Friday, July 5, 2019

That’s a Wrap: Easy, On-the-go Meals

Wraps are a wonderfully healthy alternative to often over-stuffed sandwiches.

Both tortillas and bread are made from grains, but there are some huge differences. For starters, one slice of bread can have anywhere from 75-100 calories, whereas one corn tortilla has 60-65 calories.

Dishes made with tortillas also feel less filling and more satisfying, while acting as a vessel to hold fillings much easier. They’re great for picnics and come in various sizes. If you’re a parent, or someone who is often on the go, wraps are a great option for a quick and easy meal!

What should you look for in the perfect tortilla?

In many traditional dishes, such as quesadillas or enchiladas, corn tortillas are used most frequently. But in today’s grocery stores options include whole grain, spinach, tomato, gluten free, and even beet root. No matter your diet you can find a tortilla to fit it – and the recipes to fill it!

Below we’ve included a few options for popular and delicious on-the-go wraps.

Grilled Chicken Wrap

The grilled chicken wrap gained popularity in the world of fast food, especially with Wendy’s 4 for $4 Meals.

But these wraps are actually incredibly easy to make at home and just as tasty.

Here’s our ingredient list and a few simple steps:

•    ¾ lbs chicken thighs or breast, cut into strips hint: thighs are a darker, richer meat that stays moist
•    ½ of a yellow onion
•    Tortillas of your choice
•    Salt and pepper
•    Lettuce hint: iceberg for crunch, but romaine for nutrition!
•    Tomatoes, diced
•    Italian dressing hint: try to make your own at home – recipes are simple with oil, vinegar, and assorted spices

Instructions:
1.    Season the chicken strips with salt and pepper
2.    Heat up a skillet and, with a bit of oil in the pan, begin to cook the onions and chicken together, making sure to turn the chicken to cook through completely. About 5 minutes
3.    Drizzle the chicken, still in the pan, with Italian dressing – cook for an additional two minutes. Transfer the chicken and onions to a small bowl.
4.    Toast the tortillas in the oven or grill for about 2 minutes until warm.
5.    Fill tortillas with chopped/shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and chicken and onion mix.
6.    Roll tortilla over once, fold in both edges, and then roll until finished. Cut in half and wrap with tin foil for easy travel!

Shrimp and Avocado Wrap

With shrimp low in calories but high in protein, and avocados a source of almost 20 vitamins and minerals, these wraps really pack a punch nutritionally.

For easier assembly, buy cooked shrimp that just needs to be defrosted.

Ingredients:
•    ½ cup peeled, cooked shrimp
•    One avocado, cut into small chunks
•    Lettuce of your choice
•    ½ cup chopped bell pepper hint: red, yellow, orange, and green peppers are all the same kind – but red will be sweeter, green crunchier and a bit more bitter
•    ½ lime
•    Cilantro
•    Tortillas

Instructions:
1.    Defrost the shrimp if necessary and keep chilled
2.    Cut the avocado up into bite-sized pieces
3.    Chop the lettuce and pepper, combining in a small bowl.
4.    Chop cilantro and squeeze lime juice, mixing by hand.
5.    Grill or warm tortillas in the oven if you so desire.
6.    Assemble by filling the tortilla with lettuce and peppers, then avocado, then shrimp, and finally the cilantro.
7.    Roll the wrap over once, fold the edges in, and roll again until finished. Cut in half and wrap in tin foil.

Cranberry Turkey Wraps

Reminiscent of a filling holiday dinner, cranberry turkey wraps are satisfying on many levels. Nutritionally dense with a lighter meat, this recipe is great for after Thanksgiving leftovers as well!

Ingredients:
•    Shredded or chopped turkey
•    2 celery stalks, chopped
•    ½ cup dried cranberries
•    Spinach hint: baby spinach is more tender and less bitter
•    3-4 tbs mayonnaise hint: check out alternatives, such as vegan mayonnaise or greek yogurt
•    Salt and pepper to taste
•    Tortillas of your choice

Instructions:
1.    In a small bowl, mix chopped turkey, mayonnaise, dried cranberries, celery, and salt and pepper.
2.    Grill or warm the tortilla in an oven if desired.
3.    Fill the tortilla with spinach, and then turkey/mayonnaise mix.
4.    Roll the tortilla over once, fold in on the edges, and finish rolling. Cut in half and wrap in tin foil.

Tips and tricks!

•    To keep a wrap from getting soggy, pack the filling and tortillas separately. Throw your wrap together quickly when you’re ready to eat!
•    If you’re incorporating a dressing into the recipe, consider making it yourself at home. Store-bought dressings are often packed with sodium and other unsavory ingredients. Keep it light and natural by whipping something up yourself.
•    Corn tortillas vs. Flour tortillas – corn tortillas contain little to no fat, and therefore crack easily when being folded. Consider using flour tortillas or other alternatives that will stay soft enough to manipulate.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Tips For Being A Better Indian Cook

Know Your Spices

One of the foundations of Indian food is spices and understanding the aromatics that they bring to food will help you create an Indian masterpiece.  Many people recommend tasting your spices as this is the only way that you will know what they are going to do to your food. 

It is also important to understand why you need to add different types of spices to your dish for full layering. For great indian food your guests will love take a look at some authentic indian recipes from a fine indian restaurant.

If you are using whole spices, they will generally need to be cracked or tempered in oil at the start of the cooking process to help them release their oils.  This will need to be done before you add the other ingredients.  Some of the spices that fall into this preparation will be cardamom, cloves bay leaves, and mustard seeds. 

Powdered spices are generally used for taste and color and will usually be added to the food halfway through the cooking process.  They are usually added once you have liquid in your food.  The spices that fall into this will include chili powder, turmeric, cumin powder, and coriander powder. 

Flavor spices are usually added toward the end of the cooking process.  These spices are generally more delicate and will be used to enhance the flavor profile of the dish.  These spices will include mace, cardamom, and fenugreek.  At the end of the cooking process is when you will also add the herbs because they are gentle.

When it comes to spices, less is generally more and you should never be heavy handed with them.  You also do not want to add all of the spices you have in your cupboard as this will make all of your food taste the same.  Spices will need to be stored correctly in airtight containers and away from heat sources. 

Be Prepared

It is important that you are organized and have everything ready before you start to cook.  This will include having all of the ingredients, equipment, the recipe and a game plan for your cooking.  In a professional kitchen, the game plan is called the Mise En Place and you need to prepare.

When setting up your game plan, you need to know the preparation that is required for the meal.  You also need to know the timing of everything and how you are going to be serving the food.  There are some instances where you will want to plate your food like a professional and you need to know what to do.

Have Sharp Knives

Sharp knives are very important when you are cooking.  Many people do not realize that you are less likely to hurt yourself when you have a sharp knife.  You should learn how to properly sharpen your knives or take your knives to a professional to have them sharpened. 

Be Efficient In The Kitchen

You need to think about what you can do to save time in the kitchen.  This could be done through multitasking or by taking the time to think about the processes you have to follow when cooking the meal.  It is recommended that you create a time plan which includes everything that you need to do and how long it should take.  It is also a good idea to improve your knife skills so that you are comfortable with handling different ingredients and will become faster at preparing them. 

Read The Recipe

Before you start cooking, you need to read through your entire recipe.  This will eliminate any surprises.  If you have chicken which needs to marinade for 4 hours, you need to give yourself enough time for this.  If you are cooking a recipe for a dinner party, you might want to complete a trial run first as this gives you the chance to get used to the recipe and see what could go wrong. 

Understand Your Meat

Understanding your meat does not mean you have to learn butchery, but you do need to have some knowledge of the different meat cuts.  This will help you select the best meat for the dish that you are making.  When you choose the right cuts, you will also reduce waste from your cooking. 

The rule of thumb is that the harder working muscles of the animal will need to cook for longer.  These cuts will need slow and low cooking methods.  The muscles that do not work as hard such as the loin will not need to cook for as long.  When you learn to use your meat better, you will also make weekly meal planning easier. 

Understand The Seasoning

Salt will help to bring out the other flavors in your food and you need to use it.  However, your dish should not taste too salty.  You need to use just enough to bring out the other ingredients. 

While salt is important, seasoning is more than just salt and pepper.  There are a lot of other tastes that you need to consider such as bitter, sour and sweet.  You should also consider the texture of your food.

The difference between a good meal and a great one is the balance between the flavors.  The balance of the texture and colors are also important.  If you want to add some sourness to the dish, you can use vinegar, tomatoes or a citrus fruit. 

Always Taste Your Dish

As you are cooking, you need to taste the dish.  This will help you determine if you need to adjust the flavors in the meal.  As the dish cooks, the flavors are going to develop and change which is why you have to taste as you go.

Stay Tidy

You should ensure that you clean as you go.  When you keep your workspace clear, you will know exactly where everything is and what you need to do next.  If you empty everything from your cupboards onto your counter, you are going to get lost in everything.  This will lead to more stress than you need while you are cooking.

Avoid Adding Everything At Once

Indian food is all about the layers of flavor and adding all of the ingredients at the same time will disrupt this.  You will not be able to bring out the individual ingredients when you do this.  After all, sautéing onions for different lengths of time will make the dish taste different.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Which meats are great for smoking?

There are a lot of decisions to make when it comes to smoking meat. From choosing the right smokers to choosing the right meat, there is a lot to decide in order to get the best smoked meat. Choosing the right meat is perhaps the most important decision to make.

You can go on Project Smoked (our site has smoker reviews, guides, recipes, how-to-articles on smoking and so much more) in order to get a detailed idea about smoking. Nevertheless, here are some of the meats which you must consider as great while smoking:

1.    Pork Ribs
Smoking Pork is an art just like any other meat. There are essentially two basic kinds of pork ribs – spares and baby backs. Spares are the larger part and are more flavorful. On the other hand, baby backs are small and meaty. The cooking time of pork ribs would be between 4 hours and 6 hours. It is recommended to choose either cherry, maple or apple wood in order to reach the best results. It is perhaps the best meat for smoking you can ever come across.

2.    Chuck Roast
A chuck roast is perhaps one of the best thing that you can ever stick on a smoker. The cooking time is an approximate of 6 hours. You should consider using pecan wood while smoking. However, smoking this meat is not an easy thing to do. It requires a lot of time to gain experience and get to know how it works. You can go through different guides to get through the process.

3.    Beef Ribs
Beef ribs are difficult to find within the market but it is worth to hunt them. Smoking beef ribs is also simple. It is as simple as just applying pepper and salt. Cooking time will be between 5 and 6 hours. This is a tender piece of meat unlike other pieces of meat. If you want have something really delicious with vibrant flavor, then this is the right meat to smoke.

4.    Chicken Quarters
Smoked chicken is one of the best things to ever have. Most importantly, smoking chicken quarters require the least time of all. It would only take around 2 hours to do so. Your preferred smoking wood should be maple or apple wood. You can smoke chicken and then serve with a number of different sauces of different temperatures in order to take your meal to a whole new level. Chicken quarter is one of the most preferred meat for smoking.

5.    Turkey Breast
It is better to smoke turkey breasts rather than smoking the entire bird. Mild wood such as maple or apple can be used for turkey. Just like chicken, this requires less time as well. Even though the skin on smoked turkey breast looks pretty, it will not be worth eating.
Smoking meat is an art and science at the same time. Choosing the right meat is immensely important to have the right results. Above are some meats to consider.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Vegetarian and Vegan Meat Substitutes

If you are conscious about your diet, the world of pizzas and wraps accommodates you too. There is a wide range of food products that you can eat without worry including Lebanese inspired freshly bakes pizzas and wraps, bacon, and pepperoni. Let us look at what meat substitutes you can use to make the food you crave for.

1.    Vegetarian bacon

If you are a vegetarian, you do not have to give up bacon. There are so many vegetarian alternatives which you can choose from if you want to make meat-free bacon that will still have a crispy feel and savory taste. Instead of the usual bacon, you could use eggplant, tofu, tempeh, carrots, almonds, chickpeas with bacon flavor, coconut, potato skins, shiitake mushrooms, and chocolate. With a few seasonings here and there such as adding pepper, you will get the flavor you need. 

2.    Vegetable cheese

If you are a die-hard fan for cheese, there are also numerous alternatives you can use to prepare your delicacy. To get away from the usual cow, goat, or sheep milk that you obviously loathe, you can use plant-based ingredients. Here, you put together the protein mass from plants. Lactic bacteria may be present to make the final product more acidic. To make the cheese thicker, you can add oils, thickeners, and emulsifiers. Main ingredients that you can choose from are soy proteins, vegetable oil in solid form such as in coconut or safflower, yeast, cashew nuts, macadamias, arrowroot, pea protein, to mention a few.

3.    Vegetable pepperoni

You also do not have to kick the usual pepperoni out your window if you are a vegan or vegetarian. You can come up with your own pepperoni that is meat-free and still very delicious. Vegetable pepperoni can be made from wheat gluten flour, a protein present in wheat. It gives any vegetarian meal a meaty feel. To make the pepperoni tastier, you can to choose to add several spices of your choice including yeast, tomato sauce, and pepper.

4.    Vegetable pizza

For pizza lovers, yes, you can still have your pizza while avoiding the meat altogether. It will come out tasty and is a good way to have your vegetable servings. You can make one using all-purpose flour and mushrooms. You can also include non-dairy cheese. Of course, use seasoning such as pepper and oregano to add flavor.

5.    Vegetarian wraps

Here is where you can go crazy as the options for vegetable wraps are limitless. For example, you can use tortillas of flour, and make a spread with avocado, garlic, salt, and pepper mash. On the wrap, you can place lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes. Lebanese inspired freshly bakes pizzas and wraps are an excellent choice when you are looking for vegetarian alternatives.

As you can see, there are numerous meat substitutes for vegan and vegetarians. That means you do not have to avoid pizza, bacon, and other meat products. Using vegetable products only while adding some seasoning, you can make a similar healthier product that you will love.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Workout Nutrition Explained: What to Eat Before, During, and After

Proper nutrition is vital for ensuring body function performance and achieving your workout goals. While training, your eating and supplementation habits will enable you to reap the benefits of your hard work. According to various studies, the right nutrition comes in handy in muscle recovery, body growth, and the composition of body parts, among other functions. Eating the right foods at the right time is crucial for quickly achieving your goals.

Pre-workout nutrition
Failure to eat sufficiently on the day of or before exercising can result in headaches, body aches, and general body weakness. You need pre-workout nutrition, not only to power you through the exercise, but also to facilitate muscle growth and recovery after training. Studies show that eating carbs and proteins before working out has a greater impact on muscle growth than doing so after exercises. Eating a light carbohydrate and a snack rich in proteins about 15-45 minutes before your activity will give you more strength and optimize muscle growth. Some great choices for pre-workout foods include bananas, whole meal toast with eggs, oats, protein powder, and fruits with Greek yogurt. You can also supplement your diet with beneficial steroids from steroid europe to enable you to build muscles, shed fat, and create a killer physique.

Intra-workout nutrition
Although it is mostly disregarded, proper nutrition during the exercise can help you to improve your results as well as help to more quickly repair and restore muscles. You will be able to perform more if you consume carbohydrates while working out. It is common knowledge that endurance athletes benefit from eating carbs as they work out. Studies have also shown that doing so helps improve resistance training workouts as well. It is worth noting that endurance training needs more carbs spread out through the exercise than does resistance training. Some of the recommended drinks and snacks to eat during the workout are Gatorade (a carbohydrate-rich drink) and protein bars with carbs.


Post-exercise nutrition
Post-work out nutrition is crucial since it helps the body to recover, rehydrate, and replenish energy stores, as well as build muscle and enhance future performance. The food that you eat after your activity will determine the protein synthesis that occurs long after completing your workout, thereby influencing your growth and recovery. Besides the immediate post-workout nutrition (generally consumed within 2 hours after the exercise), sports health experts recommend eating a slow-digesting protein, such as casein protein, before sleeping. This will enable your body to recover faster throughout the night, as it avails branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and essential amino acids to your muscles while you are asleep. Some good picks for post-workout foods include:
  • A complete balanced diet food, like rice/potatoes/maize with fish/beef/chicken and veggies/salad
  • A protein shake–the ideal one should have 20-40 grams of proteins and 40-100 grams of carbohydrates
  • Protein ice-cream
  • Casein protein powder—for great results, take about 30 minutes before you sleep
Bottom line Achieving your fitness goals depends primarily on proper nutrition. Eating the right foods is not enough, as it is also imperative to be aware of the timing, as this can help you to improve your performance by significantly changing your body composition. Also, you need to ensure you drink plenty of water before, during, and after training to always be hydrated.

Monday, December 10, 2018

5 Tips to making the best popcorn at home


Popcorn is a favorite family snack that has a distinct crunchy taste. It’s delicious and quite healthy with a dose of minerals, vitamins and whole grains. Also, popcorn is full of good fiber which is great for your health. It’s the perfect snack for those family movie nights or even in your child’s party. Even when you have a tight budget, it’s still possible to squeeze in the affordable homemade popcorn. Keep in mind you’d save lots of money buying a bag of kernels rather than buying the already made popcorn.

When shopping, be sure to select a variety of popcorn flavors so you can make an assortment of flavors with a popcorn maker machine. You can also use a pan or a microwave to make the popcorns. Dress them up however you want to makes it easier for you to prepare them.

Here are 5 tips to making the best popcorn at home.

1.  Store the kernels at room temperature

First things first. Before you make the popcorns, understand how you should store the nuts. Popcorns are made of hard starch and some moisture. The corn, therefore, loses moisture as it heats up and the quality can diminish as this continues. For popcorn to maintain the right level of moisture, they need not be stored in a freezer or a refrigerator since they dry out quickly. Instead, save the kernels at room temperature in a sealed tin. It typically has a shelf life of around 18 months.

2.  Use a popcorn machine

When it comes to using a popcorn machine, the key thing is deciding which device best suits your needs. There are a few things you might want to consider such as the size, output, material, ease of cleaning the equipment and its aesthetic appeal. Using a Popcorn maker machine is one of the best ways of making popcorns since it is healthy, economical and environmentally friendly. Therefore, you might want to consider using popcorn machines when making your popcorns.

3.  Using the microwave method

Using the microwave is probably the easiest way of making popcorn without leaving a mess. All you need to do is fill the bottom of a paper bag with kernels and make sure to fold it a few times to avoid the nuts exploding in your microwave. Place the bag in your microwave for about four minutes on the popcorn setting. You need to be very careful with this method because you may end up burning all your corn. To avoid this, you need to be keen on the amount of time between pops. You will know they are ready when you hear pops that are about two to three seconds apart.

4.  The stovetop method


One of the best ways to add flavor to your popcorn is by using oil. The stovetop method soaks the kernels in the oil as they heat up. Deciding on the right fuel to use will, however, be your biggest challenge. The oil not only affects the taste of your popcorn but also its value of nutrition. Most people prefer using coconut oil because it’s supposedly the cleanest oil, has a better taste and it’s also recommended by manufactures.

5.  Add desired flavors


To do away with plain popcorns (other people may term them as boring), sweeten your popcorns by adding your best flavors. You can achieve this when using a popcorn maker, over the stove or also by microwave. There are several varieties that you could consider. These include butter, cinnamon, and chocolate. You will certainly love these delightful flavors.

These few tips will help you make the best popcorns at home.

Monday, November 26, 2018

5 delicious bread recipes

 

Perhaps one of the most rewarding experience is making a freshly baked bread. The feeling of making the dough, the smell of the bread right after it’s baked, and the satisfaction you feel when you break the bread if it is properly baked is very fulfilling. For this reason, it is easy to say that baking fresh bread is one of those things that can easily make us feel home and relaxed. And you can do it on any occasion, just for you or for your family. All you need are a few recipes and you can now have your own bread.

Here are five delicious bread recipes you can easily make.

1.    Sourdough bread

This is one of the simplest bread recipes to make out there because it just involves two ingredients: flour and water. When making a good sourdough bread, it is important that you make a good starter. It is simply a mixture of water and flour in order to activate the wild yeasts that are naturally found in flour. You don’t have to buy a commercially-made yeast. This process also means the bread can last longer as it prevents the loaf from going stale fast.

2.    Muesli loaf

For a dense and nutty loaf that is packed with coconuts, oats, nuts, and fruits, Muesli loaf is the perfect bread for you. This bread recipe makes a good breakfast staple. Muesli bread recipe requires a lot of ingredients but the end product is worth it. You are going to need some whole milk, honey, dried active yeast, spelt flour, some oats, nuts, desiccated coconuts, dried apricots, and more.

3.    Soda bread
If you want to bake a good bread for less than an hour, one of the simplest one to make is soda bread. This is very ideal when you are in a hurry as it only requires you to use 4 ingredients. It is basically just a mix of plain flour, a mix of wholemeal flour, bicarbonate of soda, and buttermilk. Once you have properly mixed the dough, just knead them briefly to form into a ball. You can make them for 30-40 minutes and you now have your soda bread.

4.    Savory garlic and cheese swirl buns


If you want to a more savory bread for a dinner party with your friends and family, making a garlic and cheese swirl buns would be the perfect recipe to follow. You will need some whole milk, dried active yeast, plain flour, egg, unsalted butter, and mozzarella cheese. For the garlic butter, you are going to need some unsalted butter, parmesan cheese, garlic, and flat-leaf parsley.

5.    Cheese and garlic pull-apart bread

One of the best bread recipes that people will surely love if you host a dinner party is a cheese and garlic pull-apart bread. It is easy to make and is great to be served whether it is warm or cold. You are just going to need some strong white flour, sprouted spelt flour, salt, active dry yeast, cold-pressed rapeseed oil, emmental cheese, and garlic.
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