December picks up the pace for many – family and friend gatherings galore, shopping and shipping you swore you would do earlier this year, school shows and tree lighting and so much more! Wishing you could take something off your (to-do) list? If you are feeling the pinch of budget and crunch of less time, our family meal and snack ideas may be your first gift of the season!
We will keep you moving and get you to the table to share some high quality together time with everyone at your table. Holiday time is a fun time to share meals and hear about adventures of the day, explore the meaning of the season, consider what you are grateful for and how to share those thoughts with friends and family. The time you spend together is really the most precious gift of all, and what has the most lasting impact, especially on children and teens. These meal makers, like classic warm-you-up Pasta Fagioli soup with Italian Sausage , or the Chef’s Menu Stir Fry meals like Korean BBQ from our Meat Department are fast, fresh options. Find more Meal Makers and time savers that keep you close to the most important people in your life on our Family Meals page!
The official start of the holiday season is upon us! It’s the best time of year for sharing and caring, especially through wonderful food. Some quick meal ideas will help you manage the week, while Thanksgiving Day hacks and helpers will lead you to success this year.
One of our favorite parts of Thanksgiving are the leftovers – find yummy recipes to rescue the leftovers and enjoy them just as much the second time around. On top of that, we’re offering up ideas to help you entertain your guests all day long. After all, Thanksgiving has been called the ultimate family meal, so we’re providing all the steps we can towards a grateful gathering.
Do you know why you love this holiday so much? Favorite foods, favorite people, and favorite way to spend time – in the company of those who are important to you. We know you have a lot to prepare this week, so meal and snack suggestions are fuss-free so you can stay fresh and focused! Check out:
• Fresh Pork Tenderloin roast with a side of salad and Bakery sweet potato pie!
• 10-Minute Microwave Magic – Seal and Cook Seafood/Fresh Veggie/Herb Butter Meal paired with PICS Ready Rice or Quinoa.
• Snack Savvy – Red grape, black and green grapes and Halo Clementines are grab and go!
• Signature Sip – Pomegranate Cranberry Poinsetta cocktail or mocktail for children and adults!
• App Tactic – Variety apple slices (McIntosh, Granny Smith, and Honey Crisp?) as “crackers”, soft and hard cheese slices, and those tri-color grapes make a light and fresh start. Or, wow guests with this beautiful Cheese Board.
• Leftover Love – Pilgrim Sandwiches, Grilled Cheese Sliders, Rachel Ray Turkey and Stuffin’ Soup…YUM!
When it comes to a meal as big as Thanksgiving, leftovers are inevitable. Make sure you store them appropriately for the longest lasting freshness possible. Check out some of our tips on leftover storage below:
• Refrigerate or freeze leftover turkey, stuffing and gravy within 2 hours of serving
• Divide large quantities into smaller portions to chill more quickly
• Store leftover turkey in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, and stuffing and gravy 1 –2 days
• Bring leftover gravy to a rolling boil before serving
• For longer storage, properly wrap and place in freezer and use within a month
There’s a lot to keep track of while preparing for Thanksgiving, especially if you’re hosting. Here’s a few helpful hacks to make your day go as smooth as possible.
• Prep-power – Get platters, special servers, tablecloths and napkins washed and ready the weekend before. Check your stock of aluminum foil, food storage containers with matching lids, wraps and baggies, and add them to your shopping list as needed.
• Collaborate – Is there a famous family pie maker? Have them show off their talents and get dessert off your prep list. Or, find some wonderful choices in the store!
• Designate – One family photographer to take the beauty shots for the meal and the table celebration picture and share later. Label a basket with a sign “Grateful to Spend Time with You” and invite guests to leave phones there during the meal.
It’s hard to think about food for the rest of the week when you’re so focused on Thanksgiving. That’s why we’ve come up a few easy meal solutions for you and your family when turkey is not the main dish. Try Fresh Pork Tenderloin with your favorite seasonings, served with a surprise side of Bakery Sweet Potato Pie and a Fresh Express Honey Pecan Salad Kit. Seafood is another great option, Seal and Cook Fresh Seafood, Veggie, and Herb Butter meal served with PICS Crescent Rolls. For a quick and easy meal, enjoy Fresh Prepared Heat and Eat Meal Options – Pasta, Chicken Breast, and more! For a savory snack, grab some Black, Red, or Green Grapes, or Halo Clementines.
Family Meals – Fresh and Fast
Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN Senior Nutritionist
September is a time the majority of us hit the reset button, pull out the calendar and get back to school and work routines. No doubt, many of us find we are already overcommitted before we even get started! Catching up around the dinner table is a great way to reconnect after these busy days, but getting that organized can be one more thing on that already long list. Don’t worry, we have your back with #TimeBetterSpent solutions to kick off National #FamilyMealsMonth, an annual celebration of all of the benefits every occasion you can eat together with family and friends can bring.
Sunday – Get ahead and power up Monday breakfast with a delicious, easy overnight oats and berries recipe (see below). September is also #WholeGrainsMonth! Give everyone the protein and #wholegrains they need for brain power, and know some morning time eating together will get the week off to a great start!
Tuesday – First night for sports, Scouts, homework – way too many things to think about cooking too! Rustle up a fresh Rotisserie Chicken, bagged Fresh Express salad, and the leftover corn bread. Fresh and fast!
Wednesday – Mac and Cheese please (see below)! Comfort food that connects the dots – time and kid-friendly, make it with #wholegrain PICS whole wheat rotini so they get what they want, and you get what you want – healthy, happy kids!
Thursday – Dinner is in the bag! Seal and Cook fresh seafood meals made daily in stores include cut fresh vegetables, 4 different seafood choices, and are made with or without garlic butter. They can be steamed in the store, microwaved or baked at home. Seafood is brain food, smart families are enjoying more with this no muss, no fuss solution!
#TimeBetterSpent on #FamilyMeals pays off with a lifetime of benefits for your whole family. Learn more about #FamilyMealsMonth at https://www.pricechopper.com/time-better-spent/. You bring the kids, and we’ll bring you the meal solutions!
Overnight Oatmeal and Berries by Jodie Fitz
2 1/2 cups PICS Greek plain or vanilla yogurt
2 cups PICS old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup PICS honey
1 teaspoon Full Circle cinnamon
1 cup PICS frozen blueberries or strawberries
In a large bowl, stir the yogurt, oats, honey and cinnamon together. Divide the mixture among 4 airtight containers*. Add the frozen berries on top. Seal the containers and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. Grab and go in the morning for a quick and easy breakfast!
*Small canning jars work great!
Macaroni and Cheese
8 oz. PICS whole wheat rotini
4 T. PICS unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
4 T. PICS all-purpose flour
2 cups PICS milk
Salt and pepper to season
Pinch Full Circle organic nutmeg
2 cups PICS shredded macaroni and cheese blend
1 cup crushed PICS snack crackers
2 T. PICS melted butter
2 tsp. smoked paprika
Cook pasta until tender, drain and rinse.
Meanwhile, melt 4 T. butter in a sauce pan and add the flour to make a roux. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded cheeses.
Toss the pasta and sauce together to coat well. Spoon into a lightly greased casserole dish or 4 individual ramekins.
Combine the crackers, 2 T. melted butter and paprika. Sprinkle over macaroni and cheese, and place in a preheated 375° oven and bake for 20 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Serves 4.
IDAHOAN STEAKHOUSE POTATO SOUPIdahoan Steakhouse Potato Soups use a convenient, just add water formulation using proprietary Steakhouse technology for a rich textured soup. The 5 minute prep time compares to 15 – 25 minutes of other brands. Idahoan Steakhouse Potato Soups contain no MSG, PHOs or Artificial Flavors – in addition to being Gluten Free. They are made with Premium ingredients, including Baby Reds Potatoes. Family friendly with Four (4) Servings per Pouch. Look for Idahoan Steakhouse Potato Soup in the Condensed Soup and Ready-To-Serve Soup Section of the Soup aisle. Family Mealtimes Matter – All Year Long Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN Senior Nutritionist Today marks the original CASA Family Day, promoted by the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) and Price Chopper since 2001, when their research showed the positive link between more family meals and less negative behavior in at risk teens. Since then, the research keeps showing that eating together is the glue that keeps kids healthy and families strong. The Family Mealtimes Matter and National Family Meals Month campaigns technically wrap up this week, but they will keep going, in your house and in ours! You will always find great meals and snack solutions in our stores. Did you know, Americans are getting more than 50% of their calories from snacking, making snack time another great time for busy families to eat together. Snacks can help parents add more plant-based items to the foods they serve their children, promoting good habits and good health. It doesn’t have to be fancy, or at a specified time, or even served on a plate! Please, join us at the table whenever you can find time with your family – Family Mealtimes Matter! #familymealtimesmatter #familymealsmonth Family Mealtimes Matter – Chef’s Menu Meals Make it Easy Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN Senior Nutritionist Eating with your family each night is a priority for your family. Life is so busy – your kids have activities and homework, the dog is barking, laundry in the washer, even the gold fish is trying to get your attention – and everyone is hungry! You want to make this happen, but can’t even think about what to cook…..then you remember, you bought the Chef’s Menu chicken marsala meal – sauté the fresh cut veggies, then the chicken, add the simmer sauce (not too high in sodium, nice!), warm up the wild rice – you’re done, and they love it! One pan, happy faces around the table, some precious time to hear about their day, share yours, and feel good about the fresh meal you made for your family. A little bit leftover will make a great lunch for you tomorrow….everyone cleans up, and 5 minutes later, the dog is barking, the laundry is in the dryer, and the kids give you a kiss “just because”… The Chef’s Menu meals are a huge hit – great variety, portioned well, classic recipes and some new flavor adventures to try, they tick a lot of boxes for busy families. Fresh produce, cut and ready to cook, and delicious, nutritious sides that take just a few minutes to warm up, they help you put it all together. Family Mealtimes Matter – try them all, mix and match – over 40 combinations to enjoy! #familymealtimesmatter #familymealsmonth Price Chopper and Market 32 can help with your Easter celebration – from planning that Easter brunch or dinner to creating a unique basket your children will love! Activities for Kids Nothing is more special than creating lasting memories with your children and/or grandchildren. Plan crafts to involve them in preparing for Easter, as well as a few games the day of. Coloring and decorating eggs and Easter Egg Hunts are among the most popular along with the Easter Egg Roll, the most famous of which takes place on the White house lawn every year! Egg Coloring and Decorating
- Keep in mind these food safety tips if dyeing eggs for fun or for an egg hunt:
- Wash hands with warm water and soap before and after handling eggs
- Use only eggs that have been refrigerated and discard eggs that are cracked or dirty
- After hard cooking, dye eggs with food-safe coloring and return them to the refrigerator within 2 hours
- Fun egg decorating ideas can be found here.
- Hold outside if weather permits so the kids can run and enjoy the outdoors
- Decorate the house or yard with helium balloons, streamers, paper cutouts of eggs and rabbits, and bunny paw prints
- Estimate approximately one dozen eggs per child
- Fill multicolored plastic eggs with jelly beans, chocolate eggs, small toys, and money (my kids especially loved this as they got older (quarters, fifty-cent pieces and dollar bills)
- Give the children baskets for the Easter egg hunt or have them decorate a paper bag with colored markers and stickers