Tag Archives: confections

10 Summer Grilling Tips + Zesty BBQ Ribs Recipe

Written by Liz –

Zesty BBQ Ribs recipe

Summer is grilling time! If you aren’t as familiar with grills and how to use them to their full, delicious advantage, you can be out in the cold this time of year. Well, we’ve got 10 grilling tips to get you heated up and in the swing of summer.

  1. Gas grills burn cleaner than charcoal grills, but give food a less smoky taste.
  2. Grilling is a great way to eat healthy (because grilled vegetables taste so good!) as long as you pick lean meats to grill.
  3. Make sure to preheat your grill 10-15 minutes before cooking, to get it to the right temperature and clean the grill.
  4. Cooking on high heat caramelizes the food on the outside, boosting flavors on the inside.
  5. Wet & dry rubs are a quick way to season meat and vegetables; marinades can be done the night before.
  6. Apply BBQ sauce after grilling or near the end of the grilling time. The sugar in the sauce can burn more quickly, charring the meat on the outside too soon.
  7. Try to turn the food as little as possible; keep the food on one side to get seared, turning it only once. If the outside is seared well and the inside isn’t done, consider lowering the heat or moving the food to the top shelf.
  8. Follow the FDA’s guidelines to safe cooking temperatures for meats.
  9. Pull food off the grill just before it’s done and let it rest for 5-10 minutes under foil; it will continue cooking and marinate in its own juices.
  10. If you want to cut fat off the meat, do it after cooking. Fat helps the meat retain juices during cooking and it will taste better.

Zesty BBQ Ribs (shown at top)

Ingredients for 8 servings:



  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons MAGGI Granulated Chicken Flavor Bouillon
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle adobo sauce


FOR RIBS:  FIT rack inside large roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Using knife, remove membranes from bone side of ribs (this step is very important for tender ribs). Pat ribs dry with paper towel; place on rack with meat side up.

COMBINE sugar, coffee granules, salt, garlic powder, coriander, pepper and cocoa in coffee or spice grinder; cover. Process until smooth. Lightly rub ribs with oil. Sprinkle with rub mixture, pressing gently to help it adhere to the ribs. Let stand at room temperature for no more than 1 hour.

PREHEAT oven to 250° F. Pour beer into bottom of roasting pan. Cover pan with foil; bake for 4 to 5 hours (this will be long enough for the meat to be very tender, but not falling off the bones). Prepare sauce during the last 30 minutes of baking.

PREHEAT grill. Grill ribs over medium flame, turning once, for 5 minutes. Brush with sauce during grilling. Let ribs rest for 10 minutes before serving.

FOR BBQ SAUCE:  HEAT oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook for about 3 minutes or until tender. Add ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar and bouillon. Stir until sugar and bouillon are dissolved. Stir in mustard, chili powder and adobo sauce. Cover; cook for 30 minutes. The sauce will thicken as it simmers.

Cook’s Tip: Double or triple the spice rub and store in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place. It will remain fresh for up to 1 month. Use 2 to 3 teaspoons rub per pound of meat. Rub is also great on pork chops, pork tenderloin, skinless chicken breasts and salmon fillets!

More rib recipes:

Coffee-Spice Rubbed Ribs Recipe Grilled Sticky Ribs recipe
Coffee-Spice Rubbed Ribs Grilled Sticky Ribs

Frosting Tips and a New Cupcake Collection

Written by Chris


Beautifully frosted, or simple and elegant, cupcakes are an important part of life’s special moments – not just birthdays, but also graduations, bridal and baby showers, excellent report cards, or just because. Cupcakes make ordinary days feel extraordinary.

We have a new Cupcake Collection on Meals.com I’d like to share with you. We’ve selected several of our favorite recipes which include the classics plus delectable new flavors like lemonade, malted chocolate and even bacon!

Since a cupcake really isn’t “dressed” until it’s frosted, I thought I’d highlight some of our tried and true test kitchen frosting recipes. I’ve also included a handful of prepared frosting tips, too. I’ve found that most kids prefer the stuff in the container over a 5-star homemade frosting. There’s nothing wrong with that. My kids, now ten years old, get a kick out of customizing prepared frosting as well as creating simple cupcake recipes. You can check out their recipes here.

Let’s start out with a tip for piping frosting. I’ll admit, I cut corners (literally) more times than not. I don’t have time to clean a pastry bag so I use a gallon size heavy-duty zip top bag.

Frosting Tips Piping

All you need to do is put the piping tip you want to use in the corner of the bag, then snip the corner off and push the tip a quarter of the way through.

Frosting Tips Piping 2

Place the bag with tip in a glass to keep it stable. Then spoon about 1 cup of frosting into the bag.

Frosting Tips Piping 3

To pipe, hold the tip in place with one hand and gently twist the top of the bag with the other to push the frosting through. Continue to refill the bag as needed.

Here are a few ways to jazz up prepared frosting…

Butterfinger Cupcakes

Pipe frosting onto cupcakes, and then sprinkle with chopped candy bars. Butterfinger is my favorite! Quick tip: Be sure to sprinkle the candy right after you pipe the frosting so it will stick, otherwise it will bounce off. Also, if you really like peanut butter, try stirring in a little creamy peanut butter into your prepared white frosting.

Dalmatian Cupcakes Recipe

How cute are these Dalmatian Cupcakes! Simply sprinkle a small handful of mini chocolate morsels over the frosting – an instant hit!

Here’s a clever way to make a glaze out of prepared frosting: Spoon 1 container of frosting into a microwave-safe container and microwave on HIGH (100% power) for 30 seconds. Then stir until smooth and spread over cooled cupcakes. You can also add hot coffee to prepared frosting to thin it down to make glaze.

Of course, you can also stir in caramel syrup, Nestlé Nesquik chocolate syrup, a little orange juice or grated citrus peel into prepared frosting. Frosting add-ins are truly endless!

Here are some of our favorite homemade frosting recipes…

Pumpkin Carrot Cupcakes with Orange-Cream Cheese Frosting

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting – absolutely perfect on Pumpkin Carrot Cupcakes!

Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe

Cream Cheese Frosting – the perfect match for Red Velvet Cupcakes!

Chocolate Lovers Frosting Recipe

This Chocolate Lover’s Frosting is delectable to spread on cakes, cupcakes, brownies, sugar cookies and more. It’s ready in just 5 minutes, too.

Dark Chocolate Ganache Brownie Cakes Recipe

Now if you want to make a big impression with very little effort, I’d suggest this Dark Chocolate Ganache. Simply stunning!

Do you have frosting tips to share? How about shortcuts? Please tell me I’m not the only one to take short cuts.

Happy weekend to you,


Easter Sweets: Butterfinger Panna Cotta with Easter Egg Nests

Written by Liz –

Butterfinger Panna Cotta Nests recipe

Panna Cotta, or Italian “cooked cream,” is an eggless custard that is silky-smooth and so easy to make. In fact, David Lebovitz writes that if it takes you more than 5 minutes to put it together, you’re doing something wrong. If you haven’t yet tried to make custard, crème brulée or flan, panna cotta is the recipe to try first.

Our easy version for Easter, Butterfinger Panna Cotta Nests, uses items you already have in your pantry, since it replaces the cream with evaporated milk. That also lowers the fat and increases the nutrients! This dish has to be made in advance so it can set in the refrigerator, leaving you free on the day of the meal to entertain or cook other dishes. Putting the ingredients together and warming them in a pan are a snap, and the shredded coconut egg nests on top are perfect for a pretty Easter table.

Panna cotta is also an extremely versatile recipe. You can experiment and make your own version by adding lemon or orange zest, almond extract or even spices like saffron, pepper or rosemary. Here are some panna cotta recipes we love using chocolate and amaretto, as well as pumpkin spice and chocolate pistachio.

Happy Easter!

Butterfinger Panna Cotta Nests

Ingredients for 4 servings:




GREASE four 6-ounce or six 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups.

PLACE water in a small bowl; add gelatin and let stand to soften.

PLACE evaporated milk, sugar and vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat. Add gelatin mixture; stir gently to dissolve gelatin.

POUR into prepared ramekins; sprinkle with crushed Butterfinger.

REFRIGERATE for 2 hours or until panna cottas are firm.

PLACE coconut in a resealable bag. Add green and yellow food coloring; seal bag and shake to thoroughly mix. If necessary, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of water to help color mix.

TOP panna cottas with coconut “grass”; top with 1 to 2 unwrapped Nestlé NestEggs.


More panna cotta recipes:

Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta with Pistachio Sauce recipe
Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta with Pistachio Sauce
pumpkin-spice-panna-cotta recipe
Pumpkin Spice Panna Cotta

A New Take on Homemade Granola: Quinoa Granola with Raisinets

Written by Chris – 

Quinoa Granola with Raisinets

March 24th is National Chocolate Covered Raisinets Day. Did you know that? What better way to celebrate than with a brand NEW Nestlé Raisinets recipe!

Raisinets are best known as a movie theater treat, but they also make a great addition to granola (and cookies!). When I make homemade granola, snack or trail mix, I like a little chocolate and dried fruit, so Dark Chocolate Raisinets make the perfect addition!

Let’s talk quinoa. Quinoa has been around long enough that you probably already know how good it is for you. You also likely know it’s a great addition to salads, sides and mains. But have you tried it in granola?

Maria of Two Peas and Their Pod created a recipe for Crunchy Quinoa Granola that looked fantastic! I have her to thank for the initial inspiration. Thanks, Maria! Brandi of BranAppetit developed a Stove Top Spiced Raisinets Granola for Nestlé that I fell head over heels for. She used cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and maple syrup and something about that combination tantalized my taste buds!

In this recipe, cooked quinoa (cooked in just water or equal parts water and apple juice), oats, nuts, seeds and spices are coated with a little coconut oil and maple syrup and then baked until golden. Raisinets and toasted coconut are added to the mixture once cool. Oh wow is this good!

Here’s the recipe…

Quinoa Granola with Raisinets

Ingredients for 24 (¼ cup) servings:

  • Parchment paper
  • 2 cups cooked ivory or red quinoa (cooked in water)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw pepitas
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seed kernels
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 package (11 ounces) NESTLÉ RAISINETS Dark Chocolate-Covered Raisins
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, toasted


PREHEAT oven to 375° F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

COMBINE quinoa, oats, almonds, pepitas, sunflower seed kernels, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and salt in large bowl. Add coconut oil and maple syrup; stir to coat. Spread onto prepared baking sheet.

Quinoa Granola with Raisinets Recipe

BAKE for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring halfway through baking time, until golden and toasted. Once it has cooled completely, stir in the Raisinets and coconut. Store the granola in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Quinoa Granola with Raisinets Recipe

Here’s a little tip. Add a few tablespoons of this granola to nonfat Greek yogurt, and then drizzle with a little maple syrup. Perfect snack!

More Raisinets Snacks:

Nutty Raisinets Trail Mix Recipe Raisinets Cereal Snacking Mix Recipe
Nutty Raisinets Trail Mix Raisinets Cereal Snacking Mix
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