With both my husband and I working full time, it’s important that we are prepared for quick, healthy and delicious dinners during the week. To do so, I like to have a well-stocked pantry with some basics on hand to get us through those quick weeknight dinners. I thought I’d share some of my favorite pantry essentials with you:
What would you consider your pantry essentials?
My mom, sisters, and brother-in-law come into town every Christmas for an extended stay. The girls love having their aunts, uncle and Nana around for non-stop entertainment and with a houseful it truly feels like a holiday.
One of the traditions my mom started was getting a ham for our first dinner together so we could have leftovers to “pick on” throughout their visit. We all love this and the ham finds its way into many breakfasts and lunches. But my favorite leftover of leftovers is making split pea soup, in fact; I love the recipe right on the back of the Safeway Green Split Peas which was developed by cookbook author Marlene Sorosky Gray. Here it is:
Split Pea Soup
1 lb. green split peas
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 bay leaves
12 cups water
1 teaspoon dried thyme
What are some of your favorite holiday leftover recipes?
Buying a gift for those on your list can take a lot of time if you have to run from store to store. But there’s an easy –and nutritious– way to get some of your gift shopping done: do double-duty by picking up presents when you grocery shop! Consider these suggestions for some favorite people in your life–and discover more great supermarket gift ideas here:
Teacher: Holiday coffee mug (look for one in our seasonal aisle for a great assortment) + bag of favorite coffee or box of tea + magazine or paperback book (or opt for gift cards for Starbucks and bookseller to place in the mug instead–we have a wide selection at our Gift Card Mall kiosk).
Party Host/Hostess: Breakfast basket for the morning-after-the-party: bag of coffee + oranges, bananas or other fruit + whole-wheat bagels or English muffins + jar of all-fruit spread.
Carpool Driver: One of your favorite quick weeknight meal recipes printed on an index card + all the shelf-stable ingredients to make the dish tucked into a gift bag¬–like this lentil soup recipe: reduced-sodium chicken broth + dried lentils + no-salt added diced tomatoes + dried thyme + dried basil + whole grain crackers + wooden spoon (find it in our kitchen tools section).
Do you have a favorite nutritious food gift you love to give?
One of our family favorite recipes for the holidays is one I started making a few years ago – Brussels sprouts with walnuts. It’s a recipe from Emeril and it’s been known to convert even the pickiest eaters! Here are the simple instructions:
Cook two pounds of halved Brussels sprouts in a pot of salted boiling water until crisp and tender (about 5 minutes), then drain.
Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan and cook ¼ cup thinly sliced shallots and 2 tablespoons minced garlic for one minute.
Add the sprouts to the pan in a single layer and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Remove from pan, add another 2 tablespoons butter and, when melted, add ¾ cup roughly chopped walnuts and cook until golden-- about 2 minutes.
Add 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and sprouts back to the pan and stir until coated.
Transfer to your serving bowl and sprinkle with some finely grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Take a look at the Safeway Chef Assistant App, introduced last year to offer help for holiday dinners – recipes, meal planning, timers, and how-to videos for the Safeway 2 Hour Turkey recipe (my go to every year) and carving! This year it’s back with even more – great values, wine savings ideas, baking recipes & tools, and more.
But one of my favorite new features is a virtual cupcake decorator where you can frost, decorate, and share your creations! Some of you may remember the gingerbread man decorating game a few years back – Gabby loved that and she had fun sharing her virtual cookies with her Nana in Chicago. Now that the twins are older I know they’re going to love the cupcake decorator just as much – perfect way to entertain the girls while we’re waiting in line, or just decompress after a long day!
The sun’s rays are a bit lower, it’s dark when the alarm goes off, and I’ve seen more than a few footballs in the neighborhood. Yep. It’s fall. Whether you view the change of seasons as good news or bad, there’s one reason I always welcome this time of year: apples.
With fewer than 150 calories, no fat, and about 5 grams of fiber each, apples are nutritional powerhouses and a dieter’s secret weapon. They may even help lower bad cholesterol, raise good cholesterol, decrease risk of heart disease and certain cancers, and possibly even lower blood pressure.
The approach of fall is a perfect opportunity to brush up on our apple varieties. Below is a cheat sheet listing the U.S. Apple Association’s 11 most popular varieties, along with what makes each one distinct. Print and take with you when you shop to explore something new this fall.
Honeycrisp: This popular newcomer has a mild, sweet flavor with explosive crispness. With coarse flesh and spotted red and yellow skin, Honeycrisps store well. Harvest begins in September, and previously limited supplies are increasing.
Braeburn: This multipurpose choice has a rich, spicy sweet flavor, and varies in color from deep orange to bright red. Available October-July.
Fuji: Available all year, this perfect snacking choice is typically striped with yellow and red. Expect a sweet flavor and firm bite.
Gala: Crisp, juicy, and very sweet, Galas are ideal for snacking. They vary from nearly cream colored, to striped with red and yellow. They’re typically available all year.
Ginger Gold: Most common to the East Coast and great for salads, Ginger Golds also cook well. Supplies can be limited, but they’re generally available beginning in mid-October.
Golden Delicious: Their pale yellow skin sometimes holds a red blush, and the flesh resists browning. Great for snacking, baking, and salads, they’re an all-purpose choice. With a mellow flavor that’s substantially sweet, you can actually reduce the amount of sugar in your recipe when you use them in baking. Available year-round.
Jonagold: A unique honey-tart flavor with crispy, juicy, yellow flesh, Jonagolds are perfect for snacking and cooking. Look for a yellow-green skin with red-orange blush. Available October-July.
Jonathan: Look for crimson skin with green flecks. Their unique, spicy flavor makes them great for blending with other varieties in pies, sauces, and ciders. Available September-April.
McIntosh: Deep red with the occasional green splash, the McIntosh is juicy and tangy, with tender white flesh. While they’re best used for snacking and sauces, some choose them for pies. (The flesh cooks down easily, so use a thickener or cut slices thick when including in a pie.) Available September-May.
Red Delicious: America’s most popular apple, the classic Red Delicious is sweet, crispy, and juicy. Skin color varies from striped red to a solid, dark maroon. Best eaten fresh.
Rome Beauty: Known as the “baker’s buddy,” Rome is known as a great storage variety. They’re mildly tart, and primarily used for cooking. Delicious baked or sautéed.
Now that you’ve got your apple appetite going, try using a new variety in a new way. Add slices to a grilled cheese. Mix chunks into tuna salad. Chop and fold into a salsa. Roast chunks and pair with pork chops. Even scatter them on a pizza.
No matter how you get that apple a day (or more), that unmistakable fresh flavor is sure to brighten any dish.
There’s a lot of buzz about the health benefits of honey. Here’s the sweet truth on three popular claims.
True or False: Honey is more nutritious than white sugar.
False. Although often promoted as a healthier option, honey is not nutritionally better than white sugar. There’s no significant difference in calories or nutrients, when compared on an ounce-to-ounce basis and once in your body, it can’t tell the difference between the two. A teaspoon of honey weighs more than a teaspoon of sugar, so it has more calories: about 21 in honey compared to 16 in sugar. However, since honey is sweeter, you need less to sweeten foods.
True or False: Honey can help alleviate cold symptoms.
True. Surprisingly, honey may help when you’re feeling under the weather. Although there isn’t any research to support it, a spoonful of honey–on its own or mixed into a steaming cup of tea–is a time-honored way to soothe sore throats. Interestingly, there is research supporting honey’s benefit in quelling coughs. A recent study found that taking two teaspoons of honey before bedtime resulted in less frequent and less severe coughing, and better sleep in kids. This is especially sweet news because parents don’t have many options to treat coughs in wee ones, since use of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines is not recommended. One note of caution: avoid honey in any form until your child is at least a year old–it can harbor toxic spores of bacteria. While these spores are harmless to adults and older children, they can cause botulism, a severe foodborne illness that can be fatal, in babies.
True or False: Honey can prevent allergies.
False. Advocates claim that eating local honey reduces allergy symptoms. The theory goes that local honey contains pollen from the plants in your area that may be causing your allergies. So by eating small amounts of honey daily, it’s like getting allergy shots. However, there’s no scientific research to support this claim.
Are you sweet on honey?
Cheese may get a bad health rap, but with moderation, there are actually several types of reduced calorie and lower fat options available, and can offer a good source of calcium and protein. Some of my favorites are Dofino Light Havarti, Beemster Light Aged Gouda, SkinnyBrit Low Fat English Cheddar, Kerrygold Reduced Fat Irish Cheddar, Alpine Lace, or Jarlesberg Light Swiss, President Light Brie, Treasure Cave Reduced Fat Blue Crumbles, Athenos Light and Fat Free Feta.
If you’re yearning for regular cheese, there are great portion control options available that can help, including Laughing Cow Wedges, Mini BabyBels, or Ile de France Brie Bites.
Here’s one of my favorite fun and healthy recipes featuring fat-free feta:
Grilled Flatbread Greek Pizza
¼ cup chopped artichoke hearts (drained)
¼ cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
¼ cup sliced olives of choice (kalamata, black or green)
3-oz fat-free feta cheese, crumbled
1-2 oz shredded parmesan cheese
Sliced or shredded, pre-cooked chicken breast meat
2 tbsp EVOO
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Brush both sides of the flatbread with EVOO.
2. Layer the ingredients on top of the flat bread, adding the salt and pepper last. Feel free to layer on any other vegetables that you like!
3. Grill on low until the cheese melts and the ingredients and heated through. The flatbread should be slightly browned. If you don’t have a grill, you can also broil the pizza in the over for about seven minutes at 375 degrees.
With school back in session, it's no doubt that you are back to hectic schedule and preparation for the year. To start things off on the right foot, set the stage with some great florals. Whether it’s for your children’s' teachers, or even your own desk at work, here are a few tips to makeover your workspace with plants. Try picking out several small plants, both blooming and foliage, and place into a pot or basket. You can fill the top of the soil with moss or decorative stones and have an instant garden for your desk.
Plants can actually lift your sprits! They emit oxygen and remove formaldehyde and other toxins from the air.
Some long-lasting and good choices of working plants are
Do you have flowers on your desk? If so, what are your flowers of choice?
I toss a lot of salads using greens or beans as the base. Lately, I’ve been stirring up something a little different: salads made with whole grains. Studies show that eating whole grains as part of a healthy diet may help protect against heart disease, help manage your weight and reduce your risk of cancer and diabetes. MyPlate recommends making at least half of the grains you eat whole grains.
Its fun to mix and match ingredients to come up with signature creations. If you’re stuck on where to begin, use the chart below to get started: simply mix together the amounts listed in each category and toss with about 2/3 cup of Open Nature Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing; my favorite dressing for great value and great taste. I like to add about ½ cup of chopped, fresh herbs to my salads, too. Try parsley, basil, mint or cilantro—or a mix of them. This salad “formula” will make eight main dish servings. Depending on your choices from each category, calories will vary. If you’re trying to trim calories, switch to a reduced calorie salad dressing and go a little lighter on the add-ons, since those items are higher in calories.
I’d love to hear what salad combinations you toss up–please share!
6 cups total
Choose two or more
6 cups total
Choose one or more
2 cups total
Choose one or more
1 cup total
Shredded carrots or cabbage
Finely-diced celery, bell peppers, onions
Steamed cauliflower or broccoli florets
Cooked corn or beets
Grilled, diced zucchini or yellow squash
Diced seedless cucumbers
Grilled, chopped asparagus
Cubed chicken or turkey breast
Dried fruit (cranberries, apricots, cherries, dates, raisins)
Toasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios)
Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin seeds)
Crumbled or shredded cheese (feta, blue, goat, parmesan, asiago, pecorino, fontina)
Roasted red peppers
Marinated artichoke hearts
Did you know there are around nine commonly recognized species of salmon? It’s hard to imagine, but with such great variety comes a wide range of options in terms of taste, texture, and price, all depending on the source location, harvesting practices, and species being sold. Because of this, salmon can be an incredibly versatile food.
When picking out salmon in the store, there are a few things to keep in mind. Most important is your preference for either farmed or wild-caught. If you’re looking for wild-caught salmon, any one of the seven species of Pacific salmon is an excellent choice, as these varieties tend to be wild-caught nearly 99% of the time. Atlantic salmon, on the other hand, is usually farmed.
The most common varieties of Pacific salmon are the Chinook, Sockeye and Soho. Each of these has a specific set of characteristics that make them perfect for different tastes and preparation styles. The Chinook, which is the largest variety, has a high fat content that results in a buttery flavor. Sockeye, which tends to be much smaller, is a very oily variety, which makes it ideal for grilling. The Coho is the leanest variety of salmon and as a result has a firm, delicate texture that has a mild and sweet taste.
The next time you are shopping at your local Safeway, be sure to stop by the Seafood department and check out the excellent selection of this tasty, healthy food.
September is National Cholesterol Education Month, a good time to get your cholesterol checked and to make the lifestyle changes needed to help lower it, if needed.
Having a high blood cholesterol level is one of the major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. One of the main dietary culprits in raising blood cholesterol levels is saturated fat. Much of the saturated fat we eat is found naturally animal foods, like beef and pork, poultry skin, cream, butter, cheese, and whole and reduced fat (2%) milk. But other foods you may not suspect are often high in saturated fat as well. In fact, baked goods, desserts, fried foods and pizza rank among the top sources in the American diet.
Replace foods high in saturated fat with healthier fat alternatives: use liquid vegetable oils like canola or olive oil in place of butter, switch to fat-free milk instead of whole milk and remove the skin from chicken before eating. Another simple way? Look for the Simple Nutrition “Low Saturated Fat” tag in our stores to help you easily find good options. We have lots of other heart smart tips online, too.
If you have high cholesterol, what swaps do you make to limit the amount of saturated fat you eat?
Here are some tips for some of my favorite summer vegetables. Remember you can always ask someone in your local Safeway produce department for help choosing the best produce.
We’ve been on a turkey sandwich kick lately and my latest twist has been to use Open Nature Pesto sauce (in the refrigerated pasta section) as the sandwich spread instead of mustard or mayo. Open Nature pesto has an amazing flavor, it’s mild, without any bite or bitterness that sometimes comes with pesto and you can see whole pine nuts in the sauce. It elevates the sandwich to an entirely new level – add your favorite cheese (we like Havarti or Colby Jack), substitute a ciabatta roll for your bread if you really want to go all out and you’ve got a café quality sandwich!
Heirloom tomatoes have a taste that can be enjoyed fresh or as a recipe ingredient. Some favorite heirloom tomatoes are Black Crimson (from Russia’s Crimean Peninsula), Cherokee Purple (originally grown by the Cherokee Indian tribe in Tennessee), Brandywine (an Amish variety), and Marvel Stripe (aptly named for its radial, red striations).
Because heirlooms are so different from the other varieties of tomatoes, look for ones with maximum coloring that are plump, smooth skinned, and feel heavy for their size. If the tomatoes are somewhat soft and yield to touch, then they are fully ripe, and you can eat them immediately. Heirlooms should not be refrigerated unless they have already been prepared or completely ripened and would otherwise spoil if left at room temperature. To store, place tomatoes stem end up in a closed paper bag. You can add an ethylene-producing fruit like a banana or apple to help the ripening process along.
An orchid is a unique plant. There are over 25,000 species that can grow almost everywhere, with the exception Antarctica. Orchids grow on trees, rocks, and underground, most orchids grow in tropical forests and mountain ranges. These are the plants that do best as houseplants.
Orchids are easy to care for and the blooms can last for weeks. Place the orchid near a window with indirect sunlight. Provide food and water to the orchid to promote healthy growth. Water the plant as the orchid mix dries. Do not over water. Orchids like it on the dry side.
Orchids make an awesome gift! I often pick out an orchid from one of our Safeway stores whenever I need a gift. I give orchids to the teachers at school, the nurse in my Doctor’s office and my husband’s secretary for Admin Day. But, I have to share who I buy for the most, ME! I love to treat myself to a stunning orchid to keep on my fireplace; it gives me weeks of pleasure.
So the next time you are shopping at your Safeway store take a stroll thru Floral and check out the orchids. I know you’ll love them too!
Summer isn’t complete without having a really delicious corn on the cob.
Before its time to make corn, make sure you’ve brought home the best husks you can. Corn is best stored in a cool environment, so your local supermarket should be displaying corn in refrigerator bins. Great quality corn should have full, evenly formed ears, with straight rows of bright kernels. The husks should be bright green with the silk ends free from decay. There are so many great ways to enjoy corn, especially in the summer. You can make corn on the cob the traditional way by boiling it, or one of my family’s favorite ways is to make grilled corn on the cob. Drizzle each piece in olive oil, add salt and pepper, and wrap in tin foil. They will take 40 minutes to an hour on the grill, but when they are finished they are mouthwatering! You won’t even need butter. Enjoy some delicious corn today!
Who doesn’t love a sweet juicy melon on a hot summer day? I especially love watermelon, there’s just no better flavor than a really ripe, sweet melon with the juices running down your hands and face. Did you know more watermelons are sold during Independence Day weekend than any other day of the year? When you pick them out at the store, turn the melon over and look for a yellow underside with a healthy sheen to it. If you see that and it passes the “thump” test, it’s ready to go home. Don't refrigerate melons unless they become too ripe or have been cut. Whole watermelons can be stored at room temperature for two weeks. Cut watermelons should be loosely covered in plastic wrap before refrigerating. Watermelon is the only melon that tastes better the colder they are- which only makes it that more refreshing! Pick up a juicy watermelon at your local Safeway today!
Responsible Choice Seafood: Healthy for You and Healthy for the Oceans
Seafood is not only delicious, but also one of the healthiest protein sources available, packed full of goodness that promotes heart health and also children’s growth and development. Now at Safeway, you can select seafood that is not only healthy for you and your family, but healthy for the oceans too.
We have been working on improving the sustainability of our seafood offerings to help ensure the availability of healthy seafood for generations to come. Our ultimate goal is to have all of our fresh and frozen seafood come from responsible sources or be in a credible improvement project by 2015.
Today, much of our seafood is caught or farmed in responsible ways and we are happy to highlight some of our best options via our new ‘Responsible Choice’ labels – look out for them in your local Safeway seafood counter! In the meantime, here are some crowd-pleasing options to get you started:
Since nothing says summer like ice cream, you may be standing in the frozen foods aisle wondering which to choose: frozen yogurt or ice cream? Slow-churned or fat-free? Strawberry or cookie dough? One of the best ways to spot the better-for-you choices is to use our SimpleNutrition tag as a guide–you’ll see it on products that meet our strict requirements. Along with our tags, this “scoop” on America’s favorite frozen treat may help you decide the best lick:
Ice Cream: Its creamy texture and taste also come at a nutritional price: premium ice cream usually contains more fat and therefore, more calories than frozen yogurt. But more nutrition-friendly options are available. Many manufacturers, for example, are using new churning technologies to make products with less fat and calories using the same ingredients found in their regular ice creams. Light ice cream is a good option–it has at least 50% less fat and 1/3 fewer calories compared to regular varieties. Low-fat ice cream is a good choice too, with 3 grams or less of fat per serving; fat-free ice cream has less than 0.5 gram. Be aware that candy, cookies and other mix-ins add calories, so opt for plain or fruit flavors most often. Although mouth feel and flavor may be different, options for those with special dietary needs include “no sugar added” or “sugar free” ice creams, and for vegans, soy or non-dairy ice creams.
Frozen Yogurt: Compared to ice cream, frozen yogurt usually has less fat (since it’s made with milk, not cream) but it sometimes contains more sugar. Look for fat-free and low-fat varieties in plain or fruit flavors and skip the ones with high-calorie mix-ins. Another important fact about frozen yogurt: yogurt and frozen yogurt are not the same. Most frozen yogurts pale in comparison to their refrigerated counterparts in terms of nutrition–frozen yogurt typically contains more calories and fat, less calcium, and little of the digestive-friendly live and active cultures. Happily, there are some exceptions to that rule, such as Open Nature Frozen Greek Yogurt. It contains live and active cultures and has more protein than most regular frozen yogurts. Honey is my favorite flavor–with blueberry a close second!
What’s your favorite frozen treat?
Who doesn’t love a sweet, juicy cherry? If you do, you should try my favorite, the Bing cherry. Known for their sweet, juicy flavor and vibrant red coloring, these cherries have been fan favorites for generations. These cherries are large and firm, and have a beautiful crimson color. When you buy them, check for color and watch for any blemishes. Bing cherries should be stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat them. All fresh cherries should still have their stems attached and be clean and dry. Avoid cherries that are hard, small, and/or lighter in color because they were probably picked before they were ripe. Many cherry lovers enjoy eating Bings right out of hand. Cherries are also perfect for salads, preserves, pies and other fruit pastries, as well as some meat dishes, like with pork. On these hot summer days, cut up some cherries and top with some lemon Italian ice! So cool and refreshing! Cherries also have great nutritional value so pick up a bunch today and enjoy!
One of our favorite goat cheese is made right here in Sonoma since 1979 - Laura Chenel’s Chevre. Laura studied the craft of making traditional fresh chevre in France. Once Laura returned to the US, she began making fresh chevre well before it became trendy. She was the first commercial producer of goat cheese in the US. Laura had her own goat farm where she raised and cared for the goats herself. These days Laura Chenel Chevre works with a co-op of local goats milk producers throughout Northern California that deliver fresh milk every day. All the curd is fresh, never frozen which accounts for the clean, distinct taste of Laura Chenel’s Chevre.
Goat cheese goes great in salads, especially with beets, and it makes a creative topping for pizzas.
We carry the Laura Chenel Chabis in plain and garlic herb, along with the 8-oz plain fresh chevre log and will be featuring these on promotion throughout July.
The sizzle of the grill, clinking of ice cubes, and swimmers splashing away in the pool are some of the signs of summer we all recognize. My favorite sign is the bright red and gorgeous array of fresh, ripe tomatoes that fill up the Produce department and permeate the air with their deliciousness. The tomato beckons to be partnered with the delightfully refreshing and creamy coolness of fresh mozzarella. The easiest of salads a caprese (ka-pray-say) can be fun and creative as well. Layers of sliced tomato inter-leafed with slices of fresh mozzarella and basil are adorned with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garnished with salt and pepper to taste. Depending on my creative mood, or more likely my level of hungriness, I will make a stacked caprese, other times I’ve chunked the cheese and the tomato for more of a tossed caprese. This salad is light and perfect for the summer heat while sinfully pleasing to the palate. Depending on the size of tomato you choose we have a size of mozzarella to fit from beefsteak to grape tomatoes, as tradition has it Italians first developed the different sizes and shapes of mozzarella to accompany the different size tomatoes. Just as the tomatoes are in abundance the fresh mozzarella will be as well. Stop by the deli department where we will have Fresh Mozzarella on promotion throughout the summer.
I love feeding my family seafood…for the great taste AND for all the healthy benefits we get from eating seafood. Like many others, I am concerned about where our seafood comes from. I am pleased to report on Safeway’s best practices on supplying healthy seafood:
To ensure that we will be able to continue to supply you--our customer--with the best quality seafood in the years ahead, we have taken concrete steps to ensure a sustainable supply.
• We have partnered with FishWise, a non-profit organization focused on sustainability, to work with our suppliers.
• We draw guidance from a number of agencies such as the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions to promote seafood sustainability
• We no longer sell several “red list” species whose existence is now threatened or for which the fishing methods threaten other species.
• We identify fisheries that have the potential to improve and encourage them to establish credible improvement programs designed to meet our goals.
We were recently named Most Sustainable Seafood Grocer by Greenpeace USA for Second Consecutive Year. Read More.
We offer you many choices when selecting seafood. Look for all natural flash-frozen uncooked fillets including sockeye, halibut, cod, barramundi and mahi-mahi. In addition, be sure to see our options for gluten free breaded shrimp and fish portions.
This is another great summer recipe. If you happen to grow your own tomatoes, then this is definitely the recipe for you, because the only way to make this even tastier is fresh from the garden tomatoes! Look for tomatoes with maximum red coloring that are plump with smooth skins, and heavy for their size. They should be free of bruises, blemishes, deep cracks, or leathery dark patches. If tomatoes are soft and yielding to the touch, they are fully ripe, so only buy them if you can use them immediately.
Grilled Vine-Ripe Tomatoes with Fresh Herbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons finely chopped O Organics(TM) Rosemary
4 teaspoons finely chopped O Organics(TM) Thyme
4 teaspoons finely chopped O Organics(TM) Oregano leaves
1/4 cup O Organics(TM) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for direct, high heat (you can hold your hand 1 to 2 inches above cooking grate only 2 to 3 seconds; visit Safeway.com for complete instructions).
2. Meanwhile, cut tomatoes in half crosswise and set on a platter; liberally season with salt, pepper and herbs. Drizzle with olive oil.
3. Place tomatoes cut side up on cooking grate; cover gas grill. Cook without turning until hot in center, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer with a wide spatula to a clean platter.
Here are three herbs that are delicious in summer dishes. They can add a whole new dimension of flavor to your favorite recipes.
Arugula - Also known as roquette, this Mediterranean salad plant is a member of the mustard family. Arugula has a peppery taste that compliments such Mediterranean foods as olives, garlic, tomatoes, peppers and olive oil.
Cilantro - Also known as coriander or Chinese or Mexican parsley, this herb has an assertive, sage-citrus flavor that can be addictive for some people. Use sparingly to season squash, eggplant, snow peas and onion. It is used extensively in Southwestern fare such as guacamole, chili, salsa and cold seafood salad.
Mint - A sweet-flavored, aromatic herb, mint is a classic garnish and flavoring for summer drinks such as tea, lemonade and punch, or a natural garnish for mint juleps, fruit platters and frozen desserts. Mint is a fundamental ingredient in lamb dishes and many Middle Eastern dishes. Like most herbs, mint can be tossed in green salads or mixed into soft cheeses. It can be added to cooked carrots, green beans, peas and beets.
I don’t think this recipe could be more perfect for a warm, summer day. It will make for a really great dessert, or maybe even a very special breakfast treat. When you’re at the store picking out the apricots steer clear of any fruit that is hard and tinged with green because it won't develop its full flavor. Fully ripe fruit is soft to the touch, full of juice, and should be eaten as soon as possible. Enjoy this yummy, fruity treat!
Grilled Apricots with Toasted Almond Topping
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons O Organics(TM) Unsalted Sweet Cream Butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon O Organics(TM) Granulated Sugar, plus
- 1/4 cup O Organics(TM) Granulated Sugar
- 1 O Organics(TM) large egg, beaten
- 6 firm-ripe apricots, halved and pitted
- 1 pint of your favorite Lucerne(R) Ice Cream (optional)
1. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for direct, medium-high heat (you can hold your hand 1 to 2 inches above the cooking grate only 3 to 4 seconds; visit Safeway.com for complete instructions).
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour onto a counter and let cool.
3. In a medium bowl, mix butter with 1 tablespoon sugar until smooth, then add almonds, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and salt, and stir to combine. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of the beaten egg and stir to moisten mixture. Discard remaining egg.
4. Arrange 6 of the apricot halves with cut sides up on a sheet of foil placed on a baking sheet. Arrange remaining apricots on a second sheet of foil on a baking sheet. Spoon a generous tbsp. of almond mixture into each half.
5. Transfer apricots (still on foil) to grill. Cover and cook until apricots are slightly softened and almond mixture is puffed and brown, 6 to 8 minutes. With a wide spatula, transfer apricots to a platter. Serve warm, with ice cream, if you like.
*recipe courtesy of safeway.com*
The arrival of warm weather = my favorite time of the year - vacations, the great outdoors and grilling season! I thought I’d share some simple tips for the most successful and easy grilling experiences to enjoy all season on a variety of food choices.
First off, pick your ‘meat’. For you big spenders, filet mignon, T-bone or New York strips are optimal. Skirt or Flank steaks and sirloins are great options too. Chicken is great on the grill – I prefer boneless and skinless breasts, whole (similar sizes) or cut up and skewered with some vegetables (onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, etc). When making kabobs, be sure the pieces are equal in size so they cook evenly.
Now, prepare your meat. Marinades, rubs and sauces are the 3 easiest and tastiest ways to flavor your meat. Be careful not to marinade your meat too long as it can toughen your meat or make it too mushy. Safeway offers some of the best options in rubs and sauces by Rancher’s Reserve and can be found in your meat department. My personal favorite is the Classic Steak Rub; just coat your meat with olive oil, generously apply the rub to all sides, and grill your meat. It’s great on Beef as well as Chicken! For a super finishing touch to your grilled meat, the Smoked Chile & Espresso Steak Sauce will certainly add pizzazz to your meal. Made with California chili peppers, espresso beans and spices, it surely adds some kick. Check out the wide variety of grilling and meat enhancements at a Safeway Meat Department near you!
Find more grilling tips and recipes on site.
Grilling is not just for beef or chicken. Seafood is excellent, healthy and delicious on the grill. And not just shrimp; you can grill scallops, trout, mahi mahi, tilapia, salmon, swordfish, halibut, tuna and on and on, but for now, let’s discuss shrimp because in my opinion, shopping for shrimp can be a bit overwhelming. With so many options at the shelf, let’s look at size first; below is a chart of the various sizes. Extra large (and above) raw shrimp are the ideal choice for grilling, however, smaller shrimp can be placed on skewers for the same great eating experience.
Another consideration is whether to buy raw or cooked shrimp. Buy raw if you plan to grill or use as an ingredient, to avoid overcooking. Cooked shrimp is perfect served immediately as an appetizer or in salads, or cold with cocktail sauce. At Safeway, look for Waterfront Bistro seafood options, for the best quality and selection.
Below are simple tips for grilling shrimp:
- Once your grill is heated, place larger shrimp or skewered smaller shrimp directly on grill, leaving room between each shrimp or skewer.
- Brush the shrimp with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic.
- Grill for 3 to 4 minutes or until the shrimp have turned pink, turning the shrimp and/or skewers once halfway through cooking time.
- Remove from the heat & serve
Find more grilling tips and recipes on site.
Peaches have been around in this country since the 16th century; even Thomas Jefferson had a peach tree. You’ll enjoy a peach the most if you follow a few simple guidelines when choosing them at the store. First, avoid any stored in the cold section. Peaches shouldn’t be cold since they are usually picked when ripe. Always look for peaches that are plump, with just a little bit of give to them, and have that sweet peachy fragrance. They should have a deep yellow skin under a red blush. Peaches really are a beautiful fruit. Store them on the counter once you bring them home, and enjoy them with delicious spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, or ginger. My favorite way to enjoy them is to eat them right out of hand on a warm summer day.
Did you know nectarines have been around for over 2,000 years? It’s true! They originally came from China, and used to be pale green with a white flesh. During the 1940s they became the nectarines you recognize today. There are 150 different varieties! When selecting nectarines look for a well-rounded fruit with a deep yellow or orange-yellow color under a red blushed skin. Ripe nectarines should yield to a gentle touch and have a sweet fragrant smell. Once picked, nectarines will become softer and juicier as they ripen; however, they will not become sweeter in taste. Unless they are already soft, store them at room temperature. If not, placing them in a paper bag will help speed up the ripening process. Nectarines can be used in almost any recipe that calls for peaches. For a different and fun treat, try nectarine halves grilled with a splash of amaretto, or sliced on cereal instead of bananas.