Feta & Olive Salad (Flatbread/Sandwich Topper)

Try this easy to share flatbread idea as an hors d’oeuvre at your next party. The recipe comes directly from our culinary staff here at Newly Weds Foods so you can be sure it’s authentic and delicious.

Ingredients:
⅓ cup kalamata olives, cut in half
¼ cup green olives, rough chopped
2 tablespoons roasted red peppers, medium dice
⅓ cup feta cheese (seasoned in oil and pepper/herbs), small dice
1 tablespoon red onions, small dice
¼ teaspoon za’atar seasoning
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together. Stir well to ensure even distribution of ingredients.
  2. Cover and set aside.
  3. Place on top of za’atar seasoned flatbread or sandwich.

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Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad

This salad features many of the traditional Middle Eastern flavors, like lemon, cucumbers, and red onion, while using other ingredients native to the region.

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups roasted cauliflower
1 ½ cups chickpeas, cooked
½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
½ cup kale, chopped
¼ cup roasted red peppers
¼ cup red onion, small dice
½ cup English/seedless cucumbers,
medium dice
3 teaspoons lemon zest (apx. 3 lemons)
11 tablespoons Yemeni curry dressing

Directions:

  1. Place one medium-large head of cauliflower into food processor. Using pulse setting, chop to coarse small pebble size. Place chopped cauliflower onto a greased sheet pan. Roast in convection oven at 350°F for about 10-12 minutes. Make sure you stir around the 5 minute mark.
  2. Place all items into a mixing bowl, except dressing. Toss/mix well to distribute ingredients.
  3. Add in dressing, toss to evenly coat/dress salad.

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Middle Eastern Cuisine, An Emerging Trend

The popularity of Middle Eastern cuisine is growing rapidly and is probably the result of a number of factors. Certainly, the ongoing news coverage of civil unrest in that part of the world is a significant one. It has caught the attention of the American public, stimulating the kind of overall interest in the region that includes its food offerings. In addition, the populations of these different ethnic groups and cultures from that geography are growing in North America, many with concentrations in some very specific locales making food immersion much more accessible.

Increasingly, demand for authentic foods aligned with these ethnic groups has taken on a life of its own. Seeing this as a great opportunity to expand their experience and knowledge in all things culinary, the chefs at Newly Weds Foods decided to take time to deep dive into the world of Middle Eastern fare. These flavors and ingredients are popping up and holding strong on menus, as well as on retail shelves. Industry trend watchers like Sterling-Rice have predicted a rise in popularity, most notably from places like Afghanistan and Syria. The Newly Weds chefs concur and believe the world will soon have a better understanding of Middle Eastern cuisine beyond shawarma and falafel.

The following series of blog posts provide insights on this topic and highlights key learnings from the food safari Newly Weds Foods’ chefs took through Dearborn, Michigan where one of the largest, most storied and diverse Arab American communities resides. Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Morocco, and Lebanon are among the many Middle Eastern countries from where Dearborn residents emigrated. Together the chefs experienced new and inspiring flavors heightened through the use of special cooking techniques. They learned much about the history and traditions of the Middle East and why that region’s palate is so diverse. Although it all felt so foreign in the beginning, the immersion left them food ambassadors to the Middle East’s culture and its peoples.

Come back every week for more about the food safari as well as, information relevant to this Middle East focus. And, enjoy the recipes developed by the culinary team that represent true taste and cultural awakenings.

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Dessert – The Sweetest Slice of the Day

MMMMM…what else can we say about dessert pies? They are the crème de la crème of any meal. Fruity, creamy, rich, sugar overload…you name it. Dessert pies sweeten the day for sure. According to Datassential, “36% of consumers splurge on desserts. Generation Xers are more apt to order desserts compared to other demographic groups.” Could it be that as we get older, desserts win over the taste buds? Given all the crust and filling options that constitute a “pie”, they certainly deliver on everyone’s need for a little indulgence. Try out this recipe to meet that need.

Tropical Rice Pudding Pie

Ingredients:
1 large prepared graham or shortbread pie crust
1 box vanilla pudding
3 cups coconut milk – full-fat version
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 cup shredded savory cheese
(like Gouda or cheddar)
2 ½ cups cooked rice
½ cup fresh pineapple – diced
½ cup fresh mango – diced
½ cup fresh dragon fruit – diced
¼ cup toasted coconut
2 tablespoons orange marmalade

Directions:
1. Heat coconut milk and ginger in small pot, let simmer for five minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally
2. Turn up heat, add in pudding mix to coconut milk. Stirring occasionally, bring mixture to a boil; continue to stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat
3. Add pre-cooked rice to pudding mixture; stir well to ensure rice is evenly distributed
4. Place pudding mixture in pie crust. Spread out evenly with spatula. Place into refrigerator for an hour to chill
5. Combine the pineapple, mango and dragon fruit with warmed orange marmalade. Mix well to ensure the marmalade has coated the fruit (Tip: warm marmalade in microwave)
6. Once pie is cooled, spread fruit mixture evenly over the top and serve

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Shake Up Pie Day!

Here’s a quick easy idea that you can use to get rid of that last piece of pie you promised yourself you wouldn’t eat. It’s so simple and easy, it’s a wonder this isn’t more popular!

Ingredients:

One slice of any pie
2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 cup milk
Whipped cream, for serving

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix to make a milk shake
2. Top with whipped cream
3. ENJOY!

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Mint Whoopie Pie

Celebrate next Pi day with something sweet and fresh. Our chefs whipped this up for last Pi day and it’s the perfect treat to show your appreciation for 3.14159……

Cake Ingredients:

1 Box Devil’s Food Cake Mix
*or call Newly Weds for mix sample
¾ cup water
½ cup water
3 eggs
1 box chocolate instant pudding

Filling Ingredients:

¾ cups butter- softened
1 teaspoon mint extract
2 ¼ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream
10-12 drops green food coloring

Directions:

1. Mix cake ingredients together well
2. Pour batter into a 1-gallon ziplock bag; seal the bag and cut a hole in one of the bottom corners
3. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and pipe batter out making about 32 circles
4. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes
5. Let cool completely

Filling Directions:

1. Whip butter with an electric mixer for 7-8 minutes until white and fluffy
2. Mix in the mint extract and then add the powdered sugar and heavy cream
3. When all ingredients are mixed well, add in food coloring and mix for another 5 minutes
4. Pipe onto pan side of half of the cookies; top with another cookie

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Plus 1 Your Pizza

We’ve all eaten frozen pizza. It’s a convenient way to feed yourself or the whole family. Frozen pizzas are easy; on your wallet as well as your time. However, the convenience and money savings doesn’t mean it should lack on taste. With a few tips, you can turn any regular pizza into an amazing “pie.”

There is an abundance of add-on ingredients available to create a memorable pie. The easiest, of course, is to add fresh mozzarella that will deliver an ooey gooey cheese pulling dining experience.

Up the ante by switching out a frozen sausage pizza for plain cheese and then add refrigerated pre-cooked sausage. There is a variety of exciting new flavors in the marketplace and sliced, crumbled or diced versions that can easily be added and baked into the pizza pie. Using fresher ingredients for toppings will reduce the number of items with that freezer burn taste. For a spicy Mexican flavor, use chorizo sausage instead of Italian. To take it up a few more notches think fresh herbs, shaved fennel, red onion, or roasted garlic for the top off your pie. Adding these little touches, can take your pizza from being run of the mill to something your family won’t soon forget.

The crust on a frozen pizza is rarely as good as the crust on a fresh pie. The best way to get a frozen pizza crust crispy is to get air under it and that can be done by placing the pie directly on the oven rack. Just keep an eye on it to avoid burning and take care in removing it from the rack.

Another great option is to line the bottom of a cookie sheet with Pizza Panko™ Breadcrumbs from Newly Weds Foods. Place the frozen pie on top and bake per directions on the package. This will allow for air flow that creates a perfectly “crisp” crust.

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The Pie of the WORLD!

A little over the top but isn’t that what pie can be? While the initial thought of it might be simply a grand sweet finale for meals, a pie is much, much more. Pie traditionally is known as a baked dish made with pastry dough and various sweet or savory ingredients. However, it can take on many forms as illustrated by products from around the globe. The concept of pie is a centuries old food carrier that comes in an enclosed or open faced form. From empanadas (Spain) to Spanakopita (Greece) to quiche (France), various nationalities and cultures stake claim to a unique version of pie. That is why it fits so many different occasions and is okay to be eaten with a fork or with your hands. Below are a few versions of pie like forms to entice your taste buds and highlight ingredients from the world stage.

Chicken Empanada

Ingredients:
2 ½ cups shredded chicken
1 cup mash potatoes
⅓ cup frozen carrot & peas
⅓ cup salsa
10 empanada dough -5 inch
¾ cup cheddar & Jack shredded cheese
⅛ teaspoon cumin
⅛ teaspoon Newly Weds Foods ají amarillo pepper seasoning
⅛ teaspoon Newly Weds Foods al pastor or roasted coffee chili rub
5 teaspoon melted butter

Directions:
1. Place chicken, mash potato, vegetables, salsa, cheese, cumin and ají amarillo seasoning into a mixing bowl. Toss/mix well to evenly incorporate all ingredients
2. Place about ¼ cup of chicken mixture into center of each empanada disk
3. Lightly moisten edges with water, fold dough over to form half -moon. Pinch to seal (use fork or crimper)
4. Lightly brush dough with melted butter, then sprinkle about ⅛ teaspoon of either al pastor or roasted coffee chili rub seasoning.
5. Place finished empanada onto prepared sheet pan or cookie sheet. Place into 375°F convection oven (10-12 min) or 425°F standard oven for about (15 to 20 min)
6. You can also fry: Fill a deep saucepan with oil to a depth of 2½ inches. Heat oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking (350°F on deep-fry thermometer). Cook empanadas in batches until crisp and golden brown, flipping once 4 – 6 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Lightly dust again with seasoning.
7. Serve with your favorite guacamole, sour cream, and salsa fresco

Polenta Pie

Ingredients:
1 cup instant polenta cornmeal
3 cups water
2 ½ tablespoons pesto sauce
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, small dice
(not in oil)
½ teaspoon salt (kosher or sea)
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
⅔ cup Asiago or Parmesan cheese
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups mozzarella & provolone cheese
blend shreds
¼ cup parsley, fresh

Directions:
1. Place polenta, pesto sauce, olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, pepper, & Asiago cheese in a small pot
2. Heat water in separate pot or in a tea kettle, when water is about 200°F -add to the pot with instant polenta mixture. Stir while adding water
3. While stirring mixture over low heat, add in 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley. Stir on low heat for about 5 minutes, or until all ingredients come together and the cheese is melted
4. Remove from heat, place mixture into a lightly greased springform cake pan (cheesecake pan). Use your hands or a rubber spatula to make sure the mixture is evenly spread out and lightly packed into cake pan
5. Add 1 cup of tomato sauce evenly over the top surface, sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley evenly over the sauce
6. Place mozzarella cheese blend over the sauce, making sure it’s evenly spread out
7. Place cake pan into a 350°F convection oven, or a 400°F standard oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Let cool for about 5 minutes before cutting into pie wedges

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Maple Bacon Breakfast Pie

Pie isn’t just for dessert.  Try our chefs take on a delicious breakfast pie with bacon, cheese, and a crispy maple syrup top.

Ingredients:

1 refrigerated pie crust
2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
3 green onions, sliced
1 cup shredded savory cheese (like Gouda or cheddar)
3 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups cooked diced potatoes, drained, or frozen hash browns, thawed and drained
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10 slices thick cut bacon
Maple syrup for brushing

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350⁰F
2. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together in a large mixing bowl Add the cheese, hash browns, green onions, and crumbled bacon then stir to combine
3. Lay the pie crust in the bottom of a 9-inch pie dish
4. Pour the egg mixture into the pie pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the quiche is firm enough to lay the bacon on. Remove the pie and increase the temperature to 450°F
5. Weave the bacon into a lattice on top of the pie. Brush each strip of bacon with maple syrup
6. Cover the edges of the pie with aluminum foil to prevent burning Note: The bacon will shrink a lot, so its fine that the bacon is hanging over the sides. Return the pie to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the bacon is done. Tip pie dish carefully to drain any bacon grease. (If you like extra crispy bacon you could put the pie under the broiler for a couple of minutes, or until the bacon has reached your preferred doneness.)

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Culinary Exchange

Earlier this year several of our global culinary team members were able to gather in Chicago for an information exchange sharing trends from their respective regions. Newly Weds Chefs from Australia, Thailand, the UK, and the US all convened for a 2.5-day learning session.

The first day included a guest; Chef Freddie Bitsoie from the National Museum of the American Indian taught our chefs different cooking techniques and flavor profiles representing Native American cuisine all morning long. That afternoon the chefs applied what they learned by creating Native American dishes and exploring ways to incorporate the cooking styles and ingredients into other food types.

The second day was all about American Barbecue. Chef Hayden from Australia was particularly interested in the presentation given by our Chef Mat, a Chicago based chef and true pit master. Australian barbecue is what we would call grilling, high heat with short cook times. But there is a growing interest down under in how the Americans make it, low (heat) and slow (cook times).

On the final day, each chef gave a quick presentation about some of their more successful products. This cross pollination of ideas provides our culinary group with a lot of inspiration, helping in new product development to create relevant and in demand concepts for Newly Weds Foods and our customers. A few of the items shown were a slow cooker pineapple upside down cake, a zaatar flatbread and chocolate chicken. Indigenous ingredients from Australia were also introduced including lemon myrtle and Tasmanian pepper.

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