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Protein-Packed Meals and Snacks

Apr 28, 2015 03:33AM ● Published by Family Features

Protein is an incredibly important part of our diets. Not only is it associated with muscle and tissue health, research finds that protein plays an important role in energy levels, weight management and satiety (feeling full). In fact, a recent survey found that nine in 10 Americans believe that protein helps them feel fuller and satisfied longer. 

With canned food staples like chicken, tuna, beans, beef and salmon in your pantry, a convenient source of protein-rich ingredients is always at your fingertips. That makes it easy to prepare nutritious homemade meals and snacks that will provide long lasting energy to get you through the day.  

Canned proteins are often preferable to their fresh counterparts because they require little to no preparation and are more accessible. They also contribute two important forms of under-consumed protein sources - legumes and fish.  

Because cans seal in foods' nutrients, freshness and natural goodness, you can feel great about incorporating canned proteins into your favorite salads, casseroles, sandwiches and dishes like Greek Pizza and Tuna Apple Melt. With a well-stocked pantry - or "Cantry" - wholesome, protein-packed meals and snacks the whole family will love are just a can or two away.

For more nutritious and flavorful recipes featuring canned proteins, and to learn how you can get cooking with canned foods, visit www.CansGetYouCooking.com.

Tuna Apple Melt

Ingredients

  • 1 (12-ounce) can solid white tuna in water, drained and flaked
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 red apple, cored and diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 2 tablespoons canned whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 4 1/2-inch thick slices sourdough bread
  • 4 slices provolone or Muenster cheese
  • Celery sticks, optional

Preparation

  1. In large bowl combine tuna, mayonnaise and Dijon mustard until well blended; stir in apple, celery and cranberry sauce.
  2. Spread one side of bread with butter. Place bread slices, butter-side down, in 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Top each with a slice of cheese. Cover and cook over medium heat 3-4 minutes until cheese is melted and bottom of bread is golden.
  3. Remove bread to plate; top each piece with some tuna mixture.
  4. Serve warm, with celery sticks if desired.

Greek Pizza

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound prepared pizza dough
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto sauce
  • 1 (14–ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1 (10-ounce) can chicken breast, drained and flaked
  • 1 (4–ounce ) can sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1 (3.8-ounce) can sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preparation

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat, and cook onion until just softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Divide dough into 2 equal balls. On well-floured surface, use floured rolling pin to roll each ball into a 10-inch circle. Place on large cookie sheets or pizza pans. Brush each crust with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  3. Preheat oven 425°F.
  4. Spread pizza dough with pesto sauce to within 1 inch of edge. Top with red onion, artichoke hearts, chicken, mushrooms, olives and feta cheese. Bake 15 minutes or until crust is golden.

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