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Creating quality meals at home is easier than you think


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Updated: 11/15/2012 10:15 am Published: 6/28/2012 2:36 pm


(BPT) - - As families become more concerned about the quality of food they are putting on the table, many are realizing that getting back to the basics is one of the best ways to eat better and not compromise on taste. If you're looking for ways to improve your family meals it doesn't require a major overhaul of your approach to shopping or cooking. Often, just a few simple adjustments can go a long way.

One of the easiest ways to upgrade a home-cooked meal is to select the freshest form of the recipe's main ingredients, and focus on the quality of groceries on your shopping list.

If you need some inspiration, here are four ways to focus on keeping meals simple and delicious:

* Using quality ingredients doesn't mean everything needs to be made from scratch. Pack fresh vegetables into family favorites like classic salads and sandwiches. Complement these dishes with ready-made products that also focus on quality ingredients. For example, a staple ingredient that makes classic dishes such as BLTs and homemade potato salads taste even better is Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise. It's made with high quality, simple ingredients such as oil, vinegar, and now cage-free eggs.

* Pick out the main ingredient in your recipe and aim for quality. Whether you're making steaks, chicken or eggs, try using farm-fresh products from a local producer.

* Build meals around vegetables that are in season. Plan a meal on the same day that you visit a local farmers market so you can use vegetables that may have been picked that morning, or better yet, cultivate your green thumb with a home garden for unlimited access to fresh - and inexpensive - vegetables. At the end of the season, stock up items such as squash that have a long shelf life and store them in a cool, dry place to extend your fresh cooking season.

* Use fresh herbs as seasoning to add a fresh burst of flavor to your meals. Fresh garlic is a great flavor booster, as it has a long shelf live and can be used in a wide variety of cooking styles.

For a perfect taste of fall, try this easy-to-prepare recipe that captures the freshest flavors of the season.

Pecan & Cranberry Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Ingredients

3 cups seasoned cube stuffing mix

3/4 cup chicken broth OR water

1/4 cup Hellmann's or Best Foods Real Mayonnaise

1/4 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted, if desired

1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries or cherries

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded 1/4 inch thick (about 1-1/2 lbs.)

1 tablespoon. I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Spread

Directions

1. Combine stuffing mix, broth, Hellmann's or Best Foods Real Mayonnaise, pecans and cranberries in large bowl. Evenly top chicken with stuffing mixture. Roll up and secure with wooden toothpicks.

2. Melt Spread in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and brown chicken, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook covered 5 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Sprinkle, if desired, with additional pecans and cranberries.

Visit www.hellmanns.com for additional ideas on how to incorporate real, simple ingredients into more of your classic dishes.


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