This fall flavor, savor and save by creating delicious at-home meals for friends and family that stretch your budget and save you time. Whether recreating a restaurant favorite or finding a new family favorite, cooking appetizing and savory meals can be simple and affordable when you have simple and smart meal solutions at your fingertips.
As both a mom and the author of the “Kitchen Coach” series, Jennifer Bushman understands the challenges of keeping dinner ideas fresh, easy to prepare and budget-friendly.
“I believe cooks at every level can become meal-time magicians by simply keeping a well-stocked refrigerator, freezer and pantry that include versatile and easy-to-prepare ingredients. By overcoming mealtime monotony, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the company of friends and family,” says Bushman.
As people today look to do more with less, she recommends turning to trusted brands that offer great quality at affordable prices to help make everyday life better. Try these meal time tips to flavor, savor and save at the dinner table:
•Quickly add flavor to any meal with ingredients that do double- or triple-duty in a flash. Delicious as a salad dressing and a great-tasting marinade, try topping the season’s freshest vegetables with Wish-Bone Italian Dressing for a robust Roasted Vegetable Tapas dish. For summer’s freshest fare, use yellow squash, zucchini or cucumbers, or choose year-round favorites like carrots, bell peppers and mushrooms.
•Kids away for the night? Skip the Italian restaurant and have a night in that can be just as (or even more) special. Start with Bertolli Tomato & Basil Sauce and sliced eggplant for a restaurant favorite that can be easily prepared at home: Baked Eggplant Parmigiana.
•Who thought tea could be an ingredient to make a sweet, fruity end to a delicious meal? Try using Lipton Cup Size Tea Bags and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! soft spread to create Tasty Tea Baked Apples. A soft spread like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! has 70 percent less saturated fat than butter and the fresh butter taste you love! Add that to the tea, which contains flavonoid antioxidants and this mouthwatering dish will leave you and your guests feeling indulgent.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 25 minutes
1-3/4 cups Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 large eggs, beaten with 3 tablespoons water
1 large eggplant (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2 jars Bertolli Tomato & Basil Sauce
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In medium bowl, combine bread crumbs and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Dip eggplant in egg mixture, then bread crumb mixture, coating well. On lightly greased baking sheets, arrange eggplant in single layer. Bake 30 minutes or until golden.
In 13 x 9-inch baking dish, evenly spread 1 cup sauce. Layer 1/3 of the baked eggplant, then 1 1/2 cups sauce, 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese and 1/3 of the remaining Parmesan cheese; repeat. Top with remaining eggplant and sauce.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and top with remaining cheeses. Bake uncovered an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
1/2 cup Wish-Bone Italian Dressing
6 cups assorted sliced fresh vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, carrot, ripe sweet plantains, mushrooms, eggplant)
1/2 cup cubed Manchego or Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425°F.
In large bowl, toss dressing with vegetables. With slotted spoon, remove vegetables from dressing and arrange separately in bottom of broiler pan. Roast 35 minutes or until vegetables are tender and golden, stirring once halfway through.
On serving platter, arrange vegetables and cheese. Sprinkle, if desired, with chopped fresh cilantro or oregano.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes
1 cup water
4 Lipton Cup Size Tea Bags
4 large baking apples (such as Rome or Golden Delicious), cored
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
2 tablespoons raisins (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Spread
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In 1-quart saucepan, bring water to a boil; remove from heat. Add tea bags and brew 3 minutes, dunking occasionally. Remove tea bags and squeeze; set aside.
Peel top 1/3 of apples. In 8-inch-square baking dish, arrange apples, peeled end up; set aside.
In small bowl, combine brown sugar, walnuts, raisins and cinnamon. Evenly spoon walnut mixture into center of apples, then evenly top with spread. Pour tea over and around apples.
Bake uncovered, basting occasionally, 1 hour or until apples are tender.