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Whether you work in food service or serve family and friends out of your home kitchen, these food safety guidelines will help keep everyone safe from food-borne illnesses.
According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Services:
• Perishable food should be refrigerated within 2 hours. 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees.
• Poultry, fish, and ground meat should be cooked within 2 days of being thawed or purchased. Beef, veal, lamb, and pork should be cooked within 3 to 5 days.
• Ground meats should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees, while all poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. For raw beef, pork, lamb, and veal, cook to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees.
• When serving, hot food should be kept at 140 degrees or warmer, while cold foods should be kept at 40 degrees or cooler.
• When sanitizing, cutting boards and counter tops can be cleaned with 1 tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach per 1 gallon of water.
For a complete list of food safety guidelines, and a comprehensive cold storage chart, please visit USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Site.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is an ancient grain domesticated in the Andean region of South America 3000 to 4000 years ago. It is a species of goosefoot, and closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and Swiss chard. Rich in amino acids, this grain was once called “the gold of the Incas.” In fact, quinoa contains all nine amino acids, making it a complete protein. It is also high in magnesium, iron, copper, and phosphorus, making it particularly healthful for people who suffer from headaches and atherosclerosis.
Several different varieties of quinoa are grown for consumption, including red and white. Quinoa grows best in sandy, well-drained soils with moderate salinity. Most quinoa is grown in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador.
When cooked, quinoa has a slightly crunchy texture and a mild, nutty flavor. To cook quinoa, simply rinse, drain, and transfer to a cooking pot. Add water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Quinoa is great in grain salads, as a cereal, in stews, in stir-frys as an alternative to rice, and veggie burgers. Various websites specialize in quinoa recipes.
Give your brain a boost simply by eating the right foods. Try these three, in moderation, of course, and see how smart you feel.
Red wine contains resveratrol, a compound which has been shown to reduce the risk of dimentia and other age-related cognitive diseases.
Apples raise the body’s levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that’s important to maintaining memory.
Loaded with Vitamin E and healthy fats, avocados provide the brain with the nourishment necessary to function at its optimum.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and related species such as barley, rye, spelt, bulgur, bran, durum, semolina, and couscous, among many others. An allergy to gluten is known as celiac disease. People who suffer from celiac disease should not eat any products containing gluten. This can be quite challenging, as gluten can be hidden in the most uncommon of places.
Hidden Sources of Gluten:
• Adhesive on envelopes
• Latex glove linings
• Imitation bacon
• Soy sauce
Alternatives to Gluten Products:
Several grains and starches can take the place of wheat and related species. If you need to follow a gluten-free diet, look for breads, cereals, pastas, and the like made from:
Bean and nut flours are also acceptable, as is buckwheat.
Gluten-free bread, pasta, baking mixes, and more are readily available online, and many grocery stores are now carrying gluten-free products.
General Tips for Eating Gluten-Free
1. Avoid cross-contamination. Wheat and other unsafe starches can linger in toaster ovens, on counters, on the grill, or in butter.
2. Many processed foods contain gluten ingredients. Familiarize yourself with what is safe and unsafe, including scientific names.
3. Eating at restaurants can be a challenge. Find establishments that are known for their gluten-free menu and cooking techniques. Applebees and Taco del Mar are two examples.
4. Surf the web. It’s filled with gluten-free recipes and ingredients.
5. There is no need to erase anything from your diet. You can still eat pizza, pasta, bagels, and cookies. You just need to prepare them using different ingredients.
Need a quick caffeine fix? These instant coffees designed for on-the-go lifestyles will save you money and time. So, forget the expense of visiting your local baristas, and the time it takes to brew your own at home. With these instant single serve coffees, you’ll be ready and amped up in no time.
1. Starbucks Via, Colombia
2. Nescafé Clasicó, Original
3. Taster’s Choice, Original
In blindly conducted taste tests, tasters consistently chose Nescafé Clasicó, Original as their favorite, and Taster’s Choice, Original as their least favorite. Tasters commented that the Starbucks Via tasted like a true Americano, but several thought it was too harsh.
Which instant coffee offers the most bang for your buck? On average, the samples cost:
Starbucks Via $7.99 for 8 packets
Nescafé Clasicó $ 1.09 ON SALE for 8 packets
Taster’s Choice $2.99 for 22 packets
Clearly, the Taster’s Choice is the least expensive, at only .135 cents per packet. The Nescafé Clasicó on sale is only one tenth of a penny more. However, average retail price on this item is a dollar more, or around $2.09, which puts each packet at .26 cents. Starbucks Via is clearly the most expensive, costing close to a dollar per packet.
In addition to the three samples tested, the supermarket where they were purchased also carried varieties of the same brands.
Starbucks Via offers Italian Roast, Decaf Italian Roast, and Iced, in addition to the Colombia flavor.
Nescafé Clasicó comes in Decaf as well as regular.
Taster’s Choice has Columbian, Decaf, Vanilla, and Hazelnut, as well as their Original version.
Other brands exist as well, but were not found in the small town market. Research online shows that this type of instant, on-the-go, single-serve packages are also made by:
Mount Hagan Organic
Folgers (offers a teabag style only)
Out of time? These simple one dish suppers will get you through a hectic week.
Beef stew is one of the easiest and crowd-pleasing one dish recipes. Who doesn’t love meat, potatoes, and veggies cooked together in a savory broth? It’s great for home lunches, packed lunches, dinner, and snacks in between. It’s especially hardy after a long day in cold weather, and it couldn’t be easier to make—simply throw the ingredients in a slow cooker and return several hours later to a ready meal!
Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Casserole
Published in an Uncle Ben’s supplementary cookbook is the easiest and most delicious recipe for a Chicken, Broccoli, Rice Casserole. In a casserole dish, simply add 2 cups hot water to Broccoli Au Gratin rice, add seasoning packet, and mix. Top with 4 frozen chicken breasts, and sprinkle with garlic. Cover with foil and cook at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Add broccoli and cheese, and continue to bake covered for 10 minutes. Remove foil and let cheese brown, if desired. Definite crowd pleaser!
Throw your favorite toppings on a pre-made pizza crust and pop it in the oven. Could dinner get any easier? If you’re wanting a healthy supper, use lots of veggies and scrimp on the cheese. Add a side salad, and you’re good to go.
Easy and versatile, this one-pot recipe can be altered to fit your current cravings. Use beef, chicken, sausage, turkey, beans, and/or veggies to create an easy and delicious dinner in an hour or less.