Chili’s Grill & Bar Launches Frozen Foods Line

We’ve all seen their commercials on television, with real people celebrating their real life experiences. The closeups of the delicious, steaming dishes tantalizing our taste buds almost to the point of licking the screen (or is that just us?) Suddenly you’re thinking, I wish I was having some of that now. Well guess what, now you can. Thanks to a partnership with Bellisio Foods, a leading frozen foods manufacturer, Chili’s® Grill & Bar is introducing a new line of licensed Chili’s®-inspired frozen meals that are boldly flavored and delicious. And the best part, they are so incredibly yummy, you won’t believe you’re not dining at a Chili’s Restaurant. If you’re tired of under-seasoned and bland frozen meals, try out one or all of these perfectly seasoned frozen meals…..you won’t regret it.

The new licensed Chili’s® frozen food line officially launches in June with single-serve entrées and multi-serve meals that boasts bold colors, bold flavors and bold innovations. The Chili’s®-inspired frozen meals include menu favorites like Pepper Jack Mac ‘N’ Cheese, Chicken Fajita Rice Bowl and Cajun-Style Chicken Alfredo. The eight single-serve entrees (two shown above) include:

  • Bacon Mac ‘N’ Cheese (see above photo)
  • Cajun-Style Chicken Alfredo
  • Cheesy Chicken Pasta Florentine
  • Chicken Bacon Ranch
  • Chicken Fajita Rice Bowl
  • Island Chicken and Rice
  • Mango Chicken with Rice (see above photo)
  • Pepper Jack Mac ‘N’ Cheese

The five multi-serve meals (pictured below) include:

  • Nacho Potatoes with Beef & Bacon
  • Chicken Fajita Rice
  • Seasoned Chicken Bites with Honey Chipotle Sauce
  • Chicken Bacon Ranch
  • Bacon Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Naturally we have our favorites, such as the Cheesy Chicken Pasta Florentine, Cajun-Style Chicken Alfredo, Island Chicken and Rice, and the Mango Chicken with Rice but we invite you to discover your own.

The eight single-serve Chili’s®-inspired frozen meals will be available at suggested retail price range of $2.79 to $3.49, with the five multi-serve meals available at suggested retail price range of $6.99 to $7.99 each. The Chili’s®-inspired frozen meals will be available at major retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, Food Lion, H-E-B, Meijer, Giant Eagle, Schnucks and many more.

The Village Voice’s Third Annual “Choice Streets” Food Truck Tasting Event

We had the great opportunity to indulge in another culinary delight, one that we feel everyone should attend at least a few times in their lifetime…..trust us, it’s worth it. No longer are food trucks only regulated to post late night partying satisfaction (although you can’t deny the brilliance of cornering that market) and since variety is the spice of life, we were excited to sample the delicious eats from the 22 food trucks participating in this year’s tasting event. We had the pleasure to sample (and I use that one loosely because some well beyond filling) a wide variety delicious, international foods. Upon entry (we were given early access…yay!!), we were given a passport card, which was punched by every food truck we visited…sadly we only made it to about half the vendors. This year’s event saw the addition of five new food trucks including Carl’s Steaks, Valducci’s Pizza, Kelvin Natural Slush Co., Uncle Gussy’s and Shanghai Sogo. Our system for sampling was to go in the order the trucks were lined up in, but we were just so full, we couldn’t sample anymore.

The 22 Food Trucks newly were parked on Pier 86 of the NYC Landmark, The Intrepid; the five new food trucks (named above) joined the seventeen previously announced participating trucks: Big D’s Grub Truck, Comme Ci Comme Ca, Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwiches, DUB Pies, Hibachi Heaven, Korilla BBQ, Love Mamak & Lucky Yim, Luke’s Lobster, Luzzo’s La Pizza Napoletana, Mike N’ Willie’s, Moo Shu Grill, Nuchas, Solber Pupusas, Souvlaki GR, Sweet Chili, Taipan Fusion Express and Toum. below are some of our favorite, mouthwatering dishes (in no articular order):

VALDUCCI’S – The best pizza we’ve ever had hands down and we love that is comes in a Green (biodegradable) pizza box whose cover can be used as plates. If you see this truck, we highly suggest you try their amazing Thin Crust Sicilian Pizza or the regular slice, or everything.

CARL’S STEAKSeach bite of this Authentic Philly Cheesesteak (with Cheez Whiz and White American cheese – with/without grilled onions) was so deliciously juicy, it definitely made you want to go back for seconds (if only we could).

LUKE’S LOBSTER – we discovered this cult favorite at the Village Voice Choice Eats Restaurants Event, and have sort of been stalking them every since. While they are called Luke’s “Lobster”, we were delighted to try their Maine Shrimp Rolls.

MIKE N’ WILLIE’S – if you love pulled pork, you must try their Lil Piggie Slow Roasted Pulled Pork Sandwich. The juicy treat is marinated in their homemade Chipotle BBQ Sauce topped with Chipotle Lime Slaw set on a Brioche Bun. What more can you ask for….well….seconds of course.

We wish we could fit photos of all our favorites continuously but that would be a very long post, please find more culinary delights below:

What makes this event even more amazing is that it benefits a great cause. The Village Voice once again partnered with non-profit organization, Slow Food NYC, and will donate a portion of all ticket sales from Choice Streets to the foundation.

Although we were too full to visit all the wonderful sponsors for Choice Streets 2014, we hope to do so next time. participating sponsors included: Shock Top, Aperol, Fairway Market, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Verizon FIOS, New York Botanical Gardens, Southern Wines and Spirits, World View Travel, Four Roses Bourbon, Ste Michelle Wine Estates, Sidney Frank, Casamigos Tequila, Focus Camera, Pedal, City Tech, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Green Mountain Energy and Frames.

Fly International On These Wings: International Wings Factory Restaurant Review

Let me preface this review by saying that, in the past, I have indeed met a wing that I didn’t like. It takes more than stumbling upon a recipe online to create an edible delicacy that inspire the senses. It truly takes an acute understanding of pairing certain tastes and flavors. Even with something as simple as a wing, one may think “oh it’s as simple as cooking chicken”. Oh nay! The tender little culinary arena of the revered chicken wing is not just your normal run of the mill poultry fix. It’s completely about the flavor.  The basic “getting the chicken” right is a given. However, it’s the distinct and memorable flavor that makes all the difference between something just on a menu since people regularly ask for hot wings and something that is worthy of a stellar review…..like International Wings Factory!

International Wings Factory is worthy, very worthy. There is a wealth of wings to be had in New York City but this establishment takes a well-deserved prize. Why? It may be their size; they have one location which is handled by its founder and head Chef Deepak Ballaney, so the integrity of the attention to flavor is preserved. It could be their aesthetic. They take the infamous wing, cook it to perfection then give it ‘around the globe’ treatment with a clever and honed arrangement of international ingredients. The result is a menu of wings that live up to the establishment’s name and an adventurous wing-lover’s palette.

International Wings Factory needs no more bells and whistles than their delicious sounding menu. At first glance the only delightfully overwhelming factor was whether to take my palette to the Far East or the Caribbean. I greedily opted to visit several places as the premise is to choose your wing, bone-in or boneless then choose one of the international coatings for your wings to be covered in along with a freshly made dipping sauce. For adventurists, food-lovers and vegans alike there are also meatballs and soy nuggets to enjoy along with regular and sweet potato fries that you can add some pep to with a flavor dusting.

I eventually chose to try five different flavor pairings. The first was the meatballs covered in Mexy Q, a spicy and zesty sauce with a Chipotle Mayo dipping sauce.  It had great heat and spiciness with the mayo adding another layer of balanced flavored heat and coolness. Then I tried the wings covered in a Black Pepper Teriyaki coating and a Creamy Cilantro sauce. The balance of hot and sweet was perfection while the sauce added a layer of “herby” freshness that didn’t at all disappoint. Next I tried wings coated in Coastal Pepper, a mix of Hawaiian and Caribbean jerk spices, served with a Jalapeño Ranch dipping sauce.  With this one, you’re first hit with the sweet then the mounting heat swoops in to deliver that familiar jerk flavor only to be cooled off by the balance of the spicy heat and cool of the dipping sauce. Finally, packed with Chinese flavor and a veil of heat that is not overpowering but enough to tang up the presence of the garlic is the Sichuan Chili Garlic wings. The classic blue cheese it was paired with brought down the welcomed heat with its classic salty sharp flavor.

Accompanying my dishes was a phenomenal side of Sweet Potato Fries lightly coated in a Spicy Garlic dusting. Applying the dusting to these freshly fried potatoes was a perfect way to lock in the flavor as the savory and the sweet paired together quite deliciously. It’s comforting to know that Chef Deepak Ballaney makes everything – coating, sauce and dusting fresh each day himself and that you’re not getting pre-packed, pre-frozen or dehydrated flavors masked to appear fresh. Whether indulging in the scrumptious wing groupings or even other menu items like a Blackened Spice Rubbed Chicken or Crispy Tilapia sandwich, Angus or Chunky Vegetable Burger or even Turkey Wingettes, the flavors offered here are undeniably great, wings down.

International Wings Factory
1762 First Avenue
New York, NY 10128
212.348.2627

Manischewitz All-Star Cook-Off Crowns a Winner

We had the pleasure of attending the Manischewitz All-Star Cook-Off where five previous Manischewitz Cook-Off competitors were invited back to submit their recipes for a second chance at a $25,000 Grand Prize. Five finalists were chosen from various states (including one from New York), to go head-to-head against each other using Manischewitz’s All-Natural Broth. Their dishes were judged by a prestigious judging panel including Helen Rosner from Saveur Magazine, Sharon Franke from Good Housekeeping, Claire Suddath from Bloomberg Business Week, Rosie Saferstein from New Jersey Monthly, and Jen Goran from JCC (Jewish Community Center).

The event started with a recipe tasting event, two recipes from Jen Goren, the JCC’s Test Kitchen Director, and Kristin Magnani editor of Saveur magazine, the dishes included Gundi (Persian Chicken Meatball Soup) and Pappardelle with Duck Sago, also made with Manischewitz’s All-Natural Broth.

The competition continued with the Live Cook-Off Contest between finalists, Jamie Brown-Miller, Napa, CA – Chicken and Waffled Latkes (2010), Naylet LaRochelle, Miami, FL – Halibut Couscous (2011), Ronna Sue Farley, Rockville, MD – Beef Tenderloin Puffs (2012), Dina Burcat, New York, NY – Latke-Crusted Chicken with Apple Cider, Mushroom and Rosemary Sauce (2011), and Joe Carver, Philadelphia, PA – Bubby’s Noodle Strudel (2008) – whose dishes, we had the wonderful opportunity to sample.

Each candidate presented their dishes to the judges, shared a bit about themselves and their recipe entry. After a brief intermission, the five entrants were called upon stage where four were presented with Manischewitz All-Star Cook-Off Finalists awards and a surprised and tearfully happy, Jamie Brown-Miller from Napa, CA was crowned  the Manischewitz All-Star Cook-Off Champion for her delicious and inventive Chicken and Waffled Latkes.

As the winner, Jaime was awarded the Grand Prize worth $25,000, including cash, a beautiful trophy (see above), a Saveur Magazine subscription, and various Maytag kitchen appliances. We had a chance to speak with Jaime after the announcement, see our interview below:

Along with samples the delicious dishes, we also got a peak at some of the new and delicious snack offerings from Manischewitz® including Coconut Crisp Cookies, Almond Pecan Granola, Pistachio Orange Macaroons, and more!

Culinary Concierge | Hatchery Monthly Subscription Tasting Box

Great news for you culinary aficionados, foodies, and cooking fans. If you’re looking for an easy way to get your hands on artisan ingredients and condiments delivered to your door every month, look no further than the wonderful, monthly tasting box from Hatchery. Every month you receive 5-6 of the best sample-size ingredients carefully chosen from green markets and family farms from across the country. We were super excited to indulge in the incredible variety of curated flavors Hatchery had to offer.

This month’s Hatchery box included the following amazing culinary delights from Delta Blue Blueberries, Tonewood Maple, Elbow Foods, O Olive Oil, Two Snooty Chefs, and Murphys Mustard:

Delta Blue Blueberries Organic Blueberry Fruit Spread (Stockton, CA) – a low-sugar, flavorful, and certified organic spread that is high in antioxidants.

Tonewood Maple Flakes (Waitsfield, VT) – the amazing taste of rich, smoky, 100% pure maple syrup in an unconventional texture – Flakes. Add these crunchy flakes, which packs a delicious punch and livens up everything, to sweet to savory dishes.

Elbow Foods Glicco’s Arrabbiata Pasta Gravy (Meridian, MS) – love a pasta gravy (not sauce) with a bit of heat? You will love the chili kick that accompanies the fresh tomatoes, garlic, onions, bell peppers, honey, and herbs that are in this old family recipe.

O Olive Oil Fig Balsamic Vinegar (Petaluma, CA) – juicy, ripe mission figs slow-aged in Sonoma oak amplifies this rich, dark and almost syrupy California balsamic vinegar. Hatchery suggests drizzling it over vanilla ice cream.

Two Snooty Chefs Ol’ Hickory BBQ Gourmet Seasoning (Seattle, WA) – these self-proclaimed “uppity” seasonings do the hard work for you if you’re looking to add flavor to seafood, meat, soups or veggies. These curated spice and herb blends, created by chefs Gary Fuller and Chris Plemmons, will add the right amount of amazing flavor boosts your dishes need.

Murphys Mustard Motherlode (Murphys, CA) – this is not your run-of-the-mill mustard. With the power of brown sugar and cinnamon, this grainy mustard is a great way to add some great gusto to your dish. Mix with mayo for a quick dipping sauce with a bit of a bang.

Does this sound as great to you as it does to us? Get your monthly Hatchery tasting box subscription for only $20 per month to enjoy the 5-6 hand selected artisan ingredients, free shipping, and exclusive member promotions and discounts.

Chi Chi Chi CHIA | Lifeway Kefir Coconut-Chia Beverage

We’ve been looking for more ways to add the benefits of Chia seeds into our diet, due to its omega-3, antioxidant benefits, as well as being a good source of fiber and other nutrients. While we have purchased actual Chia seeds to add to our foods, we find that sometimes sprinkling chia seeds onto our meals doesn’t always work out for the best. So we went to our old favorite, Lifeway Kefir, to solve our issue of always having our daily intake and we found the solution in the form of their low-fat Lifeway Kefir Coconut-Chia; they even provide you with chia recipes ideas to try this new nutritious beverage.

lifeway coconut chia

The low-fat Lifeway Kefir Coconut-Chia beverage features a refreshing flavor of coconut with the groundbreaking health benefits of chia seeds. This cultured milk smoothie provides all of the probiotic benefits of Lifeway’s Kefirs beverages, 12 strains of probiotics for optimal digestive health, with the added bonus of omega-3’s. It’s also a good source of calcium and has 12 grams of protein per serving. Whether you enjoy it straight from the bottle or in a delicious recipe, you will benefit from all its nutrients.

We also love the smooth, creamy taste of Lifeway Kefir Coconut-Chia and welcome this healthy addition to our nutrition. Have you ever tried the Lifeway Kefir Coconut-Chia beverage? What are your thoughts?

Munch Madness with Duane Reade’s deLISH Snacks #DRMunchMadness

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

March may mean the beginning of spring but to sports fans, it is the most important time for college basketball. That’s right, it’s national championship time! To get ready, we started getting our Tournament brackets organized and scouted Duane Reade and their deLISH brand for our #CollectiveBias Munch Madness snacks that would keep us going during these intense games. We’re already fans of the deLISH Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes, so finding game time snacks was a breeze.

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The question on our minds when we first entered Duane Reade was, what do we get for our game time Munch Madness? Which wonderful Duane Reade’s deLISH Snacks should we get? Do we go with chips and dip? Pizza? Pigs in a blanket or go for extra points with sandwiches and pot stickers? Either way, all those choices were found under the deLISH brand. We made a video of some of the amazing options that are available under Duane Reade’s store brand.

Unfortunately our game get-togethers have dwindled in size since some teams were eliminated quickly (not ours…yay!!) and we’re still here to cheer on Harvard Crimson and Duke Blue Devils (our personal top team picks). Since we were now a smaller sized-party, we decided to go with the following mix of yummy deLISH products – Kettle Cooked Potato Chips Sea Salt & Malt Vinegar, Kettle Cooked Potato Chips Sea Salt, Tortilla Chips Restaurant Style Multi-Grain, Frozen Spinach & Artichoke Cheese Dip, Blueberry Nut Blend Trail Mix, Colossal Cashews, Original Crackers, and Cranberry Blends Grape Cranberry Juice Cocktail for delicious cocktails.

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The chips and dip were a huge hit (no one believed the deLISH Frozen Spinach & Artichoke Cheese Dip was not homemade – loved the big chunks of artichoke hearts), I should have bought more for myself. The Blueberry Nut Blend Trail Mix and Colossal Cashews combination kept our energy level up (there was lots of screaming and jumping around) and as Harvard beat Cincinnati 61-57 and secured it’s placed into the next round, we celebrated with a few glasses of deLISH Cranberry Blends Grape Cranberry Juice and vodka cocktails. Next game we’re keeping our eye on, Duke vs Mercer, then it’s back to Harvard and their game vs Michigan State…..it’s going to be an intense weekend. Check out some pics of our game time snacks before it was pulverized.

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What are you snacking on during the tournament? You’ve seen our tournament picks and Munch Madness snacks, what are yours? Have you thought of visiting Duane Reade for your get-togethers? To get updates and more information the variety of Duane Reade deLISH products available, visit www.duanereade.com, follow them on Twitter – https://twitter.com/DuaneReade and Like them on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/duanereade.

What’s New in Health & Nutrition | Delicious Products to Get Your Daily Vegetables Intake

We’ve been told since birth that eating your vegetables is a vital part of our diet and nutrition. Of course most of us do not like to eat vegetables and really struggle with trying to eat them, mainly because of taste – I for one struggle with Kale (I really do). But there is great news for those who struggle with adding vegetables to their diet. Thanks to Lifeway Kefir, Green Giant, Jamba “at home” Smoothies, and Edy’s® Outshine, you can get your daily intake of vegetables without worrying about taste.Lifeway Veggie Kefir

Lifeway-VeggieKefir

Can’t eat your vegetables? Why not drink them. Lifeway has launched a trio of naturally probiotic, high-protein, drinkable blends where your everyday veggies are turned into superfoods with no sugar added. With these new Lifeway Veggie Kefir blends, you get the traditionally tart and tangy Lifeway Kefir, a burst of garden-fresh flavor and a full serving of vegetables. Your veggies have never tasted so good. The Veggie Kefir is available in savory beet, cucumber, and tomato.

Green Giant® Veggie-Blend-Ins

green giant veggie blends-ins

Most Americans don’t eat enough vegetables (some none at all), now thanks to Green Giant, we all have a great way to make sure we’re getting our daily intake of vegetables no matter what recipe we’re preparing. Cooking mac and cheese? Blending smoothies or pancakes for breakfast? or baking cookies or a chocolate cake? All you have to do is just pour any of these Green Giant Veggie Puree Blend-Ins into your dish and blend it right into your meal, snacks and dessert preparations. I recently adding the spinach puree to my chili recipe I made, check out a before picture and the blending in the video below (trust me, it tastes 1000% better than it looks lol):

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Green Giant has teamed up with Deceptively Delicious’s author, Jessica Seinfeld, to help your family eat more veggies. Butternut squash works well in cheesy or slightly sweet dishes like macaroni and cheese and pancakes. Carrot works well in ground meat dishes like tacos and baked goods like muffins. Spinach mixes well into red or darker dishes like spaghetti and brownies. I know what you’re thinking “spinach in brownies?” – it doesn’t sound appetizing but believe me when I tell you that you don’t taste the spinach AT ALL, just delicious chocolate. This is a fantastic way for both kids and adults to get eat healthier.

Jamba “at home” Fruit & Veggie Fusion® Smoothies

jamba fruit and veggie smoothies

Everyone loves smoothies, it is a great way to enjoy fruits. The line of Red, Blue and Green Fusion At-Home Kits offers a unique blend of vitamin-rich vegetables with delicious fruits, creating a powerful and convenient blend-and-serve smoothie. The Green Fusion combines green apple, mango, pineapple, kiwi, banana, broccoli, spinach and spirulina to offer a sweet yet hearty smoothie. The Red Fusion combines red raspberry, strawberry, dark sweet cherry, purple carrot and sweet potato; and the Blue Fusion combines blueberry, banana, apple, blackberry, carrot, broccoli and spinach. Each smoothie kit contains whole pieces of frozen fruit and vegetable blocks that, when blended with one cup of apple juice, makes two, eight-ounce servings. Each glass also provides an excellent source of vitamin C, at 100 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA), 40 percent of the RDA of vitamin A and 25 percent of the RDA of vitamins, E, K, B1 and B6.

Edy’s® Outshine Fruit and Veggie Bars

Edy's Outshine fruit veggie bars

If you want to try yet another way to enjoy your veggies, check out the first national line of frozen fruit bars that combines both fruits and vegetables in a delicious frozen snack. The Edy’s® Outshine Fruit and Veggie Bars features five new refreshing and innovative flavors: Blueberry Medley, Tangerine Carrot, Apple and Greens, Peach Mango Medley and Strawberry Rhubarb, along with a 12-count multi-pack featuring Strawberry Rhubarb, Tangerine Carrot and Blueberry Medley. At 35-60 calories each, the Fruit and Veggie bars contain at least 25% vegetables from purees and juices, so you can be rest assured you are enjoying a rejuvenating, healthy snack.