Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Post Holiday Healthy Meal Option

Hello Crest Foods Fans!  We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  Now that the leftovers are slowly disappearing, you maybe noticing a little post holiday "padding" appearing.  If so, we have a healthy meal option that has all of the flavor of traditional spaghetti and meatballs, but without the carbs and high calories.  This delicious dish can be made with either ground turkey or ground beef, and is sure to please even the pickiest of palates. 

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs
1  Spaghetti Squash (about 3 pounds)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1  Onion, finely chopped
2  Garlic cloves, minced
1  Tablespoon dried bread crumbs
1 1/2  Teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
3  Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz. lean ground turkey or ground beef
1 cup chicken broth
5 cups fresh baby spinach
Salt and pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut squash in half lengthwise. *NOTE:  Spaghetti squash can be very difficult to cut, not to mention dangerous.  I found an easier way, and that is to poke at least 5 holes in it using an ice pick, that MUST reach the hollow center.  Then microwave the squash for 1minute until tender enough to cut.  Remember you must pierce the squash all the way to the center, or else it may explode in the microwave.  Once you have sliced the squash, remove the seeds, and season the cut sides with 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Bake, cut sides down, on baking sheet until tender, about 45 minutes.
2.  Allow the baked squash to cool, then scrape flesh into strands using a fork.  Cover, and set it aside to keep warm.
3.  In the meantime, heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Cook onion and garlic, stirring, until soft but not brown, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add oregano; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Divide mixture into two separate bowls.
4.  Stir 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons of grated cheese into 1 bowl of the onion garlic mixture.  Mix in bread crumbs, turkey, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper using your hands.  Form mixture into 12 balls.
5.  Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Brown meatballs, turning, 4 to 6 minutes; transfer to a plate. 
6.  Add remaining teaspoon of oil to the skillet.  Cook mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, adding a few tablespoons of broth or water if skillet browns too quickly, until soft and beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.  Add remaining bowl of onion-garlic mixture, meatballs, and stock; bring to a gentle simmer.  Cook, partially covered, until meatballs are fully cooked, 4 to 5 minutes.  Add spinach; cook until just wilted, about 1 minute.
7.  Garnish with remaining cheese, and serve warm.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Twist On A Holiday Dessert

Have you been considering on making a new dessert this Thanksgiving?  If so you will love this!  I decided to combine two of my favorite holiday desserts, pumpkin pie and spice cake, and came up with Pumpkin Spice Cake Pops/ Balls.  You can find all of these ingredients at your nearest Crest Foods. *NOTE:  If you choose to make the cake pop version, you will need to purchase the lollipop sticks at a craft store.
Pumpkin Spice Cake Pops/Balls
1 Box Spice Cake Mix
Vegetable Oil
1 Pound vanilla almond bark
1/2 Cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Can cream cheese frosting
1 Bag candy glazed pecans
lollipop stick (if desired)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and greese a 9 x 13inch pan.  Mix your cake mix as directed, but also add 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin, and 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice.  Bake as directed, and allow to completely cool.
2.  After cake has cooled, crumble the entire cake into a seperate mixing bowl.  Add 3/4 can of cream cheese frosting, and 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Mix thouroghly.
3.  Follow the same steps from the October 20th blog Halloween Tricks and Treats, Brownie Eyeball Truffels.  
4.  While the cake pops/balls are chilling, take the bag of glazed pecans and either chop them by hand, or  use a food processer. 
5.  Finally, after coating each pop/ball in the vanilla almond bark, roll the tops in the chopped candied pecans.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Sweet & Savory Treats

Halloween is just a few days away, and we want to share some of our quick, and spooky treats that are perfect for any classroom halloween party.  As always, Crest Foods is your one stop shop for all of your party dish ingredients.  Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Chocolate Covered Cherry Mice
6 ounces of chocolate almond bark
24 maraschino cherries with the stem
24 Hershey's Kisses Brand milk chocolates, unwrapped
48 sliced almonds
White and red decorating gel

  1. In a small microwavable bowl melt the almond bark for 1 minute until softened, and stir until sooth.  For each mouse, hold one cherry by the stem and dip into melted almond bark.  Set on waxed paper; press 1 hershey kiss onto the opposite side of the cherry from the stem.
  2. For ears, insert 2 almonds between cherry and chocolate candy.  For eyes, pipe 2 white dots and red decorating gel in centers.  Store covered in refrigerator.

Witches Hats
32 Keebler Brand Fudge Stripe Cookies
32 Hershey's Brand Kisses, unwrapped
1 tube orange decorating icing

  1. Attach a hershey's kiss to the bottom of each cookie using the orange icing.  
  2. Pipe an orange ring around the base of each kiss, and voila you have a witches hat.

Apple Monster Mouths
Slivered almonds
Orange juice, or orange juice concentrate

  1. Quarter and core each apple.  Then cut a wedge from the skin side of each quarter.
  2. Using a pastry brush, spread orange juice over skinless portions of the apple to avoid oxidation (browning).
  3. Press slivered almonds in place for teeth. *NOTE:  It may be helpful to use the tip of a paring knife to cut a slit for each almond.

Brain Teasing Deviled Eggs
2 teaspoons of black gel or paste food coloring
12 eggs
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
1 tablespoon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish, or dill pickle relish
Sliced black olives

  1. In a 5 quart Dutch oven, mix 8 cups of water and food coloring.  Place eggs in a single layer.  Cover; heat to boiling.  Immediately remove from heat.  Let stand 15 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon transfer eggs one at a time to a paper towel.  Using the handle of the spoon, tap each egg gently and crack in several places.  Transfer eggs into a large bowl; and pour in remaining black cooking water that has cooled.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Peel eggs; cut lengthwise in half.  Slip out yolks into a medium bowl; set egg whites aside.  Mash yolks with a fork until smooth.  Stir in mayonnaise, relish, celery, mustard, salt, and pepper until blended.
  3. Mound or pipe egg yolk mixture into egg white halves.  Garnish with sliced black olives.  Serve, or cover and refrigerate.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Tricks and Treats!

With Halloween right around the corner these ghoulishly delicious treats are sure to scare up some smiles.  Not only is Crest Foods stocked with all of your favorite candies to hand out on Halloween, they also carry all the supplies needed to whip up these heart stopping goodies! 

Frankenstein Pudding Cups
Clear Plastic Cups
Black Sharpie Pen
1 Box Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
1 Bag of Oreos (crushed)
Green Food Coloring

1.  Mix pudding according to directions.  Once mixed, add 3-4 drops of green food coloring until you reach your desired monster tint.
2.  Fill each cup 3/4 full with green pudding, and fill the remaining space with crushed oreos.  
*Tip: Refrigerating oreos prior to crushing will help them more easily crumble.
3.  Finally draw a monster face on each cup, and chill until serving.

Tarantula Chocolate Cupcakes
1 Chocolate Cake Mix
1 Can Chocolate Frosting
Chocolate Sprinkles
1 Bag of Jelly Beans
1 Bag of Black Licorice (cut into thin strips 2 inches long)
24 Cupcake liners

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees, and place 24 cupcake cups into cupcake tins.
2.  Fill each tin with 2 1/2  tablespoons of batter, and cook for 18-22 minutes, and allow to cool
3.  Spread a thin layer of chocolate frosting to each cupcake, then dip the frosted side of the cupcake into a bowl of chocolate sprinkles.
4.  Add two matching jelly beans for eyes, and 6-8 licorice strands for legs.

Eyeball Brownie Truffles & Pops
1 Box Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix (water, vegetable oil, eggs)
1 Can Vanilla Frosting
36 Lollipop Sticks (optional)
36 Lifesaver Gummy Candy Rings
36 M&M's (plain)
Red Food Coloring Pen or Red Decorating Gel
16 Ounces of Vanilla Almond Bark
Small Ice Cream Scoop

1.  Heat Oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9 inch square cooking pan with shortening or cooking spray.  Make and bake brownies as directed on box, and allow to completely cool.
2. In a bowl, crumble the cooked and cooled brownies, and add 3/4 can of the vanilla frosting.
3.  Mix the brownie crumbles and frosting until smooth, then refrigerate for 20 minutes.
4.  Using the ice cream scooper, place scooped truffle mix on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.  After scooping the entire mixture place the cookie sheet back into the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
5.  Roll the truffle balls between the palms of your hands until smooth, then place back on the cookie sheet, and then place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 1 hour.  If you are wanting to make pops instead of truffles, then insert the lollipop sticks before freezing.
6.  In a double boiler, melt the almond bark, and prepare the "pupils" by inserting an M&M into each candy ring.
7.  Dip the frozen truffles in to the melted almond bark, and allow the excess to drip off.  

8.  Working quickly, apply a pupil to each truffle while the almond bark is still hot.  Place each truffle back on the cookie sheet and using the red gel add veins to each eye.  

9.  After coating and decorating the truffles place them back into the freezer for 30 minutes. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Delicious & Easy Football Party Appetizers

Are there any big football games this coming weekend?!?  You bet there are!  Oklahoma vs. Texas, and Oklahoma State vs. Kansas are just two of the of the many games that fans will be watching, and that means lots of football parties.  We have come up with a few fantastic party appetizers that are as delicious to eat as they are easy to make.  With just a few ingredients that can be picked up at Crest Foods you too can score a winning touchdown with your party dish.

Mini Spinach Quiches

2   cans Pillsbury refrigerated garlic butter crescent dinner rolls
1   package (8 oz) softened cream cheese -or- reduced fat cream cheese
1/4  cup chopped green onion
1   box or bag (9 oz) frozen chopped green spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain
1/4  teaspoon salt
1/8  teaspoon pepper
1   cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 16 regular size muffin cups with cooking spray.
  2. Separate each can of dough into 8 triangles.  Press 1 triangle along the bottom and side of each muffin cup.
  3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in onion, spinach, salt and pepper until well mixed.  Fold in cheese  Divide mixture evenly among dough-lined cups (fill just to top, and do not overfill).
  4. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean and edges are golden brown. 
  5. Yields 16

Wonton Wrapped Fried Mozzarella Cheese 

1   package of string cheese
1   package of wonton wrappers
1   small bowl of water
1   bottle of cooking oil
1   medium size skillet 
    1.  Open and cut each string cheese in half.  
    2.  Place a halved string cheese on a wonton wrapper (see picture below).
     3.  Roll a wonton wrapper around each string cheese.
    4.  Dip your finger in the water bowl,  wet the top and fold in sides to seal. 

     5.  Preheat 1/2 inch of oil in a skillet.
     6.  Place all of wrapped cheeses in the skillet, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until golden
          brown on each side.
     7.  Serve hot with pizza sauce or your favorite dipping sauce.

Baked Sweet Potato and Zucchini Fries
2   large sweet potatoes
2   medium sized zucchinis
3   egg whites
1 1/2  cups italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (reduced fat may be used)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1    can cooking spray
  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Spray 3 large cookie sheets with cooking spray.
  2. Cut potatoes and zucchini lengthwise into 4 inch x 1/2 inch strips. 

    3.   In a shallow dish, mix water and egg whites with wire whisk or fork.  In another shallow dish,  mix bread crumbs, cheese, salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Working in batches, dip sweet potatoes and zucchini into egg mixture, and then roll in bread crumb mixture.  Place in a single layer on cookie sheet, and GENEROUSLY spray with cooking spray.

    4.  Bake zucchini 18 to 20 minutes, turning and spraying another coat of cooking spray after 10 minutes.  Bake sweet potatoes 25 to 28 minutes, turning and spraying another coat of cooking spray after 14 minutes until crisp.

    5.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauces.

Mini Hamburger Sliders


1   pound ground hamburger meat
1   package of dinner rolls
1   small onion chopped
3   tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3   tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  1. In a bowl, mix ground beef, onion, worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper
  2. Divide mixture into small handfuls, and flatten into patties slightly larger than the dinner rolls.
  3. Heat olive oil in a medium sized skillet, and cook patties in the hot oil until thoroughly done.
  4. Place patties on dinner rolls, and serve with lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion, or pickles.  
We hope that all of our Crest Foods fans love the recipes as much as we did.  Please feel free to share feedback, or pictures of your football party treats!          

Sunday, September 25, 2011

September 26th, National Pancake Day!!!!!!

     Did you know that there was a National Pancake Day?  A whole day to honor the sweet, light, and fluffy breakfast delight, YUM!  I decided to take part in this celebration, and went to Crest Foods to stock up on ingredients.  Now if you want to get fancy there are hundreds of recipes available to make "made from scratch" pancakes, but if you are like me and have limited time then you can opt for one of the many brands of pancake mix that Crest Foods has to offer.  There are now even healthy options for pancake mixes.  You may choose from whole wheat, whole grain, and mixes with milled flax seed and soy.  I chose the Hungry Jack Original mix, and garnished with strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream.  
     When making pancakes, you can stick to the general round disk format, or you may want to experiment with a fun character shape, or with mini silver dollars.  The great thing about trying out these fun shapes is that if you mess up, they still taste delicious.  I will be serving my family their pancakes with  syrup, fruit, low-fat turkey bacon, and a glass of milk.  I am looking forward to seeing the smiles on their faces.
     So what better way is there to start your Monday morning, than to begin with a Celebration!  I hope everyone has a great week, and a Happy Pancake Day!!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

September 19th is National Butterscotch Pudding Day, Celebrate With A Delicious Monkey Bread Recipe

I was trying to think of what my favorite use for butterscotch pudding was, and Monkey Bread immediately came to mind.  I remember waking up as a child to the sweet delicious smell of these sinfully sticky breakfast treats.  So what better way to honor the national butterscotch pudding day than with Monkey Bread!  This is a very simple recipe, but plan ahead because the rolls need to rise for 8 hours (or overnight).  All the ingredients are available at your local Crest Foods grocery store.  Let us know if you try it and like it.  Enjoy!

Monkey Bread

18  frozen white rolls (I use Rhodes Rolls)
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1  small box (3.4 ounces) of NON-INSTANT Jello Butterscotch pudding mix
2/3 cup pecans if desired 

1.   Arrange frozen rolls in bunt pan
2.  Drizzle melted butter over frozen rolls
3.  Sprinkle with dry pudding mix and brown sugar (do no stir)

4.  Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for 8 hours (or overnight)
5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
6.  When finished baking IMMEDIATELY turn them out onto a large plate.  Try running a 
      knife around the edges first.
*Note:  If bread is browning too much on the top, and there is still baking time left, then cover the top loosely with aluminum foil and continue baking.