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Flavorful grape recipes to take summer gatherings to the next level

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(Family Features) Summertime celebrations with friends, family and neighbors are a perfect way to enjoy the sunshine, warm weather and camaraderie. To satisfy a hungry crowd, though, you’ll need recipes fit for the occasion.

Turn to a versatile signature ingredient like Grapes from California, which can be used in dishes of all kinds from refreshing salads and entrees to flavorful condiments and sweet desserts. Grapes are crisp, juicy and sweet, making them a fantastic addition of flavor and texture for a wide range of recipes. Whether fresh, sauteed, roasted, grilled or even pickled, grapes make it easy to take meals to the next level.

For example, you can start the festivities with grapes as an easy, portable and healthy snack perfect for summer days or use them as a juicy addition to this all-in-one Honey-Lime Quinoa and Grape Salad that’s ideal as a light appetizer or a meal all on its own. Follow it up (or pair it) with a summertime staple – hot dogs – given a sweet-tart twist from pickled grape relish that takes these Sweet and Tangy Pickled Grape Hot Dogs to new heights.

Dessert can’t be much easier than Creamy Vegan Grape Ice Cream as a dairy-free alternative to traditional summer sweets. Oat coffee creamer and pureed grapes are all you need to create this delicious frozen treat. Simply freezing whole grapes also makes for an easy and healthy frozen dessert.

Visit GrapesFromCalifornia.com to discover more summer entertaining inspiration.

Honey-Lime Quinoa and Grape Salad

Prep time: 15 minutes, plus at least 1 hour chill time
Cook time: 22 minutes
Servings: 6 (1 1/3 cups per serving)

Lime Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

Salad:

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups halved Grapes from California
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper
  • 1 large firm, ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)
  1. To make lime vinaigrette: In medium bowl, whisk olive oil, lime juice, honey, sea salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. To make salad: In fine mesh strainer, rinse quinoa; drain well. In medium saucepan, bring broth and quinoa to boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes then fluff with fork and let cool. Transfer to large bowl.
  3. Pour vinaigrette over quinoa; stir well to coat. Add grapes, onion, cilantro and jalapeno pepper; cover and chill at least 1 hour.
  4. Lightly stir in avocado and transfer to decorative bowl. Sprinkle with nuts, if desired.

Notes: Salad may be prepared and refrigerated up to 2 days ahead without avocado and peanuts. Add avocado and peanuts just before serving.

Nutritional information per serving: 520 calories; 10 g protein; 52 g carbohydrates; 32 g fat (55% calories from fat); 4 1/2 g saturated fat (8% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 490 mg sodium; 7 g fiber.

Sweet and Tangy Pickled Grape Dogs

Prep time: 15 minutes, plus 1 hour marinating time
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 (1/4 cup relish per serving)

  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups quartered or coarsely chopped Grapes from California (red, green, black or combination)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 8 turkey or chicken hot dogs
  • 8 hot dog buns, lightly toasted
  1. Place mustard seeds, coriander seeds and black peppercorns in small resealable bag. Using meat mallet or rolling pin, crush seeds and peppercorns.
  2. In small saucepan, stir vinegar, sugar, seeds and peppercorns; bring to boil. Remove from heat and stir to dissolve sugar; let cool. Stir in grapes and onion; set aside to cool and marinate 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. Heat grill to medium heat.
  4. Grill hot dogs 5 minutes, turning occasionally, or until charred and heated through.
  5. Place hot dogs in buns. Using slotted spoon, top with pickled grapes.

Nutritional information per serving: 280 calories; 10 g protein; 39 g carbohydrates; 10 g fat (32% calories from fat); 2 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 35 mg cholesterol; 630 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

Creamy Vegan Grape Ice Cream

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
Servings: 8 (1/2 cup per serving)

  • 1 pound stemmed black Grapes from California
  • 12 ounces vanilla oat coffee creamer, well chilled
  • 12 ounces unsweetened oat coffee creamer, well chilled
  1. In high-speed blender, puree grapes until smooth. Transfer to medium saucepan and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook 10-15 minutes, or until reduced to 1 cup. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.
  2. Stir creamer into pureed grapes and pour into bowl of ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to freezer-safe container; cover and freeze until firm.

Substitution: For lighter color, use 3/4 pound black grapes and 1/4 pound red.

Note: Make sure ice cream maker bowl is well chilled or frozen before making ice cream.

Nutritional information per serving: 140 calories; 0 g protein; 22 g carbohydrates; 6 g fat (39% calories from fat); 0 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 45 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.


SOURCE:
California Table Grape Commission

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Bring joy to mealtimes by dining together: Benefits of a Mediterranean lifestyle

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(Family Features) The renowned Mediterranean Diet, celebrated for its myriad benefits, has been rated as a top diet in the world for years. 

Recognizing the benefits of the foods included in the Mediterranean Diet, it’s important to broaden the understanding beyond its ingredients to embrace the elements of the Mediterranean lifestyle, which also contribute to these benefits. Essentially, it’s not just about what you eat; it’s also about how you enjoy it and with whom you share the experience.

Nutrition, physical activity, sleep and togetherness comprise this balanced way of living, with preparing, eating and enjoying food together being key elements of the Mediterranean lifestyle. You can immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of the Mediterranean lifestyle simply by inviting friends or family to gather around the table for a meal – like a family favorite pasta dish.

The benefits of gathering around the table are abundant, ranging from fostering stronger connections and communication among family members to enhancing overall well-being. In fact, first-of-its-kind research conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota and supported by Barilla, the world’s leading pasta maker, demonstrates that people experience greater happiness when they share meals with others, highlighting the importance of togetherness.

Published in “Families, Systems, & Health,” the research shows a strong positive correlation between how often people gather around the table during mealtimes and enhanced connectedness, reduced depressive symptoms and an improvement in overall mood.

Semolina pasta is a staple for many people in the Mediterranean region, playing a significant role in culinary history and making it a favorite ingredient in dishes aligned with the Mediterranean lifestyle and gathering around the table. For example, these recipes for Cellentani Caprese Pasta Salad and Linguine with Zucchini Carbonara are perfect for sharing, whether you’re hosting friends and neighbors or enjoying a meal with someone special.

A high-quality, minimally processed carbohydrate, semolina pasta is naturally low in sodium, a good source of fiber and contains a variety of micronutrients.

“Eating together is a joyful and important practice of the Mediterranean lifestyle that truly contributes to overall well-being,” said Michele Lefebvre, registered dietitian nutritionist and manager of nutrition and well-being at Barilla America. “As a traditional yet versatile food, pasta brings a sense of nostalgia to meals as people gather together around the table and connect in an impactful way.”

Visit barilla.com/recipes to discover more dishes that can help you follow the Mediterranean lifestyle.

Cellentani Caprese Pasta Salad

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 7

  • 1 box Barilla Protein+ Cellentanii pasta
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, mixed color, halved
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 8 basil leaves, julienned
  • 2 cups small mozzarella cheese balls, halved
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  1. Bring large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Drizzle pasta with 1 tablespoon olive oil and place on sheet tray to cool. Set aside.
  2. In large bowl, combine tomatoes, lemon juice, basil, remaining olive oil and cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add pasta and stir.

Linguine with Zucchini Carbonara

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium zucchini, julienned
  • 1 box Barilla Linguine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • black pepper, to taste
  1. Bring large pot of water to boil.
  2. In bowl, mix egg yolks, 1/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese and milk. Season with salt, to taste. Set aside.
  3. In large skillet, heat olive oil and cook zucchini.
  4. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water.
  5. Mix pasta in pan with zucchini. Add egg yolk mixture and 2 tablespoons cooking water. Combine well.
  6. Add remaining cheese and mint; mix. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.


SOURCE:
Barilla

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EDIBLES

Create a family-friendly grazing board

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(Family Features) A beautifully designed charcuterie board may feel more like a grown-up treat, but with the right ingredients, delicious grazing boards can provide fun and nutrition for the whole family.

No matter what you call it, charcuterie boards, grazing boards and snack platters are all basically the same thing. The boards make a trendy addition to an entertaining menu, but a platter or kid-friendly board can be equally pleasing.

What you serve on a grazing board is entirely up to you. Most include a selection of meats and cheeses, and many incorporate nuts, crackers, dips and jams. Some also incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables. Creating your own board means there really are no rules; you can add just about anything you want.

To build a successful board, keep these tips in mind:

Choose ingredients and elements that don’t require temperature control. The idea of a grazing board is that it sits out for a while. Avoid anything that needs refrigeration, heat or will lose its shape or flavor if it rests for an extended amount of time.

Select a surface large enough to hold a variety of food. It can be a simple cutting board or a cute platter. There’s no specific size requirement but err on the side of bigger; spacing out your goodies can be more attractive and less messy.

Use high-quality ingredients to ensure every bite is delicious and nutritious. While shopping, remember to look for the Produce for Kids and Healthy Family Project logos next to favorite items in the produce department, as adding these flavorful fruits and veggies to your cart can help make a difference in your community.

Build your board around a theme to add an extra element of fun. Use mini cookie cutters to make fun, kid-friendly shapes out of cheese and meats. Be mindful of colors; a rainbow platter is vibrant and appealing, and colorful fruits and veggies offer a strong mix of nutrients.

Remember it doesn’t have to be elaborate. Classic favorites are all you need. Even kid favorites like sections of mandarin oranges, carrot sticks and chocolate chips are fair game for a family-friendly board.

Find more ideas for creating family-friendly treats at healthyfamilyproject.com.

Taco Tuesday Board

Recipe courtesy of Healthy Family Project’s “Come Graze With Us” e-cookbook

  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Queso
  • Hard and soft taco shells
  • Ground turkey, seasoned and browned
  • Lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Shredded cheese
  • Chopped onions
  • Chopped peppers
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  1. On grazing board or platter, arrange guacamole, salsa, queso, taco shells, ground turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, onions, peppers, sour cream, cilantro and lime wedges.

Weekend Breakfast Grazing Board

Recipe courtesy of Healthy Family Project’s “Come Graze With Us” e-cookbook

  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Cooked sausage links
  • Mini frozen waffles, toasted
  • Mini frozen pancakes, toasted
  • Mini muffins
  • Yogurt
  • Fresh fruit
  • Syrup
  • Jelly
  1. On grazing board or platter, arrange eggs, sausage links, toasted waffles, toasted pancakes, muffins, yogurt, fruit, syrup and jelly.


SOURCE:
Healthy Family Project

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Simple, convenient salads to celebrate spring

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(Family Features) Letting in a little fresh air with an open window or a screen door is a sure sign of spring, allowing the natural sights and smells of the outdoors to accompany you at the dinner table. Take that open-air freshness to new heights this spring by pairing it with your own signature spins on salad season.

For example, this Tuna and Rice Nicoise Salad offers a new take on tuna salad with olive tapenade, capers, tomatoes, green beans and cherry tomatoes. Its calling card: swapping out potatoes in favor of Minute Yellow Rice Cups, which cook up fast as a convenient and flavorful alternative that saves the chore of washing, peeling and boiling potatoes. Fully cooked and packaged in BPA-free cups, it features white rice lightly seasoned with onion powder, garlic powder and turmeric for a delightful taste ready in just 1 minute.

As a perfect recipe for those who love veggies, this dish combines classic salad freshness with olive tapenade for a briny bite in every mouthful. Canned tuna mixes with bursts of capers, hard-boiled egg, crisp green beans and sweet cherry tomatoes capped off with tart balsamic dressing to round out the dish.

If you love the taste of crisp, peppery arugula, this Pomegranate and Arugula Rice Salad is practically perfect. Your favorite green shines alongside a delicious mix of sweet pomegranate seeds, crisp almonds and tart balsamic dressing that’s ideal for a starter or side, or you can add a preferred protein to turn it into a satisfying main course.

Incredibly colorful with a lively taste, bright flavors mingle with fluffy grains of Minute Instant Jasmine Rice, ready in just 5 minutes to keep your dinner schedule on track. Aromatic white rice provides a distinct scent, perfect texture and delicious taste that’s fast, fragrant, flavorful and fluffy. It’s simply precooked then dried with nothing added but convenience to help you get tasty meals on the table quickly.

Requiring just 15 minutes to prepare, this salad is ready in an instant and serves up to eight people, making it a solution for anything from family gatherings to meal prepping for a busy week ahead.

Find more spring salads and other flavorful, convenient recipes by visiting MinuteRice.com.

Tuna and Rice Nicoise Salad

Prep time: 4 minutes
Cook time: 1 minute
Servings: 1

  • 1 cup Minute Yellow Rice Cups
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic dressing
  • 2 tablespoons olive tapenade
  • 1 teaspoon capers, drained well
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup frozen green beans, thawed
  • 1 can (3 ounces) tuna, drained and flaked
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, cut into wedges
  1. Heat rice according to package directions.
  2. In medium bowl, combine rice, balsamic dressing, tapenade and capers. Mix well.
  3. Top with cherry tomatoes, green beans, tuna and hard-boiled egg.
  4. Tip: Serve salad over bed of mixed greens, if desired.

Pomegranate and Arugula Rice Salad

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 2 cups Minute Instant Jasmine Rice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bag (5 ounces) arugula
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  1. Prepare rice according to package directions. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.
  2. In large bowl, whisk oil, vinegar, red onion, mustard, honey, salt and pepper.
  3. Add rice, arugula and pomegranate seeds to bowl; toss to coat thoroughly. Sprinkle with almonds.

Tips: For added flavor, top salad with crumbled goat or blue cheese.

To cool rice quickly, spread evenly on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.


SOURCE:
Minute Rice

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