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Trick or Treat...Say Cheese!

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By St. Louis District Dairy Council
Posted in Blog, and Recipes on October 9th, 2017

October is the month of sticky and sweet. While trick-or-treating may be the highlight, there’s plenty to celebrate before the big finale of Halloween. October is, after all, National Caramel Month, National Cookie Month and National Dessert Month; with National Candy Corn Day on the 30th thrown in for good measure.  

Celebrating such sweetness could easily lead to “treating” all month long. That could be all great fun for kids, but not so great for their teeth and overall dental health. This month, St. Louis District Dairy Council is reminding consumers to build healthy smiles by making sure they get plenty of cheese, milk and yogurt.

Dairy foods offer calcium, vitamin D, potassium and phosphorus; important building blocks of strong bones and teeth. Eating the recommended 3 servings of dairy every day gives your body a continuous supply of these vitamins and minerals to build and keep teeth---and smiles---health

Cheese, in particular, is one of the healthiest foods for your teeth. As with other dairy foods, the calcium, phosphorus and protein found in cheese strengthen tooth enamel, the outer coating of teeth. Another reason that cheese is the choice for super smiles: research shows that eating cheese right after a meal or as a snack helps reduce tooth decay.

Cheese is not only great tasting and nutrient-packed, but it’s a simple addition to most diets, even for those watching calories, sodium or fat. Most grocery stores offer a variety of cheeses to meet those needs. For parents seeking balance in the season of sweets, cheese is an easy snack option. Pairing it with raw veggies or fresh fruit takes mere minutes, and adds a nutrient boost. Cheese sticks and pre-cut cracker-sized slices in a variety of flavors, such as Cheddar, Swiss and Monterey Jack have made cheese a favorite grab-and-go food.

For a truly spooktacular time, make Cheesy Witch’s Broomstick snacks while reading the witchy story Room on the Broom. The tale of friendship and trickery is the perfect way to encourage little goblins to celebrate the season in the healthy fun way.

Room on the Broom  
   

Promote healthy smiles with the whole family with these tasty, fall recipes from St. Louis District Dairy Council:

Muenster Monster Kabobs

These spooky snacks are a fun and healthy craft that the whole family will enjoy!

Makes 8 Servings; Prep Time: 20 min; Cook Time: 20 min

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. low fat Muenster cheese
  • peppercorns
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 2 oz. reduced fat Cheddar cheese
  • skewers
  • pumpkin (optional if using as centerpiece) 

Directions

Cut ghost shapes with a knife out of the Muenster cheese. Place peppercorns in the head of ghost to resemble eyes. Make cantaloupe melon ball and stick toothpick in top to puncture a hole in melon ball. Place a small piece of parsley to resemble pumpkin stem.

Alternate ghost, blackberry, cantaloupe pumpkins and cheddar cheese wedges on skewers. Display kabobs on pumpkin centerpiece and decorate with autumn leaves and gourds if desired. 

Nutrition Facts (per serving – 1 skewer)

Calories: 140, Fat: 7 g , Protein: 10 g, Calcium: 25% Daily Value

 

Tortellini With Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce
Pair this quick-fix, nutrient-packed pasta with a simple fruit or vegetable salad for a crowd-pleasing, nutritionally-balanced family meal.

Makes 4 servings; Prep time: 10 min; Cook time: 10 min

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 2 (9-ounce) packages cheese tortellini
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for topping (optional)

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook as the label directs. Drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in the half and half and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to medium low; simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese and cook until thick, about 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the tortellini to the skillet and toss with the sauce. Divide among bowls and top with more cheese and parsley.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 583, Fat: 25 g, Protein: 23 g, Calcium: 36% Daily Value