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Easy Meal Makeovers With Mango

El Centro, California (NAPSI) - Need a secret weapon against food boredom? Looking for a  simple, foolproof ingredient to add an element of surprise to your next meal?  Look to mangos to makeover dishes with naturally sweet, tropical flavor.

Mango’s versatile taste enhances any meal, like on-the-go  breakfasts, brown-bag lunches, after-school snacks and family dinners. They  pair well with other flavors, transforming meals and snacks with fresh flavor  that brightens your plate and your taste buds.

If you are trying to maintain a fresh and fit lifestyle, mangos deliver a  host of nutrients to make healthy eating more delicious. They are high in  fiber, cholesterol-free, fat-free, and a good source of dietary fiber. A  one-cup serving of mangos is just 100 calories and provides 100 percent of  your daily vitamin C. That’s not all: Mangos live up to their superfruit status with more than 20 vitamins and  minerals.

A few simple tips when selecting a mango will make this healthy fruit a  weekly staple on your grocery list. To find a ripe mango, just squeeze  gently. Color isn’t always the best indicator of ripeness. A ripe mango  will be slightly soft like a peach or avocado. Keep unripe mangos at room  temperature and store ripe mangos in the refrigerator. To speed up the  ripening process, place unripe mangos in a paper bag. Whole ripe mangos may  be stored for up to five days in the refrigerator, or can be sliced, cubed  and placed in an airtight container in the freezer for up to six months.

Once you have a ripe mango, wash the fruit and use a clean knife and  cutting board for slicing. Simply slice off the sides of the fruit about a  quarter of an inch off center, avoiding the large seed in the center. Once  you have these two sides, or mango cheeks, you can get to the flesh by  slicing through the flesh but not through the skin and scooping it out with a  spoon.

Once cut, mangos don’t lose their color, and the texture holds up  extremely well, making them a great prep-ahead fruit. Keep slices on hand to  upgrade everyday staples like mango on cereal or oatmeal, quesadillas with  mango, mango and ice cream, or yogurt topped with mango.

Since mangos are available year-round, they are a perfect addition to  everyday favorites, family staples and tried-and-true recipes. The fresh  taste of mango is a fun departure from tropical fruits such as banana or  pineapple. Kick up the flavor in everyday meals like toast topped with almost  butter and mango or gooey-sweet Mango Upside-Down Cake. Adding mango is also  a great way to upgrade in-season produce year-round, from mango-strawberry  shortcake and mango and peach crisp to mango-cranberry sauce and mango and  yams with toasted marshmallows.

Mango’s flavor is bright and sweet with a little tang, so try it in  dishes where you might use a tomato, like mango salsa, Caprese  salad with mango, fresh mozzarella and basil or a mixed green salad. Also,  don’t be afraid to try mango on the grill, baked in sweets or sprinkled  with sugar and put under the broiler.

For a simple lunchtime makeover, add fresh mango slices to a classic  sandwich like Grilled Ham and Cheese with Mango. Tropical mango makes a sweet  addition to this traditional dish with an unexpected pop of flavor and color.  

What do you call it when mangos create a tropical transformation? A Mangover, of course.

Grilled Ham and Cheese with Mango

Makes 1 sandwich

2 Tbsp. softened butter

2 slices whole wheat bread

2 slices Monterey Jack cheese

4 slices deli ham

1 mango (about 1 pound), peeled,  pitted and sliced

Spread 1 tablespoon butter on one  side of each piece of bread. On first slice of bread, place 1 slice cheese,  ham and mango on unbuttered side of bread. Top with remaining slice of cheese  and second piece of bread, buttered side up. Heat small, nonstick skillet  over medium-low heat. Place sandwich in skillet and cook until golden brown  and cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

For more mango recipe ideas, cutting technique details, and additional  information about mangos, visit the National Mango Board at www.mango.org.