Have you ever wondered if you needed kitchen shears? The answer is YES. Almost anything that can be done with a knife can be done with shears more easily, and often more safely. Here is a short list of some kitchen tasks that are perfect for shears:
Trimming any kind of meat, like chicken, pork, beef, fish and bacon
Cutting meats into pieces or chunks
Cutting herbs and salad greens
Cutting dried fruit
Trimming dough (like pie crusts, cookie dough, or pizzas dough)
Cutting whole canned tomatoes
Cutting vegetables (like cauliflower, broccoli, and asparagus)
Cutting pita bread or quesadillas
Cutting fresh noodles
Cutting crab claws or legs
I could keep going, but you get the idea. Shears are especially good for use with foods that are slippery, thick, or hard. A good pair of shears will also come apart for easy cleaning and drying. This is important to prevent rust. Many times shears will have additional features, such as bottle openers or shell and nut crackers.
For a good multipurpose shear, you want shears that have a carbon steel blade or stainless steel. Handles may come in various styles and materials, but ideally you want something coated with silicon because it is comfortable to hold. Blades that are serrated and offset are better suited for cutting slippery foods and for cutting at an angle.
There are shears specifically for cutting poultry. These will be more curved, and may also have a blunt tip that can help prevent meat from tearing apart.
Herb shears (or just multipurpose shears) are so much easier and safer to use than trying to snip or cut with a knife. Once you try it this way, you will NEVER go back to chopping again!
A good pair of shears will cost anywhere from $15-$50. You get what you pay for, so don’t be afraid to invest in something that is high quality and will last a while. I also suggest buying more than one pair. There are 4 pairs of shears in my kitchen and there are days where I wish I had one more pair.
If you are one of those people that thinks rice is either white or brown, and both are boring, you are mistaken. There are so many different kinds of rice, each with a unique flavor and many with a unique use. You would serve yourself well to venture out and try some of the different varieties. Several are mentioned here with brief descriptions and suggestions for use.
An aromatic, long-grain rice from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. It comes in brown or white. It has a distinct flavor, “nutty” might be a word to describe it. It is a tender, fluffy rice and does not stick. It is used in curries and stir fry, but can also just be served as a side dish.
This is available in short, medium, or long varieties. It is higher in magnesium, selenium and fiber than white rice. Can be eaten as a breakfast cereal, used in sushi and puddings, and can be substituted for white rice most of the time.
This is a medium or short grain rice with a high starch content. It is used to make risotto. (Risotto is an Italian rice dish that is stirred and cooked slowly in a broth to a creamy consistency) Arborio is also used for pudding and other desserts.
Sometimes also called “purple” or “forbidden” rice. It is dark due to the anthocyanin content. It is a whole grain rice and comes in long and short grain varieties. The short grain type is often used to make sticky rice, porridge, and rice pudding.
This comes in short, medium and long grain varieties. Most white rice in the U.S. in enriched with thiamin, niacin, folic acid, and iron. Don’t rinse white rice before or after boiling to prevent washing the nutrients away.
This is originally from Thailand and has a very distinctive floral aroma and nutty flavor. It pairs well with Mediterranean food. It is light and fluffy, and can be white or brown. Steaming works better than boiling with this grain.
Wild rice is actually not rice at all. It is a semi-aquatic grass species grown in North America. It is dark, long and slender with a nutty flavor. The texture is chewy and it is higher in protein than white or brown rice. This is usually mixed with other rices or bulgur wheat. It goes very well with red meats, stews, soups, pilafs, and fruit.
This is a whole grain rice, very rich in antioxidants and other nutrients. It is a long grain rice from Thailand or a medium grain from Bhutan. It is nutty, chewy and great to add to pilafs, rice salads, and stuffings. Plus it’s beautiful!
All rice varieties have carbohydrate, a little protein, a tiny bit of fat, and all are gluten free. Whole grain rice will have more protein, vitamins, and fiber than white rice. Colored rices will have more antioxidants.
The shape and length of the rice determines its texture when it has been cooked, as well as what dishes to use it in. Long grain rice generally cooks light and fluffy. It is good for adding to rice salads, jambalayas, curries, and stuffings. Medium grain rice is moist and tender. It is better suited for things like paella and risotto. Short grain rice is much moister and stickier, making it a great option for rice puddings and eating with chopsticks.
Rice is a great way to make soups and casseroles even heartier, as well as stretch the food budget.
Sometimes a leftover potato can be the basis for an easy, healthy breakfast. I had a small potato sitting around, along with some remnants of my Easter ham. I got inspired (because I was hungry) and decided to whip up a skillet concoction using my leftovers and some ingredients I already had on hand. This is just what I ended up making, but it could certainly be adapted to use whatever YOU have on hand. This would be great with ANY meat remnants, like steak or pork, or sausage. This serves two people easily, or one VERY hungry man.
1 small potato
1 oz chopped ham
1 oz shredded cheese
1/2 oz ghee (butter or oil of your choosing)
salt and pepper to taste
Ever had one? These are popular in Texas for sure, but anyone can make a great fish taco. These are particularly good because they can be very low in fat, high in carbs and protein and loaded with flavor.
Things you will need to have on hand:
Fish of your choice, but white fish works best. Look for swordfish, sea bass, or tilapia. Salmon also works well.
Green or Red Salsa (or a hot sauce that you like)
Limes sliced into wedges
Cilantro, fresh is best!
Avocado, optional, sliced
Grill your fish of choice. Be sure to add flavor! Brush with olive oil, garlic, peppers, whatever you like! Grill it with the skin side UP first and cook about 2/3 through. You can tell how much it is cooking by looking at the color of the flesh. It will turn from clear to solid. Flip it and finish grilling. If you are feeling a bit gourmet, use banana leaves to flip the fish on to when on the grill. This will make it easier to remove from the grill. You can just flake the fish apart while still on the leaves and clean up is WAY easier.
To prep the tortillas, brush with a little olive oil and heat briefly on the grill. All you have to do now is assemble your taco! Make it any way you like. J Top with a squeezed lime wedge and you are ready to eat!
Tip: If you are one of the lucky ones who need to increase your calories to gain some weight, you can double up the tortillas on your taco.
Take advantage of the latest hot product at the grocery store – naan. The flatbread, most commonly associated with the cooking of India, is enjoying newfound popularity at the grocery store. Readily available in pre-packaged form, the tear-dropped shape bread comes in flavors such as whole wheat and garlic. Like Boboli before it, naan is the trendiest way to put a new spin on pizza – a blank canvas for whatever the creative cook can dream up.
Dress it up with any combination of ingredients and blanket the whole mixture with cheese or use naan as a platform to showcase melted cheese, much like a grilled cheese sandwich. Try pepper jack, Monterey Jack, provolone or mozzarella combined with other favorites such as Parmesan and Asiago.
In Indian and Central Asian cooking, flatbreads are as common as biscuits and cornbread in the South. Traditionally, naan is baked in a small dried clay oven where a hot fire heats the inside walls. The dough is thrown against the walls where it sticks and bakes. The experienced baker chooses just the right moment to pull it out of the oven – when it’s browned and bubbly – and before it slides onto the ground. The main difference between naan and other flatbreads is in the cooking: a skillet instead of an oven. In some countries, yogurt is added to the flour in naan to soften the texture of the final product.
Although you can serve naan plain, cooks have found a way to pair the ethnic food with a gourmet taste of America, similar to the upscale taco craze. You’ll find naan topped with everything from barbecued chicken and smoked Gouda, to roasted vegetables and Gruyere, to smoked salmon and cream cheese.
Because few of us have a tandoori oven in the backyard, you can slide the naan onto a grill, or you can pop it in the oven. It’s delicious any way you do it.
One of the great qualities to any MMA guy or girl is that they tend to be very disciplined. They also don’t seem to mind doing and eating the same thing over and over and over and over and over again. They also seem to eat a LOT of chicken. If this remotely describes you, or you have often wondered when you will begin growing feathers……you need to switch the diet up a bit. Sure, chicken is lean, easy to cook and generally pretty cheap, but you don’t can’t eat chicken forever!
Grilled fish is such a great alternative to chicken… don’t be afraid to try it! Start with something mild like tilapia, swordfish, or grouper. These are white, flaky, and mild flavored. Brush your filet with olive oil, salt, and garlic. Throw it on the grill skin side UP, cook about 2/3 through. Flip it over and cook the other side. DON’T try to slide the fish around. Yes, it sticks to the grill for the first minute or so, but it will come off fine when it is done. Serve with some lime or lemon wedges. You can have fish with rice or couscous, or put it into a taco! (Check the Rudog website for more info on fish tacos). BTW, don’t be afraid to ask the guy at the fish counter for advice or about which fish is fresh versus frozen. They have all the right answers and are happy to share them. 🙂
Saw a really cool idea about how to fix a large quantity of veggies really easily. It involves grilling and a lot of aluminum foil.
First, pick your veggies to grill. This can be ANYTHING. Let’s say you have broccoli, squash, carrots, and green beans. Make a BIG foil packet…..I mean big enough to cover a turkey or chicken. Put the veggies in the foil pack.
Add some butter, like 2 tbsps, or a little canola oil. Season how you like stuff. Salt and pepper? Cajun seasoning? Your choice.
Toss on the grill for about 15 to 20 minutes while you cook some meat or fish. All set!
Hanging out in grocery stores and cruising the aisles for new foods to try may not be high on your list of things to do. Neither is reading labels in public. (Yes, labels can be read) No worries. Let Rudog do it. Happy to help a dude (or chick) out. Check here to find out about different foods you should try. Some will be new. Some will only be new to you. Some you will like. Some you won’t. It’s cool either way. Rudog does not receive any support for mentioning a food or food product. No corporate spoon feeding here. It’s all real Rudog opinion.
OJ the Rudog Way
OJ is one of those foods that you SHOULD pay the extra money for, but only for the REALLY REALLY good stuff. I do NOT mean Sunny Delight. I mean brands like Tropicana, Minute Maid, or Simply Orange. Some things you should know:
The good stuff is 100% juice. NOT made from concentrate.
Drinking real juice counts as water and fruit intake.
You can purchase OJ that is fortified with calcium. It’s an easy way to get the same amount of calcium if you don’t like milk.
You can purchase low-acid OJ if regular OJ bothers you. (yes….LOTS of people can’t tolerate the acidity.)
Rudog’s vote for best orange juice goes to Tropicana Pure, 100% Valencia orange juice. It will rock your world. Get it with or without pulp, it doesn’t matter. Not all grocery stores carry this, so you may have to hunt around. Simply Orange, by Minute Maid is the next best choice. It is 100% juice, just not from Valencia oranges. The bonus is that it is much easier to find in the grocery stores.
BTW, if you have a food product you would like Rudog to check out, send an email to [email protected]
In the eternal search for good, quality meals that you can heat and eat, I tried one of the Amy’s brand frozen dinners. OMG! I was so impressed! I had tried Amy’s years ago, and couldn’t stand it. I don’t know what has changed (me? better technology?) but it was great!
The one I had was the Enchilada with rice and beans on the side. Most frozen Mexican food needs help. A little cheese, some sour cream, some salt. This needed nothing! Literally 5 minutes in the microwave and it was perfect.
For you guys on the go, and on the cheap, this would be a great meal starter or a mini meal. 330 kcals, 9 g Pro, 9 g fiber, 53 g Carbs, and 8 g Fat. It’s high in carbs, so a great post workout option. Throw a salad with it, you are good to go! This was the vegetarian enchilada, so the protein is a little lower than usual. Don’t freak, it’s ok. Have a glass of milk or your SMALL protein drink. All better now 🙂
Cook the fish according to package instructions. Slice tomato and avocado and put on top of salad. Top with cooked fish. Dress with balsamic vinegar and olive oil to taste. This is also good with just plain old ranch dressing if you aren’t into balsamic.
If you are looking for an easy way to boost the vitamin content of your diet, give nuts a try. They have long since been recognized for their nutritional value as a source of polyunsaturated fats, good protein, and antioxidants. There are so many fantastic nuts to eat, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one type. Pistachios, almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, and macadamias are just a few! For this article, we will focus on walnuts.
A serving of walnuts is going to be 1 oz, or roughly a handful. (I’m talking about walnuts without the shells) This would be about 1/4 cup shelled halves or pieces OR 12-14 halves. A serving has about 18g of fat and 190 calories. Don’t panic. I admit, they are high in fat and calories. This is exactly why you have to be careful when eating nuts, any kind of nuts. However, for people who train HARD and need concentrated calories (especially the kind that can travel in the car and gym bag), nuts are a very strategic, health RICH food.
Walnuts are the only nut to be a significant source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids. Typically these fatty acids are derived from fish. Omega-3’s are essential fatty acids (that means they have to come from the diet) and known to reduce inflammation. Research has suggested that omega-3’s may also help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases. You definitely want a diet rich in omega 3’s. Because walnuts are a plant food, and not animal based, there is NO CHOLESTEROL. There isn’t cholesterol in any nut. They are also naturally low in sodium.
I mentioned earlier that nuts are also a good source of antioxidants. Research has suggested that antioxidants may help protect against some cancers, especially those related to the aging process. As reported in the Spring 2011 volume of SCAN’s Pulse
A 2010 study2 investigating the antioxidant activity of different dry fruits found walnuts to exhibit the best antioxidant properties Additional research3 testing 1113 different foods for antioxidant levels reported walnuts rank second only to blackberries in terms of antioxidant content Ellagic acid and gamma tocopherol, a form of vitamin E, are two antioxidants that are thought to have anticarcinogenic properties; both are found in walnuts Melatonin, an antioxidant known for its sleep regulating properties is also naturally found in walnuts Research, led by melatonin expert Russel Reiter, PhD4, published in the September 2005 issue of Nutrition: The International Journal of Applied and Basic Nutritional Sciences, reported the calculated concentrations of melatonin in walnuts was 3 5 +/- 1 0ng/g.
I have always been a proponent of using melatonin to help with sleep, but I was not aware that it was an antioxidant! It’s like a bonus!
For those who may prefer to focus on a more vegetarian type of diet, nuts can be a great way to incorporate protein, while adding additional fiber. Fiber helps you feel full and is also beneficial to controlling blood sugar levels. (and they are gluten-free!)
If you happen to like reading research and getting more of the clinical details, you can read more here. Be sure to look for new recipes on the site that use walnuts. 🙂
Rudog is always on the look out for foods in the grocery store that offer a little something different or unique that can be used in the diet to spice it up a bit. Variety is important to being able to stay focused and committed to eating right. So many of our clients (before coming to Rudog) are eating the same thing day after day. They admit that the diet part of their training is the least “fun”. So with that in mind, we try to make you aware of food items that can be rotated in with your regular eating to make it more flavorful, attractive, or functional.
I was introduced to Mary’s Gone Crackers at a food expo a couple of years ago. This company is based out of California and makes a variety of different crackers/savory snacks. They are wheat free, dairy free, trans fat free, and vegan approved. I certainly wondered if they could possibly taste good, but they do! This is a VERY crunchy, savory cracker. The original flavor is my favorite and it’s particularly good with a little Laughing Cow cheese spread. They also go great alongside salads.
They use quinoa, flax seed, black sesame, and some other amazing ingredients. Did I mention they are also organic? It’s like the perfect cracker.
They are available in grocery stores, but aren’t quite as easy to find as the saltines, so you may have to hunt a little. I found mine at Market Street Grocery. Get some! You won’t regret it!
Looking for an alternative to plain old butter? Check out a product called Brummel and Brown. It’s made from yogurt, canola, and soybean oil. It tastes fantastic and comes in plain, blueberry, or strawberry. You would use it on the same foods you would put butter or cream cheese on. Bagels, toast, english muffins, or whatever else you like! It’s healthier because it doesn’t have the saturated fat that butter or cream cheese has. It also does not have any trans-fats. You can’t cook with it, but it’s a great for table top use. Look for it in the refrigerated section next to the butters and margarines.