Category Archives: Food Trends

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.

Two NEW Cookie Recipes

Written by : Chris
Coconut Oil Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie

When we add recipes to Meals.com, I get so excited. This week, we added two NEW cookie recipes!

Have you seen our NESTLÉ® BUTTERFINGER® Peanut Butter Cup Mini’s yet? They are making their way to store shelves right now! And guess what? They taste great in cookies!

Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

This NEW recipe doesn’t use a lot of peanut butter because there’s already so much peanut butter flavor happening in the mini cups!

Peanut Butterfinger Cup Cookies

Here’s the recipe for Peanut Butter Cup Cookies.

Ingredients for 30 (2 ½-inch) cookies:

1 3/4 cups white whole wheat or all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter

1 large egg

1/2 cup NESTLÉ® BUTTERFINGER® Peanut Butter Cup Mini’s (or 3 standard size), chopped

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl; stir.

BEAT butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until combined. Beat in peanut butter until combined. Beat in egg.

GRADUALLY stir in flour mixture. Stir in chopped peanut butter cups. Roll dough into balls using a slightly rounded tablespoon. Place on prepared baking sheets spacing about 2 inches apart. Flatten balls slightly with a fork or the palm of your hand.

BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are set but centers are still soft (they will look underdone). Cool on baking sheets for 4 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Cook’s Tip: If you like really soft peanut butter cookies, you can increase the peanut butter to ½ cup total. I personally like them a little soft and crisp, so I found ¼ cup to be the perfect amount.

Coconut Oil Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie

In this NEW Coconut Oil Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie, I’ve used white whole wheat flour in place of all-purpose flour. And virgin coconut oil in place of butter. As well, I’ve used about half the amount of chocolate morsels compared to what you’d find in most cookie recipes.  Why? If you use half the amount, and chop part of it (or all), you get chocolate in every bite! A little really goes a long way.

I’m not a fan of cutting corners – taste is king. But when you can make simple substitutions or cut back a little without compromising quality, why not?  Do you do the same? Would love to hear what you do!

Here’s the recipe for Coconut Oil Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Ingredients for 44 (2 ½-inch) cookies:

1 1/4 cups white whole wheat or all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup virgin coconut oil, softened state, but not melted

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate Morsels, half of the morsels coarsely chopped

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

COMBINE flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in small bowl.

BEAT coconut oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats and morsels. Form into balls using a slightly rounded tablespoon. Place on prepared baking sheets spacing about 2 inches apart.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are golden and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

For both cookie recipes, I used 22 grams of dough for each cookie. And that was a slightly rounded tablespoon (which makes a perfectly sized cookie!). As with each recipe I create, I do my best to keep nutrition in mind. But in the end, these are still cookies that should be enjoyed in moderation.

Happy baking! And if you make these recipes or try the BUTTERFINGER peanut butter cup mini’s, please tell me what you think!

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

Related Recipes:

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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

We Love Potlucks!

Written by Chris

Potlucks

I absolutely love potlucks! There is nothing better than getting together to share favorite recipes and celebrate good family, friends and food. It seems like every month there is a work function, school activity or gathering of friends that revolves around a buffet style meal, and I love it!

Here are some tips and ideas to help with your next potluck:

Feeding a Crowd
One of the biggest questions when cooking for a potluck is, “How much do I make?” Try to take an estimated headcount and plan accordingly, but you don’t need to make full portions for each person. Remember, there are always many options and dishes at potlucks! Typically, count on having enough food for 8-15 small servings, depending on the dish.

Making the Perfect Dish
When choosing a main dish to share, think simplicity and portability. Focus on recipes that combine common ingredients into one dish or pot so that it’s recognizable, easy to serve and will please even the picky eaters. Casserole and crock pot recipes are great ways to combine flavorful ingredients into one transportable meal – just make sure the dish is cooked prior to transporting.

Keep Cool with Appetizers
One concern with potlucks is keeping food warm. You can avoid the hassle by bringing a dish that can sit at room temperature. Salads, vegetable and fruit dishes, and dips are great contributions to the buffet line!

Don’t Forget Dessert
Potlucks are a great time to try out a new cookie, brownie or other decadent recipe. Dessert recipes are often easy to multiply or divide to accommodate any amount of guests, and are an added bonus to the end of the meal.

Find Your Go-To Dish
There is nothing wrong with bringing the same crowd-pleasing dish to multiple potlucks. Find a couple fool-proof dishes that you can rotate throughout the year. Having your go-to meals will reduce the amount of time and planning spent on your end.

Tips and Etiquette
Serving: Be sure to bring the appropriate serving ware for your dish so people can easily fill their plate and move on to the next yummy treat.

Portions: Everything on the table looks amazing! Don’t let your eyes fill up your plate! Be sure to take small portions of the dishes you like, and pass on others.

Thank the host: Always thank the host or coordinator of the evening before leaving. For an added touch, bring a small gift as a special way to show your appreciation.

Recipe Ideas
Looking for a new recipe to wow the crowd? Check out some of our favorite potluck dishes!
Baked Potato Casserole
Cheesy Macaroni and Cheese
Creamy Chicken and Rice Bake
Spinach and Fresh Fruit Salad
Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip
Italian Antipasta Cold Salad
Original Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

What’s in Your Drawer? Top 10 Kitchen Tools & Gadgets

Written by Chris

Kitchen Gadgets

Whether you are setting up your very first kitchen or have mastered the art of cooking, certain tools and gadgets are essential.

  1. You don’t necessarily need a big block of knives.  But I’d recommend having a good sharp Chef’s and a bread knife at minimum.
  2. Every kitchen needs a cutting board whether it be wood (I like Boos brand) or plastic.
  3. A digital instant-read thermometer that can be used for checking doneness of meat and poultry, as well as for use with deep frying and candy making, is essential.
  4. I love my microplane zester, this is another must.  You can add instant flavor with a little grated citrus or even spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.).
  5. To measure the correct amount of flour or cheese or to make sure that pieces of meat, poultry, and fish are the specified size, use a food scale.
  6. Kitchen shears are perfect for cutting small amounts of herbs, chopping canned tomatoes directly in the can and trimming fat from meat and skin from poultry. When pinched for time, I even cut my kids cooked meat with kitchen shears. It’s much faster than using a knife.
  7. Stainless steel measuring cups are used for measuring ingredients like flour, sugar, grains and cereals.  Liquid glass measuring cups, sized from 1 cup to 4 cups, used for measuring wet ingredients. Both are must haves. As are measuring spoons. These items ensure that your recipes come out just right. Use them for your baking recipes, at minimum.
  8. Whisks in assorted sizes are ideal for beating eggs and egg whites, blending salad dressings, and dissolving solids in liquids. They are available both in stainless steel and nylon; the nylon ones won’t harm nonstick surfaces. I’d recommend having both.
  9. A peeler removes the skin from both vegetables and fruits. It’s also handy for making chocolate curls!
  10. A cookie scoop makes the most uniform cookies every single time. You can also use it to make melon balls.

What kitchen tool or gadget are you most passionate about?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 17,810 other followers

%d bloggers like this: