Friday, August 11, 2017

Why Jerky is a Food You Should be Eating

The next time you need a snack to bring to a party, hiking or just hanging out, grab your Dehydrator and whip up some jerky. Even though it’s a wildly underrated snack, it brings way more to the table than most snacks because it’s savory, salty, and healthy.

Jerky is a Low-Carb, High Protein Food
Studies have shown that a high protein, low carb diet can lead to a healthier lifestyle. Protein keeps your metabolism running smoothly and leaves you feeling satisfied, keeping cravings at a minimum.

No Unnatural Chemicals or Preservatives
Jerky, especially homemade, is free of unnatural dyes, chemicals and weird preservatives. Typically, jerky only has three ingredients—meat, cure, and spices. Making your own jerky is an easy way to control the chemicals you and your family put into your bodies.
Ground Beef ready for Dehyration

Satisfy Your Salt Cravings, Without Going Overboard
It doesn’t matter how healthy your diet is, salty food cravings are real. Don’t overdo it with unhealthy snacks like potato chips, cheese puffs or pizza. Quash your salt cravings with a serving of beef jerky, it’ll satisfy your taste for salty foods while actually giving your body fuel.

Jerky is Easy to Bring Anywhere
There’s a reason hikers and cyclists use jerky to keep moving throughout the day. It’s lightweight and easy to carry, just keep it in a plastic Tupperware container or zipper bag for up to two weeks.

There’s Endless Flavor Options
Create unique flavor varieties that can be mixed and matched with Nesco’s variety of seasonings. Find your favorite flavor or mix them together to create your own unique blend. You can also experiment with different types of meat, like turkey, bison or even tofu. Experimenting with different flavors and textures lets you find the perfect blend that suits you best. Jerky is the pizza of the snack meat world, there’s a million different varieties and they’re always great. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

8 College Apartment Kitchen Essentials You're Probably Forgetting

Moving on your own for the first time can be tough. Not only do you have to figure out how to use a washing machine on your own, you have to fully stock the place with all the essentials a college student needs. When you’re trying to get ready for the big move and a new school year, it’s easy to forget things, so we’ve come up with a list to make it easier:
  1. Pots and Pans: A staple of any kitchen, pots and pans should be one of the first things you buy for your first kitchen. You don’t need anything too fancy or extensive, just a few sizes of each
  2. A Can Opener: Living with your parents for the first 18+ years can lull you into a false sense of security that there will always be a can opener close by. It’s disappointing when you get home from your first trip to the grocery store and you can’t get into any of your canned goods without the proper equipment.
  3. A Slow Cooker: Class all day and studying all night can leave you with little time to cook. Don’t resort to eating fast food for every meal. A Slow Cooker will save you time and hassle and money (those burger runs add up). Just throw your ingredients in before classes, set your temperature and come home to a prepared meal.
  4. Measuring Cups: Cooking is a lot easier when you know how much of everything you’re putting in. Measuring cups don’t have to be fancy, in fact, you can usually get them at the dollar store.
  5. Basic Cooking Utensils: Spatulas, mixing spoons, a set of knives and a pasta spoon will do wonders to make your life in the kitchen easier. These also don’t have to be anything extravagant (just make sure that everything is heat-resistant).
  6. A Vacuum SealerCollege students are busy, meaning you may not have time to cook with all of the groceries you buy. Don’t let them (and the money you spent on them) go to waste by vacuum sealing everything. This will also help keep your refrigerator clean and free of moldy, spoiled food.
  7. Mixing Bowls: Large bowls come in handy for more than just mixing food. They can also be used for serving, holding fruit or soaking small dishes without blocking the sink. Metal or glass will last a lot longer for just a little more money.
  8. Pizza Cutter: Don’t be caught without one. It can only lead to disappointment. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Peanut Butter and Bacon Jalapeño Poppers

Peanut Butter and Bacon Jalapeño Poppers

6 jalapeño peppers
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
6 strips of bacon, cut in half

Preheat Roaster to 325°. Cut jalapenos in half, clean and remove seeds. Fill pepper halves with about 1 teaspoon of peanut butter, so they are full, but not overfilled. Wrap each pepper in a half strip of bacon and bake on wire rack in Roaster for 20-25 minutes until bacon is cooked thoroughly.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Queso Blanco Dip

This Queso Blanco Dip has just enough kick to keep things interesting, but it's mild enough for anyone to love. It's perfect for parties, tailgating, or just hanging out on the weekend. The salsa verde adds a certain chunkiness and heat, while the cream cheese and sour cream give it a smooth texture and a balance to the spice, giving it a full flavor, without an actual burn. If you're a spice lover, adding diced jalapeños takes things up a notch. 


Nesco® 1.5 QT. Slow Cooker
16 oz. cream cheese
32 oz. salsa verde (medium)
7 cloves minced garlic
3 cups sour cream
16 oz. package shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese
Chopped green onions for garnish
Tortilla chips or veggies for dipping

Combine all ingredients in Nesco Slow Cooker. Cook on Low heat for 3 hours, stirring every half hour. Dip is ready when all ingredients are heated through and well blended. Garnish and serve immediately. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Garden This Summer

You work hard in your garden all summer to grow your fruits, veggies and herbs—don’t let them go to waste by not taking care of the finished product. We’ve come up with six ways to get the most out of the fruits of your labor:
           1. Harvest at the right time- Picking herbs, fruits and veggies at the right time of the season is the key to keeping them fresh. The best time of year depends on your zone and variety of crops. For
most, harvesting just before peak ripeness is

ideal for preventing over-ripeness and rot.

Harvesting is best done either early in the morning or later in the evening to keep yourself and your crops cool. After picking, most crops should be taken out of direct sunlight to avoid wilting. It can be helpful to bring bunches indoors every so often to give you and your crops a break from the sun and heat.
2         2. Don’t wash your harvest immediately- It’s tempting to get everything inside and immediately give it a quick rinse to clean them, but don’t! Moisture promotes bacteria growth, which speeds up the decomposition process. Instead of washing or rinsing, brushing soil off as you pick can keep your kitchen clean while keeping everything fresh. If you can’t resist rinsing, make sure to dry crops thoroughly before storing to avoid bacteria growth.
3         3.  Store fresh crops properly- How you store your fruits and vegetables is the most important factor in how long they will keep. While there are some general guidelines to keeping things fresh, within the same type of crop every species is a little different so it may take some trial and error to perfect the process. Some general rules for  the most common types are:
Tomatoes: Do not refrigerate tomatoes. Rather, leave them on the kitchen counter in the open air to breathe.
Potatoes: Leave potatoes in the sun to dry, then brush off all of the dirt and soil (to prevent molding). Store in a cool, dark and dry place like a cupboard or dry basement until ready to use.
Carrots: Carrots are similar to potatoes in needing to be stored in a cool, dark and dry area after being dried out. Just don’t leave them out in the sun after uprooting because they have a thinner skin than potatoes.
Garlic & Onions: Store in a cool, dark and airy place like a cupboard. Make sure they are thoroughly dried and the stems are cut off before storage.
Zucchini & Cucumbers: Both zucchini and cucumbers store better in the refrigerator than at room temperature. Just be sure to dry their skin thoroughly as moisture can cause decay quickly on these crops.
Pumpkins & Squashes: Pumpkins and squash vary greatly by species, but can generally last up to several months if properly stored in a dark and dry environment. Before storage, make sure that all moisture is removed from the skin and wipe away any dirt that can contain additional moisture.
Berries: Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries should be sealed in an airtight container and left in the refrigerator. Berries keep better in shallow containers with fewer layers to avoid crushing the delicate fruits. Place a paper towel in the bottom of the container to absorb any moisture that may drip.
Leafy Greens: Spinach, lettuce and kale are best harvested as needed as they only keep for a few days before wilting. When they are harvested, they should be kept in a humid veggie drawer in the refrigerator.
Herbs: Herbs can be stored for up to 10 days, just put the stems in a glass of water like a bouquet of flowers, and wrap the exposed leaves in plastic wrap. While most herbs should be placed in the refrigerator for maximum longevity, cold sensitive herbs like basil should be left at room temperature.
4          4. Seal in the freshness- Vacuum Sealing can keep almost anything fresh for longer. By eliminating oxygen flow around your food, decomposition and bacteria growth slow. Just ensure that everything is dry before sealing to reduce bacteria that thrive in moisture. Vacuum Sealing can also eliminate freezer burn if you’re freezing your fresh crops.
5          5. Know when your crops are no longer safe- While it’s tempting to save your crops for as long as possible, take care to know when they have run their course. Produce can grow and harbor bacteria that can reduce quality and make you sick. Signs to look for include sliminess, mold, discoloration and signs of rot. If your crops are showing these signs, throw them out or compost them to avoid illness.
6          6. Take care in your preparation­- You’ve worked hard to grow and care for your crops, so see the process through. Wash them thoroughly just before use to ensure any chemicals used in the Dehydration. Home dehydrated goods are more nutritious and flavorful than store-bought and make a great snack or dessert. A combination of Dehydrating and Vacuum Sealing can help your hard work last through the winter months. 
growing process are removed. One healthy and delicious way to prepare your home-grown produce is

Friday, May 26, 2017

The 85 Year Journey of a Roaster

            Mary Rakunas is the life of the party and the glue that holds her family together. She’s always in charge of hosting her family’s holidays, a responsibility she took over from her mother, “Grandma Bee”.  Also taken over from Grandma Bee is the family Nesco Roaster Oven. The origins of the Roaster are a mystery—all Mary knows is that it was probably purchased sometime shortly after Grandma Bee’s wedding in 1934. For nearly 85 years, that Roaster Oven has been brought out every time there was a holiday, barbecue, baby shower, graduation or any and all special gatherings. It became a symbol of bringing the Rakunases together. Eventually as Grandma Bee got older, Mary took over her duties of cooking and hosting the family gatherings, and the Nesco Roaster. She continues to roast potatoes, briskets, turkeys, and other family favorites that will bring the family together for that show-stopping meal. The future is set for the Roaster. It will continue being passed down the line, generation to generation.

            Nesco’s line of cookware may have grown since that Roaster was made in 1934, but our commitment to bringing people together around a quality meal hasn’t changed. There is nothing that makes us happier than knowing that we help make your Thanksgiving turkey tasty or your Easter ham heavenly. Schedules today are busier than ever, making it harder and more rare to get everyone together. Let us help you by making it easier than ever to enjoy quality time and focus on your family. With our expansive selection of products, including Pressure Cookers, Slow Cookers, Dehydrators and so much more, bring us to your next gathering and see everyone come together like Mary’s family has been for 85 years. 
Grandma Bee and her new husband, before
she was "Grandma Bee"
Grandma Bee celebrating Valentine's Day in 2010

Friday, May 19, 2017

Bruschetta with Dehydrated Tomatoes:

Bruschetta served as an appetizer to
Parmesan-crusted chicken
1 baguette loaf, thinly sliced
2 cups parmesan cheese
Dehydrated tomatoes (see below)
1 Tbsp olive oil plus extra for brushing
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Fresh Basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Brush baguettes with olive oil and place on baking pan and broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. In a bowl, mix tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper and balsamic. Place 2 Tbsp cheese and a spoonful of tomato mixture on each slice of baguette. Top with fresh basil. Garnish with a sprig of basil and serve as an appetizer to an Italian meal (like Parmesan-crusted chicken), or as a healthy afternoon snack.

Dehydrated Tomato Prep:

Cut 12 Roma tomatoes into thin slices and brush one side with olive oil. Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning. Dehydrate in your favorite Nesco Dehydrator at 135° for 6-12 hours (time depends on tomato thickness, amounts and size). Any extra dehydrated tomatoes can be saved for salads, pasta garnishes or to be eaten by themselves.