What Delectables are YOU Preparing for Easter?

By DeDe Hausmann

What are you doing for your Easter meals?  I’ve posed that question to many friends and have found an array of different agendas for the day.  Some do a brunch at home before or after church and then go to a restaurant for dinner, while others enjoy a quick breakfast after the young ones have had their Easter egg hunt, gather everyone in their Easter finery and head to church and then later in the day they enjoy a scrumptious Easter afternoon or eve meal at home.

No matter your plans, I bet you could use some appetizer and/or salad recipes made with delicious and nutritious dairy products.

  • You can’t beat a Breakfast Casserole (or Strata) that you’ve prepared the day before, refrigerated overnight and bake in the AM.   Strata’s are great for they usually call for dairy, grains, meats and veggies and then add a fruit salad and OJ, milk and coffee to go with it and you’ve got all FIVE food groups covered!!  Talk about an easy, nutritious meal and if you don’t have a recipe, google STRATA RECIPES on the internet!!!
  • Need scrumptious but healthy appetizers to snack on during the day?  Prepare a Vanilla Yogurt Dip (mix fat-free Vanilla yogurt with a little nutmeg and cinnamon) to serve with fresh fruits, such as strawberries, banana and pineapple chunks, and grapes.  For an easy veggie appetizer, mix fat-free PLAIN yogurt with dry vegetable soup mix.  Have a bounty of broccoli and/or cauliflower bits, mini carrots, grape or cherry tomatoes, or whatever you have in your veggie crisper as dippers. And don’t forget to provide chunks or slices of your favorite dairy cheeses to serve with wheat crackers.  NOTE: read CRACKER labels carefully re: dietary fiber.  Choose crackers with at least 1 or more grams of dietary fiber per serving and choose reduced fat crackers whenever possible.
  • Here’s a great recipe for a Cole Slaw Dressing.  Whisk together ½ C. reduced fat mayo, ¾ C. PLAIN non-fat yogurt, ¼ C.sugar, ¼ C. cider vinegar, ¼ t. celery seed, ½ t. dill weed, ¼ t. black pepper, and salt to taste.  For a Fruit Slaw (found recipe at Marzetti.com and altered it a little), add the dressing to 5 C. shredded red or green cabbage, 1 C. shredded carrots, 1 small can mandarin oranges (drained), 1 C. seed-less red grapes, 1 C. sliced strawberries, 2 peeled/chopped kiwi’s, and 1 T. poppy seed.   Toss and chill before serving.  For a Veggie Slaw, add the dressing to 5 C. shredded red or green cabbage, 1 C. shredded carrots, ¼ C. onion bits, ¼ C. diced radishes, ¼ C. celery bits, and/or whatever vegetables you want to use.  I like to add ½ cup of raisins to perk up the flavor and texture.  Chill well before serving. Both recipes serve 10 easily. 

Holiday Leftover Recipes

By Michelle Plummer

Well, we have made it past the last holiday food frenzy with much success!  The ham was delicious and not over cooked, rosemary and roasted garlic mashed potatoes were a hit! Here is a hint, unless your brother-in-law is from the old country and is use to grandmother having the entire house smell of garlic at 9:00 am; plan ahead!  None the less dinner was wonderful…but the leftovers, as families downsize consumption, in actual number, and taking home said delicacies….your refrigerator looks like a display for the ‘store & save’ container company!  This is what I am planning for the next few days of meals at home, NO SHOPPING necessary!

Using the leftover pie dough, make a quiche using eggs, milk, cream, bits and pieces of cheese some simple veggies and add a side salad in less than 60 minutes. Not only is it nutrient delicious and colorful but it is different than the last 8 meals of roasted meat, mashed something and ‘little’ wrapped something!  As a little side note, many years ago I had the privilege to assist Howard Helner (known for making the fastest omelets) http://www.incredibleeggman.com and his recipe for quiche is never fail.


6  Eggs, salted and peppered
1  Frozen deep-dish pie shell (or a sheet of refrigerated pie crust in a 9-in pie shell)
1  Cup of half & half or whole milk ,or 2% milk,

2  Cups of anything in your fridge that seems like it’ll work
1  Cup of shredded any kind of cheese

Preheat oven to 425-F.  Pierce the pie crust all over with a fork.  Bake, unfilled, for about 8-minutes.  Meanwhile, mix together the eggs, half & half or milk, cheese and anything else and empty it all into the pre-baked pie shell.   Reduce the oven to 325-F and bake for 35 or 40 minutes.  Let it rest for 5-minutes before serving.

Well, what about dinner?  This is the best meal to hide little bits of this and that!  Mis Matched Macaroni and Chees!  Everyone has a basic mac and cheese recipe, and I am no different, however, I rarely make mac and cheese the same way twice.  Macaroni, some cheese- keep using up the bits and pieces—cream cheese and mascarpone are divine, cheese ball…why not!, then sauté or steam diced veggies from the leftover vegetable tray, and chop ham, chicken, roasted beef anything on hand.  My new favorite addition is sweet potatoes, remove the skins, the marshmallows sugar and mash them into the cheese sauce…Delicious and one more vegetable the kids are eating without the fight!

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Pumpkin Recipes Perfect for Halloween!

Here are some Spooktacular pumpkin recipes I found and wanted to share with you! They would be great for Halloween!


For the topping:

  • 2 cups low fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup raisins

For the pancakes:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup 1% low fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup low fat vanilla yogurt

In a small mixing bowl, briskly combine vanilla yogurt and raisins until yogurt becomes looser texture. Reserve. For the pancakes, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine milk, butter, egg, pumpkin, and yogurt, mixing well.

Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and stir until just moist. Do not overmix. Batter may be lumpy. For thinner batter, add milk. Lightly coat a griddle or skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium. Using a quarter-cup measure, pour batter onto hot griddle. Cook until bubbles begin to burst, then flip pancakes and cook until golden.

Serve warm, topped with yogurt-raisin mixture and dusting of cinnamon.

  • 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 (30-ounce) bag frozen cheese ravioli
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Place a large saucepan of water over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, combine the pumpkin, broth, sugar, butter, garlic powder, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts and the mixture is heated through, about 10 minutes.

When the water comes to a boil, add the ravioli and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Just before serving, stir in the sour cream as desired. Serve the ravioli on individual plates, top with pumpkin sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


  • 1 can (14 ounces) pumpkin, chilled
  • 3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1 container (6 ounces) lowfat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 cups lowfat milk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 6 teaspoons graham cracker crumbs, optional

Place all ingredients (except graham cracker crumbs) in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and top each serving with a teaspoon of graham cracker crumbs, if desired.

Idea Swap: Kids, Nutrition, & Exercise

Today is National Swap Ideas Day.  It used to be that idea swapping occurred between neighbors while visiting over the fence.  Oftentimes, recipes were the ideas being swapped.  However, today’s communication technologies make that quaint scene seem a little nostalgic, but it’s not completely gone.  While I don’t even have a fence in my yard, I still get some good ideas from my neighbors, whether it’s about cooking or gardening or any other topic.

To keep this from going all over the place, we’re going to narrow the topic of our “swaps” to how to get children to eat healthier foods and do more physical activity.  September marks National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month; hopefully this holiday doesn’t become a permanent part of our calendars.  First Lady Michelle Obama has taken this cause under her wing, and has brought many folks along with her.  The National Dairy Council and the NFL’s collaborative school wellness program – Fuel Up to Play 60 – is one such player.

Now back to swapping ideas!  I’ll start things off with some of my ideas that I’ve acquired over the years.  One thing about nutrition that I grew up with was always having milk with meals.  There was no other option for my siblings and I – it was just a given.  And it was great!  Eating breakfast was also a must.  Again, it wasn’t something to argue about, it was just known that every morning began with breakfast.  One other blast from the past that can still be incorporated today goes back to treats.  Many moons ago when my parents went out on a Saturday night and our babysitter was there, my sister and I got to share one bottle of Coke™.  That was when it came it 16 oz. glass bottles, and boy, did it taste good!  But half of that bottle was plenty, and knowing that there was no more when it was gone, made it even more special.  How about serving fruit as dessert?  I could go on and on, but let’s hear from you! What are your ideas for kids’ nutrition?

We also need to talk about physical activity for all of us, but especially for kids. For a variety of reasons, kids don’t tend to have access to much physical activity at school on a daily basis.  But, getting kids to be physically active for 60 minutes a day is one of the components of Fuel Up to Play 60.  The “60” doesn’t have to be all at one time.  Getting ten minutes here and fifteen minutes there (of physical activity) can really add up over the course of a day.  Some easy ideas include taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator, riding a bike to a friend’s house instead of being driven, or even seeing how many sit-ups you can do during a TV commercial break. Now I know there are more creative minds out there – what are your ideas?  You could win a prize!!

So, share your ideas about how to get kids to eat healthier foods and do more physical activity by adding a comment to this post. Then, on Tuesday (9/14) we’ll have a drawing* and 10 lucky people will win a physical activity prize pack!

 *1 drawing entry per blog comment posted.

From Milkshakes to Double Nonfat Lattes…

…New Dairy Product Developments Help You on Your Way to 3 Every Day!

Advances in technology, packaging, and product innovation give consumers an array of choices in the dairy case that offer “something for everyone.”

People today have more options than ever to meet their recommended three servings of dairy — milk, cheese, or yogurt — every day. You can find new packaging for milk in many school vending machines, as well as on the cafeteria serving lines. At quick-serve restaurants, milk comes in new flavors and in kid-appealing packaging. You’ll find cheese and yogurt dressing up salads and desserts. Looking for something extra-special in cheese? Artisanal (handmade) cheeses are the latest darling of the deli.

Behind the scenes, food-makers have created yogurts that offer higher levels of probiotics and milk that helps to lower cholesterol to improve health. Also, they’ve discovered the versatility of other dairy ingredients, such as whey and powdered cheeses, to boost the nutrition, texture and flavor of their products.

Innovation and technology research is funded by America’s dairy farmers as part of a national promotion and research program. Finding ways to meet consumer demands for products that never existed previously — or had never even been imagined — helps people to eat healthy and enjoy dairy choices that fit today’s on-the-go lifestyle.

The dairy industry currently encourages three daily servings of milk, cheese or yogurt. In 2005, dietary guidelines recommended three servings of low-fat or non-fat dairy a day — not only because of the calcium that dairy foods provide, but also for other key nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium and vitamin A.

The great news is that all milk and dairy foods are equally safe, wholesome and nutritious to help people build strong bones and healthy bodies. Dairy farmers have worked hard for generations to provide American families with milk and dairy foods to enjoy. Now, there are even more unique and delicious ways to enjoy them.

Chocolate Pigs Starring at the Indiana State Fair!

It’s hard to believe that today, August 6th, begins the Year of Pigs at the 2010 Great Indiana State Fair! From corn on the cob to corn dogs, elephant ears to chocolate pigs the fair offers everyone a day of fun, enjoyment, and a bit of nostalgia. Not to mention there is always that one new piece of excitement!

For the die-hard Dairy Bar diners you have enjoyed the Moose Tracks hand dipped ice cream, been amazed by the gooey elasticity of Indiana made Gouda grilled cheese sandwich, and this year — you’ll be raving over the chocolate pig.  Yes, as our tribute to the Year of Pigs the Dairy Bar has developed a custard dessert that is topped with crispy smoked bacon bits, crunchy roasted almonds, and rich chocolate syrup!  This custard dessert has something for everyone. It will excite all of your taste buds, and is for all ages.  Just ask for the Chocolate Pig and a great deal for $2.50!

There are other great nutritious food choices at the fair: roasted corn on the cob dipped in another dairy favorite, butter; Red Gold Tomato juice; Indiana Pork’s award winning Garbage Burger; and a Hoosier favorite from the Beef Cattleman’s Association, the ribeye steak sandwich.

However, I would be remised as a Dairy Bar fan if I didn’t tell you that the American Dairy Association of Indiana provides the best family meal value on the premise!  A 12-ounce glass of deliciously ice cold milk is only 50 cents!  Creamy and low-fat cottage cheese is also only 50 cents a serving.  Grilled cheese (everyone’s favorite) be it on white, wheat, or rye is a mere $2.50 each, and they are a healthy and tasty treat!  From fried mozzarella sticks with marinara, cups of yogurt, apple slices, milk shakes that require a spoon, and the best premium hand-dipped ice cream in six luscious flavors– there really is no place like the Dairy Bar during the Indiana State Fair! Can you think of an easier and tastier way to enjoy your 3-Every-Day of Dairy? I bet not!

See you at the Fair!

Summertime Heart-Healthy Cooking Tips

With all of the ballgames, fairs, and vacations, the summer months fly by and sometimes healthy eating gets put on the backburner. However, just because you’re always on the move doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice your family’s nutrition. Here are some great quick tips to keep in mind:

Go Green means: Add about a cup of chopped fresh spinach or kale to any pasta, casserole, soup or salad. It’s a great way increase the amount of green leafy vegetables in your diet as well as add a source of folate to a meal. Fork your salad and then dip in low fat dressing that is on the side for a taste with fewer calories.

Add Zest and Zing using citrus zest from fresh lemons, limes and oranges or mince fresh herbs and hot peppers to create depth of flavor without added sodium.

Oven Roast or grill vegetables such as beets, carrots, squash, onions, bell peppers, eggplant or sweet potatoes to seal in the flavor and enhance the sweetness. Start by pre-heating the oven to 400° or fire up your grill. Cut veggies into similar sizes and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil per 1 cup of veggies and toss thoroughly to coat. Place on a baking sheet, stir every 20 minutes and bake until vegetables are tender and browned (about 45-60 minutes) or package in foil and place on grill. Serve them hot as a nutrient-packed accompaniment!

Be a Spice Connoisseur. Freshly-ground spices and herbs dramatically increase the flavor of any dish. Invest in a mini-grinder to grind your own, such as cumin, nutmeg and pepper.

Use Fruit for Added Flavor such as adding pineapple to pizza or a pork dish, mango in a stir fry, dried cranberries to a casserole or papaya in salads. They add flavor and nutrients without fat or sodium!

Fiberfull a meal by adding any kind of bean — chickpeas, black-eyed peas, pinto, black or kidney — to salads, casseroles, soups, vegetables, sandwiches and side dishes.

Milk it for all its worth by making salad dressings with low-fat plain yogurt, feta cheese and garlic or have yogurt fruit parfaits for dessert!

What tips do you have for our fellow readers as they tackle the last of the summer months? Please share them us, and enjoy!