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Freshen Up Summer Menus With Seasonal Flavors And Produce

GLENVIEW, Ill., June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Warm summer weather typically means more meals prepared or enjoyed outdoors. To create a delicious menu that makes the most of seasonal produce and will keep in the heat, Kraft Kitchens Chef Jennifer Manning offers her top tips and recipe ideas.

"With a huge variety of fresh, seasonal ingredients available, summer is a great opportunity to bump up flavor in all your favorite recipes," says Jennifer Manning, Kraft Kitchens. "From backyard barbeques to picnics in the park, at-home cooks can get creative with the recipes they serve just by adding fresh produce and KRAFT Fresh Take Cheese Breadcrumb mix."

Bake-and-Take Picnics
  • Prepare a dish ahead of time that doesn't need to be warmed up at the picnic site and won't spoil in the hot sun. This includes items like tomato basil bruschetta or kalamata olive tapenade with crostini. For a summer twist on salad, try roasted veggie kebabs with peppers, onions, zucchini, squash and mushrooms marinated in a zesty vinaigrette. 
  • Keep the recipe simple with few ingredients so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time outside.
  • Make sure the dish can be concisely packaged and won't require much clean-up.
  • Jen's Picnic Pick: KRAFT Fresh Take Provencale Tomato Tart [1 ready-to-use refrigerated pie crust (1/2 of 14.1-oz. package, 1 package (6 oz.) FRESH TAKE Classic Four Cheese Recipe Cheese Breadcrumb Mix, 1/3 cup KRAFT Mayo with Olive Oil Reduced Fat Mayonnaise, 3 plum tomatoes (1 lb.)]

Sizzling Summer Flavor
  • Smoky flavor is one of the season's hottest trends. While true smoking requires more involved equipment and time, there are easy alternatives to achieving smoky flavor.
  • To avoid a long, complicated smoking process, Chef Manning recommends keeping a collection of three smoky ingredients: liquid smoke, smoked paprika and adobo sauce.
  • For barbeque lovers who want an instant touch of smoky flavor, let the new KRAFT Fresh Take Smokey Mesquite BBQ mix do the work. KRAFT Natural cheeses – Colby, mozzarella and cheddar – combine with seasoned breadcrumbs, onion, cumin and garlic for a rich, smoky taste.
  • Jen's Smokey Menu: The KRAFT Fresh Take Smokey Black Bean Dip [1 package (6 oz.) FRESH TAKE Smokey Mesquite BBQ Cheese Breadcrumb Mix, 1 package (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, 1/4 cup milk, 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, 1 can (15.25 oz.) corn, 1/2 cup chopped red peppers]

Ripe for Summer Fun
  • Visit your local farmer's market to find the freshest seasonal herbs and produce.  Recipes that use fresh, seasonal vegetables as the main ingredient are perfect because they can stay at room temperature for up to four hours or longer.
  • Look for firm ripe produce such as tomatoes, zucchini or summer squash. Chat with the farmers to see what's in season.
  • Jen's Seasonal Stand-Out: The KRAFT Fresh Take Crispy Parmesan Ratatouille [1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce, 1 small eggplant, 2 large tomatoes, 1 onion, 1 yellow squash, 1 zucchini, 1 package (6 oz.) FRESH TAKE Italian Parmesan Recipe Cheese Breadcrumb Mix, 1 Tbsp.  olive oil]

KRAFT Fresh Take, which brings natural shredded cheese and expert seasonings together in one package, makes it easy for summer revelers to incorporate the flavors of the season into warm-weather fare. Available in nine varieties, KRAFT Fresh Take is found in the dairy aisle at major grocery stores nationwide.

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