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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
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A Thanksgiving Meal Scaled Down

Thanksgiving is a holiday where food and family come together: A big feast for a big family. However, not everyone will have a large gathering. In fact, for many, the table may be set for just one or two. Despite this, a traditional Thanksgiving meal can still be enjoyed. First, you must decide on whether or not you want to cook. You could go full speed ahead and prepare many dishes in...

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Soba noodles

Soak up the Flavor of Soba Noodles

Soba noodles are a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. They're found in many Asian dishes served either hot or cold. If you've ever passed up a recipe because you didn't know what soba noodles were or didn't know where to find them, you must try it again! Soba noodles are found in Asian markets but may also be found in larger grocery stores in the Ethnic section....

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Mug Muffin

A Meal in a Mug

Everyone has their favorite mug, and on days that the mug is actually clean, it gets filled to the rim with coffee or tea. However, this favorite mug wants to be used for more than just a warm jolt in the morning. Microwave mug meals are the latest craze to hit the kitchen. Microwave mug meals are ingredients put in a single mug that are cooked in the microwave. They are the perfect fix...

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Discover What's Wild About Wild Rice

Unbelievably, wild rice is not actually rice at all. It's a seed of a wild water grass found around the Great Lakes region. Every September, during the Wild Rice Moon, Anishinaabeg people, and other Great Lakes Native American tribes, harvest wild rice in canoes using wooden ricing sticks to knock the rice grains into the boat. It's a long, labor-intensive process, but it is a tradition that ha...

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Freezer Meals in a Flash

In the heat of the summer, "busy" tends to take on a whole new meaning. Aside from the everyday chores, there are now baseball games to attend, swimming lessons to pack bags for, and summer camps to chauffer the kids to. Putting a healthy meal on the table is just another "chore" that can seem daunting, even for a super hero parent. However, with a little prep work, a freezer, and the magic of...

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Papaya smoothie

Step into the Tropics with a Papaya

Step into the tropics by enjoying a sweet juicy papaya. A papaya resembles a melon on the inside, but it is botanically a berry. It has a green to yellow outer skin but is orange to pink on the inside. The cavity is filled with black, edible seeds with a peppery taste. Papaya is native to Mexico and Southern America, and may be found in the early summer and fall. Most of the papayas sold in the...

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Oat Chia Granola Bars

All About Oats!

This week's blog post is written by Illinois State University dietetic intern and graduate student, Erin Fejes! Have you ever wondered why oats have become such a popular food item in recent years? From overnight oats to homemade granola, oats seem to be in many recipes these days. Read on to learn all about oats and why you should add them to your diet, too! Types of o...

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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Ceviche

Cinco de Mayo (fifth of May) is often celebrated with delicious Mexican fare, including tostadas, enchiladas and margaritas! Mexico has many cuisine influences, including the popular Latin American dish, ceviche. But is ceviche safe to include in your celebratory meal? Ceviche is raw seafood that has been marinated in an acid (usually lime or lemon juice), turning the color and texture...

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Egg-citing Egg Facts!

The sales of eggs notably increases around the Easter holiday. After all, the Easter bunny needs colorful eggs to hide for all boys and girls. However, eggs aren't just for springtime; they are a year-round staple in most people's refrigerators. Have you ever wondered why the egg is shaped like it is? The curved shape makes them less likely to break when applying pressure, explaining wh...

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Radish Greens Chimchurri

Waste Not From Root to Stalk

Do you ever feel remorse when you toss out those broccoli stems or radish tops? With a growing fight to reduce food waste (it's estimated that America wastes 70 billion pounds of food each year!) even the so-called food "scraps" need a second look. Many of these stalks, stems, leaves and peels are edible and full of nutrition and flavor. Other than the leaves of rhubarb, which contain o...

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Beef and Carmelized Onion Pizza

Cooking for One or Two People

Posted by Jenna Smith - Leftovers

Most recipes make a family-sized portion, causing a weeks' worth of leftovers for someone who's only cooking for one or two people. While beef and noodles may be your favorite meal you probably hesitate buying a whole roast knowing you'll grow tired of eating it after having it five meals in a row. However, it can be more economical buying large-portioned ingredients rather than individual serv...

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Egg Noodles

Homemade Noodles: Easier than You Think

Have you ever wondered if there is a difference between noodles and pasta? Noodles are different than dry pasta, such as spaghetti or fettuccine, because noodles contain eggs or egg yolks while other pasta does not. As a matter of fact, the FDA rules that a noodle, except chow mein noodles, must contain 5.5% of the total solids as egg solids. Homemade noodles are simple to make. Flour,...

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whole wheat pancakes 2

A Hot Breakfast to Start Your Day

Weekday breakfasts' for working families may be a quick bowl of cereal, fruit and yogurt, or a granola bar on-the-go, but nothing beats a hot breakfast on a cold day. February is Hot Breakfast Month, a time to celebrate the wonderful warmth of eggs, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal and, of course, "b and g!" But a hot breakfast can be heavy and loaded with empty calories. What you need is a hearty bu...

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Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes: A Quick Dinner Meal

There's probably not too many school cafeterias that aren't serving the classic, sloppy joes. What kid doesn't like a sandwich that has the name "sloppy" in it? But these beefy rolls aren't just for youngsters. They're perfect when needing a quick meal. It's been suggested that the name, 'sloppy joe', likely came from a chef named Joe who created the loose meat sandwich. Traditionally,...

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Sweet Potato Grilled Cheese

Is that a Sweet Potato or a Yam?

Unless you're a foodie like me, it's probably unlikely that your Thanksgiving dinner conversation entailed a hot debate of whether or not you were eating sweet potatoes or yams. "Why isn't it called a yam casserole?" asks my aunt. "Because it's made with sweet potatoes, not yams," I answered. "No, it's not; the label at the grocery store said yam," argued my aunt. "Yes, but it's a sweet potato,...

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Five Simple Steps to Meal Planning

Some people believe that they hate to cook, but often find that what they actually hate is the decision process: What should I fix? What will the whole family eat? What's quick? It's much easier to make those decisions when the plan is already in place. In fact, you may decide that you actually like to cook! There are five simple steps to meal planning. First, take a quick inventory of...

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Spaghetti Pizza

Do Frozen Foods Have Less Nutrients?

I'm going to assume that you probably didn't know that during March we celebrate National Frozen Food Day. Yes, there is a day for everything! But thanks to the frozen food industry and modern technology, there's a wide assortment of conveniently packaged and prepared meals, appetizers, desserts and more available at our fingertips. We know that these foods are certainly convenient, but are the...

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Sweet Potato

Keeping the Thanksgiving Meal Safe

Although it is the season of giving, foodborne illness is a gift nobody wants! Many of the favorite holiday foods pose a potential health risk if not stored, prepared and handled properly. Two of the most important rules to remember are: 1) keep hot food hot and cold food cold Never leave prepared food sitting out at room temperature for longer than two hours. K...

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Slow Cooker Rice

Not long ago, I discovered yet another use for the slow cooker: use it as a rice cooker! After making soups, stews, dips, ciders, oatmeal and even cakes in the slow cooker, I have realized how much I truly love this appliance. Cooking rice in a slow cooker is a cinch. Simply grease the crock generously so the rice doesn't stick, add your long grain rice, water or broth, and salt or seas...

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Spinach Artichoke Mac and Cheese

Make Mac and Cheese Healthier

Macaroni and cheese is generally popular among the young tykes, but as an adult, I just can't shy away from it either. It's creamy and delicious! But  mac and cheese is not known for its outstanding nutrition. High fat ingredients such as cheese, whole milk and butter make it a high calorie dish. However, a few modifications and additions and voilà! Mac and cheese can turn into a healthy entrée...

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A Fourth of July Recipe

For many households, this Fourth of July weekend will be full of cookouts, fireworks and family fun. Cakes and ice cream desserts decorated with red, white, and blue icing or candy coated chocolates may line the buffet table. But wouldn't a lighter fare of fresh and local red and blue berries topped with yogurt be a better way to celebrate this wonderful country? Why not support our local farme...

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easter egg basket

Egg-cellent Nutrition

I'm pleased to introduce guest blogger and dietetic intern at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Krystle Zuniga! With Easter just around the corner, nearly every grocery store has eggs on sale, and I love it! I love eggs because they are inexpensive, packed with protein, and are very versatile in the kitchen. Eggs are not only a great source of protein, they also contain...

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Holiday Green Beans

Keep Food Safe This Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and that means millions of Americans will be either be hosting or attending the big holiday dinner. Every person certainly has their turkey day favorites, whether it is the cranberry relish, the mashed potatoes and gravy or the famous pumpkin pie, but it's guaranteed that no one wants foodborne illness!  Here are some tips to keep your holiday weekend a safe and healthy...

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Make Leftovers Exciting!

Do you ever hear the groans and moans when you say we're having "leftovers" for dinner? What kind of word is "leftover" anyway? It sounds so blah. So used. So "been there done that." Don't get me wrong; I'm all for using up food rather than throwing it out and wasting it. A study by the University of Arizona revealed that a household of four will throw away about $600 of food a year. That's 14%...

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