3 tips to make this the cheesiest year ever
(BPT) - Looking for a stress-free and undeniably delicious snack for your family game night? Want to surprise a special person you haven’t seen in a while with a gift delivery? Or do you simply want to kick grandma’s recipes up a notch this year? The solution is simple: cheese. Not just any cheese; awesome cheese.
Cheese makes everything better. That’s why Josh Gentine, a third-generation member of the Sargento Foods legacy, founded The Big Cheese Co. Well, that, and he got his hands on some extra-sharp, 12- to 15-year aged Wisconsin cheddar. According to Gentine, cheese ages like fine wine, getting sharper and more complex with each passing year. He maintains his cheddar is “the sharpest you’ve ever tasted,” adding jokingly, “it’s so sharp it has a British accent, and it was so good that it was worth starting this new company.”
With that in mind, here are three tips for making this year your cheesiest ever.
Tip 1: Sharpest surprise
Cheese is the perfect gift. “Cheese is our common denominator,” says Gentine. “There are only two types of people in this world: people who already love cheese and people who need to try The Big Cheese.”
With The Big Cheese, blocks are sent directly to your doorstep, so you can send a little love without leaving the sofa. A 2.5-pound block to your foodie aunt, a 5-pounder to the family of four. A 40-pound behemoth sent directly to the door of your friend who’s always entertaining (or will be, once that's safe again). It’s an unexpected gift that you can be confident will be enjoyed and not regifted or left to gather dust in a hallway closet.
Tip 2: Charcuterie champion
Charcuterie boards have become their own popular subgenre . Some would say a full-fledged movement, with people creating over-the-top, picture-perfect trays packed with premium deli and dairy. The art of the board is all about balance, in color and flavor. Put your folded, reddish cuts of cured meat opposite pale cheeses, next to green olives or grape garnish. Mix and match an assortment of hard and soft cheeses with tapenades and spreads. Temper the salty meats with sweeter fruits like pears or apples. Or keep it simple when you’re looking for something quick and tasty for family movie night. Simply pile up the plate the way they like it, so everyone has options.
Pro Pointer: Serve your extra-sharp, aged cheddar (and other cheeses) at room temperature. When cheese is too cold, its taste is muted. By allowing cheese to come to room temperature, you’re allowing its flavors to come out and join the party.
Tip 3: Sharpen a family favorite
Family recipes that stay the same year after year can become tired or stale, so add a little zing with a cheesy kick. The secret is the sharp cheddar. Adding shreds of the zesty treat brings more complexity to dishes. It’s the perfect way to amp up mac and cheese, bring extra creaminess to grits or polenta, elevate a grilled cheese sandwich or breathe second life into leftovers like turkey melts.
Try this recipe for a great new take on a family classic:
The Big Cheese Mac & Cheese
From Jessica Slomberg @NYCFoodComa
1 and 1/2 cups half-and-half
Bring large pot of water to a boil. Once water is boiling, add plenty of salt and 1 pound radiatori pasta. Cook until pasta is al dente (5-10 minutes depending on type of pasta).
For more information, visit TheBigCheese.com.
Easy tips for cooking your favorite fish and shellfish at home every time
(BPT) - Crab legs for a birthday. Scallops for an anniversary. Salmon for when family are in town. Many people enjoy eating seafood at restaurants as it is a favorite choice for celebratory meals. However, when it comes to cooking seafood at home, it can be intimidating. Seafood — fish and shellfish — is surprisingly simple to cook with a few tips and tricks.
"Seafood is easy, delicious and widely available, making it a great option for home cooks," says Linda Cornish, president of Seafood Nutrition Partnership. "Whether it is shellfish or a fillet of your favorite fish variety, seafood makes any day special. Plus, you can feel good about enjoying immune-boosting food rich in vitamins A, B and D, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and minerals such as calcium, selenium, iron, zinc and more."
To help kick up your confidence in the kitchen when cooking seafood, Seafood Nutrition Partnership and its partners from the Eat Seafood America! campaign offer simple kitchen tips:
The 10-minute rule: Measure the fish at its thickest point. Cook it on medium-high (about 375 degrees F) for 10 minutes per inch, turning halfway through the cooking time. That means a thin fish like sole or pollock cooks in about 4-5 minutes while a thicker salmon or tuna steak might be 15 minutes.
Test for the flake: The best way to tell if fish is done is by testing it with a fork: insert it at an angle at the thickest point and twist gently. The fish will flake easily when it’s done, and it will lose its translucent or raw appearance.
Create foil packets: Foil makes cooking seafood and cleanup simple. Choose your seafood, such as shrimp or a piece of fish, and vegetables such as bell pepper, green beans, cherry tomatoes or zucchini. Use a large piece of foil and layer fish on top of veggies, season to taste, add a couple of lemon slices, and add a drizzle of oil before cooking in the oven, on the grill or even campfire.
Steam on the stovetop: Steaming is a popular way to cook shellfish due to its simplicity. Fill a deep pot with 1-2 inches of water, add wire rack and bring to a boil. Add seafood and cover to cook. Seafood like lobster, crab legs and shrimp will turn pink or red when done, so look for the bright color and then enjoy.
Stock up with canned and frozen options: Fill your freezer with seafood when it’s on sale, so there's something always ready to go when meal planning. When you’re at the grocery store, also grab canned seafood that is often a reasonably priced alternative. Then try adding into favorite recipes or toss into salads or pastas for an easy meal that is sustainable and planet-friendly.
Cook once, eat twice: Try doubling recipes to get ahead on cooking and have a dinner or lunch ready for later in the week. Recipes that freeze well, such as chowder or gumbo, are great to double. Also, consider cooking an extra piece of fish to use on a salad or in a sandwich the next day.
Explore grab-and-go options: Try pre-prepped seafood from your local grocery store to just bring home and heat. Instructions are typically on the package but if you have questions, ask the pros at the seafood counter.
Try new recipes: With everyone spending more time at home, it's fun to try new recipes. You can enjoy restaurant-quality seafood dishes at home in a few simple steps. Be inspired with this recipe that can be updated with whatever fish fillets or veggies you have on hand. For a quick one-pan meal, choose vegetables and slice them to cook in about the same time as your fish.
Pesto Salmon Sheet Pan
1/2 acorn squash, cubed
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. On a large sheet pan, place acorn squash, red onions, potatoes and cauliflower. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil. Stir to coat well and place in single layer around the edges of the pan.
3. Add salmon to the sheet pan and spread with about half the pesto.
4. Roast at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes depending on thickness, until salmon is fork tender and fully cooked through.
5. Top with the remaining pesto and serve.
Share your finished seafood dish on social media and tag #EatSeafoodAmerica. For additional simple seafood recipes to try at home visit seafoodnutrition.org.
You, like most people, are proud of your cooking. Your meals provide your family with nourishment, which is important, but the most important part of meals is the way they taste. The presentation is a close second. Because of this, you should consider farm-fresh foods. These foods are of much higher quality than store-bought foods. Here are eight farm-fresh foods that will elevate the meals you serve at your table.
According to The Mobile Chicken House, mobile-pastured eggs are a healthy, quality-driven, sustainable alternative to standard commercial eggs. These eggs come from hens who have a certain level of freedom on the farm. They are allowed outside for a significant amount of time during the day and they can eat a more "natural" diet instead of just corn and soy. This freedom makes the hens healthier which, in turn, makes the eggs healthier. Mobile-pastured eggs can have up to three times the Omega-3 than standard commercial eggs. You get an added advantage by getting your eggs fresh from the farm. The shells are thicker leading to thicker yolks. They taste better and have great nutritional value.
Milk has a quick expiration date compared to other foods from a farm. It is great to be able to milk a cow and bring it straight to the table (not exactly straight to the table, but you get the picture). If you are not the milking type, your local farmer's market will have fresh milk. Whether you choose raw milk or pasteurized milk, you will still get the best-tasting milk possible by getting it directly from a farmer. Many people prefer raw milk (unpasteurized milk) because it has the full amount of nutrients.
However, there is some controversy surrounding this type of milk. According to Food Safety News, raw milk can have bacteria such as E. Coli or Listeria. The odds are low of contracting these diseases from raw milk, but the risk is still there. Farmers pasteurize milk, so you can still get safe milk fresh from the farm. However, pasteurization removes bacteria, so it is safer than raw milk.
Fresh fruit is always a welcomed food at any table. Imagine picking your fruit each day so it is the ripest, sweetest fruit you can possibly get. There are plenty of farms that will allow you to pick your own fruit. You could also get fruit from the farmer's market. If you happen to live on a farm, that is even better. After the fruit is picked, it rapidly begins to lose nutritional value. Fruit that is to be sold at a local store takes from one to six weeks to make it there. That is why they do not last very long once you take them home. You do not have this problem with fresh fruit straight from the farm.
Vegetables are like fruit in the sense that they begin to lose nutritional value as soon as they are plucked from the vine. Just like fruit, it can take weeks for vegetables to travel from the farm to the store. By the time you buy them, they only have a short amount of time to be eaten before they are no longer any good. Farm fresh vegetables are not only healthier than store-bought vegetables, but they taste better. They are so flavorful that they can easily become the star of your dinner. For the freshest vegetables, you should pick them yourself if you have a local farm that allows it. If not, you will find plenty at your local farmer's market.
Farmer cheese is just what it sounds like - cheese processed by the farmer instead of by some giant processing plant. According to Berkeley Wellness, farmer cheese has less calories and higher nutritional value without all the additives and preservatives. Plus, farmer cheese has a unique taste that you will not find from machine-manufactured cheese. Good cheese seems to make everything taste better. For great dishes such as oven-baked mac n' cheese, cheddar ‘n' chives mashed potatoes, bacon & cheese dip, and so many more, it makes sense to have the freshest cheese you can get. You could even make your own cheese with easy online recipes if you do not live near a farmer's market.
Ham is one of the tastiest meat you can eat. While it is true that most ham tastes good whether you got it from a farmer or a store, it is just so much fresher when you get it from a farmer. One advantage of getting it straight from a farmer is that, since each farmer has their own, unique way to cure ham, you will get a unique flavor than those processed, vacuum-sealed ham packages at the store. They even look healthier as the ham can have a richer color. Plus, you do not have to worry about it being injected full of preservatives.
Most people love a good steak, and you cannot get better steak than those that come directly from a farmer. These steaks are fresher, cooks better, tastes better, and lasts longer if you need them to. According to Grit, you will probably also get more bang for your buck when buying from a farmer which is great for those pricey premium cuts of steak.
Chickens are one of the most popular farm-to-table animals. They are relatively easy to raise, so if you live in a country area, it is not uncommon to find average residents who raise chickens at their house. If you are going to eat farm-fresh eggs, you will probably be interested in farm-fresh chicken also. Just like the other meats, the chicken will be freshers, tastier, and much more nutritious than the chicken you would buy at the store. Plus, there are so many great chicken recipes out there that would be great with farm fresh chicken.
Farm fresh foods are tasty, nutritious, and probably a lot cheaper than buying store-bought foods. The eight foods above are some of the more popular farm-fresh foods, but there are others that can complete your shopping list. This will give you the best ingredients to make the best meals to serve at your table. If you have access to farms or farmers markets, do not be afraid to try out a few of your favorites!
Read this next: Real Milk’s Role in a Sustainable Farm-to-Table Diet
Here are two great recipes for beef burrito with pepper jack cheese and black beans and for hot and sweet grilled cheese. See the full recipes in the full Medium article here or reading below.
You and your family might love Macaroni and Cheese. It might be a staple of your family menu — your “go to” food when you want to make sure the kids eat something! But, are you and your kids getting bored with “the same old thing,” even if it is “Liquid Gold?”
Here’s 2 wholesome recipes with big flavor and nutrition for your family dinner! Read the full Medium article for recipes for Taco-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash and Baked Eggs Puttanesca.
Seafood can make for a healthy addition to diets, particularly for children. These tips can help make it quick, easy and affordable to add nutritious seafood to your family’s menu with recipes like Chipotle Shrimp Street Tacos.
6 Tips for Adding More Seafood to Your Family’s Menu
(Family Features) Seafood can make for a healthy addition to diets, particularly for children. It improves body and brain function, and studies conducted by “Pediatrics” and the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” have linked seafood to reduced risks of heart disease and allergic conditions like asthma.
In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture suggests making seafood part of healthy diets and its 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend putting it on menus at least twice a week.
While there are common complaints, such as “my kids won’t like it” or “I don’t know how to prepare it,” these tips can help make it quick, easy and affordable to add nutritious seafood to your family’s menu.
Find more tips and recipes to add seafood to your family’s table at aquastar.com.
Chipotle Shrimp Street Tacos
Total time: 20 minutes
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (family eating)SOURCE:
Haylie Duff shares best tips for quick and healthy family meals.
(BPT) - It can be a struggle to prepare a nutritious meal the whole family will enjoy. Finding time to spend around the table during back-to-school season can be particularly challenging, but not impossible.
Actress, chef and mother of two Haylie Duff has a few expert tips and tricks for crafting nutritious meals on a time crunch.
1. Use pre-made ingredients to reduce prep time.
Keeping the fridge stocked with pre-made ingredients is a simple time saver. Adding ingredients such as pre-cut vegetables or hard-cooked peeled eggs to on-the-go snacks or family meals is an easy way to boost the nutrition of a recipe without all of the prep work.
2. Plan a meal-prep day each week
Preparing meals ahead of time to pull from the fridge or freezer and pop into the oven will help save time and reduce stress. Setting aside a couple of hours once a week to plan and prepare meals can make the school week more relaxed. Plus, planning means more time around the table with loved ones during mealtime.
3. Add slow-cooker recipes to your weekly routine
On busier days, let a slow-cooker do all the work. You can make tasty recipes, such as roast chicken with steamed veggies, a quiche or a healthy pasta dish. Simply put the ingredients in the slow cooker and fire it up. In the meantime, you’ll have more time to spend playing with the kids or helping them with homework.
4. Stock up on quality, versatile ingredients
It is so important to nourish children with top quality ingredients such as Eggland’s Best eggs, which are packed with superior nutrition compared to ordinary eggs at the grocery store. These eggs contain more than double the vitamin B12 compared to ordinary eggs, which helps transform food to energy to keep the entire family energized throughout the day. They also contain six times more vitamin D, 25% less saturated fat, more than double the omega-3s and 10 times more vitamin E.
For a make-ahead snack the whole family is sure to enjoy, try these Buffalo Deviled Egg Bites from the American Heart Association and Eggland’s Best.
Buffalo Deviled Egg Bites
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon hot wing sauce (lowest sodium available)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon finely crumbled low-fat blue cheese
1 tablespoon chopped celery
Eggland’s Best is a national supporter of the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good movement and is encouraging consumers to try out the recipes available at recipes.heart.org.
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