Add ‘Wow!’ To Breakfast And Beyond

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Family Features photo

Egg cups

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Photo by Terese Allen, 2009

Omelet

When it comes to foods that spark passion, very few rival the emotional and mouthwatering response triggered by big, bold, flavorful strips of bacon. To help Americans express their love of bacon at the breakfast table in new and unique ways, Wright Brand Bacon has teamed up with Food Network host Aaron McCargo Jr. to serve up tantalizing tips for adding bigger, better bacon sizzle to favorite breakfast dishes.

“On the weekends, nothing is better than waking up to the smell of a freshly cooked breakfast, especially when bacon is involved,” said McCargo. “Cooking with Wright Brand Bacon is my secret weapon to get the kids out of bed in the morning! It adds excitement, bold flavor and crispy texture to breakfast dishes and starts the day out deliciously.”

To help add bacon wow to your breakfast and beyond, Aaron McCargo Jr. suggests the following tips:

• Mix It In: Add bacon to main breakfast fair in unique and unexpected ways. One of my favorites is Bacon Pancakes. Add large pieces of think-cut bacon to your pancake batter along with your favorite berries or chocolate chips. The unexpected crunchy texture and salty taste of bacon complement the fluffy and sweet pancakes perfectly!

• Bacon to Go: If your breakfast bunch is on the go, try my bacon, egg and cheese pitas. Scramble eggs, stuff into a pita and top with cheese and bacon. Wrap it in foil and you’re ready to roll.

For additional bacon tips and recipes from Aaron McCargo Jr., visit www.wrightbrand.com.

When really trying to impress your breakfast guests, try creating these egg-filled bacon cups.

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Cups

Recipe Courtesy of Aaron McCargo and Wright Brand Bacon

Recipe serves 6

Preparation time: 20 minutes; cook time: 40 minutes

12 strips uncooked Wright Brand Smoked Bacon

1-1/2 cups chopped fresh white button mushrooms

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or oregano

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

While oven is preheating, cook bacon according to package directions until firm but pliable and not crispy. Remove bacon and set aside.

Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in same skillet used to cook bacon and sauté mushrooms over medium heat for 6-10 minutes until golden brown in color. Set aside to cool.

Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Cut six strips of cooked bacon into quarters. Place one full strip of cooked bacon around the side and two quarters of a strip in the base of each of six muffin cups in a muffin tin. Use your fingers to press overlapping ends of bacon together.

In large bowl, beat 4 eggs and whisk in mushrooms, chopped thyme and black pepper.

Pour egg mixture in equal portions into muffin cups lined with bacon, about 2/3 full in each cup.

Sprinkle equal portions of shredded Swiss cheese into the cups and top each with two quarter strips of bacon.

Place filled muffin tin in oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until egg is completely set, cheese is melted and tops are browned.

Remove muffin tin from oven, use knife to loosen edges, serve and enjoy!

Source: Wright Brand Bacon

Tropical goodness on the go

It’s not always easy or convenient to follow nutrition guidelines for a healthy diet. Fortunately, there is an easy - and delicious - way to work some good-for-you foods into a busy day: making a smoothie.

Fruit smoothies are great as breakfasts, lunch alternatives and after school snacks. They take hardly any time at all to make and can be enjoyed on the go.

Start with a healthy base - low fat or skim milk, low fat yogurt, fruit juice or silken tofu. Add in fruit and maybe a dash of extra flavoring. Blend it all together and you’re ready to start sipping.

Maribeth Abrams, nutrition educator, chef and cookbook author, likes making smoothies with organic silken tofu from Nasoya. “I love its versatility,” she says. “It adds a lot of nutrients and body while effortlessly taking on the flavor of the ingredients mixed with it.”

Tofu also adds healthy protein, which helps keep you energized. And, according to the FDA, clinical studies have shown that consumption of soy compared to other protein, such as those from milk or meat, lowers total and LDL cholesterol.

The tropical flavors of a Tropical Green Tea Smoothie capture the flavors of summer in a glass. This smoothie also has the added benefits of green tea. Green tea is light and refreshing, and has the least caffeine of all the teas and the highest concentration of beneficial phytonutrients, special nutrients that may help fight cancer and other diseases.

Have fun experimenting with different flavor combinations - you’ll not only get great taste, but healthy foods that are good to go.

For more recipes, visit www.nasoya.com.

Tropical Green Tea Smoothie

Makes 6 Servings

1 package Nasoya Organic Silken Tofu

1/2 ripe banana

1 cup orange juice

2 cups pineapple

1/2 cup honey

1 cup fresh brewed green tea, chilled

Be sure that the green tea has been chilled. Combine all ingredients into blender. Blend until smooth and serve.

Source: Vitasoy

Fresh cooking with Farmers Market finds

The best recipes start with the freshest ingredients. And what better place to find fresh ingredients than at a farmers’ market?

A trip to the farmers market does more than put some fresh veggies on the table. Farmers’ markets benefit:

• Family farmers: Farmers’ markets offer farmers the opportunity to sell their products directly to consumers, which builds strong relationships and ensures that farmers reap a fair price for their products.

• The community: Fresh, nutritious foods are scarce in urban communities, and farmers’ markets provide easy access to food, and promotion of nutrition education, wholesome eating habits and better food preparation.

• You: Citizens gain access to locally grown, organic, farm-fresh produce and other goodies, and the chance to personally interact with the farmer who grows it.

In addition to supporting farmers by shopping at farmers’ markets, there are other ways to vote for family farming with your dollar. For example, you can support the Organic Heroes campaign, a partnership between Organic Valley, the nation’s largest farmer-owned cooperative, and Nature’s Path, North America’s number one maker of organic cereal, benefiting the Rodale Institute. Here’s how it works: when you purchase one Organic Valley product and one Nature’s Path product, and then mail in both proofs-of-purchase, you’ll receive a free, one-year subscription to Organic Gardening magazine and a chance to win a year of free breakfasts (organic milk and cereal). Both companies will contribute $1 each for every proof-of-purchase mailed in (up to $50,000) to the Rodale Institute’s Farmers Can Be Heroes program, an outreach program designed to portray organic family farmers as heroes and offer farmers the resources and tools they need to transition to organic farming.

For farm-fresh recipes and more information, visit www.organicvalley.coop.

Omelet with fresh spinach, feta and olives

Recipe courtesy of Terese Allen for Organic Valley Family of Farms.

Makes 4 servings.

12-16 ounces fresh organic spinach

2 tablespoons bottled Greek dressing or homemade vinaigrette

flavored with oregano

1/2 cup coarsely chopped black Greek or Kalamata olives

8-12 large Organic Valley eggs

1-2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

4 ounces Organic Valley feta cheese, crumbled

Freshly ground pepper

Clean spinach, remove stems, and coarsely chop the leaves. Heat Greek dressing in a very large skillet, add chopped spinach, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until wilted. Raise heat to high and cook until nearly all the liquid as evaporated. Turn off heat and stir in black olives. Keep warm.

Make omelets one at a time in a small, non-stick (8-inch) skillet with sloping sides.

For each omelet, beat two or three eggs in a bowl. Heat a little olive oil over high heat in the skillet. Pour in eggs; they will immediately begin to set on the bottom. With a spatula, pull egg from outer edges of pan towards the center; the uncooked egg will spread and cook. Keep doing this until most of the egg is set - this will only take a moment - then spread any remaining uncooked egg across surface of omelet. Reduce heat to low.

The egg will continue to cook as you distribute some of the crumbled feta, spinach filling and pepper over the surface. Holding a plate close to the pan with one hand and shaking the pan slightly with your other hand, slip omelet onto a plate, rolling it into either a cigar shape or folding it over into a half-moon.

Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200-degree oven while you prepare additional omelets.

Source: Organic Valley - Courtesy of Family Features

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