Let’s Take a Picnic!

Friday, July 18, 2014 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

Ready for a summer picnic?  With a picnic basket or tote that’s already packed with basics such as plates, cups, utensils and napkins, and with your cooler or ice chest on hand for the cold packs in the freezer, you’re well prepared for a simple, food safe and delicious picnic with family or friends.

Simply Good:  Organize Ahead

A great picnic doesn’t need to be an elaborate affair. A quick deli stop, with finger food veggies and fruit, or re-created leftovers from your fridge, or make-ahead salads and sandwiches are enough, especially when shared in the great outdoors!  A few tips to organize and keep it easy and fun:

  • Keep a picnic checklist … with the equipment, listing what you typically need.
  • Plan your menu carefully … the right amount of food to avoid leftovers to carry home, light weight enough to easily carry to the picnic site and simple to assemble or grill with limited equipment.
  • Pre-prep at home … ingredients already sliced and chopped, burgers shaped for the grill and salads already made
  • Pack carefully … delicate fruit, tomatoes, desserts or chips in hard containers with lids, or pack on top so they won’t get crushed.
  • Remember drinks … juice or water, perhaps frozen ahead to keep cold as they thaw in the cooler. 
  • Bring non-food essentials …  a clean tablecloth, paper towels, plastic bag for dirty utensils and serving pieces, plastic bags for rubbish, reliable bug spray and sun block, sunglasses, hand wipes or sanitizer, matches and charcoal if grilling, first aid kit, equipment for fun (ball, Frisbee, etc.).

Picnic Safe:  Cook, Separate, Clean, Chill

Keep your picnic safe to the plate!  Warm weather plus outdoor eating can lead to an uptick in foodborne illness.  The reasons:  when temperatures are warm, bacteria that cause foodborne illness multiply faster; also grilling and picnicking often happen away from soap and water, refrigerators and meat thermometers. 

  • Cook … pack a food thermometer so you can check the internal temperature of grilled burgers, steaks, chicken, pork chops and more. You can’t count on timing or appearance to know if they’re done.  Remember these safe internal temperatures: 160ºF for all ground meat, 165ºF for all poultry (including ground chicken and turkey) and 145ºF plus 3 minutes of rest time for whole cuts of meat.
  • Separate … pack uncooked meat, poultry or fish in well-sealed containers, at the bottom of the cooler so juices won’t leak onto other foods.  Transfer cooked food from the grill with clean utensils, onto a clean plate, so any bacteria from meat or its juices don’t contaminate cooked food.
  • Clean … bring soap and bottled water for washing hands and cooking surfaces, and perhaps hand sanitizer, too.  Wash fresh fruits and vegetables under cold, running water, including those with firm skins and rinds you won’t eat; bacteria from the soil can contaminate watermelon or cantaloupe. 
  • Chill … keep your cooler (with frozen cold packs) in a cool, shaded place, not in a hot car or in the sun.  Never leave perishable food out for more than 2 hours (or one hour if the outdoors is 90ºF or warmer).  What’s perishable? Meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy foods, cooked vegetables, peeled or cut fruits and vegetables, mayonnaise … and dishes made with these foods, such as pasta salads, deviled eggs and dips for chips.

Summer Fresh Flavor:  Picnic Perfect Recipes

What’s on your picnic menu?  Seasonal produce, paired with kitchen staples, can create the perfect meals to pack and take to your local park, neighborhood picnic or weekend outing.  On the side or as main dishes, these five summer picnic salads from Dreamfields make great picnic foods.  They combine fresh garden veggies and fruits with ingredients you already have on hand:

Southwest Pasta Salad:  Enjoy hot, spicy Southwest flavors by combining Dreamfields elbows or penne rigate* with cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, onion, avocado, cilantro and jalapenos with a salsa-mayo dressing. Tip:  top this salad with chicken fingers cooked on the grill.


Ginger Noodle Salad:  Make this Asian side dish with cooked Dreamfields spaghetti or angel hair pasta,* tossed in sauce made with soy sauce, chili paste, lime juice, sesame oil and a non-calorie sweetener.  Serve it over fresh garden greens.  Tip: for a main dish salad, add chopped cucumber and green onion, and cooked shrimp.

BLT Salad:  Turn the popular BLT sandwich into an easy-to-carry salad.   Toss cooked Dreamfields rotini* with crisp, crumbled bacon, sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh garden herbs, shredded cheese and mustard vinaigrette; serve over a bed of fresh lettuce.

Blackberry Ginger Pasta Salad:  Celebrate summer blackberry season with this flavorful side salad. Combine cooked Dreamfields rotini,* fresh cucumber and green pepper, blackberries and mozzarella with a homemade blackberry vinaigrette.  Tip: this salad is a great side dish for salmon cooked on the grill.

Steakhouse Pasta Salad:  Cook extra meat today for tomorrow’s hearty picnic salad.  Cut leftover grilled beef steak into thin strips, toss with Dreamfields penne rigate,* blue cheese and cherry tomatoes, and serve over fresh arugula.



* Let pasta cool before adding to other salad ingredients.

Enjoy great summer picnics!


Summer: A Great Time to Cook with Kids

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

Cooking with kids goes far beyond summer family fun.  With food shopping and kitchen time, children learn by watching, talking and doing with you.  Talk time, as you gather ingredients, cook and savor food together is bonding time, with a chance to share family food traditions and create new memories, too! 

Cooking Together Is Learning, Too!

Cooking reinforces academic basics that children learn during the school year. 

  • They practice math skills as they measure, count and keep track of cooking times and temperatures.  
  • Reading and following recipes helps them learn new words and symbols, follow directions and sequence steps to achieve a goal. 
  • Stirring, kneading and other food prep tasks help to develop small motor skills.
  • As butter melts, toast browns and pasta softens, they see food science happen.  
  • Sensory experiences of taste, smell, touch, sight and even sound encourage observation, description and comparing – and help kids listen to signals from their own bodies.

Beyond that, making food themselves teaches habits of safety and cleanliness, helps encourage independence and self-esteem, and helps develop food literacy as they learn about and try a variety of new foods.  All these hands-on experiences can lay the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy eating.

Being Clean and Safe in the Kitchen

  • Set time aside to cook with kids when you’re not rushed – and kids are rested.  Until food prep is done, supervise young cooks and monitor older, more skilled kids.
  • Establish kitchen rules:  what’s safe to touch and what can hurt them (stovetops, knives, hot pans, electric beaters, others); what tasks are right for them and what only you or older kids must do; why only a clean tasting spoon; and how to let hot food cool slightly before tasting.
  • Make proper hand washing the first cooking step:  wash with soap and warm water, rub hands for 20 seconds, then dry hands well.  Be a good role model for hand washing yourself!
  • Create a safe cooking space.  That may be a lower, child-size surface; standing on a tipsy stool isn’t safe.  Keep sharp objects (knives, graters) out of reach.  Provide equipment that’s right for them: for young children, perhaps wooden or plastic utensils; for older children, safe use of equipment that grown-ups use.
  • Teach kids that cleanliness is part of cooking.  Have them wear clean aprons or clothes. Wipe up spills right away.  Wash utensils with hot, soapy water after using them for meat or poultry. Keep waste containers, and a clean sponge and soapy water handy for kids.  Be patient; cooking can be messy and that’s part of learning.

Prepare Child-Friendly Recipes Together

  • Gather ingredients together.  Pick vegetables and herbs from your own or a pick-your-own garden. Shop together at a farmers’ market or your local store.  Anywhere you shop, talk about the ingredients – their color, shape, size, and more -- and why you picked healthy ingredients.
  • Choose simple recipes together that children will enjoy, with steps they can do independently or with your assistance.  (Five ingredients or less is great for young and new cooks.)  Pick recipes with some new and healthy ingredients.  
  • Match kitchen tasks to a child’s stage of development. Children develop skills at different ages. 
    • Young preschoolers can tear lettuce for a garden salad, rinse fresh vegetables and fruit, shake ingredients in a covered container and stir ingredients in a bowl. As they learn more, they also can name and count foods, add and mix ingredients, measure when the amount doesn’t need to be exact, and add toppings.
    • More advanced youngsters also can cut foods with your supervision, set the table, measure more precisely and help assemble foods such as sandwiches and lasagna. Children who can read may call out the ingredients as you gather them. 
    • School-age kids can step up their cooking skills, applying math as they follow simple recipes and combine ingredients. 
    • Teens can improve their cooking skills and perhaps experiment with new cuisines.
  • Plan for adult “do-aheads” to make food preparation easier and safe.  Try simple family recipes, such as Spaghetti Pizza, from Dreamfields: you cook the pasta and ground beef and children might beat the eggs, mix the ingredients, grease the pan, then layer the ingredients.  For more yummy recipes created by kids, for kids, click on MyPlate Kids’Place.
  • As you cook together talk about how and why foods change color, texture, and form.  Pasta and rice soften and expand in volume as they cook.  Meat browns as it cooks.  Dough rises when it bakes. Oranges can be squeezed to make juice, and so on!
  • Make proper clean up the important last cooking step.  

Enjoy family time as you enjoy the foods you prepared together.  First Lady Michelle Obama at the Partnership for a Healthier America conference in March, 2014, reminds us that cooking together isn’t just good for our budgets or our physical health, it’s also good for our kids’ emotional health.

Change Things Up With This Asian Pasta Salad

Sunday, July 13, 2014 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

Create a delicious Asian Pasta Salad for your next outing this summer with a recipe from one of our Pastapalooza IV winners. Naia from Airmont, New York sent us an easy recipe that combines the heat of hot peppers, the sweetness of honey, the crunch of peanuts along with the bite of soy sauce and fresh green onions. Just cook the night before (or at the very least four hours prior to your event) then add the final ingredients a half hour before serving.

Asian Pasta


1 lb. Dreamfields Spaghetti
2 tsp. hot pepper
1/4 cup corn oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
2 tbsp. sesame seeds


Cook spaghetti according to package directions.

Heat the pepper, corn oil and sesame oil to a near boil. Add the salt, honey and soy sauce until mixed.

Pour over the spaghetti, cover and refrigerate for four hours (better if chilled overnight).

Add and mix the peanuts, green onions and sesame seeds a half hour before serving.

An Easy Savory and Sweet Pasta Salad Wins The Judges Over

Thursday, July 10, 2014 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

Our next Pastapalooza IV winner is Donna from San Antonio, TX with her Mustard Vinaigrette & Ham Pasta Salad. This sweet and savory combination features dried cranberries, succulent cubed ham and crumbled blue cheese covered in a sharp Dijon mustard vinaigrette dressing. Try it for yourself!

Mustard Vinaigrette & Ham Pasta Salad


1 box Dreamfields Rotini Pasta
1 lb. ham, cubed
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
5 oz. crumbled blue cheese


2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 shallots, diced
8 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Boil the pasta, lightly salting the water. When fully cooked, drain the pasta and set aside to cool.

While the pasta is cooling, mix the dressing ingredients in a large bowl with a whisk. Combine the cubed ham and dried cranberries. Mix together till evenly coated. 

Once the pasta is cooled add it to the large bowl of ingredients. Fold slowly to evenly coat the pasta.

Cool Red Onion, Cucumber, Green Pepper and Tomato Angel Hair Pasta Salad

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

As Pastapalooza IV continues we congratulate our second winner, Jane from Apollo Beach, Florida. Jane’s Cold Spaghetti Salad incorporates sharp red onion, fresh cucumber, green or red pepper along with two succulent large tomatoes before covering this rainbow assortment of vegetables and Dreamfields Angel Hair Spaghetti in your favorite Italian dressing. This cool dish is great for the warm summer days ahead.

Jane’s Cold Spaghetti Salad


1 lb. Dreamfields Angel Hair Spaghetti
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 cucumbers, chopped
1 green or red pepper, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
16 oz. bottle Italian dressing
1/2 bottle McCormick’s Salad Supreme


Boil the spaghetti, then rinse in cold water when done.

In a mixing bowl, add the dressing and salad supreme mixing well.

Then add all the chopped vegetables.

Refrigerate and serve chilled.

5 Great Ideas For Coming Up With Tasty New Pasta Salad Creations

Sunday, July 6, 2014 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

Need some fresh ideas for your pasta salad? Want more ways to serve something that draws more yays than yawns? Experiment with these five tips to whip up a pasta salad recipe that will please even your picky eaters.

Spice Things Up

Try spices! Adding spices allows you to add flavor and nutrients without adding calories or fat. Spices are different from herbs, because they are usually produced from the seeds, roots, bark flowers, or fruit of its source. Just a small pinch of the right spices can totally change a dish.

Pro Tip: Check your favorite recipes for ideas on which spices to try and pick ones that show up frequently. This is also a great way to figure out what spices complement each other. Many styles will rely on the same spices to go with different types of meat and vegetables. This is a great way to “cheat” your way to cooking knowledge.

It’s Grilling Time

 Put the grill to some extra use. A grill isn’t just great for cooking meat. You can also grill fruits and vegetables. All that is needed a little oil and a touch of salt (for veggies) or sugar (for fruit).

Pro Tip: Depending on what you’re cooking you might want to utilize a baking sheet (preferably one with holes) if the fruit or vegetable you want to grill is likely to fall through the grill bars (like cherry tomatoes).

Don’t Discount Your Longer Pasta Shapes
It’s quite natural to think of penne or rigatoni when making a pasta salad, but have you ever considered your longer-strand noodles like Dreamfields Spaghetti, Angel Hair and Linguine? These shapes actually work great with lighter sauces.

Add Some Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens actually are some of the most nutritionally concentrated food choices. They are rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.

Pro Tip: This is a great way to sneak in some more vegetables into your family’s diet without it being as noticeable as garden salad.

Creating A Kid Friendly Pasta Salad

 The easiest way to turn any pasta salad into a kid friendly one is to increase variety. A variety of bite-sized pieces of fruits, vegetables, meats and cheese usually works best.

Pro Tip: Often times it’s easier to convince kids to eat a pasta salad by limiting ingredients with intense flavors. Kids actually have a stronger sense of taste than adults do. This is because our sense of taste actually diminishes over time.

One way around this is by keeping most of your intense herbs (like cilantro) and intense spices (like cumin) in just the dressing. This way a kid and adult version of the dressing can easily be created and used to make two different versions of the same meal dressing the pasta separately.

3 Pro Tips To Creating A Better Pasta Salad

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

What will you enter for this year's contest?

It’s time to brush off our recipe cards and get back to some pasta salad basics for our 4th Annual Pastapalooza Pasta Salad Recipe Contest. To help you create an even better dish, we’re sharing some pasta salad tips from the chefs in our kitchen.

Three Main Parts To Every Pasta Salad:

•    Pasta
•    Key ingredients
•    Dressing

After this, most people supplement with intense flavors and/or herbs.

Select The Right Pasta

It’s very important that you pick the right pasta shape that will match your ingredients as well as your sauce or dressing.

Key Ingredients

Pastas salad ingredients usually come in the form of seafood, poultry, other meats, vegetables, beans or mild cheese. Often times, these ingredients need little to no preparation before going into the salad. Others can be cooked at the same time as you’re cooking the pasta.

When creating your own pasta salad it’s considered a good idea to focus on two to three ingredients with one lead ingredient.


Usually, most pasta salad dressings either are a vinaigrette dressing or are a cream based dressing made from mayonnaise or yogurt. If you want to save on calories and saturated fat, you can use low-fat mayo, low-fat yogurt or olive oil instead of regular mayo.

Intense Flavors

Intense flavors can come from a variety of things like cheese (Feta, Parmesan, Goat cheese), bacon, salted meats, roasted or toasted nuts (pine nuts, cashews, peanuts), seeds (toasted sesame seeds or sunflower seeds) or seafood.

Looking for more ways to add taste and nutrients without adding calories or fat? Try herbs for a change. The style of pasta salad you’re doing will inform the herbs you use. Cilantro, basil and the zest of anything citrus are natural companions for Asian-style pasta salad. On the other hand, dill, mint and at times mustard seeds will better serve your creamy-style salads. For strong flavors, go with rosemary and tarragon. Lastly, when in doubt you can never go wrong with a handful of freshly chopped parsley. 

How To Pair Your Pasta Shapes With The Right Sauce

Thursday, June 26, 2014 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

Pair your pasta properly for delicious meals and sides!

Have you ever wondered what pasta you should use to pair with a hearty meat sauce? How about what shapes work best for pasta salads? Well never fear. We’re here with a great guide to which of our 7 popular pasta shapes go best with the sauce that you want to make for dinner tonight!

Entrées and Salads

Rigate is a great choice, because as the name “Rigate” implies, this shape of pasta has those delightful little lines that are great for grabbing ingredients. Whether it’s a cooked tomato in a red sauce or a caper in a lighter sauce the ridges can grab them, leaving you with an extra burst of delicious flavor. That’s why they’re one of the most versatile pasta shapes.

Heartier Sauces
When you have a heartier sauce, go with the long wide strands of spaghetti or linguine. These pasta shapes specialize in picking up the flavor of a sauce like a meat Ragu or a cream-based sauce.

Creamier Dressings and Sauces
When you have a dressing combination of Greek yogurt, mayo, sour cream or even a creamy mac ‘n cheese your best choice is to go with elbows. The smooth surface of elbows best compliments these creamier dressings and sauces.

Sauce and Cheese Combinations
Lasagna, with its ridges and ruffles is always the best at holding in all the savory flavors of heavy sauces and cheeses. (For an added flair, try a roll-up version of your favorite lasagna recipe.)

Lighter Sauces
The long, thin strands of angel hair pair best with lighter sauces, especially those that are olive oil or tomato-based and contain more delicate ingredients.

Vinaigrette Dressings and Herbs
Another versatile shape is rotini with its twists and turns can hold up to an entrée with a tomato or cream based sauce or capture vinaigrette dressings and herbs.

How to incorporate Lemons into your cooking

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

When life hands you lemons... cook!

Lemons are a staple in many kitchens and are very versatile when it comes to cooking. There are 2 parts to a lemon that are most commonly used, the zest and the juice. Here are some tips on how you can incorporate lemon into your pasta sauce.

Use the zest. Lemon zest provides sweet and strong lemon undertones that are best suited for lighter sauces.

TIP: When grating, or “zesting”, you only want to grate just the yellow peel, which is where all the lemon essence is concentrated. The white pith is bitter. 

Use the juice. Lemon juice is a great contrast and can be used to brighten up the flavor in your richer pasta sauces like a creamy alfredo.  Combine it with white wine or chicken broth to give the sauce more complexity, like in Chicken Picatta.

TIP: If your pasta dish calls for chicken, use lemon juice as a marinade. The acids will help tenderize the proteins in the meat.



Men’s Health Month: It’s His Turn!

Thursday, June 19, 2014 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

While May recognized women’s health, June – anchored by Father’s Day – is Men’s Health Month*!   Its purpose:  to heighten awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.  For your family, it’s a time to remember that men’s health problems aren’t just men’s issues.  Because they impact wives, moms, daughters, and sisters, men’s health truly is a family issue.

Men’s Health:  What Does That Mean?

Being healthy is more than being able to lift heavy equipment, play some pick-up ball with your kids, avoid a beer belly, or be free of serious health issues.  It’s about being in control of every aspect of your health – including eating healthy, moving enough, managing stress, getting enough good sleep, avoiding risky behaviors such as tobacco use, and getting regular medical check-ups.  Being healthy requires commitment to all of these!

So Guys:  Some Advice for You . . .

Eat Healthy

Healthy eating isn’t hard to do once you learn the basics.  Just create a plan that works for you within your calorie needs; work it out with other family members so you’re all working toward a similar goal.  Take it one do-able step at a time.  A few key recommendations:

  • Follow a healthy eating pattern while staying within our calorie needs. That includes eating a variety of fruits and vegetables and other fiber-rich foods every day since they provide vitamins, minerals, and other natural substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases. 
  • Limit foods and drinks high in calories, added sugars, salt, fat and alcohol.
  • Choose nutrient-rich healthy snacks.

For ways to follow these healthy eating basics, check www.choosemyplate.gov/.

Move More

Being more active is more than muscle building.  Like women, you need at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) every week.  And on two or more days a week, fit in muscle strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms), too.  You don't have to do it all at once. Spread your activity out during the week, and break it into smaller chunks of time during the day.  A few tips:

  • Take a bike ride by yourself or with your family.
  • Toss a ball with your kids.
  • Remember, many house maintenance tasks count:  cutting grass, raking the garden, chopping wood.
  • Walk the dog, with your family if you can.
  • Participate, rather than be a sports spectator.  Whether it’s an individual or team sport, find a sport you can enjoy as an adult.
  • Join a fitness club – perhaps at your workplace – and schedule yourself to use it!

For more about the “whys and hows” of being physically active, click on http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html


Sleep Well

Insufficient sleep is linked to a host of chronic diseases and conditions: among them, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.  Lack of sleep is also responsible for motor vehicle and machinery-related accidents, causing substantial injury and disability each year.   The National Sleep Foundation notes that sleep needs change with age and that adults generally need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep daily.  A few tips:

  • Stick to the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends to help regulate your body clock.

  • Avoid naps (even short catnaps), especially in the afternoon, if you can't fall asleep at bedtime.


Exercise daily.  But wind down before bedtime, perhaps by reading.

  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening, which may disrupt sleep.
  • Create a relaxing environment:  a comfortable mattress and pillows, cool temperature, free of light (even from a TV or laptop), quietness.

Check http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-tools-tips/healthy-sleep-tips/.


 Tame Stress

Some stress can be good.  But some stress can be harmful when severe enough to make you feel overwhelmed and out of control. To take care of yourself (eat healthy, move more, sleep enough); avoid mindless eating, drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms; connect socially rather than isolate yourself; learn techniques such as meditation to relax; and stay actively involved as a volunteer, friend and family member as another way to relieve stress. Check

http://www.cdc.gov/features/handlingstress/ for more ways to relieve harmful stress.


Smoker?  Toss out the Tobacco

It’s never too late to quit. By quitting smoking you get both immediate and long-term benefits: improved health and a lowered risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses.  Even secondhand smoke and e-cigarettes cause health problems similar to those that smokers have. For babies and growing children, secondhand smoke is more harmful than for adults.  Check http://smokefree.gov  for more about smoking issues related to health and help with quitting.


Stay on Top of Your Game

Some diseases and conditions may have no symptoms, so getting regular medical checkups can help diagnose issues early or before they can become problematic.  Signs and symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, excessive thirst, and problems with urination should signal a doctor’s visit right away.  

  • Talk to your doctor or nurse about which screening tests are advised for you – and when.  Check http://www.menshealthnetwork.org/library/pdfs/GetItChecked.pdf/. (Tip: on this website you’ll also find screening tests for the women in your life.)
  • Get the recommended vaccinations. 
  • Keep track of your numbers: blood pressure, blood sugar (glucose), cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), or any others. If your numbers are high or low, your doctor or nurse can explain what they mean and suggest how you can get them to a healthier range.  


Celebrate:  Invite Your Family and Other Men to Join In

The Men’s Health Network (MHN), a non-profit educational organization focused on improving the health and wellbeing of men, boys and their families, is dedicated to enriching men’s health and wellness through a broad spectrum of national screening and education campaigns.  MHN invites you to join the National Men’s Health Month and Week in your locale … and to make a personal commitment and take action for your own and your family’s health.

* The week before Father’s Day -- June 9–15, 2014 – is Men’s Health Week.






Savor Freshness of Produce!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

It’s June … the season of warm-weather fruits and vegetables, and the time to savor the flavors of freshly-harvested produce at their peak quality.  

Whether picked fresh from your own garden or from a local farm, or purchased from a farmers’ market, produce stand or supermarket, there’s plenty to celebrate during June Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month:  good-for-you benefits … perhaps local farming … and, of course, the delicious flavors of freshness!

What makes fruits and vegetables so good for you?  When handled properly and eaten at their peak quality, they’re low in calories and fat, a good fiber source, packed with vitamins and minerals, rich in phytonutrients … and eating them is linked to reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Besides, seasonally fresh, they’re deliciously good, too!

Keeping the Quality, Safety and Freshness In

Fresh vegetables and fruits need careful handling to keep their peak quality and keep them safes to the plate.  So a few common-sense tips for putting seasonal fresh produce on your table:

To buy: 

  • Choose fresh vegetables and fruits that aren’t bruised, shriveled or slimy, as they may harbor harmful bacteria.  Packaged, fresh-cut salad greens and mixes, melons and other produce should be refrigerated when purchased. 
  • In the shopping cart and in bags at check-out, keep fresh fruits and vegetables separate from household chemicals and from raw foods such as meat, poultry and fish. 
  • Purchase or pick just what you need – and use it within three or so days.
  • Bring produce home right away for proper storage.

To store:   

  • For quality and safety, refrigerate perishable vegetables and fruits in the crisper compartment of the ‘fridge; store meat, poultry and fish in containers so they don’t drip on produce. 
  • Discard produce once it’s beyond its shelf life, shriveled or slimy. 
  • Some produce (potatoes, tomatoes, pears, whole melons and avocados) are kept at room temperature to retain quality or speed ripening; keep them in a clean, dry place. 

To prepare:  

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap (for at least 20 seconds) before and after handling fresh produce; make sure cutting boards, utensils and any surfaces are cleaned with soap and water, too. 
  • Unless packaged as “ready-to-eat,” “washed” or “triple washed,” rinse fresh vegetables and fruits under running tap water – even if the skins or rinds won’t be eaten.  Produce washes aren’t shown to be any more effective than plain water for cleaning; never use detergent or bleach.
  • Scrub firm produce, such as melons and summer squash, under running tap water with a clean vegetable brush.
  • Use a clean cloth or paper towel to dry the produce, or a salad spinner for greens.
  • Separate fresh produce from raw meat, poultry or fish, using different and clean cutting boards and utensils.  Either cook or toss fruits or veggies if they contact these raw foods.
  • Within two hours refrigerate cut, peeled or cooked fresh vegetables and fruit.
  • Cook just until tender, but not overcooked, to keep their color, texture, nutrition and peak flavor.  Try steaming, stir-frying, microwaving or roasting vegetables.

Enjoying Summer Fresh Produce

Arugula, asparagus, beans, beets, fennel, leaf lettuce, okra, peas, peppers and summer squash … blackberries, blueberries, cherries, mango, melons, peaches and strawberries.  These are among the many vegetables and fruits that appear in the marketplace in late June and July.  For a few ways you might enjoy them:

Fresh vegetables:

  • Include a garden-fresh salad with your dinner every night.  Leaf lettuce and arugula are in season!  For more color and flavor, toss with grated beets, fennel or baby tomatoes, too. Dreamfields recipes to try:  Lemony Spring Peas & Pasta SaladAvocado, Bacon & Tomato Summer Salad with Dill DressingLemony Angel Hair Toss.
  • Create a garden pizza:  perhaps a store-bought pizza “fortified” with fresh peppers, sliced zucchini and asparagus tips.
  • Grill vegetable kabobs as part of a barbecue meal. Try tomatoes, green peppers, summer squash, and onions.
  • Added shredded zucchini or carrots to casseroles, lasagna, even quick breads. A Dreamfields recipe to try:  Vegetable Lasagna.

  • Keep a bowl of washed, cut-up raw veggies in see-through container in the ‘fridge.   Red or green pepper strips, zucchini slices, and cherry tomatoes taste great with a dip or dressing.

Fresh fruits:

  • Toss strawberries, blackberries or blueberries in garden salads, slaw or pasta salads.  A Dreamfields recipe to try:  Fruit & Yogurt Elbow Salad.
  • Whirl summer fruit smoothies with peaches, melon or mango – along with your favorite yogurt flavor and 100 percent juice.
  • Rinse seasonal fruit and keep it handy for quick snacks.
  • Top breakfast pancakes, waffles, cereal, pudding, or frozen yogurt with fresh fruit that’s cut-up or puréed.

And, no matter how you fit them in, make a point of enjoying more vegetables and fruits in your everyday meals and snacks –to your health!

#  #   #

Cold Spicy Noodles - Pastapalooza IV Winner

Monday, June 16, 2014 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

Congratulations to Anita from Newton, Massachusetts. She is the first winner of #PastapaloozaIV with her Cold Spicy Noodles recipes. The sauce for this recipe is a combination of scallions, fresh bell peppers and oils. It is then stirred into Dreamfield’s spaghetti,--Angel hair or Linguini work, too--covered, refrigerated and served cold. Well done, Anita. What a great recipe to kick off the contest!


1 box Dreamfields spaghetti, angel hair or linguini
Sauce: 4 chopped scallions
2 tsp chili oil
2 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbs vinegar
2 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 chopped fresh red peppers (or red, yell, and orange peppers)
4 Tbs vegetable oil.

Cook noodles and drain. Rinse under cold water and cool. Heat 4 Tbs oil in wok. When hot, add sauce mix. Stir fry briefly. Turn off heat, add noodles and stir until well coated. Place into bowl, cover and refrigerate. Serve cold.



Monday, June 9, 2014 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

Recently, Dreamfields commissioned an online survey[1]  about America’s love of pasta salad.  Overwhelmingly, respondents said that this versatile side dish was a must-have for their backyard BBQs, family cookout and beach parties.  (But we all knew that, right?) 

Interestingly, men and women have different takes on pasta salads, as do folks from different parts of the country.  Here are some of the details from the survey:

  • Pasta salad is one of the most popular summer side dishes, second only to potato salad.  In a recent survey, 70 percent of all respondents said it was one of their favorites.
    • Is pasta salad a chick-dish?  Women seem to be bigger fans of pasta salad than men with 76 percent claiming it’s a summer must-have vs only 63 percent of men.
    • Macaroni in the Middle: Age seems to makes a difference in one’s summer side dish preferences. Of the respondents who said pasta salad was a favorite, 70 percent are ages 25-54.  Respondents who were younger than 25 and older than 54 –not so much.
    • “Pahstah salad is wicked pahpular, ya’ll” – While enjoyed from coast to coast, pasta salad is most popular in in the Northeast and the South (71 percent each) and least popular in the Midwest (67 percent).


  • No trouble with this curve:  Across the country, the favorite cut of pasta to be centerpiece of a pasta salad is none other than “Rotini.”
    • Speaking of curves, women prefer Rotini to men, 40 to 22 percent respectively.  Men’s favorite pasta salad shape was spaghetti, 28 to 6 percent.  Interpret that as you wish.
    • Twist and shout:  preference for Rotini generally increased with age, with 43 percent of respondents aged 45-54 saying it was their favorite while only 7 percent of 18-24 year-olds picking the twisted pasta. The favorite cut for respondent in that age group was spaghetti (42 percent).


  • What’s the secret ingredient to a tasty pasta salad?  Well besides the pasta, respondents most often cited “herbs and spices” and “cheese” as their favorite mix-ins, with “veggies” following close behind. (74, 72 and 71 percent respectively)
    • Not surprisingly, women’s favorite ingredient to add to pasta salads was veggies (79 percent), while men preferred cheese (73 percent).
    • The big cheese:  Cheese also ruled with younger respondents – 72 percent of 18-24 year-olds said it was their favorite mix-in whereas 67 percent of 55+ year olds agreed.  Those respondents (55+) preferred herbs and spices (84 percent) and veggies (82 percent).
    • Grow Your Own: Midwesterners love both cheese and veggies in their pasta salad, scoring the highest in both those categories (79 and 77 percent respectively) whereas folks in the South prefer herbs and spices (78 percent).


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[1] National, random online sample survey conducted by Lab42, May 23-25, 2014. The survey was fielded among 500 adults in the United States, ages 18 and up. Copyright DNA Dreamfields, LLC.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

Creamy, savory, spicy, fruity – no matter what your pasta salad palate is, you’re in good company.  According to a recent survey[1], 70 percent of respondents said that pasta salad was one of their favorite side dishes of summer.

Conducted over the Memorial Day holiday, the Dreamfields Pasta Salad Survey uncovered a number of interesting tidbits about this summer staple, including:

  • Pahstah salad is wicked pahpulah y’all: While enjoyed from coast-to-coast, pasta salad is most popular in the Northeast and South (71 percent each) and least popular in the Midwest (67 percent.)
  • Trouble with the curve? Women and men visualize their pasta salads differently.  Women prefer the curves of rotini more than men, 40 to 22 percent respectively, whereas men’s favorite pasta salad shape was spaghetti, 28 to 6 percent.  Interpret that as you wish.
  • The big cheese:  What you like to add to your pasta salad may depend on your age. Cheese ruled with younger respondents – 72 percent of 18-24 year-olds said it was their favorite mix-in while respondents 55 years old and up preferred herbs and spices (84 percent) and veggies (82 percent).

With so many ways to personalize a pasta salad, Dreamfields wants to celebrate them all with its Pastapalooza IV Pasta Salad Recipe Contest.  Home cooks are invited to send in their original recipes for a chance to win a free case of Dreamfields pasta and a summer’s worth of bragging rights.  A total of 14 total prizes will be awarded through Labor Day.

Entering the recipe contest is easy.  Visit www.DreamfieldsFoods.com/Enter_PastapaloozaIV  or follow Dreamfields pasta on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest for entry directions. Drool-worthy pasta salad recipes will be featured each Friday to inspire backyard chefs to enter their own delicious pasta salad creations. Entries must be original recipes with 10 or fewer ingredients that will be evaluated on taste, creativity, convenience and use of Dreamfields pasta. 

Made with the finest durum wheat semolina, Dreamfields pasta tastes delicious and makes any pasta salad better-for-you with its 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per one cup cooked serving. 

An example of a past winning recipe is “Summer Pasta Broccoli Salad”.


Preparation Time: 20 minutes 


box Dreamfields Rotini


cup mayonnaise (light or regular)


cup red wine vinegar


cup sugar


cups chopped, raw broccoli (about 1-inch pieces)


cup shredded Cheddar cheese


cup roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds


cup crumbled, cooked bacon


cup diced red onion or sliced green onion


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water until completely cooled; drain again. Place in large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, for dressing, in small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar; set aside.
  3. Add broccoli, cheese, sunflower seeds, bacon and onion to pasta. Toss to combine. Add dressing; toss until coated. Refrigerate, covered, until chilled, at least 1 hour. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 to 10 side dish servings.


Nutrition information (1/8 of recipe):  431 calories; 15 g protein; 47 g total carbohydrates; 22 g total fat; 6 g saturated fat; 35 mg cholesterol; 352 mg sodium; 6 g total dietary fiber.

#   #   #

1 National, random online sample survey conducted by Lab42, May 23-25, 2014. The survey was fielded among 500 adults in the United States, ages 18 and up. Copyright DNA Dreamfields, LLC.



Fresh Herbs to Boost Flavors

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

Fresh herbs are a great way to add flavor to your dish and many of them are easy to grow yourself. Here are a few of our favorites herbs to cook with, plus some helpful tips on what types of dishes they work with and some growing tips. 

Rosemary is a perennial that can be used year round. The taste and fragrance sets this herb apart allowing it to be used in a variety of different dishes. Rosemary infuses delicious flavor into roasted meats, or can be a great topping for a dessert (use the blue flowers). 

Care Tips: Plant Rosemary in a pot so you can put it in the ground in the summer and in a pot indoors in the winter. Rosemary can’t handle temperatures below 30˚F. Let the plant dry out between watering’s and provide plenty of sunshine. Rosemary does best with 6-8 hours of direct sun a day. 

Recipe Ideas:

Roasted Vegetables with Rotini & Rosemary Pesto

Roasted Vegetables with Rotini & Rosemary Pesto

The world’s most popular herb, parsley is commonly used in Middle Eastern, European and American cuisine. It is frequently used as a garnish in many recipes. The most common varieties of parsley are curly-leaf and Italian or flat-leaf parsley. Available year-round this herb is generally better fresh than in a dried form due to a great difference in flavor.

Care Tips: Keep parsley in full sun and water regularly; let the soil dry slightly between watering. 

Recipe Ideas:

Summer Squash with Angel Hair

Summer Squash with Angel Hair

Spicy Linguine with Shrimp

Spicy Linguine with Shrimp

Known for its pungent, sweet smell, basil is in season from June till September, but can be turned into pesto during the winter and will keep if frozen. It matches well with cheese, chicken, eggs, eggplant, fish, lamb, olive oil, onions, pasta, pesto, pizza, pork, shellfish, soups and more.

Care Tips: Plant basil where it will receive full sun and water every other day. If temperatures are expected to dip below 40˚F be sure to harvest early.

Recipe Ideas:

Fresh Tomato & Basil Pasta

Quick Chicken & Veggie Skillet

Cilantro is available year round and is known for its strong smell and sharp taste. It’s frequently used as a salsa ingredient. It also is considered both a spice and an herb as it’s seeds are used to make the spice coriander while the leaves are referred to as cilantro.

Care Tips: Cilantro does best in cool weather. It will also thrive in partial to full sun in an area that has well-drained soil. 

Recipe Ideas:

Spaghetti Oriental
Spaghetti Oriental

Salsa Verde Pork and Pasta Stew

Salsa Verde Pork & Pasta Stew



Great Barbecues: “Sides” by Side!

Monday, May 19, 2014 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

During May National Barbecue Month, fire up the grill!  Warm weather and skillful barbecuing plus a great entrée and an easy pasta side equal the perfect barbecue meal. 

While grilling marks the season of outdoor entertaining and relaxing summer meals, barbecuing has been a popular cooking technique for centuries.   Many historians contend that the term, called “barabicu” originated with the Taino and Timucua peoples from places known today as the Caribbean and Florida.  Europeans transported the cooking method – then cooking a whole animal in a pit -- and its derived term back home.  And by the mid-1600s, the term “barbacoa” became part of the English language.

Today the popularity of grilling or barbecuing has risen to an all-time high for several reasons:   it's affordable; it’s convenient and sometimes easier than cooking inside; it’s a tasty and healthful way to cook; and it’s a fun way to entertain and spend time at home with family.

To help you celebrate National Barbecue Month, consider these menu ideas, some tips to step up the flavors, and reminders for keeping your grilled food safe at the plate.

Partnering Grilled Entrees with Pasta “Sides”

  • All-American burgers, stacked on whole wheat buns with greens, tomato, sharp Cheddar, and your favorite condiments, and …

Partnered with:Partnered with: BLT Pasta Salad or Avocado, Bacon & Tomato Summer Salad with Dill Dressing, made with Dreamfields Rotini and all the BLT favorites!


  • Barbecued pork chops, marinated in your favorite BBQ sauce before grilling, then served with grill-roasted corn on the cob, and …

Partnered with:  Creamy Southern-Style Macaroni Salad, a great comfort food with less than half the calories and 75 percent less fat than traditional macaroni salads.

  • Ribeye or another favorite steak, grilled to a perfect doneness, topped with sautéed onions or mushrooms, and …

Partnered with: Argentinian Pasta Salad, made with Dreamfields Rotini, tossed with herbs, peppers, tomato and a red wine vinaigrette.

  • Lamb kebabs, threaded with zucchini squash, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and more, brushed with olive oil, seasoned with rosemary, served with pita bread, and …

Partnered with:  Mediterranean Pasta, Chickpea & Fennel Salad with Creamy Feta-Dill Dressing, made with Dreamfields Elbows, a Greek yogurt dressing, and tossed with feta cheese, chickpeas, fennel, kalamata olives, red onion, bell pepper, and more.

  • German-style brats, served with popular condiments (mustard, pickles, sauerkraut, shredded Muenster cheese) and rye bread, and …

Partnered with:  Potluck Pasta Salad, made with Dreamfields Penne Rigate or Rotini, a peppery buttermilk dressing, and crisp-tender cooked or raw veggies of your choice.

  • Salmon steaks, grilled with teriyaki sauce, topped with a pineapple or mango salsa, and …

Partnered with:Sesame-Soy Edamame and Pasta Salad, made with Dreamfields Rotini, edamame, radishes, and cilantro, and tossed with a gingered rice wine vinegar and oil dressing

  • Chargrilled sandwiches (and paninis) and quesadillas, filled with lean meat, sun-dried tomatoes or roasted bell pepper, and cheese, grilled on both sides over a medium-hot fire, and … 

Partnered with:  Southwest Pasta Salad, made with Dreamfields Elbows or Penne Rigate, and a mixture of Southwest flavors from cool and creamy avocado, to hot and spicy salsa and chiles, and a dash of sour lime tartness and cilantro. A must have at any picnic.

  • Grilled chicken breasts, brushed with olive oil, seasoned with herbs and lemon pepper, and …

Partnered with Lemony Angel Hair Toss, made simply with cooked Dreamfields Angel Hair, arugula, cherry tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.

More Flavors from the Grill

High-heat cooking techniques such as grilling result in browning and added flavor (if you control the heat so it doesn’t blacken).  For ways to add layers of flavor ….

  • Rub or marinate. Before grilling, rub the surfaces of raw meat, poultry, and fish with a little oil and dry herbs or spices. Or marinate with tangy, sweet, or savory sauces in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.  Tender meat cuts and delicate fish need less marinating time. 
  • Grill veggies for a smoky, fragrant flavor.  Try asparagus, bell pepper, carrots, and leeks, as well as sliced eggplant, squash, and sweet potato.  Brush them first with olive or cooking oil.  Sprinkle on some herbs.   Then grill, turning once, just until the vegetables are brightly colored and tender-crisp. 
  • Sauce your pasta grill-side.  Whether you have a side burner or not, a small iron skillet, heated on the grates, can heat a tasty pasta sauce or stir fry vegetables for pasta primavera.  Impress your guests by cooking the sauce in this recipe in an iron skillet:  Penne Rigate with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.

Barbecuing Reminders:  For Safety’s Sake!

  • Keep chilled sides chilled.   For flavor and safety, keep perishable foods – including chilled pasta sides -- cold while other foods grill.  That’s especially important for salads made with meat, chicken, fish, or eggs, and some salad dressings.
  • Always start with a clean grill!  Scrape and clean the grill grates with a sturdy wire brush and scraper between each use.  On a gas grill, clean the catch pan and remove grease and any debris.  If you have lava rocks, ceramic briquettes, or burners, check the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning.
  • Adjust the grill grates for proper cooking.  When meat or poultry are cooked too close to the coals, the outside may look cooked even though they’re raw inside. 
  • Use the right equipment:   long-handled (15 to 18 inches) turner, fork, tongs and a flame retardant kitchen mitt to protect against burns. 
  • Discard used marinades.  Once it’s used for raw food, toss the marinade, and never brush it on cooked meat, poultry, or fish.
  • Separate.  Wash or use different plates, cutting boards, or utensils for raw and grilled meat, poultry, or fish.  Have a clean plate and utensils ready to take grilled food to the table.
  •  Check the “temp.”   Use a food thermometer to check for doneness:  beef or lamb burgers, 160°F; turkey or chicken burgers, 165°F; steaks and chops, at least 145°F;  chicken or turkey breasts, thighs, and wings, 165°F; whole chicken, 165°F.
  • Cook faster – and safely.  While precooking meat or chicken in the kitchen cuts grill time, you need to finish the cooking right away on a preheated grill for food safety.


Happy Barbecue Month!



Well-Ness Informed!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

Calling all women!  Women's Health Week, May 11- 17, 2014, provides an opportunity to take a pledge for wellness.  Led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health, this observance is all about empowering women to make their own health a top priority – and, through healthy living, to take steps to improve their physical and mental health and ower their risks of developing certain diseases.

A Well Woman:  What Does That Mean?

Wellness is more than being able to finish a fitness walk, or keep your own best weight, or be free of serious health issues.  It’s about every aspect of your health – not just physical health but also your emotional, mental, and social well-being.  To be a “well woman” strive to be as healthy as you can be in every part of life.  They’re all interconnected!


Your Steps to Wellness:  What Does It Take?

A “well woman” takes time for herself – despite her busy personal and family life, and her demanding work or volunteer expectations.  To take steps to improve your physical and mental health:

  • Visit a health care professional for regular checkups and preventive screenings. The Office of Women’s Health provides guidelines about important screening tests for women.  Talk to your doctor or nurse about which screening tests are advised for you – and when.  Check www.womenshealth.gov/screening-tests-and-vaccines/screening-tests-for-women/. (Tip: on this website you’ll also find screening tests for the men in your life.)
    • Get – and stay – physically active.  To get the health benefits of active living, you need to engage in physically activities each week:  1) 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity or a combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, and 2) muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days.  For more about the “whys and hows” of being physically active, click on www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/physical-activity.html
    • Eat healthy.   Healthy eating and physical activity go hand in hand.  Neither one is hard to do once you learn the basics.  Just create a plan that work for you – and take it one do-able step at a time. For healthy eating basics, check www.womenshealth.gov/fitness-nutrition/index.html or www.choosemyplate.gov/. 
  • Pay attention to your mental health.  To have a healthy body, you also need to care for your mind.  That helps equip you to do all the important things that matter to you in life.  That includes the sense of well-being and inner strength you need to care for your family.   Healthy eating, enough physical activity and sleep, and managing stress are essentials for good mental health.  For more about women and mental health, check www.womenshealth.gov/mental-health/good-health/#ahealth/good-health/#a/.
    • Avoid unhealthy behaviors.  That includes smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet.


Celebrate:  Invite Other Women to Join In

The Office of Women’s Health invites women like you across the nation to join the National Women's Health Week celebration … to learn more about how you can be a well woman … to spread the word through your social media, email, community listservs and other networks … and to join or organize women's health Meetups.   This website provides more ways to join the celebration:  womenshealth.gov/nwhw/ as well as:    


Pledge to be a Well Woman!





 [RD1]Please be sure all the links are live if you use them.

Quick and Easy - Delicious Dinner Ideas

Monday, May 12, 2014 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

Preparing a delicious meal can be a difficult task, especially on busy week nights. All too often we choose quick and easy meals that lack in taste or creativity - leaving us with the same boring meals over and over. Get out of your old routine and give these Quick and Easy recipes a try - they're anything but boring!

Easy Clam Linguine

This easy pasta recipe can be made in only 25 minutes!

This quick recipe takes only 25 minutes (10 min prep and 15 min cook time) to make, yet packs a sauce that is savory in its simplicity. Made with our delicious linguine, it features succulent minced clams along with sharp garlic and a dry white wine sauce seasoned with red pepper flakes and salt.

View Recipe

Chicken Piccata with Angel Hair

Have a restaurant quality meal ready for Mom in only 30 minutes!

Our Chicken Picatta with Angel Hair features succulent chicken breasts, lightly breaded, sharp green onions and garlic, plus a tasty sauce made from wine, fresh squeezed lemon juice as well as capers to give it that restaurant taste and feel.

View Recipe


How To Enjoy Seafood the Safe Way – A Helpful Guide

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

Eat healthier by adding more fish to your diet.

Fish and seafood are excellent sources of protein that offer a number of health benefits. However, they can also be one of the most intimidating types of meat to buy, prepare and cook. We’re here with some tips on how to safely buy, store, prepare, cook and serve your favorite fish.

A Buying Guide

Make sure that the fish you buy is refrigerated and clearly displayed on a thick bed of fresh ice that is not melting.

  • Smell is key. Your fish should smell fresh and mild. It should definitely not have a sour, fishy or ammonia-like smell.
  • Shiny, firm flesh and clean gills is a must have for whole fish and fillets.
  • Avoid fish fillets that display any discoloration, darkening or drying around the edges.

Properly Store Your Fish

Always put seafood on ice or in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible after purchase. The general rule is that seafood is fine the refrigerator if it will be used within 2 days after purchase. Otherwise, it is recommended that you put it in the freezer after wrapping it tightly in plastic, foil or moisture-proof paper.

  • Keep seafood away from ready-to-eat-food when storing to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Keep unpackaged cook seafood away from raw seafood.
  • Wash your hands and any cutting board, dishes, utensils and counter tops with soap and hot water between the preparation of raw seafood and handling of any other food.
  • It’s also recommended that you use kitchen sanitizers on cutting boards and counter tops after you’re done.

Thawing Your Fish

  • Thaw frozen seafood gradually by placing it in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Seafood can be thawed quickly by placing it in a sealed plastic bag and immerse it in cold water or a microwave on the “defrost” setting if it will be cooked immediately after.

Cooking Time

  • Most seafood should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145ºF.
  • Another way to tell if your fish is done is to check the flesh. If the flesh is opaque and can be separated easily with a fork it’s probably done.
  • If you ever smell an ammonia odor while cooking don’t eat it. This is a strong sign that the seafood has spoiled.

Serving Your Delicious Meal

  • Seafood should never be out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours.
  • If you’re taking your meal to a picnic carry your seafood in a cooler packed with a cold pack or ice. Try to keep the cooler in the shade and the lid closed as much as possible.
  • In general try to keep hot seafood hot and cold seafood cold. One way to do this is to use smaller serving platters and serve only what you need, keeping the remaining platters refrigerated until needed.


U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Fresh and Frozen Seafood: Selecting and Serving it safely

Eat Healthier With These Three Tasty Fish

Monday, April 28, 2014 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

Eat healthier by adding more fish to your diet.

Improve your diet by eating more fish. Why fish? Fish tends to be high in protein, vitamins D and B as well as calcium, phosphorus and the minerals iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium and potassium. Plus, it is delicious! Salmon, Mahi Mahi and Trout are all lower in mercury with a list of benefits.

Benefits of Eating Salmon

  • Salmon is brain food. It is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which may help improve memory and cognition as well as help lower the risk for mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids may also help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides levels as well as raise your good cholesterol (HDL) – all good for a healthy heart.
  • May increase your metabolism, which in turn helps your sugar absorption rate and can lower your blood sugar level.
  • It could also improve the condition of your hair, eyes and skin thanks to those Omega-3 fatty acids.

Benefits of Eating Mahi-Mahi

  • Provides 20 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving. The USDA recommends between 5 and 6 ounces of protein a day.  
  • Mahi Mahi is a good source of all 8 B vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B7 (biotin), B12, and Folic Acid. These vitamins help your body make energy from the foods you eat and help form red blood cells.
  • Believed to improve your metabolism with vitamins B-5 and B-6.
  • Potassium in mahi-mahi can help lower your blood pressure.

Benefits of Eating Trout

  • High in Omega-3’s that may help prevent disorders such as dementia, depression, bipolar disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Trout is also high in selenium, which can help support your immune health and aids the thyroid gland.
  • Trout is low in fat making it a good substitute for fats like beef or pork.
  • Trout is a lean protein. A 3-ounce serving of rainbow trout provides 37% of the recommended daily allowance for men, and 46% the recommended daily allowance for women.

Eat healthier this spring with these delicious fish and pasta recipes:


Natural Resources Defense Council, Seafood Guide

BBC Good Food, The Health Benefits of Salmon

Choose My Plate, Protein Foods

Web MD, Eat Smart for a Healthier Brain

Lifestyle Lounge, Foods That Decrease Blood Sugar

US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, B Vitamins