Kitchen Clean Up!
In the busy world we live in, cleaning your kitchen may not always make the top of your
To Do list. Here's a quick list of Chef Otto's kitchen cleaning tips you want to
sweep under the rug.
- Unless it's visibly growing mold, you might not think you need to clean your sponge THIS week. Since you probably thought the same thing last week, toss your sponge in the microwave for 30 seconds to zap any growing bacteria.
- Even though logical thinking would lead you to believe your dishwasher would be fairly clean, it's important to give your dishwasher a little extra TLC. After scooping out any debris at that bottom, place a dishwasher safe cup filled with vinegar on the top shelf and run a hot cycle. Vinegar helps to remove soap scum and orders.
- Cleaning out the inside of your refrigerator is one of those chores that leaves you feeling liberated and super organized, right? But don't forget about underneath and on top. Swipe above and around your fridge with a disinfectant wipe. These areas tend to collect lots of dust, lint and plenty of other things you’d never expect to find under the fridge.
- Kitchens are one of the most high traffic rooms in a house. Be sure yours isn't turning into a breeding ground for germs by disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. This includes the microwave handle and buttons, the refrigerator handle and any light switches.
- Cleaning your coffee maker means more than tossing your pot in the dishwasher. About once a month, pour a half water, half vinegar solution in your machine and brew a pot. Finishing the thorough cleaning by repeating 2-3 times with an all water solution. This helps to clean oil residue and and water deposits collected from the daily use.
Think you're getting enough lycopene? Think again!
Lycopene gives tomatoes their red pigment and acts like an antioxidant to protect your heart from cardiovascular disease! The heat generated from the way we make our tomatoes allows for the lycopene in tomatoes to more easily be absorbed by your body, making our tomatoes an even healthier choice for your heart! Here are 3 different ways to make sure you’re getting the lycopene you need to keep your heart healthy.
- The Tomato Egg Scrambler is a delicious breakfast dish rich with lycopene from Dei Fratelli Whole Tomatoes
- On the go? Here's a quick, Refreshing Smoothie recipe so you can take your lycopene with you!
- Your heart will skip a beat over this Creamy Tomato Gorgonzola Sauce over Herbed Polenta recipe!
Holiday Cooking Safety Tips:
Here are a few tips to serve food safely:
- Wash food-contact surfaces with hot, soapy water before preparing each food item to evade spreading bacteria.
- It is important to use separate knifes and cutting boards for fruits, vegetables and meat. Even melons can contaminate a clean knife with a not so clean rind!
- Refridgerate leftovers within two hours to avoid bacteria growth that can cause illness.
- Be sure to bring sauces, soups and gravies to a rolling boil when reheating to rid of any potential bacteria that may have developed.
- Eat refridgerated leftovers within four days. If it doesn’t smell right, don’t chance eating it.
The Perfect Picnic Activity Guide:
Traditional Yard Games: Backyard games like Horseshoes, Croquet and Bocce are great for picnickers of all ages. Even sports like volleyball can be made into whole-family fun by using a beachball instead of a regular volleyball.
- Scavenger hunts are a perfect way to get everyone involved. Simply create a list of interesting things that can be found around the park and send your guests in teams of two or three. The first team with a picture of all the items wins!
Water Games: Is there a better way to cool off on a hot summer’s day than with some H2O fun?
- Water fight – Place water guns and pre-filled water balloons in a baby pool full of water and let everyone have at it. Just make sure everyone knows they might get soaked.
- Water Tug-of-War – Place a sprinkler in between 2 teams on opposite ends of a large rope. The team that pulls the other team into the sprinkler wins!
- Sponge Tag – Mark off boundaries and place a large, soft sponge in a bucket in the middle of your play area. Whoever is “it” tries to tag players with the wet sponge. Once a player is hit with the sponge, they are “it” for the next round.
Rainy Day Options: Always have a back-up plan in case a thunderstorm moves in on your picnic. A gazebo or picnic shelter can keep you dry, but it is also important to also keep your guests entertained.
- Go Fish – Always keep a few decks of cards on hand and shoot for group-friendly games like "Go Fish".
- Board Games – Interactive group games like Twister are a perfect way to pass the time while you are staying dry.
Grillin' & Chillin' Tips:
- Clean Grates = Clean Cooking. Grease and oils from past grillings can taint the taste of your food. Even grease on the bottom of the grates can vaporize and affect the flavor of your meal.
- Don't Fear the Sear. Preheat your grill for at least 20 minutes before you start grilling. A properly heated grill sears foods on contact and keeps the insides juicy.
- Play It Safe. One third of all fires involving grills start on exterior balconies or non-enclosed porches.
- No Fish Story. You may think of meat as your only grilling choice, but don’t forget the fish. Just remember to keep your fish cold until you’re ready to throw it on the grill. Be sure to pat the fish dry – it’ll help prevent it from sticking to the grill grate.
- Give It A Rest. After grilling, always let your meat rest on a clean platter and tent with foil for 10 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute evenly. You should serve fish immediately.
- Refrigerate! Always refrigerate meats while marinating and never baste your meats with the marinating liquid. Start fresh with new marinate.
- Stay Safe. Fire departments nationwide respond to an average of 7,900 fires involving grills and BBQ’s each year.
- Cook it Through. Ensure your meat is cooked thoroughly by using a meat thermometer.
- Clean Up. Use separate utensils, plates and cutting boards for raw and cooked meats.
Use the following temperature guide:
Celebrate National Seafood Month!
Summer's upon us and that means it's time to dive into fresh seafood. While pasta is the classic base for tomatoes and tomato sauce, the possibilities are endless with fresh seafood, as well. Pick up your favorite fresh catch of the day and try out one of our fabulous sea-worthy recipes!
- South of the Border Salmon
- Shrimp Gumbo
- Creole Shrimp and Rice
- Tomato Tuna Casserole
- Sicilian Shrimp with Asiago
Turn Heavy into Heavenly!
It's National Nutrition Month and we want to share some ideas to make your meals better for you! You can be sure that using any of our products will add nutritious benefits to your meal while adding superior flavor! Check out a few of our favorite tricks to turn heavy meals into heavenly! Or try this recipe for a healthy pasta topping!
- Top vegetables with pasta sauce versus cheese or butter.
- Substitute the pasta in your favorite pasta recipe for spaghetti squash.
- Substitute any cream based dressing or dips with salsa.
- Top a whole wheat wrap with pizza sauce and add your favorite veggies and arugula for a new take on pizza.
- Make mac and cheese with non-fat greek yogurt instead of milk and butter, add in a can of chopped tomatoes for added flavor and additional health benefits.
Age Well with Mighty Tomatoes!
Fight off those “growing pains” with antioxidant-rich tomatoes. More than just good for you today, they’re good for your health in years to come! Find out how mighty tomatoes make being healthy easier!
- Lycopene, found in cooked tomatoes, and beta-carotene promote healthy aging of the skin by preventing damage from the sun.
- Lower your risk for prostate cancer by eating cooked tomatoes paired with fats or oils. Fats help the body absorb lycopene, which can significantly lower your risk for this type of cancer.
- Tomatoes are rich in lutein, which is also found in our retinas. Eating tomatoes can promote healthy vision and lower the risk of cataracts.
- Potassium rich tomatoes help with joint pain, make you feel energized, maintain body fluids and a healthy heart rate
- Antioxidants in tomatoes can improve cardiovascular health in both men and women with Type 2 Diabetes.
- A serving of tomatoes has about 2 grams of fiber, which supports healthy digestion.
- The mix of potassium, lyocpene and calcium in tomatoes can help prevent osteoporosis by building bone mass.
Fresh Off the Vine: A Gluten-Free LIfestyle
Most households know that diets rich in fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat, fish and more can enjoy easy, healthy and tasty gluten-free lives. And that children and adults alike that suffer from Celiac disease, autism and even ADHD can often benefit from limited gluten from their diets. But in honor of Celiac Awareness Month, we thought it might be fun to share some foods that "are allowed" in a gluten-free life ... and some recipe ideas from your Naturally-gluten free friends at Dei Fratelli!
Mayo-Clinic Allowed Gluten-Free Foods
According to the experts, many healthy and delicious foods are naturally gluten-free:
- Beans, seeds, nuts in their natural, unprocessed form
- Fresh eggs
- Fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)
- Fruits and vegetables (like tomatoes!)
- Most dairy products
Busy Bee Salad
Smokin' Santa Fe Succotash
Tomatoes ... the Perfect Fruit
Did you know that tomatoes contain large amounts of vitamin C, providing 40 percent (from 15-30% per serving depending upon the product) of your daily value? They also contain a healthy portion of your daily value of vitamin A, potassium and iron.
The red pigment in tomatoes is called lycopene. Research suggests that lycopene acts as an antioxidant and can help people stay active even in old age. In fact, recent studies conducted by Harvard researchers have suggested that lycopene can even help prevent cancer. The study discovered that men who consumed 10 servings of tomato sauce a week (or the equivalent of 10 slices of pizza) can cut the risk of developing prostate cancer by a formidable 45 percent!
What's more, cooking tomatoes in olive oil allows your body to better absorb the lycopene within. Tomatoes also don't lose any of their nutritional value during processing. Freshly canned and processed tomatoes, like those we make, have actually been found to have a higher lycopene content than garden tomatoes ... So eat up!
Dei Fratelli is Naturally Gluten-Free
You've probably heard the talk. Everyone is suddenly interested in gluten-free food. Why?
Gluten is the general name used to describe proteins found in wheat and other cereal grains. Wheat, barley, rye and oats have been excluded from "gluten-free diets" because they have been found to be problematic with individuals who suffer from an allergy to gluten.
But the good news is that all Dei Fratelli products are naturally gluten-free. Interested in learning more about a gluten-free diet?