Pastapalooza All Stars 2015

September 16th, 2015  |  By:

2015 pastapalooza v winners_revised

#Pastapalooza 2015 is closed, but the benefits from the program continue. Thirty food banks across the nation received a total of $14,000 to help fight hunger. And thanks to the bloggers participating in this year’s Market Basket Challenges, we have five award-winning salads are special enough to play a starring or supporting role on your dinner table all year round.

1. Liz Mays from Lizventures – Garden Fresh Pasta Salad with Cilantro-Lime Drizzle (Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina).

Liz’s recipe is a tasty blend of garden- fresh ingredients like corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, greens and herbs with rotini. It’s a light and satisfying salad for either lunch or dinner!

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2. Brian Mellott from This Cookin’ Dad– Lemon Poblano Mac & Cheese (Feeding Greene with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank).

Brian won with his stovetop masterpiece Lemon Poblano Mac and Cheese. He paired elbows with savory Applewood smoked bacon, diced onions and poblano peppers, and lemon shandy beer to create a flavorful twist on a classic that’s sure to be a hit all year round!

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3. Janet Bridge from The Captain’s Daughter – Fennel Pesto Pasta with Fennel, Roasted Tomato and Cannellini Salad (Second Harvest Food Bank, Northwest NC).

Janet created this mouthwatering Fennel Pesto Pasta recipe which features angel hair topped with mixed color tomatoes, dried apricots, cannellini beans and fennel.

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4. Sarah Bates from The Chef Next Door– Chickpea Pasta Salad with Lemon-Chutney Dressing (Greater Lansing Food Bank, Lansing MI).

Sarah whipped up a sensational Middle Eastern-inspired salad featuring rotini, chick peas, pine nuts, mango chutney, lemons, ground cumin and other spices.

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5. Kim Demmon from Today’s Creative Blog– Penne Primavera (Free Hot Soup – Vancouver, WA)

Kim’s recipe Penne Primavera combines penne rigate with basil pesto, crushed garlic, Italian sausages, fresh broccoli, carrots and cherry tomatoes. It’s destined to be a favorite for any pesto-lover!

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Enriched, Fortified, Great Grains!

September 15th, 2015  |  By:


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You’ve seen the words, “enriched” and “fortified” on food labels for years, but what exactly do they mean? “Enriched” is simply adding back nutrients lost when grains are processed, or refined. “Fortified” is adding extra nutrients, to help resolve a public health concern.

Together these processes add up to grain products with better-for-you nutrition. Whether it’s pasta in any shape, crusty country bread, or crunchy breakfast cereal, foods made with refined grains can deliver good nutrition – with unique benefits of their own.

Enriched: B Vitamins and Iron

About 60 years ago, United States’ food processors began to enrich refined grain products, including white flour to make pasta, bread, and many other grain products. Today about 95 percent of wheat flour is enriched. The goal: to replace nutrients lost when kernels of grain are milled.

When refined, one part of the kernel (endosperm) is left, while the germ and the bran are milled out, along with B vitamins (thiamin riboflavin, thiamin) and iron. Enrichment not only replaces them, but for some nutrients, the level is higher than before. What do these nutrients do?

  • B vitamins: Among other roles, they help your body produce energy. Looking back, enriching grains also helped eradicate beriberi and pellagra, the once common thiamin and niacin deficiencies.
  • Iron: Your body needs iron to carry oxygen in your blood, and then to produce energy in your cells. Iron enrichment lowers the chance of developing iron deficiency anemia. Made with enriched durum wheat flour, a 2-ounce (dry) serving of Dreamfields pasta has 10% Daily Value for iron.

Fortified: Fiber and Folic Acid

Fortification, adding extra nutrients, is another way that many refined grain products get a nutrition boost. Folic acid is added by law; others, such as fiber, are added voluntarily. Dreamfields pasta is fortified with:

  •  Folic acid: Among its functions, this B vitamin is essential for women before and during pregnancy. Because refined grains are folic acid fortified, far fewer babies are born today with nervous system (neural tube) defects. Folic acid may help reduce other health risks, too, such as strokes and some cancers.

Refined grain products must be folic acid fortified, with about twice the folic acid of most whole grain counterparts. Whole grains may be fortified voluntarily.

  • Fiber: From plant-based foods, fiber supports overall good health, aids digestion and helps you feel full longer after eating. Depending on age and gender, adults need 21 to 38 grams of fiber daily.

Dreamfields pasta has 2 ½ times the fiber in traditional pasta. It delivers 5 grams of fiber per 2 ounces (dry) serving. Of that, about half is inulin, a prebiotic soluble fiber found naturally in many vegetables, and in Dreamfields, from chicory root. Xanthan gum and pectin provide fiber, too; being insoluble, they have different benefits.

Check the Dreamfields Label

The package is your place to identify enriched and fortified grain products – and see how they contribute to your good nutrition.

  • With an “enriched” claim, they must contain at least 10% more of the Daily Value (DV) of the nutrient(s) found in un-enriched counterparts.
  • “Enriched” and “fortified,” the ingredient list must show all the nutrients added for good nutrition.
  • The Nutrition Facts: it shows how much thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, iron and fiber, as well as protein and other nutrients, that a serving of Dreamfields pasta provides.

Both enriched and fortified, Dreamfields pasta has all of the taste and texture of traditional pasta!
Roberta L. Duyff, MS, RDN, CFCS is author of the American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, with more about enriched and fortified foods in healthy meals!

The Best Foods to Help You Sleep!

September 15th, 2015  |  By:


It doesn’t matter if you’re a parent or student, heading back to school can disrupt your sleep schedule and make you feel tired and cranky. The best defense is an earlier bed time, but for most of us shifting our schedule is easier said than done. One of the easiest ways to hasten your slumber is to eat something that will keep you from being hungry and help you relax.

There are a few different myths regarding sleep that generally don’t work, like watching television, taking a hot bath or watching TV. Drinking a glass of wine can dehydrate you and wake you up, and watching TV can stimulate your brain and make sleep even more elusive. For children, video games and TV can present real problems for them as they try to sleep, and a hot bath too close to bedtime can raise their temperature just enough to make it harder to sleep. Giving kids a healthy snack while they wind down with a book or quiet activity can help create a routine that will make sleep easier as the school year progresses.

The good news is that a carbohydrate-rich snack can really help. It can raise your serotonin levels and make you feel drowsy – making sleep easier. Choosing something healthy, like whole wheat toast with peanut butter or air-popped popcorn can be a delicious and easy way to head off to sleep satisfied. Snacking before bed, if done correctly and with moderation, doesn’t necessarily pack on extra pounds. It can actually help your metabolism, regulate your blood sugar, and help your energy levels when you’re awake. Here are some delicious options for sleep-inducing snacks.

If you’re not a snacker, having a balanced meal with complex carbohydrates 2-3 hours before bed can also help. Here are some great recipes for satisfying pastas that are also high in protein and a healthy option.

Getting back on schedule and getting enough sleep can be surprisingly simple. Once you get back on track you’ll have more energy, and you’ll find it easier to stay on schedule as the year progresses! So get started tonight, and you’ll find that soon everyone in your home is better rested and ready to learn.




Stock Up And Save Big On Dreamfields Pasta At Albertsons!

September 2nd, 2015  |  By:


Live in SoCal? Shop at Albertsons? We have exciting news to share with you! This week only, 9/2 through 9/8, at participating Southern California Albertsons stores, Dreamfields Pasta is part of the popular Albertsons “Fab 5 Sale.” Buy any 5 participating products and save $5 on each item. That’s one dollar off per participating item… it really is that simple to save. Keep an eye out for our in-store display and fill your pantry with the Dreamfields Pasta you love!

Protein: A Nutrient Powerhouse

August 31st, 2015  |  By:



Protein … a nutrient that’s been long ignored … is trending today! Today, experts advise that protein’s role in optimal health is far broader than once thought. And spreading protein out from a variety of foods, among all three daily meals, is a nutrient with benefits.

Power of Protein …

Protein’s role as a muscle builder is well known. It’s part of every body cell, building and repairing cells as they as wear out. But protein has a more extensive do-list, especially when consumed in optimum amounts:

  • Helps satisfy hunger. Protein adds satiety to meals, helping you feel full longer – perhaps aiding in weight management.
  • Helps preserve muscle with aging. For every decade after age thirty, the body loses about 3 to 8 percent muscle. Physical activity, along with adequate protein, helps keep muscle strong and stable.
  • Promotes healthy bones — along with calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients. Bone is about 50 percent protein.
  • May help steady blood sugar levels, for those with diabetes.
  • Provides energy. Like carbohydrate, a gram of protein delivers 4 calories (half as much as fat). If used for energy, however, it isn’t used in other ways. Protein takes more energy to digest – another benefit to weight management.

Protein: Getting Enough …

If you’re healthy and eat nourishing meals — with a balance of good nutrition — you likely get enough protein for the basics, but perhaps not enough for all the health benefits you deserve.

How much is that? The minimum depends on your body weight and age. For healthy adults, weighing about 160 pounds (0.8 grams of protein daily per kilogram body weight), it’s about 60 grams of protein daily. Growing children, teens, and pregnant or nursing women need somewhat more. (1 kilogram is 2.2 pounds.)

Experts also advise a range: 10 to 35% of daily calories from protein for adults; somewhat more for kids. That’s 50 to 175 protein grams for those who eat 2,000 calories daily. Spreading protein, aiming for 25 to 30 grams per meal is advised, with a little more at snack time.

Protein Pasta-bilties…

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and cheese are excellent protein sources, as are beans, nuts, and seeds. Grain products deliver proteins, too, in smaller amounts, with fewer essential amino acids (building blocks of protein). Yet their contribution counts. Every cut or shape of Dreamfields pasta delivers 7 grams of plant protein per serving.

Pasta meals are great ways to hit the mark of 25 to 30 grams per meal!

Roberta L. Duyff, MS, RDN, CFCS is author of the American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, with more about fitting protein into your healthy meals!

Today is More Herbs, Less Salt Day

August 29th, 2015  |  By:

Fresh herbs on wooden background

August 29th is More Herbs, Less Salt Day! Eating less salt is a good idea for everyone regardless of age or overall health. Most Americans eat more processed foods than they should, which is the #1 culprit of adding unnecessary salt to our diet but reducing salt is easier when you add more flavor with fresh herbs!

If you DON’T have an herb garden, the good news is most grocery stores stock fresh herbs in the produce section. This time of year is perfect for fresh basil, parsley, and cilantro, but you can also find fresh rosemary, sage, dill, and others to add flavor to every meal! Here are some of the best ways to use some common herbs:

Parsley – This mellow herb gives a bright, grassy flavor that lets other flavors shine through. It mixes well with garlic and basil and is great to add as a finish to soups, pasta, and fish.

Sage – This strong, woody herb is delicious with mellow or sweet veggies like carrots and squash and is fantastic with poultry. It adds a classic flavor to soups and stews as well as stuffing and potato dishes.

Rosemary – This fragrant, spiny-leafed herb is most commonly used in Mediterranean cooking and is delicious with lamb and chicken. Infuse in your favorite olive oil and use as a dip for fresh, crusty bread,  or roast cubed potatoes in olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper for a tasty, classic potato dish.

Cilantro – Love Mexican food? Chances are you’ve eaten a lot of this herb. It’s great in fresh salsa, chopped and sprinkled in tacos and in quesadillas.

Basil – A classic Italian herb, basil comes in a few varieties such as Thai basil, lemon basil and regular. It’s delicious chopped and added to salads, marinara sauces or on pizza, and it is the main component in pesto.

Dill – This mellow herb isn’t just for pickles! Fresh dill is delicious with fish and in potato and mixed green salad. Stir into vegetable soups or homemade dip. While it’s not strong, it has a distinct, almost sweet flavor that complements proteins and vegetables alike. Here’s a great recipe for a Mediterranean Pasta Salad for something different that is also a bit healthier for a summer night or a Labor Day gathering.

Herbs add flavor to dishes that will satisfy without salt, and they have health benefits, too. Find out what the healthiest spices are here. Our recipe for Veggie Lover’s Lasagna is just packed with fresh basil, oregano, and parsley, and loaded with tasty fresh vegetables to give you a lot of flavor without too much salt. This tasty Spicy and Cool Pasta Salad will have you enjoying fresh cilantro and chives with the added punch of mango salsa!

Today, put down the salt shaker and try adding some fresh, healthy herbs to your meals! You’ll find you won’t miss the salt and enjoy the flavor more!




Stock Up And Save Big On Dreamfields Pasta At Vons and Pavilions!

August 26th, 2015  |  By:


Live in SoCal? Shop at Vons or Pavilions? We have exciting news to share with you! This week only, 8/26 through 9/1, at participating Southern California Vons and Pavilions stores, Dreamfields is participating in the Score $4 event. When you buy 4 or more participating items you’ll save $1 each – mix or match with your club card. That’s one dollar off per item… it really is that simple to save.

Check us out on page 3 of the Vons weekly ad.

Keep an eye out for our in-store display and fill your pantry with the Dreamfields Pasta you love!

Pasta Salad For Your Picnic … Or Any Day

August 26th, 2015  |  By:


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Pasta salad is a favorite for bringing to pot lucks or picnics, but these quick, colorful, flavorful recipes will be equally at home at your table during a busy work or school night.

Mamma mia! Make this Italian Pasta Salad when you want to enjoy antipasto favorites made into a full meal with the addition of Dreamfields pasta.

Fans make this recipe over and over again for a reason: Lemony Peas and Pasta Salad

Avocado, Bacon & Tomato Summer Salad with Dill Dressing makes decadent ingredients taste fresh and light.

Psst…Are you in Southern California — or do you have family or friends who are? Dreamfields is on sale at Vons/Pavilions (Score 4 Mix and Match from 8/26 – 9/1) and Albertsons (Fab 5 Mix and Match is 9/2 – 9/8). Time to stock up!

Stovetop Saviors

August 26th, 2015  |  By:


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It’s that time of year again – the days are getting cooler and busier for families. For those nights that are particularly difficult to gather around the dinner table, there is nothing better to prepare than a quick and delicious stovetop dish! Designed to make your life a bit easier on hectic nights, these Stovetop Saviors come to the rescue… in 30 minutes or less!

Bruschetta Spaghetti… If you’re a fan of a classic bruschetta, then you are going to love this version.

Rotini with Ground Beef & Spinach… Weeknight dinner dilemmas are officially over thanks to this recipe!

Easy Chicken Parm Soup… Sometimes a bowl of soup is the perfect way to end the day.

Cajun Chicken Pasta Skillet… Spice up your Dreamfields with a little extra Cajun spice.

Psst…Are you in Southern California — or do you have family or friends who are? Dreamfields is on sale at Vons/Pavilions (Score 4 Mix and Match from 8/26 – 9/1) and Albertsons (Fab 5 Mix and Match is 9/2 – 9/8). Time to stock up!

Healthy in a Hurry

August 26th, 2015  |  By:


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With little time to spare on those especially busy days, it often can be difficult to incorporate nutrition into daily meals. As we all know, fast usually does not equal healthy. Luckily, there are some guilt-free dishes that are light yet satisfying and quick-to-make!

Hawaiian Islands Chicken Pasta… Island-inspired cuisine right from your pantry!

Green Goddess Pasta… Be the goddess of your healthy kitchen with this recipe!

Penne with Cauliflower, Cilantro and Cumin… This healthy dish has it all – veggies, spices, pasta and great taste!

Pesto Rainbow Pasta with Roasted Vegetables… Enjoy the flavor of pesto without all the fat!

Psst…Are you in Southern California — or do you have family or friends who are? Dreamfields is on sale at Vons/Pavilions (Score 4 Mix and Match from 8/26 – 9/1) and Albertsons (Fab 5 Mix and Match is 9/2 – 9/8). Time to stock up!