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Mini Croque Monsieur—An Excellent Party Nibble The next big thing in appetizers is this mini croque monsieur.

(NAPS)—What is the go-to appetizer for many top caterers? It’s mini croque monsieur! That’s because it’s budget friendly, will feed a small army, is simple to assemble and is visually tempting. Says leading New York City caterer Diane Gordon, of Diane Gordon Catering, “I love this version, because we use easily accessible, quality ingredients and it can be whipped up almost instantly.” Mini Croque Monsieurs Yield: 32 pieces Béchamel Sauce: 2 tablespoons butter Photo courtesy: 3 tablespoons flour 2 cups whole milk, warmed over low heat 1/2 cup Jarlsberg grated pinch of nutmeg salt and pepper For Sandwiches: 16 slices brioche or white bread 1/4 cup Dijon mustard 16 slices French ham (or Black Forest) 8 slices Jarlsberg cheese 1/2 stick butter, melted 2 cups béchamel sauce (recipe below) 1⁄2 cup Jarlsberg cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. For the béchamel sauce, melt butter in a sauce pan. Add flour and stir for about one minute. Slowly pour in the milk and cook, whisking constantly until sauce thickens. Take off heat and add grated cheese, stirring until it melts. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Set sauce aside. Brush one side of eight bread slices with Dijon mustard. Place one ham slice over mustard, cover with sauce. Add second ham slice and one slice of cheese. Finish with bread slice, then gently press on each sandwich. Brush both sides of sandwiches with melted butter. Heat a nonstick pan over medium flame and sauté sandwiches until golden brown, both sides. Transfer sandwiches to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover tops with sauce, saving any extra for another use. Sprinkle with grated Jarlsberg. Place in oven and bake 4–5 minutes, until cheese turns golden—do not let cheese burn. With serrated knife, trim crusts from sandwiches and then cut each into four squares. Serve immediately. Find more easy entertaining ideas at


Cherry Pecan Chews To Share (NAPS)—When you’re looking to make a treat to share with family and friends or give as a gift, having a fantastic “goto” recipe in your arsenal can be sweet. Here’s one that fits the bill on ease of preparation and taste and that you’ll be happy to share with those you love. Created by Louanne Bertrand, a popular food blogger at Louanne’s Kitchen, it’s a cookie that’s great anytime of the year. Cherry Pecan Chews Yield: 5 dozen 2 1⁄2 1 1⁄2 1⁄2 1 1 1⁄2 1⁄2 1⁄2 1 1⁄3 1

cups flour teaspoons baking powder teaspoon salt cup unsalted butter, softened cups sugar teaspoon vanilla extract teaspoon almond extract large egg cup finely chopped maraschino cherries cup toasted and finely chopped pecans

Note: The dough must chill before baking; preheat oven to 350˚F when ready to bake. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together; set aside. Cream together butter, sugar, vanilla and almond until fluffy. Beat in egg. Mix in cherries and pecans. Add flour mixture, mixing until well incorporated. Pat dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper, and chill for at least 1 hour, although overnight is best. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray. Using a small cookie scoop, portion dough onto prepared baking sheet, spacing cookies 2” apart. Bake for 11–12 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges. Allow cookies to cool for at least 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. A librarian by day and wanna-be chef at home, Louanne says, “This recipe, like many others I share on my blog, is my own, based on culinary memories from my childhood.” She recommends you keep a jar or two of maraschino cherries on hand to add color and flavor to your favorite baked goods. The cherries are so versatile that they can be used in appetizers, beverages and entrées, as well as desserts. Learn More For more tips and recipes, visit Louanne’s Kitchen at and the National Cherry Foundation at From fruit to nuts, it’s all there in this one delicious cherry pecan cookie.


Test Your Hand At Smoke Cooking With Succulent SlowRoasted Ham From New York Times Best-Selling Author

(NAPS)—According to the 23rd annual Weber GrillWatch Survey, nearly half of Americans (44 percent) are interested in cooking on an outdoor smoker. With the colder temperatures moving in, now is the perfect time to give smoking a try no matter what type of grill you have. “Smoke cooking can be intimidating to many people—even experienced grillers,” says Jamie Purviance, whose “Weber’s Smoke—A Guide to Smoke Cooking for Everyone and Any Grill” made the New York Times Best-Sellers list. “My goal is to take the mystery out of smoke cooking and walk people through every step—from setting up whatever type of grill they are using to adding the best kind of smoke at the right times.” Purviance’s Top 10 Smoking Tips include cautioning against adding too much wood, chunk after chunk, to the point where the food tastes bitter. “In general, you should smoke food for no longer than half its cooking time,” says Purviance. Try your hand at smoking with this great seasonal recipe, perfect for beginners to experienced smoking enthusiasts. Slow-Roasted Ham With Sweet-and-Sour Cider Glaze Ideal grill: charcoal Smoke intensity: strong Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 11/4 to 2 hours Special equipment: large disposable foil pan, instant-read thermometer Serves: 10 to 12 1 whole, fully cooked, bone-in smoked ham, 8 to 10 pounds (not spiral cut) 4 large handfuls apple wood chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes Glaze: 1⁄2 1⁄2 1⁄4 3 2 1 1⁄2

cup cider vinegar cup ketchup cup fresh lime juice tablespoons packed dark brown sugar tablespoons soy sauce tablespoon Dijon mustard teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Allow the ham to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking. 2. Prepare the grill for indirect cooking with low heat (250° to 350° F). For a charcoal grill, light about 25 briquettes and divide them into 2 equal piles on opposite sides of the charcoal grate. 3. Brush the cooking grate clean. Drain and add 2 handfuls of the wood chips to the charcoal and put the lid on the grill. Put the ham, flat-side down, in a large disposable foil pan and add 1 cup of water. When the wood begins to smoke, place the pan on the cooking grate over INDIRECT LOW HEAT. Cook the ham, with the lid closed as much as possible, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the ham (not touching the bone) reaches 135° F, 11?4 to 2 hours (about 10 minutes per pound). Replenish the charcoal as needed to maintain a steady temperature, adding three to five lit briquettes to each pile every 45 minutes, along with the remaining drained wood chips. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Ham with 4. In a small saucepan combine the glaze ingredients and Slow-Roasted simmer over medium heat until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove Sweet-and-Sour Cider Glaze. from the heat. 5. Glaze the ham during the last 30 minutes of cooking time. If the ham begins to look too dark, cover it with foil and stop glazing. Carefully transfer the ham from the foil pan to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Cut the ham into slices and serve warm. For more information and tips on smoke cooking, visit (c) 2012 Weber-Stephen Products LLC. Recipe from Weber’s Smoke™ by Jamie Purviance. Used with permission.


Celebrating With Popcorn The Smart Snack Alternative

(NAPS)—When friends and family get together, snacks are usually a big part of the fun. From the big game to the big moment on the red carpet, most agree that it’s not a party without snacks adding to the occasion. The good news is that serving great-tasting snacks doesn’t have to mean that your guests will be consuming great quantities of empty or even unhealthy calories. Popcorn is a great choice for today’s health-conscious host or party-goer. “Getting together with friends is always a reason for celebration, but for many Americans who struggle with overeating and weight loss, parties can also be a time to experience anxiety about food,” said Garrett Smith, president of JOLLY TIME Pop Corn. “But it’s easy to relax and make the right food choices. Just prioritize foods that aren’t full of empty calories and enjoy them in moderation.” Many people don’t realize that popcorn can be one of the healthiest snacks available. It’s a whole grain chock-full of antioxidants and dietary fiber, it’s naturally low in calories and it’s gluten free. Air-popped popcorn contains just 20 calories per cup. “Even with some butter, sugar or salt, popcorn is a great snack without sacrificing a regular routine of healthy eating and active living,” said Amy Fischl, a registered dietitian. “Plus, popping is part of the fun!” For a fun indulgence in moderation, here is a classic caramel corn recipe from JOLLY TIME Pop Corn that’s sure to be a hit with guests at your next get-together. It’s delicious and filling, perfect for nibbling during social occasions of all kinds, from birthday parties for the kids to just-for-the-fun-of-it, spontaneous weekend gatherings with the neighbors. Family owned and operated for nearly 100 years, JOLLY TIME has a single-minded obsession: making the world’s best popcorn. For five generations, the Smith family has been proud to produce the finest-quality popcorn available—no wonder the Smiths are considered by many to be the “First Family of Popcorn.” To learn more about healthy, satisfying snacking with popcorn and to access exclusive recipes and features, visit Smith Family Famous Baked Caramel Corn 24 1 2 1/2 1 1/2 1

cups popped JOLLY TIME® Pop Corn Nonstick cooking spray cup butter or margarine cups firmly packed brown sugar cup light or dark corn syrup tsp. salt tsp. baking soda tsp. vanilla

Coat bottom and sides of large roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pop popcorn according to package directions. Open bag carefully and pour into roasting pan; discard unpopped kernels. In large, heavy saucepan, slowly melt butter; stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Heat to a boil, stirring constantly; boil without stirring 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda and vanilla. Carefully pour over popped popcorn, mixing well. Bake 1 hour at 250˚F, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven; cool completely. Break apart and store in tightly covered container. Makes 24 (1-cup) servings.

Popcorn is considered one of the healthiest—and tastiest— snacks available and great for any occasion.


A New Twist On A Delicious Tradition

(NAPS)—For years, friends and families have been getting together to share recipes, especially around the holiday season. Now, thanks to today’s technology, recipes that once were only shared by passing down family favorites on weathered recipe cards are just a click away. There are several ways to celebrate the social aspect of sharing recipes.?For instance, you can have a cookie party. At these, families and friends, neighbors and club members all make cookies together. Each one brings a favorite recipe and ingredients and everyone shares the result. A similar get-together is the cookie exchange. In this case, you make dozens of cookies at home and bring them to the exchange at a designated time and place so all participants get to enjoy what each other has baked. With social media, such as Pinterest, recipe sharing can be easier and more widespread. That’s because you can post pictures of your baked goods on the site and see recipes, tips and creative ideas for making food craft projects. The average “pinner”—someone who uploads or “pins” photos, recipes and the like on Pinterest—makes some 2,708 pins and one in every eight is about food and drink. To help make the cookies you share more attractive and delicious, however you go about it, consider these tips: • Make sure all the ingredients are fresh—be sure everything rises with a new can of Clabber Girl Baking Powder. • Measure carefully. Cooking may be an art but baking is a science. • Check your oven. Some run hotter than others and you may need to adjust the temperature or cooking time. • Here’s a festive recipe to try: Candy Cane Biscotti 3 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon Clabber Girl Baking Powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup sugar 1 cup butter, softened 2 tablespoons water 1 teaspoon peppermint extract 2 large eggs 1 cup finely crushed candy canes 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted 4 squares white chocolate, melted

Candy cane–covered cookies to share with your friends and family.

Preheat oven to 350˚F; line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl; set aside. Cream sugar, butter, water, extract and eggs in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add flour mixture, 1/2 cup crushed candy canes and almonds. Beat on low speed until just blended. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 10x3-inch log; place each log on separate prepared cookie sheet. Bake each log 30 minutes or until center is firm to the touch. Cool 15 to 20 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut logs diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Place on cookie sheets. Bake 15 minutes; turn and bake 12 to 15 minutes longer or until edges are browned. Cool completely on wire racks. Dip each cookie halfway into melted chocolate. Before chocolate solidifies, dip ends into remaining 1/2 cup crushed candy canes. Store in tightly covered container—and pin the picture of what you’ve created onto Pinterest. Learn more You can find more tips and recipes at or go to


Bring Decadence And Ease To The Holiday Season (NAPS)—There’s no question that chocolate is a crowd-pleaser. From snacks and baked goods to desserts and drinks, the flavor of chocolate signifies a sweet treat and a chance to indulge. This holiday season, the pastry chefs at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts have developed delicious recipes that take chocolate to the next level and prove decadent doesn’t have to be difficult. Thanks to Chef Edward Leonard, certified Master Chef and vice president of culinary education for Le Cordon Bleu, his special recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Torte will help anyone create the perfect centerpiece dessert for any holiday party or great edible gift. “This year, we’re seeing great new chocolate desserts that incorporate other flavors that make the perfect indulgent treat for the holidays,” said Chef Leonard. Le Cordon Bleu pastry chefs recommend giving your chocolate dessert a seasonal flair by creating new flavors with unique ingredients, such as: • caramel • salt • herbs and spices • beer • espresso powder • a variety of nuts These ingredients will quickly help your dessert become a family favorite and stand out from the crowd at parties. Students at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts learn the foundational techniques necessary to develop the skills to create exceptional dishes. Regardless of your comfort in the kitchen, a delicious chocolate dish provides a great opportunity to create a decadent dessert that will make for a memorable holiday meal. “If you are looking to learn how to create new desserts or want to brush up on your culinary skills, I encourage you to attend a Le Cordon Bleu MasterChef class,” said Chef Leonard. “Our campuses around the country host hands-on classes where foodies can experience a class with a professional Le Cordon Bleu instructor.” To learn more about Le Cordon Bleu, visit Chocolate Hazelnut Torte 1/2 1/4 1 1/4 4 6 6 2 1⁄2 1 1/4 1/4

cup peeled hazelnuts cup all-purpose flour tablespoon quality cocoa teaspoon Kosher salt large eggs, room temperature ounces 72% cacao extra bittersweet chocolate baking chips ounces cold unsalted butter, diced tablespoons Nutella cup granulated white sugar teaspoon real vanilla extract teaspoon cream of tartar cup granulated white sugar

Toast nuts: Place hazelnuts in 300°F oven for 10–12 minutes. In food processor, pulse nuts, flour, cocoa and salt until finely ground. Heat oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of an 8 x 3-inch spring-form pan with parchment paper that has been rubbed with cold butter. Separate eggs. Melt chocolate, butter and Nutella in a stainless steel bowl over a small pan of low simmering water. Remove from heat; reserve. With electric mixer, beat egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until pale and thick (about 4–5 minutes), creating a ribbon effect when you lift beater. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the warm chocolate mixture. Then fold in the ground nut mixture; reserve. In a clean stainless steel bowl, with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites at medium speed until foamy; add cream of tartar. Whisk just until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating at high speed, until meringue is fluffy and still moist. With a whisk, fold 1?3 of the whites into the chocolate batter. Quickly fold in the remaining whites. Do not overmix. Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake 30 to 40 minutes. Check cake by placing a toothpick into the center of the cake; when done, moist crumbs will appear. Cool in pan on wire rack for about 15 minutes. It will Chocolate is a real crowd-pleaser, slightly rise and fall a bit in the center. Remove from pan. Serve with chocolate sauce and soft whipped cream, if especially in this Chocolate Hazelnut Torte. desired.


Beef 101: How To Choose Wisely At The Butcher Counter

(NAPS)—Food for thought: What do you know about the meat you eat? More and more consumers are looking to demystify the meat counter and answer such questions as: Why choose grass-fed beef? What about antibiotic-free meat? What are the best value cuts? Armand Ferrante, a 40-year veteran of the meat industry and recent champion of Whole Foods Market’s 2012 Best Butcher contest, offers five tips to help shoppers choose the best beef for their table and their budget: 1. The best cuts for the money? London Broil, Flat Iron, Tri-Tip or the Jersey Boneless Short Rib steak, a tender new cut that Ferrante created for the Best Butcher contest. 2. For lean beef, look for grass-fed. 3. For super savory, tender beef, choose dry-aged. 4. Know how the animal was raised. At Whole Foods Market, all beef comes from animals raised without antibiotics or added hormones, and the 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating tells customers about farmers’ raising practices. 5. Questions? Just ask. A trained butcher can custom cut, grind to order, recommend value items and easy cooking ideas and more. A flavorful dry rub is a foolproof way to season any cut of beef. Chef Tim Byres of SMOKE and Chicken Scratch restaurants (Dallas) created a flavorful recipe that’s designed for easy kitchen preparation. Just dust it generously over the beef and voilà—the cut is dressed to impress. BBQ Beef Chile Rub and Coffee Cure for Grilling and Smoking Makes 2? cups 1/3 cup dark brown sugar 1/2 cup kosher salt 1/3 cup fine-ground dark roast coffee 1/3 cup chili powder 1/3 cup smoked paprika 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 2 tablespoons granulated garlic 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper Place all ingredients into a medium mixing bowl. Using your hands, thoroughly mix all ingredients, breaking up any clumps with your fingers. Place in an airtight jar. Use about 2 tablespoons per pound of meat, rubbing it in and refrigerating meat for 8 hours or overnight before grilling or smoking.

For great flavor, try a Boneless Chuck or Jersey Boneless Short Rib Find this recipe and more, plus store locations, at www.whole- steak with a BBQ Beef Chile Rub and Coffee Cure.


A Holiday Twist On Takeout

Easy, Elegant Cookie Creations

(NAPS)—Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to mean the same old pigs in a blanket. Instead, take a note from the take(NAPS)—An attractive treat for the holidays or at any time, Florentine Cookies are thin, crunchy confections containing out menu for hors d’oeuvres that please a crowd, such as this recipe for Asian Pan-Fried Dumplings. Your guests will appreci- nuts and fruit held together with honey or sugar. ate fare that’s unique and this version may even be more healthful than the real thing. Just don’t be surprised if someone asks After they’re baked, the cookies are usually dipped in or drizzled with chocolate. Almonds, hazelnuts and pecans are where you ordered it! commonly used, as are cherries. Though the name would suggest that the Florentine cookie is from Florence, Italy, it was allegedly invented at the Palace of Asian Pan-Fried Dumplings Versailles, Paris, France, around the turn of the 18th century. “Aside from being divinely decadent, this is a naturally gluten-free recipe, pretty quick and simple to make, and all the Filling: 1 /2 lb ground chicken ingredients are easy to keep on hand to make for gifts or to bring to a party. In fact, I usually have a jar or two of maraschi1 /2 c finely chopped bok choy no cherries in my pantry at all times to add color and flavor to desserts and other dishes,” said Carol Kicinski, food writer, TV 1 /4 c chopped green onion chef and recipe developer. 1 /2 tsp freshly grated ginger “With their burnished brown and copper tones studded with bright pops of ruby-red cherries, they remind me of an 1 /4 tsp sugar antique jewelry box filled with precious jewels. They are, for the most part, quite lovely to look at,” she added, and created 1 /2 Tbsp soy sauce 1 this recipe for you to try: /2 tsp sesame oil Dipping Sauce: 31⁄2 Tbsp soy sauce 2 tsp rice wine vinegar 1 tsp sesame oil 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tsp sugar

Florentine Cookies 24 Cookies Takeout-inspired hors d’oeuvres offer fresh options for holiday entertaining.

1 package store-bought dumpling or wonton wrappers (24-count or higher) 2 Tbsp Smart Balance® Omega Cooking Oil, divided 1 /2 c water

4 1/3 12 1/4 1 2

tablespoons butter or butter substitute cup honey maraschino cherries, stems removed, patted dry and quartered cup pine nuts cup sliced almonds Zest of 1 large orange, finely grated tablespoons milk (or rice milk)

Combine filling ingredients; set aside. For dipping sauce, stir together ingredients; set aside. Using a cookie cutter or tumbler as a guide, cut store-bought dumpling or wonton wrappers into 3 to 3?-in circles. Spoon a scant tablespoon of filling into the center of each circle of dough. Fold the dough circle in half and pinch the edges together to seal. Pinch pleats into the sealed edge and return the dumpling to wax paper until ready to cook. To cook, heat 1 Tbsp of Smart Balance® Omega Cooking Oil in a 10-in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 12 dumplings to the skillet. Cook for about 1 min or until the dumplings are golden brown on the bottom; do not turn the dumplings. Add 1⁄2 c of water to the skillet and cover it with a lid. Steam the dumplings for three minutes. Remove the lid and cook until the remaining water cooks away. Cook for an additional minute after water has evaporated but do not overbrown. Remove dumplings from skillet and keep warm. Repeat with remaining oil and remaining 12 dumplings. Serve the dumplings hot with dipping sauce.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Heat butter over low heat in large saucepan. Add honey; in–crease the heat to medium-high and add the cherries, pine nuts, almonds and orange zest. Bring to a boil, stirring to coat all the ingredients. Add milk. Continue to boil, stirring, until liquid has reduced and the mixture starts to hold together. Place well-spaced tablespoons of the mixture on prepared baking sheets. Bake 8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Let cool in a dry place on baking sheets until crisp. Carefully peel cookies off the paper. Store in a cool, dry place—humidity will make them sticky.

Yield: 8 (3-dumpling, approx. 2-tsp dipping sauce) servings

Learn More For more recipes and information, visit

Per serving: 135 calories, 7g protein, 11g carbohydrate, 7g fat, 1g saturated fat, 3.5g monounsaturated fat, 2g polyunsaturated fat, 0g trans fat, 35mg omega-3 fatty acids, 1,763mg omega-6 fatty acids, 27mg cholesterol, 583mg sodium, 1g fiber, Photo by Carol Kicinski 1g sugar

Jewellike Florentine cookies are easy to make.


Stock Up For Health And Happiness (NAPS)—Staying healthy over the holidays, experts advise, requires at least two simple steps: planning ahead and taking time for yourself. Fortunately, this can be simpler than many suspect because the “cool aisles” of the grocery store have many “secret weapons” to make holiday food preparation and entertaining easier and more enjoyable. Frozen and refrigerated foods provide an excellent opportunity for planning ahead for the holidays so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time for yourself. It helps to “stock up” your freezer and fridge with: • Delicious breakfast selections—waffles, pancakes, eggs, cheeses and breakfast sandwiches; combine fruit with yogurts and juices for smoothies to make holiday mornings even more fun. • Super snacks and appetizers—cheeses, dips, egg rolls, shrimp, pizza, wings and meatballs; serve on attractive platters and let the party begin. • Dinner plans—the frozen aisles offer a variety of fully prepared entrées; they can be on the table for your family in minutes on busy nights. • Side-dish pleasures—ready-to-heat-and-eat vegetables, potatoes and breads can make holiday meals less work. • Delightful desserts—fill the freezer and refrigerator with enough delicious pies, cakes, ice cream, puddings, whipped toppings and ready-to-bake cookies to please your family, friends and guests. Here, from the experts at the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA), is a delicious, easy holiday dessert you can serve with a “homemade touch”: Cheesecake with Cherry Topping 1 10 2 1⁄4 1 1⁄2

frozen cheesecake ounces sweet or sour pitted cherries (frozen works well) tablespoons lemon juice cup sugar tablespoon cornstarch cup water Fresh mint

Thaw cheesecake according to package directions. To make topping, combine cherries, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and water in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook it for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Cool completely. Spread on top of cheesecake. Garnish with mint leaves. Serves 4–6. Smile and say cheesecake: For more delicious recipes, tips and important information on This semihomemade treat can frozen and refrigerated foods, visit and brighten an everyday meal or be the crowning touch on a “like” NFRA on Facebook at holiday dinner.



A Healthier Life Begins In The Kitchen

by Chef Nikki Shaw (NAPS)—Chefs and parents are joining forces in the fight against obesity. Good health depends on the support of both professional kitchens, where we create healthy menu options, and in homes, where we put healthy food on the table for our families. For the past couple of years, I have partnered with the Network for a Healthy California to help improve the health of families, especially those that are at greater risk of obesity and suffer from serious health problems. With the help of the Network, I want to empower parents to make healthy changes for their families with the same tips and recipes that have helped me be a successful chef and mom. To fight obesity, we have to make healthy changes in our kitchens, in our neighborhoods as well as in grocery stores, schools, places of worship and in workplaces. You can start today by joining the movement and liking the Network for a Healthy California on Facebook. Small Steps Can Make a Big Difference • Cook as a family. Involve your kids in picking recipes and choosing healthy fruits and vegetables for every meal. Show them how to prepare healthy dishes and snacks so they can feel they’re helping. • Keep moving. Set an example and make time every day to enjoy activities like walking, biking or dancing. • Make it fun! Prepare snacks or meals that kids will want by choosing colorful combinations, putting fruits or vegetables onto a stick or cutting them into fun shapes. One of my favorite dishes for fall is the Easy Turkey Skillet Dinner. Easy Turkey Skillet Dinner 3/4 1 3 3 1 1/2 1/4 2

Nonstick cooking spray pound lean ground turkey medium onion, peeled and chopped tomatoes, chopped tablespoons tomato paste teaspoon each dried basil, oregano and garlic powder teaspoon salt teaspoon ground black pepper medium zucchini, sliced

Spray nonstick cooking spray in a large skillet. Brown turkey and onion over medium heat until turkey is cooked through and onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and seasonings. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add zucchini and cook for 5 minutes more. Serve while hot.

• Celebrity Chef Nikki Shaw hosts “Today’s Flavor” on Sirius XM and was a contestant on the Food Network’s search for “The Next Food Network Star.” For more information on the Network for a Healthy California, visit Keep your family healthy with this Easy Turkey Skillet Dinner.



Blueberry Coffee Cake Warms Those Chilly Mornings

(NAPS)—When the temperature drops, a cinnamon-scented kitchen is especially warm and inviting. Savor the warmth every time you bake a Blueberry Coffee Cake. The classic recipe here, rich with sour cream and dense with luscious blueberries, is a blue-ribbon winner! And a bonus—because it’s made with reduced-fat products, the calories are relatively low for a treat that tastes so indulgent. Blueberries—fresh and frozen—are abundantly available through the winter months, so you can enjoy Blueberry Coffee Cake and all the blueberry dishes you love anytime you like. Find a large collection of recipes, nutrition information and more at Blueberry Coffee Cake Topping: 1 ⁄3 cup rolled oats 1 ⁄3 cup flour 1 ⁄4 cup sugar 11⁄4 teaspoons cinnamon 1 ⁄4 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons butter, softened Cake: 12⁄3 2 1 ⁄2 6 1 2 1 ⁄2 1 ⁄4 1 2

cups flour teaspoons baking powder teaspoon salt tablespoons butter, softened cup sugar large eggs cup reduced-fat sour cream cup fat-free half-and-half teaspoon vanilla cups fresh or frozen (not thawed)

Blueberry Coffee Cake makes a great breakfast, snack or dessert anytime of year. blueberries

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Make the topping: In a small bowl, stir oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add butter and blend until crumbly. Set aside. Make the cake batter: In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, add butter and sugar; with an electric mixer, beat until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, sour cream, half-and-half and vanilla; beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the flour mixture; beat on low speed to combine, scraping the sides with a rubber spatula, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix just until well blended, about 30 seconds. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the blueberries. Turn batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the topping mixture evenly on top; press lightly. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan 30 minutes before serving. Yield: 16 portions Per portion: 216 calories; 33 g carbohydrate; 8 g total fat; 5 g saturated fat; 1 g fiber


A Tasteful Way To Show You Care (NAPS)—Here’s a sweet idea:! Serve yourself and those you love a hint of a seaside vacation in a tasty drink that also offers the real warmth and cozy feelings of hot cocoa by the fire. Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa (Makes 1 serving) 3/4

1 1

cup low-fat milk, heated Pinch of sea salt Whipped cream, caramel syrup and cocoa (optional) envelope Rich Milk Chocolate Flavor Nestlé Hot Cocoa Mix to 2 tablespoons caramel syrup

Pour milk into large mug. Stir in hot cocoa mix, caramel syrup and salt. Top with whipped cream. Drizzle with additional caramel syrup. Sprinkle with cocoa. What To Give After you’ve enjoyed this yourself, you may care to share the delight with others. Pack the non-perishable ingredients in attractive jars, write out the recipe and wrap them up for a friend, hostess, letter carrier, teacher or anyone to whom you’d like to give a sweet treat. What You Get Because this is made with Nestlé Hot Cocoa, you get the kind of quality ingredients that come from over 100 years of creating chocolaty memories. You also get a rich, creamy, chocolaty mug of hot cocoa with every packet in the signature red box, less than 100 calories per serving, a variety of delicious, indulgent flavors, and added calcium and natural antioxidants to make any moment even better. Learn More You can find further facts, gift ideas, tips and recipes at


Bake Some Family Fun With These Charming Treats

(NAPS)—You and your family can have fun indoors by creating these tasty and charming treats. Kidfriendly Sugar Cookies on a Stick and unique Homemade Marshmallow recipes are totally customizable and perfect winter treats; each can be made to include your family’s favorite flavors, shapes or colors. The secret to making these tasty sweets is to use Karo Syrup. In cookies, it helps maintain freshness, and in marshmallows, it helps control sugar crystallization, which keeps them smooth and creamy. Sugar Cookies on a Stick Pr ep time: 20 minutes Bake time: 8 to 10 minutes Chill time: 1 hour OR overnight Yield: 20 cookies 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 cup shortening 2 eggs 1/4 cup Karo Light Corn Syrup 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon Argo Baking Powder 1/2 teaspoon salt Craft sticks

Combine sugar and shortening in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed with electric mixture until well mixed. Add eggs, corn syrup and vanilla. Beat until well blended and fluffy. Gradually add flour, baking powder and salt to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix until well blended. Wrap dough in plastic wrap. Chill dough at least 1 hour before using. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. Preheat oven to 375° F. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape dough into walnutsize balls. Push craft sticks into the center of each ball. Place balls, with stick parallel to the baking sheet, 3 inches apart. Flatten cookies into 2 1/2-inch circles. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly browned around the edges. Don’t overbake. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before placing on Kid-friendly cookies on a stick wire rack to cool completely. When cookies are cool, wrap in plas- are almost as easy to make as they are fun to eat. tic wrap and tie with a ribbon OR place in airtight container. Homemade Marshmallows Prep time: 45 minutes Cool time: 4+ hours Yield: 6 dozen medium marshmallows 1 cup room temperature water, divided 1/8 teaspoon salt 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin 2 1/4 cups sugar 1 cup Karo Light Corn Syrup 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 cup powdered sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons Argo Corn Starch Combine 1/2 cup water, salt and gelatin in large bowl of a stand mixer. Stir and set aside. Combine remaining 1/2 cup water, sugar and corn syrup in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Using a candy thermometer, cook until mixture reaches 240° for soft ball stage. Gradually pour the hot syrup over the gelatin mixture with the mixer on low. Turn the mixer on its highest speed and beat for 8 minutes. Add vanilla and beat an additional 2 minutes. The mixing bowl will get very full. The marshmallows will become very thick, white and shiny. Spread mixture onto greased baking sheet with sides. For thicker marshmallows, use a 13 x 9-inch pan. Let marshmallows cool at least 4 hours or overnight. Combine powdered sugar and corn starch in a shallow pan. Cut the marshmallows into bitesize pieces with a sharp knife or scissors, dropping one at a time into the powdered sugar. Toss to coat well. Store marshmallows in an airtight container in a cool place. Best used within 1 month. Homemade marshmallows can Learn More add extra warmth to a cup of For flavor ideas and design variations, check out the recipes on hot chocolate.


Hints On Hamming It Up For The Holidays (NAPS)—Preparing a delicious ham this holiday season can be easy and stress-free. It helps to know that ham experts are on standby at the Ham Hotline to help ensure every bite turns out perfectly, from tangy ham appetizers to a welcome ham dinner. The hotline at (866) 343-5058 is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, from November 8 through December 28. It’s staffed by experts who can help anyone prepare and serve a great ham for a memorable meal. Launched in response to the many calls received regarding ham preparation, the Kentucky Legend Ham Hotline is the first and only seasonal hotline dedicated just to ham. Each fall and spring, the hotline ramps up to field questions that range from the practical to the unusual, including: • How much ham should I buy to feed 10 people? Answer: If the ham is boneless, estimate one-quarter to one-third pound per person; for a bone-in ham, one-third to one-half pound per person. • How can I be sure my ham will turn out moist? Answer: Most hams are pre-cooked (read the label) and require only gentle reheating at 325° F to an internal temperature of 140° F. Place a pan of water on an oven rack to increase humidity. • Can I make ham ice cubes to use in drinks? Answer: Sounds interesting, but it is not recommended. You can find great ways to use the left-overs quickly and deliciously at One good way to use leftover ham is in Bourbon Ham Balls with Holiday Sauces. This recipe uses Kentucky Legend Ham to take the traditional treat from a sweet to a savory appetizer. Bourbon Ham Balls with Holiday Sauces

3 cups buttermilk baking mix 1 1/2 cups Kentucky Legend Ham; finely chopped 4 cups cheddar cheese; grated ? cup grated Parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons parsley flakes 2 teaspoons honey 1/3 cup milk 1/3 cup bourbon Holiday Sauce 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch 2 teaspoons honey 1/4 cup bourbon 1 (8-ounce) can whole-berry cranberry sauce 1 dash ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease jellyroll pan. Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Place about 2 inches apart in pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brown. Serve warm. Holiday Sauce In a heavy saucepan, combine the cornstarch, honey and bourbon until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 1–2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in the cranberry sauce and cinnamon until blended. Serve warm.

Kentucky Legend Hams have been made for more than 100 years in Owensboro, Kentucky, where each ham is hand selected, trimmed and cured the traditional way from a recipe handed down through generations. Kentucky Legend Hams are produced by Specialty Foods Group, Inc., a leading U.S. producer and marketer of a wide variety of premium-branded and private-label pro–cessed meat products.



Grill-Roasted Turkey: A Tasty Twist On Tradition (NAPS)—If you want a traditional, perfectly carved, Thanksgiving turkey but would like to bring a delicious twist to the meal, then look to chef, cookbook author and James Beard–award nominee Kathy Gunst. She has discovered a way to bring the tradition of the Thanksgiving turkey to the holiday table in an unconventional way. Every Thanksgiving, Kathy Gunst roasts a turkey in the oven, but one year she had a larger crowd than usual and needed to cook two turkeys. “So, on a colder-than-normal November day, I decided to grill-roast a second turkey,” says Gunst. “The recipe, it turns out, couldn’t be simpler.” Grilling the bird resulted in a picture-perfect glazed turkey with juicy meat and a subtle smokey flavor. “This recipe is nothing short of a revelation. You will not believe how a plain old turkey, simply seasoned with salt and pepper, placed on a hot grill, can have this much flavor with so little fuss,” says Gunst. Grilled Turkey 1 10–12 pound turkey Cleaned and dried. Salt and freshly ground black pepper, seasoned to taste. Heat a fire in the grill (charcoal or gas) and cook a small (10 to 12 pound) whole turkey over indirect heat with a minimum of seasoning. Be sure to place a shallow pan underneath the bird atop the charcoal or burner covers to catch the drippings and reduce flare-ups. Grill for approximately 2 hours (use thermometer to check for doneness). Stuff the bird and/or add an array of vegetables to the grill, like stuffed squash, corn on the cob, or turnips and potatoes for a complete meal. Add your vegetables to the grill 30 minutes or so before the turkey is done. Once the meat is cooked and cooled the bird is ready for carving. “I can’t overestimate how important it is to have a good, sharp knife for carving the bird. It should be very tender and carve easily, but a well-sharpened favorite carving knife will make things that much easier,” says Gunst.

Chef’sChoice® Turkey Carving Tips: Three Easy Steps If you want the turkey you serve “gobbled up” this holiday, avoid hacking the bird by trying these simple carving tips from Chef’sChoice®: • Step 1 Be sure to use a good, sharp knife. Sharp knives are not only safer, they will help you to smoothly cut thin, even slices without shredding the meat. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert to put a razor sharp edge on your knife. Chef’sChoice M130 sharpener professionally sharpens steels and strops all brands and types of knives. Precision guides eliminate guesswork for sharp, durable edges. For help finding a sharpener that’s right for you, call (800) 342-3255 or visit • Step 2 After the turkey is cooked (meat thermometer should read 180° F when inserted in the thickest part of the turkey thigh) cool the bird for 15 minutes. Cooling makes the meat firmer and easier to slice. Remove and set aside the turkey legs and the last joint of each wing. Make a long, deep (to the bone) horizontal “base cut” into the breast just above the wing. • Step 3 Slice down vertically through the breast until you meet the original base cut. This will release perfect, even slices. Following these preparation and A tasty twist on turkey adapted from carving tips can help make your cookbook author Kathy Gunst’s “Notes from a Maine Kitchen.” Thanksgiving a meal to remember.


Holiday Gift Guide, November 2012  

Holliday Gifts and Recipes