’t be surprised if the neighbors join in the fun, too.


Fire up your appetite

Ditch the kitchen and get the whole family engaged by recreating everyone’s favorite pizza on the grill. The perfect base for everyone to cook up their own creations, this deliciously easy Cheesy Flatbread Pizza recipe can be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. Keep it simple for kids with Borden Cheese Mild Cheddar Shreds or dress it up with some fresh veggies straight from your garden or local farmer’s market. For added fun and flavor, toss your family’s pizza on the grill for a crispy, authentic crust.

Rethink family movie night

Get off the couch and take your family movie outside. All you need is a sheet, a projector and some comfy pillows and throws to turn your backyard into an open-air movie theater. Watch new releases, old favorites or even home movies on the big screen right in your own backyard. To keep the fun going, pitch a tent and spend the night outside sleeping under the stars.


Find more family-friendly recipes for summer at


Cheesy Flatbread Pizza

Cook time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4


1          piece (12 inches) cracker bread or flatbread

1          tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for brushing

1          package (8 ounces) Borden Cheese Mild Cheddar Shreds, divided

8          strips thick-sliced bacon, cooked crisp and broken into 1-inch pieces

4          whole garlic cloves, sliced

4          plum tomatoes, sliced

1/2       red onion, cut in strips

1/4       cup chopped Italian parsley

fresh basil leaves (optional)


Heat oven to 400 F.


Brush bread with small amount of olive oil and place on cookie sheet. Spread 1 1/2 cups cheese evenly around bread. Top evenly with bacon pieces.


In small skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil until hot. Add garlic and saute until lightly browned. Sprinkle onto pizza. Arrange sliced tomatoes and red onions on pizza.


Add parsley to remaining cheese and spread over ingredients.


Bake 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Cut into squares and serve immediately. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired.


Tip: For a different flavor profile, try grilling pizza rather than baking. Brush raw side of dough with olive oil and grill until bottom of crust is golden brown.

Serve Up a Nutritious Seasonal Brunch

A perfect way to entertain around the table………….

(Family Features) With summer in full bloom, brunch is the perfect way to entertain friends and family for nearly any upcoming occasion or celebration. Take advantage of the  season with quality time spent with loved ones, more outdoor experiences and wholesome nutrition for the whole family, starting with a delicious morning meal around the table.


When it comes to the food they serve their families, moms want to provide good nutrition, especially for their kids, to help them grow up healthy and strong. Serving a nutritious meal each morning is one way to help kids get a good start to the day, so they can be their best in school, play and any other activities the day brings.


Whether moms know it or not, they are powerful role models for their children’s health and nutrition. When moms set the example and eat nutritious meals themselves, kids notice. For instance, according to a study from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, moms who drink milk are more likely to have kids who drink milk, which is a household staple that provides important nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and potassium. Setting the example for quality nutrition can be made easy with a delicious meal served with milk to celebrate any occasion this season with guests of all ages.


This simple egg casserole is the perfect excuse to bring the family together and start a beautiful summer day with a wholesome meal and quality time together. For more recipes and reasons to bring the family together, visit


Easy Egg Casserole

Servings: 4


Nonstick cooking spray

1          cup lean ham, cubed

1          cup frozen seasoned potatoes with onions and peppers

3/4       cup frozen spinach, chopped

1/2       cup lowfat cheddar or Swiss cheese, shredded

6          eggs

3/4       cup milk


Heat oven to 375 F. Lightly coat 8-by-8-inch casserole dish with nonstick spray.


Arrange ham, potatoes, spinach and cheese in bottom of casserole dish. In large bowl, beat eggs and milk together and pour over ingredients in casserole dish.


Bake 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffed. Serve immediately.


Pair each serving with 8-ounce glass of milk.


Nutritional information per serving: 350 calories; 9 g fat; 3 g saturated fat; 350 mg cholesterol; 32 g protein; 34 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 630 mg sodium; 500 mg calcium (50% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat free milk, and include an 8-ounce glass of milk.


Timeless Italian Cuisine

(Family Features) Italian cuisine has influenced food culture around the world, and is often viewed as an art form that includes the freshest, most authentic ingredients, prepared with passion and served with love to family and friends. Mealtime is a celebration, captured by the classic Italian proverb, “You never grow old at the table.”


Americans have celebrated Italian food for decades. Classic Italian dishes have been joined by refreshing, modern twists on tradition that help keep the love affair alive and well with this simple, colorful, flavorful, healthy cuisine.


Born in Lucca, Italy, in 1867, Filippo Berio Olive Oil celebrates 150 years of culinary passion and artistry by combining traditional ingredients in contemporary, unexpected recipes that can help you savor the moment.


As part of its 150th anniversary celebration this summer, a Filippo Berio Food Truck will make a culinary journey from coast to coast. Guests at the truck can sample delicious olive oils, and consumers nationwide are invited to enter a sweepstakes to win a week-long culinary experience at Toscana Saporita, a premier Italian cooking school in Tuscany, Italy.


For every sweepstakes entry, Filippo Berio will donate $1 to the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), an organization supported by Filippo Berio since its foundation in 1990 that helps prepare disadvantaged youth for jobs in the restaurant and hospitality industry.


For additional details, including tour cities and dates and how to enter the sweepstakes, visit, and find more recipe creations at


Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza

Recipe courtesy of Chef Mary Ann Esposito

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Makes: Two 9- to 10-inch pizzas


1          pound store-bought pizza dough, at room temperature

1          ripe tomato, thinly sliced

1/4       pound fresh mozzarella cheese, diced

coarse sea salt

2          tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2       cup shredded fresh basil


Heat well-oiled cast-iron or nonstick 10- or 12-inch frying pan over medium heat 5 minutes.


Divide dough in half; roll one half into round 1 inch smaller than diameter of pan. Cook dough in hot pan until dough begins to rise and bottom starts to brown. Using metal spatula, turn carefully. Layer half the tomato slices over dough; scatter half the mozzarella over top. Lower heat to medium-low; cook until mozzarella melts.

Using metal spatula, transfer pizza to cutting board. Sprinkle with salt; drizzle with half the

olive oil. Cut into wedges; sprinkle half the basil over top.


Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Fire Up the Fourth with Tasty Backyard Recipes

Add some spark to backyard staples like grilled chicken and potatoes………..

(Family Features) Fireworks, family and food are what the Fourth of July is all about. This year, add some spark to backyard staples like grilled chicken and potato salad with a little help from tangy condiments, smoky rubs and your cast-iron skillet.


For a main dish that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser, smother grilled chicken with a white barbecue sauce – the South’s tangy little secret. It’s made with simple pantry ingredients like mayonnaise, cider vinegar and mustard.

Make a one-pan side dish next to the cooking chicken by placing your cast-iron skillet directly on the grates. Smash whole potatoes in the pan then top with bacon, cheese and a chipotle seasoning. Let it all melt together and then top with sour cream for a smoking side.

Round out the meal with a festive cake that looks as impressive as it tastes. Dye white cake mix batter red and blue using food color then assemble in a flag shape with whipped cream and berries.

Find more recipes and ideas to fire up your Fourth of July at



White Barbecue Sauce with Smoky Chicken

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Servings: 6


White Barbecue Sauce:

1          cup mayonnaise

1/2       cup cider vinegar

2          tablespoons Zatarain’s Creole Mustard

1          teaspoon prepared horseradish

1/2       teaspoon McCormick Coarse Ground Black Pepper

1/2       teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder

1/4       teaspoon salt


Smoky Chicken:

1          cup hickory wood chips

2          pounds bone-in chicken parts

2          tablespoons McCormick Grill Mates Applewood Rub


To make sauce: In medium bowl, mix mayonnaise, vinegar, creole mustard, horseradish, black pepper, garlic and salt until well blended. Cover. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving to blend flavors.


To make chicken: Cover wood chips in water and soak 30 minutes. Season chicken with rub. Drain wood chips. Fill smoker box with wet wood chips. Place smoker box under grill rack on one side of grill before lighting. Close grill.


Prepare grill for indirect medium heat (350-375 F). Heat grill by turning all burners to medium. Once cooking temperature is reached, turn off burner(s) on one side. Place chicken on unlit side of grill. Close grill cover.


Grill, turning occasionally, 30-40 minutes, or until internal temperature of thickest part of chicken is 165 F. Move chicken to lit side of grill with skin side down. Turn lit side of grill to high.


Grill, uncovered, 3-5 minutes longer, or until chicken is charred. Serve chicken with White Barbecue Sauce.


Test Kitchen Tip: Refrigerate any leftover sauce and use as salad dressing, condiment for burgers or dipping sauce for pretzels and vegetables.



Grilled and Loaded Smashed Potatoes

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Servings: 12


1 1/2    pounds medium Yukon gold potatoes

1          tablespoon vegetable oil

5          teaspoons McCormick Grill Mates Bacon Chipotle Seasoning, divided

6          slices Applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1          cup chopped yellow onion

1/2       cup chopped red bell pepper

1/2       cup shredded cheddar cheese

2          tablespoons finely chopped green onions

1/4       cup sour cream


Heat grill to medium.


Place potatoes on microwavable plate. Pierce potatoes with fork several times. Microwave on high 5-6 minutes, or until fork-tender but still firm. Let stand until cool enough to handle. In large bowl, toss potatoes, oil and 3 teaspoons seasoning until well coated.


Place potatoes on grill and cook, turning frequently, 4-5 minutes or until skin is crispy. In large cast-iron skillet on grill, cook and stir bacon 8-10 minutes, or until crisp. Add yellow onion and bell pepper; cook and stir 2-3 minutes, or until tender-crisp.


Push bacon mixture to one side of skillet. Add potatoes to other side of skillet. Smash each potato with heavy spatula, bottom of small sturdy bowl or meat pounder. Sprinkle potatoes with remaining seasoning. Spoon bacon mixture over potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese.


Cover pan or close grill. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. To serve, sprinkle with green onions and dollops of sour cream.


Test Kitchen Tip: Cooking potatoes before grilling reduces overall grill time.



Red, White and Blue Cake

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Servings: 12


1          package (2-layer size) white cake mix

2          teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract

1/2       teaspoon Blue McCormick Assorted Neon Food Colors & Egg Dye

2          tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2          teaspoons McCormick Red Food Color

nonstick spray

1          container (16 ounces) white frosting

1          cup raspberries

1/2       cup blueberries


Heat oven to 350 F.


Prepare cake mix as directed on package, adding vanilla. Transfer 1 1/2 cups batter to small bowl and tint with neon blue food color. Tint remaining batter red by adding cocoa powder and red food color. Pour each color batter into separate 9-by-5-inch loaf pans sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.


Bake blue-tinted cake 20-25 minutes; red-tinted cake 30-35 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.


Trim cakes to remove rounded tops and edges. Slice red cake in half horizontally to form two thin layers. Place one layer on platter. Slice remaining red cake layer in half lengthwise. Slice blue cake in half lengthwise. (Blue and red cakes should be same dimensions.)


Frost red cake layer on platter with 1/3 frosting. Top with lengthwise slices of red and blue cake side-by-side. Frost with 1/3 frosting. Repeat cake layer and frosting. Garnish with raspberries and blueberries to resemble flag.

Go Ahead … Eat the Whole Watermelon

Most people think of watermelon as a sweet, juicy snack perfect for hot summer days, but with its high water content (92 percent), the fruit is more than just tasty. It’s also an ideal way to keep your body hydrated……

(Family Features) Sliced or diced, grilled or blended, there are countless ways to prepare watermelon. With some fruits, half or more is wasted when you throw away the seeds and peel, but you may be surprised to learn that you can use an entire watermelon, including the rind, to make delicious and refreshing dishes.


Most people think of watermelon as a sweet, juicy snack perfect for hot summer days, but with its high water content (92 percent), the fruit is more than just tasty. It’s also an ideal way to keep your body hydrated. What’s more, the ability to use the entire fruit makes watermelon one of the most versatile and value-conscious options in the produce department.


An average watermelon consists of about 70 percent fruit and 30 percent rind. Hollowed out, the rind is an attractive way to serve any number of recipes, but the rind is actually edible, too, and can be stir-fried, stewed or pickled, or even enjoyed raw. This yummy slaw gets its distinctive crunch from the watermelon rind, which is packed with citrulline and arginine, two compounds that may aid in healthy blood flow.


Watermelon is also a flavorful substitute for tomatoes, as shown in this traditional Italian appetizer, and contains higher levels of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable per serving, according to award-winning nutrition author and registered dietitian Elizabeth Somer.

Additionally, it lends some sweetness to a spicy salsa and a refreshing twist on a summery salad. You can also try blending watermelon with other fresh fruits for a super smoothie or mixing it up with some adult libations (and don’t forget, you can transform the rind into a mini-keg in minutes; just add a pour spout).


Find more ideas for using every bite of fruit, juice and rind at



Watermelon Caprese Salad with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

Makes: 6 servings


12        slices watermelon cut into rounds or squares, approximately 3 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick, with seeds removed

1/2       cup balsamic vinegar

2          tablespoons honey

1/2       pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 12 slices

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

1/4       cup fresh basil leaves, loosely chopped

2          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1          sprig basil, for garnish


Place watermelon slices on paper towels and cover with additional paper towels to absorb excess fluid.


In small saucepan over medium heat, add vinegar and honey. Stir to blend, bring to simmer and reduce heat. Stir occasionally until mixture is reduced by almost half. (Do not let reduce too far or allow to froth.) Set aside to cool slightly.


On large platter, place watermelon slices and top each with slice of cheese. Add salt and pepper, to taste, then sprinkle basil leaves evenly over top. Drizzle with olive oil, followed by reduced balsamic vinegar. Garnish with sprig of basil.


Tip: Use red and yellow watermelon for an extra pretty presentation.



Watermelon Rind Slaw

Makes: 4 one-cup servings



1/4       cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt

1/4       cup low-fat sour cream

1 1/2    tablespoons stone-ground mustard

1          tablespoon apple cider vinegar

4          teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1          tablespoon sugar

1          teaspoon poppy seeds

2          teaspoons olive oil

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste


4          cups grated watermelon rind (fruit and green peel removed)

1          cup grated carrot

1 1/2    cups diced fresh pineapple


In small bowl, blend Greek yogurt, sour cream, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, poppy seeds, olive oil, salt and pepper thoroughly. Set aside.


Place watermelon rind on several layers of paper towels to soak up excess fluid.


In medium bowl, place dressing, rind, carrot and pineapple, and toss to thoroughly coat.


Watermelon Slice Ice Pops

Makes: 5-15 servings


5-15     watermelon slices, cut into triangular wedge shapes, about 1/2 to 1 inch thick, with seeds removed

5-15     ice pop sticks


Insert ice pop stick into rind of each slice.


Optional variation: After inserting sticks, freeze ice pops before serving.


Superfood Smoothie

Makes: 3 cups


2          cups cubed and seeded watermelon

1          cup fresh or frozen raspberries

1          cup raspberry kefir

2          tablespoons orange juice concentrate

2          tablespoons hemp

2          tablespoons agave syrup

ice (optional)


Place watermelon, raspberries, raspberry kefir, orange juice concentrate, hemp, agave syrup and ice, if desired, in blender and blend until smooth.



Cool Down with Patriotic Frozen Pops

The perfect treat to celebrate and escape the heat this summer………….

(Family Features) With backyard barbecues, pool parties and patriotic celebrations in full swing leading up to the Fourth of July, kids are constantly on the go with summertime activities. For long summer days in the sun, a cool treat is the perfect way to help keep kids energized for all of their summertime activities.


These homemade red, white and blueberry frozen pops are the perfect patriotic summer snack for active kids. Made with wholesome ingredients like fruit and milk, they’re a great way for moms to add quality nutrition to snack time with flavors their kids already love. Plus, with milk as an ingredient, this delicious recipe is a creative way to help the whole family get added nutrients they need, like calcium and protein.

Whether celebrating Independence Day or relaxing following an afternoon in the sun, this tasty and nutritious summertime snack is one the whole family can enjoy together. For more inspiration and recipes to serve up summer fun, visit


Red, White and Blueberry Frozen Pops

Servings: 10


1/2       cup granola

2          teaspoons brown rice syrup

3/4       cup reduced fat milk

6          ounces fat free vanilla Greek yogurt

1          cup whole strawberries, tops removed


1 1/4    cup blueberries, divided


In small bowl, stir granola and brown rice syrup until combined. Using end of wooden spoon, press approximately 3/4 tablespoon granola into each frozen pop mold. Granola should be packed tightly into bottom of molds.


In another small bowl, stir together milk and yogurt; set aside.


Using small food processor or high-powered blender, puree strawberries until smooth. Stir water into each puree so they are pourable, about 2 tablespoons each, more if necessary.


Set aside 30 blueberries and puree remainder. Add water, as needed, to make pourable.


To layer pops, start by pouring, piping or syringing 1 tablespoon milk and yogurt mixture into each mold, covering granola layer. Put each mold in freezer until firm, at least 1 hour.


Layer 1 tablespoon strawberry puree on top of frozen yogurt layer in each mold. Cover top of molds with foil, insert sticks and freeze again until solid. Remove foil, add another layer of yogurt and freeze again.


For final layer, add 1 tablespoon blueberry puree and 3 blueberries to each mold. Freeze until solid. Keep frozen pops in molds until ready to eat. Run each mold under lukewarm water for approximately 10 seconds to loosen and remove frozen pops. Pops can be made 1 day in advance.


Tip: For clean lines between frozen yogurt layers, use small syringe.


Nutritional information per serving: 70 calories; 2 g fat; 0.5 g saturated fat; 3 g protein; 11 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 20 mg sodium; 48 mg calcium (4% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using reduced fat milk.




Are You Getting Enough Protein in Your Diet?

Fewer calories, more protein is a winning combo for weight loss and healthy aging…………..

(Family Features) Do you pay attention to how much protein you eat at each meal? A new study suggests that when it comes to weight loss and healthy aging, getting enough protein at mealtimes is important.


Duke University researchers found obese women who ate adequate or high amounts of protein, including nutrient-rich lean pork, as part of a six month weight-loss diet not only lost weight, they improved their ability to get around, too.


“There’s no magic bullet when it comes to weight loss,” said Connie Bales, PhD, professor in medicine at Duke University. “But our research suggests a higher-protein, lower-calorie diet, including lean pork, could be a viable solution – especially for older women who are most at risk.”


While most Americans eat the majority of their protein at dinner, researchers suggest there could be benefits to spreading protein throughout the day. In this study, women ate 30 grams of protein at each meal with two of the meals including lean pork. Choices like tenderloin, low-sodium ham, chops and lean ground pork are among the seven cuts of pork that meet the USDA guidelines for “lean” by containing less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams of meat. In fact, pork tenderloin has the same amount of fat as a skinless chicken breast.

The next time you fire up your grill, try these lemon-basil pork chops. Serve up 30 grams of tasty protein for dinner, while tapping into the flavors of summer.


Visit and for more pork-inspired recipes, intriguing flavors and nutritional information.


Grilled Lemon-Basil Pork Chops with Lemon-Basil Orzo

Serves: 4


4          bone-in ribeye (rib) pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick

3          small lemons

2          tablespoons olive oil

5          cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2    tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

8          ounces orzo

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste


Zest and juice lemons. In small bowl, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and basil. Set aside 3 tablespoons of mixture. Transfer remaining mixture to large resealable bag and add pork. Set aside for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.


Meanwhile, prepare orzo according to package directions. Drain and return orzo to pot. Stir in reserved lemon-basil mixture and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool to room temperature.


Prepare a grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil grate. Remove pork from marinade; discard marinade. Season pork with salt and pepper and grill until internal temperature reaches 145 F, about 4 minutes per side. Remove chops from grill and let rest 3 minutes.


Serve chops with orzo.


Nutritional information per serving: 440 calories; 30 g fat; 3 g saturated fat; 70 mg cholesterol; 30 g protein; 47 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 60 mg sodium.


Pop Up Some Summer Snacks

Light, airy and fresh popcorn is a perfect summer snack. It’s naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO and gluten free – all the makings of an ideal guilt-free treat…….

(Family Features) From casual gatherings with friends to outdoor athletic activities and leisurely time at home, all of the best summer pastimes have one thing in common: tasty snacks make them more enjoyable.


Light, airy and fresh popcorn is a perfect summer snack. It’s naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO and gluten free – all the makings of an ideal guilt-free treat. Whether you enjoy it one delicious handful at a time, sprinkled with seasonings or as an ingredient in fun summertime recipes, popcorn offers plenty of versatility for every occasion.

You can kick up the heat with a zesty popcorn mix and no summer sporting event is complete without some good old toffee-style popcorn and nuts. Find more popcorn recipes perfect for summer at


Beach Party Popcorn

Yield: 2 1/2 quarts


1          teaspoon soy sauce

1-2       drops hot pepper sauce

1/3       cup melted butter

2          quarts popped popcorn

2          cups assorted seasoned snacks (crackers, pretzels, etc.)

1/2       package (0.56 ounces) bacon-onion dip mix


Heat oven to 350 F.


Add soy sauce and hot pepper sauce to melted butter.


Put popcorn and seasoned snacks in large bowl. Pour butter mixture over popcorn and snacks; toss. Sprinkle with bacon-onion dip mix; toss again.


Spread mixture in 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-by-1-inch jelly roll pan and bake 8-10 minutes, stirring once.


Ballpark Popcorn Crunch

Yield: 3 quarts


1/2       cup butter

1/2       cup brown sugar

3          quarts unsalted popped popcorn

1          cup chopped walnuts


Heat oven to 350 F.


Cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.


In separate bowl, toss popcorn and walnuts. Add creamed mixture to popcorn and nuts. Combine until coated.


Spread on large baking sheet in single layer.


Bake 10 minutes, or until crisp.

Get Grilling Like a Pitmaster

Make your cookout the best on the block ……..

(Family Features) Summertime meals are all about the grill. This year, give your grill and your family a break from hamburgers and hot dogs, and heat things up with the flavor and versatility of fresh pork.

From tender Sweet Sriracha Pork Skewers to Memphis-Style Dry Baby Back Ribs, the possibilities are endless. Make your cookout the best on the block with these tips and recipes from world champion pitmasters Tuffy Stone and Darren Warth:


  • Start with a fresh and high-quality meat like Smithfield Fresh Pork, which is available in a variety of cuts and seasonings perfect for any cookout occasion.
  • Don’t lift the lid of your grill unless you are checking for doneness or turning the food to avoid letting the heat escape or interrupt the cooking process.
  • Check for proper doneness with a meat thermometer and use tongs to turn the meat instead of a fork. Cutting into the meat can cause flavorful juices to escape.
  • If you’re short on time, try a pre-seasoned option like Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork, so that the prep work is already done for you.


Find more great grilling tips, videos and recipes at


Memphis-Style Dry Baby Back Ribs

Recipe courtesy of Pitmaster Tuffy Stone

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus 30 minutes stand time

Cook time: 4-6 hours

Servings: 2-4


Dry Rub:

1/4       cup brown sugar

1/4       cup kosher salt

2          teaspoons chili powder

1 1/2    teaspoons dry mustard

1          teaspoon black pepper

1          teaspoon celery salt


2          slabs Smithfield Fresh Pork Back Ribs, membrane removed

1/4       cup prepared yellow mustard

apple juice or water, in spray bottle

barbecue sauce (optional)


To make dry rub: In small bowl about 30 minutes before grilling, combine brown sugar, kosher salt, chili powder, dry mustard, black pepper and celery salt; mix well.


Spread both sides of ribs with yellow mustard and sprinkle dry rub on top. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Heat charcoal or gas grill to 250 F for indirect cooking.


Place ribs, meaty side up, over drip pan and cook 4-6 hours until tender. Spritz ribs occasionally with water or apple juice using spray bottle.


If using charcoal grill, add about 12 coals approximately every 45 minutes to maintain heat. Let ribs stand 10-15 minutes before serving. If desired, serve with barbecue sauce.


Sweet Sriracha Pork Skewers

Recipe courtesy of Pitmaster Darren Warth

Prep time: 15 minutes, plus marinade time

Cook time: 15-20 minutes

Servings: 4


1          Smithfield Fresh Pork Tenderloin

1/2       cup agave nectar

2          tablespoons Sriracha sauce

1          teaspoon minced garlic

1          tablespoon soy sauce

1          tablespoon rice vinegar

  • pint fresh pineapple chunks

wood skewers, soaked in water


Trim skin off pork tenderloin and cut into 1-inch cubes.


To make marinade: In bowl, combine agave, Sriracha sauce, garlic, soy sauce and rice vinegar, and whisk thoroughly.


Pour marinade into re-sealable bag and add cubed pork tenderloin. Marinate for up to 24 hours in refrigerator. Place tenderloin and pineapple chunks on skewers, alternating so pineapple is tight against tenderloin.

Heat charcoal or gas grill to medium heat. Grill skewers, turning every 5 minutes, until all sides are grilled. Cook until tenderloin chunks have reached internal temperature of 145 F.


Savory Summer Grilling

If your usual preparation involves a basic flame, you may be surprised by all the different flavors you can evoke just by changing the method……

(Family Features) There’s not much that tastes better during the summer than a meal hot off the grill. If you’re in the mood for a delicious backyard dish, try adding versatility to your grilling game with a few simple tips.


Try a new cooking method. If your usual preparation involves a basic flame, you may be surprised by all the different flavors you can evoke just by changing the method. Whether you’re using gas or charcoal, switch from standard grilling to smoking over indirect heat. You can also use seasoned wood chips with most grilling methods to build a completely different flavor profile.


Look for non-traditional ways to use your favorite proteins. Instead of the traditional steak or chicken on a kabob, you can create a whole new flavor experience using smoked sausage. For example, Eckrich offers a variety of smoked sausage flavors in traditional ropes and bun-length links, all with just the right blend of seasonings for a rich, savory taste.

Explore new condiments and toppings. Ketchup, mustard and relish may be staples at the condiment station, but there’s no reason you can’t add a little something extra. Grilled onions, mushrooms and peppers are all simple and delicious ways to add flavor. Or try something entirely new, like this sweet, tangy marmalade made with bacon and onions.

Find more summer grilling ideas at


Smoked Sausage Links with Bacon and Onion Marmalade

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Servings: 6


2-3       strips bacon

1          tablespoon mustard seeds
1/2       cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2    pounds (about 6 onions) Vidalia onions, diced
1/2       cup light brown sugar
1/4       cup cane syrup

1          package Eckrich Smoked Sausage Links (bun-length)
6          hot dog buns


Heat oven to 350 F.


Line baking sheet with parchment paper and lay strips of bacon flat. Cook until crispy, about 20-25 minutes. Chop bacon into small pieces and set aside.


In dry pot over medium heat, toast mustard seeds until slightly browned.


Add bacon, vinegar, onions, brown sugar and cane syrup to pot. Cover, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Cook about 20 minutes at medium-high heat. Remove pot cover and reduce to medium heat. Cook until liquid is reduced and onions are dark in color, about 50 minutes.


Oil grill and bring to medium heat. Grill sausage 12 minutes, or until heated through.


Place smoked sausage in hot dog bun and cover evenly with marmalade.


Note: Marmalade can be made in advance for easier dinner preparation and can be kept up to 2 weeks in a refrigerator or 3 months in a freezer.


Grilled Kabobs with Smoked Sausage and Veggies

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Servings: 6


6          wooden skewers

nonstick cooking spray

1          package Eckrich Original Smoked Sausage (rope)
1          medium zucchini
2          large red bell peppers
2          large yellow bell peppers
1          large red onion
Soak skewers in water 1 hour. Spray grill and heat to medium.


Cut smoked sausage diagonally into 1-inch pieces. Slice zucchini, bell peppers and onion into 1/2-inch pieces.


Thread smoked sausage, peppers, zucchini and onion onto skewers.


Grill kabobs until smoked sausage is hot and vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from grill and serve immediately.