Welcome to my blog on healthy eating and food safety. I look forward to your comments and feedback regarding use of this tool to disseminate educational information. This blog will be updated on a regular basis.

Friday, April 29, 2016

What to Do With Those Leftovers in the Refrigerator


What To Do With Those Leftovers in the Refrigerator 
Got some leftovers languishing in your refrigerator? Or perhaps little bits of foods that are almost past prime time to eat. Read on if their next stop is likely to be the trash can. Give new life to still edible foods with our gallery of delicious ideas. As a general rule, use leftovers within 3–4 days. 

Meat, Vegetables, Pasta

Search your fridge for foods that can be combined into a soup. Add extra cooked pasta

or rice at the end, so it heats through but doesn’t become mushy from overcooking. Keep some chicken stock or canned, diced tomatoes on-hand for a quick soup base. 

Bread

Transform slightly dried-out bread into croutons: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly brush top side of bread with olive oil. If desired, sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes, leaving the crusts on. Spread in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake on middle shelf of the oven for 5–10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. No need to turn croutons during baking. 

Cheese

Use up those odds and ends of harder cheeses by shredding them with a grater or in a food processor. Check your refrigerator for other ingredients to include such as olives, pickles, pimientos, walnuts, red or green peppers, etc.; add low-fat mayonnaise to bind ingredients and use as a sandwich spread. 

Fruit, Yogurt

Chop and combine those last pieces of fruit. Flavored or plain yogurt — perhaps sweetened

with a little honey and a splash of vanilla — makes a tasty dressing. Other possible add-ins

include the remainder of that package of nuts and those final bits of dried fruit. 

Eggs

A general guideline is to use eggs within 3 weeks after purchasing them for best quality. Gain extra storage time by boiling the eggs. Hard-cooked eggs, will keep in their shell for 7 days in a clean covered container in the fridge. They make a quick high quality protein source for a meal such as in main dish salads and sandwiches. 

Source:  Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, Extension Educator, Lancaster County Extension, Lincoln, Nebraska

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Cooking for One or Two


Cooking for One or Two
If you’re now cooking for one or two with the same recipes you used for a larger family, you may struggle with eating the leftovers. They may still taste great by the second day, but by the third or fourth day, perhaps, not so much. The good news is many recipes can be cut in half or thirds. Here are some guidelines to help you adapt a larger recipe to a smaller one.
  • It may be easier to make the entire recipe for baked goods and freeze half.
  • When reducing recipes, you may need to use smaller sauce­pans, skillets and baking pans. The time for baking smaller amounts of food may be less.
  • The standard size egg for recipes is the large egg. To halve an egg, break it, mix it together with a fork and use 2 table­spoons. Refrigerate the rest and use in an omelet or scrambled eggs within two days.

  • A 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan holds 14–15 cups; when halving a recipe use a square 8 x 8 x 2-inch pan or a round 9 x 2-inch pan. When using a different pan size, try and keep the depth of food the same. Reduce the oven temperature by 25°F when substituting a glass pan for a metal one.
    Source:  Alice Henneman, MS, RDN Extension Educator, Lancaster County Extension, Lincoln, NE