From The Nutritionist

Elise Deming, MS, RDN
Guest Author:
Elise Deming, MS, RDN

Recipe Development Made Easy – Pro Tips Make a Difference




Since joining the Campbell team, I will never look at recipes the same way again. A lot of care and expertise goes into developing recipes that resonate with consumers. There can be a big difference between those that are professionally developed and those that are created by an amateur—I learned this first hand. While cooking dinner one evening, blindly following a drool-worthy cauliflower crust pizza recipe, I had no doubt the result would be delicious. However, to my hangry disappointment, I dined on flavorless, tomato cauliflower mush instead of the delectable pizza promised in the blog pictures.

Poorly developed recipes can ruin an evening and frustrate followers and clients. In contrast, well designed recipes build trust with clients and customers and keep them coming back. My first introduction to professional recipe development provided a glimpse into the complexity behind professionally developed recipes.

Testing, Tasting, & Teamwork in the Kitchen
Contrary to popular belief, in 2018, the NPD Group reported more than 80% of eating occasions were prepared and consumed at home.1 What does this mean? Most people eat and cook at home, likely increasing recipe use and demand.

Tasty and replicable recipes take planning. I’ll admit, I’ve created a delicious dish and quickly shared the recipe with friends and family. Is it fine-tuned? No. Is it replicable? Hopefully. Was I excited about it? Absolutely!

Recipes at Campbell aren’t just thrown together and posted. The process involves numerous taste panels and cooking trials. A team of nutrition professionals, culinary chefs, professional recipe developers, marketers, product developers, and others evaluate all aspects of a recipe. They assess recipes based on taste, nutritional profile, visual appeal, texture, number of ingredients, cost, etc. The end goal is a flavor-packed recipe that is delicious, easy-to-make, budget friendly, and one the family will love.

Most nutrition professionals don’t have the support of professional test kitchens, but this shouldn’t discourage you from sharing your recipes with your clients or consumers. I sat down with Jane Freiman, Director of Campbell Consumer Test Kitchen, who shared her pro tips on best practices in recipe development.

Pro Tips:

  1. Understand your target audience. The more you can understand your audience, the better you can meet their needs, interests, and skill level in the kitchen. Jane recommends understanding their income, how often they shop, family size, and eating habits.
  2. Choose purposeful ingredients. Ensure every ingredient used is present for a reason – everyone is busy, and everyone is on a budget, so make sure each ingredient is absolutely essential to the flavor and experience of the dish.
  3. Be extremely clear when writing recipes. Assume your audience has very basic cooking skills. Always be specific, avoid using culinary terms, and make sure all ingredients are accessible to the client.
  4. Recruit recipe testers. Ask multiple people to make the recipe and incorporate their feedback before publishing or sharing more broadly. This could even include enlisting customers, clients, or friends.
  5. Don’t force feed anyone. Pick recipes that have broad appeal. When you know your audience, you can understand the recipes they desire. Providing recipes that meet their flavor preferences and lifestyle ensures a repeat customer.

A Dietitian’s Secret Weapon
A good recipe establishes a relationship, builds trust, and increases engagement with clients. When developed well, dietitians can use recipes as a vital tool to foster lifestyle change.

Turn Recommendations into Actions
A well-developed recipe transforms abstract nutrition recommendations into actionable tasks. When a dietitian recommends adding more fiber into a diet, hands the client a recipe for Indian-Spiced Cauliflower with Chickpeas & Farro, and proceeds to walk the client through the recipe highlighting the sources of fiber, the take home message is more meaningful.

Increase Client & Consumer Retention
Whether you counsel clients one on one or publish content online, your audience should feel that healthy eating is obtainable. Recipes developed with best practices are essential to building this confidence in consumers and help the publisher maintain credibility. At Campbell, I’ve learned how recipes help us bring consumers back to our products and brands. The same can be true for your clinical practice or in a public health setting.

Recipes are a powerful tool. When developed thoughtfully, they can build relationships and trust with clients or consumers, while providing them with a delicious experience. Use our pro tips to help create recipes that appeal to your audience and grow your practice.

In best health,

Elise


Elise’s Bio

Elise graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences, completed her dietetic internship at Virginia Tech University, and then receives her Master’s of Clinical Nutrition from East Tennessee State University. At Campbell’s, Elise provides technical guidance for external reporting and nutrition labeling, as well as contributes to nutrition trendspotting, communications, and programming. Elise has previously worked as a retail dietitian and freelance nutrition consultant for a variety of clients. Elise sits on the Philadelphia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Board as well as the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics AME 2020 Planning Committee.


References

  1. NPD Group, Inc. (2018). U.S. Consumers Are Increasingly Eating and Preparing Their Meals At Home Often With The Help Of Foodservice. Retrieved from https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/2018/-s-consumers-are-increasingly-eating-and-preparing-their-meals-at-home-often-with-the-help-of-foodservice/.

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En Papillote Technique

1. Prepare the parchment paper
Get a large piece of parchment paper, approximately 2.5 times as large as a single portion of food. Cut the paper into a heart shape, lightly brushing one side with oil. This creates a slight barrier to water, preventing the paper from becoming soaked too quickly. Another option, though not as attractive, is to use tin foil instead of parchment paper.

2. Select the ingredients
This is a very quick-cooking approach, so it works best with tender proteins such as fish and shellfish. The accompanying ingredients, like julienned vegetables (matchstick size), must be small enough to cook at the same rate as the fish. In some cases the vegetables can be blanched, or quickly cooked in boiling water, to ensure proper doneness. Fresh herbs will go a long way in providing flavor.

3. Assemble the packet
Lay the oiled, heart-shaped paper on a baking tray, oiled side up. Season your vegetables with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and half of the herbs. Toss them around for an even coat. Place enough for one portion on half of the paper. Bunch them up to create a bed for your fish, leaving about two inches between the food and the edge of the paper. Place the seasoned fish on the vegetables and sprinkle the remaining herbs. Add a splash of the liquid on top of the fish, just enough to add moisture.

4. Seal the packet
To seal, fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables (so it resembles a teardrop). Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge toward the center. Fold over again to create a seal. Continue along the length of the parchment, folding each section twice. When you get to the point of the heart, twist and fold to finish the seal.

5. Bake your dinner
Bake the packet in a 425°F oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The packet will puff and brown while in the oven and as the steam builds. When cooked, remove from the oven and carefully place the packet on a plate. With a knife or scissors cut an "X" on the top and fold back the edges for a dramatic presentation and a delicious, healthy meal.

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Spicy Flounder and Clams with Summer Vegetables

Prep Time: Less than 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-14 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely cut julienne
  • 1/3 cup sugar snap peas, cross cut thinly
  • 1/3 cup zucchini, yellow, finely cut julienne
  • 6 each cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. parsley, fresh, minced
  • Dash salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 6 oz. fillet, flounder (2 fillets, 3oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice
  • 3/4 lb. clams, in the shell

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the carrots, sugar snap peas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, half of the parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss well to combine.
  3. Lightly oil two large heart shaped pieces of parchment paper.
  4. With the parchment paper on a sheet tray, place half of the vegetable mixture in the center of one half of each heart leaving about a 2" border.
  5. Lightly season each fillet with salt and pepper. Fold or roll the fillet to create a uniform thickness and place on top of the vegetables.
  6. Top the fish with the remaining herbs and the Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice.
  7. Place half of the clams around each portion of vegetables and fish.
  8. Fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables so that it resembles a teardrop.
  9. Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge towards the center. Fold over again to create a seal.
  10. Continue with this method along the length of the parchment packet folding each section twice to make an attractive edge.
  11. When you get to the point of the heart twist and fold to finish the seal.
  12. Bake the packets for 10-14 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
  13. Remove from the oven and serve by cutting an "X" in the top and folding back the edges.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 180, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 50mg, Sodium 450mg, Carbohydrate 10g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 4g, Protein 16g.