Archive for August, 2012

Quick Chili Mac Skillet

Quick Chili Mac Skillet

Mission, KS  (Food News)  The busy school year means that dinner planning often gets pushed aside. Moms and dads alike may find themselves opting for the drive-thru instead of the dinner table. But that’s not the only option. Homemade Quick Chili Mac Skillet was created with busy weeknights in mind. Not only is it quick and easy, it’s a family-friendly and healthy dinner that you can feel good about serving.

Start with everyone’s favorite elbow pasta, but not just any pasta. Choose one that offers some extra benefits that traditional pasta doesn’t provide. For example, Dreamfields Elbows are made from durum wheat semolina, which ensures the taste and texture of traditional pasta, but with a nutritional boost. Five grams of fiber per 1-cup cooked serving and fewer digestible carbohydrates make it a delicious and healthy option to traditional pasta.

While the pasta cooks, brown ground beef and onion, making sure the beef is completely cooked. Stir in a pinch of chili powder for a peppery kick; add diced canned tomatoes and kidney beans — super simple. On these time-crazed days, swapping out hand-chopping for the can opener makes a lot of sense.

Simply toss the chili with the pasta, sprinkle with cheese and serve a delicious one-dish dinner that will get the entire family back to the table. A green salad or fruit would be a great way to round out the menu.

Visit to find more delicious recipes and to view the instructional video on how to make Quick Chili Mac Skillet.

Quick Chili Mac Skillet
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Makes 4 servings
1/2 box Dreamfields Elbows
2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
1/2 pound lean ground beef (85% lean)
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 ounces) kidney or black beans, rinsed and drained
Coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; return to pan.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brown ground beef and onion 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is cooked through and onions are tender, breaking beef into large crumbles. Stir in chili powder then tomatoes. Cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes to blend flavors. Add beans; heat through.

Remove skillet from heat. Toss beef mixture with pasta. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Sprinkle with cheese.

Note: If desired, ground chicken or turkey breast may be substituted for the ground beef.

Nutrition information (1/4 of recipe): 425 calories; 25g protein; 29g digestible carbohydrates*; 12g total fat; 4g saturated fat; 40mg cholesterol; 331mg sodium; 11g total dietary fiber.

*If traditional pasta is used in this recipe there is a total of 59g carbohydrate.

Sartori Takes a First Place Award at American Cheese Society Competition

Sartori Takes a First Place Award at American Cheese Society Competition

Raleigh, NC  (Food News)  Out of a field of more than 1700 entries at the prestigious American Cheese Society competition held this past Friday, Sartori’s Limited Edition Pastorale Blend® was awarded a first place Blue Ribbon.  This follows a strong performance at the World Championship Cheese Contest this past winter.

Pastorale Blend, a Spanish-inspired cheese, is a Sartori Original mixed milk cheese and has won more than 9 notable awards over the past 3 years. “Sartori is extremely honored to be recognized at this time by the American Cheese Society judges,” said 3rd generation proprietor Jim Sartori. “Our team members are truly dedicated to making consistent, quality products and take great pride in our heritage of making world class award-winning cheese.”

“Sartori’s Merlot BellaVitano received a 2nd place ribbon, the second year in a row for Merlot to receive an award from the judges at the ACS. SarVecchio® Parmesan, a 2012 World Championship Best of Class winner, took a third place ribbon along with the newly introduced Limited Edition Extra Aged Goat bringing the total for the competition to four for Sartori.”

About Sartori

Sartori has been producing artisan and premium cheese for seven decades for Specialty, Retail, Ingredient, Restaurant and Food Service markets.  Based in Plymouth, Wisconsin, Sartori has an impressive array of award winning cheese noted for innovative approaches and consistent top quality across their entire line.  For more information, please visit or call us directly at 800-558-5888.

Grapes reduced blood pressure, improved blood flow and reduced inflammation

Grapes reduced blood pressure, improved blood flow and reduced inflammation

Fresno, CA  (Food News)  Consuming grapes may help protect heart health in people with metabolic syndrome, according to new research published in the Journal of Nutrition.[1]  Researchers observed a reduction in key risk factors for heart disease in men with metabolic syndrome: reduced blood pressure, improved blood flow and reduced inflammation.  Natural components found in grapes, known as polyphenols, are thought to be responsible for these beneficial effects.

The randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study, led by principal investigator Dr. Maria Luz Fernandez and Jacqueline Barona, a PhD student in Dr. Fernandez’ lab at the Department of Nutritional Sciences of the University of Connecticut, recruited men between 30 and 70 years of age with metabolic syndrome. The study is believed to be the first to look at the impact of grapes on metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together – increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist or low HDL (the good cholesterol) and increased blood triglycerides – significantly increasing the risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is a major public health concern, and is on the rise in the U.S.

In this study, participants were randomly assigned to consume grapes, in the form of a freeze-dried whole grape powder, or a placebo powder, for four weeks.  Then, following a 3-week “washout” period where neither grapes nor placebo were consumed, individuals were allocated to the alternate treatment.  This powerful study design allowed investigators to compare the response of each individual to consumption of both the placebo and grapes.

The study results showed that for each of the study’s subjects, grape consumption resulted in significant decreases in blood pressure, improved blood flow (greater vasodilation), and decreases in a compound associated with inflammation.

“These results suggest that consuming grapes can improve important risk factors associated with heart disease, in a population that is already at higher risk,” said Fernandez.  “This further supports the accumulating evidence that grapes can positively influence heart health, and extends it to men with metabolic syndrome.”

The California Table Grape Commission was created by the California legislature in 1967 to increase worldwide demand for fresh California grapes through a variety of research and promotional programs.

The California Table Grape Commission prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, or religion. The California Table Grape Commission is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

[1] Barona, J, Fernandez, ML, et al.  Grape polyphenols reduce blood pressure and increase flow-mediated vasodilation in men with metabolic syndrome.  Published ahead of print J Nutr.  2012 doi:10.3945/jn.112.1162743

An unmatched way to enjoy breakfast, packed with flavor and whole grains

An unmatched way to enjoy breakfast, packed with flavor and whole grains

Thomasville, GA  (Food News)  It’s a little like a bagel, a bit like an English muffin, and reminiscent of breakfast bread, but it’s something totally unique in the breakfast baked foods category. Nature’s Own, America’s No. 1 soft variety bread brand*, has introduced Oatmeal Toasters™ to its line of Special Morning breakfast items, available now at major supermarkets and retail stores in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southwest.

Oatmeal Toasters™ are delicious squares, a bit smaller than a slice of bread, with a soft, chewy texture. Made with whole grains and real oats, and studded with sweet fruit, each square offers four grams of fiber and 20 grams of whole grain. They are available in two delicious flavors – Cinnamon Raisin and Cranberry Orange.

“We wanted to create a recipe for something truly different and we have achieved just that with the Oatmeal Toasters™,” said Keith Aldredge, vice president of marketing/breads & rolls, for Flowers Foods. “They combine the taste, texture, and portability of bagels, English muffins, and breakfast breads — all in one. Oatmeal Toasters™ are perfect for an on-the-go breakfast or snack, for both kids and adults. With fiber, whole grains, and only 160 calories, they are a delicious, healthy choice.”

Oatmeal Toasters™ can be eaten right out of the bag or lightly toasted and served warm with butter, jam, or your favorite breakfast spread. They are sold in resealable packages of eight Toasters.

About Nature’s Own

Introduced with no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors by Flowers Foods in 1977, Nature’s Own has become America’s best-selling soft variety bread brand and is now a full line of breads, buns, and baked breakfast items. Known for its quality and innovation, Nature’s Own was among the first brands to offer low-calorie and sugar free breads, a double fiber bread with omega-3, and thin-sliced bagels. Today, consumers can find a wide variety of bakery items under the Nature’s Own brand, including whole wheat and whole grain varieties, specialty premium breads, English muffins, and sandwich rounds. For more information on Nature’s Own, visit To receive recipes, health tips, and learn about special promotions check out and

About Flowers Foods

Headquartered in Thomasville, Ga., Flowers Foods, Inc. (NYSE: FLO) is the second-largest producer and marketer of packaged bakery foods for retail and foodservice customers in the United States with 2011 sales of $2.8 billion. Flowers operates 44 bakeries that produce a wide range of bakery products. These products are sold through a direct-store-delivery network with access to approximately 70% of the U.S. population in the East, South, and Southwest as well as in certain markets in California. Select Flowers products are sold nationwide through customers’ delivery systems. Among the company’s top brands are Nature’s Own, Tastykake, and Mrs. Freshley’s. For more information, visit

* IRI Syndicated Data FY 2012

Moms want deals, too, but recipes are a more potent relationship builder

Seattle, WA  (Food News)  American moms are hungrier than ever for digital and online recipes, according to a recent study called Clicks & Cravings: Social Media & Mom. For example, 59 percent of online moms said they had searched for recipes or food preparation tips on the web or via social media while preparing a meal in the last thirty days.

For food and beverage brands, that translates to major product awareness and trial opportunities, especially since moms are some of the most engaged users of social media. On average, moms – not just active users – spend an average of 18.4 hours per month social networking online, according to the study.

The proprietary study was jointly developed and conducted by consumer research firm The Hartman Group and MSLGROUP Americas. It is the second wave of the broader, landmark study, Clicks & Cravings: The Impact of Social Technology on Food Culture.

Meals and Deals

Moms continue to be most responsible for their family’s shopping (87 percent) and cooking (84 percent).

“Moms are motivated by meeting family needs, and social media is serving as a way for moms to crowdsource that vital information,” said Steve Bryant, Director of Food & Beverage, MSLGROUP Americas.

Moms once paged through food and women’s magazines as their top sources for food information. Now, moms favor online sources. Almost half are more engaged online and one-third of moms are equally engaged online and in print.

Brand managers take note: Moms are more willing to communicate with brands via Facebook than women with no children (35 percent vs. 27 percent). Millennial Moms are even more game (44 percent).

“Why this openness? The number-one reason a mom will ‘like’ a food or beverage page on Facebook is to receive discounts or coupons,” explained Bryant. “Don’t misinterpret all of those ‘likes’ as love. You have to work for the love, and recipes emerged as the way brands can boost the intimacy-factor in social media engagement with consumers.

“Moms also said they want authenticity and transparency from brands. Deals won’t do that for a brand,” Bryant added.

The opportunity for recipes appears ripe.  A recently released NPD recipe usage report, Recipes Are Cooking, found recipe use once a week or more increased from 37 percent of households in 2005 to 42 percent in 2011.

“Developing and promoting on-trend recipes for our clients through our Culinary and Nutrition Center is in fact one of the ways we’ve helped food & beverage brands succeed in the digital environment.”

Ratings and Reviews

Like many American consumers, moms prefer to “crowdsource” food info and recipes rather than rely on their own moms. During the pre- and post-shop experience, they read and contribute to online review resources regularly: 42 percent read reviews from other users on sites such as Amazon and Yelp and 23 percent contribute reviews themselves.

“With 29 million moms visiting social network sites monthly, their ratings and reviews can really boost or bust a product’s reputation,” advised Caryn Carmer, Deputy Director of Food & Beverage, MSLGROUP Americas. “This elevates the importance of listening and quickly responding in social media channels.”

“We also saw that strongly positive or negative impressions are the ones that most likely prompt review writing, meaning that food and beverage marketers should aim beyond steady satisfaction to deliver more ‘wow’ experiences that excite reviewers.”

The full study also covers other aspects of moms’ evolving food culture, including:

  • Media and online activities
  • Social networking and social media activity
  • Food/beverage attitudes, preferences, behaviors and knowledge
  • Online and mobile technology usage and knowledge
  • Use of mobile and socially-enabled shopping for food and beverages

Full research report available at

About the Report

“Clicks & Cravings: Social Media & Mom” is an in-depth qualitative and quantitative study fielded December 2011 in the U.S. marketplace. Qualitative ethnographies were fielded in 2 major U.S. markets and more than 1,600 U.S. adult consumers, including over 400 females with kids younger than 13, participated in the online survey. In addition to providing insights into social media use among moms, the report provides strategic recommendations on how companies can leverage social media to build meaningful and profitable relationships with female consumers who have children.

About MSLGROUP Americas: Food & Beverage

A category leader, the Food & Beverage team of MSLGROUP Americas is devoted to creating economic value for the nation’s food and beverage industry. It houses MSLGROUP America’s Culinary & Nutrition Center and operates offices throughout the Americas representing leading food and beverage brands.

About MSLGROUP Americas

MSLGROUP Americas is part of MSLGROUP, Publicis Groupe’s strategic communications and engagement group, advisors in all aspects of communication strategy: from consumer PR to financial communications, from public affairs to reputation management and from crisis communications to experiential marketing and events. With more than 3,500 people across close to 100 offices worldwide, MSLGROUP is also the largest PR network in fast-growing China and India. The group offers strategic planning and counsel, insight-guided thinking and big, compelling ideas – followed by thorough execution. Learn more about us at: +

Reincarnated Family Bakery Cinnamon Bread Carves Path from New England to Missouri(Food News)  Cresting the wave of consumer acceptance of cinnamon, Jenny Lee® cinnamon swirl breads have grown from a company reestablished just two years ago, to a food phenomena found in over 1,000 outlets stretching from New England to Missouri.

A consumer staple in Western Pennsylvania since just after the Civil War, Jenny Lee® products—produced by the Baker family—at one point were produced by over 125 people and distributed throughout Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, and Southwest New York. Following a catastrophic fire, the bakery closed over three years ago.

5 Generation Bakers was founded by Scott Baker—literally a 5th generation baker—just over two years ago to satisfy the local demand that remained for their signature product, cinnamon swirl breads.

Beginning with just one customer—a local unit of the King’s Family Restaurant chain—5 Generation Bakers, using frozen distribution, expanded their reach to become a major item throughout the King’s system, then began their rapid expansion to foodservice and supermarket customers throughout the Eastern one-third of the US.

“Served toasted and buttered, Jenny Lee® Cinnamon Swirl Breads are without equal,” according to Scott Baker; an opinion shared by virtually everyone who has tried them. “In addition, the products are the basis for superb specialty sandwiches, French toast and bread pudding.”

Unique in the culinary world, the loaves are formed from sweet dough baked in a crimped cylindrical pan, have a Korintje cinnamon swirl from end-to-end, are basted in melted butter shortly after baking, and are then tossed in cinnamon-sugar totally coating the crusts of the loaves. Aside from the basic cinnamon swirl, the bread may also include raisins, apples, cranberries or chocolate chips. A pumpkin-nut version is also available.

One certified master baker observed that “…it’s the only bread I’ve ever seen where people actually fight over the heels.”

For more information on Jenny Lee® products, contact:

Scott A. Baker
P.O. Box 71
Zelienople, PA 16063