Category Archives: Main Dishes

Meals Made Easy: Sun-Dried Tomato & Walnut Pesto with Herb Chicken Tortellini

Written by : Chris

Sun-Dried Tomato & Walnut Pesto with Herb Chicken Tortellini

I will be the first to admit that I take shortcuts when it comes to meal preparation. And by shortcuts, I don’t mean I don’t cook. It’s quite the contrary. I cook dinner for my family nearly every night. A shortcut to me means that I take a prepared food, like BUITONI® pasta, and add fresh ingredients like seasonal vegetables and fruits to make it a complete meal that my entire family will enjoy. Lately I have been obsessed with making fresh pesto sauces.

“Pesto” literally means to pound or crush, a reference to how the original pesto was prepared. I’ve found that a mortar and pestle produces the best pesto, but it also takes little more time. Therefore, I prefer to use a food processor so that the pesto is ready in a matter of minutes.

Pesto is typically made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, cheese, and high-quality olive oil. But it’s fun to mix it up!

Kale Toasted Nut Pesto

Kale can be used in place of basil, and walnuts in place of pine nuts, as in this Kale & Toasted Nut Pesto (pictured above).

Pistachio Pesto

If you like pistachio nuts, I highly recommend this Pistachio Pesto (pictured above). Tossed with BUITONI® Spinach & Ricotta Tortelloni and tomatoes, it’s just heavenly!

Sun-Dried Tomato & Walnut Pesto with Herb Chicken Tortellini

I happen to love sun-dried tomato pesto and make this Sun-Dried Tomato & Walnut Pesto all the time (pictured above).  It’s rich and flavorful and oh-so easy! When added to BUITONI® Tortellini, it’s perfect for a weeknight meal!  It’s also great for entertaining. Just double or triple the recipe as needed.

Here’s the recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato & Walnut Pesto with Herb Chicken Tortellini (to print, just click the link):

Ingredients for six 1-cup servings:

1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (about 8 sun-dried tomato halves)

1/4 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1/4 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Pinch ground black pepper

1/4 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh basil leaves for garnish

1 package (20 oz.) BUITONI Refrigerated Herb Chicken Tortellini 

Directions:

ADD sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper to food processor; process until finely chopped. Gradually add oil; process until combined. Add cheese; pulse to combine.

PREPARE pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup cooking water. Toss pasta with pesto and ¼ cup reserved cooking water. Thin with additional water, if desired. Garnish with basil.

Cook’s Tips: Made in advance and stored tightly covered in the refrigerator, this pesto should last for up to 1 week. If you want to freeze the pesto, omit the cheese since it doesn’t freeze too well. Line an ice cube tray with plastic wrap, and fill each pocket with the pesto. Freeze and them remove the ice tray and store in a freezer bag. When ready to use, defrost, then stir in cheese.

So what are your latest cooking obsessions?

All trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.

Related Recipes:

Spinach and Ricotta Tortelloni Arugula Pesto
Spinach & Ricotta Tortelloni Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula & Pine Nuts Arugula Pesto with Cheese & Roasted Garlic Tortelloni Over Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes

A Unique Use for Apple Juice

Written by: Chris

Every now and again I come across a recipe or creative way to use an ingredient that really gets me thinking – like infusing chocolate with herbs. Infusing chocolate isn’t new, but it certainly was when I created this  Chocolate Rosemary Tart nearly 10 years ago.  The flavors are pretty adventurous, so the recipe can be a hit or a miss (especially if you introduce it before the trend really takes off!).

So how about adding apple juice to savory recipes? I’ve added it to quinoa, chicken, salmon, and even beef empanadas. But I’ve never thought of adding it to tacos. So when this Tacos to Go recipe came through for testing, I couldn’t wait to dive in. Would it taste like apple? Would it be too sweet? What benefit could there be?

Tacos To Go Recipe

Apple juice is added to the skillet with lean ground turkey and cooked until the apple juice is nearly gone. The turkey takes on just a hint of sweetness, which complements the turkey perfectly. The apple juice adds moisture too, making it great for leftovers. So to answer my questions above, it’s not too sweet and it doesn’t taste like apple. The real benefits I see are the delicate flavor and the ability to keep the lean turkey moist.

For a delicious weeknight meal, simply serve in tortillas with assorted toppings. Or, take it on the go! For those of us who struggle with school lunches (that would be me), this is a wonderful solution!

Baked taco shell cups really hold up well in lunch boxes and kids absolutely love them. All you need to do is cut circles out of your tortillas, press into a muffin tin and bake. To keep the turkey filling hot, it’s best to preheat your thermos. Simply fill your thermos with piping hot water, put on the lid and seal it. Empty the thermos after letting it sit for several minutes, and then fill with the taco filling. Place all of the toppings in sealed containers with an ice pack. Easy peasy.

Here’s a look at the ingredients. I like to add a clove of finely chopped garlic when cooking the turkey, but this is completely optional.

Tacos To Go

Ingredients for 6 servings (2 taco cups per serving):

TACO FILLING

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon MAGGI Granulated Chicken Flavor Bouillon
  • 1 cup Apple NESTLÉ® JUICY JUICE® 100% Juice

TACO SHELLS

  • 6 (8-inch) soft taco-size whole wheat flour tortillas
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Toppings of your choice: chopped tomatoes, lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa

Directions:
FOR TACO FILLING:
HEAT oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add turkey and bouillon; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes or until no longer pink.

POUR apple juice over turkey. Increase heat to high; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook for 10 minutes until almost all of the juice is absorbed.

FOR TACO SHELLS:
PREHEAT oven to 400° F.

CUT tortillas into twelve 4-inch circles using a cookie cutter or the top of a glass. You will cut 2 circles out of each tortilla.

SPRAY a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Press tortilla circles into each cup.

BAKE for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden and crispy.

FILL taco shells with taco filling and your choice of toppings.

Short cut: instead of baking the taco shell, cut rounds out of a tortilla and serve like a soft taco.

Now it’s your turn. What unique uses for ingredients have you come across?

JUICY JUICE® is a registered trademark of Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland. 

Related Recipes:

Juicy Juice Apple Pork Chops Mixed Greens with Apple Vinaigrette
Juicy Juice Apple
Pork Chops
Mixed Greens with Apple
Vinaigrette

Game Day Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Written by Chris -

chicken tacos 1

Do you like to host game day parties? Regardless of who is playing, game day is a great excuse to try new recipes! And we have a new one for you that’s made in a slow cooker, packs a little heat and serves a crowd. Plus, it’s versatile! Think tacos, wraps and nachos. I’ve made these Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos a number of times so I can tell you, they’re tried and true and sure to become a favorite!

From start to finish, you need to give yourself about 5 hours before you plan to serve it. No pre-cooking or browning is required. Just add the chicken, onion, garlic, fresh jalapeños, bouillon and tomato sauce to the slow cooker. Cook for approximately 4 hours or until tender. Shred the chicken, add a can of black beans and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes. The recipe serves 5, but you can double the ingredients if your slow cooker can handle the volume.  Then you can serve a crowd, or have plenty of leftovers.

To make it easier on you, set up a self-serve station for your guests. Next to the slow cooker, set out plates, napkins and utensils and toppings (like shredded lettuce, fresh cilantro, sliced jalapeños, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, guacamole and lime wedges). Offer tortillas for tacos or wraps and baked tortilla chips for nachos.

Let’s take a look at the ingredients.

ingredients 2

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN TACOS

Ingredients for 5 servings (2 tacos each):

  • 1 ¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon MAGGI® Granulated Chicken Flavor Bouillon OR 1 tablet MAGGI® Chicken Flavor Bouillon, dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • Toppings of your choice: cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole

DIRECTIONS:

slow cooker ingredients 3

PLACE chicken in 5-quart slow cooker. Add onion, garlic, jalapeños, bouillon mixture and tomato sauce.

slow cooker ingredients 4

STIR to combine; cover.  Cook on low setting for 4 hours or until chicken is tender.

slow cooker cooked 5

SHRED with a fork.

slow cooker add beans 5

STIR in black beans. Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

slow cooker with beans 5

So easy! This is what it looks like when done.

chicken tacos final 6

SERVE warm in corn tortillas with toppings of your choice.

chicken tacos final 7

Or…make nachos.

Shredded Chicken Wrap

Or…make a wrap!

For more Game Day recipe ideas, check out meals.com.

MAGGI® is a registered trademark of Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.

Related Recipes:

Tequila Citrus Wings BBQ Beef Sandwiches
Tequila Citrus Chicken Wings
Barbecued Beef Sandwiches

How to Make Eggs 4 Ways

Written by Chris -

Eggs are my favorite breakfast food! Not only are they a natural source for protein and other nutrients, they are so versatile. You could make eggs every morning and never have the same thing twice. I love my eggs poached, fried, hard-cooked, scrambled or in an omelet! How do you like your eggs?

Although they’re fun to make, eggs can be tricky to master. Here are some tips to help you make perfect eggs, no matter how you crack them!

Poached
Poaching can be the most intimidating method for making eggs, but have no fear! There is nothing wrong with grabbing a whole carton of eggs and practicing! My number one tip for poaching is to always use fresh eggs. Fresh eggs keep their shape, so it’s easier to form the perfect poach. I also like to add just a tablespoon of vinegar to the water – it acts as a catalyst, causing the egg whites to immediately start cooking which in turn speeds up the overall cooking time.

Fried
A non-stick pan is crucial for making any style of eggs, but most importantly when frying. Starting with a great non-stick surface will ensure your eggs come out perfectly, whether sunny-side up or over easy. Before cracking the egg, preheat a non-stick skillet with a little butter or oil over medium heat. Once hot, crack the egg gently into the pan and fry just until the outside edges turn white. Then cover the pan, lower the heat, and cook a few minutes longer until they’re cooked to your liking.

Hard-cooked
Hard-cooked (frequently referred to as hardboiled) eggs are great for a quick breakfast on the go or an addition to your salad at lunch.

My special tip is to start with the eggs in a pot before adding water and boiling. This allows you to add the perfect amount of cold water, just so it covers the tops of the eggs by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 12 to 14 minutes. Drain and then place eggs in ice water and allow them to cool completely. Once cool, you can peel and eat them right away, or you can refrigerate them for up to one week.

Omelets
My secret ingredient for fluffy, yummy omelets is evaporated milk. When mixing your eggs in a bowl before cooking, add one tablespoon of Carnation Evaporated Milk per egg. Mix well and then pour into your omelet pan. It’s an addition that really enhances the eggs’ texture and taste.

You can try out these tips on some “egg-cellent” recipes:

Eggs Benedict Recipe

Eggs Benedict Recipe

Creamy Deviled Eggs

Creamy Deviled Eggs Recipe

Spring Herb Omelets

Spring Herb Omelets

Perfect Pizza Pairings

Written by Cynthia -

Pizza Portion

October is National Pizza Month. And I know what you’re thinking…there seems to be a food holiday for pretty much anything these days. But I must say…who doesn’t love pizza?! I, for one, love all types of pizza and for me, moderation is key, so I’m always looking for ways to combine my cheesy cravings with a nice nutritious balance.

Luckily, Nestlé USA has launched this great Pizza Portion Guide in conjunction with the Balance Your Plate initiative, a way for us to think differently about frozen meals. It’s simple – just combining a slice of pizza or a frozen entrée with fruits and vegetables helps you balance your plate with nutrients you need!

Last week, after a hard day’s work, I went out and grabbed a DiGIORONO® pizzeria!™ pepperoni pizza and put this toolkit to practice. My wish was for a quick and easy weeknight meal that I felt good about. I popped the pizza in the oven and while waiting, grabbed a spring mix of lettuce, threw in some tomatoes, carrots and avocado for a nice refreshing and simple salad. I paired the two and voilà – my 10 minute weeknight meal was ready to go!

Pizza Portion

For the approximate measure, the guide recommends picturing your hand as a pizza slice and enjoying only one or two hands’ worth. I chose one in this case, since I made a larger portion of the salad. Check out more clever ideas for enjoying perfect pizza portions.

Eating additional slices of this pizza deliciousness was definitely tempting, but merely combining it with a handful of leafy greens and fresh produce really managed to be very fulfilling in the end. Mission accomplished!

For more tips and tricks on balancing your plate with pizza, visit http://www.nestleusa.com/nutrition/enjoypizza.

A Family Favorite: Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese

Written by Chris – 

SlowCookerFettucineBolognese

Bolognese sauce is a slow cooked, meat-based sauce for pasta originating in Bologna, Italy. It’s one of my absolute favorite Italian sauces! It’s perfect for a large family or can be easily frozen and kept on-hand for a quick and easy weeknight meal. Serve with a healthy side salad, and you will have one happy family!

Because Bolognese sauce needs to cook over low heat for several hours to develop the deep flavors it’s known for, a slow cooker/crock pot is ideal for this. You can make this with ground beef, or use a combination of meats like beef, veal and pork. That’s what I like to do.

This sauce starts out on the stovetop, and then it gets transferred to a slow cooker. If you have a slow cooker that allows you to sauté, you can skip the stovetop part. And if you want, you can prepare the meat mixture the night before, refrigerate, and then add to the slow cooker along with all the other ingredients the next day.

As you read through the recipe below, you may wonder why I am using NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk. Simply put, it tenderizes the meat. This hearty sauce is best served over a wide cut pasta, so BUITONI Refrigerated Fettuccine will be a perfect match.

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese

Ingredients for 14 servings (1/2 cup sauce plus 1 cup fettuccine):

Directions:

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese2

MELT butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, chopped thyme, pinch of salt and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes or until tender but not browned.

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese3

INCREASE heat to medium-high; add the pancetta. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until pancetta is golden.

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese4

ADD the meat a third at a time, stirring and breaking lumps with a spoon between each addition. Cook for about 15 minutes total (this is where this recipe develops so much flavor, so let it cook the full 15 minutes).

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese5

STIR in tomato paste; cook for about 2 minutes.

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese7

ADD wine; bring to a boil. With a wooden spoon, scrape all the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until wine has almost evaporated.

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese6

TRANSFER mixture to slow cooker along with tomatoes with juice, evaporated milk, water and bouillon; then stir to combine.

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese8

COVER; cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours.

PREPARE pasta according to package directions (just make enough for what you plan to serve). Top with sauce, then sprinkle with a little cheese, if desired.

Slow Cooker Fettuccine Bolognese9

This plate is for me, so please excuse me while I eat. If you want to check out additional slow cooker recipes, visit meals.com.

Related Recipes:

TurkeyBologneseNew PumpkinSagePastaNew
Turkey Bolognese with Vegetables Pumpkin Sage Pasta
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