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Entertain with Ease During the Holidays

One element that makes the holidays so special is spending quality time with loved ones. When hosting, it is your chance to put smiles on your guests’ faces with tasty foods for everyone to enjoy. Spend less time in the kitchen preparing and more time with your guests with small changes and simple shortcuts that may be all it takes to bring ease to the holidays and be the host with the most (fun, that is).

Reinvent old favorites. Take your holiday appetizers and small bites from ordinary to exceptional with novel takes on your favorite recipes. For example, potato skins are a classic crowd-pleasing appetizer and easy-to-make snack. Give them a creative twist by stuffing potato halves with pepperoni and shredded mozzarella for a flavorful new way to enjoy a timeless favorite.

Make it easy. Have fun preparing a meal for guests and save time in the kitchen when using ingredients like fully cooked Armour Original Meatballs. Flavor and substance are key to any great meal, especially when feeding a crowd. From appetizers to everyday dishes, frozen meatballs make it simple to create crowd-pleasing meals, cutting down on the preparation time so you can get back to fun and entertaining. Be the hero at your next holiday gathering with zesty Meatball Baked Ziti, which can be prepared and ready to serve in next-to-no time.

Find more guest-ready recipes to share this holiday season at ArmourMeats.com.

Meatball Baked Ziti

  • 16        ounces ziti pasta, uncooked
  • 1          package (14 ounces) Armour Italian Style or Original Meatballs, thawed
  • 1          jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce
  • 2          cups grated mozzarella or provolone cheese
  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Cook pasta according to package directions. Cut meatballs in half.
  2. In large skillet, combine marinara sauce and meatballs; bring mixture to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; stir well, cover and simmer 5-6 minutes, or until meatballs are heated through, stirring once.
  3. Stir in drained pasta; mix well. Transfer half of mixture to 8-inch baking dish; top with 1 cup cheese. Repeat layering with remaining pasta mixture and cheese.
  4. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until mixture is heated through and cheese is melted.

Stuffed Pepperoni Potato Skins

  • 10        baby potatoes
  • 2 1/2    teaspoons minced garlic
  • 5          teaspoons pesto
  • 20        teaspoons mozzarella cheese
  • 10        slices small Armour Pepperoni, diced
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line sheet pan with foil. Set aside.
  2. Rinse potatoes and place in microwave on high 3 minutes.
  3. Remove potatoes from microwave and let cool 5 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise.  With spoon, scoop out center of each potato to make boat.
  4. Fill each potato boat by evenly stuffing with minced garlic, pesto, cheese and pepperoni.
  5. Place potato skins on sheet pan and bake 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Remove skins from oven and let cool before serving.

SOURCE:
Armour

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Happier, Healthier Holidays

The holidays are filled with temptations and opportunities to over-indulge, and if you’re managing your health and weight, the season can feel anything but merry.

Depriving yourself of your favorite holiday treats isn’t only unpleasant, it’s also unnecessary. Many experts recommend that instead, you focus on building a healthier lifestyle through a well-balanced, long-term eating plan. For example, Atkins offers a balanced approach with foods containing fiber-rich and nutrient-dense carbohydrates, as well as good fats and proteins, while focusing on reduced levels of refined carbohydrates and added sugars. When preparing your holiday menu, look for recipes that contain adequate protein, healthy fats and high-fiber carbohydrates, and you’ll be able to enjoy the flavors of the season without guilt.

Learn more about the benefits of a balanced, low-carb approach to eating at Atkins.com.

Garlic Rosemary Pork Loin

Recipe courtesy of “Atkins: Eat Right, Not Less”

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

Servings: 4

1          pound boneless pork loin

olive oil cooking spray

1          tablespoon Dijon mustard

3          garlic cloves, minced

2          tablespoons fresh rosemary, thinly sliced

 

Heat oven to 350 F.

In small skillet over medium heat, cook pork loin, fatty-side down, 4-5 minutes to brown top and render some fat.

Coat 7-by-11-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place pork loin in dish.

In small bowl, combine mustard, garlic and rosemary; stir well. Spoon mixture over pork. Transfer to oven and bake 45 minutes-1 hour, until loin is cooked through but still slightly pink in center.

When pork is cooked, let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Slice and serve immediately.

Less is not more

If you’re looking for more inspiration, tips and recipes, try finding additional resources such as “Atkins: Eat Right, Not Less: Your Guidebook For Living a Low-Carb and Low-Sugar Lifestyle.” Filled with 100 whole-food, low-carb recipes and simple solutions, the new book contains a variety of meal plans, low-carb takes on classic foods and tips for creating a low-carb kitchen. Readers can also learn about Atkins 100, a flexible and personalized low-carb lifestyle program.

Sweet Potato-Pumpkin Puree

Recipe courtesy of Atkins.com

Prep time: 20 minutes

Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

3          large egg whites

5          tablespoons sugar substitute, divided

1/2       cup half pecans

1 1/2    pounds sweet potatoes, peeled

1/4       cup unsalted butter stick

1/2       cup heavy cream

1/2       teaspoon salt

1/2       teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2       teaspoon cinnamon

15        ounces pumpkin (without salt, drained, cooked and boiled)

Heat oven to 250 F. Lightly butter baking sheet.

In medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer at high speed until foamy. Gradually add 3 tablespoons sugar substitute and continue mixing until soft peaks form. Spoon onto prepared baking sheet and spread with spatula to 1/4-inch thickness. Bake 35 minutes. Turn oven off; let meringue stand in oven 45 minutes. Crush meringue and place in bowl. Add pecans and toss gently to combine. Set aside.

While meringue is resting, place sweet potatoes in medium saucepan. Cover with water to 2 inches above potatoes and bring to boil. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes, and drain. Return saucepan to medium-high heat. Add potatoes, butter, cream, remaining sugar substitute, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree. Stir to combine. Mash with potato masher until smooth. Heat through, about 1 minute.

Transfer potato mixture to serving dish and cover with meringue topping.

Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites

Recipe courtesy of “Atkins: Eat Right, Not Less”

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Servings: 18

1/2       cup heavy cream

1/3       cup plain protein powder

2          tablespoons stevia

6          ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/3       cup chopped almonds or macadamia nuts

1          tablespoon sugar-free caramel syrup

1          teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8       teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)

1/4       teaspoon sea salt or sea salt flakes

In large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream with protein powder and stevia. Whisk until smooth. Add cream cheese, almonds or macadamia nuts, caramel syrup and vanilla extract; blend until smooth. If cream cheese clumps slightly, mix with rubber spatula, breaking up bits of cream cheese against side of bowl.

Sprinkle mixture with xanthan gum, if desired, and mix about 30 seconds. Mixture will thicken slightly.

Cover tray that will fit into freezer with sheet of wax paper. Using soup spoon, scoop mixture onto tray, making 18 mounds. Alternatively, use two silicone candy molds or empty ice cube tray coated with olive oil spray and press cheesecake mixture into 18 molds. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Freeze at least one hour before serving.

Note: Can be stored in freezer up to 1 month.

Tip: Switch up flavors by using sugar-free hazelnut syrup in place of caramel and hazelnuts or walnuts instead of almonds.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images (Garlic Rosemary Pork Loin, Sweet Potato-Pumpkin Puree)

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