Hearty and Healthy Cooking and Recipe Ideas for the Family

Let's See What Cooking delivers ideas and content about recipes, leftovers and other meals.

Fire-Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt's® Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in blender container. Puree 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth.
  2. Chill 2 hours before serving. Makes about 2-1/2 cups.

Countryside Italian Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) Hunt's® Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups cooked farfalle (bow-tie pasta), chilled
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh basil (2/3 cup = about 1-1/3 oz)
  • 1/2 cup diced part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 4 slices fully cooked bacon, heated, chopped
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Directions

  1. Combine drained tomatoes, pasta, basil, cheese and bacon in large bowl.
  2. Add dressing; toss to coat.

Sandwiches Save the Day!

Though they may not be the first thing that comes to mind when putting dinner on the table, sandwiches are an easy win with kids of all ages (and parents alike!) and can be incorporated into weekly or monthly meal rotations without becoming boring.

“Dinner is more leisurely than lunch—and more of a meal where people gather at the table—and sandwiches are people-pleasers,” says Lisa Cherkasky, food stylist and writer of The Lunch Encounter. “So, it can be very satisfying to make a sandwich meal memorable or even create new traditions.”

Dinner sandwiches can become part of a comfort food repertoire, like grilled cheese sandwiches that feature a special ingredient, like a fancy cheese or bakery bread, Cherkasky says. You can also consider tackling sandwich recipes for dinner that may be a little too much work for lunchtime, like a Monte Cristo, Reuben or grilled Panini. Making a more complete meal out of sandwiches can also include heartier side dishes.

“At dinnertime, you might include a soup or side that is a little more ‘grown-up’ than potato chips or cheese puffs,” Cherkasky says. “Think baby kale salad, homemade lentil soup (see recipe below) or red potato salad.”

Keys to Easy Sandwich-Making

Sandwiches are known for being quick to make, but Cherkasky offers the following tips for building your dinner sandwiches even faster:

  • Keep sandwich components ready for grabbing by prewashing and drying your lettuce and greens.
  • Have yummy, fresh toppings on-hand in your fridge at all times. Toppings can include sprouts, grated carrots, wilted broccoli rabe, sliced pickles, coleslaw and hard-boiled eggs.
  • Stock a selection of condiments, like horseradish, various mustards, tartar sauce, chipotle mayonnaise or sriracha sauce -- just a smear of any one of these items can make a plain sandwich sing.
Buying pre-cooked ingredients, like meatballs, or using your slow cooker to make pulled pork, can also speed up evening prep and cook time during the week. The options for building a perfect dinnertime sandwich are endless. But, there is one tip to keep in mind as you create: how much of each ingredient you’re using. The key to a perfect sandwich, according to Cherkasky, is the bread to filling ratio. Keep this in mind and you’ll be well on your way to building beautiful sandwiches every night of the week.

Sandwich Side Dish Recipe: Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

A basic slow cooker vegetarian soup recipe made with brown lentils, tomatoes, celery and onion for comfort food goodness.

Hands On:15  
Total: 495
Makes: 6 servings (about 1 cup each)

Ingredients:

  • PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt's® Petite Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup dry brown lentils, sorted, rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Spray inside of 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all remaining ingredients to slow cooker; stir to combine.
  2. Cover; cook on LOW 8 hours or on HIGH 4 hours. Remove and discard bay leaves.

Nutritional Information:

6 servings (about 1 cup each) Calories 151; Total Fat 1 g(Saturated Fat 0 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 648 mg; Carbohydrate 27 g; (Dietary Fiber 11 g, Sugars 5 g); Protein 9 g; Percent Daily Values*: Vitamin A 10%; Vitamin C 17%; Calcium 4%; Iron 17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Sides to Grill Up with Your Burgers

The days are getting longer, the weather’s warming up and the grill is calling your name. This year, make outdoor dining even easier by stepping out of the kitchen and making your sides right alongside your burgers and hotdogs. We’ve asked corporate chef Eric Dougherty to share his favorite sides for the grill, along with cooking tips, below.

Side Dish: Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Asparagus
For this side, you’ll need a bunch of large raw asparagus and thick-cut, smoked bacon. Use a knife to trim the bottom inch off of the asparagus (the thicker end), and roll one half of a piece of bacon around each individual asparagus. After wrapping each piece of asparagus in bacon, place the asparagus on the grill with the loose side of the bacon facing the grill grates. Grill the asparagus until the bacon is slightly charred (approximately two minutes), then move each piece to a higher shelf on the grill. Let the asparagus cook on the top shelf of the grill for approximately three more minutes, or until the asparagus lightly tender and the bacon is golden brown.

Chef’s Tip: Dougherty recommends cooking your asparagus above the meat you’re grilling so that the bacon fat drips down onto the meat for additional flavor.

Side Dish: Grilled Pineapple
Using a sharp knife, trim off the top and bottom of a large, whole pineapple then trim off the thick exterior of the fruit, making sure to remove the eyes (small brown spots) and seeds. Put the pineapple on its side and slice it into rings approximately ¼ inch thick. Very lightly pat the pineapple with a paper towel to remove excess juice, then place the pineapple rings onto lightly oiled, cleaned grill grates. Grill the rings for approximately three minutes on each side, making charred marks on both sides of the rings. Once grilled, set them aside and let them rest until they come back down to room temperature.

Chef’s Tip: He recommends serving with a dish like barbecued chicken or pork.

Side Dish: Pepper, Tomato and Onion Kabobs
Remove the top and core of a large pepper (of any color) and cut into ½ inch squares. Open and drain a can of Hunt's® stewed tomatoes. Trim and peel an onion (any kind you prefer) and also cut into ½ inch squares. Slide the cut vegetables onto skewers, alternating pieces of pepper, tomato and onion, leaving ½ inch of empty skewer on either end. Brush the skewers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then place the kabobs onto the grill and rotate every two minutes until the vegetables are lightly charred on the outside. Move the skewers onto a higher shelf or cooler spot on the grill until the vegetables are tender but not soft, another three to five minutes.

Chef’s Tip: If you’re using wooden skewers for the kabobs, soak skewers in warm water for 30 minutes prior to cooking to prevent burning on the grill.

Side Dish: Mexican Corn
Perfect for a summertime fiesta, you’ll need whole ears of fresh sweet corn and your favorite spicy seasonings for this recipe. Peel off the very outside leaves of the corn, leaving the tender, lighter leaves in tact around the cob. Soak the ears of corn in warm water for 30 minutes then drain and place on the grill on medium high heat. Grill the corn until all the leaves are charred around the outside but not blackened, approximately eight to ten minutes. Let the ears rest for three to four minutes then peel the leaves off and remove the corn silk. Brush the corn with either olive oil or mayonnaise then season with paprika, chili powder or cumin (if desired) and sprinkle on your choice of Parmesan, cotija or queso fresco cheese.

Chef’s Tip: Serve this side with finely chopped parsley and fresh lime wedges.