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Get the Most from Your Baking Soda and Baking Power

A Taste

For Nutrition

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent

Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

 

Get the Most from Your Baking Soda and Baking Power

Baking powder and baking soda are essential to any successful baking adventure, so it is important to know how to keep these ingredients at their best and when it is time to toss them out. 

Both baking powder and baking soda have a “best if used by” date somewhere on the container.  This is usually 18-24 months out from when it was purchased. 

If you are unsure if your baking powered or soda are still fresh enough to be used in your baked goods, test it out.  To test if baking powder is still good, combine 1 teaspoon of baking powder with 1/3 cup of warm water.  If the mixture bubbles, the baking powder is still good and will have adequate rising power.

To test baking soda, place 1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda in a bowl and add one tablespoon of vinegar.  If it fizzes, it is still usable.

If you find yourself with an overabundance of baking powder or baking soda, they can be frozen without the rising qualities being harmed.  However, be conscious of where you store these items.  Storing them near a heat source such as an oven may lead to low quality performance of the product.

Finally, make sure all of your measuring equipment is clean and dry before putting it into the baking powder or baking soda container.  If measuring spoons are not clean, or still have water on them, it could contaminate the product, and give them a shorter shelf life. 

Here is a recipe for cornmeal pancakes.  It is the perfect recipe to use up some of your baking powder or baking soda.  Enjoy!

Cornmeal Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 egg

 

Directions: Measure, place in a bowl and mix cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Measure fat (butter or margarine), and add to cornmeal mixture. Bring water to a boil. Measure 1 3/4 cups boiling water, and add to cornmeal mixture. Beat until well mixed.  Measure evaporated milk, and pour into a small bowl. Measure vinegar, and stir into evaporated milk. Stir milk and vinegar mixture into cornmeal mixture. Beat to mix well. Beat in egg. Makes batter for 20 medium-size pancakes.  Heat griddle or fry pan. (If electric fry pan is used, preheat it to 380 degrees.) Pan is "hot" when a drop of water "dances." Grease pan lightly.  Pour batter onto griddle or fry pan. Use about 3 Tablespoons batter for each pancake. A 1/4 cup measure is handy to use for pouring. Stir the batter up from the bottom now and then to keep it well mixed. Cook until top is covered with bubbles and the bottom is brown. Loosen edges of each pancake all around. Turn pancakes over and brown other side.

 

 

Makes: 20 servings.  Each serving contains 90 calories, 3 grams of fat, 200 mg of sodium, 14 carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein. 

 

Sources:  

  • MSU Extension: Rising Ingredients: Baking Powder and Baking Soda, 2016
  • USDA Consumer and Marketing Service, Smart Shopper Recipe

Food Trades Staff

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Get Creative when Cooking Potatoes

A Taste

For Nutrition

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent

Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

 

Get Creative when Cooking Potatoes

Potatoes are an inexpensive vegetable that can be used in a variety of ways to add to any meal.  Whether you are making soup, mashed potatoes, oven roasted potatoes, or baked fries; the options are truly endless.

Potatoes not only taste good, but they are also an excellent source of potassium and vitamin C, and contain an assortment of other vitamins and minerals.  A potato that is about 3 inches in diameter contains about 150 calories, along with 4 grams of protein, 34 grams carbohydrates, 3.6 grams of fiber, and 38 milligrams of sodium.

When potatoes are prepared in the right way, they can be a perfect addition to any meal.  Try to avoid adding too much fat or salt to potatoes, as they can quickly become a high calorie food.  Instead, try some of these delicious potato options:

  • Salsa and shredded cheese
  • Planned over chili
  • Shredded chicken, beef or pork with barbeque sauce
  • Plain Greek yogurt with chives
  • Planned over broccoli cheese soup

Here is a recipe for potato soup, another delicious way to cook with potatoes as the weather cools down.  Enjoy!

Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 pound chicken (thawed, cut up, and skin removed)
  • 4 cups water
  • small red potatoes (chopped, or 1 can, about 15 ounces, low-sodium sliced potatoes)
  • 1/4 cup white rice, or brown rice (uncooked)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or paprika)
  • 1 cup peas (or 1/2 can, about 8 ounces, low-sodium green peas)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or jalaneño chilies (diced, optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsey or cilantro (optional)

Directions:

In a large pot, brown onion and garlic in oil over medium to high heat for 5 minutes.  Add chicken to pot and brown for about 5 minutes.  Add water, potatoes, rice, and chili powder to pot.  Bring pot to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes.  Lower heat and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir pot every 10 minutes.  Add peas and cook for about 8 minutes. If using cayenne or jalapeño chilies, add that too. Mix well.  Remove pot from heat. If using parsley or cilantro, add that now. 8. Mix well and cover for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes: 6 servings. 

 

Sources:  

  • NDSU Extension Service, October 2017 Food Wise Newsletter
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Healthy Eating for Busy Families

A Taste

For Nutrition

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent

Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

 

Healthy Eating for Busy Families

Every part of the year comes with its own kind of busyness, and the beginning of a new school year is no exception.  When everyone in the family seems to be on the go, it is essential to take a moment to remember the importance of eating nutritiously. 

Before going to the grocery store, take a few spare minutes to plan out at least a few of the week’s meals so that frequent visits can be avoided.  Look ahead to your family’s schedule and try to find times that work to share family meals together.  It may be breakfast, supper, or a quick meal in between activities, regardless of when it occurs, taking time to spend together is vital.  Planning meals that include ingredients from most (or all) of the five food groups is also essential to a healthy family. 

If you are looking for quick and nutritious meals, try these plan ahead ideas to reduce the amount of time it takes to make a meal at home.

  • Pre-wash and pre-cut fruits and vegetables that will be used for the meal
  • Pre-sliced stir fry meats or boneless chicken breasts
  • Purchase pre-chopped garlic in a jar
  • Use frozen bread dough
  • Try pasta salad mixes that only require a few ingredients to be added

Meals are the best when they are shared together.  Buying foods partially prepared, or preparing part of the meal ahead of time are great ways to ensure that more time will be spent together.  Family meals provide structure and have a positive impact on the language development of those at the table.  Research has also shown that families meals are related to a lower risk of obesity in children and teenagers. 

Below is a recipe for two step chicken.  It is a quick meal that can easily be paired with fresh vegetables.  Enjoy!

Two Step Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 Boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (10 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup water

 

Directions: Heat oil in a skillet at a medium-high setting.  Add chicken and cook for ten minutes.  Remove chicken from pan and set aside.  Stir the soup and water together in the skillet and heat it to a boil.  Return the chicken to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Makes: 4 servings.  Each serving contains 262 calories, 2 grams of fat, 574 mg of sodium, 5 carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, and 33 grams of protein. 

 

Sources:  

  • NDSU Extension Service, Good Nutrition for Busy Families, October 2012
  • ONIE Project - Oklahoma Nutrition Information and Education. Simple Healthy Recipes
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Ideas for Easy Meal Clean Up

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

While family meal time can be very enjoyable, sometimes the clean-up seems hardly worth the hassle.  For every home cooked meal comes a stack of dishes and a kitchen that needs to be cleaned.  Especially if you have a big family or have a few house guests, this can be an overwhelming task.  Here are just a few tips to use this holiday season and throughout the year to ensure your kitchen is easier to clean, so that you can spend more time with the people around you.

 

  • Fill the sink with hot, soapy water for soaking utensils, etc. as you use them.
  • Have a saucer near the stove for stirring spoons to avoid a mess on or near the stovetop.
  • Clean as you go. When you are finished using an ingredient, put it away instead of leaving it on the counter.
  • Use cookware that is designed to go from the freezer directly to the microwave or oven preventing you from having to dirty another dish.
  • Spray your pans with cooking spray or line them with baking foil so that food particles don't become crusted on to the pan and difficult to remove.
  • Measure the dry ingredients for your recipe before the wet and sticky ones. That means fewer measure utensils to use and a smaller mess in your baking cups. 

 

If you choose even one of these tips for quick clean up, it is sure to make the process must more enjoyable.  Remember, this time of year is to be spend with family and friends, not dishes and cleaning.  While it cannot always be avoiding, speeding up the process is always welcome.

 

If you are looking for a quick, delicious meal that is unique, try pumpkin and bean soup.  It will warm your family up, and fill them with ingredients from the protein, vegetable, and fruit group.  Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin and Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 onion (small, finely chopped)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can pumpkin (15 ounce)
  • 1 1/2 cups apple juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, allspice, or ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions: Blend white beans, onion, and water with a potato masher or blender till smooth.  In a large pot, add the pumpkin, juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, and salt. Stir.  Add the blended bean mix to the pot.  Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, until warmed through.

Makes: 6 servings.  Each serving contains 140 calories, 1 gram of fat, 110 mg of sodium, 28 carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of protein. 

 

Sources:  

  • Utah State University, NNCP-Tier 1 training. 2016.
  • Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Program, Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Network
    Website Recipes
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Try a Made-ahead Meal for a Stress free Family Gathering

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with balancing your family’s activities and cooking a well balance, homemade meal?  Not to worry, make-ahead meals will save the day.  It will eliminate the stress you have been feeling about quickly making a healthy meal that your whole family will enjoy.

Many meals can be frozen and put in the oven to fully cook later.  You can also cook up chicken, ground beef, or a variety of other meats and have them ready to put in lasagnas, spaghetti, hot dishes, or casseroles.  Vegetables such as onions and peppers can also be cut up and froze for easy use in a meal.

Full casseroles can also be made and frozen.  If you have a smaller family, you can freeze the make-ahead meals in portions.  This will mean fewer leftovers, and the opportunity for a variety of different meals throughout the week.

Another helpful step is to freeze meals in containers that you can bake or microwave in later.  This eliminates the step of having to put the meal into a new pan, and saves time in the end.  If you do not have these types of containers, freezer bags work just fine, too.

There are some foods that do not freeze as well.  These include dishes that have mayonnaise, sour cream, or boiled eggs in them.  Oftentimes, you can freeze the recipe and add these items later.

Below is a recipe for baked meatballs.  It is a great source of protein and can be eaten immediately, or frozen for later use.  Enjoy!

Baked Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1½ pounds lean ground beef
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 c. quick-cooking oats
  • 6½ ounces nonfat evaporated milk
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • ½ c. onion, chopped fine

Directions: First, place the ground beef in a large bowl and mix in the egg. Next, using clean hands, add the oats and mix thoroughly. Pour in the evaporated milk, seasonings and onion and continue mixing until the beef mixture is combined well. Form beef mixture into 32 1-inch balls (or use a small scoop). Place balls into a sprayed baking pan and bake at 375 F for 20 to 25 minutes, until they are brown and reach an internal temperature of 160 F.

Makes: 8 servings.  Each serving contains 170 calories, 5 grams of fat, 95 mg of sodium, 11 carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, and 20 grams of protein. 

 

Sources:  

  • NDSU Extension, Family Meal Times, Issue 10, Make-ahead Meals Save Dinnertime Tonight.
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Slow Cookers are perfect for the School Year

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

As the school year begins, planning a nutritious meal for your family seems next to impossible.  If you are feeling overwhelmed by a lack of time, and a fear of consuming too many frozen pizzas, you may be in luck.

Making meals in your slow-cooker or making freezer meals are the perfect solution for a busy time of year.  Slow cooker meals can take anywhere from 3-8 hours (be sure to read the recipe carefully) and can oftentimes be started before you leave for work, and enjoyed whenever your family is able to eat supper.  It is also a great way to keep food warm if your family is on different schedules during this busy time of year. 

As the weather begins to cool, soup and stews are also a great option for slow cookers.  You can simply put your favorite ingredients in the slow cooker, plug it in, and hours later, you will have a delicious, home cooked meal.  Be sure to pay attention to how long the recipe takes, if the recipe calls for raw or cooked ingredients, and what setting it recommends you use.  This will all factor in to how it will take until your family has a wonderful slow cooked meal. 

Another option that is becoming increasingly popular is freezer meals.  This is basically making large portions of a meal, putting all of the ingredients in a bag, or fully assembling it, and then pulling it out of the freezer whenever it is convenient.  This works well with lasagna, chili, soups, and a wide variety of other meals.  Remember to use freezer bags or containers to ensure your food is high quality when you want to pull it out of the freezer.

Here is a recipe for slow-cook barbecue, a perfect meal for any family.  Enjoy!

Slow-Cook Barbecue

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds chuck steak (boneless, 1 1/2 inches thick)
  •  1  garlic clove (peeled and minced)
  •  1/4 cup wine vinegar
  •  1 tablespoon brown sugar
  •  2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  •  1/2 cup ketchup
  •  1 teaspoon salt (optional)
  •  1 teaspoon dry or prepared mustard
  •  1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

First, cut the beef on a diagonal, across the grain into slices 1 inch wide and place in a slow cooker.  Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the meat.  Mix the meat and sauce together.

4. Cover and cook on low for 3 to 5 hours.

5. Serve on toasted hamburger buns with a mixed green salad.

 

Makes: 5 servings.  Each serving contains 340 calories, 18 grams of fat, 400 mg of sodium, 13 carbohydrates, and 29 grams of protein. 

 

Sources:  

  • University of Kentucky, Cooperative Extension Service, Putting Your Crock Pot to Work
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Simple Substitutions

By Kimberly Braulick, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

Have you ever started cooking or baking, and midway through the recipe realized that you do not have all of the ingredients?  If you do not live next door to a grocery store, this can be a problem.  Luckily, many ingredients can be substituted without anyone ever knowing the difference.  Here are just a few common baking ingredients that can be substituted if you happen to be in a pinch.

  • ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar can be substituted for 1 ½ teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1 cup of honey can be substituted for 1 ¼ cup sugar plus ¼ cup liquid
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon can be substituted for ½ teaspoon of vinegar

If you do not to have any sweeten condensed milk, you can actually make your own with just a few simple ingredients.  To make 1 cup of sweetened condensed milk, simply combine the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry milk powder
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¾ cup sugar

Stir the ingredients together until they are smooth, and you will have what you need for your recipe. 

While these are a few of the common substitutions, there are many, many more.  If you are in the middle of a recipe, and need a quick substitution you know will work, be sure to look at the NDSU Extension publication Ingredient Substitutions. 

Here is a recipe for apple cinnamon bars.  Enjoy this delicious dessert that is packed with ingredients from both the fruit and grain group.

Apple Cinnamon Bars

Ingredients:

  • 4 apple (medium)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup oats (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup shortening

Directions:

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Put the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, brown sugar, and oats in the mixing bowl. Stir together.  Then, add the shortening to the bowl. Use the 2 table knives to mix the ingredients and cut them into crumbs.  Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the baking dish with a little bit of shortening.  Spread half of the crumb mixture in the greased baking dish.  Remove the core from the apples and slice them. Put the apple slices into the baking dish.  Top the apples with the rest of the crumb mixture.  Bake in the oven for 40 – 45 minutes.  Cut into squares. It will fall apart easily.

 

Substitution Option:

You can use applesauce (16 ounces) or canned apples in place of fresh apples. You can use either peeled or unpeeled apples.

Makes: 24 servings.  Each serving contains 93 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 52 mg of sodium.

Sources:  

  • Ingredient Substitutions, NDSU Extension Service, April 2013
  • Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Program, Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Network, Website Recipes
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