Benefits of the Orange Peel

Fresh Picked Oranges

Orange zest is a way to bring orange flavor to a dish without the bitterness that whole orange peel can bring.

The zest is the outer part of the peel and can be shaved from the fruit with the use of a zester (very fine shavings) or cheese grater (shavings are a bite larger).

The use of zest not only adds the most aromatic part of the orange fruit to your dish, it does so unobtrusively.

But consuming the whole peel has benefits.

Health Benefits of the Orange Peel

Orange peels, including lemons, limes, grapefruit, clementines, or any of your other favorite citrus fruits can be used in their entirety.

Just 1 tablespoon of orange peel provides 14% of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin C, which is nearly 3 times more than the inner fruit. The same serving also packs about 4 times more fiber.

Studies show that diets high in vitamin-C and fiber benefit heart and digestive health and may protect against certain types of cancer.

Orange peel also contains good amounts of vitamin A, folate, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B6, and calcium

Orange Almond Cake

Orange peel is rich in plant compounds called polyphenols, which may help prevent and manage many chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and Alzheimer’s disease (Frontiers In Nutrition).

One study showed the total antioxidant activity of a chemical called polyphenol was significantly higher in the peel than in the actual fruit (PNFS).

Orange Cranberry Muffins

Orange peels are a good source of the specific polyphenols called hesperidin and polymethoxyflavones (PMFs), both of which are being studied for their potential anticancer effects.

Hesperidin is found only in the pith of the peel. The chemical had shown in studies to maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Grilled Chicken and Orange Skewers

Nearly 90% of the essential oils in orange peels are composed of limonene, a naturally occurring chemical that has been studied for its anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, including against skin cancer (PubMed).

They can be candied, incorporated into beverages, zested over your favorite dishes, or even used to start a summer campfire. If you plan on eating the peel, however, be sure to use organic fruit.

Coconut Green Curry with Chicken and Vegetables

There of 3 colors of curry, which are red, yellow and green.

The color of a curry dish is determined by the color of the chiles and other main ingredients or spices used.

Traditional red curry sauce uses dried red hot peppers.

Yellow curry gets it color from yellow curry, turmeric, fresh red peppers are used along with other dried spices.

Green curry gets its vibrant color from green jalapeños, with cilantro. Some cooks will even include fresh Basil and/or baby spinach.

Green Jalapeño and cilantro curry sauce

Other ingredients in Coconut Green Curry includes ginger, lime, and of course coconut milk. All which are traditional ingredients used in Asian food.

Green curry tends to be less spicy than its red counter part.

Texture wise though, curry sauces, no matter what the color, are creamy and slightly thick.

Curry Powder, A Traditional Asian Spice Mix?

Curry powder is actually a British culinary invention.

According to author Alan Davidson in his book – The Oxford Companion To Food, he writes,

“The curry spice sold commercially represents an attempt by the British manufactures to provide in ready-made form a spice mixture corresponding to those uses in South India.”

Read more about the curry invention HERE and try our (yellow curry) Coconut Basil Chicken Curry with Vegetables.

Coconut Basil Chicken Curry with Vegetables

The Spruce Eats also writes in respects to curry powder, saying that the spice powder is not an ingredient used in Indian cooking and doesn’t even represent any spice mixture typically found in a Southeast Asian kitchen.

Curry powder is a mix of cumin, coriander, and turmeric, which gives it its signature color.

Other common ingredients include black pepper, mustard, ginger, clove, cardamom, bay leaf, and fenugreek.

Curry powder doesn’t contain or include the curry leaf.

Curry Leaves Used In Authentic Indian Curries

Read more here about curry leaves and try some curry in an untraditional way: Curried Chicken With Dried Cherries

Coconut Green Curry with Chicken and Vegetables

16 ounces of boneless, skinless, chicken thighs

1 13.5 oz. can of coconut milk

½ cup chicken stock

3 tbsp. green curry paste

1 tbsp. sugar

2 tbsp. fish sauce

3 garlic gloves, minced

½ cup chopped Thai basil

3/4 cup mixed peas and carrots

Add coconut milk, chicken stock, green curry paste, sugar, fish sauce, basil, and garlic into a large saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

Add sauce to a large frying pan over medium heat. Next, add chicken and cook 15 minutes more.

Next add the vegetables with lime juice and cook 5 more minutes.

Plate and serve. Top with basil or try something different, such as shredded root vegetables.

Orange Sauce Vegetable and Cashew Stir Fry with BBQ Sesame Ginger Chicken Thighs

The flavors of the orange and ginger complement each other in this vegetable stir-fry with orange sauce and BBQ sesame ginger chicken thighs.

Chicken thighs are a favorite cut of dark meat for those who love to cook, due to the thighs flavor and tenderness.

Because dark meat contains more tendons, chicken thighs are a tough cut, but because they contain more fat than white meat, they are more tender and juicy.

Read more here about chicken thighs here in our article: Cooking With Chicken Thighs

Preparing The Marinated Chicken Thighs

Marinate the thighs in sesame ginger sauce for about 30 minutes.


Read more here about marinating meat: What are the Benefits of Marinating Meat


Prepare your bbq grill and place thighs on the cool grill. Close lid and allow to cook on one side for about 10 minutes, than flip and cook another 6 minutes or so.

After flipping the thighs, by this time the grill will be hot.

After chicken is done, dip thighs in sauce and return to grill to cook about 2-3 minutes more on each side. The meat should have shinny glaze appearance.

Sprinkle thighs after second flip with sesame seeds. Remove from grill and place in pan with prepare vegetables, cashews and orange sauce.

Preparing The Orange Sauce Vegetable and Cashew Stir Fry

If you have a side burner, start cooking the orange sauce, vegetables and cashews in a large pan over a medium-high flame when chicken thighs are about three fourths way done.

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs marinated in sesame ginger sauce

Orange Sauce

1 cup of Orange Juice

1 tbsp White Vinegar

1 tbsp Sugar

1 tbsp Honey

¼ tsp Salt

½ tsp Dark Soy Sauce

3 pcs Shallot

1 tsp Minced Garlic

½ tsp Minced Ginger

1 tbsp Corn Starch

2 tbsp Barbeque Sauce

2 tsp Sukiyaki Sauce

2 tsp Orange Marmalade

Place all ingredients in a large pan over medium high heat.

1 16 ounce bag frozen vegetables, your choice

1/3 cup cashews

Add partially thawed vegetables to orange sauce and sauté. Do not over cook the vegetables.

Add cashews and stir in. Turn off heat and top stir-fry with bbq chicken thighs.

Plate and serve.

What are the Benefits of Marinating Meat

Marinades were formerly used as a technique to preserve foods.

Any type of meat, whether it be beef, chicken, or fish would be submerged in a salty soup that was used to preserve the meat, due to the lack of a cooling system.

The last few hundred years, marinades are not only used to preserve meats but also to add flavor to them.

When we marinate, we think about saturating the meat in the rich tasting mixture of herbs, spices, salt,, vinegar, and oil (fat), with the purpose of infusing the meat with flavor.

This however is a MYTH.


Read More Here About Herbs and Spices

Herbs and Spices Through The Years


It is physically impossible for a marinade to penetrate deep into the meat. Most flavor molecules are to big to enter the muscle tissue cells of meat.

The tissue cells are about 75% water and tightly packed like a sodden sponge.

Greek Marinated Chicken

Oil molecules, which dispense most of the flavor molecules are also unable to enter the tissue cells.

This means, the the flavor of the marinade can infuse the meat no further than a few millimeters, leaving most it to pool on the surface.

Tender and Delicious Marinated Meat

The ingredients in marinades work together to enhance the flavor of meat and tenderize its outer layers.

While cooking the meat, sugars and proteins found in a marinade help to brown the meats surface, and creating a crisp, flavorful crust.

Keep in mind though, when adding an acidic ingredient like lemon juice, wine or vinegar, can slow the browning process.

Blueberry Maple Cinnamon Muffins

Blueberry Maple Cinnamon Muffins

Maple combined with a subtle touch of cinnamon and some blueberries gives these muffins the flavor of blueberry pancakes with maple syrup.

Spoon with  blueberry  muffin and yogurt

The word muffin (in the US) is often used for small, round breads with a sweet taste.

Quick breads are chemically leavened (baking soda or baking powder) as opposed to yeast leavened breads.

The word muffin comes from the French word ‘moufflet.’ However, the origin of the muffin is not from France.

The original muffin comes from England, and are called English muffins.

English muffin with jam and butter

Muffins, as prepared in US bakeries and homes, include both savoury varieties, such as cornmeal and cheese muffins, and sweet varieties such as blueberry, chocolate chip, lemon or banana flavors.


Try These Muffin/Cupcake Recipes

Blueberry Muffins Paleo Style

Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins


Muffins can range from lightly sweetened to products that are “richer than many cakes in fat and sugar.”

Blueberry Maple Cinnamon Muffins  in a baking pan

Three states have adopted “The Official State Muffin.” These include:

Official  state muffins

Minnesota – Blueberry Muffin

Massachusetts – Corn Muffin

New York – Apple Muffin

Blueberry Maple Cinnamon Muffins

In this recipe we opted to use heavy cream in place of milk and Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.

Blueberry Maple Cinnamon Muffins  warm on a plate

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup sour cream

1 large egg, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

TOPPING:

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons maple sugar, regular sugar can be used

2 tablespoons quick oats, can opt for chopped nuts

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons cold butter

Preheat oven to 400°.

In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, combine milk, butter, syrup, sour cream, egg and vanilla.

Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until moistened (with heavy cream batter will be a bit thick).


Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.

For topping, combine flour, sugar, oats, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.

Blueberry muffin with crumbled topping

Bake 16-20 minutes for cupcakes or 30-35 minutes for muffins. Or bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool 5 minutes before removing from baking pan. Serve warm with butter or top with vanilla ice cream.

You can also opt for Greek yogurt, blueberries and maple syrup.

Blueberry Maple Cinnamon  Muffin served with yogurt and blueberries

What You Should Know When Cooking With Salt

What You Should Know When Cooking With Salt

After cooking your meal, you could add a little salt to your plated food to give it a boost, but unfortunately, it’s too late to truly bring out the flavors that the dish contains.

Woman salting skillet of cooked food

You need to be salting your food throughout the entire cooking process. As well as continuously TASTING along the way.

Most home cooks tend to under-season their meals to avoid over salting, and this, unfortunately, results in meals that are bland and boring.

Woman tasting food from skillet

Salt not only brings out the flavor the foods natural contain but it also creates a balance between sweetness and acidity.

When you season food at different stages of cooking, the salt pulls out the natural flavors of the individual ingredients and enhances their taste.

This is why it’s so important to add salt while you are cooking – you give it time to do its food flavor enhancing magic.

adding salt to  plated food

If you wait until after cooking to add salt, you’ll end up with “salty” food instead of a lively and delicious dish with deep complex flavors.

Most recipes will that tell you to “add salt to taste”. Why? The fact is, because it’s hard to really put an exact measurement for salt.

Kitchn.com (post by Emma Christensen) writes that when the recipe says salt to taste, we’re not actually looking for salty flavor.

All we’re trying to do is get rid of bitterness and make the rest of the flavors in the food stand out.

The “saltiness” of salt varies depending on its size, texture, type, and even brand.

Sizes of salt

For example: a tablespoon of coarse or Kosher salt could equal the same level of saltiness as 2 teaspoons of table salt.

This difference can make or break a meal if you are measuring salt exactly according to the instructions in a recipe and using whichever salt you have on hand.

This is why it is vitally important that you salt throughout the cooking process and taste along the way until you reach the desired outcome or flavors you are looking for.


Did you know salt is used for more than just bringing out foods flavors Read more here: The Usefulness Of Salt Around The House


Taking Care When Using Salt

It’s important though, to watch your sodium intake.

Too much sodium could contribute to high blood pressure, which may increase your risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and other health concerns.

On average, Americans consume about 3,393 mg of sodium per day, that’s about 1/2 tablespoon or 1.5 teaspoons.

The recommended dietary guidelines from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for Americans is to consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.

According to JAMA (American Medical Association), about half of all Americans, those aged 51 years or older, African Americans of any age, and people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, are recommended to only consume 1500 mg a day of sodium.

What Should You Do?

Eat salt in moderation and remember it is found in processed and restaurant foods in high amounts.

Therefore, your salt intake can be decreased by eating out less often, especially at fast-food restaurants and eating less prepared or packaged foods.

Cook your own meals and remember, “salt to taste.” As you want to taste the real flavors of food, not the salt.

Why We Cook

To think about cooking as purely functional would be to look at just one aspect of it. When in fact there are several reasons why we cook.

Cooking makes food more edible and in doing so cuts down on the time it takes to digest it.

Some foods we can eat raw, but there are others that need to be cooked, like meat or eggs for example.

How To Make The Perfect Egg In One Minute

Humankind has been on the earth for thousands of years and throughout the centuries we have learned the art of cooking.

Yes cooking is an art. If you are a professional-cook or not – when you put together different flavors you are creating a dish to satisfy your taste and hunger.

Frequently Asked Questions about Healthy Cooking

The More You Know

We spend just five percent (5%) of our day eating. So make the food you eat count towards a healthier you. Read more here: First Step To Being Healthy


The bottom line is, we have learned through trial and error that some foods need to be cooked.

So again, ever thought while you are preparing something to eat, why you cook it?

Why We Cook

It makes eating food safe, as cooking destroys bacteria, and the toxins they produce.

The food flavors multiple with using heat to cook. The heat browns meat, vegetables, breads, and cakes.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon

Cooking caramelizes sugar and helps herbs and spices to release their locked in flavors in a process known as the Maillard reaction.

Read More Here About Cooking With Herbs – Spices – and Caramelizing Sugar

How To Spice Thngs Up When Cooking
Spanish Flan – recipe and video on How To Carmelize Sugar

Food that has been cooked helps with your digestion as it softens starches and releases foods nutrients.

Roasted Red Potatoes with Garlic Parmesan

Cooked food tastes delicious and brings new textures to food.

Cooking To Gather Family and Friends

You may have heard the expression, make friends by “breaking bread together.”

Research has shown that the ritual of cooking and sharing your cooked food with others is entrenched in our psyche, and it brings family and friends together.

Regularly eating cooked food with others also improves our well-being.

Cooking Supports A Healthy Life Style

Here’s a great response to why we cook.

Julia A. Wolfson, MPP, lead author of a study on home cooking and weight lossat the John Hopkins Center, says if you are trying to lose weight or not, people who cook most of their meals at home, consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all (Study Suggests Home Cooking is a Main Ingredient in Healthier Diet).

According to Civil Eats – The power of a communal meal, or eating together – either it be a Thanksgiving feast, a community potluck, or a dinner-table gathering can build cultural ties and tear down political walls.

So now you know. Let’s get cooking.

Spicy Grilled Brussels Sprouts

Spicy Grilled Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are compact rounded leaves tightly bound into individual spherical-shaped heads ranging in diameter of one to two inches when mature.

Human hand  filled with Brussels  Sprouts

The younger the Brussels sprouts, the sweeter and more palatable flavor they contain.

The vegetable is available year-round.


Read More Here About Brussels Sprouts and Their Nutritional Value – Creamy Brussels Sprouts Casserole

Preparing Brussels Sprouts


Classic cooking of Brussels sprouts include roasting, braising or pan frying them. You can use butter with savory spices such as garlic, shallots, thyme, rosemary and sage.

Culinarily companions include pork belly, cheese, cream, duck fat, eggs, ham, grapefruit, olive oil, cider vinegar, lemon, hollandaise, maple, mushrooms, mustard, nutmeg, pepper, pistachios and pancetta.


Try This Recipe – Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon

Spicy Grilled Brussels Sprouts

1 lb burssels sprouts, trimmed and halved

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp lemon juice, more for later

1/2tsp. garlic powder

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 tsp. Moroccan inspired Harissa spice mix

pinch crushed red pepper, to your liking

grated Parmesan cheese, to your liking

In a large bowl add prepared Brussels sprouts. Next add oil, lemon juice, and spices. Mix well and set aside.

Place aluminum sheets on bbq grill. Heat bbq grill then add prepared Brussels sprouts and grill until slightly charred, about 15 minutes.

Remove from grill. Add a few squeezes of lemon juice and 2 – 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, or your liking. Mix in well.

Plate with your favorite protein and a salad.

Platted grilled Brussels sprouts with chicken and salad

Burritos With Homemade Flour Tortillas

The flour tortilla is a variant of the corn tortilla and its name comes from the Spanish language meaning “small cake”.

Flour tortillas originated in the northern Mexican states of Chihuahua, Durango, Sonora and Sinaloa, where it is more suitable to grow wheat than corn.

In more recent times both the flour and corn tortillas have become both integral to Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine.

Commercial Made Flour Tortillas

The flour tortilla production is one of the fastest growing bakery products in the United States.

This could be due primarily to the rapid growth of the Hispanic population in the US. And the demand for tortillas has bolstered over the past five years (2015-2020).

To make the tortilla a more attractive food to consumers other than Hispanics, many flour tortilla producers have added nutritional content to their products, such as including tomato, and spinach flavors.

There are whole wheat tortillas produced which have particularly attracted health-conscious consumers who view tortillas as a healthier alternative to bread.

A flour tortilla or wheat tortilla is a soft, thin flatbread from finely ground wheat flour.

The simplest recipes use only flour, water, a fat (usually vegetable oil – in Mexico it would be lard) and salt.

But commercially made flour tortillas generally contain chemical leavening agents such as baking powder, and other ingredients including lime juice.

Homemade flour tortillas are made with four simple ingredients, flour, salt, vegetable oil, and water.

Homemade Burritos Your Way

The flour tortilla is the base to preparing wraps or burritos among other preparations.

Just warm the tortilla, lay flat, and start to place the ingredients you desire in your burrito, than wrap it up and enjoy.

Burritos are one of those meals that truly never get old. Whether you prefer a spicy meat burrito or just a plain bean and cheese, there are a million ways to customize your wrap.

Use these homemade tortillas for fajitas, breakfast burritos, enchiladas, soft tacos to simply wrapping up a salad for an easy to eat lunch.

Ranch Steak with Maple Honey Mustard Sauce

Ranch Steak with fries

If you like a steak that is all meat and no fat, but you don’t want to pay the premiums attached to the Fillet and the Ribeye, then you found the right recipe.

Most of us have never heard of the ranch cut steak.

Most butchers and beef buffs claim the ranch steak is a great alternative to the more expensive cuts such as Sirloin Tip or the Flat Iron Steak.

The ranch cut steak comes from the shoulder area of the cow (Chuck), were the muscle is worked a little leading to it lacking the tenderness of some other cuts of beef.

But this cut of meat doesn’t lack in flavor.

A Ranch steak is trimmed of all excess fat, silver skin, and connective tissue so that it’s very lean.

It must also be free of the strip of gristle running through the middle.

Ranch Steak

You don’t need to worry about removing the fat, connective tissue or gristle, as the meat is bought already prepared for you.

The name Ranch Steak is simply a commercialized name for the Boneless Chuck Shoulder Center Cut steak, a name that is short and easier to remember.

Because it isn’t an easy cook tender cut like a Ribeye or a Sirloin, it shouldn’t be cooked past medium, unless of course you like a chewy steak that gives your jaw a good workout.

Ranch Steak with Maple Honey Mustard Sauce

2 – 4 ounce Ranch Steaks

1 tbsp. olive oil

Sauce

1 tbsp. Grainy Honey Mustard sauce

2 tbsp. Maple syrup

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1 tsp. fresh minced garlic

salt and black pepper

In a small bowl, combine first four ingredients, season with the salt and pepper to taste and whisk until well combined. Set aside.

Season the steaks with salt and freshly black pepper.

In a large skillet over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat.

Add steaks and cook both sides about 3-4 minutes (medium cooked steak), cook longer for more doneness.

Remove from pan and let steaks rest.


Business Insider writes an article on 19 Facts All True Steak Lovers Should Know.

In respects to letting your steak rest, they write, “Let your steak rest for half the amount of time you cooked it. This will let the juices retract and stay inside the meat, not on the plate.”

Ranch Steak Resting

Letting a steak rest after grilling or pan frying it has nothing to do with it being tired.

Resting a steak has everything to do with wanting it to be as juicy as possible.

Cooking a steak causes the cells of the meat to release its juices as it heats up. As long as you do not cook the steak past medium-rare, the cells will not burst.

As the steak cools a little the cells will return to their shape and will reabsorb the juices back into the meat.


To same large skillet add maple mustard honey sauce and heat. Stir frequently until sauce thickens some. Remove from heat.

Cut steaks and plate. Pour sauce over steaks and serve with your favorite side dish.

We suggest you serve the ranch steaks with seasoned roasted carrots and potatoes.

Plate of potato and carrot fries

Cut two medium sized carrots and 1 medium potato into 1/4 inch thick fries. Mix with olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

Place fries onto a baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle some turkey or chicken gravy over fries (about 1 – 2 tablespoons) and bake in a 425 degree pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven and turn oven broiler on high. Place rack about 4-5 inches from broiler and place fries under broiler until they brown in some spots, about 1-2 minutes.

Plate steak and fries. Enjoy!!

Ranch Steak with  Maple Honey Mustard Sauce