SOURCE: Mid-West Dairy Association

March 22, 2010 08:00 ET

The Dish on Dairy

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - March 22, 2010) -  (Family Features) Did you know that milk delivers more than just calcium to your diet? Not everybody does.

"Many consumers know about milk's calcium benefits, but most are unaware that dairy foods deliver eight other dietary nutrients considered 'essential' by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)," says Nikki Stahr, a registered dietitian with the Midwest Dairy Council.

Eating healthy is about more than just watching the calorie count. "It's important to get essential nutrients from the foods we eat," says Stahr, "because the human body can't manufacture them in sufficient quantities to meet daily needs."

Consuming three daily servings of dairy foods, such as milk, cheese or yogurt, provides exceptional nutritional value. For example, milk provides significant amounts of vitamin D, protein, potassium and vitamin B12. From repairing muscle tissue to maintaining healthy red blood cells, the nutrients found in dairy foods work together to help support optimal health.

"Meeting the recommended three servings per day of milk, cheese or yogurt is easy," says Stahr, "My family starts the day with a bowl of whole grain cereal and milk, and we love fruit and yogurt as a snack." A Stahr family favorite for dinner is pulled pork soft tacos sprinkled with Colby Jack cheese.

Enjoy the great taste and benefits of dairy with these delicious dishes. Get the whole story of dairy's unique nutrient package, and find more recipes, at

Pulled Pork Soft Tacos
Servings: 6 (2 tortillas per serving)
Prep time: 35 minutes (plus time in slow cooker)
Cost/recipe: $25.72
Cost/serving: $4.29

For pork:    
  2 pound boneless pork loin roast
  2 tablespoons brown sugar
  1 tablespoon ground ginger
  2 garlic cloves, smashed
  1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
  1/2 cup orange juice
  2 limes, cut in half
For tacos:    
  12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
  1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat Colby Jack
  1/2 cup nonfat sour cream
  1 teaspoon cumin
  2 scallions, trimmed and chopped
  1 (8 ounce) bag shredded red cabbage
  3/4 cup fresh salsa

Trim excess fat off roast. In small bowl, combine brown sugar and ginger; rub generously over roast. Place in slow cooker with garlic, onion and orange juice; cook on low heat for 8 hours (or high for 4 to 6 hours).

Remove pork to large bowl and shred with forks. Strain pork liquid from slow cooker and pour over pulled pork to moisten. Squeeze lime juice on top and mix well. Divide into 12 servings.

In small bowl, mix together sour cream, cumin and scallions.

For each serving, cover corn tortilla with 2 tablespoons cheese; microwave for 20 seconds. Top with pulled pork, 2 teaspoons of sour cream mix, 1 1/2 tablespoons shredded cabbage and 1 tablespoon of salsa. Fold and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts per Serving (2 tortillas per serving): Calories: 457, Total Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 88mg, Sodium: 359mg, Carbohydrates: 40g, Dietary Fiber: 5g, Protein: 36g, Calcium: 32% Daily Value

Roasted Asparagus with Chive Yogurt Ranch Dressing
Servings: 4
Prep time: 30 minutes (plus overnight refrigeration)
Cost/recipe: $8.09
Cost/serving: $2.02

For dressing:  
  3/4 cup low-fat Greek style plain
  1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  3 tablespoons fresh chives,
    finely chopped
For asparagus:  
  1 1/2 pounds asparagus
  2 tablespoons olive oil
  1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

In medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper and salt. Slowly pour in buttermilk, whisking constantly. Mix in chives. For best results, make dressing ahead, and let sit in refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash and break ends off asparagus. On a baking sheet with a lip (like a jelly roll pan), place asparagus and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss until fully coated. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes (depending on size of stalks.) Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

For each serving, divide asparagus into six shallow bowls and pour 1/3 cup dressing on top. (Note: it may seem like a lot of dressing but asparagus will absorb some of the liquid.)

Nutrition Facts per Serving (6 ounces asparagus + 1/3 cup of dressing): Calories: 149, Total Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 246mg, Carbohydrates: 13g, Dietary Fiber: 4g, Protein: 8g, Calcium: 20% Daily Value

Cucumber Leek Soup
Servings: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes (plus chill time)
Cost/recipe: $13.22
Cost/serving: $3.30

  1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
  2 large leeks (about 1/2 pound),
      trimmed, cleaned and sliced
  3 large seedless cucumbers (4 cups),
      peeled and coarsely chopped
  1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
    Black pepper
  3/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  1 tablespoon honey
  1/2 cup chopped grape tomatoes
  1/4 cup feta or blue cheese crumbles

In large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté for 5 minutes. Mix in cucumbers; sauté for 1 minute then remove from heat.

Add leeks, cucumbers, milk, lemon juice and mint to blender or food processor; puree for 1 minute. Add pepper and salt to taste; blend together.

In separate bowl, mix yogurt and honey together. Fold into cucumber soup. For best flavor results, chill in refrigerator for 1 hour.

When ready to serve, ladle soup into four bowls. Add 2 tablespoons of tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of cheese crumbles in center of each bowl.

Nutrition Facts per Serving: Calories: 190, Total Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 23mg, Sodium: 243mg, Carbohydrates: 25g, Dietary Fiber: 3g, Protein: 9g, Calcium: 31% Daily Value