Savor SimplicityHoliday recipes worth sharingRustic MinestroneChocolate Chunk Banana BreadCranberry Riesling Brined Turkey

Family Features

Savor Simplicity

(Family Features) Most great holiday gatherings start with great food and end with quality time spent with loved ones. This holiday season, rely on simple recipes that let you spend less time in the kitchen and more time celebrating special moments with family and friends.

As a holiday host, it may be tempting to explore complicated new recipes to lend a festive air to your seasonal celebrations. However, with the right ingredients, a simple recipe can be equally impressive. Delicious holiday dishes start with premium ingredients like Bertolli Olive Oils, which offer enough versatility to be a must-have kitchen accessory throughout the holiday season and onward. From soups to main dishes to desserts, the rich, quality flavor works for nearly every culinary occasion.

After a long day of checking items off your holiday shopping list, there’s almost nothing better than a warm bowl of quick and easy Rustic Minestrone. This vegetarian classic is the perfect mix of marinara blended with aged cheeses, kale, zucchini and beans. One of the best parts: It can be on the table in 10 minutes, meaning less time cooking and more time spent stringing up holiday lights with family.

If you’re looking for a simple way to put a new twist on your turkey, take it to the next level with a seasonal brine made with sweet Riesling, garlic cloves, thyme, fresh cranberries and olive oil. It’s a hands-off way to make a tried-and-true dish a little more special.

Finally, when it’s time to wind down the evening, delight guests by bringing back a classic dessert: chocolate chip banana bread. Served slightly warm with a side of fresh whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream, it’s a sweet finish to any gathering that family and friends are sure to love.

Find more simple recipes to enjoy during the holidays at

  • 3          tablespoons Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 1          small zucchini, sliced in 1/2-inch half moons
  • 2          cups tightly packed, thinly sliced Tuscan kale leaves
  • 1          jar (23 ounces) Bertolli Rustic Cut Three Cheese with Aged Asiago, Romano and Parmesan Sauce
  • 1          carton (32 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 1          can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1/3       cup shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  1. In 6-quart pot over medium-high heat, heat 2 teaspoons oil. Add zucchini and kale; cook, stirring frequently, about 1-2 minutes, or until kale begins to wilt. Reduce heat to medium; add sauce, broth and beans. Simmer 5-7 minutes, or until heated. Top with shaved cheese before serving.

Tips: Substitute garbanzo beans, kidney beans, pinto beans or tri-bean blend for cannellini beans. For heartier soup, add 3 cups (9 ounces) refrigerated tortellini pasta with broth and beans. Simmer soup 8-10 minutes more, or until pasta is cooked through.

Recipe courtesy of Justin Schuble on behalf of Bertolli Olive Oil

  • 3/4       cup Bertolli Olive Oil, plus additional for coating pan
  • 3          ripe medium bananas, divided
  • 1/2       cup applesauce
  • 1          large egg
  • 1          large egg white
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2    cups all-purpose flour
  • 1          cup sugar
  • 1/2       teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2       cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips
  • 1/4       cup nut spread
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Coat 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with olive oil.
  3. In mixing bowl, mash 2 bananas. Add applesauce, egg, egg white and vanilla to bananas and whisk.
  4. In separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix. Add olive oil slowly and mix until combined.
  5. Fold in chocolate chunks. Pour batter into loaf pan.
  6. Heat nut spread in microwave until it reaches pourable consistency. Swirl spread into top of batter. Thinly slice long, flat strips of banana. Add slices to top of batter for decoration.
  7. Place loaf pan in oven and bake 1 hour. Remove bread and cool before slicing.

  • 1          quart water
  • 6          bay leaves
  • 2          tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1          tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2    cups kosher salt
  • 1          bottle (750 milliliters) Riesling wine
  • 2          large shallots, thinly sliced, divided
  • 8          cloves garlic, crushed but left in skins
  • 1          bunch fresh thyme, divided
  • 2          cups fresh cranberries, slightly crushed, divided
  • 1          turkey (16 pounds), giblet package and neck removed
  • ice water, for covering turkey
  • 1/2       cup Bertolli Mild Olive Oil
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  1. In pot, bring water, bay leaves, peppercorns, mustard seeds and kosher salt to boil. Stir until salt is dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Pour brine into 5-gallon stock pot or container. Pour in wine then add one shallot, garlic, thyme (reserving some for stuffing turkey) and 1 cup cranberries. Slowly lower in turkey.
  3. Pour ice water into pot to cover turkey. Place lid on pot and refrigerate at least 24 hours.
  4. Heat oven to 500° F. Remove turkey from brine, pat dry and stuff with reserved shallot, thyme and cranberries.
  5. Place turkey in roasting pan. Generously massage olive oil into skin of turkey. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Use kitchen twine to tie legs together so turkey will keep its shape. Place in roasting pan and roast 20 minutes. Lightly brush skin again with olive oil, reduce heat to 350° F and roast until internal temperature reaches 155-160° F on meat thermometer.
  6. Allow turkey to rest, loosely covered with foil, 30 minutes before carving.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Cranberry Riesling Brined Turkey)

Bertolli Olive Oil

Mother’s Day Kitchen Traditions

— There’s no better place than the kitchen to honor your special bond with a woman who has taught you all you know about cooking and baking. Whether she’s your mom, or a woman who has been like a mom in your life, Mother’s Day is the perfect time to create kitchen traditions you can cherish together year after year.

A decadent recipe you can prepare together and enjoy warm out of the oven is an ideal choice. As you wait for the dough to rise in these homemade cinnamon rolls, you’ll have plenty of time to catch up and reminisce over shared memories of your childhood and beyond.

Remember, the best results in baking come from top quality ingredients. The secret to the melt-in-your-mouth flavor of these rolls is the vanilla. Wilton Pure Vanilla Extract, made with the world’s finest vanilla from Madagascar, lends unmatched flavor and aroma to enhance cakes, puddings, pie fillings, custards, salad dressings and more.

For more tradition-worthy recipes to share with mom, visit

Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Glaze

Servings: 1 dozen rolls


1 1/3 cups warm milk (105°F)

2 packages (1/4-ounce each) active dry yeast

1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon Wilton Pure Vanilla Extract

3/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons bread flour

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1/2 cup lightly-packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

How Green Is Your House?

— Living an eco-friendly lifestyle starts at home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, residential use accounts for more than one-fifth of the nation’s total energy consumption. Adopting an earth-first, energy saving mindset will let you make adjustments around your home so that you can feel good about your family’s contributions to protect the environment.

Green energy

Improving your home’s energy efficiency is not only good for the planet, it’s good for your wallet. After all, wasted energy is money lost in monthly utility bills. Numerous factors influence a home’s energy efficiency, or lack thereof. Air leaks, outdated appliances or inefficient heating and cooling systems can all negatively impact your home’s energy usage.

Structural improvements

Correcting any structural issues can go a long way toward making your home more efficient. Give your home a thorough inspection to identify and repair leaks and cracks around windows, doors and duct work. Remember that poorly sealed attics and basements are also common culprits of energy loss.

Appliances and major systems

Upgrading your appliances and temperature control systems also helps drive more efficient energy use throughout the house. Look for ENERGY STAR-certified products, which are designed to save energy without sacrificing on performance. Where possible, make purchases that will perform double duty, such as high-efficiency washing machines that can save on both energy and water usage.

Fuel sources

Choosing the right energy source can also help lessen your impact on the environment. For example, using propane-powered appliances in your home can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to a recent study sponsored by the Propane Education & Research Council, propane-powered furnaces emit 73 percent fewer greenhouse gases than electricity. Similarly, propane-powered storage water heaters emit approximately 39 percent less greenhouse gas than electric storage models.

For more information about using propane and propane-powered appliances in your home, visit

Green upgrades

Shopping smart to incorporate high-efficiency appliances and electronics into your home is just a first step. There are many other ways you can make such products even more sustainable:

  • Rely on LED light bulbs, which use a fraction of the energy and last significantly longer than traditional bulbs.
  • Use light timers to turn off lights when they aren’t needed.
  • Make a habit of powering off lights and other electronics when you leave the room.
  • Set a programmable thermostat to adjust temperatures when you’re away from home.
  • Wash only full loads of laundry, and use cold water when possible.
  • Air-dry dishes, rather than using the heated drying cycle of the dishwasher.

Buying Green

Understanding just what makes a product green can be confusing. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, greener products are those that are shown to have less health or environmental impacts than similar products that have the same function.

The EPA has made it easy to identify earth-friendly cleaning supplies by introducing a Design for the Environment label that designates products deemed safer for personal health and the environment.

Other categories of green products may be harder to identify. You can rely on EPA labeling programs such as ENERGY STAR for household items such as windows, doors and many major appliances, and WaterSense for water-specific products such as toilets, faucets and showerheads.

When evaluating whether a product is “green,” be wary of eco-labels, which are not regulated and may contain misleading information designed to downplay a product’s true impact. The Federal Trade Commission created the Green Guides to set standards for truth in advertising; however, there is broad scope and consumers may still need to do some research to understand why a package has a green message on its label.

Ultimately, it’s important to consider all aspects of the product’s development, from research and manufacturing to packaging and distribution. For example, an earth-friendly cleanser packaged in a bottle using recycled plastic is more green than one that is not.

Recycle Like a Pro

Living green isn’t just about saving energy. Sustainable living also means putting earth-friendly practices in place throughout your home, such as recycling. With these tips you can make recycling easier for the whole family.

  • Establish collection bins to make it easy to gather all your recycling in one place. The number of bins you need depends on your city’s guidelines for sorting. If no sorting is required, a single bin will do. Otherwise, use different colored bins to make it simple to sort paper, aluminum, glass, etc.
  • Most families find the kitchen is a primary source of recyclable goods. If space is at a premium, keep a smaller collection bin in the kitchen that can be easily transported to a sorting station in a larger area, such as the garage.
  • Don’t forget to recycle in other rooms, too. Many common bathroom items, such as shampoo and soap bottles, and even cardboard toilet paper tubes, can be recycled.
  • Remember that recycling can also come in other forms, like donating unwanted clothing to charity or using leftover water to quench thirsty plants or freshen the dog’s bowl.
  • Be sure to rinse away any food or liquid residue from containers to manage odors and keep your recycling area tidy and odor free.
  • Maximize your bin space by compressing cans and bottles.

A Mediterranean Menu for Outdoor Entertaining – Opa!

— (Family Features) When al fresco entertaining calls for some flavorful inspiration, look to the fresh and abundant offerings of Mediterranean cuisine.

Inspired by its coastal origins, traditional Greek dishes feature a colorful collection of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and grilled fare. Whether you’re serving friends with a themed event or simply enjoying a homemade meal with the family, delicious Greek cuisine is perfect for sharing with those you love.

From raw to roasted, pickled to caramelized, the onion is one of the most versatile vegetables, and is commonly found among the many fresh flavors of this fare. Plus, when you cook with the mighty onion, you’re serving up a good source of vitamin C.

The growers and shippers of the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee and the National Onion Association offer the following tips about onions:

  • One large onion, diced equals about 1 cup fresh and 1/4 cup cooked.
  • Grill and saute onions over low to medium heat. This will bring out a savory, sweet, mellow flavor. High heat can cause the onion to taste bitter.
  • Store onions in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place with minimal exposure to light.
  • Keep peeled and cut onions in a sealed container in the refrigerator for seven to 10 days.

For more tips and ideas to add flavor to your outdoor celebrations, visit and

Turkey and Onion Meatball Kebabs with Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Servings: 6 large or 9 small kebabs

1 tablespoon cumin seed

1 cup plain yogurt

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped chives

3/4 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pound ground turkey

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut in thin wedges

1 green pepper, cut into 1-inch dices

12 cherry tomatoes

Heat small pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds to toast. Stir frequently, for about 3 minutes or until seeds are fragrant and slightly browned. Remove seeds to spice grinder or mortar and pestle; grind to moderately fine powder.

In medium bowl, combine yogurt, cilantro, chives, honey, salt and 1 teaspoon ground toasted cumin. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

In second medium bowl, combine turkey, garlic, lemon zest, salt, cayenne and 1 teaspoon ground toasted cumin; mix gently but thoroughly. Shape into eighteen 1 1/2-inch meatballs.

Preheat grill. On metal skewers (or bamboo skewers soaked in water 30 minutes), thread meatball, onion wedge, pepper square and cherry tomato. Repeat. Finish skewer with another meatball and onion wedge.

Grill until meatballs reach internal temperature of 160°F, turning as needed. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

For mini-skewers, use 2 meatballs, 2 onion wedges, 1 cherry tomato and 1 pepper square on each skewer.

Lentil Salad with Marinated Onions, Roasted Tomatoes and Olives

Servings: 6-8

2-3 medium tomatoes cut into eight wedges

1 (9.5-ounce) jar whole, pitted Greek olives, drained

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

8 thyme sprigs, leaves removed

Sea salt

1 1/3 cups lentils

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 medium cucumber, chopped

1 (12-ounce) jar artichoke hearts, sliced

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

3 tablespoons chives, chopped

2/3 cup crumbled feta

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Fresh ground black pepper


Courtesy of Family Features

Lentil Salad with Marinated Onions, Roasted Tomatoes and Olives

Preheat oven to 400°F. On medium-sized baking sheet lined with parchment paper, arrange tomatoes skin side down. Add drained olives to pan; drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and sea salt. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Cook lentils according to package directions, approximately 20 minutes.

While lentils are cooking, place red onion in small bowl. Pour red wine vinegar over onions and sprinkle with sea salt. Stir and let stand at room temperature while lentils are cooking.

When lentils finish cooking, drain if needed. In large bowl combine lentils, marinated red onion, garlic and remaining olive oil. Mix well and cool completely. When cool, combine rest of ingredients with lentils. Serve cold.

Orange, Mint and Onion Salad

Servings: 6

3 navel oranges

1/2 sweet yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, torn

1/4 cup black olives, oil cured, pitted


1/3 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup canola oil


Courtesy of Family Features

Orange, Mint and Onion Salad

For salad, cut top and bottom off each orange so it sits flat on cutting surface. Remove peel and pith (white part) by taking sharp knife and running it down sides of orange from top to bottom, following shape of each orange. Slice oranges into rounds.

Arrange slices, overlapping each other slightly, on large platter. Scatter onion, mint and olives over oranges.

For vinaigrette, whisk vinegar with honey, mustard, cinnamon and salt. Slowly add oil while whisking constantly, until well combined.

Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and serve immediately.

Note: Any leftover dressing can be stored, tightly covered, in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

The Bath Tub

— (Family Features) From bath time to bedtime, there are a number of rituals parents participate in with their children that bring them closer together. These small acts provide a sense of security to little ones and serve as family bonding time. However, many parents do not realize these everyday moments can be more impactful than they seem.

A recent JOHNSON’S Global Bath Time Report, found that 84 percent of parents say bath time is some of the best quality time they get with their child, yet many parents underestimate its power and benefits. In fact, more than half of parents (58 percent) say bath time is not extremely important to their child’s brain development. Yet, emerging and foundational science reveals multi-sensorial experiences such as bath time can be critical to baby’s happy, healthy development.

During the first three years of life, 85 percent of baby’s brain is formed. Researchers have found that during the formative first years of life – every interaction – every moment – is an opportunity to help shape baby’s developing brain.

Bath time is more than cleansing; it’s a ritual that allows parents to unlock the full power of baby’s senses with opportunities to use smell, touch, sight and sound. Make bath time mean more with these fun ideas:

Don’t leave out the bubbles:Playing with bubbles can help babies develop hand-eye coordination and discover objects exist even when they can’t be seen.

Be a rock star for the night: Play music and sing songs during bath time, which can stimulate parts of the brain responsible for memory. Did you know that playing certain types of music stimulates parts of the brain responsible for visual imagery?

Give a language lesson in the tub: Talk back and forth with baby during this time. It can help with language development.

Link smell with happy memories:Pleasant smells, like those from a fragranced bath product, can create long lasting memories for baby when paired with the loving interaction of a parent.

Another big part of the after-bath routine is routine massage, and research shows that babies who receive routine touch and massage are more likely to make eye contact and have an overall positive expression. According to the JOHNSON’S Global Bath Time Report, only 19 percent of parents in the U.S. understand that baby massages are extremely important to their child’s brain development with nearly three in 10 (28 percent) saying it’s not at all important. Yet, this skin-on-skin contact through routine massage can lead to improved cognitive development and increased alertness and attentiveness for children.

Remember to think of the bath time routine as more than a simple task – it fosters development and a sense of well-being for baby and parents, alike. For more ideas and inspiration to create meaningful moments with your family, visit