Sausage and Vegetable Wraps With Easy Marinara

The fresh marinara in this recipe is ready in 20 minutes, and all the ingredients can go into the skillet at once. If you have a large cast-iron griddle, the sausages, peppers, and onions can all cook on the same surface at the same time.

This dish is about taking common Italian ingredients and serving them in the style of Mexican street food. Warm, flour tortillas are the perfect vehicles for bringing the sausages, vegetables, marinara, and cheese together in one simple, hand-held meal.

Slicing the grilled sausages in half horizontally, then in half vertically results in hearty pieces of meat that are thin enough to work well in a six-inch tortilla-two pieces per wrap.

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the Marinara

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the Sausages and Vegetables

olive oil, for marinating and brushing
4 hot Italian sausages, about 1 lb total
1 large green bell pepper, cut into thin, 1-inch slices
1 small onion, cut into thin, vertical strips
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 6-inch flour tortillas (taco-sized), warmed
1 cup shredded provolone cheese

Preparation

For the Marinara

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, tomatoes, and parsley and season with salt and pepper.
Bring the tomato mixture to a slight simmer, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.

For the Sausages and Vegetables

Prick the sausages all over with a fork or small knife blade. Rub them with olive oil.
In a small bowl, toss the bell pepper and onion with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat a cast-iron griddle over two stove-top burners on high heat and brush one end with olive oil. Grill the sausages until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 15 minutes, turning several times while cooking.
When the sausages have cooked about 5 minutes, brush the other end of the griddle with oil and scatter the peppers and onions over it. Grill until beginning to char, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.

To serve, combine the sausages, peppers, and onions in a bowl. Place the marinara in a small bowl alongside and serve with cheese and warm tortillas. Let you guests fill their own wraps.

7 Layer Salad

I have a favorite salad recipe I serve for Thanksgiving. I also fix it in the summer months when I want to eat something light but filling. It is a simple salad to make and all it requires is a glass dish.You want to see how pretty it looks with the entire layers stacked on top of each other.

The wonderful thing about this salad is it makes a great side dish for fried chicken. The salad I’m referring to is a 7 layer salad. My mother taught me how to make it. I want to share it with you and you can pass it along to somebody. Here is my recipe for 7 layer salad.

Ingredients

1 head iceberg lettuce

1 can peas

1 onion

6 hard-boiled eggs

1 package bacon

1 to 2 cups miracle whip

1 package sharp shredded cheddar cheese

I listed the ingredients in the order they should go in the salad starting with lettuce first then peas etc. The secret to this salad is the bacon. With that being said you can make this recipe using that imitation store-bought bacon in a jar but it’s not the same. You must use real bacon and lots of it. Get a pot to boil 6 eggs. Salt the water for the eggs because this helps peel the eggs easily. First get a glass casserole dish. I like using a square dish so all the ingredients are laying flat. Cut up a small head of lettuce or enough to cover the bottom of the casserole dish. A half a head of lettuce will do if you are making a small version. Next drain the canned peas and layer on top of the lettuce covering the lettuce all over. Slice up a large onion and layer on top of the peas. Cool the hard-boiled eggs with cold water and remove the shells. Slice the eggs and layer on top of the onion. Cook up a whole pack of bacon until crispy. Crumble the crispy bacon on top of the eggs. Spoon out 1 to 2 cups miracle whip on the bacon and spread it across the bacon with a spreading knife like icing. All the ingredients should completely cover the last ingredient underneath it. The last step is to sprinkle the cheese on top of the salad dressing covering it completely. Press the cheese down into the dressing so it doesn’t fall off. You will thank me later for this recipe.

10 Best Chocolates You Have To Taste in NYC

Here in NYC, we have sampled some of the best chocolates. They are:

1: Hot Chocolate from City Bakery

City Bakery has provides eight ounces of non-watered chocolate that has been melted. This is provided in their cafeteria-style caf� with a large homemade marshmallow placed on tip. Though it is not healthy, it offers a good experience.

2: Holiday Chocolates from L.A Burdick

This is said to be the best shop in NY. Stop in for a cup of hot chocolate with some of your friends on a chilly morning or a hot afternoon and walk out with a box full of delightful chocolate penguins as a gift to a friend.

3: MarieBelle Chocolates

This is a mix of the best and original chocolate that is combined with eclectic ingredients that makes it taste wonderful. All these combined with the best artisanal design which resembles precious jewels makes it perfect.

4: Olivia Kita Fine Chocolates

Olivia Kita’s chocolatiers are probably the best chocolatiers who offer vegan organic chocolates. These beautiful creations mixed with beautiful flavors from herbs, flowers, exotic fruits, berries, nuts and other spices offer the best taste.

5: Jacques Torres Chocolate

These chocolates are probably some of the best you have ever tasted. They are made of fresh beans and can be combined with other delicacies which will overwhelm your taste buds indefinitely.

6: Martine’s Chocolates

They are made of fresh cream chocolates as well as truffles. The delicacies are handmade and are prepared in front of the clients. They include Belgian Callebautcouverture, French butter and fresh American cream. Presented in a pink box that makes the client even salivate before eating.

7: Kee’s Chocolates

This place creates handmade confectionaries. They have an international flavor since their ingredients are imported: yuzu from Japan, French sea salt and Spanish saffron. This is an ideal stop for individuals who prefer a small SoHo shop.

8: Vosges Haut-Chocolat

This is perhaps one of the best places to buy truffles. It provides an international flavor with the exotic flavors collected from all over the world. It is made with curry, Thai pandan leaves and wasabi. You can order this unique candy online for dessert.

9: Hampton Chocolates

The Hampton Chocolate factory employs some of the best chocolatiers from around the world to provide some of the most unique creations. They are all natural, preservation free and have been said to have the best taste.

10: Gnosis chocolates

The gnosis chocolates are all natural and created to enhance the health of the client. Only the best organic ingredients are used to deliver an attractive flavor and nourishment from some of the best herbs from China and Native America. Appropriate for dessert.

Keeping Your Salads Safe From Bacteria That Cause Food Borne-Illness

During the warmer months, food can spoil quickly therefore it’s very important to handle all foods, including fresh produce like fruit and vegetable salads, safely to prevent possible food-borne illness. Since many meals happen outdoors in the spring and summer (think Memorial Day and July 4th barbecues) there is often a greater chance for food contamination, especially in places away from home (for example-the local park), where there is minimal access to refrigeration and washing facilities.

The following are helpful tips from the Food and Drug Administration to reduce the risk of food-borne illness from fresh produce.

� At the store, purchase produce that is not bruised or damaged. If buying fresh cut produce, be sure it is refrigerated or surrounded by ice.

� At home, chill and refrigerate food immediately. After purchase, put produce that needs refrigeration away promptly. Fresh whole produce such as bananas and potatoes do not need refrigeration. Fresh produce should be refrigerated within two hours of peeling or cutting. Leftover cut produce should be discarded if left at room temperature for more than two hours.

� Wash hands often with hot soapy water before and after handling fresh produce or raw meat, poultry or seafood.

� Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables with cool tap water immediately before eating. Don’t use soap or detergents. Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush. Cut away any bruised or damaged areas before eating.

� Wash surfaces often. Cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops should be washed with hot soapy water and sanitized after coming in contact with raw meat, poultry or seafood. Sanitize after use with a solution of 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water.

� Don’t cross contaminate. Use clean cutting boards and utensils when handling fresh produce. Use one clean cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood. During food preparation, wash cutting boards, utensils or dishes that have come into contact with raw meat, poultry or seafood. Do not consume ice that has come in contact with raw products.

� Use a cooler with ice or ice packs when transporting or storing perishable food outdoors, including fresh fruits and vegetables.

� Wash pre-packaged salads before use. Don’t assume that because food is prepackaged it is ready to eat!

� Even if you don’t eat the peel of a fruit or vegetable, such as melons, it is still important to wash them. Bacteria from the outer surface can be transferred to the inside of the fruit or vegetable when you cut into them. Discard the outer leaves of leafy vegetables before washing them.

Make sure to take the proper steps in caring for your food to prevent the risk of food-borne illness. Hope you enjoy a safe and fun spring and summer.

Bonnie R. Giller offers tailored nutrition and health solutions for the most challenging medical issues such as weight loss, diabetes management and gastrointestinal conditions. She helps chronic dieters get off the diet roller coaster and finally get the body they love.

Bonnie is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator. She is also a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor with extensive training in intuitive eating.

How to Make Super Easy Orzo Pasta Salad

This quick and easy recipe for orzo pasta salad makes an elegant and enticing garden-fresh salad that is loaded with bright, summery color and flavor – making it the perfect summer side dish.

A sophisticated pasta salad that looks and tastes like one of those fancy gourmet deli salads, this one is miles ahead of that rubbery tri-color pasta salad we’ve all seen again and again.

This no-mayo pasta salad is also safe for picnics, beach trips, boat rides and relaxing backyard BBQs with friends and family. Kid friendly too!

You can even make this one ahead as it holds up well once assembled.

Try this orzo pasta salad for your next summer fete and see if you don’t get rave reviews!

This orzo pasta salad is one of my go-to recipes when I need to bring a summer salad or side dish to an outdoor event. Easy to make and beautiful to serve, this one is always a hit.

The recipe calls for orzo pasta, a small rice-like pasta that holds up exceptionally well in cold salad and absorbs the flavors of the dressing and the other ingredients without getting mushy or chewy. Ripe but firm cherry tomatoes bring a sweet summery taste. Use plenty of fresh basil and parsley for color, subtle flavor and brightness. Small bits of crumbled feta cheese add a welcome saltiness that perfectly suits the al dente pasta. A light toss with a good quality Greek vinaigrette dressing is all your need to bring the flavors together and keep the dish moist and delicious. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 lb. ( a box) of orzo pasta
6-8 oz. of organic feta cheese (avoid the processed crumbles for best flavor)
A very large handful (2 cups) of gently torn fresh basil leaves, (don’t cut it or it will bruise and turn dark)
A large handful (1 cup) of fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, rough chopped.
A pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup of a good quality Greek vinaigrette, home made or bottled, with extra as needed.
Plenty of fresh-cracked black pepper
1 heaping tablespoon of salt for the pasta water

Directions

Rinse the herbs and the tomatoes and set on paper towels or linen to dry completely.

Put a large pot of water (4 quarts) on to boil. Place a small-holed collander in the sink.

While the water is heating… tear the basil by stacking the leaves, same side up, and gently tearing off thumb-size pieces from the stack. If the leaves are small, use them whole. Set aside.

Rough chop the parley leaves and set aside. Discard the stems.

Slice the tomatoes in half and set aside.

When the pasta water is at a rolling boil, add a generous tablespoon of salt and drop in the orzo. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook according to the package directions until just al dente (still firm).

Drain the orzo in a collander and immediately rinse with plenty of cold running water to stop the cooking process and rinse off any starch from the pasta. Drain well.

Place the drained pasta in a large bowl and gently toss with 1/2 cup of the Greek dressing until thoroughly mixed. The flavors in the dressing will be absorbed by the still-warm pasta as it cools. The oil in the dressing also keeps the pasta from sticking together.

Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap down over the pasta in the bowl. Allow to cool completely in the fridge.

When the pasta is cold, add the tomatoes, the basil, and the parsley.

Cut the feta into 1/4 inch slices and then use your fingers to crumble the feta into pea size bits. It’s a messy process but worth it to use the non-processed feta! Add plenty of fresh-cracked black pepper and toss well until everything is nicely incorporated. Adjust the amounts of the ingredients to your taste. You shouldn’t need to add any salt as the feta is very salty and the pasta has been flavored during cooking.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup of dressing and toss well. If it is too dry, add more dressing, a splash at a time and stir it in well. Greek dressing is quite strong and it should just compliment the subtle flavors of the salad, not overwhelm it. Don’t drench the salad in dressing. It should be moist but not soggy.

Transfer to your serving bowl or plastic container and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Keeps well in the fridge up to a week.

Frozen Yogurt Shops Switching From Cups to Cones

For years, frozen yogurt has been served in paper cups. The convenience of this for store owners was unmatched. Now, however, the tides are changing and more shops are seeing the need to introduce waffle cones into their business.

There are several reasons for this change.

WHY?

Easy to consume on the go. More and more Moms are choosing yogurt as a healthy alternative to ice cream. They love the convenience of a cone which allows them to eat while they transport the kids to afternoon activities.
Ice cream cones are edible. This means no garbage left over after snack time. Ice cream cones are the greener alternative.
They weigh more. Quality made waffle cones, weigh just as much if not more than a paper cup. While many shops argue the cost of a cone is higher, they must understand they can recoup the cost with the weight of the cone.
Kids love cones. Sure the Moms may love the convenience of eating on the go but for kids, cones are preferred over cups. Not only that. Many shops are actually dressing them up with chocolate and sprinkles to make them even more desirable and profitable.

HOW?

Changing a yogurt shop over, isn’t near as difficult as some shop owners think. With just a few simple steps, making the switch can be a simple transition.

Start sampling. There are many cone companies out there. Be sure to try a few different cones to find the company that offer the best quality cones.
Use the internet. Go online to restaurant supply and shopping websites and find cone holders. They come in a variety of styles and materials. Plastic or metal ones work best. They do make cone holder attachments for the scale; however, just using an acrylic cone holder can be just as effective. Just be sure to tare your scale to include the weight of the cone holder.
Posters/displays. Using posters and strategic placement of displays can really help to draw attention to your newly added waffle cones. Be sure to have stands available for your customers to stand their cones while they fill them with all the amazing toppings you offer.

Yogurt shops are changing with the times. If you haven’t incorporated them yet, you should think about it. Offering a variety of flavored waffle cones can also help to stimulate new business. In these changing times, shop owners need to be willing to change with the growing demand of their customers. And customers want waffle cones.

So What’s So Special About Arabica Coffee

What’s So Special About Arabica Coffee Beans?

Have you ever wondered why it is that Arabica coffee is mentioned as a selling point on some coffees and why it seems to attract a higher price as well? A quick online search will return hundreds of results for coffees boasting ‘100% pure Arabica beans’ or ‘blended using Arabica coffee’.

The answer is a lot more simple than you might think. Most coffee blends are made using either Arabica or Robusta, and most of the time, a mixture of the two in varying ratios. Robusta cherries contain, on average, just over twice the caffeine of Arabica cherries (which you might think is a good thing!) and more caffeine that almost any other major coffee type. Caffeine itself has a slightly bitter taste, and this shows up in the blending process when Robusta is used, resulting in a bitter and slightly burnt taste. Arabica, by contrast, contains far less caffeine and therefore results in a smoother and less bitter flavor.

Of course, the blending and roasting processes can correct much of this, and so there’s no need to be put off drinking coffee that is primarily made using Robusta beans, unless it’s cheap and nasty coffee anyway. Generally speaking, the more Arabica that is used in a given blend, the smoother and less bitter it will taste (assuming it has been made properly of course), with 100% Arabica coffee being particularly sought after by many coffee drinkers.

Another factor that makes Arabica coffee more desirable than other types is that the plants it comes from are less hardy than Robusta coffee plants, and therefore they are more expensive to source. In some years with adverse weather conditions, the price will increase more than other types of coffee simply because the plants haven’t produced the same sized crop as normal. Arabica is also more susceptible to pests and needs very specific climactic conditions including soil with low acidity levels, an evenly distributed amount of regular rainfall and a temperature averaging around 20 degrees Celcius.

All of these factor contribute to a higher price, which in turn means it’s not used as much in cheaper coffee blends.

Robusta plants, on the other hand, can grow at lower altitudes and don’t require the same precise weather conditions to thrive. They are less vulnerable to pests and each tree can produce as much as double the crop of a similar Arabica tree. That’s not to say that Robustas are always inferior – like anything else, there is varying quality and the very best can produce an outstanding espresso for example, and there are also Arabicas that are of below average quality too. However, taken as a whole, Arabica is generally reckoned to be of superior quality.

Ultimately of course, all of this is irrelevant if you prefer the taste of something else. Try a 100% Arabica blend and then try a few with more Robusta and see if you can tell the difference – it should be quite noticeable. Most instant coffee (unless it states otherwise), together with supermarket own-brand ground coffee will be made up predominantly, or exclusively, of Robusta beans.

As with most things, you get what you pay for. So next time you see a coffee being advertised as 100% Arabica, at least you’ll know why you’re having to pay that little bit more for it.

A Single Leaf – So Many Types of Tea

When Europeans first became interested in drinking tea the only significant source available was from China. The Chinese were naturally very protective and secretive about their tea and would put forward misleading information about where it was grown, when it was harvested and how it is processed. One of these myths was that different types of tea were produced from different plants and this belief was sustained for many years. We now know, however, that regardless of type, whether it is green, white, oolong, black, yellow or dark, all true teas are produced from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant.

In fact there are two main varieties of camellia sinensis recognised being camellia sinensis var.sinensis and C. sinensis var. assamica where sinensis and assamica suggest origins from China and India respectively. However, it is not as black and white as this may sound as some of China’s famous teas (such as Pu-erh tea) are made from the broader leafed assamica variety and the renowned Indian Darjeeling teas are produced from the leaves of the sinensis variety. Nowadays, there are many hybrids and numerous varietals that have been bred but essentially it is just the one plant responsible for the world’s favourite beverage.

So, if it is the same plant how come there are so many different types of tea? Fundamentally, it comes down to the way that the leaves are processed and the degree to which the leaves are allowed to oxidised (also sometimes referred to as fermented) during production.

For green tea there is no oxidation. Once the leaves have been harvested there is usually a short period where the leaves are left to wither but relatively soon after harvest they are subject to a process which is known as ‘kill green’. The purpose of this process is to kill the enzymes in the leaves that are responsible for oxidation and is achieved by the application of heat to the leaves. The way that this is done varies between producers and in different parts of the world and includes baking, frying or steaming, each with varying degrees of technological sophistication. Once ‘kill green’ has been completed the leaves experience several cycles of rolling and drying before the final product is completed.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is black tea which is left to completely oxidise. Once leaves are harvested they are left to wither for an extended period with the objective of reducing the moisture content in the leaves until they are soft enough for subsequent processing. The length of the withering stage will depend on temperature and humidity and may be as long as 14 to 20 hours. When it is judged that leaves have withered sufficiently they will be rolled for shape and to break the leaf cell walls in order to release the essential oils that will stimulate oxidation and give the tea its colour, strength, aroma and taste. The tea is then left to fully oxidise before the final drying, sorting and grading takes place.

In between green and black sit the oolong teas which, typically, experience anywhere between 10% and 70% oxidation. As this allows a reasonably wide range of possibilities, oolong teas can be found in the many shades between green and black with taste characteristics that are closer to one or the other. A typical oolong process involves sun drying and withering of the leaves before they are shaken to break the leaf edges to commence oxidation. The degree of oxidation is key to the appearance and taste of the final tea and when the desired level has been reached the leaves go through a ‘kill green’ process to bring the process to a halt. Oolong teas then go through many rolling and drying phases depending on the type of final leaf appearance that is required. In order to achieve the familiar ball or pellet shape leaf may require the leaves to be rolled up to ten times.

Choosing The Right Coffee Makers Machines – Factors To Consider

Many people find it difficult to start their day without coffee. It is one refreshing and energizing drink that makes your moments perfect. Though instant coffee is easy to prepare, you cannot compare its flavor with that of freshly brewed coffee. The sensational flavor you get from the brewed coffee is worth spending your time and efforts on.

Tips to Help You Chose the Best Coffee Makers

Making brewed coffee requires you to buy best makers machines. Some of the considerations to make when buying these machines are as follows:

– Size

There are many different types of coffee makers. You may want to consider the number of people who you will be preparing the beverage for. Smaller sizes are ideal for people living alone while larger sizes are ideal for a family.

– Designs

There are many different designs of coffee makers machines. Some may be programmable while others are simple to clean. Some can make different types of coffee such as cappuccino and latte. Others will do everything for you; from grinding the coffee beans to pouring the freshly made coffee to a cup. Go for the design that blends with your preferences, needs and tastes.

– Quality

Different materials of coffee machines cost differently, and will have different qualities. From the plastic materials to the stainless steel, you will find varied strengths in each of the machines. Always go for the best quality so that you can get value for your money in the end.

– Cost

You may want to consider the costs of coffee makers so that you can find the product that is within your budget. Smaller sized coffee machines cost less than the larger ones. Still, the best quality will be more expensive than the low quality. A comparison of prices between different vendors can help you find the product that has the best quality yet affordable.

Once you have selected the best coffee maker machines, you may be required to maintain it through easy procedures such as cleaning and storing it in the right places. This way, you can brew your coffee every day using the same machine for the longest time possible. The maintenance procedures are more often than not provided by many manufacturers.

Find Coffee Makers Online

There are many vendors willing to supply coffee machines online. Therefore it should not be hard to find these products. You must however evaluate the options available using the factors above and select the type that is perfect for you.