Category Archives: Healthy Cooking

Perfect Pumpkin Platters

Written by Cynthia -

The warmth and joy of the holiday season is only made better by the food, people and memories we share them with. What I look forward to most this time of year is spending time with family and friends, while enjoying all of the great seasonal meals. One of my favorite of which is any dish that includes pumpkin!

In early fall, pumpkin becomes a staple in most households and a versatile super food that could be enjoyed both savory and sweet. Pumpkin also adds extra flavor, fiber and Vitamin A, while being low in fat and sodium.

At Nestlé Kitchens we have tons of delicious and even unique recipes using LIBBY’s® 100% Pure Pumpkin. Here’s a few of our favorites:

Pumpkin Chia Seed Pancakes

Pumpkin Chia Pancakes

These hearty pancakes feature whole wheat flour, chia seeds and pumpkin for a nutritious boost.

Pumpkin Curry Soup

Pumpkin Curry Soup

Curry and white pepper add zest and flavor to this creamy pumpkin soup that is sure to be a winter favorite at your table!

Pumpkin Spice Panna Cotta

Pumpkin Spice Panna Cotta

Oh!… how they will adore this easy yet completely delicious Pumpkin Spice Panna Cotta treat. Crushed gingersnaps add wonderful texture and flavor. For an elegant presentation, serve in ramekins topped with orange slices and crushed cookies.

Quick Pumpkin Pizza

Quick Pumpkin Pizza

Ready in less than 30 minutes, this Quick Pumpkin Pizza uses prepared pizza crusts. You’ll love the great flavor combinations of pumpkin, shredded Gouda or Fontina and parmesan cheeses, garlic and basil pesto. Toasted pine nuts add a flair. Perfect for entertaining when you’re sure to impress your guests with your flavor creativity.

Pumpkin Sage Pasta

Pumpkin Sage Pasta Recipe

Try this amazing Pumpkin Sage Pasta when you’d like to serve something elegant and distinctive. Works well with all types of pasta such as trottole, spirals, penne or bow tie. And it’s ready in 30 minutes! Garnish with fresh sage leaves for an extra flavor dimension and eye-catching appeal.

Cooking with Chia Seeds: Pumpkin Chia Seed Pancakes Recipe

Written by Chris – 

Pumpkin Chia Seed Pancakes Recipe

Chia seeds are a newly popular food which has a history of use by many Pacific Coast groups of Native Americans. One half ounce has about 70 calories, 2.5 grams of protein, 4.5 grams fat, 6 grams carbohydrates and 5 grams of fiber (source: USDA). The seeds look a little like poppy seeds and can be eaten right out of the bag or sprinkled over hot or cold cereal, yogurt and the like. They can even be added to salads, vegetables and cooked grains. You can bake with them, too! They’re mild in flavor, making them easy to incorporate into just about any recipe.

Pumpkin Chia Seed Pancakes Recipe

I recently added chia seeds to my family-favorite pumpkin pancake recipe. Let me start out by saying that this recipe already has LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin in it, which is a nutritious powerhouse in itself (excellent source of Vitamin A and fiber per serving!). I added 2 tablespoons of chia seeds to the batter. You can add more if you want, but 2 tablespoons is a good starting point. When cooked, you can’t taste them in the pancakes, but you can see little black flecks. I wanted a little crunch and extra nutrition so I added some to the top, too.

Pumpkin Chia Seed Pancakes Recipe

Pumpin Chia Seed Pancakes

Ingredients for 18 pancakes:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups lowfat buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons honey, granulated sugar or packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds, plus more for garnish
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Pure maple syrup

Directions:

COMBINE flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in large bowl.

Pumpkin Chia Seed Pancakes Recipe

WHISK together buttermilk, eggs, pumpkin, honey and butter in large bowl. Add to flour mixture; stir until combined. Do not over mix. Let batter sit for 10 minutes; stir in chia seeds.

Pumpkin Chia Seed Pancakes Recipe

SPRAY griddle or a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Pour ¼ cup batter for each pancake onto griddle and cook for about 2 minutes or until edges are set and look dry. Flip over and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until golden brown. Top with additional chia seeds. Serve with syrup.

Tip: I don’t have a griddle at home, so I use a large skillet… which means I can only make 3 pancakes at one time. To keep the pancakes warm and moist while preparing the entire batch, spray a large cooling rack with nonstick cooking spray, and then place it on a large baking sheet in a 200° F. oven. As the pancakes are done, place them on the cooling rack, uncovered and in a single layer. I picked up this tip from Cook’s Illustrated. Works every time!

To print this recipe and check out the nutrition profile, click here and you will be taken to our recipe site, meals.com. You can print the recipe from there, plus find all sorts of other great recipes and articles, too! And if you are a pumpkin fan like me and like to add pumpkin to your recipes to boost nutrition, click here for creative solutions that may surprise you!

Related Recipes:

Puffy Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe Pumpkin-Orange Pancakes Recipe
Puffy Pumpkin Pancakes Pumpkin-Orange Pancakes

How to a Make Vinaigrette Dressing using a Juice Reduction: Roasted Beet & Peach Salad Recipe

Written by Chris -

Roasted Beet and Peach Salad Recipe

Have you ever thought of using a juice reduction in a vinaigrette dressing or even in a sauce for grilled summer fruit? Cooking down the juice (reducing the volume) not only thickens it, but it concentrates the flavor, making it the perfect addition to this Roasted Beet and Peach Salad.

Making a vinaigrette dressing isn’t difficult at all. The general ratio of oil to vinegar is 3:1. Meaning, 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. You can also add other seasonings like mustard, shallots, herbs, salt and pepper.

Any light, neutral-flavored oil like canola, safflower or soybean oil will work. I personally love extra-virgin olive oil due to its fruity flavor and peppery finish. The vinegar you use depends on the other ingredients in the recipe. In this salad, I’ve found that white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar and sherry compliment the juice the best. You may notice I broke the general rule of 3:1. The juice reduction adds a bit of sweetness, so to counteract this, I added a little extra vinegar.

Since beets and peaches are so abundant in our local Farmers’s Market, I like adding them to this delicious summer salad. Try using golden beets for a lighter, milder taste. And, of course, you can substitute nectarines for peaches.

Roasted Beet and Peach Salad

Ingredients for 6 servings:

  • 1 1/2 cups Orange Tangerine or Apple Flavor NESTLÉ® JUICY JUICE® 100% Juice
  • 3 medium purple and/or golden beets
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or sherry
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 fresh peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 4 cups arugula or mixed salad greens
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta or goat cheese
  • Cooked farro or quinoa (optional)

Directions:

BRING Juicy Juice to a boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; cook for 20 minutes or until juice is reduced to ½ cup. Transfer to jar or sealed container, making sure there is extra space in jar; refrigerate while the beets roast. (Juice can be refrigerated in covered container for up to 2 days.)

PREHEAT oven to 400° F.

WIPE or scrub beets then trim ends, leaving tails on. Place beets on a sheet of foil and make a pouch, sealing tightly (you can individually wrap if you are using both purple and golden beets so the colors don’t bleed together). Place on baking sheet.

Roasted Beet and Peach Salad

ROAST beets for about 45 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and let beets steam for 10 minutes. Open pouch; let beets cool until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard skin (this can easily be done under running water with your fingers). Slice into wedges and place in large bowl.

ADD vinegar, oil, shallot, mustard, salt and pepper to the reduced juice. Seal lid and shake vigorously until emulsified. Add a little vinaigrette to the beets; toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate beets for 30 minutes. Allow remaining vinaigrette to stand at room temperature while beets are marinating. This will help the flavors meld.

ADD peaches and arugula to bowl with beets; toss gently to coat. Arrange on plates; sprinkle with cheese. Serve with remaining vinaigrette (be sure to shake to emulsify).

NOTE: Beets can be refrigerated in covered container for up to 2 days. Store any remaining vinaigrette in sealed container in refrigerator for up to a week.

Roasted Beet and Peach Salad Recipe

Tip: Stir in a little cooked farro or quinoa to boost fiber and add texture. And throw on a few thinly sliced red onions if you have them. This has become my favorite lunch!

Do you have any tips you’d like to share for creating a flavorful vinaigrette?

Related Recipes:

Beet Salad with Oranges and Cheese Recipe Seared Steak Salad with Balsamic-Shallot Reduction Recipe
Beet Salad with
Oranges and Cheese
Seared Steak Salad with
Balsamic-Shallot Reduction

Lightened Up Fresh Strawberry and Lemon Tart

Written by Chris -

Lemon Spring Tart Recipe

Lemon tarts and pies are perennial favorites, and this Spring Fruit Tart has garnered 5-star status by meals.com visitors since it was first released in 2005. Topped with seasonal fruit, this tart features fresh squeezed lemon juice in a velvety cream cheese filling atop a delectable graham crust.

Fresh Strawberry & Lemon Tart Recipe

Last week I made our Spring Fruit Tart recipe, but used 1/3 less fat cream cheese along with fat free La Lechera Sweetened Condensed Milk in place of their full-fat counterparts. These minor changes cut the fat by 45% and calories by 10%. The fresh lemon still shined brightly through and the filling was every bit as creamy. I was so happy with the results I wanted to share this new, lighter version with you!

Let’s talk fruit. No tart is complete without fresh seasonal fruit. Or in this case, strawberries. When purchasing fresh strawberries, it’s best to go straight to source. Nothing beats farm-fresh produce! The strawberries I used came from our local farm in Oxnard, CA.

When selecting, choose bright, plump strawberries with green caps attached. I’ve found that smaller strawberries are usually sweeter. As well, those that are uniform in size always look best on a tart.

Fresh Strawberry & Lemon Tart Recipe

Fresh Strawberry & Lemon Tart

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 8 whole graham cracker rectangles, finely crushed (it’s best to use whole graham crackers and crush them yourself since these are always the freshest)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 can (14 ounces) NESTLÉ LA LECHERA FAT FREE Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 package (8 ounces) 1/3 less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 medium lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel (about 1 ½ medium lemons)
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Spray 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray.

COMBINE graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar in medium bowl; press onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 5 minutes.

BEAT sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese in large mixer bowl until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and lemon peel. Pour over crust; gently smooth down top.

BAKE for 28 to 30 minutes or until filling is set. Cool to room temperature; refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Fresh Strawberry & Lemon Tart Recipe

ARRANGE strawberries over tart. Remove rim of pan; slice into wedges. Makes 12 servings.

Here’s a little tip on how to remove the rim of the tart pan. Set a wide can, like a 28-ounce can of tomatoes, on a flat surface. Set the cooled tart and pan on top of the can. Hold the pan ring and gently pull it downward – the can will support the pan base and the tart as you remove the ring. Viola!

Fresh Strawberry & Lemon Tart Recipe

Enjoy!!

Related recipes:

Frozen Lemonade Cupcakes Recipe White Chocolate-Mascarpone Key Lime Pie Recipe
Frozen Lemonade
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Key Lime Pie

Bachelor in the Kitchen: Dressing Up a Seasonal Favorite

Written by Nick -

Creamy Parmesan Romaine Recipe

I eat seasonally. Wintertime is for meat and potatoes, but when the sun is shining, I’m all for a fresh salad. Salad doesn’t need to be a side dish. It’s easy to “dress-up” with your favorite salad dressing and adding a bit of grilled chicken or any other favorite protein item makes it a filling meal. A salad is also a great way to get your recommended five servings of fruits and veggies. And it’s one of the simplest meals to make for one or two people, which is what I typically cook for. But, I think, the best thing about a salad is the constant variety you can create by adding new and interesting dressings with the seasonal veggies and fruits.

I’m lucky enough to live close to a fantastic green grocer. Not only do they have great, fresh produce, but shopping there takes out the headache of dealing with the crowds at the grocery store. Plus it helps you avoid the grocery store temptations. After all, salads should be healthy, but I can’t help adding bacon to my cart when I see it right next to the low fat ranch dressing…

You can add all the different veggies you want, but if you don’t have a unique dressing, salads can become stale and boring. So I’m always on the lookout for homemade dressing recipes. I like making dressings at home so I can constantly customize to my individual liking and then brag about my expert skills in the kitchen. Anyone can chop some lettuce and tomatoes and throw in a bit of store bought dressing, but when you have a“signature” dressing it’s worth showing it off.

I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try this creamy salad dressing, which uses NESTLÉ COFFEE-MATE Liquid Coffee Creamer! I didn’t follow the recipe for the salad, I like to pick out whatever looks fresh. In this case I mixed in some romaine, added some spinach, cherry tomatoes, red onion, avocados (since moving to California I add avocados to everything), and topped it all off with some grilled chicken. This dressing is a delicious, creamy mixture with a kick of pepper. Each tablespoon is packed with flavor, so don’t get too overzealous when adding to your salad. A little goes a long way with this dressing.

What’s your favorite way to dress up a salad?

Creamy Parmesan Romaine

Ingredients for 4 Servings:

  • 2 slices whole-wheat bread (about 2 ounces total), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup sliced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons Original NESTLÉ COFFEE-MATE Liquid Coffee Creamer
  • 2 tablespoons fat free sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons BUITONI Refrigerated Freshly Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 350° F.

PLACE bread cubes in single layer on large baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven; cool completely.

PLACE lettuce, cucumber and onion in large bowl; set aside.

COMBINE Coffee-mate, sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, vinegar, salt and pepper in small bowl; stir until completely blended. Add to lettuce mixture; toss gently, yet thoroughly, to coat completely. Add bread cubes; toss gently.

Related Recipes:

Tortellini Salad Italiana Recipe Chickpea-Spinach Salad with Avocados and Oranges Recipe
Tortellini
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Chickpea-Spinach Salad
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Easy Spring Pasta Recipe: Fettuccine with Peas, Leeks & Thyme

Written by Liz -

Fettuccine with Peas, Leeks and Thyme recipe

Spring has sprung in California – as well as most of the country. To me that means spring vegetable season; asparagus, leeks, peas, artichoke, fennel and fresh herbs are bountiful in farmers markets. Much of this produce is available year-round, but spring is the best time to get the freshest spring vegetables, whether at your local market, grocery store or from your own garden!

fetpeasveg

And those fresh spring flavors really come through in this easy spring pasta recipe, Fettuccine with Peas, Leeks & Thyme. It’s a cinch to make and it’s packed with flavor and nutrients, plus spring is a great time to get hooked on the Mediterranean way of eating. Adding a bit of the pasta water instead of using sauce is a traditional way to make pasta dishes in Italy. This recipe is a sure way to eat more vegetables and wow your friends with your culinary savvy!

Wine Pairing

  • Italian wines can be hard to find, other than the super popular Pinot Grigio. If you can find a Soave wine, it’s a soft, fruity, clean wine with crisp lemon flavors and really complements this dish.
  • Grenache Blanc with its acidity and rounded flavors, or Sauvignon Blanc with its herbaceousness, would also be great wines with this pasta.

Fettuccine with Peas, Leeks & Thyme

fetpeaingred2

Ingredients for 3 servings:

Directions:

PREPARE pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup cooking water. While pasta is cooking, prepare leek mixture.

fetpeasstove

HEAT oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leek; cook, stirring frequently, until softened and golden. Stir in peas; cook for 1 minute or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper, as shown above.

fetpeaslast

ADD reserved pasta cooking water, thyme leaves and cheese; stir in gently. Toss pasta with leek mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Links:

More spring pasta recipes:

Vegetable Tortellini Soup Recipe Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Fresh Herb Pesto recipe
Vegetable Tortellini Soup Butternut Squash Agnolotti
with Fresh Herb Pesto
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