Family laughing around a good meal in kitchen

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!

Monday – Go Can Crazy with a quick family and budget friendly chili recipe. Crunch some #wholegrain chips or fresh baked corn bread from the bakery and get all the news of the day at dinner.

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!

FridayRotisserie Turkey (Bonus AdvantEdge points!) or chicken and bagged Fresh Express salad close the week with a fresh family favorite.  

#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.

Written by Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN Welchs Heart ImageMarch is #NationalNutritionMonth, an exciting time to get energized about delicious foods that power great health. One of my favorite ways to do that is to highlight fresh produce and products that connect all the dots – history, farm-to-table, flavor, and nutrient power that is easy to enjoy in many ways. This led me to our friends at Welch’s, an iconic company bringing the unique Concord grape to your table with wonderful Welch’s 100% Grape Juice. The Concord grape was developed in the mid-19th century by farmer Ephraim Wales Bull. He worked to develop a grape that could thrive in the harsh climate and sandy soil of the Northeast. He was successful in 1849, and named the new North American native grape for its birthplace of Concord, Massachusetts. Fast forward to present day, and the descendants of that original vine are grown in very specific, cooler microclimates, including the “grape belt” in Western New York, on the southeastern shore of Lake Erie. Over 250 New York farm families, a large part of the nearly 1,000 family farmers that make up the cooperative that owns Welch’s, carefully tend the vines and focus on the harvest that is concentrated into a few short weeks each fall. ConcordGrapesinWoodenBowl-118Welch’s deep, rich 100% grape juice is full of the Concord grape’s purple power and delivers beneficial plant nutrients called polyphenols. In fact, 100% grape juice provides many of the same polyphenols and heart-health benefits as red wine. This juice is wonderful as a drink on its own and as a versatile ingredient for recipes your whole family will enjoy. Check these two heart-healthy recipes out and surprise your family and friends with great dishes you will keep on your go-to list. Salmon-038   Our Signature salmon fillets will serve up beautifully in this Spiced Salmon Fillet with Welch’s 100% Grape Juice – support heart health and get one of your two recommended seafood servings for the week! Click for recipe. Sweet and Spicy BBQ Pork Skewers LOw Res     Easy and quick, lean pork tenderloin comes to life with these Sweet and Spicy BBQ pork and bok choy skewers. Click for recipe.   Bonus! Print the coupon, explore and enjoy the goodness of the grape with Welch’s!   iStock-509686328.jpgThe BIG game is a great time to give old favorites a new twist. Global flavors are finding their way into new foods, and guacamole is no exception. Make a play for flavor with these fun avocado recipes from our friends at Avocados From Mexico! Check out the great variety of tortilla chips in the snack aisle and Deli – pita, blue corn chips, scoops and multi-grain are all options to round out your party plan.   Freshen up your guac strategy with this rustic and ready dip. http://avocadosfrommexico.com/recipe/guacamole_dips/rustic-guac-with-corn/   Global flavors up your game – a lime flavored tortilla chip will take you through the halftime fun! http://avocadosfrommexico.com/recipe/guacamole_dips/guacamole-masala/   Go long with a Mediterranean guacamole that’s full of flavor and texture, and brings your party in for the win! http://avocadosfrommexico.com/recipe/appetizers_snacks/mediterranean-guacamole   Written by Maureen Murphy & Sarah Palmer Empty Pie Crust When it comes to baking a pie, mastering the crust is key! While you can purchase pre-made pie crusts in the dairy & frozen section of our stores, making a pie crust from scratch will make your pie the star of the dessert table!  Below are some tried & true tips to help get you started!     Now that your pie crust skills are feeling confident, fill your crust with this delicious Chocolate-Pecan filling for a sweet pie your holiday guests will love! Chocolate Pecan Pie Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat eggs slightly in mixing bowl.  Blend in sugar, flour, butter and vanilla.  Stir in pecans and chocolate.  Pour into pie shell.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool and serve.  Serves 6-8. Written by Ellie Wilson, MS, RD Senior Nutritionist Many people are on a budget these days and that tends to raise awareness of all kinds of things, including how much food we eat.  For those managing diabetes, being aware of food and what its impact is on blood sugar is important, but more than once I have heard that eating healthfully is too expensive. Balancing the budget and balancing health is possible, with a few insights and a little planning. Planning is the first hurdle – so many of us are so busy, we find it easy to ignore the concept. However, most of us plan “accidentally” – many people have a set routine for meals they cook throughout the week, as well as typical items they buy or prepare for lunch, dinner and snacks. It often changes seasonally – salads in summer, with meat on the grill; soup in the fall and winter, as well as crockpot meals. The first step to planning is just putting your “usual’s” down on paper, with dollar amounts you usually spend (or the budget amount you are trying to stick to!) You don’t have to change everything to eat healthier on a budget, just tweak what you usually do. Do you buy rotisserie chicken for Monday nights, when you don’t want to cook? Plan on scooping out some frozen broccoli from a bag in the freezer, and microwaving a small potato – done, healthy, fast, and cheap. Both the frozen broccoli (as well as any other frozen vegetable or fruit) and the potato are very economical choices for eating well. Try a little herb seasoning, lemon or ginger in the cooking water of the broccoli. Breakfast is also easy – eggs are a really inexpensive source of good protein, and easy to mix up with leftover vegetables for an omelet. Wheat bread is the new white bread – we now eat more wheat bread than white in the U.S., so it should be easy to find an economical choice that has at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. Manage meat – check on the sales, slice thinly, store leftovers properly, and you can probably turn down the volume but 969f0e87dd37c6cb806a316de15111e986a66c709a1d54752da6f781b2fc08beturn up the lean, more nutritious protein choices – trade up to seafood and lean meats.  Coupons are also a tool in your toolbox – check out that list of usual’s every week, and connect coupons where you can – you’ll get the best nutrition as well as the best bargain! Medication connection – check out the Price Chopper Diabetes AdvantEdge program. Multiple medications, insulin syringes, pen tips, lancets and lancing devices – are all free. That will definitely lower the cost of diabetes management! Here is a great EatingWell® recipe that puts it all together – enjoy! Written By: Ellie Wilson, MS, RD  Senior Nutritionist, Price Chopper Supermarkets “Cool as a cucumber” – you can be all that enjoying the farm- fresh cucumbers in the stores right now from farmers like Walter Czajkowski and Mary McNamara at Plainville Farm in Plainville, CT. Cucumbers have a clean, mild flavor and they can star or be a supporting player in salads, salsas, and pickles. Have you ever made your own pickles? It is so easy – try Mary’s easy bread and butter pickle recipe. Everything you need, including the mason jars, are in your store. Sterilize 3 jars by covering them in boiling water for 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Pack cucumbers and onions in layers a wide mouth mason jar. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over the vegetables. Store in the refrigerator. For the first 2 days shake jar to mix well. Enjoy! Those same cucumbers are great in a cucumber and onion salad – just slice cucumbers and onions thinly (try sweet onions for this salad!). Add Ken’s Light Italian dressing and serve. Couldn’t be easier! kens-logo-presentation Summer is also grilling time, so putting together a quick and easy grilled meal for friends and family is fun and fresh! Peppers are also coming in – our friends at Blackhorse farms have beautiful peppers in the stores, and they can be enjoyed in this super summer recipe from Eating Well. The shrimp is on sale, and all of the ingredients are waiting for you. http://pricechopper.com/recipes/9816/Grilled-Shrimp-Cocktail-with-Yellow-Gazpacho-Salsa Delicious, and my favorite part – it is all really good and good for you. Enjoy! Written By: Ellie Wilson, MS, RD  Senior Nutritionist, Price Chopper Supermarkets There is so much to talk about! Summer squash is the star this week, and we have it from our farmer partners at Reeves Farm, Shaul’s Farm, Paul Mazza Farms, Davandjer Farms, Black Horse Farms, Hoover’s Produce, and Plainville Farm. I have visited many of these farms – this year is a good harvest for summer squash.iStock_000003950671_Medium Yellow summer squash and zucchini are super versatile – mild flavored, they can be served grilled, sautéed, ribboned (a beautiful presentation, and so easy to do with your usual handy kitchen peeler), or in salads; grated and added to quick bread batter, chopped in soup or pasta dishes – the possibilities are almost endless. These squash are low in calories, and high in Vitamin C. We also have some delicate and petite patty pan squash. Mild flavored like its cousins, patty pan adds great visual appeal to a meal. Patty pans also have a few different names – they can be called scallop squash, or button squash. Little kids call them flying saucers, and you can use that to get them to try a new vegetable! Heather Eckhardt at Kinderhook Creek Farm has shared a terrific zucchini appetizer recipe that is great for summer parties and will have your friends begging for the recipe. Heather Eckhardt’s Zucchini Appetizer Mix oil, eggs, Bisquick, parsley, salt and pepper together. Stir in zucchini. Spread onto a cookie sheet (with a high lip, or a jelly roll pan), single layer. Then layer the onion, pepper, and tomatoes, as though it were a pizza. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake at 350 F for 30 – 35 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into squares with a pizza cutter. I slice squash up, and depending on how hot it is, grill them with olive oil and fresh basil in a grill pan over a low flame, or oven roast them the same way. All of the summer squashes can be made this way – fresh basil, a little sea salt to finish and you have the tastes of summer on your plate. Zucchini and yellow squash are great for kabobs with a delicious Certified Angus Beef steak. You can add some fresh herbs and spices in for a little extra flavor.Certified-Angus-Beef-logo Summer Sizzle Steak Combine dressing, mustard, herbs and ginger in a close-able plastic bag or bowl with a cover. Add meat and vegetables to the dressing. Allow to marinate for 2 hours, refrigerated. Thread onto wooden or metal skewers. Note – wooden skewers should be soaked in water for an hour before use. Grill kabobs 5 minutes each side until meat reaches desired doneness. cheersHave you checked out our online helpful guides for the holidays?  If you haven’t yet, we’re having a scavenger hunt this week where you can enter to win one of three $100 Price Chopper gift cards.  Our online magazines, Cheers! and Let Us Entertain You are now readily available online, providing helpful entertaining tips, festive recipes and much more!  It’s easy- just check out our Facebook page Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and answer each of the questions posted by emailing your answers to photos@pricechopper.com.  We will randomly select three people who answer all three questions correctly to each receive $100 Price Chopper gift cards! The links to each of the magazines are below- good luck!! Cheers! Let Us Entertain You Email your answers to photos@pricechopper .com by 8:00AM Thursday, December 13th to be entered.  Read official contest rules here. When it comes to summer, there’s nothing better than a juicy, flavorful rack of pork ribs to complete the perfect meal. Because pork is such a versatile meat, you can easily adapt any recipe for the occasion and your palate! In fact, it’s easy to change the flavor profile of any cut of pork cut, especially ribs, just by adding different dry rubs, liquid seasonings, sauces, or even a single ingredient. With all of the great combinations of brines, marinades (wet seasoning), rubs (dry seasoning), mops, glazes and sauces, the options are endless (and often overwhelming!).  Here are some quick tips and tricks to ensure your ribs are lip-smackin’ good: Marinades Marinades are a great way to add flavor to grilled pork, by enhancing the juiciness and complexity. In addition to using a base of oil (to lock in the flavor and keep food moist), standard marinades include salt, an acid (such as lemon juice, wine, vinegar or citrus) and other flavor-boosting ingredients. Quick tip: Adding sweet ingredients to the marinade can help form appealing caramelized, crispy coatings on grilled meats, but be careful not to add too many sweet components, since sugars burn quickly. Rubs Rubs are blends of spices, herbs and often salt, that are applied to the meat before cooking. Rubs (also referred to as dry marinades) are a great way to form a crust and add flavor to the meat. These blends are rubbed onto food 15-20 minutes before cooking. Quick tip: Don’t rub the seasonings too hard into the food – it can damage the texture and risk over seasoning. Instead, sprinkle the rub from side to side over the pork from about a foot above. This will help evenly distribute the rub. Pat gently for the seasonings to adhere. Sauces, Glazes and Spritzes Often inspired by regions including Memphis, Kansas City or North Carolina, sauces can help define your style of barbecue. Sauces are typically added at the end of cooking time to add an additional layer of flavor and moisture. Favorite bottled sauces are fantastic stand-bys – and also an opportunity to get inspired. For more tips and tricks, as well as hundreds of finger-lickin’ good rib recipes, visit http://www.porkbeinspired.com.