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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious 2022

Three halves of winter squash, one face down on the table, two face up with seeds showing. Contains an orange I block and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Holiday foods from the garden

No matter what holidays you celebrate, there is bound to be food around the table. Some of that food may have even come from your garden or local farmer. What cool season crops can you locally source for your holiday gathering? Think...
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A pile of white flour on a wooden table with two pieces of grain laying over it. Contains an orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

For a good gravy, you need a thickening agent

To make a good cheese sauce or gravy, you need a thickening agent. Cornstarch and flour are two common thickening agents in the home kitchen. Both are cereal starches and when they’re mixed with a liquid and then heated, they gelatinize. While cornstarch and all-purpose flour can often be...
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An array of whole fruits and vegetables around a circular wooden cutting board, including carrots, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, oranges, and strawberries. Contains an orange I block logo and Illinois Extension workmark.

The fuel to fight cancer

Most of us know at least one person who has been affected by cancer. As we age, the risk of getting cancer increases. In fact, eighty percent of those diagnosed with cancer are 55 years of age or older. While we may not be able to prevent every cancer, we can help lower our risk. Our diet and food...
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A wooden spoon with salt surrounded by salt on a black table. Contains an orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Six tips to lower your sodium intake

Do you typically lean for salty or sweet? Salt cravers might get their salty kick from potato chips, fries, or popcorn. These savory snacks are an obvious source of sodium. However, even sweet lovers get more sodium than they think when considering their meals. According to the Centers for Disease...
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An overhead view of a white rectangular casserole dish with melted cheese over spiraled pasta noodles and pepperoni. Contains an orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Healthier ways to enjoy the comforts of casserole

Casseroles are the essence of comfort food. They’re warmth on a cold autumn day, solace in time of mourning or sickness, and simplicity when needing to feed the family. Loosely defined, a casserole can be any food prepared in a casserole dish. A casserole dish is a deep, oven-safe dish, such as a...
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Three whole butternut squash with stems on a gray tablecloth. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

How to prepare butternut squash

Butternut squash is a favorite fall food of mine. However, I must admit that it’s odd shape and hard surface can sometimes make it frustrating to deal with. Here’s how I handle this rock-hard squash. First, decide how you are using the squash: mashed or cubed? If it doesn’t have to be cubed,...
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Three small slices of bread with bruschetta topping on a wooden cutting board. Contains an orange I logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

How to make bruschetta

Bruschetta (pronounced ‘broo skeh tuh’) is a classic appetizer that will impress the guests with it’s beautiful color and fresh taste. Originating in Italy, this popular starter dish is straight out of the garden. Fresh tomato, basil and garlic are the stars, served on a toasty baguette. As many...
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A grain bowl containing quinoa, roasted cauliflower, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, avocado slices, and a creamy white dressing. Contains Illinois Extension wordmark and orange I block logo.

Easy hacks for quick, healthy meals

With school in full swing and the kids’ activities encroaching on mealtime, it can be hard to find the time to prepare a healthy family dinner. Sometimes made-from-scratch meals just aren’t happening. However, a little bit of time to cook is better than no time, and using pre-packaged and...
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A small tan bowl containing a dark, viscous liquid. On a white mat. Contains an orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Cooking with heart-healthy sesame oil

Back when I was living on my own with my first big job, my confidence in the kitchen grew and my food repertoire became bigger. It was then that I realized my love for Asian cuisine revolves around one main ingredient: sesame oil. If you’ve cooked with sesame oil, you know of its distinct aroma and...
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A sprig of rosemary set on a round dark wood slice on top of a wooden table. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Rosemary adds a strong, assertive flavor to your plate

Rosemary is an herb I always have growing in my herb garden. Native to the Mediterranean region, it makes a beautiful addition to the landscape. It’s green needle-like leaves have a hint of evergreen taste. Its strong assertive flavor may not work well with other strong flavored herbs, such as mint...
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A white bowl of plain yogurt with a strawberry in the middle of the yogurt. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Yogurt offers many health benefits with probiotics

Yogurt is a cold, creamy treat that’s delicious anytime of the day. It’s a fermented food made by heating milk, combining it with a culture of bacteria, specifically Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, and letting it sit at a warm temperature for several hours. As the cultures...
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Raspberries in a pile. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Raspberries add a pop of color and nutrients to your plate

Red raspberries give most any dish a pop of color, generally causing my mouth to water. Buy raspberries all summer long, but don’t let them sit in your fridge for long! Freshly picked raspberries should be consumed soon after harvest and stored in the refrigerator for only 1-2 days. These highly...
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A cutting board with three different bowls of dip next to a glass of water. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Making homemade barbecue sauce

Barbecue sauce is a classic condiment for summertime grilling. If you’re asking others for the best barbecue sauce recipe, the answers will likely differ depending on what part of the U.S. they’re from. There are different styles of barbecue sauce, often associated with different regions, but most...
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A bowl containing refried beans, topped with melted cheese, chopped tomatoes, and guacamole. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Burrito bowls are fresh, nutritious, and easily customizable

Burrito bowls are fresh, nutritious, and easily customizable for all who partake. In fact, it’s probably my favorite thing to serve when having company over for dinner because with a little prep work, it’s easy to lay everything out for the guests to assemble themselves. Burrito bowls are the...
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Produce wall at a grocery store containing sections of lettuce, bell peppers, cucumbers, and cauliflower. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Lowering your costs at the grocery store

By this time, I’m sure you already know that food prices have gone up, yet it can still be a shock to the system as the grocery store clerk tells you what you owe. How can we lower our food bill without sacrificing good nutrition? While it may be tempting to simply go out to eat or order take-in...
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Four hamburger patties on a grate grill, with one being flipped with a metal spatula. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.

Grilling brings a whole new flavor to food

Firing up the grill is one of my favorite ways to enjoy delicious meals in the summer. Grilling allows you to experience the outdoors, and it pairs well with summer activities, such as swimming, camping, and picnics with friends. Outdoor grilling can use gas or charcoal, both of which has pros and...
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