A Wing Night-In with the Best Zucchini Ever!

The Husband and I have committed to eating out less overall. We enjoy going, but the expense of taking two growing boys out for a meal a couple of times a week is too much.

To make up for it, we started planning more fun weekend nights-in. Sometimes just for us and sometimes with friends.

Last night we hosted Hot Wing Night In with friends.

I grilled wings and breasts, had a bunch of hot sauces available and fresh watermelon margaritas. It was a fantastic evening!

The night before I made a homemade mango hot sauce in varying degrees of heat.

Mango Sunrise was a mild, Mango Sunset was medium, and Mango Hell was hot. They came out fantastic! I want to change a few things before I officially share the recipe, but basically, it was onion, mango, lime and a variety of peppers including red bell, orange bell, serrano, and habanero. So simple and so delicious!

I used a simple rub on the wings that help crisp up the skin and grilled them for about 45 minutes.

I’m thinking everyone liked them considering we only had one left at the end of the night. ONE. I ate it this afternoon with my lunch.

In my opinion, though, the wings weren’t the star of the show. It was the grilled zucchini.

I decided to make these after seeing the three zucchini I had in the fridge. A few nights earlier I made them with dinner for the family. The 13-Year-Old and I loved them! The Husband and 7-Year-Old not so much. I think it’s a texture thing.

Anyway, I thought they would go great with the wings and give people something a little lighter to much on. The idea is super simple and a great way to use all those extra zucchinis in the garden.

Oh! And they are great at room temperature. I don’t have the biggest grill, so I made the zucchini before the chicken. It took up the whole thing!

I will definitely be making zucchini this way more regularly.




Yield 6 servings

A super simple grilled zucchini idea that would make a great addition at your next BBQ. 


  • 3 large zucchini 
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder


Heat the grill over medium-high heat.

Cut the zucchini into 1/2 thick slices. Spray with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Flip and repeat.

Grill the zucchini for 5 minutes, flip and grill for 4-5 more.

Layer on a platter and serve.


  • The key for these is the thickness. Too thin and they get mushy fast. Too thick and they don’t often enough in the middle. 
  • Don’t fiddle with them once they are on the grill. Set a time for 5 minutes then flip and set again. Trust it. 🙂

Cuisine American

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size ~8 slices

Amount Per Serving

Calories 22

% Daily Value

Total Fat 1 g


Trans Fat 1 g

Total Carbohydrates 4 g


Dietary Fiber 1 g


Sugars 2 g

Protein 1 g


* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


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Source: http://greenlitebites.com/2018/08/11/a-wing-night-in-with-the-best-zucchini-ever/

A to Z Dosa Varieties ~ Exploring Indian Bread

In this “A to Z Flatbreads and more” theme for this Mega BM, I decided to showcase Indian Bread in form of Batter bread.

My love for Dosas is endless which prompted me to have a series tagged as 101 Dosa Variety and there was a time when I thought I should take this as a pet project to complete the huge list of Dosas, Crepes, and Pancakes we have across the Indian Cuisines.

So this mega BM, I decided I would do just that. I have repeated some states more than the other, for example, I felt one can easily do A to Z Dosas from Karnataka. However, I have curbed that thought and went about looking at different batter bread from all states.

With the AtoZ restriction, one can only do so much. I was lucky that I have found authentic dishes, with just a couple of twists in the whole series.

With Dosas, I tried cubling into different groups, so I picked up Dosas with Fermented batter, Instant Dosas, Dosas with different flours, with different veggies etc. I tried grouping them into each week, it wasn’t possible.


I started my preparation last weekend when I had soaked up a huge batch of fermented Dosas, soaking other ingredients that went in. I ended up making 8 different dosas and it was a huge confusion, trying to remember all the step by step pictures and the final dish as well.

Konda loved all the dosas but said it would have been better had I not made all on the same day. So I would confess upfront the clicks are not well planned as just making the batter properly was a huge task.

When I had done A to Z International Flatbread, it was decided and assumed I will again blog on both the sites. So I had to keep up with that as well! I will be doing another option on Spice your Life! so check it out as well.

Anyway, I enjoy doing these series! So join me for the fun ride!

Source: https://www.cooking4allseasons.in/2018/09/a-to-z-dosa-varieties-bm92.html

This is what Shaquille O’Neal ate before every NBA game

Not many people would argue the fact that Shaquille O’Neal is one of the greatest NBA players of all time. He did earn the nickname MDE, “Most Dominant Ever,” after all. In his 19 years as a professional athlete, the New Jersey native shattered records (and backboards), holding it down at No. 8 all-time in both points scored and blocks. So what does it take to fuel a 7-foot-1, 325-pound basketball legend?

“Mountain Dew and Red Bull,” Shaq told The Daily Meal. “Before the game I always had to have a turkey club sandwich with extra mayo and two pineapple sodas. After the game, win or lose, I got a chicken sandwich and macaroni.”

What the World’s Most Famous People Drink Every Night

Today, chicken sandwiches are still on the menu — literally. Last year, the 47-year-old launched Big Chicken Shaq, a fast-casual concept featuring dishes inspired by the baller-turned-restaurateur (whose accolades also include rapper, DJ, sports analyst and doctor), including Shaq Attack, Shaq Daddy and MDE crispy chicken sandwiches. The premiere location opened on the Las Vegas Strip. Another is coming to Carnival’s new Mardis Gras cruise ship, set to launch in 2020.

Even with fried chicken within his particularly lengthy arm’s reach, Shaq’s diet today is more disciplined than it used to be. He’s “trying to get super sexy right now,” so on any given day, he has a Muscle Milk protein shake for breakfast before heading to his workout, where he does cardio and weights. At lunch, he eats chicken Caesar salad and before dinner, he goes for baked chicken and another protein shake. His last meal of the day is a plateful of protein and vegetables.

But the man is not afraid to indulge. His go-to drink is Fresca — the original flavor (citrus lime grapefruit) or black cherry — and he always has lemon Oreos stocked in the pantry. What you won’t find in there are ghost pepper chips.

On a 2017 episode of TNT’s “Outside the NBA,” Shaq bravely ate a tortilla chip made with ghost peppers and the Carolina Reaper, which is the world’s hottest chile pepper. Although he bet co-host Charles Barkley that he could eat the chip without “making a face,” he started coughing and ran off stage.

“I thought I was going to die,” Shaq told The Daily Meal. “I started trying to swallow and my throat was closing up.”

Even though he didn’t think he could breathe, he didn’t seek medical attention.

“It’s all mental,” O’Neal said. “It wasn’t closing. I just thought that it was. I knew that every time you eat something hot, you have to drink milk, so we had milk on standby. But then after drinking all the milk, because I’m lactose intolerant, I had diarrhea — and the diarrhea was hot. Oh my god. Burning. I was like ‘Ah. Ah.’”

For reference, the Carolina Reaper measures in at 1.4 to 2.2 million Scoville units. A habanero maxes out at 350,000 Scoville units. A word of advice: Learn from Shaq’s mistake — or don’t. If you think you can handle the ghost pepper chip, you’d be in for the ride of your life with a lick of the world’s hottest hot sauces.

Source: https://www.thedailymeal.com/entertain/shaq-nba-diet/062619

Strawberries + Cream + Sugar = Heaven

A bowl of strawberries + cream

Here is a three-ingredient dessert (pudding!) my British father’s family served after every summer dinner we spent together: fresh berries + sugar + cream. There always was a wedge or two of cheese — often Stilton and Wensleydale — on the table as well, but as a child, all I cared about was the berries and cream.

Incredibly, I had not made this dessert for my children until a few weeks ago, when I spotted the first local strawberries at the market and could not resist buying them.

I mean, is there anything better than slicing into one of those berries and seeing RED from stem to tip?

I have now made this dessert for both a small gathering of friends as well as for my children, and I am re-remembering how this dessert is adored by adults and children alike. It has become my go-to when I can’t find the time to make a cobbler.

A Few Tips

  • Use any berries you like: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc. Raspberries and strawberries are favorites.
  • Use 2 tablespoons of cream per serving.
  • Use about a teaspoon of sugar per serving. You may be tempted not to use any sugar given how sweet and perfect the berries are, but the sugar really adds and does not make the dessert too sweet. In fact, one day, when I skimped on the sugar because of said sweet and perfect berries, my son said: “Could use a pinch more sugar.” Rascal.

local strawberries in cartons

Bowl of strawberries

Step 1: Pour 2 tablespoons of cream into each bowl.
A bowl of strawberries + 4 bowls of cream.

Step 2: Top with fresh berries.
4 bowls of strawberries + cream

Step 3: Sprinkle sugar over top.
4 bowls of strawberries + sugar + cream

Step 4: Devour.
My 4 children eating strawberries + cream

A bowl of strawberries and cream.


Strawberries + Cream + Sugar = Heaven


This is a 3-ingredient dessert (pudding!) my British father’s family served after every summer dinner we spent together: fresh berries + sugar + cream.

Use any fresh summer berries you can get your hands on, though strawberries and raspberries are particularly good.

The recipe below is written for 1 serving. Scale up as needed.


  • 2 tablespoons of cream
  • a handful of fresh berries: raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries — any fresh, local berries you can get your hands on; a mix of berries is nice, too
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or to taste


  1. Place cream in a small bowl.
  2. Wash berries if you haven’t already. Core strawberries and halve or quarter them if large. Drop a handful of berries on top of the cream.
  3. Sprinkle with sugar, using more or less to taste.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: No-Cook
  • Cuisine: British

Keywords: dessert, strawberries, British, cream, raspberries, berries, local, summer

Source: https://alexandracooks.com/2019/06/26/strawberries-cream-sugar-heaven/

Crockpot Barbecued Short Ribs

I have some incredible quick and easy recipes (below) that taste amazing and perfect for your weekend meals.  First, I have a simple yet delicious crockpot recipe for barbecued short ribs.  These short ribs fall right off the bone.

This recipe is only one of the time-saving crockpot recipes featured in the “Set It & Forget It Crockpot Recipes” cookbook.  In this book, you will find an essential collection of easy-to-prepare crockpot recipes.

Members of our Secret Recipe Cookbook Club will receive this entire cookbook with their membership.  If you’re interested in joining the club, you can download your first 5 cookbooks right now: Go Here

Or if you’d like to get this title alone, go here.


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New Secret Recipe

Crockpot Barbecued Short Ribs

2 c. water
3 or 4 lbs. boneless short ribs
18 oz. bottle barbecue sauce
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 oz. Heinz 57 hickory smoke sauce
1/4 tsp. angostura bitters
1/4 tbsp. lemon pepper seasoning

Combine water, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire, Heinz 57 sauce, angostura, lemon pepper and short ribs in crock pot on low heat for 12 hours. 

Source – Set It & Forget It Crockpot Recipes

Enjoy These Great Tasting Recipes From Our Forum:

Garlic Grilled Steaks

Arroz Con Pollo

Shrimp Empanadas

Find these recipes and many more on our forum: Go Here

Until next time… Be Well!

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Source: https://www.recipesecrets.net/blog/recipes/crockpot-barbecued-short-ribs/

The Crack Shack Opens in Pasadena

All-day dining venue The Crack Shack, from founder Michael Rosen and Top Chef winner Richard Blais, has opened in Old Town Pasadena.

Focusing on elevated fried chicken dishes, the new 6, 020 square foot eatery features an open concept with custom reclaimed wood and metal furniture, skylights, Rose Bowl inspired art and features the original sign for the old Firehouse Recording Studio that once occupied the location.

Diners can choose from 5 and 10 piece plates of fried chicken, half or whole bone in fried chicken, fried chicken oysters, house made biscuits with miso-maple butter, deviled eggs with French toast crumble and candied bacon, Mexican Poutine, chicken thigh pastrami sandwich, a Senor Croque with fried chicken and runny egg and the Firebird with spicy fried chicken thigh and ranch dressing.  The menu also features lighter fare including a variety of power bowls; a papaya, coconut, mango and jicama slaw and a vegetable, hummus and quinoa dish.

Drinks include milkshakes, a variety of Stubborn brand sodas and a craft beverage program featuring signature cocktails.

The Pasadena location is the brand’s fifth location with other restaurants throughout California in San Diego, Costa Mesa and Century City.

Located at 30 W. Green Street, The Crack Shack is open from 10:30 am to 10 pm.

Source: https://www.thedailymeal.com/eat/crack-shack-opens-pasadena

How to Really Use an Instant Pot and Other Multi-Cookers

[Photographs: Vicky Wasik, unless otherwise noted]

The Instant Pot’s ascendance has been so sudden, so swift, so far-reaching, and so utterly dominating that it’s hard to think of another kitchen product in recent history that has so thoroughly cornered the market.

Before the Instant Pot, when I tried to convince people that a pressure cooker was worth buying, their eyes would glaze over. After the Instant Pot’s explosive rise, nearly everyone owns a pressure cooker, even if half of them don’t seem to realize it.

And that, really, speaks to the power of the Instant Pot. People own them, people love them, and people often have no idea what they even are. So let’s set this straight: Instant Pot is a brand name of a multi-cooker, and a multi-cooker is basically an electric pressure cooker with a few bells and whistles thrown in for good measure.

If you own an Instant Pot, what you really own is a multi-cooker. If you don’t own an Instant Pot, but have been debating whether or not to pick one up, it’s worth noting that there are many other multi-cooker brands on the market, some of which are worth considering (see below for our top picks). A multi-cooker usually includes a base unit where the control panel and heating element live; an insert which holds the food itself and can be removed for easy cleaning; a lid with a gasket and valve for pressure cooking; and various accessories like measuring cups and a steaming basket (depending on the model).

As the name implies, what’s most appealing about a multi-cooker is the range of cooking options it offers. It steams! It sears! It simmers! It cooks beans! It cooks rice! It cooks stews! It cooks chili! It makes yogurt! It’s a pressure cooker! It’s a slow-cooker! It can make my bed and clean my toilet and rub my feet and sanitize my dentures! All! In! One!

Do you know how we know it can do all those things? Because it has buttons on the front that tell us so!*

* Okay, I lied, it won’t sanitize your dentures. But man does a multi-cooker make a mean bed.

Let’s cut through this noise. A multi-cooker is really just a couple things, plus a whole lot of preset modes. A multi-cooker is, in the simplest sense, an electric pot; its lid has a gasket that can seal the pot shut to trap steam and build pressure, and the cooker has sensors in it to automatically control heat and pressure as needed.

Given this, a multi-cooker is really just:

  • A pressure cooker. This is its primary function; not only is there usually a manual pressure-cooking option (all of our recommended cookers offer one), but most of the specialized modes on a multi-cooker (rice, beans, stews, chili, etc.) are also just pressure-cooking modes with preset times and pressure levels.
  • An electric pot: When the lid isn’t sealed, the multi-cooker can work like any pot, whether you use it to steam foods or sear them before stewing or braising.
  • A slow-cooker: The multi-cooker can hold its contents at a low enough heat that it also doubles as a slow-cooker. There is rarely a reason to use this function, as I’ll explain below.
  • A yogurt-maker: Similar to the slow-cooker mode, the multi-cooker’s ability to hold very low temperates means it can also be used to incubate yogurt.

We’ve reviewed pressure cookers before—both stovetop models that are strictly pressure cookers, and multi-cookers, which are primarily pressure cookers that can also perform some other tasks. You can read our entire review here, but the quick answer is that our top pick is the Breville Fast Slow Pro, while our favorite budget pick is the Instant Pot Duo60.

Multi-cookers like the Instant Pot are great at making chicken stock, just as all pressure cookers are.

So, now that we’ve roughly defined what an Instant Pot and other multi-cookers really are, and which are our favorites, let’s briefly go over what they’re truly good for, and which features you should just forget.

Pressure Cooking and Preset Pressure-Cooking Programs (Rice, Stew, Stock, Soup, Etc.)

By far the most important feature of a multi-cooker is its ability to function as a pressure cooker. Frankly, if everyone would stop calling these things “Instant Pots” and start calling them “electric pressure cookers,” there’d be a whole lot less confusion about what this device is really all about.

A pressure cooker is able to drastically reduce the cooking times of many long-cooking foods by raising the internal pressure of the chamber; as the pressure rises, so does the boiling point of the water inside. At sea level, water boils at 212°F (100°C), and it will not exceed that temperature until there’s little to no available water left. By raising the pressure, the water temperature can slide higher, going upwards of around 250°F (120°C); at elevated temperatures, tough meats melt and tenderize and beans cook through in a fraction of the time. Braises that would have taken two, three, or four hours are done in thirty minutes to an hour. Beans, which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours on the stovetop, can be done in ten to twenty minutes in a pressure cooker. It’s an incredibly powerful tool with jaw-dropping results. You can literally get home from work and have a stew on the dinner table in an hour from start to finish, something that is otherwise impossible with more conventional cooking methods.

Most of the settings on a multi-cooker are really just pressure-cooker presets: bean mode, rice mode, chili mode, stew mode, soup mode, poultry mode, meat mode, risotto mode, stock mode, and multigrain mode, for example. They can be helpful, but they can also be maddening.

Control panel of the Breville Fast Slow Pro. [Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

If you’re totally new to pressure cooking and are not following a trusted recipe, the presets are useful in that they can give you some shot at getting results that are good, or at least put you in the ballpark. But those settings are just as often confounding because there are enough variables to render them useless.

Just look at Instant Pot’s web page on cooking rice using the rice mode. The promise sounds great: Use this device for perfect rice every time. Rice mode can supposedly detect moisture levels and then make realtime adjustments to the heat and pressure levels accordingly.

But the reality is a little different. Read the article and it becomes clear that the preset is only designed to work with basic white rice, and that several other types of rice will require a manual setting. And that doesn’t include factoring in your elevation if you live well above sea level, the type of water you use, personal preferences on doneness, and more. Unless you only eat one type of rice and just happen to like it exactly as the Instant Pot preset produces it, you’ll soon be overriding the preset and using a manual setting instead.

This is true of all the other preset pressure-cooking modes as well. Variations in recipes, in ingredients, in local conditions, and in your desired results will all play into the time, pressure, and temperature levels you choose; often the recipe itself will be the best guide for what settings to choose. Plus, if you set those parameters manually, you’ll have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t, which is far better than not understanding why a preset mode didn’t produce the results you wanted.

Beyond variations in specific recipes, multi-cookers themselves are also varied from one to the next. There’s no overarching standard that ensures that “high pressure” mode on one cooker is the same as “high pressure” mode on another (although those should hopefully be close, somewhere in the 12 to 15psi range). There’s also no standard that ensures one machine’s meat mode is the same as another’s. Ditto all the other preset modes.

Cooking dried beans using the pressure-cooking mode of a multi-cooker produces excellent results in a fraction of the time.

What this means is that if you live and die by the presets, you only really know how to cook with the specific model of multi-cooker you’ve grown familiar with. Buy a new multi-cooker one day and you’ll have to re-learn its preset quirks all over again. But by using the manual mode, you’re more clued into what pressures and times the cooker is actually using, parameters that are more consistent across models and brands. That makes you a more informed cook, and a more informed cook will have a better track record for success.

But this doesn’t mean that the special pressure-cooking modes do nothing. According to Instant Pot, for example, the cooker uses sensors to manage heat, pressure, and temperature.

Steaming mode, for instance, lets the heating element rip full blast, since there’s no risk of scorching the water on the bottom of the pot (foods being steamed should be held aloft in a steamer basket). For modes that cook thicker dishes like chili and porridge, the cooker reduces the intensity of the heating element to reduce the risk of foods burning on the bottom.

It’s a nice feature if near-total hands-off cooking is most important to you. But you can also avoid burning your food just as easily by bringing the contents of the cooker to a boil with the lid off, stirring frequently to keep the food from sticking to the bottom; once at a boil, put the lid on and allow the cooker to finish coming up to pressure. Once at pressure, it doesn’t take a lot of additional heat to keep it there. This is how you prevent scorching in a stovetop pressure cooker, and it works fine.


This is one of those modes that works well, but isn’t all that useful unless you’re short on pots and stovetop space. In steaming mode, you simply add some water to the multi-cooker insert, add a steaming rack of some sort (included or not, depending on the multi-cooker model), and then turn the machine on. Set to steaming mode, it will crank the heat of the heating element to full-blast, working to get the water boiling as quickly and relentlessly as possible, producing enough steam to cook whatever it is you’re cooking. The lid can go on to contain the steam, but it won’t lock (locking would fully trap the steam, leading to pressure cooking).

There’s no reason not to use this setting, except that you can just as easily steam foods in a pot or wok set over a stovetop burner. Unlike the pressure-cooking mode, which offers dramatic performance differences compared to traditional stovetop methods, the steaming mode on a multi-cooker is just like any other steaming setup.


Searing meat in a multi-cooker works, but not as well as in a traditional stovetop pressure cooker.

Many braise and stew recipes call for browning meats and aromatics before adding the liquid, since browning develops a layer of flavor that can transform whatever you’re cooking from good to great. This makes the searing mode in a multi-cooker very important, but it has its limitations.

In my experience, a multi-cooker doesn’t sear nearly as well as a Dutch oven or stainless steel pot set over a stovetop burner. Multi-cooker inserts tend to be tall and narrow, with a small footprint for the bottom of the pot, and the heating element only gets so hot. This can be a problematic combination, making the multi-cooker prone to overcrowding and thus steaming, when you want to be searing and browning.

You can make it work by searing ingredients in very small batches, and by waiting longer for trapped moisture to cook off and true searing to begin, but it’s certainly not the strong point of any multi-cooker I’ve ever used. It’s fine for making a stew or braise from start to finish all in the same multi-cooker pot, but I’d never use a multi-cooker to sear foods that don’t otherwise require being in the multi-cooker.

Slow-Cooking (With Major Reservations)

A: stock cooked in a spring-valve stovetop pressure cooker; B: stock cooked in a multi-cooker like the Instant Pot; C: stock cooked in an older stovetop pressure cooker with a jiggler; D: stock cooked on the stovetop in a Dutch oven; E: stock cooked in a slow cooker. As you can see, the slow cooker yielded the worst results, with the least flavor and gelatin extracted from the chicken and vegetables. [Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

This is one of the other top selling points of the multi-cooker: It’s a slow-cooker, too! But as any cook worth their salt knows, a slow cooker isn’t really worth its salt. Yes, they can be left unattended for hours and even days with relatively little risk, but with their low cooking temperatures, the food they produce is never as good as dishes produced by more traditional stewing and braising methods. Nor are a slow-cooker’s results as good as those achieved in a pressure-cooker, which can produce a better version of the same dish in a tiny fraction of the time. For a more thorough discussion of how slow cookers compare to pressure cookers, read our article here.

There’s really no contest. In almost all instances, you should be using the pressure cooker mode, not the slow-cooker mode.


Similar to the way a multi-cooker uses low heat for the slow-cooker mode, it can use even lower heat to incubate yogurt. Many models will scald the milk first (a common first step in yogurt making) and then switch over to incubation mode.

Does it work?

Yes, indeed it does. Though it’s not as hands-off as multi-cooker manufacturers make it seem. You still need to monitor the temperature of the milk with a separate instant-read thermometer, especially when the milk is cooling, since you can kill your starter and ruin your batch if you add it to milk that’s too hot. This is once again one of those situations where the multi-cooker works, but it doesn’t save you much effort compared to scalding the milk on the stovetop.

As for incubating the yogurt, which requires holding the temperature somewhere around 110 to 115°F, the Instant Pot I tested recently seemed to do a serviceable job, in that the yogurt successfully set (a sign that the milk never overheated during the incubation phase). I wasn’t able to monitor the temperature of the milk the entire time, so I’m not quite sure just how much it may have fluctuated, but it clearly didn’t fluctuate too much given the results.

What I do know from my initial yogurt testing is that the Instant Pot I tried produced my least favorite yogurt of the bunch—the yogurt was set, but it seemed fragile and it separated into curds and whey easily. It also had a strange metallic flavor, which I haven’t yet been able to explain.

It’s possible that, with more testing and tweaking, I can find my way to better yogurt results with the Instant Pot or another multi-cooker, but I also know from my testing that there are other methods that work very well, including using an immersion circulator or just going the old-fashioned route of leaving the yogurt in an oven overnight with the oven light turned on.

So, do you need an Instant Pot or other multi-cooker? If you don’t own a pressure cooker already, then yes, there’s a strong argument to be made for it, because I think all cooks will find a pressure cooker to be a very useful addition to their lives. And if you’re often short on stovetop space, having a stand-alone unit can be incredibly useful. If you have no interest in pressure cooking, though? Skip it, because that’s all a multi-cooker really is.

This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Serious Eats. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.

Source: https://www.seriouseats.com/2018/09/what-is-the-instant-pot-good-for.html

chicken and veggie stir-fry

Forget about take out! This easy and healthy Chicken and Veggie Stir-fry is a 30 minute veggie-heavy dinner the whole family will love. It’s grain-free and soy-free so that means it’s Paleo friendly! It’s loaded with broccoli, peppers and boneless skinless chicken breast. 

a white bowl with chicken and veggie stir-fry in it

This year I am thrilled to be partnering with one of my favorite brands, La Tourangellle Artisan Oils. I have been in love with their oils for years, and have even featured them here on Healthy Seasonal Recipes in an unofficial capacity before. I have always loved them for their high quality, heart healthy pure oils. Not to mention for their drop-dead gorgeous packaging! But recently I learned there is even more to love. La Tourangelle is family owned and was originally in France. Now it operates using the same 150 year old techniques at a mill in California- the only one of its kind here in the states!

Anyway, I could gush on and on forever, so I am going to try to stay somewhat focused today. I have a super simple paleo-friendly stir-fry with chicken and veggies in it. I thought it would be a great healthy recipe to share during the January paleo challenge my husband and I are doing.

Speaking of which, eating paleo (aka grain-free and dairy free) this month is going great! Jase told me this morning he has already lost 8 pounds! And my belly issues have improved! It’s amazing! Thank you so much for all of your support during this time! I am so grateful for you guys!  

Chicken and Veggie Stir-fry in a wok

Anyway, back to this recipe…

One of the things I wanted to talk about is about why I used two different oils in it. But first, we have to talk about smoke point.

chicken and veggie stirfry

The Smoke Point of Oils

Do you know what the smoke point of oil is? That’s the temperature at which an oil starts to go from being a liquid to a vapor and it gradually begins starting to smoke. You’ve likely seen this before, if you are heating up oil in your skillet, and get distracted, and all of a sudden your skillet is smoking! Well that’s because it got so hot that it reached its smoke point. When it does, the oil’s structure breaks down (which isn’t healthy) and it’ll take on a foul taste and smell. Different oils have different smoke points. Luckily you can look right on the packaging of La Tourangelle artisan oils to see which should be used at lower temps and which can be used at higher ones. There is a little thermometer letting you know which type of oil it is.

The smoke point is why I decided that I wanted to use two separate oils for this recipe. First I used grape-seed oil which is a high-heat neutral cooking oil. I used that to sear the chicken and veggies over high heat. Since it has a high smoke point, the oil is not damaged by the higher heat required in a stir-fry. And then I added Toasted Sesame Oil as a second, super flavorful, oil to add to the sauce to make the veggies and chicken flavors pop! The liquid in the sauce brings the temperature of the pan down, and prevents the oil from getting to that smoke point.

chicken and veggie stir-fry

How to Make Chicken and Veggie Stir-fry

  • If you have a wok, this is the time to bust it out. This stir-fry has a lot of veggies in it, so you will need it for its big size. If you don’t have one and are thinking of getting one, I really love mine. It is basic, but that’s all you need. Get one with a rounded bottom and a lid like this one (that’s an affiliate link) if you can.
  • If you don’t have a wok, use a very large heavy bottom skillet. You’ll need a lid that can fit over it too.
  • As always, with stir-fries, it’s important to get your mis en place together before you begin. Stir-fries are quick and completely hands-on, so you won’t have time to be chopping or stirring once the food hits that hot oil!
  • I like to cut my veggies first, then the chicken. That way I only have to wash and sanitize the cutting board once. Once it’s cut, just set everything next to the stove in prep bowls.
  • Get that wok or skillet hot! Add the oil in and swirl it to coat the surface. Then the chicken cooks first. Add it onto the cooking surface in a single layer so that it can sear. It will stick to the surface if you try to move it around, so just let it sit for several minutes and get a nice golden brown sear on the bottom surface. Then take your spatula, and scoop up some of the chicken and flip it over onto an uncooked side. You can’t be too fussy about this because it’ll be hotter than blazes and the oil may be spluttering about, so just flip it all as best you can. At this point the chicken will likely bring your cooking surface temperature down a bit, so it will not take on too much additional browning, and it will be easier to stir once or twice. To see if it is cooked through, use your spatula to split a piece in half. There should be no pink in the center.
  • Take the chicken out of the wok or skillet when it is cooked through and set it aside on a plate or bowl. Covering it with foil is helpful to keep the heat in and trap any moisture that wants to evaporate.
  • Next the veggies need to be stir-fried. So you need more oil. But if there is any moisture in the wok or skillet you will get splattering, so let it evaporate for a second or two before adding in the second tablespoon of oil. Again, swirl it to coat the surface.
  • Then add in the veggies! I used a combo of broccoli, peppers and onions because that is a slam dunk combo in my family. If you prefer other veggies, use them instead. Just try to keep in mind its best to cook veggies that cook at the same rate, and to cut harder, slower cooking veggies into smaller pieces to make sure they become tender.
  • After the veggies have had a chance to get a bit blistered in the hot oil, next comes in the sauce!
  • The sauce is made up of simple ingredients. If you are not paleo, you can use tamari or soy sauce instead of coconut aminos. And you can use Sriracha instead of Sambal Oelek. As I said earlier, the La Tourangelle toasted sesame oil is rich and flavorful and it will add a lot of complex flavor to the final dish.
  • The sauce is thickened with arrowroot starch which is a staple in a paleo pantry because it is grain-free but works like cornstarch to thicken sauces. It can also be used in baking or as a substitute in other recipes like pancakes. Swap 2 teaspoons of cornstarch for the arrowroot if you prefer it and aren’t paleo.
  • Once the sauce is added, set the lid on top of the wok or skillet and let the veggies steam in the sauce. To make sure the veggies cook evenly, take the lid off and stir the veggies in to the sauce a couple times while it is cooking. The veggies will become tender in just a few minutes. I prefer a nice bit of toothsome texture to my veggies when I make a stir-fry so I often err or the shorter end of the spectrum.
  • All that’s left is adding the chicken back in! I also add in some scallions to layer in the flavor.
  • I served the Paleo Chicken and Veggie Stir-fry with cauliflower rice. If you are not grain free some other options would be brown rice or rice noodles.

To try either of these delicious high quality artisan oils by La Tourangelle, you can pop right over here to have them sent right to your doorstep! 

chicken and veggie stir-fry


Have you ever let a skillet of oil get too hot?

Have you ever tasted oil that has gotten past its smoke point?

What kind of veggies do you add to a stir-fry that you know your family will love?


chicken and veggie stir-fry


Forget about take-out! This easy and healthy Chicken and Veggie Stir-fry is a 30 minute veggie-heavy dinner the whole family will love. It’s grain-free and soy-free so that means it’s Paleo friendly! It’s loaded with broccoli, peppers and boneless skinless chicken breast.


½ cup chicken broth

3 tablespoons coconut aminos

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons Sambal Oelek, Chili garlic sauce or Sriracha

2 teaspoons La Tourangelle Toasted Sesame Oil 

2 teaspoons arrowroot starch

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized cubes

½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground white pepper

2 tablespoons La Tourangelle Grapeseed Oil, divided

2 bell peppers, any color, cut into bite-sized strips

1 medium sweet onion, sliced

2 cup chopped broccoli florets

¾ cup sliced scallions


  1. Whisk broth, coconut aminos, maple syrup, chili sauce, La Tourangelle Toasted Sesame Oil and arrowroot in a small bowl.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon La Tourangelle Grapeseed Oil in a wok or large heavy skillet over high heat. Swirl to coat the cooking surface and add chicken in a single layer, and let cook, undisturbed until seared, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the chicken over and continue cooking, stirring once or twice more until the chicken is browned and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken and any liquid from the wok or skillet to a large plate and cover with foil.
  4. If the wok or skillet is moist, set over the heat and allow any liquid to evaporate. Once the surface is dry, add the remaining tablespoon oil and swirl to coat the hot cooking surface. Add peppers, onion and broccoli, and stir fry until the peppers are browned and blistered in spots, and the onions are starting to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sauce, toss to coat and cover. Let cook, covered (stirring once or twice) until the broccoli is bright green and the onions are tender, about 4 minutes. Remove lid, stir in chicken and any accumulated juices from the plate and scallions and cook until heated through and the sauce is loosened by the chicken liquid. Serve hot.


  • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
  • Calories: 278
  • Fat: 12 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 19 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Protein: 25 g

Keywords: stir-fry,paleo,gluten-free,grain-free,wheat-free,dairy-free,chicken,vegetables,healthy,entree,30 minutes

Forget about take-out! This easy and healthy Chicken and Veggie Stir-fry is a 30 minute veggie-heavy dinner the whole family will love. It's grain-free and soy-free so that means it's Paleo friendly! It's loaded with broccoli, peppers and boneless skinless chicken breast. #paleo #stirfry #chicken #healthy #easy #30minuterecipe #dinner #entree #broccoli #peppers #veggies #chickenandveggies #grainfree #soyfree

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Thanks for signing up! Just check your inbox to confirm your subscription, and then look for a welcome letter from me, including a link to download your free ebook. Every week you’ll receive ideas and inspiration on how to incorporate more fabulous healthy seasonal recipes into your life!

Source: https://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/chicken-and-veggie-stir-fry/

6 Deep-Cleaning Tips To Keep Your Home Spotless

We’ve partnered with Miele to give you A Spruce-Up for the Season with smart, doable tips for keeping your home spick and span.

So Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix really got to you. After binge-watching the entire season, you spent the first month of the year organizing your closets, cupboards, and drawers, and donating anything that didn’t spark joy. Now your home is decluttered, your clothes are neatly folded, and everything has a place. But alas, the work is not complete. Your next (and final) step is to get rid of dust, dirt, and potential allergens. I’m talking about a deep clean.

Deep cleaning is actually nowhere near as intense as the name makes it sound, especially once you break it down into manageable steps. If you can stay even vaguely organized and follow this step-by-step guide, the whole process is actually pretty painless. Here’s a full rundown on how to make deep cleaning way easier—and how to conquer two particularly stressful chores without breaking a sweat.

Get organized with a checklist

Simple as it sounds, creating a checklist will make the whole process so much easier. If you’re a visual person like me, take a stroll through your home and jot down everything that could use a good clean. This will range from large appliances like your oven and refrigerator, to furnishings like your carpets, upholstered furniture, and countertops. Once you have that list, group everything together by task type. For example: laundry (cleaning your shower curtain, bath mat, and kitchen towels); wipe-downs (for cabinets, surfaces, and stovetops); scrubbing (toilets, sinks, and shower walls); and vacuuming (carpets, tiled floors, under the bed, and baseboards).

Make a schedule that works for you

Once you have all your tasks written down, it’s easy to slot them into your schedule—even if that means tackling just a couple of items per day. Because I live in a one-bedroom apartment, it’s easy to knock out an entire task group in one afternoon because the whole thing takes just an hour or two. If you have a bigger home, deep cleaning will probably take a bit longer, so you might want to split up the tasks by room or by floor over the span of a couple of weeks.

Assemble your cleaning kit

Having a checklist also makes it much easier to understand what you need to get the job done. A basic cleaning kit should include gloves, an all-purpose cleaner, a special cleaner for mirrors and glass, disinfectant (like a spray or wipes), furniture polish (if you have wooden furniture), microfiber cleaning cloths, sponges, paper towels, a mop, and a good vacuum with attachments—I find a dust brush, upholstery tool, and crevice tool (which is great for hard-to-reach places like in between furniture, window tracks, or the lint vent in your washing machine) to be the most useful for deep cleaning.

Rent equipment for major cleaning projects

Local hardware stores, home improvement stores, and even some grocery stores rent out large cleaning appliances by the hour or day. You can rent a floor polisher, furniture steamer, or pressure washer for situations where elbow grease just won’t do the trick.

Clean upholstery by yourself (yes, you can!)

Think that cleaning your upholstered furniture is a task for the professionals? Think again—the process is super straightforward. Step one: Take any cushions off your furniture and use your vacuum’s upholstery attachment to suck up crumbs, dust, and pet hair. Then check the tag on your furniture (or look it up on the internet) to see if there are any specific care instructions.

If the care tag says steam is okay, move on to step two: Use a professional steamer (a handheld clothing steamer also works) to kill bacteria and lift smells from the fabric. Steam an inconspicuous corner first to do a spot check (in case something weird happens), then simply hover your steamer about six inches from the fabric and eject steam as you move the tool over the furniture (move as if you were vacuuming). Once you’re done, let everything dry for at least one hour.

Don’t forget about the window treatments

Curtains and blinds can get very dusty, so it’s really in your best interest to clean them regularly (you don’t want to breathe in all that grime!). You can easily dust blinds using a tube sock, tongs with socks on the ends, or—the easiest—a vacuum with a dust brush attachment (you can also vacuum shades using this attachment). If your curtains are machine washable, wash them on a cold cycle, and lay them flat or hang them on a line to dry. And if the idea of taking down your curtains is just too much (I feel you), try vacuuming them with an upholstery attachment to get rid of dust, followed by a quick steam to lift bacteria.

Do you have any deep-cleaning tips? Share them in the comments below!

Looking for a vacuum that works well for all types of floors? Check out the Miele HomeCare Collection to find the vacuum that is best suited for your needs.

Source: https://food52.com/blog/23809-deep-clean-house-easy-tips-spring-cleaning

The Grocery: showcasing the season’s bounty in Charleston

Located in the heart of Charleston just off bustling King Street, The Grocery is a lively, inviting restaurant where chef/owner Kevin Johnson is showcasing local ingredients and house-made pickles and charcuterie in a variety of creative preparations. We recently had the opportunity to dine there at the invitation of the restaurant, and really enjoyed our meal.

The Grocery has a large, bright dining room lined with large jars of pickled fruits and vegetables, and its centerpiece is an open kitchen showcasing a huge wood-burning oven. The menu is divided into three sections — Produce, Seafood, and Meat — and the latter two are divided into First, Main, and Table. It might appear confusing at first glance, but it’s best to approach it from a sharing standpoint: Order a bunch of stuff, and keep ordering until you’re full.

We did just that, and ended up with a wide variety of dishes, all of which incorporate ingredients from local purveyors (many of which have partnered with Johnson since the restaurant opened in 2011).

Roasted carrots got a North African twist with the addition of harissa yogurt, raisins, and pistachios, and a scattering of mint and radishes added a fresh and crunchy note. The carrots themselves were nicely charred and tender.

A salad of roasted root vegetables was artfully plated and full of varying textures and flavors, with crisp apples and tender roasted radishes playing nicely with peppery mizuna and chopped spiced pecans. A dressing made with Point Reyes blue cheese tied it all together.

Warm shrimp, escarole, cranberry beans, bacon, radish slices, and chunks of sourdough were artfully arranged into a light and flavorful salad, tossed with a bright red wine vinaigrette.

One of the most popular menu items, fried oysters atop creamy deviled egg sauce topped with house-made bread and butter pickles have been on the menu since day one. And we could see why: The oysters were super-fresh and perfectly crispy, the sauce had all the flavor of a top-notch deviled egg, and the pickle on top cut through all the richness.

Pork belly was slow-roasted until falling apart and glazed with cider, and sweet sauerkraut, diced apples, and mustard sauce gave it a German-inspired kick.

Tortelloni were filled with braised beef, served atop a creamy Parmesan fonduta, and topped with shaved truffles, and the end result was rich and luxurious, worthy of any fine dining restaurant.

A slab of boneless beef short rib was so tender you could cut it with a spoon, and an onion-heavy chimichurri on top brightened it up. Tempura-fried hen of the woods mushrooms on the side were umami-rich and crispy, and one of the meal’s surprising highlights.

Roasted chicken with cornbread and winter greens panzanella, pomegranate relish, and chicken jus was the meal’s lone disappointment; the chicken was nicely cooked and the jus flavorful, but the skin could have been crisper and we were expecting a whole half-chicken, not just the thigh and breast. The panzanella was also a bit stale and lacking flavor.

All in all, however, our meal at The Grocery was fantastic. The space wasn’t exactly cozy, but the buzziness and energy was palpable; our server was friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful in guiding us through the menu; and the food was expertly prepared, with a large amount of thought and creativity going into every component of every dish. Whether for a light meal for two or a special occasion gathering with a large group, you really can’t go wrong at The Grocery, and there’s something on the menu for everybody.

The meal that was the subject of this review was provided at no cost to the writer.

Source: https://www.thedailymeal.com/eat/review-grocery-charleston