Basics, Cooking

Eggs 101

Simple foods make every day delicious.

Aside from being Insta-worthy, adding an egg to raw veggies helps you retain more of the veggies’ nutrients. Let us help you master eggs to create a world of tasty, easy meals!

Fried Eggs

Why fried eggs?

Fried eggs not only look pretty when you cut into the oozing yolk, but they make dishes richer and more delicious. Add to sandwiches, salads, pasta and rice bowls to enjoy an extra protein punch and a rich, velvety taste.

How long will it last?

Fried eggs are best cooked to order. Invest in a small nonstick skillet for quick, easy frying.

How to

You want a well-oiled nonstick pan. Using a spray can will help coat the pan evenly without making it too greasy, but you can also use your olive oil bottle, coconut oil or butter (approx 1 tbsp) if you prefer.

Heat the pan over medium or medium-low heat. Medium-low is usually best, but stoves can vary. If you crack the egg in and it starts to bubble, the pan is too hot; lower the heat.

Sunny Side Up

sunnyside.jpgCook 1 minute at medium, then lower heat to medium-low or low, cover, and cook another 4 minutes for sunny side up, 5 minutes for medium, 6 minutes for hard. Covering traps the steam, gently cooking the top.

Over Easy

overeasy1Cook 1 minute until outside white is set, then flip for another 1-2 minutes.

Over Medium or Over Hard

Cook 3-4 minutes per side.

Boiled Eggs

Why boiled eggs?

Hard boiled eggs are a great healthy snack and addition to salads and sandwiches, and we like soft or medium boiled eggs for breakfast bowls.

How long will it last?

Hard-boiled eggs can last up to a week in the refrigerator; medium-boiled and soft-boiled eggs should be cooked to order.

How to

Put cold eggs (with shell still on) in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with water. Cover. Set pan to medium-high.

hardboiledHard boiled

Is this for me?

If you like a nice firm yolk.

How to

When water bubbles, reduce heat to a slight simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat. With a slotted spoon, remove each egg and place into an ice cold water bath (ice cubes + water in a big bowl). Leave the eggs there until cool enough to touch, then peel.

Medium boiled

Is this for me?

If you like a soft yolk that’s not runny.

How to

See above, but simmer for 6 minutes.

Soft boiled

Is this for me?

If you like that Insta-worthy runny yolk.

How to

See above, but simmer for 4-5 minutes.

Pro Tips:

  • Only add salt & pepper to the finished eggs. Crush sea salt in your fingers as you sprinkle over the top, and add fresh cracked pepper if you’d like.
  • Serving eggs for brunch? Include a variety of salsas and hot sauces on the side, with optional avocado.
  • For egg sandwiches, start by assembling everything but the eggs. The hot eggs will melt any cheese you added to your bread, so you can eat as soon as the eggs are ready!
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Box 3, Cooking, Food, recipes, Tools

Tools 101: Silicone Baking Mat

You have new kitchen toys, hooray! Now, what the heck do you do with them?

This series features some ideas to get you cooking – and eating – asap!

Meet your silicone mat

This mat is a super handy alternative to parchment paper, perfect for baking and roasting. While you can use oil as well, the mat does its part in helping food not stick so you don’t need as much oil. Trust us, nothing sticks to these mats.

Here are some ways to use it!

Recipes

Kale Chips

Kale Chips

Get crunching with this addictive snack. Spice it up with cayenne or keep it simple with sea salt. Either way, so good!
Get the recipe.

Roasted Salmon

The easiest, tastiest weeknight meal. You can adjust based on what you like on your salmon! Lemon and herbs is always a good bet.
Get the recipe.

Roasted Cauliflower

Perfect to have around to add to salads, bowls and more throughout the week! Also delicious simply seasoned with salt & pepper.
Get the recipe.

Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookies

From kale chips to cookies! We never said you couldn’t treat yourself! The mat allows easy clean up because the dough won’t stick.
Get the recipe.

How to clean

Use a soft sponge with warm soap and water. Dry with a clean dish towel or air dry.

Tips

  • Limit the amount of oil you use for your recipes; you really don’t need much! A great way to cut back on your oil intake. Instead, keep your olive oil bottle on the table for dipping bread.
  • If you do use parchment paper, make sure it’s parchment, and not wax paper. Wax coating will melt and can burn in a hot oven.

More info on Food52

Happy eating!

Basics, Box 1, Cooking, Essentials, Food, Kitchen, recipes, Uncategorized

It’s Time! Tomato Recipes for Summer

They’re here! It’s July and we’re talking tomatoes. If you can resist eating all your ripe tomatoes with just a little salt & pepper, here are our favorite summer tomato recipes.

Grab your serrated knife and cutting board for the easiest tomato action!

  1. Tomato Peach Salad with Basil
    With all seasonal ingredients, this tasty summer treat is a show-stopping salad.
    Tip: Add burrata or mozzarella for a more substantial dish.
  2. Easy Vegan Bruschetta
    A simple go-to snack or appetizer. Kids like it too!
    Tip: Don’t have basil? Use up any fresh herbs you have on hand! Set aside a few plain ones for the kids.

  3. Tomato Margarita with Fennel Salt (or just regular salt!)
    Try this summer sipper in the backyard or on the porch. You’re welcome.
    Tip: Not feeling the fennel? Plain salt will do! Still feeling a bit fancy? Try a mix of Old Bay and salt on the rim!
  4. Easy Gazpacho
    Tip: Use your garlic tools & oil pourer from Box 1 to make this recipe even easier. This is a fun, customizable recipe, so don’t stress!
  5. Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce
    Tip: You can make this in advance and leave it either chilled or at room temp for later! It actually tastes better the longer it sits.

Continue reading “It’s Time! Tomato Recipes for Summer”

recipes

Best Healthy Pancake Recipe

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Since social media and recipe round-ups have been primarily geared towards mom’s sending kids back to school; and although I am neither a mom nor going back to school (did anyone else feel like they were the only ones with an actual year round job after seeing practically every female in their life stress about going back to work after the summer? Hi Mom!) So out of fear of not being relevant, I figured, if you can’t beat em, join em. Amiright.

One of my go-to back to basics is making a batch of healthy- filling Pancakes for the week. I will cook em up on Sunday and pack them up for quick on the go breakfast and snacks. On days that I want to get my carbs in early in the day, this is a perfect breakfast along with some fresh berries. They are also ideal for before or after working out, I like to add crunchy peanut butter, I find it to be very satisfying.

Pancakes have come a LONG way from Aunt Jemima mixes. A quick Pinterest search will leave you wanting breakfast for dinner every night. I guarantee you there is a recipe for every craving. From 3 ingredients to bacon covered to red velvet flavored. Although you might have a serious stomach ache and a potential sugar addiction after indulging in some of these. And if you are not in the mixing-it-yourself mood, you can still rely on the old school package or brands like Kodiak Cakes (which I keep on hand for emergencies only if I need a quick fix), but make sure to look at the nutritional information; most of these mixes have ingredients that are near impossible to pronounce, and if you’ve never heard of one, then its probably best not to put it into your body.

The same goes for syrup. And don’t be fooled, Pancake syrup is not the same as Maple syrup. Here’s a great article on the differences. In short, Pancake syrup is full of processed ingredients and everyone’s worst enemy…ta da, high-fructose corn syrup. While Maple syrup is sap boiled down, bringing out the concentrated sugar giving it the distinct color and maple flavor. And just because you use Maple syrup, doesn’t make it the healthier choice BTW. Although Maple syrup is made from a natural source, a single serving contains more sugar than a can of Coke (talk about a sweet tooth). But lets not kid ourselves, what is a stack of pancakes with syrup. But do yourself a favor, next time you’re in the market for syrup, try a Grade A (lighter maple flavor and color) or Grade B (deeper in color and maple flavor) maple syrup and see which one you like better. Hopefully you will instantly see the difference from Pancake syrup. Also, check out this in depth taste test of the grades of Maple syrup.

Now back to the recipe…growing up, my family would visit the Jersey Shore during the summer, and stay with my Great Aunt and Uncle. My Aunt is one of my cooking inspirations (along with my mother and grandmother), because she has a way of making even the pickiest of eaters go back for a second helping of Cauliflower (what kid honestly likes Cauliflower?). But one of her specialties was Pancakes all due to a special un-assuming ingredient…Orange Juice. You would drink a glass of OJ while eating Pancakes, so why not add it to the batter? So, don’t knock it until you try it because it adds a subtle light and sweet flavor that goes so well with the rich caramel maple syrup flavor. As I began my search of a go-to pancake recipe, I combined a take of an old family recipe with a healthier “clean” version.

1 1/2 cups of quick oats or oat flour
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (optional)
1 ripe mashed banana
1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1/4 cup almond or skim milk
1/4 cup orange juice
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
dash of cinnamon
mixed berries
walnuts

In a blender, combine oats, protein powder, banana, yogurt, milk, OJ, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Blend until a smooth batter has formed (add a splash of OJ or Milk if looks dry). Cook on griddle until golden brown. Top with berries, walnuts or syrup as desired.

Check out some of my favorite Pancake recipes:

 

 

 


 New Quoco Now subscribers get 15% off their first monthly subscription box PLUS a bottle of Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning. Place your order now by entering SOCIAL15 at checkout.

recipes

Avocado Toast

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Avocado Toast. I hope this trend never goes out of taste. It is such a satisfying meal?…snack?…both? Anyway, as I started my Sunday morning enjoying a go-to favorite nosh of protein, healthy fat and carbs (sounds pretty balanced to me) with a cup of hot coffee; I was reminded of a 60-Minutes interview earlier this year where Australian real estate mogul Tim Gurner stated that young adults would be more likely to buy a house if they didn’t spend their money on things like dining out and more specifically, buying avocado toast. When this interview took to the internet becoming viral I could help but feel a bit offended (and apparently I wasn’t alone ).

Trust me, I enjoy going out to eat or for drinks with friends just as much as the next millennial but the difference is I get more joy out of re-creating meals at home that I would have gotten out and paid double the price for (because….the cost of living in 2017). The average cost of cooking a meal at home is $4 vs $13 at a restaurant. Plus, I get to choose where my ingredients come from (I like to buy organic where I can) and I can even make adjustments to make recipes my own. Imitation is the sincerest for of flattery, right?

But I know this isn’t reality for everyone. For those who may not feel as confident in the kitchen this may be a difficult task. But I say you have to start somewhere, right? and why not with your own version of Avocado toast.

My favorite thing about this dish is there are a million and one ways to customize to your liking. The type of bread, smashed or sliced avocado, with or without an egg, tomatoes, cheese, fruit, nuts, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, spices. Need I go on? The point is, you could probably make yourself Avocado toast and brew coffee at home and save close to $20 and feel more satisfied. I’m a classic gal when it comes to my AT, with either sliced or smashed avocado (really depends on the ripeness of my avocado on hand) and will top with a crispy, buttery fried egg and top with either hot sauce (M and I are hot sauce lovers) and a sprinkle of Everything Bagel seasoning* (if you haven’t tried it – you need to get your hands on some because you can put it on literally anything..ANYTHING and it will taste SOOOO good). Within five minutes you can have your own customized delicious snack.

So maybe I’m not running out tomorrow to go buy my dream home, but I take comfort in knowing that I save money when I can while I do something that I love which is cooking. You tell me, what’s your favorite way to eat Avocado Toast? I want to hear.

*BTW – Just for new Quoco Now subscribers, we’re giving you 15% your first box AND throwing in a bottle of Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning  because we love it so much and think you will too. Here’s how. Use coupon code SOCIAL15.

wn-everything-but-the-bagel

recipes

Favorite Roasted Chicken

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When I tell you that the smell of this roasted chicken cooking is irresistible might be an understatement. And when I tell you it tastes just as amazing, you might not believe me, so you’ll just have to try it out and see for yourself.

Roasted Chicken. Is there any other dish as simple? or as comforting or as easy? In my opinion there is not. When we talked about back to basics THIS is what I am talking about. Roasted Chicken is one of those recipes that you can resort back to. A dish that requires 5 ingredients,  little effort and time and will leave you with for leftovers. I know, leftovers aren’t everyone’s favorite but the beauty of roasted chicken is how versatile it’s leftovers can be. Salad Topping, Quesadilla, Chicken Salad, tacos, pot pie, noodle soup, sandwiches and wraps…I think you get the point, the there are plenty of possibilities. Here’s how you do it…

What you need

1 Whole Roaster Chicken (2-4 lbs should be more than enough for dinner and few additional meals)
1 teaspoons Rosemary (optional)
1 teaspoons Thyme (optional)
1 teaspoons kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoons ground Pepper
2-3 cloves of Garlic 
(depending on your preference)
1 Lemon, cut in half
Olive Oil

Notes I prefer Bell & Evan’s organic Chicken, but choose whatever brand is available to you and affordable.
**The beauty of roasted Chicken is you can use whatever spices you prefer, my go-to’s are  Salt, Pepper, Rosemary & Thyme. You can use fresh or dried, or both, use whatever you have on hand.

What to do

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Remove the giblets (I know..but it only takes 2 seconds and really is not that bad)
  3. On a cutting board, rub chicken with Olive Oil, making sure to liberally cover the entire bird (don’t forget the drumsticks and wings). Doing this will ensure a crispy golden skin.
  4. Season with Salt, Pepper, Rosemary and Thyme. Don’t be afraid to be generous here, you want to make sure it is evenly distributed all over, this gives FLAVOR.
  5. Place Lemon and Garlic inside the Chicken cavity. By adding lemon, we are adding extra flavor but also making sure it doesn’t become dried.
  6. Transfer Chicken breast side down into a pan or casserole dish (something with a lip so you don’t lose juice.)
  7. Place into oven.
  8. Cook at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
  9. After 15 minutes, lower heat to 350 degrees and set your time for 50 minutes. (You can relax and troll Insta during this time)
  10. To tell if your Chicken is done place a meat thermometer* in to the thickest part of the thigh, it should read 165 degrees. If the drumsticks and wings look loose and juices run clear, your good to go.
  11. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 – 15 minutes.
  12. To carve: Using a sharp knife* remove the legs and drumsticks and place aside, followed by the breast and thighs. (Still sounds confusing? Use these directions to help. All it takes is a little practice)

*Knifes – Plain and simple, sharp knifes make cooking easier. A dull knife can slow you down and is also dangerous. Having a sharp knife will allow you to make clean cuts through meat without having to saw. Gives you concise motion as you chop fresh herb and vegetables keeping them fresher longer. It doesn’t take long to get like new quality of your knives with the help of a handheld knife sharper (which are easy to use and perfect size BTW).

*Meat Thermometer – Not too long ago, I would just estimate and use time as a measurement of meat done-ness. Until a friend of mine told me how much of  a lifesaver her meat thermometer was. It only took one use to be instantly hooked and never go looked back. This pencil sized tool is designed specifically to take the guess work out and reads the internal temperature of meat. The recipe you are following will usually tell you what the temperature should read. Otherwise, a simple google search should do the trick. There are plenty of handy charts out there.

Depending on your preference Steak                           temperatures will vary.

Just for QuocoNow customers – When you refer a friend, we’ll give them  $5 off their first box AND we will give you $5 your next box. Its a win-win for everyone! Share the kitchen love today. 

recipes

Back to Basics.

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Have you been into ANY store lately? If you haven’t let me fill you in, Back to School and Halloween…that is what you’re missing. It feels as if  bite sized jumbo packs of candy and school shopping sales come earlier and earlier each year basically putting a timer on the remaining days of summer. But after a season of outdoor eating and BBQ’s there is something refreshing about the idea of the fall, getting back into routine and schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer just as much as the next Basic Gal (does anyone else get a little depressed when you notice your tan fading?). Most use the new year as a clean slate and way to start fresh, but I like to use Labor day for that. It’s the perfect time to get back on track, refine and reset your goals to finish off the year strong.

Let’s get back to the basics.

To me a well thought out and planned meal prep is the perfect example of this concept. The summer is great because it’s filled with BBQ’s, outdoor activities, long days at the beach/lake etc, which sometimes leaves little time or desire to think about what next week’s meals will be. Which is totally fine by the way. Being spontaneous and a bit go-with-the flow is part of what we crave about the summer (It happens to the best of us – I am writing this as I get ready to head out to a afternoon party on the east end of Long Island). But to get back to normalcy and know that your food is already prepped and ready to eat just makes the summertime sadness a little bit easier. It can be overwhelming to think about but let’s break it down.

There are so many good resources to help you come up with your perfect back to basics prep. We live in a world where almost every social media platform throws recipes in our face. On any given day you will find thousands of Instagramers showing off their completed meal preps or on Facebook, Tasty & the Food Network constantly posting easy to recreate video recipes. So as you are scrolling through your newsfeed, save a recipe video that interests you or that looks amazing. It’s okay if you don’t try it right away, but saving it will keep ii in the back of your mind and easier to find later on. Let’s not forget the mother-load of a recipe resource Pinterest, even if you have no idea what you want to make a simple “Lunch Recipe” search will for sure get you started in the right direction. Create boards, whether its one board for all recipes you find or specific categories my meal type or ingredient, keeping yourself organized will get you a head in the meal prep game. 

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For me, I have 4-5 easy, uncomplicated, time saving, nutritious recipes that I like to refer as the ‘basics’. These are the backbone to my meal preps. When I have a really busy weekend and don’t have time to sit down and research creative meals, I will go back to basics (see what I did there?). It gives you the peace of mind of knowing that no matter what is going on in your life, you know you have these recipes to fall back on. You will quickly find that they will become staples in your rotation.

Check out the list of my Go-To basics. All of these recipes can be made at the beginning of the week for lunch and/or dinners.

FitmenCook
Worlds Tastiest Chicken Brown Rice  Broccoli
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Turkey Taco Lunch Bowls
ChickenThigh
Baked Honey Mustard Chicken

 

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Chicken Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

 


Just for QuocoNow customers – When you refer a friend, we’ll give them  $5 off their first box AND we will give you $5 your next box. Its a win-win for everyone! Share the kitchen love today.