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Back to School Made Easy

Back to School Made Easy
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Recipes and photography by Lunches + Littles

This year, August looks a lot different for most of us. There’s been a lot of new expectations, big decisions and SO many changes. But one thing that remains the same is that we all still need to eat. So, whether your kids are heading back to school for in-person instruction, doing virtual learning at home, or even full on homeschooling, you are likely going to be packing and/or making lunches. And that’s why we are so excited to have partnered back up with Village Farms to share some quick, doable, kid-friendly recipes that are perfect for both packed lunch boxes and lunches at home.

And, if you don’t have kids- don’t pass this one by. Because easy, yummy food isn’t just for kids! These recipes would certainly work and be great for adults too- packed up to go for a work lunch, or to enjoy at a lunch or dinner table at home. So, read on!

First up, we have our Burrata and Tomato Hand Pies. For these, we used the Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes from Village Farms which are one of our all-time favorite varieties. These little tomatoes are incredibly sweet and perfect for all sorts of cooking; one of our favorite ways to use them is in a sweet sauce for spaghetti, but they are so versatile! For our hand pies they add just the right amount of sweetness and are also a great size for the recipe as well.

Rich in vitamins A and K, these mini San Marzano tomatoes are as healthy as they are delicious! For our Burrata and Tomato Hand Pies we combined these little gems with bits of fresh burrata cheese and basil, cooked in a thin, flakey crust. We cut our pies circular, though you could certainly cut them in rectangles, etc. No matter how you cut them, they’re perfect for lunchboxes, meals at home- or even some entertaining. And perhaps the best part is that you can easily prep them ahead of time or even bake them ahead of time and simply re-heat.​​

Burrata and Tomato Hand Pies

The second recipe is our Easy Rainbow Spring Rolls, and this is a recipe we have been so excited to share. If you follow us over on our feed, @lunchesandlittles, you know that we love color and these rolls really pack the rainbow!

Something you may not know about Village Farms is that they grow more than just tomatoes. While delicious tomatoes are a big part of what they produce, they also grow peppers and cucumbers and for our Easy Rainbow Spring Rolls recipe we were able to incorporate both their Sweet Bells® (red, yellow and orange peppers) as well as their Scrumptious Mini® cucumbers.

Rainbow Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Quick little fact: cucumbers are made mostly of water and therefore are a great way to rehydrate your body. They are also perfect for replenishing nutrients. So, we were all about including these in our Easy Rainbow Spring Rolls.

These rolls were so fun to make, and they look so impressive, don’t they? You would probably think that these took a while to make, but actually they just take minutes. Yes, minutes! The most time-consuming part of the whole recipe is prepping the ingredients. Then you just fill, roll, and serve! These are perfect for a fun and colorful lunch box, or on a plate at home.​

No matter what your plans are for the Fall, we know that you have enough to worry about besides what you’re going to pack up for lunch or serve at home to your kids. So give these fun recipes a try. They are a great way to get kids more comfortable with eating a variety of produce- and they aren’t too hard to make up either.


Enter in Our Back to School Giveaway!

Our Back to School Giveaway will be hosted by Lunches + Littles via Instagram. The giveaway will take place for one week – Thursday August 28th through Thursday September 4th, 2020. Click here to learn how to enter for a chance to win one of 3 awesome prizes!


Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by Lunches + Littles​​​ ​​​​​​​

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10 Simple Summer Side Dishes

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Summer is in full swing, which means a ton of grillin’ and chillin’. And we are here to help you in your relaxation endeavors that’s why we have created 10 simple summer side dishes all featuring the delectable flavors of Village Farms Greenhouse Grown tomatoes and cucumbers. Not only are these flavorful dishes packed full of healthy immune boosting properties, but they are easy-peasy to prepare, making it effortless to get those essential vitamins and nutrients into you and your family’s diet!

We have selected a sweet mix of fresh and cooked recipes so there’s something for every flavor palate sure to please the most fickle of your friends and family. Try our Tomacado Salad or Crisp Cucumber melon salad (but only if you can say either name ten times fast) to have everyone asking for more. Or the oh so zingy and sweet Caprese salad with grilled peaches or the tomato melon skewers for a neat take on a classical fav. These are just a few of the 10 simple summer dishes we have ready to not only tempt but empower your chef within.

These fresh dishes are also terrific for those on-the-go activities, whether it’s time spent at the beach, camping with the fam, or last minute invites to patio potlucks, we got you covered. The fancy Farro Salad with toasted Pine Nuts and roasted tomatoes works wonders for a quick and easy on dish-on-the-go.  And we love the savory flavors of the beefsteak tomato salad with crispy chickpeas and lemon tahini to wow your next picnic party. Psst… Be forewarned if you make the white bean arugula bruschetta you might just want to keep it all to yourself because it is that yummy!

And if you’re looking to fire up your home meal prep game we have tasty recipes, ready to sizzle on the grill or even quick pan to plate stove top solutions. Hello grilled Portobello BLT pizza for snazzy side dish or appy. And the summer veggie pasta salad or the spicy Asian cucumber noodle salad is a win-win for most ease of prep and highest delivery on flavor. Glad summer is going to be around for a while because there still is plenty of time to try all these fabulous side dishes!

What are you waiting for? Give it a whirl! Now it the time to get more fresh, easy to prepare, healthy and immune boosting dishes into your meal time so you can have more chill and relax time!

1. Farro Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts and Roasted Tomatoes

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Fresh greens, farro, roasted tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, crumbled feta cheese a homemade lemon vinaigrette- and more, all come together in harmony to create tantalizing flavor. The Maverick Mix® tomatoes in this recipe are totally the star of the dish.


2. Beefsteak Tomato Salad with Crispy Chickpeas and Lemon Tahini

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This Juicy Beefsteak® tomato salad with crispy chickpeas and lemon tahini is a party for your taste buds. The zingy flesh provides the perfect canvas for the spiced crispy chickpeas and the earthy lemon tahini sauce. This salad is effortless to prepare and full of nutrients.


3. Tomacado Summer Salad

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This Grilled Corn, Tomato & Avocado salad with hemp seeds screams everything summer and is filled with refreshing flavors. The sweetness of the Maverick Mix® tomatoes and creaminess of the avocado create a luscious burst of mouthwatering goodness.


4. Caprese Salad with Grilled Peaches

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There is just something magical when you bring together such beautifully fresh ingredients to complement one another. Sinfully Sweet Campari® tomatoes are an ideal choice for this iconic salad because they are the perfect combination of sweetness and acidity. Their vibrant red exterior and ideal size help to make this salad a piece of delicious art.


5. Spicy Asian Cucumber Noodle Salad

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Spicy Asian Cucumber Noodle Salad that is the perfect side dish to bring to potlucks, or to serve up any of the night with some grilled chicken thighs or seafood! Luscious Seedless Long English® Cucumbers make the crispest cucumber noodles, which are so fun for this salad!


6. Grilled Portobello BLT “Pizzas”

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Think outside the crust and swap your pizza dough for large Portobello mushroom caps as the base for these grilled mini BLT pizzas featuring our Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes. Take one bite and only one word will come to mind, phenomenal. You can even leave the pancetta off for an adaptable vegetarian dish.


7. Tomato Melon Skewers

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This no-cook skewer recipe highlights the best summer ingredients like melons, Maverick Mix® tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, prosciutto and balsamic. If your party guests are more creative, you could even leave your ingredients as a DIY bar for them!


8. Crisp Cucumber Melon Salad

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Crisp and refreshing is the name of this game. Our Luscious Seedless Long English® Cucumber Melon Salad is made up of the best sweet and savory ingredients like fresh melon, feta and arugula. Try this combo and your taste-buds will be thanking you!


9.  White Bean Arugula Bruschetta

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Bruschetta is a super fun dish because it allows for such creativity. It’s a blank canvas awaiting your favorite ingredients! Sinfully Sweet Campari® tomatoes are the perfect size for a chunky mixture to top a bite size appetizer. The final touch? A drizzle of balsamic vinegar for a strong, sweet-tart finisher.


10. Summer Veggie Pasta Salad

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Fresh, summer ingredients that are juicy, sweet, and scream summer. Alongside our Maverick Mix® tomatoes we’re also adding some sweet summer corn and a refreshing lemon basil dressing that is out. of. this. world. A really simple, easy, and nutrient-dense dish that you can feel really good about.


To explore more delicious and exclusive recipes using Village Farms flavorful tomato, cucumber and peppers click here!

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7 Dishes, 7 Days, 1 Tomato

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A little Meal Planning Love in the time of Quarantine

There’s no doubt these days we are all looking to get the most out of our trips to the grocery store. And what better way to do this then with some smart meal planning with simple, healthy, easy to prepare recipes. You know the old saying, “I hate when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients”. Well we have taken the stress out of cooking and shopping with these seven dishes, for seven days using our famous Heavenly Villagio Marzano tomato. This tomato is the one, the only, the original & authentic Mini San Marzano variety. The great thing about Heavenly Villagio Marzano is that it’s suitable for dishes that you can enjoy any time of the day because it is so versatile. You can grill it, roast it, saute’ it, and of course eat them fresh, just leave a bowl on your counter for handy and healthy snacking. This is your go to tomato for fabulous dishes that will earn you the new title of Top Chef in your household plus we have taken the time to plan all of these dishes while shopping on a budget.

The great thing about meal planning using our Seven Dishes, Seven Days, One Tomato is that it’s a quick and easy solution to figuring out what to make and serve now that you and your loved ones are all home for 3 square meals a day. We have put together the whole shopping list for you with all the ingredients you’ll need to create seven healthy and hearty dishes. So whether you are making your weekly trip to the store or ordering online you have everything you need in one list. And the best part is when you look this list over you may discover that you already have a fair amount of these items on hand in your kitchen already.

Fabulosity let’s get started! Hey parents with kids many of these recipes are super easy and fun for the whole family to get in on the act of cooking together. From the novice to the professional you will see the easy to prepare recipes can happen rather effortlessly. We have put together a recipe collection to plan two breakfast, two lunches, two dinners, and one snack.

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We have two easy breakfast choices for you. First up are our Savory Tomato Infused Waffles. These roasted tomato waffles topped with a fried egg and bacon are a hit with both savory and sweet breakfast eaters alike. If you like things a little sweeter, drizzle a little syrup on top. If you like things a little more savory, skip the syrup altogether! Now what makes these waffles so special is that there are roasted tomatoes (and diced fresh ones) mixed directly in the batter.

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Next we have a splendid Roasted Tomato and Shaved Asparagus Frittata. This frittata is one of our favorite ways to make a simple breakfast or better yet brunch. Thinking ahead this frittata is lovely for spring family gatherings, like an Easter brunch or

Mother’s Day brunch. And, if you are feeling it you can even serve this dish as a simple dinner, alongside fresh bread and a salad!

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For lunch we are going full on plant based with a Tomato and Chickpea Fattoush Nourish Bowl. Do not be intimidated by the name it is easy peezy to prepare. Fattoush is a Lebanese salad that’s a mix of herbs, cucumber, tomatoes, and crispy pita pieces, brightened with the flavor of sumac, a traditional spice. This recipe is a nourish bowl inspired by the concept of fattoush; we’ve added spiced chickpeas to make it more filling. It is delicious and healthy.

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Our other lunch option is for an Italian Sausage, Tomato, Tortellini Soup. I love the creamy, slightly tomato flavor of the soup broth made with real, whole ingredients. The water and bone broth can be substituted for typical soup broth. It’s the milk and butter that create the perfect creamy base mixed with the sweetness of sautéed Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes.

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It’s snack time! Finally! What we all have been waiting for and what better than a Quick & Easy Roasted Tomato Hummus. I like to call it yummish because it is really that good. I promise it will be a huge hit with the whole family – the tomatoes add such a great flavor to a basic hummus recipe and we top it all off with fresh thyme and shaved parmesan cheese; perfect for pairing with veggies that your persnickety eaters may not readily partake in on their own for a total plant-based win.

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Dinner time brings two options for savory favorites. First up is a Skillet Chicken with Tomatoes & Green Beans. Enough said! A flavorful dish that is easy to prepare in with only 10 minutes of preparation and 30 minutes to cook. Dust off that cast iron pan and make it happen.

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This is a fun spin on a simple pasta dish. Individual Baked Spaghetti’s. If ever there was a fun way to engage the kids this is it. You can customize your dish, more sauce, less sauce, more cheese, less cheese anything goes!

All of these dishes take under 40 minutes including prep and cook times. That means more time eating! I do hope you enjoy these 7 Dishes, 7 Days, 1 Tomato using our exclusive Heavenly Villagio Marzano tomato. Let us know which is your favorite.

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Finding Comfort in Family and Food

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Recipes and photography by  Hetty McKinnon

To say that this year has been the most extraordinary of our lives would be a flagrant understatement. However, to scramble the famous words of Charles Dickens, during these worst of times, there has also been the best of times. As we navigate life in isolation, we have learnt to appreciate the small things – waking up naturally each morning without having to rush three children out the door, making dumplings with friends via a group video chat, and sitting down for lunch every day with my kids. Home is, now more than ever, our buttress, a cocoon from the chaos of the world outside.

As days bleed into one another and time blurs, my one constant has been family and food. While cooking all day is not that far from my normal day-to-day as a recipe developer and food writer, the way I cook right now is very different. Today, as our pantry takes center stage and creativity and flexibility become key tenets of everyday cooking, there is a sense of fearlessness in the kitchen. If a recipe calls for cauliflower, substituting with tofu doesn’t feel like a stretch at all; making lasagna with tortillas is perfectly acceptable, and leftover odds and ends of homemade bread are not wasted, but are rather transformed into a hearty soup. In many ways, the way we are cooking right now harks back to the time of our grandmothers when frugality and practicality were always front of mind. Back then, much like now, recipes revolved around pantry staples and making the most out of everyday ingredients.

So, while this time in isolation has been unsettling, I have found myself feeling incredibly nostalgic about the food I ate as a child. I grew up in a traditional Cantonese household where my mother cooked big flavored savory dishes using scant ingredients, and my father brought home bright produce from the local markets every day, where he worked. Along with mangoes, peaches, plums and all the fruits and vegetables imaginable, we also feasted on the plumpest, juiciest beefsteak tomatoes. I would each them whole, taking a voracious bite straight into them as one would eat an apple. Recently, I was reminded of this treasured childhood food memory when I tried a Juicy Beefsteak® tomato from Village Farms – at first bite, as the tomato juice slid down my chin and arm, I was instantly transported back to my mother’s kitchen.

The joy of beefsteak tomatoes is their simplicity. They are brimming with flavor, and achingly juicy, perfect for creating effortless meals that allow the zesty hum of tomatoes to shine.

Often fresh tomatoes may benefit from some salting to bring out flavor and juice, but with Village Farms beefsteaks, this is not necessary. These tomatoes are firm, juicy and bold, perfect for slicing and using in laid-back salads. This beefsteak tomato salad with crispy chickpeas and lemon tahini is a party for your taste buds. The zingy flesh provides the perfect canvas for the spiced crispy chickpeas and the earthy lemon tahini sauce. This salad is effortless to prepare but big on flavor, a quick meal which is also full of nutrients.

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While fresh tomatoes exemplify casual laid-back fare, roasted stuffed tomatoes encapsulate rustic charm. Gemista (or yemista) is a Greek dish of stuffed vegetables; tomatoes and peppers are most common, but you could also use eggplant, zucchini, and even onions. While I adore gemista, I rarely make it at home. For me, it’s a dish to enjoy when I eat out. However, these long days in isolation have given me a new appreciation for dishes that I wouldn’t normally cook.  In many ways, this is the perfect isolation recipe – there are a few steps, but they are all simple and all of the ingredients are either pantry staples or easily adaptable.

Here, I’m stuffing my succulent Village Farms Juicy Beefsteak® tomatoes and Sweet Bells® peppers with an herby feta rice, but you could also use this as an opportunity to use up any leftover vegetables in your fridge – zucchini, carrots, or eggplant would be nice additions to the rice filling. Juicy tomatoes with a firm flesh are key for this dish, as the flesh, seeds and juices of the tomatoes are all used to flavor the rice, while the vegetables cook in a fresh tomato puree. I love to add peppers to the mix as they make substantial and sturdy vessels for the rice, while retaining their beautiful floral shape when baked. Village Farms sweet bells peppers are wonderfully sweet (as its name suggests!) and when roasted, they provide a lovely mellow fruitfulness which perfectly complements the tangy tomatoes.

Peppers are such a great everyday food in our home – my kids love to consume them raw, dipped into hummus as a snack, while roasted peppers drizzled with vinegar is one of my favorite things to add to hearty grain salad. Even though this gemista is roasted, this dish effortlessly embodies the liveliness of summer produce, a perfect meal to celebrate flavor-bursting produce during these long, languid days.

Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by Hetty McKinnon

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Nostalgic, Easy Recipes from Our Kitchen to Yours

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Recipes and photography by  Lunches + Littles

It is now officially Spring, a time when we all want more easy, delicious, and lighter dishes. Of course, right now we are also in the midst of unprecedented times- putting easier dishes even higher on the priority list for most of us.

A couple months ago we first started brainstorming recipes we could make this Spring, in partnership with Village Farms that were both easy to prep, as well as nostalgic in nature. They say nostalgia can drown out anything, and I would have to say there is truth in that, especially when it comes to food. And right now we need that truth more than ever.

Back when we were recipe testing and planning this set of recipes, we knew we wanted to create at least one dish that could easily go from dinner table to weekly lunch prep, without a second thought so we landed on a tasty Caprese Chicken. Now we know that the majority of us are no longer packing up lunches to take into work on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still meal prep lunches for the weeks ahead. In fact, in our home- continuing to prep just like we have during more normal work weeks has helped us keep some normalcy in an otherwise abnormal time. And, if lunch prep isn’t your thing, this recipe is still a great one for dinner.

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Our Easy Caprese Chicken can easily be dressed up or dressed down if you will, for the fancier dinner plate, or the everyday packed lunch. It’s juicy, flavorful and as the name says- easy! Pair it with some broccoli or other greens and you have a delicious meal- perfect for weekdays, the weekend or a sit down dinner. And if you have little ones, you could also try pairing this chicken with a side of pasta (something most little ones will easily eat up). No matter how you serve it- our Easy Caprese Chicken is recipe perfection- as is the balsamic glaze, which you could use on so many things beyond just this recipe.

Growing up my Mom always used to make a delicious Caprese Chicken dish. While hers was different, the taste still takes me back and instantly gets me remembering younger days, meals around the table, and most of all the love that filled our dining room. Giada De Laurentiis has been quoted as saying “Food brings people together on many different levels. It’s nourishment of the soul and body; it’s truly love,” and we couldn’t agree more.

The use of the Sinfully Sweet Campari® Tomatoes from Village Farms really heighten the flavor of this dish too. These tomatoes are so sweet and perfect in so many dishes- we especially love them paired with anything featuring Mozzarella. Village Farm’s Sinfully Sweet Campari® Tomatoes are a low-calorie delicious source of Vitamins C and K, which also help to support brain health and strengthen bones. Now that is YUM- with benefits!

Easy Caprese Chicken RECIPE

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Next up, we have a salad that is honestly so much more flavorful than we even expected it to be, when we were planning for it. Our Farro Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts and Roasted Tomatoes isn’t just delicious, and beautiful to look at- it features tomatoes in one of the sweetest ways.

Now we know that salads can often get a bad rap, but truth is they can truly be sooo good- and good for you. And this recipe really combines the best of the best when it comes to flavors. This is another one that is great for lunch or dinner. And bonus- in a large bowl or spread out on a platter it is also a beautiful dish to place in the center of your table, whether or not you can have guests over. Truth is, beautifully presented food just tastes better, doesn’t it? And we all deserve a bit of beauty at the table.

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Back when our kids were a few years younger and we started giving them tomatoes to taste, two (out of three) of them just didn’t care for tomatoes, which was a bit tough since we love them- and regularly include them in our recipes. One of the ways that we first got our little ones to change their minds was to offer up tomatoes that had been roasted (versus raw). They didn’t just tolerate or like roasted tomatoes- they ate them up like candy, and we have to say- roasted is one of our favorite ways to enjoy tomatoes too!

Our Farro Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts and Roasted Tomatoes takes a bit of time to come together (due to the roasting), but it is still very simple. While the tomatoes roast, you can prep all of the other ingredients and then you just combine it all together and voila- dinner (or lunch) is served.

Fresh greens, farro, roasted tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, crumbled feta cheese a homemade lemon vinaigrette- and more, all come together in our Farro Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts and Roasted Tomatoes. The Maverick Mix® Tomatoes from Village Farms featured in this recipe are the total star of the dish. These little beauties come together in a fun, multi-colored pack containing 4- 6 different flavorful, plump varieties with colors ranging from red, orange, yellow, green, and brown, and while they are a-mazing straight out of the container, they are next level when they are roasted.

Farro Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts and Roasted Tomatoes RECIPE

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Village Farm’s Maverick Mix® Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, and full of other essential nutrients and antioxidants, and our Farro Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts and Roasted Tomatoes featuring these are a must-make. It’s feel good food that checks all the boxes and is incredibly nourishing.

We hope that you will give one or both of these easy recipes a try. With many of us now home full-time, with lots of extra time on our hands, there really is no time like the present to try new things in the kitchen. Our Easy Caprese Chicken and Farro Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts and Roasted Tomatoes are both delicious and easy recipes highlighting one of our favorite brands; Village Farms. Which one will you make first?

Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by  Lunches + Littles

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Unfussy Holidays

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Recipes and photography by  Susan Spungen

I do a lot of hosting this time of year, and often have people over at “off times” since everyone is already so busy with family get-togethers and parties. I like asking people to stop by for a cocktail in the evening before heading out to another event, or to come over for brunch or a simple lunch since I’m more likely to get a “yes” than a “no”, plus it’s an easier way to host, and still get to see friends which is the whole point, isn’t it?. These two recipes, created in partnership with Village Farms, fulfill those needs beautifully. Both recipes are fresh, easy and definitely crowd-pleasing, full of the bright flavors of delightfully sweet and juicy tomatoes. True to my “get-ahead” philosophy for hosting, both dishes can be prepared for cooking ahead of time, leaving just a last-minute finishing in the oven or on the stovetop for perfect timing that will leave you free to mingle and relax.

Tomato and Mozzarella Dip

The first recipe is a very quick to put together Cheesy Tomato Dip made with Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes, which are plump and juicy with a cute pear shape, true to their San Marzano heritage, but in a mini size. Like its larger predecessor, this tomato is firm and meaty with a decidedly sweet flavor, and is fantastic for cooking, in addition to eating raw as a snack or sliced into salads. Here, they are tossed in a baking dish (preferably a metal one so you can start the first step on the stovetop) with mozzarella, garlic, and red pepper flakes. This part can be done ahead of time! Bake it in the oven just before you want to serve it, so your guests can sop up all the melty cheese and flavorful juices with toasted crusty bread.

Shakshuka with Peppers, Feta, and Olives

This next recipe is perfect for a casual breakfast, brunch, or lunch, or honestly even dinner, at a time of year when there is so much running around and parties with foods that are heavier than we might normally eat. Sometimes breakfast for dinner is just the thing! Shakshuka is a dish of eggs poached in a flavorful stew of tomatoes with as many variations as there are cooks. It’s one of those dishes! This one is made with Sinfully Sweet Campari® tomatoes, which are just perfect here. They add amazing flavor, and hold their shape well in the stew, which is cooked with onions and garlic, sweet red bell peppers, feta, and Kalamata olives. It’s all finished off with a shower of fresh herbs. If you want to serve more than four people, you could squeeze two more eggs into the pan, or make a double batch in two pans. If you want to prepare it ahead of time, make the stew a few hours (or even the day) before, and reheat before proceeding with the recipe and poaching the eggs. Serve with warm pita bread on the side and you have a very satisfying and special meal with a minimum of fuss.

Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by  Susan Spungen

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Cuddle Up To Comfort Food

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Recipes and photography by  Lunches + Littles

For most of us those long summer days are a thing of the past, and the cozy sweaters, boots, crunchy leaves and warm dishes are now making their way into our days- and nights. Yep, Fall is here and certainly in the air.

And, we are all about a cozy dish in our kitchen. There is just something about putting your hands around a warm bowl of soup or chili or taking a bite of a dish that boasts all of the seasonal flavors. Can’t you just taste it?

And just in time for all things Fall- we were so excited to once again partner with Village Farms to create two totally different dishes- both inspired by our favorite season.

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First up, we are sharing our take on chili; our Homemade Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash Noodles. This dish features the Sinfully Sweet Campari® Tomatoes from Village Farms in place of traditional canned tomatoes that the majority of chili recipes call for, and the difference of fresh in this dish is truly a-mazing. Our chili is full of vegetables, hearty and oh so cozy, and the butternut squash noodles add such a seasonal touch- and look.

Doesn’t it look delicious? And, it’s easy too. We love cooking up a large batch of chili for dinner- and having leftovers for the next few days. Yum. Another great thing we love- all of the goodness you can pack into a dinner like chili. We have celery, onion, squash, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, and more in this tried and true family favorite.

Oh, and the Sinfully Sweet Campari® Tomatoes are perfect for this one- they are a cocktail-size tomato with the perfect combination of sweetness and acidity, and work splendidly in chili, homemade pasta sauces, and more.

Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash Noodles

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Another dish we’ve been loving lately is a brand new one for us- our Autumn Pasta Bake featuring the Heavenly Villagio Marzano® Tomatoes. We have used these tomatoes before in a variety of recipes, and they never disappoint- these beauties boast an incredibly sweet flavor and are perfect baked into this dish (though, we all love eating them straight out of the package too!).

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And, since it’s Fall: let’s talk pumpkin. In our house roasted pumpkin never lasts long- it is so good, and we were so excited to work it into this recipe. There is just something incredibly cozy about a pasta bake and the amazing, seasonal flavors in this one takes it over the top. With a homemade pumpkin tomato sauce, assorted cheeses and then blistered tomatoes, sage leaves and roasted pumpkin pieces sprinkled on top- our Autumn Pasta Bake is a must-make; a great dish for a weeknight dinner, but also one that would be perfect for entertaining guests too- especially as we begin to approach the holiday season.

Autumn Pasta Bake

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When it comes to Fall, you just can’t beat cozy recipes like these, and we hope that you will give one- or both a try! They are both so perfect for the colder weather and highlight one of our favorite brands; Village Farms.

Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by  Lunches + Littles

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Simple Summer Entertaining

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by Rebecca Lilly Costa from xxrlilly

Summer entertaining is in full swing at Casa de Costa! I’m talkin’ grilling, watermelons, refreshing mocktails… we are in party mode over here. I’m excited to be partnering with Village Farms to share two easy summer entertaining recipes featuring their lovely tomatoes. They offer quite the selection of tomatoes at my local grocer, but today I’m using their Maverick Mix® and Sinfully Sweet Campari® in these easy summer party favorites.

Tomato Melon Skewers

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The first is a no-cook skewer recipe highlighting summer melons, Maverick Mix® tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, prosciutto and balsamic. If your party guests are more creative, you could even leave your ingredients as a DIY bar for them! I opted to create my skewers before my guest’s arrival to keep things simple. Each juicy refreshing bite is more flavorful than the last! Plus, they’re an easy grab-and-go item for munching while you mingle at a summer party or for sandy hands enjoying a beach day.

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Now on to the mocktails! These tomato watermelon coolers can be made with vodka too, but I opted for sparkling water. A great trick I’ve learned for mocktails (or cocktails!) is using a mason jar as a makeshift shaker. Add all of your ingredients and cover. Shake it up, add ice and use a hand held strainer or mason jar lid with holes to strain. I love a signature drink for any party and this one has been a hit all summer! It’s refreshing, hydrating and delicious.

Campari Watermelon Coolers

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Another reason I love combining these recipes for the perfect summer party? They use the same ingredients! I like to keep my grocery list as simple as possible, so I love how diverse my menu can be even with just a few key ingredients, it even creates a theme to keep in mind!

If you’re short on honey, feel free to substitute with agave or maple syrup! Keep extra limes and tomatoes around for garnishing and feel free to offer jars of these for your guests to adorn their own drinks.

Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by Rebecca Lilly Costa from xxrlilly

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Fun Spring Dishes for the Family

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by Lunches + Littles

It feels like we were just in our kitchen prepping recipes for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yet, blooms are popping up all around us outside, and somehow Easter is right around the corner. I don’t know how it happens, but time flies, doesn’t it? And, as a family who often does a lot of hosting around the holidays, we know that time in the kitchen goes by way too fast as well- making delicious, easy recipes is a must.

That’s why today we are sharing two simple, fun, and kid-friendly recipes that we’ve created exclusively in partnership with Village Farms- and they are perfect for your Easter get-togethers. First up is a hearty, yet healthy breakfast: our Hash Brown Egg Nests w/ Blistered Tomatoes. These nests are so fun for little and big hands alike, and the individualized presentation just feels really special on your plate too.

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We have been making these little nests – in various forms, for a couple years now and they are always a hit with everyone. And making them with the addition of Village Farms’ Maverick Mix® tomatoes is a perfect way to add pops of color and tons of flavor too. Aren’t these tomatoes beautiful?

To make these Hash Brown Egg Nests w/ Blistered Tomatoes we start with seasoned shredded potatoes (you can shred your own, but a great, time-saving hack for this recipe is to buy a bag of pre-shredded tomatoes from your local grocery store), cheese and crumbled maple sausage and form that mixture into nests using a muffin tin. Once those bake and start to crisp up, we prepare fluffy scrambled eggs to add to the nests and then top them with a mix of blistered tomatoes, that resemble colorful little eggs.

The Maverick Mix® Tomatoes from Village Farms are so perfect for this dish because each pack contains 4 to 6 different flavorful varieties; each with a distinct shape and flavor, and the colors are stunning – red, orange, yellow, green, and brown- a true rainbow of color. These nests are tasty, pretty to look at, and easy to make, even for a busy Easter breakfast or brunch. And there is such a fun sophistication to these nests – beautiful to look at, but also so kid-friendly.

Hash Brown and Roasted Tomato Easter Egg Nests

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Next up, we have a centerpiece that is part work of art – part simple appetizer/side dish. Our Stuffed Tomato Tulips are a perfect centerpiece for your Easter table – and such a fun way to get your little ones involved in the kitchen doing more than just dying eggs, or eating chocolate! These little tulips are, in our experience, a show-stopping conversation piece – and delicious too!

Stuffed Tomato Tulips

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This recipe is not only simple; it is a great one to get your little ones to help out in the kitchen with. They can help mix up the filling, cut the chives or stems, and with help (dependent on their age) even stuff the tomato tulips!

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These tomatoes aren’t just the perfect shape and size for a fun centerpiece like this; they also have an incredibly sweet flavor and are rich in vitamin A and vitamin K. We don’t know what will wow your family and guests more – the taste of these authentic mini San Marzano tomatoes or this fun flower creation you can make with them.

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We are always looking for fresh new ways to bring people around our table and serve delicious, real food. We hope that you will give one- or both of these fresh recipes a try. They are both such fun recipes highlighting one of our favorite brands; Village Farms.

 

Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by  Lunches + Littles

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One Pan Perfection

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by Lunches + Littles

For as far back as I can remember, I have been interested in creating colorful, delicious food. When I was a little younger I had a bit more time to play around with intricate recipes, but today my life looks a little different. When it comes to meal times these days, there are two things that are important to me: 1. Ensuring that what I am cooking is healthy for my family and 2. Ensuring that time to the table is kept to a minimum.

I want all of my children (3 babes, 4 years old and younger) to see me in our playroom playing with them, not constantly in the kitchen, and as such, developing recipes that are quick and easy, but also healthy and colorful is the key.

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When I was introduced to Village Farms last year I was immediately intrigued – all of their tomatoes are greenhouse grown and are just bursting with flavor. One variety we have fallen for is Village Farms’ Cherry No. 9 Fall in Love Again® tomatoes. They are good on almost anything and sweet enough to be a satisfying snack even for the littlest family members. Loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, and riboflavin, these sweet little tomatoes are a healthy choice and natural immune booster (which is perfect for a home full of little ones).

One Pan Roasted Cherry No.9 Fall in Love Again® Tomatoes, Chicken & Potatoes with Lemon Salad Recipe

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Recently I developed a recipe specifically for Village Farms’ Cherry No. 9 Fall in Love Again® tomatoes. This easy sheet pan meal; Roasted Tomatoes, Chicken and Potatoes w/ Lemon Salad is perfect for any family or couple, and also perfect year-round. The seasoned chicken breast tenderloins get all tender and juicy and then quartered potatoes and full tomatoes get roasted until perfected; then tossed with greens in a lemony homemade dressing, topped with lemon zest. The whole dish comes together in just 45 minutes, and the tomatoes give it that beautiful pop of color my family and I love.

Just last week, I made this dish that is now a staple in our home, again and had my best friend over for the meal. Not knowing that I had even developed this recipe with Village Farms, she said: “these tomatoes taste even better than the ones my parents have grown in their yard.” And, I’d agree. If you are looking for a delicious recipe that comes together easily and quickly check out this recipe, and if you are looking for a tomato variety that is kid-friendly and perfect for so many recipes as well as salads, snacks, etc. be sure to look for Village Farms Cherry No. 9 Fall in Love Again® tomatoes in a store near you. You will not be disappointed!

Created exclusively for Village Farms by Lunches + Littles