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.

How to Make a Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie Bowls-001

Cold, creamy and thick enough to be eaten with a spoon, this nutrient-dense smoothie bowl packs a powerful punch into your morning routine. But don’t limit it to just breakfast. Smoothie bowls make great snacks and desserts, too!

If you aren’t familiar with smoothie bowls, the basic idea is to make a thicker smoothie and then top it with nutritious, game-changing ingredients like hemp seed, cacao nibs, goji berries, chopped nuts, sliced fruit/berries and whole grain cereals.

The options are truly endless so go with what YOU like! Below are some suggestions to get you started.

Fruit/Vegetables: Frozen fruits work best but you can also use fresh (just add a bit of ice).  Spinach, kale, beets, zucchini and pumpkin are great options! One ½ cup serving of LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin gives you more than 100% of daily value of Vitamin A – which may protect the body from free radicals and help support vision, heart and lung health. Good to know, right?

Liquids: Smoothie bowls don’t require a lot of liquid, just enough to make it easy enough to blend. Think evaporated milk, almond milk, soy milk and coconut milk – all great options!

Protein/Good Fats: Flax meal, avocado, nuts, nut butters, coconut oil and protein powder add nutrition and consistency to smoothie bowls.

Toppings: Toasted nuts,whole grain cereals, hemp seeds and chia seeds add a nice crunch. Fresh and dried fruits add a pop of color and touch of sweetness. Be mindful about how many toppings you use – the calories can add up! One to two tablespoons (total) per serving is plenty.

Get ready to fuel your body and satisfy those taste buds!

Mixed Berry Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients for 3 servings (about ¾ cup per serving):

2/3 cup (5 fluid-ounce can) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Fat Free Milk

1/2 banana, sliced and frozen

1 cup frozen mixed berries

2 cups fresh spinach

1 cup fresh kale

1 tablespoon flax meal

Topping suggestions: lowfat granola, toasted coconut, hemp seeds, chia seeds, toasted almonds

Smoothie Bowls-process-001 400

The base for this recipe consists of mixed berries, banana, fat free evaporated milk, spinach, kale and flax meal (pictured above).

Smoothie Bowls-process-002 400

Place evaporated milk, banana, berries, spinach, kale and flax meal in food processor or heavy-duty blender; cover.

Smoothie Bowls-process-003 cropped

Process until thick and creamy.

Smoothie Bowls-001 cropped 400

Divide between bowls. Top each with desired toppings.

Here’s a quick tip about the greens: freeze your fresh spinach and kale, and then just crumble into your food processor or blender container. I usually purchase bagged prewashed spinach and kale and put the entire bag in the freezer. If you are short on freezer space, divide the greens into smaller, single-serve portions and freeze in zip-top bags or covered containers.

Nutrition Facts per serving (about 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of topping):

Calories: 130, Calories from Fat: 15, Total Fat: 1.5g (3% of DV), Saturated Fat: 0g (0% of DV), Cholesterol: 0mg (0% of DV), Sodium: 130mg (5% of DV), Carbohydrates: 25g (8% of DV), Dietary Fiber: 4g (16% of DV), Sugars: 14g, Protein: 7g, Vitamin A: 110% of DV, Vitamin C: 80% of DV, Calcium: 20% of DV, Iron: 8% of DV

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Have a great week!

Chris

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

Warm-Weather Favorites: Finger Fare at its Best

Summer is in full swing, so that means cookouts, outdoor parties and weekends packed with activities. Time spent in the kitchen is minimal. Effortless entertaining and finger fare are essential.

When thinking about recipes, those with few ingredients that incorporate seasonal produce always top my list. Throw in finger fare and the ability to make in advance… that’s a recipe for success!

Mini Caprese Skewers-001 (1)

For an instant appetizer, thread sweet summer tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella onto small skewers. Or, make in advance! Before serving, season the skewers with a cracked black pepper and drizzle with a little basil pesto.

Mini Caprese Skewers

Ingredients for 32 skewers:

2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Large bunch fresh basil leaves

10 to 14 (14 to 16 ounces total) fresh small mozzarella cheese balls (bocconcini), cut into thirds

32 (4- to 6-inch) wooden skewers

Ground black pepper

1/4 cup BUITONI Refrigerated All Natural Pesto with Basil

Directions:

THREAD 1 tomato half, 1 basil leaf, 1 piece of cheese, 1 basil leaf and 1 tomato half onto each skewer.

PLACE skewers on serving dish; season with pepper. Drizzle with pesto.

Nutrition facts per skewer: Calories: 45, Calories from Fat: 30, Total Fat: 3.5g (5% of DV), Saturated Fat: 1.5g (8% of DV), Cholesterol: 5mg (2% of DV), Sodium: 75mg (3% of DV), Carbohydrates: 1g (0% of DV), Dietary Fiber: 0g (0% of DV), Sugars: 0g, Protein: 3g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Pesto Hummus-001

Pesto Hummus makes for a delicious, no-cook dip that’s a snap to put together. Simply combine prepared hummus with a little basil pesto and serve with fresh crudité. Take advantage of summer-fresh sugar snap peas and bell peppers for dipping!

Smore Ice Cream Sandwiches-001

S’mores Ice Cream Sandwiches are finger fare at its best! And what is summer without S’mores? Create your own ice cream sandwiches using honey graham cracker squares and S’mores Flavor DREYER’S or EDY’S SLOW CHURNED Light Ice Cream. Simply sandwich one scoop (about ¼ cups worth) of ice cream between two honey graham cracker squares.

Raspberry and Sweet Cream Pops-001

Ice pops are a great make-ahead treat and the best way to cool off! Homemade (microwave) simple syrup and summer fresh raspberries are blended together and then divided between ice pop molds. Sweet Cream Flavored NESTLÉ® COFFEE-MATE® natural bliss® All-Natural Coffee Creamer is swirled into each pop creating a marbled look (and adds the perfect touch of cream!).

Raspberry Cream Pops

Ingredients for 10 ice pops:

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 pound (about 4 cups) fresh raspberries

10 to 20 tablespoons Sweet Cream Flavored NESTLÉ® COFFEE-MATE® natural bliss® All-Natural Coffee Creamer

Directions:

COMBINE water and sugar in small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 90 seconds; stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

PLACE raspberries and cooled sugar mixture in blender; cover. Blend until smooth.

DIVIDE mixture evenly between 10 ice pop molds. Top each with about 1 to 2 tablespoons Coffee-mate. Gently stir with end of spoon to create marbling.

INSERT sticks. Freeze for several hours or overnight.

Nutrition Facts per pop: Calories: 80, Calories from Fat: 15, Total Fat: 2g (3% of DV), Saturated Fat: 1g (5% of DV), Cholesterol: 10mg (3% of DV), Sodium: 5mg (0% of DV), Carbohydrates: 17g (6% of DV), Dietary Fiber: 3g (12% of DV), Sugars: 14g, Protein: 1g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Savor every last minute of summer!

Chris

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

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
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