Category Archive for: ‘food tips’

Weekly Wisdom – A new way to cook light ­- part 1

March 6, 2013

Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

  • Embrace variety: eating many different foods is the best way to achieve good health
  • Cook more often
  • Eat more whole foods: reduce the number of foods in your kitchen with long ingredient lists
  • Favor the healthy fats: more plant oils & oily fish

Source: Cooking Light


Beef stew and bread

March 5, 2013
Denise Simmons, Corporate Chef

On the menu at home this past weekend was beef stew (Sunday was the perfect day for it!) and bread of some type.  The stew was pretty traditional-I used sirloin tip because it’s so lean & gets really tender when braised.  I always put in a lot of onion-typically I brown one medium onion with the meat, and another onion in with the vegetables.  I like to roast the vegetables separately, then add them to the stew.  It’s a little more time consuming, but it gives the stew more depth & adds a little sweetness.  In addition to the onion, I used carrots, celery, turnip & potatoes, along with a snip of fresh rosemary from my window herb garden.

The sauce for the stew started with beef broth, made from base.  I don’t know why bases aren’t available at the retail level like they are for food service.  To me they’re far superior to bouillon cubes (YUCK!) or even the packaged broths that are now available.  They’ll do in a pinch, but you can’t control the flavor & sodium levels like you can with base.  The secret ingredient in my stew is Campbell’s cream of tomato soup.  About 1 can (undiluted) added to a gallon of broth adds great flavor & helps thicken the stew.  Oh yeah, and don’t forget to deglaze the pan you sauté the meat in with a little red wine.

But it’s really the bread I wanted to mention.  I’m embarrassed to admit that, after 30 years in the food biz, I’m afraid of yeast.  I worked with it a little at school, but I don’t think it counts when there are 13 other students making the bread with you.  I’ve shied away from it since, but decided it was time to get over myself & give it a shot.

I searched for a simple recipe online (amazing how many hits you get when you type in ‘simple bread recipe’!)  I absolutely loved the instructions written by The Simple Homemaker (  I giggled several times as I read through the recipe.  The part about kneading was very helpful, even though I used a different recipe (I wanted one with a little sugar & oil-hers is just yeast, water, salt & flour):

“Knead until it is as smooth as a baby’s bottom. If you have no baby’s bottom at hand to compare it to, give it the stretch test. Hold the dough up to the light and stretch a portion of it. If you can see light through it before it breaks, congrats! You’re finished”

Being a novice at bread making, it was a simple test I could use to judge whether or not I’d kneaded enough (I didn’t have a baby’s bottom handy).

The rest of the process was pretty simple-let it rise, punch it down, form it, let it rise again & then bake.  There is NOTHING more comforting then the smell of baking bread!  It came out delicious, and I was pretty impressed with myself on the texture of the bread. It was soft inside & had a great crust on the outside.  All in all a great experience for a first timer!  I think I’ll try it again…maybe cinnamon rolls for dads birthday….

Benefits of the mediterranean diet

March 4, 2013
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

It may make you say “oh we already knew that one” but when the latest study came out confirming the benefits of a Mediterranean diet I breathed a sigh of relief.  The world of medicine & science often seems like a lesson in contradictions often leading to mistrust or disbelief in the general population about health & good nutrition. But no one can argue that a diet devoid of nutrients (i.e. processed foods in our diet) is not beneficial for our health.  The Mediterranean diet is rich in beans, fish, lean proteins (very little red meat) fruits, vegetables and heart healthy fats like olive oil, canola, nut butters, etc.  Also important to note is that while it includes carbohydrates like rice, pasta and bread they are in the whole grain (meaning 100 % whole) versus the refined (i.e. removed) we include so often in our diet.

Great links for more information from two of my favorites: Dr. Walter
Willette, MD & Mark Bittman, food writer.


Weekly Wisdom – Food Rules… Avoid foods advertised on TV

Feb 25, 2013
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

  • Food marketers are ingenious about boasting about “implied” healthfulness of their products (meaningful or not)
  • Escape these ploys by refusing to buy heavily promoted foods­i.e. heavily processed
  • Bogus food claims & faulty food science have made supermarkets “treacherous” places to shop for real food (to be continued)

Source: Michael Pollen, Food Rules


Trash Talk – Are your eyes bigger than your stomach?

Feb 25, 2013
Becky Tweedy, Assistant to the President

At MG account Guilford College, we weighed our daily food waste last semester to raise awareness about how much was being thrown in the trash.

300 pounds of food a day average almost half a pound of food per meal served!

How can you help?

  • Start with smaller portions, & come back for more!
  • Start a ‘clean plate club’, take what you’ll eat, eat what you take, spread the word!

March Recipe: Brown Sugar & Mustard Bacon

Serves 4

8 - pieces thickly sliced bacon (applewood smoked)
dijon mustard
1 1/2 -
dark brown sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Lightly coat both sides with mustard, dredge in brown sugar, shake off excess
  3. Place on baking rack, on foil lined baking sheet
  4. Bake in upper third of oven until crisp, about 15 minutes
  5. Transfer to broiler, just long enough to caramelize sugar
  6. Serve warm

Chocolate Soufflé

Feb 19, 2013
Denise Simmons, Corporate Chef

I had a friend over for dinner this past Saturday.  We talked about a bunch of different things we could make for dinner, but it came down to Laura (the friend) would make a barley risotto dish she’d been wanting to try for a while, and I would do something to accompany the risotto, with her help (she asked if she could spend time in the kitchen with me so she could ‘learn from the expert’).  When I asked her what she’d like to make, her immediate & rather animated response was ‘a SOUFFLE!!!’  

Yikes!  I was thinking roasted vegetables, or maybe a salad…even some type of simple dessert.  Definitely NOT thinking soufflé!  I’ve made them, but it’s been about 26 years-since I was in the Escoffier Room kitchen at CIA-just one class before graduation.  The E Room kitchen chef instructor was a stereotypical old-school European chef. I won’t go into gory details, but suffice it to say I was scarred for life by his screaming at me that if I put too much salt in the chocolate soufflé, he would make sure I never set foot in his kitchen again (I think he MAY have been joking…but it was hard to tell with him screaming at me & his face turning from red to purple).  Since I did graduate (and have the diploma to prove it), the seasoning of the chocolate soufflé was good, and I was able (tho not necessarily willing) to set foot in his kitchen the next day…and the next…and the next…

I think most people think of chefs as ‘experts’ who never fail, or who never have a dish that isn’t perfect…or edible.    I’m here to tell you that we probably mess up just as much as the next person (well, may not quite as much-we do have a good bit more practice-hopefully!)  The difference between a chef, or professional cook, and an inexperienced cook is that we know how to fix our mistakes. We can taste a dish & determine what it needs to make it truly excellent.  Except for baking…baking you have one shot, and if you mess it up, either you throw it out & start over, or mix the mess together & call it something totally different (maybe for my next blog post I’ll tell you the story of my first black forest cake…which was actually served as ‘Krumel Krugen’. Not sure my spelling is correct-it’s the name, given by our German exchange student, to the mess  after it slid off the plate, onto the counter, and a spatula was used to scrape it into a bowl.  Topped with copious amounts of whipped cream to cover the fact that it looked like it had been hit by a train, it ended up being rather tasty!).

But I digress…this is the story of the chocolate soufflé from this past weekend.  I looked online for a recipe suitable for 2 people.  It seemed rather easy…much more so than I remembered it being.  I even had all the ingredients already, except for 3 ounces of great quality bittersweet chocolate.  We gathered our mise en place, read our recipe & dove in.  The mixture looked pretty good as it was being gently spooned into the pre-buttered & sugared ramekins.  We set the time for 18 minutes & went back to the living room to play cards, so we wouldn’t be tempted to open the oven door & peek before the timer went off.  When the timer did go off, we opened the oven door to the sight of two beautiful chocolate soufflés.  They were incredible!  Light, airy, super chocolatey & delicious!  It appeared that my soufflé demon had been exorcised!  Thanks for pushing me to make them, Laura!



Weekly Wisdom – Food Rules… Avoid foods that are pretending to be something they are not

Feb 19, 2013
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

  • Classic example: imitation butter, aka “margarine”
  • These products contain an extreme degree of processing; they are imitations
  • Avoid: mock meats, artificial sweeteners & fake fats & starches

Source: Michael Pollen, Food Rules


Tune up, turn down

Feb 12, 2013
Becky Tweedy, Assistant to the President

  • Tune up your furnace and you could save 335 pounds of carbon emissions per year. (for gas furnace, you could save 252 pounds per year.)
  • Turn down your thermostat at night or when no one is home. For each degree, you save about 1% on heating costs & carbon emissions.

Think about it! Will you take a small step to help?
Source: The Green Book

Weekly Wisdom – Clues to heart health: Things you should be aware of now. Part 2

Feb 11, 2013
Sherri Meyer, MG Registered Dietitian,

  • Your hidden family history: Early family history of heart disease can be a clue to your risk.
  • The amount of sleep you get: Your risk of heart disease goes up with less than 6 hour sleep a night. Aim for 7- 8 hours.
  • Your heart health is in your hands, start by making positive changes!

Go red for American Heart Month


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