How to Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate covered strawberries are a wonderful summer treat!They are also great for picnics, bbq’s, or that romantic night in. So where did chocolate covered strawberries come from? Chocolate covered strawberries were created by Lorraine Lorusso in the 1960’s. She first introduced them to a store called “Stop N Shop” In Chicago, Illinois. Since then the chocolate dipping rage has gone massive! So many creative ideas have started to come out of the works we just don’t know what to do with all this strawberry madness! So this summer to keep your hunger pains at bay, try making a few snazzy new chocolate dipped strawberries! 

Here are a few simple, easy to do, and delicious chocolate strawberry recipes!

The Basic Chocolate Dipped Strawberry

You will need: Chocolate chips, strawberries, wax paper or a greased plate.

Instructions:

1, Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring in between each, until the chocolate is liquid.

2.Hold the strawberry by the wider end, and dip into the chocolate as far as you can get it without touching your fingers.

3.Place on the wax paper or greased plate and wait for the chocolate to harden.

(You may place them in the refrigerator to speed up the process.) Enjoy!

The  Doubly Chocolatey Dipped Strawberry

You will need: Chocolate chips, strawberries, Nutella, wax paper or greased plate

Instructions: 

1. Start by cutting the wide end (with the stem) off of the strawberry, and hollowing out the center as much as you can. (using a paring knife and cutting a triangle out of the center usually works well.)

2. Fill the centers of the strawberries with Nutella.

3. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring in between each, until the chocolate is liquid.

4. This time, hold the strawberry from the smaller end, and dip the open nutella end, into the chocolate. (This seals the nutella in) Dipping as far up the strawberry as you can without touching your fingers.

5.Place on the wax paper or greased plate and wait for the chocolate to harden.

(You may place them in the refrigerator to speed up the process.) Enjoy!

Other variations:

Replace the nutella with, whipped cream, cream cheese, frosting, Jello-brand instant cheesecake, 

Replace the Chocolate with – white chocolate chips, mint chocolate chips, or any other brand. 

If you’re feeling decorative, use both dark and white chocolate chips, and use one of them as a drizzle instead of a coating. 

How to Identify Spoiled Meats

Learning how to spot when meat has spoiled, or ‘gone off” is crucial in order to prevent food-borne illnesses such as salmonella and E. coli. Meat is considered spoiled when it is no longer fit for human consumption. There are many factors as to why meat may be spoiled, including exposure to air, the presence of micro-organisms (bacteria, yeasts, and moulds)*, and even improper storage conditions.

Here are some things to look out for to minimise the risk of eating spoiled meats.

Dates

Always check the sell by and use by dates on any meat that you buy. You can still safely buy meat that is past its sell by date, as long as it is still within the use by date. If the dates aren’t clearly marked, or the sticker has fallen off, choose another packet.

Smell

A clear indicator to detect off meat is to smell it. Meat that is well past its best will smell pungent and foul. Most meat and poultry will have a mild odour to them, even when fresh. However, you usually have to get quite close to the meat in order to smell it. If you are met with a strong, unpleasant smell as soon as you open the packaging, or even while the meat in question is still sealed, do not consume it and throw it away.

Colour

Just because the meat is within date, doesn’t mean it can’t still be spoiled. A good indication to the health of the meat is by simply looking at the colour of it. However, there are many factors that can influence the colours of both meat and poultry which doesn’t necessarily mean it has spoiled. These factors include the age, species and even the diet of the animal*.

The colour of good raw poultry can vary from blueish-white to yellow. Any green, grey or brown colouration on the meat is a sign that bacteria is present and should be avoided.

Raw meats such as beef are typically judged by their red colouration. The brighter and redder the meat, the fresher it is considered. Brown colouration on red meat is a natural occurrence and is often a sign of the age of the meat. Unless the brown colouration is accompanied with a unpleasant odour, the meat is perfectly fine to eat.

Texture

Another give away to the quality of the meat is the texture of it. Any meat that is sticky and slimy, usually accompanied by a rancid smell, has started to turn and is not safe to eat.

Packaging

When buying meat from a supermarket, always check to make sure the packaging is undamaged before purchasing. Any holes or tears will result in air and other particles getting onto the meat, potentially leading to the growth of bacteria. Also keep an eye out for any packaging that has expanded and feels like it could burst. This is usually a sign that the meat has been left out of the chiller cabinet for quite some time. During this time, the air inside warms up and expands, causing the packet to blow up and feel like it’s about to explode.

Another cause is the presence of a bacteria on the meat which is giving off gases, thus expanding the packet.

* http://ag.ansc.purdue.edu/meat_quality/spoiled_meat.html

* http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/Color_of_Meat_&_Poultry/index.asp

Reference:
1. Meat spoilage
2. How to Tell When Good Meat Has Gone Bad – Spoon University

Back pain – know more to avoid trouble

In the present day scenario, where work has become very monotonous and the there is hardly any exercise in the lives of people, the problems related to back are quite common. The most common one among them is said to be that of pinched nerve in lower back which causes constant irritation to any person who suffers from it. This pain is seen in people irrespective of age, gender and the kind of work they do. The reasons for this are many and this article is dedicated to the cause of talking about all the important aspects related to pinched nerve in lower back.

How to Grill a Great Steak

Many labor under the false impression anyone can handle a grill. Some even fail to realize a good grill is essential to a quality product. As a result, we have all experienced the leather steak, the rubber steak, and the raw steak.

What most grill-eager fans fail to realize is grilling is like any other form of cooking. To produce a perfect result you must have the proper ingredients, a quality recipe, and the right tools. Fortunately, these are all readily available. So next time you crave an incredible, melt-in-your mouth steak, skip the steak house and prepare your own.

THE MEANS

While it is possible to produce a great steak on a charcoal grills, most people find gas grills easier to use. You do not have to own an expensive grill, but you must be able to control some basics.

You do not cook on an fickle stove. You cannot grill well on an unreliable grill. Your grill must have a thermometer in the lid. It must be able to reach and maintain a 350 degree temperature.

Flare-ups create charred meat, which is unhealthy. They also dramatically change your cooking temperature, resulting in unevenly cooked or burned food. However, they can be prevented if you keep your grill clean and remove the heat plates which cover the flames. While in theory heat plates prevent flare-ups, they can catch and hold dripping fat, increasing flair-up probability.

THE MEAT

To grill a great steak you must start with excellent ingredients. Each cut has unique qualities and cooking requirements. The T-Bone. The Filet Mignon. The Sirlion. The Rib. Each cut features various attributes – marbling, bone-in or bone-out, leanness, tenderness.

Most cooks realize you cannot prepare an Angle Food cake in the same manner as a Devil’s Food. The same applies for steaks. However, the recipe below will work for Rib, T-Bone, or Sirloin Steak. You must increase your cooking time for a similar-sized Filet Mignon.

Pick a one pound, hand-cut, one-inch thick steak. While choice’ guarantees you the highest quality cut, select’ is a fine option for well-marbled steaks.

This larger, thicker, cut is key to avoiding the leather or rubber steak experience. Whether you cut your own or have your butcher prepare it, leave the fat attached.

THE METHOD

Seasoning options are varied and individual. Like a quality recipe, however, some seasoning have risen to the top in taste tests. Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and Montreal Steak Seasoning are two common favorites. Furthermore, seasoning your meat before grilling is the best method if you want the flavor to penetrate the meat.

Preheat your grill to 350 degrees. Season your thick, nicely marbled, steak. Prepare to focus on grilling for the next few minutes.

Time and temperature are key. Keep an eye on both. Place your steak on your preheated grill and close the lid. Put 16 minutes on your kitchen timer.

After four minutes, return to your grill, heavy metal spatula in hand. (Piercing the meat with a fork allows juices to escape escalating flare-ups.) Is your grill temperature staying close to 350 degrees? If not, adjust your burners.

Flip your steak and close the lid. Wait another four minutes. Rotate your steak 90 degrees and close the lid. Keep an eye on the temperature! Wait another four minutes. Flip your steak and close the lid.

If you keep your grill temperature close to 350 degrees, use a thick approximately one pound Rib, Sirlion, or T-Bone steak, avoid flare-ups, avoid hot and cold spots, and keep the grill lid closed, in 16 minutes you will have a tasty, juicy flavor-filled medium-rare steak.

Using time and temperature, it is easy to adjust your steak’s doneness level. If you want it rare, drop 3 minutes. If you want it medium, add 3. If you want it medium-well, add 4 or 5. If you want it well done, add 6.

Before you grab the steak sauce, take a bite. You may find you have just created the best steak you have ever tasted. In fact, steak sauce is to a properly prepared steak what ketchup is to a properly prepare cake – an unwanted addition!

Reference:
1. How to Grill the Perfect Steak – New York Magazine
2. How To Grill Better-Than-Steakhouse Steaks – AmazingRibs.com

How to Find Food within 30 Minutes

I always can’t reject the temptation of delicious food. And the first thing I do is to find the food districts when I come to a town for the first time.I have my own secret to find the best food in a town within 30 minutes.
1.Online Searching
When I am about to travel to a new town, I will try to find some information online, just searching with some search engines, Baidu.com in China, and Google.com outside of China. I don’t search the ” best food” or “restaurants”, while I try to find some local websites which introduce this town. You know, you can get more knowledge on this town from that kind of websites. There are always detailed introduction of sceneries, hotels,bus lines, restaurants and some hot districts. If God helps you, you may find some links of groups on variable topics, usually you can find the delicious food group! So just visit the webpage of this group, and all the information you need would come into your eyes! Write down the information and tips, then you can set out for the expectant trip!
2. Chat with Taxi Drivers
When arrive at the town, just take a taxi to the hotel. This is an important chance to get more detailed information, and don’t waste this good chance. Taxi drivers are always familiar with this town, even some corners. Feel free to ask them questions on restaurants and delicious food in this town. Usually,most of the drivers are warm-hearted and would provide you many useful tips!
3. Talk with room servers in hotel
After the chat with drivers, you may be more clear about the food and restaurants of this town. Then you arrive at the hotel, and don’t hesitate to have a talk with room servers. When you get some good advices from them, it is time for you to make a decision. Take a bath, and have a rest. Then it’s time for you to see the delicious food! Take a bus or taxi, and go directly to the districts full of best food!
I always use this three steps to find best food, and it does work! Certainly, if you have some good friends in this town, you need not do so many work. just ask them to take you there.

Reference:
1. The Truth About 30g Protein Within 30 Minutes Of Waking – Finding …
2. The Half-Hour Window – RiversideOnline.com

How to Encourage your Children to Eat Healthily

It is important to ensure that your kids eat healthy, at least for the majority of the time. However, trying to combine nutrition with kid-appeal is easier said than done. Here are a few tips to help you to plan nutritious meals for the whole family.

Opt for a rainbow of ingredients 

Eating a wide variety of foods of different colors is important for a healthy diet. The added advantage is that children enjoy food that looks colorful. Factor in their favorite fruit and vegetables, but also try new and exciting vegetables on a regular basis. A vegetable medley of courgette, butternut squash, aubergine, sweetcorn and peppers, for example, is eye-catching, but is also highly nutritious and makes a great accompaniment for meat dishes. If you don?t know much about nutrition and the importance of eating a rainbow of foods, then educate yourself and improve your own diet at the same time.

Sneak in extra vegetables and fruit

If your children aren’t very fond of vegetables, there are plenty of ways that you can disguise them by mixing them in with other foodstuffs, particularly if they are finely chopped. Provided that you cook from scratch rather than rely on ready-made meals, you can bulk up spaghetti bolognaise or lasagne with vegetables, especially pepper, onions and tomatoes. Finely chopping spinach and incorporating it can add a healthy portion of iron. When it comes to desserts, cook from scratch and add in plenty of fresh fruit to cut down on the amount of sugar.

Have a selection of non-perishable fruit and vegetables

You may find that your children are picky about their food and that you are constantly buying fruit and vegetables that go to waste. One way around this is to opt for frozen fruit and vegetables; then you can use what you need when you need it and save the rest for another time.

Tinned fruit and vegetables are also an option, although you should pay attention to salt and sugar levels. Tins enable you to have a wider variety of healthy choices that your kids can make, and may introduce them to new favorites.

Seek advice from the Internet and other sources

It can be tempting to stick to the meals that you know your kids will eat, but a repetitive diet isn’t very healthy. Take the key ingredients your kids enjoy and find other recipes based on them. Recipe ideas abound on the Internet, and friends and family will probably have a few ideas too. You can then slip in a couple of new ingredients and increase their palates even more.

Cook in bulk and freeze for variety

Although it is far more sensible for everyone eat the same meal, there may be times when your kids just refuse to eat something you?ve given them. However, if you cook a couple of extra portions of each meal and freeze them, then you will have quick and easy options at the ready. Having frozen meals on hand also ensures that you have something nutritious for those days when you just don?t feel like cooking.

You can provide nutritious meals if you plan ahead and cook from scratch. Cater to your kids’ tastes to ensure that they will actually eat the meal by all means, but at the same time, introduce new items regularly to increase options. 

Reference:
1. 15 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Better – Parents
2. 10 Ways to Get Kids to Eat Healthy Food: Nutritional Tips

How to Cut up a whole Cooked Chicken

How to Cut Up a Whole Cooked Chicken

Nearly every large supermarket sells whole roasted chickens in the delicatessen department. The hungry customer is lured by not only the sight of the slowly turning rotisserie but also by the aroma of delicately browned birds, hot and sometimes dripping with juice. Each roasted chicken is packaged in a transparent plastic case with a handle, and nothing could be easier than transporting a ready-to-eat main course direct to the dining table at home, to a picnic, or to a party.

Preparing a whole cooked chicken at home is not much more complicated than buying one. Simply choose a whole chicken from the meat department. If it is intended for oven-cooking, it will be labeled a “baking” or “roasting” chicken. Prepare it according to a favorite recipe or simply wash it, stuff it with an onion and a stalk of celery, place it in a roasting pan, massage it with some olive oil, and bake it for an hour or so until its juices show no sign of pinkness.

Place a whole cooked chicken, breast up, on a platter at the table or on a cutting board with a well to catch the juices and allow it to cool for a few minutes. You will need a well-sharpened carving knife at least 6 inches long and a two-tined fork. Insert the fork into the thick part of a leg to hold it steady. Slice the thigh away from the body until the joint is exposed. Sever the joint by twisting the knife. Once the leg is free, cut through the joint between the drumstick and the thigh. Repeat with the other side and arrange the legs and thighs on the platter for serving.

Secure the body of the chicken with the fork in any thick part and sever the wings close to the body. Begin slicing the breast in the area above the place where the thigh was removed and slice all the way down the length of the breast. Even a small chicken will yield several thin slices of breast meat. If the bird is large enough, the thigh may be sliced also for diners who enjoy the dark meat. Arrange the wings and the slices of meat on the platter alongside the legs and thighs.

Once a chicken has been cut up as much as described, it will continue to yield pieces of meat from its underside. Turn the bird over to find pockets and strips of meat. Cut these from the carcass with a smaller knife and plan to serve immediately or, better still, save for a later use in a salad or casserole.

Reference:
1. How to Cut up a Whole Roasted Chicken – YouTube
2. Cutting Up a Whole Chicken – Better Homes and Gardens

How to Make Homemade Breaditalian Bread

These are the utensils you will need to make the bread:

1 Terri Cloth Bath Towel

15 cup/3.5 Lg. Bowl

Measuring Spoon Set

Measuring Cup

Aluminum Foil

13 – Inch Loaf/Bread Pan

These are the ingredients you will need to make the bread:

5 lb. bag of all purpose flour

1 lg. cake yeast

2 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp salt

3 Tbsp Crisco Grease-butter flavored

Warm water

Mix all dry ingredients in a very large bowl. In a cup dissolve yeast in cup warm water. Make a well in the middle and add the yeast and Crisco. Mix well and keep adding enough warm water (half cup at a time) until the dough is fluffy. Next clean the bowl with a little more Crisco and knead a few more times. Pat sides of bowl and dough with Crisco. Cover and allow to double in bulk. After this has doubled in bulk; punch dough again and divide into four equal loaves. On a clean surface; take one of the four loaves and roll and shape into a loaf of bread. Put into greased loaf/bread pan. Cover with cloth towel and allow to double in bulk.

Bake at 375 for 1 hr.

Remove the loaves from loaf/bread pan and put onto clean bath towels. Quickly take foil folded into small square and dip into Crisco and rub over top and sides of bread. Cover with bath towels and after about an hour while still warm serve with jelly/jam/or butter. After the loaves of bread are completely cooled, wrap in foil or plastic for future freshness.

Any left over bread in which becomes too hard for sandwiches can be crumbled or finely chopped into bread crumbs and used in making meatloaf, meatballs, etc

Makes 4 loaves

Italian bread

3 lbs. flour

1 Tbsp salt

1 Tbsp sugar

1/3 c melted Crisco

3 c warm water

1 cake yeast

Same as above except mix melted Crisco with yeast mixture and add to the dry ingredients. Punch dough again and divide into half loaves and put into greased bread loaf pan. Cover and allow to double in bulk.

Bake at 375 for 1 hr.

Remove the loaves from loaf/bread pan and put onto clean bath towels. Quickly take foil folded into small square and dip into Crisco and rub over top and sides of bread. Cool and serve. Makes 2 loaves

Reference:
1. Mama D's Italian Bread Recipe – Allrecipes.com
2. Easy Homemade Italian Bread | Recipe | Italian Bread, Italian Bread …

How to Make Pesto

Pesto can be rather expensive when bought in a store.  This can be overcome by making it at home.  The recipe is easy and requires very little experience in cooking.  A food processor, blender or chopper will be needed.

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups of fresh basil, lightly packed into a measuring cup
2 cloves of garlic
½ C. Parmesan cheese
¼ C. pine nuts
½ C. olive oil

This makes about 1 cup of pesto.

DIRECTIONS:
1.  Chop the garlic, and pine nuts  in a food processor for 10-15 seconds.  Gradually add some of the oil while you are chopping.  If a food processor is not available, a blender, or chopper could be used.  It could be done by hand, however, this may become rather tedious.
2. Add a few of the basil leaves at a time.  Add olive oil as needed to help make the processing continue.  Continue adding the basil leaves and oil until they are gone.  Continue chopping until this resembles a smooth paste.
3. Blend in the Parmesan cheese.  Romano could be used, if preferred.  Or a mixture of the two.  If using fresh, it will need to be grated before adding.  *If you plan on freezing your pesto, do not add the cheese at this time.
You will add it after it thaws.
4.  Place the pesto in a large bowl, if it is to be used at this time.
5.  Prepare the pasta, according to the directions on the package.  If warm pesto is desired, a small amount of the pasta water could be added to the pesto, before the pasta is completely cooked.
6.  Drain the pasta, place it in the large bowl with the pesto.  Mix the pasta until it is uniformly covered with the pesto.
7. Serve immediately.

TIPS:
* Pesto can be frozen for up to 6 weeks.
* Pesto is traditionally served with linguine, however other pasta may be used, such as fettuccine or bow-tie pasta.
* Pasta should be cooked until it is al dente.  Literally it means “to the tooth”.  When eaten, there should be a slight resistance in the center of the pasta when it is al dente.
* After refrigerating, the pesto can be “revived” by adding a small amount of olive oil.
* Parmesan and Romano cheese give food a salty flavor, however, if this is not pronounced enough, a small amount of salt can be added, or more cheese can be grated on the pasta when serving.
*  When serving pesto with a warm dish it is best to combine it right before serving.
* Have fun experimenting with uses for the pesto.  In addition to pasta, pesto can be served with a variety of meats and seafood as a dressing.  It can be added to mayonnaise to create a sandwich spread.
* Try it in mashed potatoes.
* Use it on pizza, instead of the traditional tomato-based sauce.
*  It is great in soups or scrambled eggs.

Reference:
1. How To Make Pesto – Recipe | The Kitchn
2. How to Make Pesto Out Of Anything – Bon Appetit

How to Choose the best Cut of Beef

Meat. What would our meals be without it? For many, lacking. In fact, a 2003 survey showed only 2.8 percent of our population are true vegetarians. However, in these tough economic times, a quality cut of meat can turn into an extravagance we can rarely afford.

There is good news. While most of us are familiar with the more expensive cuts, there are several less expensive versions which offer taste, quality, and protein without breaking your budget.

1) Beef

Beef is second only to chicken in popularity. While cost usually prohibits us from partaking of all but ground beef except on rare occasions, there are other options. A little understanding and a few good recipes will allow you to add beef to your menu on a regular basis.

While most people turn to the rib, tenderloin, New York, or sirloin for a tasty, tender, juicy meal, they overlook the brisket, flank, and chuck. These three cuts are often quite inexpensive, but all three can produce excellent results.

Located just in front of the rib, the chuck provides a delicious roast or quality lean ground beef. However, the portion closest to the rib also produces an excellent steak. Since chuck can often be purchased whole, for less than ground beef, it is worth a second look.

Beef flank is gaining popularity. This lean cut comes from directly below the short loin. Because it does not have the fat marbling found in higher priced cuts, flank steak has long been thought of as dry and tasteless.

Beef brisket makes up the lower shoulder, directly below the chuck. While some sections of the brisket are preferred, the entire cut makes fine roasts.

2) Chicken

Chicken only offers so many options. Bone-in. Boneless. Whole. Parts and pieces. However, there are ways to save on chicken as well.

Thighs and legs are typically inexpensive. Furthermore, because the meat is dark, it retains more moisture during cooking. While legs come bone-in, it is possible to save a little more money and time by purchasing boneless, skinless chicken thighs. These tasty nuggets are delicious marinated and grilled.

Frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts can usually be purchased for less than hamburger. Yet, like hamburger, they are pure meat. This incredibly versatile meat can be chopped and sauteed with vegetables, marinated and grilled, or even used frozen in the recipe which follows.

Whole chickens can be a prudent, money saving choice, if you are willing to make use of the entire chicken. If you roast your whole chicken upright on a can of chicken broth, you will end up with a juicy, flavorful result. However, instead of discarding the less meaty portions, stretch your dollar by turning them into chicken soup or soup stock.

3) Pork

The other white meat, pork often offers a lot of meat for not a lot of money. While certain cuts can be quite fatty, as a general rule your local supermarket butcher tends to remove most of the external fat before packaging.

Many people know the importance of cooking pork thoroughly for health reasons. However quite a few do not know how to prevent well-cooked pork from drying out. The trick is to understand your cut and to use a good meat thermometer to avoid overcooking.

Pork tenderloin is the most tender, most tasty cut. It is also the most expensive. A center cut pork loin, however, offers a tender cut which is much less expensive. Pork loin can be roasted or grilled whole or cut into pork chops.

Pork shoulder offers a lot of meat with little waste. Use this cut for roasts, chunk it for stews or kabobs, or grind it for sausage.

Pork collar or neck is considered a low quality cut by many. However, it contains enough fat to remain moist even when cooked for hours. In fact, if you enjoy pulled or barbeque pork, this inexpensive cut will produce a quality result.

Freezer to Table Grilled Chicken Breasts

Not only are boneless, skinless chicken a reasonably priced staple, they can go from freezer to table in about 30 minutes. This recipe serves two to four depending on your family’s meat intake.

To prepare:

Preheat your barbeque grill to 350 degrees. Remove two frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts from the freezer. Season with your favorite seasoning (I like garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper).

Place breasts on preheated grill and cook for about 15 minutes. Turn with tongs or a spatula and allow to continue to cook another 15 minutes. At this point, pierce each breast in its thickest part. The breasts are done when the juices run clear.

Not only will you find this recipe versatile, and easy, these chicken breasts are uncommonly good. Why? Because chicken breasts prepared in this manner maintain their moisture.

Reference:
1. The Four High End Steaks You Should Know | Serious Eats
2. How to Choose the Best Steak: 3 Steps (with Pictures)