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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
Fruits and Vegetables
parsley

Parsley: More Than a Garnish

I grow parsley in my garden year after year. There are so many uses for this herb that I can't imagine having to constantly buy it at the store. To me, parsley is so much more than just a garnish! The most common type of parsley is curly parsley. It has tightly curled or ruffled leaves and is a bit tougher than the second most common type of parsley, Italian flat-leaf. Italian flat-leaf...

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tomatillo MGD©

Are Tomatillos Tomatoes?

When Cinco de Mayo rolls around, the cravings of Mexican cuisine are in full force. Tomatillos are a staple in Mexican cooking, bringing a zesty tart flavor to many classic dishes. Despite the meaning of the name (tomatillo means "little tomato" in Spanish), tomatillos are not tomatoes, but rather a member of the solanaceae , or nightshade family. However, they are relatives of...

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Pass the Peas, Please

Springtime is the perfect time to enjoy fresh peas. Experience the flavors of the three most common type of peas: English peas (also called garden or sweet peas), snow peas, and snap peas. The pods of English peas are firm and rounded. The little round green peas inside need to be removed and the pod discarded. The peas are sweet and can be eaten raw or cooked. Most store-bought peas th...

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brussels-sprouts

A New Way to Fry

If you're a kitchen gadget guru, or just a person who wants to put quick, delicious meals on the table, you must be in love with all the new modern kitchen gadgets and appliances on the market. The air fryer is just one of the ways you can enjoy delicious food with a little help from modern science. The air fryer was first released in 2010 where it got it's start in Europe and Australia...

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Quiche

Top 3 Green Foods

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, we eat or drink green food. Why? I'm sure there is tale to tell, but my eyes are too fixed on all the green to care. Green food is generally associated with optimal nutrition and good health, but I'm not talking about beer or eggs that's been dyed green. Natural green foods, colored by the pigment chlorophyll, are foods we should eat more than just one day a year....

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The Bright Colors of Bell Peppers

While it may not feel like it now, spring is just around the corner. The avid gardener is already thinking about what type of produce they will plant in the garden. Bell peppers are a given for many, but what color? Mature bell peppers can be red, orange, yellow or green. However, all peppers start out green before turning color as they mature. The rate at which they will turn color and...

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Flourless Banana Cookies

Going Bananas for Bananas!

One of the most familiar fruits to children and adults alike is the banana. It's no wonder it winds up on most people's grocery list trip after trip; with a peel that can come off in a matter of seconds, it serves as a convenient and quick snack option for those at home or on the go. Bananas are picked before they are ripe, which means they'll be Kermit the Frog green. Depending upon wh...

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Spiced Beef and Cabbage

Turmeric: A Trendy Spice

Used for more than 5,000 years, turmeric is native to Southern Asia and known as a major ingredient in curry recipes. This spice has been trending from food magazines to talk shows to social media, but what's all the buzz about? Turmeric is a member of the same family as ginger and cardamom. Like ginger, turmeric is grown for it's rhizomes, which are the edible root structure grown unde...

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Is Keto For You?

As the season for weight loss diets is now in full swing, you may be wondering if the ketogenic, or keto, diet is one to embark on. The ketogenic diet is one of the newest weight-loss strategies to surface the media, but it's actually been around since 1920 as an effective treatment for epilepsy in children. While there's slight variances in the many versions of the keto diet, it's basi...

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Getting Fancy with Custard

For some, the holidays are a time to get fancy. You wear your best dress or tuxedo to the corporate holiday party, you set out your grandmother's fine china, and you actually use that dining room table as a place to eat rather than a place to store all of life's daily belongings. It's also a time to serve fancier food. Flan, crème brulee and crème anglaise are three examples of a custard that s...

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Caring for Leftovers

The stores are in full fledge Christmas mode, the Hanukkah or Christmas decorations are already up, and the holiday parties are marked on your calendar. It may be hard to believe that just a few days ago, many people were celebrating Thanksgiving. However, there may still be evidence of this autumn holiday left in your fridge, which brings up the important question: when should these delicious...

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Preparing the Meal for Thanksgiving

If it's your turn to host the family holiday dinner, you hopefully have your game plan ready. There's a lot to consider, including whether or not you have the space: dining table space, burner/oven space and refrigerator space. Not to mention, what foods you are going to prepare and what foods you want others to prepare. No one wants to be working hard over a hot stove while everyone else is mi...

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Is Agave Nectar a Healthier Alternative to Sugar?

Even most children can tell you that excess sugar isn't healthy, unless of course they are bargaining for just one more piece of Halloween candy! A high sugar diet may lead to cavities and obesity and in turn, influence diabetes and heart disease. This may have you thinking about alternative ways to sweeten foods, such as agave nectar. Agave nectar isn't truly a nectar, but rather a syr...

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sauerkraut

Shout for Sauerkraut!

Sauerkraut is the German word for "sour cabbage" and is most notably known for it's use in German-inspired dishes. However, it actually originated in China and has now become one of the most well known fermented products on the market. Sauerkraut is shredded cabbage that has been fermented to impart a tangy-tart flavor while preserving the cabbage for longer storage tim...

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Turnip Fries

Root for the Turnip!

Autumn is an ideal time to savor the flavors of root vegetables, including turnips. Turnips belong to the cabbage family, and most often resemble their cousins, rutabaga and kohlrabi . They have a mild flavor and texture like potatoes, thus are delicious boiled and mashed or oven roasted. They're also ideal for soups, ste...

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tomatoes-2314638 1920

Ratatouille, the Food not the Movie

Sadly, only one in ten American adults meet the recommended amount of fruits (1 ½ - 2 cups) and vegetables (2 – 3 cups) each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you sheepishly think to yourself that this is you, start the autumn season off with a healthy start and a hearty bowl of ratatouille. Ratatouille is a French stew packed with vegetables, includin...

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Holy Guacamole!

Is there really anything better than guacamole? It's a test to one's self-restraint to not eat the whole bowl of dip in one sitting. This mouth-watering avocado-based dip is a healthy snack when eaten in moderation. Occasionally called by its nickname, "guac," it's made by mashing avocados with salt and adding traditional ingredients, such as tomatoes, garlic, onion and lime juice. It's...

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mulberry sauce

Is it Ketchup or Catsup?

Whether you spell it catsup or ketchup, you've likely squirted this popular condiment on a variety of foods. The first documentation of the product dated back to the 1600's when Europeans brought back the sauce from China. However, this wasn't the ketchup we know today. In fact, it was derived from fermented fish and lacked the main ingredient that makes this red condiment a crowd-pleaser: the...

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Smoothie

An Appreciation for Currants

Sadly, currants do not seem to get the respect and admiration that they deserve. However, in Europe, their love for currants is like our love for blackberries or raspberries. In fact, the purple candy in a bag of Skittles® is flavored grape in the U.S., but tastes like black currant in the U.K. Why is there a resistance to loving this berry, you ask? Years ago, a federal ban prohibi...

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Stuffed Sweet Potato

When Summer turns to Fall, Sweet Potatoes are a Treat for All!

This blog post is written by University of Illinois Extension intern, Amanda Dieugenio. Amanda is a student at Illinois State University! As summer comes to a close, (I know, what a bummer!) it is time to start welcoming that fall weather, and along with it, some healthy new fall-inspired recipes! Today, we are going to focus on the sweet potato. Within the United State...

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Grilled Eggplant Panini

The Perfect Panini

When a cold sandwich just won't do, upgrade to a warm panini. Panini's originated in Italy and refers to a grilled sandwich made with a baked roll or anything other than sliced bread. The bread is what makes this sandwich stand-alone. It's not a grilled cheese; it's a panini! Artisan bread, such as a French baguette, ciabatta, focaccia or a bagel are dense, hearty breads that make a goo...

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Chocolate Banana PB Oats
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Making the Grade at Mealtime

For most children, the first few days of August is a reminder that it's soon time to head back to school. However, the start of school can also be the start of stress with hectic schedules to keep track of. Putting a healthy meal in the kids' bellies is just another thing to add to the growing list of things to do. Here's a few tips to help you manage the load and make back to school time a bre...

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Make Your Own Pickles

What makes a really good sandwich? A cool, crisp, slightly sour dill pickle on the side, of course! There are many types of pickles on the market, including bread and butter, kosher dill and gherkins. Whatever your preferred pickle, you can learn to make these salty green snacks in your own home. There are four types of pickled products: Brined/fermented, fresh pack pickles, fruit pickl...

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nectarines

A Look at Nectarines

Nectarines are often confused with peaches, but when given a second look nectarines are easy to spot because they don't have the fuzzy outside that peaches have. Nectarines are similar in taste to the peach and both exhibit a pit on the inside. A clingstone does just that: the flesh clings to the stone-like pit, while a freestone separates easily from the pit. Nectarines may be purchase...

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Picnic Potato Salad1

Picnic Potato Salad

Need a Fourth of July side dish? Potato salad is a popular item at a picnic or potluck, but it is also the first to blame when foodborne illness comes to play. Homemade mayonnaise made with eggs is typically the true danger, but most potato salads nowadays are made with commercial mayonnaise, which contains pasteurized eggs to destroy any harmful bacteria. Nevertheless, this isn't to say that y...

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