Author Archives: Chris

My long time passion for food and nutrition lead me to Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, where I develop recipes for major magazines and online resources. I follow food trends and translate them into everyday recipes for busy families. While I put taste first, healthy options are always top of mind. I’m a mother of triplets, so my specialty includes simple, nutritious recipes.

Berry Goodness: Two New Recipes

Written by: Chris

Chocolate Filled Raspberries

Let the goodness of berries speak for themselves in these simple and delicious desserts. They are sure to be a hit with kids as well!

While strawberries are available year-round, they are actually in-season April through June. Nothing beats in-season berries! Raspberries are best during the summer months, but available now and tasting pretty spectacular!

Chocolate Filled Raspberries

For this Chocolate-Filled Raspberry recipe, all you need are NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® morsels and fresh raspberries.

For one serving, which is 10 filled raspberries, you need 10 NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate or Dark Chocolate Morsels and 10 fresh raspberries.

Chocolate Filled Morsels

Simply place one morsel inside of each raspberry. It’s that easy!

Chocolate-Stuffed Berries

For Chocolate-Stuffed Strawberries, all you need are fresh strawberries and NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® morsels. Both semi-sweet chocolate and dark chocolate morsels work great!

Chocolate-Stuffed Berries

Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients for 1 serving (3 stuffed strawberries):

3 fresh strawberries

6 to 9 NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate or Dark Chocolate Morsels

Chocolate-Stuffed Berries

Cut stem and leaves of strawberries off. To hull, push a fat straw through the bottom of strawberries to the top, removing center portion.

Chocolate-Stuffed Berries

Fill each strawberry with 2 to 3 morsels.

Sometimes simple really is best! I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!

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

One Skillet Tortellini Marinara

Written by : Chris

One Skillet Tortellini Marinara

This weeknight-friendly meal is easy to prepare and even easier to clean up.  There’s no precooking. No long cook times. And dinner will be on your table in less than 20 minutes. Guaranteed!

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Just add marinara sauce, water and uncooked tortellini directly to your skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 9 to 11 minutes. Bam! It’s really that easy!  To boost nutrition, stir in 2 cups of fresh spinach. I do this to nearly all my pasta dishes!

Here’s the recipe for One Skillet Tortellini Marinara.

Ingredients for 4 servings, about 1 cup each:

1 container (15 ounces) BUITONI® Refrigerated Marinara Sauce 

1 package (9 ounces) BUITONI® Refrigerated Three Cheese Tortellini 

1 ¼ cups water (can substitute ¼ cup white wine for ¼ cup of water)

2 cups fresh spinach leaves

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PLACE sauce, pasta and water in large skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; cook for 9 to 11 minutes or until pasta is tender.

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STIR in spinach. Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Now if you want to kick it up a little, here’s an additional take on this one-skillet wonder.

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In this One Skillet Sausage & Marinara Tortelloni recipe, turkey sausage is browned first, and then we added marinara sauce, water, a little wine and tortelloni. Same concept as above, with just a couple additional ingredients…and it’s still on your table in just about 20 minutes.

Bon Appetit!

Chris

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

Related Recipes:

White Bean Soup Warm Chicken Tortellini Salad
White Bean Soup with Cheese & Roasted Garlic Tortelloni
Warm Chicken Tortellini Salad with Arugula & Pecorino Cheese

How to Make Easy Lemon Bars with Sweetened Condensed Milk

Written by : Chris

easy lemon bars image 1 400

Freshen up spring celebrations with these simple, sweet and vibrant lemon bars! Lemon bars are a classic American dessert composed of a shortbread crust topped with a simple, tangy lemon filling.

We’ve simplified the traditional recipe by using sweetened condensed milk. So once you make the crust, all you need to do is whisk together egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, fresh lemon juice and lemon peel. It couldn’t be easier!

Here’s the recipe for Easy Lemon Bars:

easy lemon bars image 2 400

Ingredients for 20 bars:

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Line 8-inch-square baking pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

BEAT butter, powdered sugar and salt in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in flour on low speed just until combined (mixture will be crumbly). Press dough onto bottom of prepared pan.

BAKE for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden.

WHISK together egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and lemon peel until smooth. Pour over crust. Bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes or until set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

REFRIGERATE for 2 hours or until firm. Using foil overhang, lift onto a work surface; cut into 20 bars. Dust with additional powdered sugar before serving. Squares will hold, covered, in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

easy lemon bars image 3 400

A few tips:
If you make the bars in advance, don’t dust with powdered sugar. Only do this right before serving.

To produce really clean slices, place the baking pan with lemon bars in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting. Wipe the knife between cuts. If desired, trim away edges (I didn’t trim all the edges on the photo above, but I did freeze them).

For serving, place bars in individual paper cupcake liners. This way guests can easily help themselves and you don’t need to worry about dessert plates.

Happy spring!

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

Related Recipes:

Lemon Spring Tart Ginger Bites with Zesty Lemon Sorbet
Lemon Spring Tart
Ginger Bites with Zesty
Lemon Sorbet

Stout Brownies for St. Patrick’s Day

Written by: Chris

dark chocolate stout brownies 25 hero

Beer in a brownie may seem unconventional, but the malt actually adds depth by intensifying the chocolate flavor. Stout and other dark beers are often described as having chocolate and coffee overtones, so this combination may not be too far-fetched. 

These brownies couldn’t be any easier to make. In fact, most of the ingredients you likely have on hand. And with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, you might even have stout!

Speaking of stout, if you want a more intensely flavored chocolate brownie, you can boil the stout to concentrate the flavors. To do this, place the stout (1/2 cup total) in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat for 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Allow it to cool a bit before adding to the chocolate mixture. I’ve made the brownies this way as well as straight from the bottle and loved both. You really don’t taste the stout in the brownies – it just intensifies the chocolate flavor and makes them a bit more fudge-like.

Here’s a look at the ingredients.

Brownies 2

Easy Dark Chocolate Stout Brownies

Ingredients needed for 16 brownies:

  • 1 2/3 cups (10-ounce package) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate Morsels, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup stout beer
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • Powdered sugar (optional)

Directions:

Brownies 3

PREHEAT oven to 325° F. Line an 8- or 9-inch-square baking pan with foil leaving a 2-inch overhang. If you like thick brownies use an 8-inch pan.

Brownies 4

MELT 1 cup morsels and butter in large, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; stir until smooth.

Brownies 5

STIR in granulated sugar, beer, vanilla extract and salt with a whisk or wooden spoon. Add eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition.

Brownies 6

STIR in flour.

Brownies 7

FOLD in remaining 2/3 cup morsels. Spread into prepared baking pan.

brownies 8

BAKE for 38 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan; cut into bars. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

dark chocolate stout brownies stacked

Now if you are really pressed for time and want to try your hand with beer and brownies, you can use your favorite box mix brownie and replace the water with stout beer. I’d also recommend stirring in a half cup of NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate Morsels into the batter.

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

Related Recipes:

Oven Irish Stew   Lucky You Mint Pie  
Oven Irish Stew
“Lucky You” Mint Pie

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
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