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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 Pasta/Pizza

FOOD FUN: Pizza Portraits

Are you hungering for your portrait in pizza? Commission one from Domenico Crolla.

A native of Glasgow, Scotland, where his Italian-born father Alfredo had a café, Chef Crolla graduated from the Scottish Hotel School and launched his first restaurant, a pizzeria.

His next Glasgow restaurant, Italmania, became Scotland’s very first designer pizza emporium. It closed in 2008 to be replaced with a full-service Italian restaurant, Bella Napoli.

But the thrill of pizza remains, especially in Chef Crolla’s pizza portraits of celebrities from Beyoncé to Andy Warhol (how Andy would have loved that!) He even turned the iconic photo of Prince William, Duchess Kate and baby Prince George into pizza art.

Don’t think of him as a pizza chef, but as a culinary artist.

 

pope-230sq

The Pope in pizza. Photo courtesy Domenico Crolla.

 
When he isn’t creating pizza art or running his restaurants, Chef Crolla judges cooking contests across the globe.

Discover more at Crolla.com and check out the celebrity pizzas on his Facebook page.

  

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RECIPE: Ravioli With Pan Roasted Tomatoes

This recipe from is easy and inviting for Valentine’s Day. It’s from blogger Annalise of Completely Delicious, via GoBoldWithButter.com.

Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.

RECIPE: RAVIOLI WITH PAN ROASTED TOMATOES

Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen cheese ravioli
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  •  
    Preparation

     

    ravioli-tomatoes-annalise-goboldwithbutter-230

    An easy Valentine dinner. Photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter.

     
    1. BRING a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the ravioli according to package instructions. Drain.

    2. MELT the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, while the ravioli are cooking. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook the tomatoes until their skins split, about 4-6 minutes, shaking the pan every few minutes to rotate tomatoes.

    3. ADD the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the drained ravioli and toss with the tomatoes until combined.

    4. GARNISH with basil and serve immediately with Parmesan cheese.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Football Pizza

    football-pizza-due-forni-LV-230ps

    Don’t fumble the pizza! Football pizza from Due Forni | Las Vegas.

     

    If you were at Due Forni restaurant, you could order a football pizza. But there’s no need to travel to Austin or Las Vegas: It’s easy to make your own.

    Using your favorite pizza recipe:

    1. STRETCH the dough into a more oblong shape. If you’re using a prepared round crust, you could trim it, but it’s easier to default to the round shape.

    2. PLACE the pepperoni in the center as shown.

    3. CUT strips of mozzarella for the laces.

    4. BAKE as usual.

    Be sure to have extra pizzas ready to be made when this one is devoured!

     

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pizza & Beer Flight

    pizza-beer-flight-bowery-st.com-230r

    Enjoy different beers with your pizza. Photo courtesy Delancey Hollywood.

     

    Why don’t all pizza restaurants offer a beer tasting flight?

    Delancey Hollywood has it right: a tasting of four different beers to enjoy with your pizza.

    If you can’t make it to Hollywood, create the concept at home. How about debuting it during the Super Bowl?

    Since most people don’t want to consume four entire beers with a pizza, buy plastic tumblers for shorter pours.

    The biggest challenge is what beers to offer. You can do a tasting of four different lagers or other beer types to compare brands, or mix it up: an ale, IPA, lager and stout, for example.

    We’re so into this idea, we’re going to have it for lunch today.

    Now, the second biggest challenge: What type of pizza to order?

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Better-For-You Mac & Cheese

    White_Cheddar_Mac_and_Cheese-mccormick-230

    Mac and cheese with less guilt. Photo courtesy Nicole Morrissey | Prevention RD.

     

    While your January better eating resolutions are still active, consider this remake of a family favorite recipe, macaroni and cheese. This mac and cheese recipe is better for you in three ways. It uses:

  • Whole wheat macaroni.
  • Reduced fat milk and cheese.
  • Cauliflower puréed into the cheese sauce, thickening it without the butter-flour roux (it also adds fiber).
  •  
    RECIPE: BETTER-FOR-YOU MAC & CHEESE

    Ingredients For 10 Servings

  • 1 package (16 ounces) whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups reduced fat 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 large head cauliflower, cut into florets (3-1/2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces reduced fat white Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 ounces (1/4 package) Neufchâtel cheese (1/3 less fat than cream cheese), softened
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COOK the pasta in large saucepan as directed on the package for al dente pasta. Drain well and return to the saucepan. Keep warm. Meanwhile…

    2. MIX the milk and flour in a medium saucepan with a wire whisk. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Add the cauliflower florets; cook 12 to 15 minutes or until fork-tender, stirring occasionally.

    3. PURÉE the mixture in batches in blender on high speed until smooth, with the center part of the cover removed to let steam escape. Return the puréed mixture to the saucepan. (Alternatively, purée the mixture in a saucepan with an immersion blender.)

    4. STIR in the remaining ingredients; whisk until smooth. Pour the cheese mixture over the hot cooked macaroni; mix well. Let stand 2 minutes before serving.
     
    Variations

    You can customize the recipe with some equally good for you ingredients that add flavor and color. Mix them in or use them as a garnish.

  • Capers
  • Chopped herbs: basil, parsley
  • Caramelized onions
  • Chopped red onion
  • Diced pimento (roasted red pepper)
  • Diced fresh tomatoes or quartered cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced green onion (scallions)
  • Sliced olives
  • Sliced green onion (scallions)
  •  
    Idea: Set the options out in ramekins and let everyone customize his or her own recipe.
     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

    Italian-American families often have a festive pasta dish such as lasagna at the Thanksgiving table, along with traditional Turkey Day foods.

    We’ve got two options for Pumpkin Mac & Cheese, a treat throughout the holiday season. Both recipes are courtesy of Cabot Creamery, makers of our favorite supermarket Cheddar.

    This first recipe is courtesy of Kristina LaRue, RD, LDN, for Cabot Creamery. It uses better-for-you whole grain pasta and flour. Note that in this recipe, you can substitute white pastry flour and conventional elbow macaroni; but in baking cookies, cakes, muffins, etc., the substitution proportions will differ.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN MAC & CHEESE

    Ingredients

  • 14 ounces whole grain elbow macaroni
  • 4 slices center-cut bacon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 cups nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup 100% pure canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 6 ounces Cabot Alpine Cheddar*, shredded and divided
  • 6 ounces Cabot White Oak Cheddar*, shredded and divided
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  •    

    Pumpkin_Mac_and_Cheese_cabot-230

    Pumpkin Mac & Cheese. Photo courtesy Cabot Creamery.

     
    *The recipe used Cabot Alpine Cheddar and Cabot White Oak Cheddar, but you can substitute Sharp Cheddar or Extra Sharp Cheddar.
     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Coat a 13 X 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

    2. COOK the macaroni to al dente according to package directions. Rinse and drain.

    3. LINE a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange bacon. Cook bacon for 10 minutes and blot dry. Crumble and set aside.

    4. MELT the butter in large pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and slowly add the milk until the mixture is smooth and the ingredients are incorporated.

    5. STIR in the canned pumpkin and continue to whisk until the mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the spices, cheese (reserve 1/2 cup for topping) and yogurt, whisking quickly to combine until the cheese is melted.

    6. POUR the macaroni into the prepared baking dish and coat evenly with the pumpkin cheese sauce. Top with the remaining cheese and bacon.

    7. BAKE for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

     

    Mac___Cheese_in_a_Pumpkin-cabot-230

    Your favorite mac and cheese recipe can served in a baked pumpkin. Photo courtesy Cabot Creamery.

     

    RECIPE: MAC & CHEESE BAKED IN A PUMPKIN

    This recipe is baked in a pumpkin, but there is no pumpkin flesh in the recipe. Instead, you can use the recipe above for a pumpkin-in-pumpkin dish.

    Ingredients For 16 Servings

  • 1 large pumpkin, about 11 inches in diameter, preferably with one flat side
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 cups small elbow macaroni
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Large pinch ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups whole milk, heated
  • 2 pounds (about 8 cups) Cabot Sharp Cheddar or Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar, grated & divided
  • 1 cup buttered bread crumbs
  • Optional garnish: sprigs of fresh thyme
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375ºF.

    2. PLACE the pumpkin flat-side-down or remove thin slice from one side so the pumpkin will be stable. With a sharp knife, cut the pumpkin in half horizontally, slightly above stem, to form a bowl. Remove the fiber and seeds. With a spoon or an ice cream scoop, scrape out some of the flesh so shell has a thickness of 3/4 to 1 inch.

    3. SPRAY the top edge of the pumpkin with cooking spray or brush lightly with oil; then place it cut-side down on a pizza pan or baking sheet. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until the pumpkin still holds it shape but the flesh is cooked and can be pierced easily with a toothpick. While pumpkin bakes…

    4. COOK the macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

    5. MAKE the cheese sauce: Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Sprinkle the flour into the butter and whisk constantly until there is a thick, smooth paste with nutty aroma (about 5 minutes).

    6. ADD the mustard, red pepper and Worcestershire. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue stirring until the sauce thickens and returns to a simmer.

    7. REDUCE the heat to low. Add 7 cups of the cheese and stir until melted. Add the macaroni, stirring until well coated; remove from the heat.

    8. TURN the baked pumpkin over with oven mitts. Place it in a large shallow baking dish (from which you’ll serve it), or leave it on the baking sheet. Fill the pumpkin with the macaroni mixture and top with the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. (Put any mac and cheese that won’t fit into another small baking dish).

    9. BAKE until the filling is puffed and golden, about 40 to 50 minutes longer (a smaller baking dish will be done sooner). Let stand for about 10 minutes to settle before serving. Garnish and serve.

      

    Comments

    HALLOWEEN: Spooky Pasta Recipes

    Add some food fun to your Halloween with these two pasta recipes from Certified Angus Beef.

    RECIPE: SPOOKETTI & MEATBALLS

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 eggs
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (10-ounce) jar pimento-stuffed olives
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 6 cups cooked whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 (26-ounce) jar prepared pasta sauce
  •  

    ghoulish-pasta-certifiedangusbeef-230

    Spooketti and meatballs. Photo courtesy Certified Angus Beef.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F.

    2. COMBINE the ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, ketchup, herbs and spices; shape into 1-1/2-inch balls, making 12 total. Insert 1 olive into each meatball to look like an eye.

    3. PLACE the meatballs in a pan and roast approximately 25 minutes until thoroughly cooked and no pink remains (160°F internal temperature).

    4. HEAT the sauce and ladle over pasta. Serve 2 meatballs per plate.

     

    graveyard-bake-certifiedangusbeef-230

    Eat the graveyard! Photo courtesy Certified
    Angus Beef.

     

    Graveyard Bake

  • 1 pound round chuck
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 pound fusilli pasta, cooked and drained
  • 2 cups crushed potato chips
  • 1 cup Monterey jack cheese
  • 4 green onions, sliced thin
  • 6 oval crackers (like Keebler Town House), optional
  •  

    Preparation

    1. BROWN ground chuck in large fry pan. Drain liquid from beef.

    2. ADD tomatoes, tomato sauce, onion powder, garlic salt and cayenne pepper; simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in the cooked pasta.

    3. POUR into a 9 x 9 baking dish. Top with potato chips and cheese and broil for 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and chips are golden brown.

    4. GARNISH with green onions and crackers (the tombstones).

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Polska Foods Pierogi

    Today is National Pierogi Day. How we miss the pierogi of our youth. Now that Nana is gone, we have searched in vain in both stores and restaurants to recapture the glory of her homemade pierogi.

    Finally, we’ve found it with the excellent pierogi from Polska Foods. Yes, they are pierogis that are as good as Nana’s. We rejoice!

    Many pierogis are pretty flavorless lumps of flour and potatoes, requiring lots of seasoning, frying, sour cream or whatever to become pleasing.

    Polska’s dough and fillings are so flavorful, we ate them plain—although for serving to family and friends, we’d spruce them up with some melted butter, fresh herbs, or one of these 50+ ways to serve pierogi.

    The line of authentic pierogi, made in San Francisco, is organic and all-natural. They are shipped frozen, anywhere in the continental U.S., from PolskaFoods.com.
     
    RECAPTURING GRANDMA’S RECIPES

    Tomek Piszczek, founder of Polska Foods, was born and raised in Poland and knows the real deal. “This is how we enjoyed pierogi,” he states. “All ingredients were from our garden or our neighbor’s farm. We even grew our own grain.”

       

    beef-pork-230

    A real treat, for every day or special occasions. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    Polska Foods follows tradition with the fresh ingredients, slow food cooking processes and nothing artificial.

    After a full year of research and development, the company settled on kosher, award winning, handcrafted farmer’s cheese made without rennet and enzymes and rBST-free; organic heirloom grain and flour; fresh organic vegetables; real sauerkraut made with just cabbage and salt, and even organic herbs and seasonings.

    The pierogi contain no preservatives, no MSG, no GMO ingredients, no soy, and absolutely nothing artificial. The recipes use only organic or expeller-pressed oils, and never any trans fats.

    The result duplicates Tomek’s grandma’s recipes from Lubiechowa, Polanda: tasty comfort food with superb flavor.

    The line is certified organic by Oregon Tilth.

     

    mushroom-cabbage-230

    A delicious all-vegetable (and vegan)
    version. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    THE BEST PIEROGI IN MINUTES

    To make the pierogis, you simply boil or steam the frozen pierogi for 8 to 10 minutes or fry or sauté them in a nonstick pan. Then, simply toss with butter, sautéed onions, bacon and fresh sage, or top with sour cream, nonfat Greek yogurt or yogurt-garlic sauce. The results are spectacular.

    You can also make a sweet breakfast or brunch recipe with a topping of sour cream and brown sugar on the potato and cheese variety. The line includes:

  • Potato Cheese Pierogi, made with herbed mashed potatoes and farmer’s cheese, is peppery, with complex flavor from the onions and garlic.
  • Mushroom Cabbage Pierogi, a delicious vegan recipe
  • Spinach Feta Pierogi, a Greek fusion favorite
  • Savory Beef & Pork Pierogi, too delicious for words
  • Whole Wheat Potato Cheese Pierogi, made with better-for-you whole wheat dough
  •  
    Each is wonderful, and we can’t get enough!

    For a retail locator, to buy online or for more information, visit PolskaFoods.com.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: 50+ Ways To Eat Pierogi

    October 8th is National Pierogi Day.

    Pierogi* are dumplings of Central and Eastern European origin, traditionally stuffed with cheese, fruit, ground meat, mashed potato or sauerkraut. They can be served boiled baked or fried/sautéed, usually in butter with sautéed onions.

    Pierogi is the Polish word. In Russian the term is pelmeni (don’t confuse pierogi with pirog, the Russian word for pie); in Ukrainian it is varenyky.

    The Polish word pierogi is plural. The singular form, pieróg, is rarely used since a typical serving consists of multiple pierogi.

    The dumplings are usually semicircular, but in some areas are rectangular or triangular.

    Here’s how to celebrate: 50 ways to eat pierogi, culled from a list of 100 ways at PolskaFoods.com.
     
    *Also spelled perogi, pierogy, perogy, pierógi, pyrohy, pirogi, pyrogie, or pyrogy.
     
    PIEROGI & DIP

  • Dipped in honey mustard or Dijon mustard
  • Dipped in Greek yogurt
  • Dipped in ranch dressing
  • Dipped in sour cream and hot sauce (spicy dip)
  • Dipped in sour cream and chopped green onions (onion dip)
  •    

    LN Fast Snack Cheese Pierogy Bites-230

    Pierogi topped with melted Cheddar. Photo courtesy Lewis & Neals.

     

    PIEROGI TOPPERS

    Boil, fry or saute the pierogi and serve:

  • Topped with Alfredo Sauce
  • Topped with apple sauce (cheese pierogi)
  • Topped with Bearnaise Sauce
  • Topped with butter and chives
  • Topped with caramelized onions in butter & paprika sour cream
  • Topped with caramelized onions, sage and jalapeño
  • Topped with caramelized onions and Polish sausage
  • Topped with caramelized onions, finely chopped bacon and garlic
  • Topped with caramelized onions and sour cream
  • Topped with chili con carne
  • Topped with Greek yogurt, dill, diced cucumber and red onion
  • Topped with green curry sauce
  • Topped with jelly or jam and optional sour cream (cheese pierogi)
  • Topped with mango peach salsa (cheese pierogi)
  • Topped with marinara sauce and cooked ground meat
  • Topped with melted butter
  • Topped with melted Cheddar cheese
  •  

    AUTUMN_PIEROGIES_APPLES-MrsTs-230

    Pierogi with sautéed apples. Photo courtesy
    Mrs. T’s.

     
  • Topped with mushroom sauce
  • Topped with pesto sauce
  • Topped with roasted eggplant and tomatoes
  • Topped with roasted tomatoes and garlic
  • Topped with salmon or whitefish caviar (cheese or potato pierogi)
  • Topped with sautéed apples
  • Topped with smoked salmon, thinly sliced onions and capers (cheese pierogi)
  • Topped with sour cream, fresh basil and green onion
  • Topped with sour cream and fresh salsa: chopped onion, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, lime
  • Topped with sour cream, garlic and chives
  • Topped with spicy salsa
  • Topped with whitefish, sable, smoked salmon, lettuce, tomato, red onion, cucumbers, and capers (cheese pierogi)
  • Topped with yogurt, garlic and herb sauce
  •  
    MORE ELABORATE PREPARATIONS

  • Bacon wrapped pierogi appetizers
  • Baked pierogi casserole with bacon, tomato and cheese
  • Pierogi casserole dish with your favorite casserole ingredients
  • Pierogi crostini topped with mushrooms, scallions and spicy fresh salsa
  • Pierogi tossed with garlicky string beans, onion, bell pepper and bacon
  • Pierogi “salad”: cold or hot pierogi on a bed of lettuce with honey Dijon mustard sauce or vinaigrette
  • Pierogi “salad” with other favorite ingredients (vegetables, ham, turkey, spinach, etc.)
  • Pierogi tossed with fried mushrooms, bacon and onions
  • Pierogi tossed with onions, peppers, and chicken sausage
  • Pierogi with melted mozzarella, caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms
  • Pizza Pierogi: potato or cheese pierogi with pizza sauce, melted mozzarella cheese and pepperoni
  • Salmon skillet with pierogi, onions, capers, lemon, dill, and garlic
  • Sautéed pierogi in butter, topped with chili, cheese, sour cream and habanero sauce
  • Sautéed pierogi in butter, topped with steamed broccoli and melted cheese
  • Sautéd pierogi in olive oil with onion, kale, fresh garlic, lemon and oregano
  • Sautéd pierogi in sesame oil with kale, fresh garlic, red bell pepper and sesame seeds
  • Vegetable pierogi frittata with asparagus and garlic
  •  
    This should keep you busy through the next National Pierogi Day!

      

    Comments (2)

    PRODUCT: A Better Pasta Sauce From Vino De Milo

    hilo-by-milo-230w

    You won’t find more nutritious pasta sauce
    than this! Photo courtesy Vino de Milo.

     

    We first discovered Vino de Milo in 2005. It was a new line of gourmet tomato sauces for pasta and other dishes. Each flavor had a different wine in the recipe. It was a delight atop our pasta, chicken, eggs and tofu, and wonderful for gift-giving to cooks and non-cooks alike.

    But not every new product line survives and thrives. Some of our favorites have gone with the wind.

    That’s why we’re so pleased that Vino de Milo has grown and expanded, with bruschetta toppings, salad dressings and salsas.

    We love that the pasta sauces and the bruschetta toppings, both made from top-quality tomatoes that are so naturally sweet, have no sugar added. Americans consume a ghastly 22 teaspoons of sugar a day (the government recommends only nine teaspoons), much of it from “hidden” sugar added to prepared foods. Read the full review.

    Now, the company has added nutrition to its pasta sauce. Hilo by Milo is a high fiber, low sodium pasta sauce with a great nutritional profile. Per 3/4 cup serving, it has:

  • 5 g fiber
  • 4 g protein
  • 150 mg sodium
  • 110 calories
  •  

    The sauce uses crushed tomatoes, of course. But added to them are other fresh ingredients: fresh carrots, adzuki beans, currant purée, fresh onions, onion powder, red wine, fresh fennel, garlic powder, fresh basil, fresh thyme, cumin, black pepper, rosemary and crushed red pepper.

    Yes, you can taste the freshness!

    Like the other Vino de Milo pasta sauces, it is made in small batches with no added sugars added and is gluten-free.

    The products can be ordered from iGourmet.com.
     
      

    Comments

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