Tag Archives: cheese

Nine Easy Ways to Hack Your Pizza

On National Pizza Day, and all of the other 364 days of the year, people across this country settle for sad slices of pizza that were once frozen solid like a manhole cover, lacking toppings or damaged in delivery. They often look nothing like the picture above and sometimes taste like cardboard. Let’s face it, not all pizzas are created equal.

We’re here to help with nine easy ways you can upgrade an uninspired, pathetic pie by hacking your pizza:

accessory-1238759_960_720.jpg1. Cheese It Up

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 you’ll probably want to top it off with some Parmesan.

pizza-346985_960_720-e1549687918746.jpg2. Veg Out

So you ordered a basic cheese or one topping pizza? Add pre-cooked vegetables for extra flavor and extra nutrition. Beyond popular favorites like garlic, peppers, onions, olives and mushrooms, have you tried zucchini, corn, cauliflower, kale, quinoa, squash, broccoli or spinach? And don’t forget about fruits! Besides pineapple, some use peaches, pears, apples, bananas and fig.

pesto-1776673_960_720-e1549688039525.jpg3. Take a Dip

Dips aren’t just for chips. Sometimes the easiest way to jazz up a bland slice isn’t in the slice itself. Some swear by ranch dressing, but depending on the flavor of the slice you can also go with marinara, garlic and herb, pesto, BBQ, buffalo or hummus. Some even dip their pizza in milk. We’re not making this up … it’s a thing.

pepper-662550_960_720-e1549688142535.jpg4. Spice It Up

This one isn’t for everyone, but 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 (everybody has their favorites), and if that’s not enough, you can add peppers ranging from hot to ‘you might need to sign a waiver’ before you eat it.

food-3309419_960_7205. Cook Like A Pro

Promote your small time pizza to the big leagues by cooking it on a pizza stone. You can make your own with a few bucks at a home improvement store. Look for untreated, unglazed terra cotta or quarry tiles. They’ll distribute the heat more evenly in your oven or barbeque. Yes you read that right, you can cook a pizza on a barbeque.

olive-oil-salad-dressing-cooking-olive-e1549688593916.jpg6. Rub the Crust

Coat the crust with olive oil before you stick the pizza in the oven. You can also use melted butter, garlic powder, crushed garlic, oregano, and some grated parmesan cheese. This simple step can add a seasoned and flavorful boost to any premade pizza.

american-1238676_960_720-e1549688710591.jpg7. Walk on the Wild Side

We’re not just talking about sprinkling some bacon bits on top, not that there’s anything wrong with that. 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 hardboiled eggs, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, spaghetti and ramen noodles.

watercress-600072_960_720-e1549688802350.jpg8. Change It Up

There are a lot of ways to cook pizza that don’t even look like pizza. For example, put a pizza upside down on another pizza with cheese in the middle and you have a grilled cheese pizza/calzone impersonator. 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.

pan-544679_960_7209. Win Round Two

There’s an art to reheating slices. Using an oven, preheat to 375 and put it on a hot baking tray, cookie sheet or foil for 10 minutes. Or put it in a skillet, covered on medium heat with a few drops of water in the pan, and cook for at least five minutes. Then there’s the microwave – just place a cup of water next to the pizza when you cook it.

Hopefully one or more of these pizza hacks will help you elevate your next pizza 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. It’s pretty easy with enough time and the right ingredients. Bon appétit!

 

RELATED LINK:

Fighting Hunger, One Grilled Cheese Sandwich at a Time

There are plenty of reasons to love February. Sure, there’s Valentine’s Day and Oregon’s birthday for becoming a state, but have you heard of the month-long effort to fight hunger known as “The Melt Down?” If you like grilled cheese sandwiches, you’ll love what you’re about to read.

During the entire month of February, 20 restaurants in Amity, Carlton, Dayton, Dundee, McMinnville and Newberg are selling their own special grilled cheese sandwiches in a friendly competition for the title of the “Biggest Cheese.” Everyone ends up a winner though, since all grilled cheese sandwiches sold during the month of February raise funds for the Yamhill Community Action Partnership (YCAP) regional food bank. This year’s goal is $20,000.

As part of the Oregon Food Bank network, YCAP provides food to 17 emergency food pantries strategically located throughout Yamhill County. These pantries provide a variety of fresh and shelf-stable groceries to low-income families and individuals. YCAP also provides food to six meal sites in the county.

examplemorningthunder

From a prior year, this is just one of many tasty examples from The Melt Down.

In the spirit of friendly competition, The Melt Down chefs are using some serious creativity with their culinary creations, including special cheeses, sauces, breads and other tasty surprises. As the Yamhill Valley News-Register reported, “These are not your father’s grilled cheese sandwiches.” Many local cheeses and dairy ingredients are featured on the menus.

Through the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, Oregon dairy farmers and processors are supporting The Melt Down in 2019 alongside ongoing nutrition and food security initiatives. There are also plans to involve Oregon Dairy Princess-Ambassadors, local dairy farmers and Undeniably Dairy materials in related events and communications.

There’s a passport available for those adventurous souls who seek to experience all 20 offerings throughout the course of the month. But just remember, there are only 28 days in February, and if you want to try them all, the clock is ticking … good luck!

RELATED LINKS:

The Melt Down 2019 Restaurants and Sandwiches

YCAP Regional Food Bank

The Melt Down on Facebook

meltdownlist

New Girl Scouts Dairy Patch Unveiled at Oregon Dairy Day Event

What do you get when you combine a fun and informative creamery tour with dairy farmers and princesses, and top it off with delicious cheese samples and ice cream? At the special Oregon Dairy Day event at Tillamook Creamery on October 20, you got 200 very excited Girl Scouts and family members. They were there to be among the first-ever to earn the new “Oregon Dairy” patch.

Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington, in partnership with the Tillamook County Creamery Association and Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, designed this new patch program to educate girls about STEM concepts, farms and food production, and the Oregon dairy industry.

The patch program encourages Girl Scouts to learn through five hands-on steps: visit a dairy farm, discover how milk is transformed into dairy products, explore dairy nutrition, and learn about careers in the industry, from dairy farmer to food scientist to food marketer. The program concludes with a taste test.

Volunteers from the Tillamook staff, along with the Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassadors, hosted interactive stations at the Tillamook Creamery Farm Experience Center to help the Girl Scouts earn their patch.

The first station featured a visit with local dairy farmers, Taryn Martin and Logan Lancaster. They were available to answer any questions the Girl Scouts had regarding milking, cow care and farm practices. “I really enjoyed the event,” said Taryn Martin. “When I was finished for the day, I had met parents and Girl Scouts from all over Oregon and Washington and was impressed at how far some of them had traveled for the experience and education. It was so much fun to answer questions from both the parents and the scouts!”

Girl Scouts also visited a station focused on nutrition and balanced diets. Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador First Alternate Megan Sprute explained how and why milk is a good source of calcium, nutrients, and vitamins.

To learn about different careers in the industry, the Girl Scouts conducted food science experiments, creating their very own yogurt flavor, complete with a variety of toppings (including edible glitter sprinkles)! They were also able to visit with a veterinarian to learn about cow care and a scientist to learn how to use a microscope to look for bacteria. The dairy scientist explained that all bad bacteria is kept out of milk.

The Girl Scouts finished their patch requirements by taking a tour of the Tillamook Creamery, where they watched the milk turn into cheese and the employees prepare packages for shipment. And of course, they were able to taste test samples of delicious Tillamook cheese and ice cream.

“The Oregon Dairy Patch program is a great opportunity for girls to discover the local food chain. It encourages them to be curious about where their food comes from, and what it takes to get it from the farm to the factory to their table,” said Lisa Gilham-Luginbill, Program Manager for Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington. “We hope they’ll learn something new along the way, and perhaps discover an interest or future career in the process.”

RELATED LINKS:
Girl Scouts Oregon Dairy Patch curriculum
Tillamook Creamery
Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington
Kids Corner
Careers Page

Back-To-School Tasty Snack

Bring friends together with this cheesy dip.

Serves 5

healthy-recipeSide dish recipe

 

 

Dietitian’s Tip: A fun way to get calcium, protein and whole grains.

 

INGREDIENTS
2.5 oz. cream cheese
6.5 oz. cheese, cheddar, yellow, reduced fat, shredded
1/3 cup yogurt, low-fat, plain
2 Tablespoons milk, 1% low-fat
20 crackers, whole grain, low-salt

 

INSTRUCTIONS
Place cream cheese and cheddar cheese in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Add yogurt and milk. Puree again until smooth.

Transfer dip to a serving bowl.

Serve with whole grain crackers.

Refrigerate leftovers.

 

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Calories: 216, Total Fat: 12.40 g, Saturated Fat: 6.75 g, Cholesterol: 30.64 mg, Sodium: 360.65 mg, Calcium: 378.88 mg, Protein: 13.57 g, Carbohydrates: 13.43 g, Dietary Fiber: 1.68 g

USDA International Agricultural Trade Officers Tour Oregon Agriculture

On the 21st of August, individuals from all over the world, including Asia, Europe and South America stopped in Tillamook to tour a dairy and the Tillamook Creamery.

It was just one stop on a tour of Oregon’s diverse agriculture as twenty-one locally employed staff supporting the USDA’s Agricultural Trade Offices at American embassies and consulates traveled the Oregon coast.

Their first stop on this week-long tour of American export opportunities was in Washington DC for tours, trainings, and meetings with the USDA. On Saturday they flew from Washington DC to Oregon. And Sunday, they began exploring everything Oregon grown, from pears to blueberries, barley and hazelnuts, to seafood and dairy.

“Dairy is such an important part of Oregon agriculture, and it’s such a longstanding tradition for this state,” said David Lane, Agricultural Development and Marketing Manager for ODA. “It’s important that we connect the world to Oregon’s dairy industry. So to get this group onto a dairy and into a creamery helps create that connection.”

At Oldenkamp Farms, tour guests were able to see robotic milking and automated feeding in action. The Lely feeding system is one of only four of its kind currently in the U.S., affectionately named by the Oldenkamp Family after Dr. Seuss’ “Thing 1 and Thing 2”.

After a visit with the cows and farm family that produce some of the milk for Tillamook cheese, the group of internationals continued on to the Tillamook Creamery Visitor’s Center for a self-guided tour and lunch. “This is the best cheese I have ever tasted,” said Annie Qiao, Marketing Specialist for the Agricultural Trade Office in Shanghai. Annie explained that current trends in Shanghai for exports are focused on American foods for ingredients in Chinese meals.

“For those companies that are interested and ready [to export], the world is open for American products. And the world is really open for Oregon products” said Lane.

Stacy Foster from the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council helped to organize the dairy portion of their tour. “It was a privilege to meet so many people from around the world that were not just passionate about American products, but specifically the products we offer here in Oregon. I hope we made a lasting impression.”

Pear Quesadillas

Food Hero has a wealth of easy to make, nutritious recipes to liven up your summer days. Here is an easy summer lunch idea for the kids … or yourself.

Serves 4

dash-recipehealthy-recipeentree-recipe

 

 

Dietitian’s Tip: This recipe is a great addition to a healthy diet serving up dairy protein, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Come up with your own combination using different fruits and vegetables.

 

INGREDIENTS

4 medium whole wheat tortillas
1 cup grated cheese (try cheddar, jack, or pepper jack)
1 cup pear slices (fresh or canned/drained)
½ cup finely chopped green or red peppers
2 tablespoons minced onion (green, red, or yellow)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Lay two tortillas on two plates.

Divide the cheese between the two tortillas.

Divide the pears, peppers, and onion between the two tortillas.

Top with remaining two tortillas.

Heat a skillet or griddle to medium (300 degrees in an electric skillet). Place one quesadilla in pan. Cook 2-4 minutes, or until bottom of quesadilla begins to look a little brown.

With large spatula, gently turn the quesadilla over and cook the other side until a little brown, 2-4 minutes.

Gently slide quesadilla onto a plate. Cook the second quesadilla.

Cut each cooked quesadilla into 4 pieces and serve.

 

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Per serving: 250 calories, 8 g total fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 31 g carbohydrate, 11 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 400 mg sodium

Recipe courtesy of Food Hero

Western States Introducing Dairy to SE Asia

Cheese and ice cream … what better way to further introduce U.S. western dairy foods to Southeast Asia, the world’s fourth largest economy?

During the week prior to the start of May World Trade Month, four western states – Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Arizona – collaborated to present cheese, ice cream, butter and milk powder ingredients to some 80,000 attendees of the Food and Hotel Asia show in Singapore.

As part of the U.S. Dairy Export Council’s (USDEC) trade show booth, coordinated by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, western dairy processors presented a sampling of the quality and excellence of U.S. dairy foods available to this growing market.

Several cheese varieties from the group were on display and sampled during USDEC’s Tuesday evening cheese sampling reception. Throughout the trade show, several potential buyers inquired about products, and sampled both cheese and ice cream.

Participation in this show follows other recent inbound and outbound trade missions coordinated by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council to build new markets for exports of regional dairy products.

 

Future Chefs Learn Good Cheese Starts with the Cows

This week, a group of 13 aspiring chefs from Oregon Culinary Institute took a closer look at where cheese comes from by taking a field trip to the source. They visited TMK Farm and Creamery, a 20 cow dairy and boutique creamery located in Canby, Oregon.

“We support the farm to table movement by providing chefs and culinary students with the opportunity to visit a dairy farm,” said Anne Goetze, Sr. Director of Nutrition Affairs for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. “It was a perfect match, and they learned firsthand about all of the factors that go into producing high quality milk and dairy foods, including care for animals, land, water and air.”

Between milking cows and making cheese, it was truly an opportunity for hands-on learning. TMK Creamery hosted a cheese making class where students were able to join in the entire process of making queso fresco cheese. Queso fresco, which translates as “fresh cheese,” is the most widely used cheese in Mexican cooking.

From cutting the curds, draining the whey and actually milking the cow, all the steps were included. Education is the goal for TMK. They want students, especially in the culinary world to understand not only the process, but also the passion behind their artisan cheese.

“It all starts with a quality milk,” says Bert Garza, who makes the cheese alongside his wife Shauna, “and to get quality milk, you need to be caring for your animals.”

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RELATED LINKS:

TMK Farms and Creamery

Oregon Culinary Institute

Artichoke Jalapeno Dip

Score Points with this Super Artichoke Dip.

Word on the street is there’s going to be a pretty big football game televised this Sunday. One might even call it “super,” with the express written consent of the National Football League, of course.

No plan yet for your big game watch party? Kick it off with this artichoke dip that’s sure to score points with your guests. It’ll be super in a bowl, or on a plate, and will stand apart in a crowded field of game day snacks and appetizers.

Yields 2 cups

dash-recipehealthy-recipeSide dish recipe

 

 

Dietitian’s Tip: 

  • Scoop onto crunchy carrot sticks, cucumbers, radishes, or jicama
  • Serve with whole grain crackers
  • Dip left over? Spread on whole grain toast for a healthy snack

 

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ cup plain Greek-style yogurt or plain yogurt, strained*
1 cup canned water-packed artichoke hearts, drained, patted dry, chopped
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh jalapeno chili, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate a couple hours before serving.

Follow the link to LiveBest for directions to strain plain yogurt.

 

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Per ¼ cup serving: 57 calories, 1 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 6 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 1 g fiber, 228 mg sodium, 168 mg potassium, 16 mg magnesium, 123 mg calcium

 

Recipe courtesy of LiveBest

DASH into the New Year for a Healthier You

by Josie Oleson, Oregon Health & Science University Dietetic Intern

Having trouble setting a New Year’s resolution? Why not DASH into 2018 by eating better and working toward a healthier you?

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, emphasizes dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein as part of a balanced diet to reduce high blood pressure and improve health. Cheese, milk, and yogurt provide essential nutrients like calcium, potassium and magnesium that are key in making the DASH diet work.

For eight years, DASH has been ranked the Best Diet Overall diet by U.S. News and World Report. In 2018, the eating plan also topped the “healthy eating” and “heart disease prevention” categories.

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recently lowered the recommendations for what it means to have high blood pressure. This change will increase the number of people with elevated or high blood pressure, but this also means that people will be able to fight back sooner by changing their diet and getting more exercise. This is what the DASH diet was originally designed to do, but it’s also a healthy way of eating that is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Want to kick-start your DASH resolution?

Take the Rate Your Plate Quiz and get started with this 4-step plan.


Try this new DASH recipe – White Chicken Chili

 

 

 

 


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