Easy weeknight seafood paella
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Easy weeknight seafood paella

It’s good to know dinner already is in the can

Family Features

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Mothers pride themselves on serving their families wholesome, homemade meals. But here’s the reality: 60 percent of moms think that coming up with dinner ideas is more difficult than getting their children to go to bed on time. Moreover, 61 percent of moms frequently order takeout or go out to eat because they don’t have the ingredients on-hand to make dinner.

It’s time for a new strategy.

When it comes to mealtime, a well-stocked pantry can be the difference between culinary success and a dinner failure. With a pantry full of canned foods, a delicious and nutritious homemade meal is just minutes away.

It’s no secret that canned foods are convenient, but did you know that cans are also one of the best ways to get food from the farm to your family’s table? Canned fruits and vegetables are picked and packed when they’re at their peak of ripeness and nutrition, sealing in their freshness and flavor. Just like home canning, the canning process locks in foods’ natural goodness so it’s at arm’s reach whenever you’re ready to get cooking.

A pantry stocked with canned ingredients is also a source of recipe inspiration. Staples such as canned chicken, corn, green chilies, and tomatoes atop lettuce combine to create a chicken burrito salad. In less than 30 minutes, a box of fettuccine and a can of spinach transform into a hearty pasta with spinach pesto.

For more information or additional recipes, go to cansgetyoucooking.com.

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SIDE DISH

Southern-Style Succotash With Sweet Corn Sauce

4 ounces olive oil

14.5-ounce can sweet corn kernels, drained

15.5-ounce can butter beans

15-ounce can sweet peas

1/2 cup sliced canned carrots, drained and diced

1/4 cup canned diced tomatoes

8 sprigs fresh thyme

1 fresh bay leaf

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the sweet corn sauce

6 ounces canned corn, excess liquid strained off

3 ounces champagne or dry white wine

4 table-spoons butter

Salt, pepper and thyme sprigs, to taste

To make the succotash, add olive oil to large skillet and quickly saute all ingredients with salt and pepper until heated through, about 5 minutes. Top with sweet corn sauce.

To make the sweet corn sauce, puree corn and champagne in a blender until very smooth. Strain through fine strainer and place strained corn juice in small saucepan. Heat until simmering and slowly add cold butter, salt, pepper and fresh thyme.

Yields 4 servings.

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MAIN DISH

Pasta With Spinach Pesto

13.5-ounce can spinach, well drained

1 cup fresh parsley leaves

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup walnuts or almonds

1 large garlic clove

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

16-ounce box fettuccine noodles

In food processor, blend well the spinach, parsley, cheese, nuts, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. In slow, steady stream, add olive oil until mix is blended and smooth. Cook fettuccine as package directs. Drain. Toss spinach pesto with fettuccine. Yields 4 servings.

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MAIN DISH

Chicken Burrito Salad

For the salad

1 small head romaine lettuce, torn into small pieces

1 cup cooked brown rice

15-ounce black beans, drained and rinsed

14-ounce diced tomatoes

10-ounce can chicken breast chunks, drained and flaked

10-ounce corn kernels, drained

4.25-ounce can diced green chilies, drained

2.2-ounce can sliced ripe black olives, drained

For the dressing

2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

To prepare the salad, place lettuce leaves on a large platter or in individual bowls. Top with brown rice, black beans, diced tomatoes, chicken, corn, green chilies and black olives.

To prepare the dressing, combine lime juice and cilantro in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle dressing over salad.

Yields 6 servings.

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MAIN DISH

Easy Seafood Paella

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 small green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

8-ounce can yellow rice

14-ounce can vegetable broth

14-ounce can diced tomatoes

10-ounce can whole baby clams, drained

8.5-ounce can peas, drained

6-ounce can medium shrimp, drained

3.8-ounce can sliced ripe olives, drained

In 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, heat oil; add onion, green pepper and garlic. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add rice and vegetable broth. Over high heat, bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, clams, peas, shrimp and olives; cook 5 minutes.

Yields 4 servings.

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SIDE DISH

Curried Pumpkin Soup

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

14-ounce can chicken or vegetable broth

2 15-ounce cans 100 percent pumpkin

14-ounce can coconut milk

1 teaspoon salt

Pumpkin seeds

In large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, garlic, ginger and curry powder. Cook until carrots are almost soft, 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add broth and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until carrots are very soft, 10 minutes.

Transfer to blender or food processor and puree until very smooth. Return to pan and stir in pumpkin, coconut milk and salt. Cook over medium-low heat until heated through, 2-3 minutes.

Garnish with pumpkin seeds, if desired, and serve.

Yields 4 servings.

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