Morgan County Herald: Food, Recipes & Entertaining

Food, Recipes & Entertaining

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Recent Headlines

Wednesday 01/13/2021
Easy Sweetpotato Minestrone Soup—California Style
Updated: January 15, 2021 - 2:34 am

(NAPSI)—Everyone needs delicious recipes with heaping servings of veggies. Whether you’re thinking about overall health or trying to lose a few pounds, maintaining a balanced diet throughout the year is key to success.

Easy California Sweetpotato Minestrone fits the bill. A riff on the classic Italian soup, it takes a favorite that’s already loaded with veggie- and legume-goodness and makes it even better by adding superfood sweetpotatoes. California Sweetpotatoes are a great source of vitamin A, plus they’re full of heart-healthy potassium and fiber and antioxidants like vitamins C and E. 

Easy California Minestrone Soup

Serves 8

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 lb orange- or yellow/white-fleshed sweetpotatoes, cut into 1/2-in dice (about 3 c)

2 stalks celery, diced

3 Tbsp tomato paste

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste

1 1/2 tsp pepper, or more to taste

8c chicken or vegetable broth

One 28-oz can diced tomatoes

One 15-oz can garbanzo beans, drained

One 15-oz can kidney beans, drained

3/4 c uncooked elbow macaroni pasta

3/4 c fresh or frozen peas

2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano

1/2 c grated, shredded, or shaved Parmesan cheese


In a large saucepan or small stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add sweetpotatoes, celery, tomato paste, garlic, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes and beans and bring to a boil. Add pasta and peas, reduce to a simmer, and cook until vegetables and pasta are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in oregano and more salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with cheese.

For more recipes and information about California sweetpotatoes, visit


Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: This story can be useful to anyone and of particular interest to readers in the states of California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah and Idaho.


Pandemic meal preparation: How parents are coping with kids at home
Updated: January 15, 2021 - 2:34 am

(BPT) - In March, parents across the country had life flipped upside down. All of a sudden, they had to figure out how to work from home, guide their kids through e-learning, prepare more meals and manage the other regular duties of parenting. Little did these parents know that all those stressors would return in the fall.

Power Family Meals with Protein-Packed Peanuts
Updated: January 14, 2021 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) Starting fresh with a new year is a chance to hit the reset button for many people, and your family can use this opportunity to rethink homemade meals while striving for nutritious (and still delicious) dishes. From snacks to the main course each evening, the options are nearly endless for planning a revamped menu with healthier ingredients.

Add a Little Sweetness to Any Occasion
Updated: January 14, 2021 - 2:31 am

( It’s almost impossible to beat the combination of sweet fruit and decadent desserts. This delicious recipe for Apple Cake highlights the crisp fruit but also the cinnamon sugar-flavored pastry. It’s luscious but doesn’t overdo it on the sweet meter with just the right mix of flavors.

Easy-to-Make Cookies to Satisfy Sweet Cravings
Updated: January 14, 2021 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) Whether it’s a home-cooked meal, a tasty snack or a delicious dessert, sometimes the best recipes are the easiest. Take your sweets to the next level by adding an option to your cookbook that’s as simple as it is tempting and satisfying.

Turn to Tempeh for a Plant-Based Superfood
Updated: January 14, 2021 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) As a key part of a nutritious eating plan, protein intake can be a healthy step to take in the new year. One increasingly popular way to add protein to your at-home menu is with protein-packed, plant-based foods like tempeh.

New Year Nutrition
Updated: January 14, 2021 - 2:31 am

Take on 2021 with a sustainable, low-carb eating plan

New Year, New Family Habits
Updated: January 14, 2021 - 2:31 am

Simple ideas to make healthy eating easier

Filling Family Comfort Foods
Updated: January 14, 2021 - 2:31 am

Family Features) Just the thought of comfort foods is often enough to warm the soul, especially as cool winds blow and temperatures drop. When cooler weather calls for hearty meals to give your family a warming boost, you can turn to simple shortcuts for comforting flavor without skipping on quality.

3 Tips for Cooking Up a Healthy New Year
Updated: January 14, 2021 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) After a holiday season filled with indulgent food and limited time for exercise, there’s no time like the New Year to adopt some new, healthy habits.

Tuesday 01/12/2021
BookBites: Four Intriguing Reads to Start the New Year
Posted: January 12, 2021


Thursday 01/07/2021
BookBites: 4 Books With Stories and Lessons to Guide Us Into the New Year
Updated: January 14, 2021 - 2:31 am


Wednesday 01/06/2021
Nutritional Inspiration for the New Year
Updated: January 11, 2021 - 2:35 am

(Family Features) A new year brings new opportunities for personal changes and improvement from taking steps forward in a career to bettering personal relationships and - perhaps most common - starting on a path toward better health. For many, the worthwhile challenge of enhancing physical health begins with the foods and beverages you eat and drink.

Cook Comfort Food Once, Enjoy it Twice
Updated: January 11, 2021 - 2:35 am

(Family Features) Cook once, eat twice. It’s a kitchen practice as simple as it sounds. Cook a base dish that can be enjoyed today and used for an entirely different meal tomorrow. For example, bake some fish for tonight’s dinner, and enjoy fish tacos for tomorrow’s lunch.

Friday 01/01/2021
Stream The Office Exclusively on Peacock January 1
Updated: January 06, 2021 - 2:34 am


Wednesday 12/30/2020
7 Breakfasts to Keep the Family on Track this New Year
Updated: January 04, 2021 - 2:33 am

Start the year off right with wholesome, nutritious morning recipes

Breakfast Success with Blueberry Donuts
Updated: January 04, 2021 - 2:33 am

( From the first ring of the alarm to tying shoes and heading out the door, busy mornings can be stressful for the entire family. While many shortcuts exist to make the start to your day easier, one simple solution is to have breakfast ready to eat on the go.

Fight the Cold with Better-for-You Comfort Foods
Updated: January 04, 2021 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) Few things go together quite like cold weather and comfort foods. However, those hearty dishes that are typically craved on blustery days are usually not classified as “healthy.”

Comforting Dairy Dishes that Deliver Taste and Nutrition
Updated: January 04, 2021 - 2:34 am

(Family Features) Cooler weather calls for comfort foods, and it’s hard to top soups, risottos and strata for heartwarming dishes to share with the family on chilly days.

Warm Up with Sweet and Savory Comfort Food
Updated: January 04, 2021 - 2:34 am

(Family Features) If chocolate for dinner sounds too good to be true, it’s because chocolate is usually associated with decadent desserts. However, it can also take comfort food to a whole new level when paired with savory ingredients like red meat.

Monday 12/28/2020
Delicious Ideas for Big Game Sunday
Updated: January 04, 2021 - 2:33 am

(StatePoint) With just a grill and a bit of smoke, your menu will be the real MVP of the Big Game.

Wednesday 12/23/2020
Comfort Food for Chilly Days
Updated: December 28, 2020 - 2:38 am

( There’s almost nothing better than keeping warm and cozy on cold winter days. One thing that can help make staying indoors more enjoyable is delicious, warm, perfectly baked food. Casseroles are hearty options for cold, brisk winter days with mixed ingredients baked in a hot oven and served in large scoops.

Add Memorable Meaning to Holiday Mornings
Updated: December 28, 2020 - 2:38 am

(Family Features) Of all the traditions that make the holiday season truly special, there’s one that often stands above the rest by bringing loved ones to the table: food. This year, despite all the unknowns that’ll likely make the festivities different than ever before, you can bring your family together with recipes that add that special feeling back to time spent celebrating.

Tuesday 12/22/2020
Crowd-Pleasing Tips for Vegan Entertaining
Posted: December 22, 2020

(BPT) - Interest in veganism is at an all-time high; in fact, according to data from Google Trends, veganism is now twice as popular as it was just five years ago, and it doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. This means that the future of entertaining — when it is safe to gather together again — is vegan and plant-based. Having a vegan, vegetarian, plant-based, dairy-free or gluten-free guest is no longer a possibility, it should be expected and planned for.

5 Tips To Save Time (And Sanity) This Holiday Season
Updated: January 06, 2021 - 2:34 am

(NAPSI)—Doesn’t it seem like the most wonderful time of the year is actually the most stressful time of the year? Add to that a global pandemic, virtual schooling and working from home and it may seem like time is anywhere but on your side.

Well, the good news is: it doesn’t have to be that way! Even though the days are getting shorter and the holidays are here, there are plenty of ways you can get some of that time back so you can still enjoy this festive season with your family and loved ones.

Make a Master To-Do List -- and Organize it By Day

The hardest part in pulling off any holiday celebration is the preparation, and that is no different during a pandemic. Although you might not be hitting the crowded shopping malls or hosting gatherings, there are still a lot of details to plan. 

Take the stress out of daily decisions by planning in advance when you’re going to declutter, organize and decorate, celebrate in-person or virtually, and stock up on gifts and wrapping supplies in advance so you have what you need before stores run out. 

Plan Your Meals in Advance to Save Time 

Another way to save your sanity—and your budget—is to get ahead of those busy winter nights by meal planning. Home Chef, the largest meal kit company both in stores and online, is answering the common “what’s for dinner?” dilemma whether you’re a long-term planner or like to drop into the grocery store the same day.

With Home Chef, you can sign up for subscription meal kits on to plan and select your meals up to five weeks in advance, or choose from a variety of meal options in 2,000 Kroger grocery stores. Every meal kit includes the fresh ingredients in just the right amount you need to make simple, delicious recipes in the comfort of your own home—no last minute grocery runs for that whole jar of paprika when you only need a teaspoon. 

Home Chef also has a variety of different meal kits that fit into different levels of preparation and cooking times, including an Oven-Ready line that comes packed in an oven-safe tin eliminating the need for a pan, and a Fast & Fresh line that can be warmed in five minutes or less. 

In stores, shoppers can also choose from a variety of Heat & Eat soups and Sicilian Style Pizzas that can be warmed in minutes for a fresh, hot meal that ­satisfies those cold-weather comfort food cravings.

Save Money Shopping in Your Favorite Stores 

We all want to shop local this year, so here’s a tip to help you take advantage of big sales while still supporting your favorite neighborhood shops and boutiques. 

When you head to your favorite store, ask if they match prices from other stores. A lot of them will even match prices from online retailers, saving you money nearly every time. In the event that your local shop owner is not able to match the “big box” prices, they may still be able to offer you a discount for shopping local and supporting the independently owned businesses in your neighborhood. 

2020 Tip: Ask if they have online or phone ordering and take advantage of curbside pick-up! 

Give the Gift of Online Shopping 

If you decided to avoid the shopping malls and stores this season, gift cards make an excellent last-minute gift for everyone on your holiday shopping list. Gone are the days when gift cards are an impersonal afterthought. 

If you have a friend who loves to shop local, call a favorite boutique or shop in their neighborhood and order a gift card —many independent retailers will ship or email them directly to the recipient. 

For the aspiring home cook on your holiday gift list, Home Chef offers gift cards that allow the recipient to sign up and choose their favorite meals, making it easier to stick to those January resolutions in the new year. 

Keep Your Holiday Decor Organized 

If you have a large collection of holiday decorations, the very idea of sorting through them is probably overwhelming. And who wants to spend hours every year taking it down and putting it away!?

If detangling packing up your festive family heirlooms sounds like an exercise in chaos, here are a handful of tips to help you keep your sanity while you deck the halls.

First, have a system for storing your decor in between holiday seasons. Stock up on a few clear storage tote bins to organize your decor by category: lights in one bin, ornaments in one bin and holiday trinkets in another bin. Keep your breakables from shattering in storage —and save yourself the hassle of bubble wrap—by storing each glass ball ornament in its own small plastic cup. Separate each layer of cups with a layer of cardboard, bubble wrap, or even a layer of leftover wrapping paper. 

If you struggle with strings of holiday lights, take a piece of a cardboard box and cut slits in the sides so you can wrap the lights securely around each one, reducing tangling and eliminating those broken bulbs that are all too familiar each year. 

Decide Your Holiday Menus

One of the easiest ways to take the stress out of the holiday season is to know exactly what you’re going to serve for the big meal. No matter how you are planning to celebrate, Home Chef has options. 

If your holiday dinner plans are virtual, or if you are hunkering down at home, pick up your holiday meal from your local Kroger grocery store. Home Chef Holiday Bundles include your choice of turkey, ham or prime rib along with the traditional holiday side dishes like green bean casserole, sweet potato souffle, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls and a delicious dessert -- all in one box. 

The featured meals require minimal prep and side dishes that can be cooked in minutes, so you can focus on family instead of spending the big day in the kitchen.

Bundles feed 6-8 people, so even small groups celebrating at home can look forward to leftovers.  

Order in advance online at or by phone by December 20 or at your local Kroger family of stores deli counter until December 22.  

If you are planning an intimate New Year’s Eve at home with the people in your household, a delicious and festive meal is a must.  Home Chef’s online menu features something for everyone as you ring in 2021, like Balsamic-Bacon Jam Sirloin Steak, Brussels Sprouts and Brown Butter Risotto and Crispy Fried Mahi Mahi with Preserved Lemon Tartar Sauce. 

Simply place your order on before Friday, December 25 at 11:59 a.m. CT.


Friday 12/18/2020
6 ways to simplify meal prep at home
Updated: December 20, 2020 - 2:31 am

(BPT) - If you’ve ever arrived home tired and hungry after a long day with no plan for dinner, you know how hard it is to resist a takeout menu. And during the pandemic, it's been easier than ever to hit the delivery button.

6 ways to give back to essential workers
Posted: December 18, 2020

(BPT) - Healthcare workers, grocery store employees, teachers, delivery drivers — the list of essential workers can go on and on. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, these crucial personnel have been putting their lives at risk for the benefit and safety of others. Despite the risks, they must continue doing their jobs.

Wednesday 12/16/2020
How to Have the Ultimate Cozy Night In [Infographic]
Posted: December 16, 2020

(BPT) - A Friday night in doesn’t have to be boring. Here are some tips on how to have the ultimate night in, right at home.

Tuesday 12/15/2020
How to celebrate the holidays safely and on budget
Updated: January 15, 2021 - 2:34 am

(BPT) - Uncertainty continues into the holiday season, with limited travel, canceled events and strict budgets changing how Americans will celebrate this year.

6 simple shareables for small-group holiday celebrations
Posted: December 15, 2020

(BPT) - As holiday gatherings may be smaller this year, celebrating with immediate families or small groups can still be special. In fact, it's the perfect reason to try new recipes that use simple pantry staples to create sharable dishes everyone will love.

All-Day Holiday Delights
Updated: December 21, 2020 - 2:31 am

Celebrate the season with dishes from morning to night

Pair and Pour Some Festive Holiday Cheer This Season
Updated: December 21, 2020 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) While holiday traditions and celebrations will likely look different this year, the season is still special. Set the scene for a celebratory occasion by mixing festive cocktails or creating the perfect spread to complement your wines, beers, cheeses and even chocolates.  

Popping Up Festive Holiday Fun
Updated: December 21, 2020 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) During a holiday season that may not quite feel the same for many families, you can add a magic touch to at-home festivities with activities and treats that get everyone involved. Creating decorative holiday sweets allows little ones and grown-ups alike to take part in the fun, and the end result is delicious desserts for all to enjoy.

Celebrate the Holidays with a Delectable Dessert
Updated: December 21, 2020 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) With so many traditions and ways to celebrate the holiday season, the options are nearly endless for families looking to spend special moments together. One of the tastiest and most enjoyable activities you can engage in with family and friends is to team up and create sweet eats in the kitchen.

Savor Holiday Fun with Seasonal Sweets
Updated: December 21, 2020 - 2:31 am

(Family Features) Festive fun and baking holiday treats go hand-in-hand, and these Christmas Tree Cheesecake Brownies provide a perfect way to enjoy a holiday tradition in the kitchen with loved ones.

Friday 12/11/2020
BookBites: Four Titles to Keep You Engrossed During the Holidays
Updated: December 16, 2020 - 2:33 am


Thursday 12/10/2020
A Savory Way to Start Holiday Celebrations
Updated: December 14, 2020 - 2:34 am

( It’s the holiday season and your family can feel the cheer as loved ones fill their appetizer plates and excitement fills the air as gifts are being placed beneath the tree.

Savor These Holiday Centerpieces
Updated: December 14, 2020 - 2:34 am

(Family Features) Celebrate the season and create long-lasting memories this year by serving tasteful main courses centered around tender cuts of beef.

A Special Sweet-Tart Treat for the Holidays
Updated: December 16, 2020 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) All kinds of holiday celebrations, whether with immediate family or joining loved ones virtually, can be made better with sweet treats that add special meaning to the occasion. Including fresh fruit in your treat can make it an even tastier take on seasonal tradition.

Tuesday 12/08/2020
BookBites: Four Diverse Stories To Intrigue Readers
Updated: January 13, 2021 - 2:30 am


Thursday 12/03/2020
Try This Simple, Scrumptious Side Dish
Updated: December 10, 2020 - 2:32 am

(NAPSI)—Imagine this: consuming a few small bites a day can help you manage your weight and reduce your risk of diabetes, gallstones, heart disease and cancer. It’s not some new miracle drug, it’s that long-time favorite of kids and adults alike—the peanut.

Large population studies show that small amounts of peanuts and peanut butter in your daily diet can help reduce the chances of developing a chronic disease. Peanuts are a superfood because just a small handful delivers 19 vitamins and minerals that contribute to your overall good health. 

Here’s more good news. Peanuts are both tasty and versatile and you can enjoy them in a variety of delicious dishes that are easy enough to make any day but special enough for the holidays, such as this one:

Peanut Butter Sweet Potato Casserole with Peanut Streusel Topping

Prep time: 25

Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins

Total: 1 hour 55 minutes

Servings: 10

For the sweet potatoes:


3 pounds sweet potatoes

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

¾ cup low fat milk

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

¼ cup peanut flour or powder


For the topping:


2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

⅓ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

½ cup finely chopped roasted, salted peanuts


Preheat the oven to 425°F and wash the sweet potatoes. Lightly prick the skin of each potato with a fork and place it on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender and cooked through. Allow to cool then peel. 


Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly spray a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. 


Place the peeled sweet potatoes in a large bowl and mash well. Add the sugar, vanilla, eggs, milk, peanut butter, and peanut flour/powder and mix until smooth. Spread evenly into the prepared baking dish. 


To make the streusel, combine the melted peanut butter, brown sugar, and all-purpose flour in a small bowl. Press the mixture together using the back of a spoon. Keep pressing and mixing until the mixture is combined and crumbly. Add the peanuts and mix well. Sprinkle the topping over the sweet potato filling and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the center is mostly set. Serve hot. 


Per Serving: 363 calories, 10.7 g fat, 2.1 g saturated fat, 38 mg cholesterol, 141 mg sodium, 60 g carbohydrate, 7.7 g fiber, 18.1 g sugar, 10.6 g protein, 65% vitamin D, 5% calcium, 12% iron, 27% potassium.


Learn More 

For more recipes plus facts about how peanuts can help your short- and long-term health, from the experts at The Peanut Institute, visit

 "Peanuts are good for your health and both tasty and versatile and you can enjoy them in a variety of delicious dishes that are easy enough to make any day but special enough for the holidays."

BookBites: Diverse Selection of Reading Ideas as We Approach the Holidays
Updated: January 06, 2021 - 2:34 am


Make Small Holiday Celebrations Special with a Fresh Menu
Updated: December 07, 2020 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) Holiday festivities with immediate family members or just a few friends rather than larger gatherings may feel different than normal, but you can make the most of the situation with these tips to add intimacy and special meaning to celebratory moments:

Celebrate the Season with a Classic Side
Updated: December 07, 2020 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) No holiday celebration can be considered complete without taste bud-tingling sides to pair with your favorite seasonal dishes. Whether you’re able to celebrate with loved ones or joining virtually from afar, dining together with traditional holiday foods is oftentimes a major part of the festivities.

Celebrate the Best of the Season
Updated: December 07, 2020 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) If it seems like your grocery store’s apple section is more abundant than it has been in the past, you’d be correct. With new apple varieties coming onto the scene every few years, gone are the days of choosing between simply red or green.

Rich, Flavorful Recipes for Memorable Holiday Moments
Updated: December 07, 2020 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) For many families, spending special moments with loved ones feels more important than ever this year. Whether you’re spending the holidays with family or inviting them for a virtual call from afar, you can plan ahead to enjoy the same dishes even without being at the same table.

Delectable Desserts for Holiday Celebrations
Updated: December 07, 2020 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) With so many traditions and ways to celebrate the holiday season, the options are nearly endless for families looking to spend special moments together. One of the tastiest and most enjoyable activities you can engage in with family and friends is to team up and create sweet eats in the kitchen.

A Memorable Holiday Menu
Updated: December 07, 2020 - 2:33 am

(Family Features) Holiday gatherings, even in a time when smaller groups are encouraged, take on special meaning for many families. Part of the joy comes from the food that’s shared among loved ones from appetizers and sides to the main course.

A Main Dish for Busy Weeknights
Updated: December 07, 2020 - 2:33 am

( Main dishes can sometimes be a challenge for the average home chef. Whether you’re looking for something healthy and filling for a family of five or just cooking up something mouthwatering for a couple to share, it can seem difficult to manage.

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