Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

1 ½ cup AP flour
¾ cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
2 ½ tsp. cinnamon
¾ tsp. nutmeg
¾ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. ground cloves
¾ cup butter, softened
1 ¾ cup pumpkin puree
¾ cup evaporated milk
2 eggs
2 ½ tsp. vanilla

Crumb Topping:
⅓ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. butter, melted

Place wire baking rack in the bottom of your Nesco Roaster, making sure the handles are facing upwards for easy grabbing. Preheat Roaster to 400°. Grease 12 muffin tins well.
Sift the dry ingredients and cut in butter with a pastry blender (two knives work well).
In a separate bowl, mix the pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg and vanilla. Combine with dry ingredients and fold very gently just until blended. Do not overmix.
Pour mixture evenly into muffin tins. Blend together the crumb topping and sprinkle over muffin batter.

Bake in your Roaster for 20-25 minutes. Decorate with powdered sugar or pecans. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

6 Steps to a Stress Free Dinner Party

1. Consider Doing a Theme
Themed dinner parties are great fun because they can expose you to foods you and your guests wouldn’t normally eat. Mexican, Italian, Thanksgiving in July or a movie themed party are fun ways to get creative with it. Hosting a themed party can make planning a menu easier, because the menu almost plans itself. Get into it with decorations, costumes and music revolving around your theme.
2. Plan the Menu
Deciding what to create (and how to do it), is the greatest challenge of any dinner party. Obviously you want to show off your best dish, but cooking a time consuming chicken galantine won’t do anyone any favors. Main dishes that are hearty enough to be made ahead of time are ideal, so you can spend more time entertaining your guests, and less on last minute prep. For this, Slow Cooker and Pressure Cooker recipes like Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches or Lasagna are perfect. Despite being effortless, they taste like you slaved over a hot stove all day.
Just because a side dishes are called “sides”, doesn’t mean they can’t have the wow factor that your entrée does. When choosing sides, go for something with complimentary but different flavors than your main. Corn bread compliments a pulled pork sandwich because it brings sweetness to the salty and savory flavors of the pork, while roasted green beans will bring a crunch to round out the textures. Two to three side dishes are typically enough to complete the meal without overcrowding your table and palate.
Don’t neglect the h'ordeuvres, but there’s no need to go overboard. Unless you’re throwing a wine and cheese party, one or two light appetizers will do to avoid premature food comas. If you’re worried about saving time, it’s okay to go with store-bought (whether you admit that to your guests or not is up to you). Cheese platters, ham roll-ups or a buffalo chicken dip are all easy ways to keep your guests satisfied while waiting for the main show to begin. Plan to have your sides done and ready in the Roaster when your guests arrive so all you have to do is plate and serve.
3. …Then Your Guest List
Your guests are the heart of your dinner party. Similar to your menu options, less can be more. When planning your numbers, keep in mind how much space you have in your house as well as, realistically, how many people your recipe will feed. It’s better to have leftovers for the next few days or to send with guests than it is to run out of food. Sending invites for a dinner party is typically done about two weeks ahead of the date to give proper response and planning time. If you’re doing a theme, this will also give your invitees a chance to get their attire ready.
      Also consider personalities and relationships when selecting your invite list. Inviting four of your closest, but shy friends who don’t know each other may lead to awkward conversation gaps. That’s not to say everyone has to know everyone, but everyone should know at least one other person (besides you) well enough to make conversation. We’re not a fan of assigning seats at the table, because if there’s a great conversation flow during appetizers, there is no need to break it up.
4. Beverages Need Love Too
Drinks are the final piece of the menu, but are also the easiest to pull together. For most groups, a full bar with top shelf liquor isn’t necessary. Simply making a signature cocktail or two that fit with the menu, a wine option, and one non-alcoholic choice should be enough to please most. Pitchers of water on the bar during appetizers, and on the table for dinner are also an accommodation that can be overlooked easily.
5. Enlist Help
A second set of hands on deck may be the single most important thing you can do for your sanity when planning a dinner party. Recruiting a roommate, spouse or friend to be your “right hand man” for last-minute grocery store runs (there will always be at least one), helping plate and serve food, and greet guests will go a long way in feeling more put together. Even if you never need them, it will be comforting knowing you have a backup.
      6. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Things will happen. Your best friend will show up with a new gluten-free, vegan diet, your decorative candle will get knocked over and scorch your table linens, or your cousin will bring a guest without any prior warning. For better or for worse, these are all a natural part of the entertaining process. If you laugh it off and move on, we promise your guests will too and be more focused on your overall awesomeness than any flubs. The one thing you won’t have to worry about is your food turning out great—we’ve got that part of it covered. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

End of Summer Smoothies

                As much as we love a good Pumpkin Spice Latte, we love smoothies just a little bit more. Fall is the start of cold and flu season, so why not get that extra shot of Vitamin C while keeping the summer vibe going? Smoothies are also easy to make in addition to being healthy—you can use any produce you have in your refrigerator without having to make a special shopping trip.

If you’re a regular follower of our blog, you’ll also know that we have quite a sweet tooth. To get the extra sweetness in there, we like to add a few tablespoons of honey or Splenda. Other popular add-ins are protein powder or flax meal to get the smoothie party started. 


2 Bananas
1 Apple, peeled and sliced
4 oz. Blueberries
4 oz. Raspberries
4 oz. Blackberries
5 Strawberries
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp Honey

Blend in a Nesco Blender, on the smoothie setting until desired thickness is achieved. Garnish with extra fruit

Friday, September 1, 2017

Slow Cooker Pineapple Coconut Cake

Slow Cooker Pineapple Coconut Cake

 Nesco 6 Quart Slow Cooker
 1 (16.5oz.) package yellow cake mix
 1 cup water 
 3 eggs
 ½ cup melted butter (1 stick)
 1 cup drained crushed pineapple from a 20 oz can (save juice and remaining pineapple for the glaze)
 1 cup coconut
 ¼ cup chopped pecans
 1½ cups powdered sugar
 Remaining juice and pineapple from the above can of crushed pineapple ( ¼ cup melted butter ½ cup coconut
 ¼ cup chopped pecans Slow Cooker Size: 6-quart oval

Add the cake ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until the batter just comes together, do not over mix, some little lumps of cake mix are fine. Spray the Slow cooker with non-stick spray and pour in batter. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 hours, keep the lid. After 2 hours, turn off the Slow Cooker and make the glaze. Add the powdered sugar, remaining pineapple, melted butter, coconut and chopped pecans. Whisk until a sauce forms. Pour this mixture over the warm cake. Let the cake sit for 5 minutes before serving

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.