Tag Archives: cheddar

Take A Hike – But Don’t Forget the Cheese!

With warm weather and re-opened trails beckoning to hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, packing up nutritious snacks and meals to take along is important. Cheese is the perfect high-protein food to throw in your backpack. With the array of hike-friendly cheeses available, even the most discerning hiker will have options to choose from.

What kind of cheese should I bring on my hike?

The next time you pack your backpack for a hike, avoid taking soft cheeses (brie, goat cheese or cream cheeses) and go for hard and dry cheeses like Cheddar, Parmesan and Gouda. Avoid shredding your cheese or cutting it into chunks before hiking as it speeds up the aging process and provides more chance of getting contaminated by bacteria.

How should I store my cheese?

Store your cheese in parchment paper while traveling, the porous surface allows cheese to breathe and helps in retaining it’s flavor. Replace your wrap frequently to reduce “sweating” (the process of butterfat separating from the cheese). And don’t forget to store cheese away from hot locations in your backpack and direct sun exposure.

Here’s a list of some popular dry and hard cheeses you can take with you in your backpack:

  • Cheddar
  • Parmesan
  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Gouda cheese
  • Cojita
  • Gruyère cheese
  • Pecorino Romano
  • Colby
  • Colby-Jack
  • Manchego
  • Monterey Jack
  • Edam
  • Emmental
  • Comté cheese

How do I keep cheese fresh?

A good habit to get into at home and on the trail, is to write down the date you initially stored your cheese on it’s storage container. This helps you to measure when your cheese may be past it’s prime. And if you’re backpacking for several days – keep your cheese in one block. Cutting it into pieces increases the surface area that can get contaminated by mold and bacteria.

How can you tell if your cheese is past it’s prime?

Always adhere to the 2 Hour Rule for leaving perishables out: After being in room temperature for 2 hours, always re-refrigerate hard cheeses and throw out soft cheeses.

Where can I hike with my cheese?

Anywhere! Check out Tillamook County Wellness and Travel Oregon for more ideas on hiking trails, beaches and scenic areas to visit.

Hack Your Pizza With These Quick Tips

On #NationalPizzaDay, take your pizza to the next level with these quick hacks that are sure to spice up your pie, no matter if it comes from a box or straight from your own oven!

Stay Cheesy

Sure, you can always add more cheese to take it to the next level, but you might be surprised how trying different types of cheese can improve an otherwise boring pizza. While some scientists claim that mozzarella and cheddar are the best mix, there’s also provolone, Gouda, Colby, Edam, Asiago, Gruyère, Emmental, bleu, ricotta, burrata – and, of course, Parmesan.  And don’t forget to try local cheeses from your local creamery!  Check out Oregon Cheese Guild to find a cheesemaker near you.

Vegging Out

You can feel good about kicking back and binge watching your favorite show when you add seriously delicious veggies to your pie. Beyond popular favorites like garlic, peppers, onions, olives and mushrooms- have you tried zucchini, corn, cauliflower, kale, quinoa, squash, broccoli or spinach? 

Pizza for Breakfast

There’s a reason that pizza is the breakfast of champions for college students.  Complement your pie with a tasty egg for added protein that will give you a boost at your next class or zoom meeting.

Take a Dip

They say that the secret’s in the sauce. Rev up your pie by drizzling ranch dressing, pesto, BBQ, buffalo or hummus on top.

Some even dip their pizza in milk!  We’re not making this up … it’s a thing.

Spice Is Nice

For those who like their pizza hot and spicy, you don’t have to settle for that packet of dried red peppers. There’s Tabasco, Sriracha, Cholula – and if that’s not enough, you can add peppers ranging from hot to “where’s-the-milk?!”

Crispy Crusts

Promote your small time pizza to the big leagues by cooking it on a pizza stone or in your air fryer – you’ll never go back!  Cooking tools like these give you an incredibly crisp crust while melting the cheese perfectly.  Brushing a thin layer of olive oil on a cast-iron skillet will also give you a crispy crust in no time.  Don’t forget to rub the crust with olive oil or melted butter before baking. You can also mix garlic powder, onion powder, crushed garlic, oregano, or some grated parmesan cheese into the dough to add a seasoned and flavorful boost to any pre-made pizza.

Rock and Roll Your Dough

Play with your food and switch up the shape of your pizza dough to make crescents, pinwheels, rolls, dippers and puffs.  

You can also ditch the dough completely and use French or artisanal bread. Or use wonton wrappers to create the perfect package for your cheese and toppings!

Just Desserts

Don’t forget about the sweet stuff!  Break away from  pineapple and make a dessert pizza with fruits like peaches, pears, apples, bananas and figs.  Drizzle chocolate or caramel sauce on top for a sweet treat.

Walk on the Wild Side

Want to try something really different? Try adding some new combos like peaches and prosciutto, blackberries and basil, even shrimp and lobster. There’s plenty of inspiration online … alongside pizzas with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, spaghetti and ramen noodles!

Win Round Two

Don’t let leftovers hold you back from pie-in-the-sky creativity. Put a pizza upside down on another pizza with cheese in the middle and – Voila! Pizza grilled cheese! Or go a stack higher for pizza lasagna. Roll a mozzarella stick inside slices or cut strips of ‘pizza fries.’ Kids like slices cooked on a stick like a Popsicle or heated in a waffle iron.

When reheating slices, the oven is your friend. Preheat to 375 degrees and put it on a hot baking tray, cookie sheet or foil for 10 minutes. When using the microwave – just place a cup of water next to the pizza when you cook it to keep the crust from getting rubbery.

Hopefully these pizza hacks will help you elevate your next pie from disappointing to delectable. If you’re still not impressed, try getting the ingredients to make your own pizza the next time you’re at the grocery store and try your hand at making something from scratch. Grazie!

RELATED LINKS:

NINE EASY WAYS TO HACK YOUR PIZZA

DOMINO’S AND DAIRY: A PARTNERSHIP POWERED BY PIZZA

6 WAYS CHEESE CAN HELP YOUR BODY

Apple Butter-Pork Burger with Acorn Squash Puree

This savory and sweet burger has ingredients so good that nothing goes to waste. Extra squash puree can be used for your next meal as a side dish or pasta sauce.

Serves 6

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Dietitian’s Tip: Pair this hearty meal with a light green salad mixed with dried or fresh fruit and nuts, and dress with a ratio of 3 parts oil to one part vinegar.

INGREDIENTS
1 acorn squash
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 pounds reduced-fat ground pork (4% fat)
2 tablespoons apple butter (or applesauce)
½ tablespoon chopped fresh sage
½ tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder or 1 smoked chipotle pepper (optional in squash puree)
½ cup low-fat or fat-free dairy milk
6 whole grain English muffins, toasted
2 cups fresh arugula
6 slices smoked gouda (or cheddar)

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Halve and seed the squash and cut into large chunks. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and roast on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean.

In a mixing bowl combine the pork, apple butter, sage and ½ tablespoon of thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Mix together and form into 6 equal patties.

Once the squash has cooled enough to touch, spoon the meat from the skin into the bowl of a food processor.

Blend together the squash, milk, 1 teaspoon of thyme and an optional spice until smooth.

Cook the burgers over a hot grill to desired doneness, flipping only once.

Assemble the burgers: layer the arugula onto the bottom of the English muffins, place the burger on top, and, add the cheese slices, and finish with a generous spread of the squash puree.

Serve right away and enjoy.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS
Per serving: 470 Calories, 16 g total fat, 7 g saturated fat, 120 mg cholesterol, 590 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 46 g protein, 450 mg calcium

Recipe courtesy of: National Dairy Council