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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Diet Nibbles

PRODUCT: Halo Top Low Calorie, High Protein Ice Cream

chocolate-lemon-bowls-230

Good stuff, fewer calories. Above, Chocolate
and Lemon Cake. Photo courtesy Halo Top
Creamery.

 

When we were first offered samples of Halo Top, we accepted but wondered: How good could an ice cream be at 70 or 80 calories per serving? The calories are so low, the carton promotes them in big numerals on the front of the package: 240 or 280, depending on the flavor.

Many of the ice creams we eat contain that many calories in 1/4 cup! Otherwise stated, this ice cream has one-quarter the calories of premium brands.

Yes, this is great ice cream for people who like to consume it by the pint.

Halo Top was developed by an attorney who felt guilty about his ice cream habit. The lower-calorie ice ceams on the market had artificial ingredients he wanted to avoid. So he took a year and a half to develop a brand that met his criteria: all-natural, non-GMO, hormone-free milk and cream, greatly reduced calories and greatly increased protein (a major “guilt-free” factor).

 
Each pint has 24 g protein. By comparison, Breyers has 10.4 g protein per pint.

Equally noteworthy is the taste: Made with top-shelf ingredients like Belgian chocolate, organic fruits, organic cane sugar, cage-free eggs and hormone-free milk and cream, these are lovely pints!
 
HALO TOP ICE CREAM FLAVORS

The line currently includes:

  • Birthday Cake*, with rainbow sprinkles
  • Chocolate, made with Belgian cocoa powder
  • Lemon Cake, textured with lemon zest
  • Mint Chip, with Belgian chocolate chips
  • Mocha Chocolate Chip*, made with Belgian chocolate chips and cocoa powder
  • Strawberry*, made with organic strawberries
  • Vanilla Bean, made with organic Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla
  •  
    *This flavor has 280 calories per pint. Flavors without an asterisk have 240 calories.

     

    CLEVER INGREDIENTS

    The calories are reduced by substituting part of the sugar for non-caloric stevia and erythritol, both natural ingredients. The extra protein comes from milk protein concentrate and prebiotic fiber.

    It’s an inspired approach, a boon to ice cream fans who eat too much of it and would like to cut back somehow.

    This is how. We affirm that the ice cream deserves its halo—represented by a gold circle on the rim of the pint.

    The line is certified kosher by KOF-K and certified gluten free.

    Discover more at HaloTop.com, including a store locator.

     

    mint-chip-pint-230

    Each pint has a golden halo. Photo courtesy Halo Top Creamery.

     

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Challenge Lactose Free Butter

    challenge-lactose-free-230sq

    A delicious butter spread that’s lactose free! Photo courtesy Challenge Dairy.

     

    An estimated 30 to 50 million Americans have lactose intolerance, a condition wherein individuals naturally lose the ability to digest lactose—the natural sugar component of milk—as they grow into adulthood.

    In some of the world’s populations, the condition begins in childhood, after weaning. In others, it happens on an individual basis in late middle age or beyond. Still other people never lose their ability to produce lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose.

    And since the inability to digest lactose continues to grow as many people age, our population has millions of contenders discovering their lactose intolerance every year.

    We are one of those people. Having grown up on butter, milk, cheese (cottage cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella and other fresh cheeses and lots of aged cheeses), sour cream, yogurt and ice cream, we suddenly became unable to digest them (or more accurately, they get digested with some unpleasant side effects).

     

    We quickly found lactose-free staples in:

  • Lactaid cottage cheese and ice cream
  • Green Valley cream cheese, sour cream and yogurt
  • Cheddar, the only cheese that is naturally 100% lactose free
  •  
    But what to do for butter?

    While no one has yet marketed a lactose-free bar of butter, Challenge Dairy now has a delicious lactose-free butter spread.

    The California-based maker of butter and cream cheese, representing some 600 dairy farm families, has made life easier for the lactose-intolerant.

    Their lactose-free spreadable butter clarifies the butter, a process that removes the milk solids that contain the lactose (this is the same process used to make clarified butter and ghee). The butter is then blended with canola oil to create a smooth, spreadable butter.

    The result: a buttery spread that has half the calories of regular butter. One tablespoon has 50 calories, 2 grams saturated fat (of 5.5 grams total fat) and 110 milligrams sodium.

    The lactose-free butter is available at retailers nationwide, including Albertsons, BI-LO, Harris Teeter, HEB, Jewel, Lucky’s, Meijer, Safeway, Savemart, Vons and Winn Dixie. A 15-ounce container is $4.49

    Learn more at ChallengeDairy.com.

    See the foods that have hidden lactose, below.

     

    FACTORS THAT IMPACT THE TASTE OF BUTTER

    Why do different brands of butter vary in flavor?

    Several factors are responsible, according to Challenge Dairy.

  • The cows’ diet has an effect on the flavor of the milk. Grass-fed cows, which graze in the pasture, have different diets depending on the season. The grass mix will be different in the spring, summer and fall, when clover, wildflowers and herbs are part of the blend. In the winter, the animals eat silage, grass that is compacted and stored in airtight conditions (as opposed to hay, which is dried first). Penned cows eat feed, a combination of hay, grain, silage and proteins (such as soybean meal), vitamins and minerals.
  • The cream that is used, churned from the butter, can have slightly different acid levels.
  • All butters are pasteurized and churned, but these processes are different among manufacturers, resulting in different flavors and textures.
  •  

    mashed-salmon-230

    Now, enjoy butter mashed potatoes to your heart’s content. Photo courtesy U.S. Potato Commission.

  • Butterfat level can differ slightly by different manufacturers (and by different products in the line, e.g. European butter).
  • The butter could be cultured or made from sour cream instead of sweet cream butter.
  • There can be a difference in the natural flavor that is usually added to unsalted butter (but not all brands—check the ingredients label). This flavoring is a natural milk derivative starter distillate (a distilled flavor made from fermented, cultured milk, similar to that used in the production of sour cream and buttermilk) that is added to the cream prior to churning. It produces flavor compounds that give unsalted butter a more pleasing taste, compensating for the absence of the flavor boost from salt.
  •  
    Check out the different types of butter in our Butter Glossary.
     
    SURPRISING SOURCES OF LACTOSE HIDDEN IN NON-MILK-BASED FOODS

    Some people are just mildly lactose intolerant, others are extremely so (more information). Every person handles it differently. If you think you might be lactose intolerant, a gastroenterologist can give you the test.

    As with sugar and salt, there is “hidden lactose” everywhere.

  • Creamy & Low-Fat Salad Dressings: Lactose gives texture and flavor to many creamy salad dressings. Kraft and Newman’s Own have some lactose-free varieties. Low-fat dressings also can use lactose as a filler.
  • Instant Foods: Coffee, mashed potatoes, oatmeal, soup, other instant foods and powdered drinks can contain lactose, which helps the granules dissolve quickly. Quaker instant oatmeal is milk-free, but check the labels on everything powdered before you buy.
  • Medications: There’s lactose in everything from birth control pills to digestion remedies (that’s ironic, since lactose causes digestive problems in the lactose-intolerant) and quick-dissolve tablets. Lactose is used as a filler or base, improves bioavailability and taste.
  • Processed Grains: Breakfast cereals, breads, cookies, crackers, granola bars, pancake and waffle mixes, and even potato chips can include lactose as a cheap sweetener. Read the label carefully, or look for vegan-labeled products.
  • Processed Meats: Bacon, cold cuts, hot dogs and sausages can contain lactose. Kosher products (including beef, turkey or seitan-based bacon) will be lactose free.
  • Sweetener Tablets: Lactose is used as a bulking agent in sweetening tablets (e.g. Equal Classic Tablets).
  •   

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Goodie Girl Cookies, Gluten Free

    Thanks to a New York City media relations consultant and mom who began baking gluten-free cookies in her home kitchen, Goodie Girl is pleasing palates from coast to coast.

    Simply put, these gluten-free cookies are addictive. Samples arrived at my door in a box irresistibly marked “Cookies.” The box was packed with Goodie Girl’s brightly colored bags in a popular array of flavors.

  • Crunchy Chaos is laden with buttery toffee, crisped rice and mini chocolate chips. Here, chaos is a good thing.
  • Mint Slims, a chocolate-draped chocolate-mint wafer, will comfort those feeling left out of Girl Scout cookie season
  • Midnight Brownie is a dark chocolate cookie packed with chunks of semisweet Belgian chocolate.
  • Oatmeal Raisin is an old-fashioned style, with just the right amount of cinnamon.
  • Quinoa Choco-Chunk deliciously unmasked my deeply buried Chips Ahoy fetish, put aside when I began a gluten-free lifestyle.
  •    

    goodie-girl-oatmeal-raisin-230

    Your favorite cookie flavors, gluten-free. Above, Oatmeal Raisin. Photo courtesy Goodie Girl.

     
    CRUNCHY DElIGHTS

    In fact, all of the cookies sampled were unabashedly crunchy. There was no trying to play both sides of the cookie viscosity divide: They crunch, they munch and then dissolve cheerily away with a buttery aftertaste. The cookies packs a wallop of flavor and doesn’t skimp on density.

    And the cookies are just the right size, although no sooner are you finished with one that the thought occurs that it would be good to have another, and another…

     

    midnight-brownie-230sq

    Midnight Brownie, a dark cocoa cookie with Belgian chocolate chunks. Photo courtesy Goodie Girl.

     

    The bag, with its resealable top, is very conducive to sitting down with the intention of eating just a few. Watch that you don’t slip into “potato chip-mode,” continuously reaching into the bag until your chest is sprinkled with crumbs.

    But I’m not embarrassed to be covered in crumbs, that’s how good these cookies are. They are an experience every gluten-free person should have, and one that we can feel free to share with our wheat-centric friends.

    Goodie Girl cookies come in 6-ounce bags as well as in lunchbox-size one-ounce Go-Paks.

  • At $4.99 per 6-ounce pouch, they’re affordable for home and for gifting to anyone in gluten-free mode.
  • The one-ounce Go Paks-are available in Quinoa Choco-Chunk and Midnight Brownie, $9.99 for a box of 12 one-ounce bags.
  •  

    Check the store locator for a retailer near you, or purchase them online from GoodieGirlCookies.com.

    —Georgi Page

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Artisan Bistro Beyond Breakfast

    Artisan Bistro wants to make it easy for everyone to eat delicious, nutrition-rich meals. The company makes lunch/dinner entrees, burritos and breakfasts—single-serving frozen meals made with the best lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables and healthy fats.

    We received samples of their Beyond Breakfast line, and it was eye-opening: delicious and only 170 to 200 calories per satisfying serving. And, the entrees are microwave-cooked in just four minutes. It will cook while you’re making a cup of coffee with a single-serve machine.

    The vegetarian breakfasts use egg whites only, but you’ll never notice the absence of the yolk because each preparation is so well seasoned and the egg whites are patties shaped like a poached egg.

    In five varieties, the Beyond Breakfast options include:

  • Country-Style Potatoes & Egg, a modern twist on a classic favorite made with an egg white patty, all-natural turkey, organic kale and red potatoes finished with spicy white pepper.
  •  

    Artisan-Bistro-italian-hash-230

    Breakfast in a box: satisfying, nutritious, calorie-friendly. Photo courtesy Artisan Bistro.

  • Huevos Rancheros Verde, a south-of-the-border-inspired mix of an egg white patty, organic black beans, bell peppers and creamy jack cheese.
  • Italian-Style Hash & Egg, a savory blend of an egg white patty, all-natural turkey, organic asparagus, white beans and bell peppers.
  • Mediterranean Breakfast Stack, a zesty offering with an egg white patty, organic polenta, eggplant and sharp romano cheese.
  • Veggie Chorizo Huevos Rancheros, all the flavor of traditional meat chorizo in a vegetarian version, with an egg whites patty, bell peppers and jack cheese.
  •  
    All varieties are contain 70% or more organic ingredients, no GMOs and are gluten free.

    After a week of Artisan Bistro breakfasts, We’re hooked on the flavor, ease, better nutrition and lower calories than what we usually make.

    Learn more at TheArtisanBistro.com, including a store locator.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Rice Noodle Salad with Lemongrass, Mint, Cilantro…& Tea!

    Today is National Iced Tea Day. Approximately 85% of the tea consumed in the U.S. is iced, and iced tea is now the most consumed beverage at lunch time (source: Tea Association of America).

    Tea is also used as a recipe ingredient, in dishes from Smoked Tea Duck to baked goods, soba noodles, smoothies and sorbet.

    Culinary expert Gail Simmons created the Thai-inspired recipe below with unsweetened Pure Leaf tea. She used Pure Leaf Unsweetened Iced Tea to cook and flavor both the rice noodles and the marinade.

    With added protein—sliced beef or chicken, scallops or shrimp, or tofu—it makes a delicious lunch or dinner entrée. And for the gluten-sensitive, rice noodles (and the entire recipe) are gluten-free.

    RECIPE: LEMONGRASS-SCENTED RICE NOODLE SALAD WITH MINT & CILANTRO

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 8 ounces vermicelli rice noodles
  • 4-1/4 cups, room temperature, divided
  • 4 cups water
  •    

    lemongrass-rice-noodle-salad-PureLeaf_Lipton-Pepsico-230

    Thai-inspired rice noodle salad. Photo courtesy Pure Leaf.

  • 1 lemongrass stalk, peeled and trimmed into two 2–3 inch pieces, one half of pieces bruised using the back of a knife, one half finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves plus 10 stems reserved
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, half sliced, half finely chopped
  • 2 small Thai* chiles (bird’s-eye chiles), stemmed, seeded and chopped or 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, cut into matchsticks or shredded lengthwise on a mandoline
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks or shredded lengthwise on a mandoline
  • 6 radishes, cut into matchsticks or shredded on a mandoline
  • 1/4 cup mint, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, crushed
  • 1 pound cooked shrimp, shredded rotisserie chicken or other protein
  •  
    *Substitute 1 jalapeño chile for two Thai chiles.

     

    pure-leaf-unsweetened-230

    Pure Leaf unsweetened ice tea was used in this recipe. You can brew your own tea. Photo courtesy Pure Leaf.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT the canola oil in a medium sauté pan until just before smoking. In a shallow bowl, toss shallots with flour, shaking off any excess. Fry the shallots in the oil, stirring gently until golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season immediately with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

    2. COMBINE in a large saucepan 4 cups of iced tea, water, bruised lemongrass, sliced ginger, 10 cilantro stems and the remaining teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Add the rice noodles and cook until just tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water until chilled. Shake out any excess water and spread noodles on a paper towel-lined tray.

    3. MAKE the dressing: Combine the reserved lemongrass, reserved ginger, chiles, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and remaining 1/4 cup Iced Tea in a blender or food processor; pulse until smooth.

    4. PLACE the noodles, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, mint, cilantro leaves and chicken/shrimp in a large bowl. Add dressing to taste and toss well. Garnish with fried shallots and crushed peanuts before serving.

     

    NOTE: Any remaining dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week and used on meat, fish and salads.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Hummus Snack, No Refrigeration Required

    It’s not easy to find healthy snacks to eat on the go, much less those that are gluten free. Wild Garden Hummus, which sells shelf-stable (no refrigeration required ) hummus in jars, has a welcome new line called Snack Bo To Go!.

    It’s a tube of hummus packaged with a packet of gluten-free crackers. Neatly boxed, it’s a tasty alternative for anyone who wants to keep a better-for-you snack in a car, locker, desk drawer, gym bag, etc.

    In fact, if you’ve bought a hummus snack pack on an airline, it was probably Wild Garden.

    A small cardboard box includes your hummus flavor of choice in a 1.76-ounce single-serve Tetra-Pak (67 calories; with the crackers the snack is around 200 calories). Squeezing out the hummus is easy and mess-free. Flavors include:

  • Back Olive Hummus
  • Fire Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
  • Jalapeño Hummus
  • Roasted Garlic Hummus
  • Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
  • Traditional Hummus
  •    

    Wild-Garden-Snack-Pack-to-Go-230

    Small, easy-to-pack boxes with nutritious, delicious snacking inside. Photo courtesy Wild Garden.

     

    wild-garden-hummus-to-go-tetra-paks-230

    It’s easy to squeeze hummus from these Tetra Paks. Photo courtesy Wild Garden.

     

    The different flavors of hummus are variously paired with a half-ounce of delicious, gluten-free crackers or chips:

  • CrunchMaster Multiseed Crackers, an everyday favorite at THE NIBBLE (127 calories)
  • The Daily Crave Vegetable Chips (147 calories)
  • Wild Garden Quinoa Chips (122 calories)
  •  
    We tried all of the varieties, and pronounce them delicious.
     
    The MSRP is $2.29 per box (serving). MyBrands.com sells it for $2.50.

     
    If you want to buy the hummus packages only, you can get a box of 24 packets or 100 packets on Amazon.com.
     
    Visit WildGardenHummus.com for more information.

      

    Comments

    GIFT: Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free Cheesecake

    Cinderella-Plain-Cheesecake-230

    Delicious cheesecake, sugar-free and gluten-free. Photo courtesy Cinderella Cheesecake.

     

    For a cheesecake-loving mother who has given up sugar, here’s a find: sugarless cheesecake from Cinderella Cheesecake Company.

    It’s sweetened with maltitol, the finest-quality sugar substitute, and has a gluten-free cinnamon cracker crust.

    The classic-style cheesecake recipe also includes cream cheese, eggs, sour cream, natural vanilla flavoring. It tastes just as it should: rich, creamy, wonderful. Sugar-free observers, rejoice!

    Cinderella Cheesecake Company is a family-owned business founded in Riverside, New Jersey in 1965 with a broader product line. But by the early 1980s, the cheesecake business was so rocking that founder Alfred Rezende decided to drop the other baked goods to focus on expanding the cheesecake operation.

    The company sells cheesecakes to distributors, restaurants and non-profit groups for fundraisers, as well as direct to consumers online.

     
    In addition to the No Sugar Added cheesecake, the company makes conventional cheesecakes in Almond Amaretto, Egg Nog, Mango, Pineapple, Plain, Pumpkin, Sampler (two slices of each flavor), Southern Pecan, Washington Cherry and White Chocolate Peanut Butter.

    All cheesecakes are eleven inches in diameter and precut into 16 slices. A four-pound cheesecake is $38.00. It freezes nicely.

    Get yours at CinderellaCheesecakeCoInc.com.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Turkey Chorizo

    Love spicy sausage but have been told to avoid the cholesterol? How about turkey chorizo?

    Made by family-run Diestel Turkey Ranch, it has lots of flavor and less calories, cholesterol and sodium* than conventional pork or beef chorizo.

    Whether in a Cinco de Mayo recipe or everyday breakfast burritos or scrambled eggs, it has only 2g fat per serving.

    The all-natural, Mexican-style chorizo is made from 100% pure ground turkey, is minimally processed and is gluten free. The family’s seasoning blend adds dimensions of flavor as well as a spicy kick.

    The Diestel Family Turkey Ranch has been sustainably raising turkeys for over four generations. Their turkeys and turkey products are humanely raised on GAP rated farms, without hormones, antibiotics or growth stimulants, resulting in tender and juicier turkeys with old-fashioned flavor and great texture.

    The products are sold at independent, natural and upscale food stores nationwide. Here’s a store locator.
     
    *A two-ounce serving has 60 calories, 15 from fat; 0g saturated fat, 30mg cholesterol, 360mg sodium, 2g diegary fiber, 8g protein.

    MEXICAN CHORIZO VS. SPANISH CHORIZO

       

    diestel-turkey-ranch-chorizo-230r

    Turkey chorizo, cholesterol free. Photo courtesy Diestel Turkey Ranch.

     
    Don’t confuse Mexican- and Spanish-style chorizos. They have different uses.

    Mexican chorizo is a spicy ground meat sausage, sold fresh and uncooked. It can be purchased either loose or in a casing: Many traditional Mexican recipes call for the chorizo casing to be removed and the meat to be crumbled while cooking.

    The traditional chorizo meat is pork, but you can find beef and turkey versions. Use Mexican-style chorizo as you would any ground meat.

    Spanish chorizo is a cured, dried, ready-to-eat pork sausage. The casing is not removed prior to eating. Dense and chewy, Spanish-style chorizo is made in smoked, unsmoked, sweet and spicy varieties. It can be served as tapas, with other charcuterie, with a cheese plate, or added to recipes (paellas, soups, tortas, etc).

    Spanish chorizo is seasoned with smoked paprika, which is responsible for the vibrant color. Other traditional herbs and spices include cumin and garlic. Here’s a photo.

     

    chorizo-scrambled-eggs-bettycrocker-230

    Chorizo scrambled eggs. The recipe is below. Photo courtesy Betty Crocker.

     

    THINGS TO MAKE WITH CHORIZO

  • Cheese dishes: grilled cheese, mac and cheese
  • Eggs: baked, omelets, frittatas, scrambled
  • Stuffed: chiles, mushrooms, potato skins
  • Ground meat recipes: burgers, casseroles, meat loaf, stuffing
  • Tex Mex: enchiladas, nachos, tacos
  • Dips: onion dip, queso
  • Pasta and pizza
  • Soups: black bean, white bean with kale
  • Torta/tortilla
  •  
    RECIPE: TURKEY SCRAMBLED EGGS

    In Mexico, chorizo is often served at breakfast with scrambled eggs. Here’s a recipe from Betty Crocker that’s ready in 15 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 6 ounces chorizo sausage
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 slices thick-sliced bread or 4 corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. REMOVE the casings from the sausage and cook the sausage on 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes until the meat is no longer pink, stirring and breaking up the sausage.

    2. BEAT the eggs in a medium bowl until blended. Begin to toast the bread or warm the tortillas.

    3. ADD the beaten eggs to the chorizo in the skillet and stir. Cook about 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until the eggs are scrambled and set. Taste and add salt as necessary.

    4. SPREAD the butter on the toasted slices of bread and place toast on individual plates. Spoon the eggs over the toast. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Polenta Pesto Lasagna, Gluten Free

    Polenta-Pesto-Lasagna-saucesnlove-230

    Lasagna that substitutes sliced polenta (gluten-free, made from corn) for wheat lasagna noodles. Photo courtesy Sauces’n Love.

     

    We love lasagna, and try most recipes we come across to see if they’re better than Mom’s.

    Here’s a vegetarian version with polenta and pesto (you of course can add sausage or other meat). Gluten-free polenta replaces the traditional wheat noodle lasagna.

    The recipe was created by Loretta Lamont for Sauces ’n Love, one of our favorite lines of Italian sauces, Loretta used Sauces ‘n Love marinara and pesto sauces.

    We made our own variation, sprinkling oregano over the ricotta layer and adding crumbled sausage over the second pesto layer.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.

    RECIPE: POLENTA & PESTO LASAGNA

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • Pam or other cooking spray
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Fresh-ground pepper to taste
  • 2 packages (18 ounces each) polenta, cut into 1/4” slices
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • 1 jar pesto sauce
  • Optional: oregano or sausage, thinly-sliced or crumbled
  • 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (substitute shredded
    mozzarella)
  • Optional: 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Spray a 11” × 7” baking dish with Pam.

    2. MIX the ricotta with the egg, garlic powder, pepper and 1/2 cup mozzarella.

    3. PLACE a little sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, topped with a single layer of polenta. Spread a layer of pesto on top of the polenta.

    4. SPREAD the ricotta over the pesto; sprinkle on the optional oregano or the sausage. Arrange the sliced mozzarella on top of the pesto. Add a layer of sauce on top of the mozzarella followed by another layer of polenta.

    5. TOP with the shredded Italian cheese and sauce Bake for 40 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese and pine nuts and broil until the cheese and nuts are browned. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving.

     
    WHAT IS POLENTA?

    Polenta is the Italian word for cornmeal as well as a cooked dish made from it. In the first two centuries of America, our diets contained much cornmeal—in bread, breakfast cereal (cornmeal mush is cooked polenta) and other recipes.

    In the 19th century, cornmeal was largely replaced by refined wheat flour. Polenta is also refined: It is degerminated cornmeal, with the germ and endosperm removed.

    Here’s a delicious polenta stack appetizer recipe, and more ways to use polenta.

     
      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Good Natured Vegetable Crisps

    vegetable-crips-2-bags-herrs-230

    A new way to eat your veggies! Photo courtesy Herr Foods.

     

    Americans love salty snacks, as evidenced by the never-ending stream of new chips on the market.

    From Herr’s, an estimable regional potato chip producer, comes a tasty new line in their Good Natured Selects series of baked crisps: gluten-free veggie chips called Vegetable Crisps, in Original and Ranch.

    In addition to flavor and crunch, they contain a half serving of your DV of vegetables in every ounce serving, which includes 35% of your DV of vitamins A and C.

    Real bell peppers, carrots and spinach in each chip deliver vitamins, with a flavor profile and texture that will please the most invelterate junk food lover (and those who’d like something better, too).

    Similar to other crunchy snacks, they’re 110 calories per one-ounce serving.

     

    Made from the finest all-natural ingredients, the chips contain no artificial ingredients or preservatives, no satuarated fat or trans fat. They’re certified kosher, OU(D).

    For the veg-averse, eating veggies will never taste better.

     
      

    Comments

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