How To Store An Onion

Onions are a staple in most American cooking. It’s not uncommon for most households to have several onions on hand at one time. But have you ever wondered how to store them?

onion1

Here are some tips:

Straight from the store

– Store dry bulb onions in a cool, dry, well ventilated place.
– Don’t store whole onions in plastic bags. The lack of air movement will reduce their shelf life.
– Sweet onions contain more water and thus have a shorter shelf life than other varieties.
– To make sweet onions last longer, wrap in paper towels or newspaper and store in the fridge.
– Store onions stylishly in a Stoneware Onion Pot or an Onion Basket. Or try this tip to store them using pantyhose.

Whole peeled onions

– Store in the refrigerator at 40°F or below.

Cut onions

– If you cut or slice the onions yourself, store in a sealed container in the fridge for 7-10 days.
– If you buy pre-cut onions, follow the manufacturer’s “use by” dates
– Try an onion saver container like this one or this one to keep them fresh in the fridge!
– You can also freeze chopped onions to use later! Here’s how.

 

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Onion’s Many Hidden Benefits

January’s Nutrition Nugget

TrunkWhile you may know that onions are tasty, versatile and come in different colors you may not be aware of all the healthy compounds beneath their layers or how onions complement other healthy foods.

A significant body of research shows when we eat a predominately plant-based diet and get regular exercise (a brisk 20 minute daily walk) can lower a person’s risk of early death and aids in the prevention of chronic illnesses ranging from Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), to type 2 diabetes, obesity, cognitive impairment and chronic inflammation­–widely recognized as the root of many illnesses.

On average, a one-cup serving of fresh onions contains 11 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fiber, 20 percent of Vitamin C,  10 percent of Vitamin B6 and 7 percent of Potassium.

In addition to traditional nutrients, onions are a rich source of phytonutrients, most notably quercetin and anthocyanins. Newly published research points to the fact phytonutrients offer significant anti-inflammatory properties. Plus,  onions are a rich source of more than fifty sulfur compounds, and while the mechanisms of action of these compounds hasn’t been fully identified, they do offer health promoting qualities.

In next month’s Nutrition Nugget we’ll take a closer look at onions and fiber.

Posted in Health and Nutrition, Nutrition Nugget | 1 Comment

Our Favorite Slow Cooker Onion Recipes

onions slow cooker

Let the crockpot do the work for you. Onions are the perfect crockpot ingredient since low and slow cooking makes them soft and sweet and releases their flavor to improve any recipe! Here are 10 of our favorite slow cooker recipes featuring onions.

onion bacon marmalade

Crock Pot Onion-Bacon Jam from A Baker’s House

Crockpot Caramelized Onion Beer Dip

Crockpot Caramelized Onion and Asiago Beer Dip from Crockpot Gourmet

bread-basket-close

Slow Cooker Onion Focaccia Bread with Peach & Plum Jam from Canned Time

Slow Cooker Caramalized Onions

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions from Your Homebased Mom

Crockpot French Onion Soup

Crockpot French Onion Soup from Dashing Dish

Slow-Cooker-Chile_No-Spoon-4x6

Slow Cooker Chili from The National Onion Assoication

crock-pot-french-dip-with-gravy

Slow Cooker French Onion Dip Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions from SkinnyTaste

Slow-Cooker-Pulled-Pork-with-Apples-and-Onions-The-Lemon-Bowl

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Apples and Onions from The Lemon Bowl

whole chicken

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken from The Yummy Life

Brisket-and-Onions-2_thumb

Crockpot Brisket and Onions from Hip Homeschool Moms

Do you have a favorite onion recipe that you like to make in the slow cooker? Share the link with us here. You can also check out 50 more Slow Cooker Favorites on our Pinterest board.

Posted in Recipes with Permission, Slow Cooker | 2 Comments

June 22nd is National Onion Ring Day

Sunday is National Onion Ring Day! 

Bring on the layers of flavor June 22 with an all-American favorite, onion rings!  Celebrate this tasty classic with a batch of homemade onion rings or with family and friends at a local restaurant. Be sure to order a basket or two with your favorite dipping sauce.

Fried or baked, battered or dredged, spicy or sweet, homemade onion rings are simple to make. Check out our basic recipe and tips for the Best Ever Onion Rings.

Baked or Fried, onion rings make a tasty treat.  No wonder they are such a popular appetizer!

Baked or Fried, onion rings are one of the most popular appetizers!

For more golden, crispy, delicious onion ring ideas, see our Pinterest board featuring over 60 must-try onion ring recipes.

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Soul Food in a Bowl

Zyedco-Gumbo-WebImagine a steamy bowl of soup in front of you, warming your nose, tempting your tastebuds.  Your spoon is in hand; ready to scoop up that first mouthful. Can you think of anything else that will satisfy a hunger and soothe the soul like soup? For me, soup is much more than comfort food in a bowl – it is soul food! 

I am sure everyone has a stand-by favorite, but I want to share a recipe for a soup that’s just as famous as the classic French Onion soup, but has endless variety and lots of soul!  I’m talking about one of the oldest dishes in Louisiana and one that can be found at restaurants, special events, and homes throughout the state.

Gumbo is a long time staple and source of culinary pride in Louisiana.  In fact, it’s become as synonymous to Louisiana as jazz or the bayou. Generally, gumbo is defined as a thick, dark soup with rice, vegetables, and meat or seafood.  According to Mark Huntsman, “Most gumbos fall into one of three categories:  seafood gumbo, containing some combination of oysters, shrimp, crawfish, and/or crabs, and more often made with okra than filé; poultry and sausage gumbo, which uses either chicken or turkey in combination with pieces of Andouille or other smoked sausage, and more often made with filé than okra; and the increasingly rare Gumbo Z’Herbes, a meatless soup created for Lent that incorporates a wide variety of greens.”

Cajun or Creole, the origin of gumbo is a bit of a myth.  In Mark Huntsman’s account of the history of gumbo the first mention is from 1803 when the French explorer C.C. Robin ate gumbo at a soiree on the Acadian coast.  Despite the myth, he says writers as early as 1885 recognized gumbo as the culinary legacy of the African/American community. In fact, the modern soup is quite West African in character and resembles many okra-based soups in contemporary Senegal.

Wherever you hail from, whatever your roots, gumbo is the kind of soup that holds something for everyone.  And while you can eat gumbo anytime, February is full of special events that beg to be celebrated with a bowl or two or three.  I’m thinking Super Bowl, Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday is February 12th) and Valentine’s Day are just a few.  My recipe, Zydeco Gumbo, calls for chicken and shrimp, but feel free change up the protein to suit your taste, just do me a favor and enjoy it thoroughly. It’s good for the soul!

 Zydeco Gumbo

1-1/4    pounds boneless chicken, cubed

2            medium onions, cut into wedges

1            green pepper, cut into narrow strips

1            can whole tomatoes (1 pound 13 ounces)

1/4        cup Worcestershire sauce

2            tablespoons prepared mustard

2            tablespoons minced garlic

1            teaspoon thyme

1            teaspoon rosemary

1/2        teaspoon black pepper

1/2        pound shrimp meat

3            cups hot cooked rice

Directions: Combine all ingredients except shrimp and rice in large saucepan.  Cover and bring to boil.  Simmer 45 minutes or until chicken is tender and flavors mellow together.  Add shrimp and heat 1 minute.  Serve with scoops of rice in wide soup bowls. 

Make 6 servings.

Posted in Events and Celebrations, General | 3 Comments

Join Me Tomorrow for #OnionChat

Since the beginning of the year I’ve been feeling kinda sluggish.  Admittedly, the holidays were busy at my house, but thankfully, I don’t feel like I ate overate or ate too many sweets.  Maybe it’s post-holiday blahs, or maybe it’s my body’s way of saying, hey give it a rest.  Whatever the reason, I’ve been looking for that shot in the arm to get motivated.  If anyone else is like me, please speak up!

While misery might love company, I would much rather ditch this slump.  So, how about a solution for all of us in that ho-hum winter mode?  I’m all in and I think I’ve got our ticket to “see-ya-later-slugville”.  Are you ready?  Come on, sit up straight. I’ve got something important I want to share with you *smiling*.

Tomorrow I’m co-hosting my fourth #OnionChat, Twitter party with Sharon Palmer, RD author of the recently released book, “The Plant Powered Diet”.  You might recall she was the guest blogger last week

I’m not a big “resolution” maker, but I am striving for more balance in my life this year.  This includes eating better which is why I am personally REALLY excited to learn more about the Plant-Powered Diet. I am especially excited, because the plant-powered diet is all inclusive – meaning no food group is left out.  That means whether you are an omnivore, vegetarian or vegan, this diet can be tailored to fit your personal preferences. How cool is that?!

Whether you’re on Twitter or not, I hope you’ll consider joining us.  #OnionChat is tomorrow (January 17, 2013 at 4pm EST).  Registering and joining is easy: http://bit.ly/onionchatveggies

Join us, even if you’re not on Twitter. Sharon is going to helps us discover why and how a plant-powered diet can help us lead a healthier life.  She’s even sharing fifteen tips to get us started towards a more veggie/plant based diet.  If you want a peek at her “Top 15 Tips check them out: http://sharonpalmer.com/blog_details.php?article_id=269.

We’re looking forward to having you join us tomorrow!

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Plant Power Yourself into the New Year

Happy New Year!

In the spirit of putting the best foot forward this year, I’m delighted to have Sharon Palmer, RD as a guest blogger. I’m even more excited to announce that Sharon and I are  co-hosting a Twitter Party #onionchat on January 17th at 4pm Eastern!

By Sharon Palmer, RD, from The Plant-Powered Diet

With the constant temptation of the holiday sweets and treats behind you, it’s now time to focus on eating habits that can propel you into ultimate health and wellness. As the author of The Plant-Powered Diet, I am a firm believer in the power of minimally processed, whole plant foods. And there are hundreds of research based studies supporting my conclusion that the healthiest diet on the planet is indeed a plant-based one. Researchers now the health advantages of a plant-based diet are plenty, including lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease. This is because when you’re eating more whole plant foods, you’re gaining more health-promoting nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, while naturally reducing the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol you eat.

And whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore, there’s a place for you in the plant-powered diet. This year, you may be aiming to shift to an entirely plant-based diet consisting of only legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds; or, you may be aiming for a more gradual shift away from the traditional Western diet that is high in meat, fat, saturated fat and sodium, and low in fiber to simply include more plant foods into your diet. Regardless of where you are in the eating spectrum, incorporating more plant foods into your diet will not only improve your health, it will also open your senses to whole new world of flavors, colors, and textures. When it comes to plant-based choices, the options are endless.

Take onions, for example. This beautiful bulb vegetable comes in a variety of colors including white, yellow, and red – with its flavor ranging from sweet to pungent. Onions are one of my favorite ways to flavor my plant-powered recipes including salads, side dishes, casseroles, sauces, dips, or soups – such as this recipe below.

Classic French Onion Soup

My teenage son is connoisseur of French onion soup, the iconic French culinary masterpiece that features lots of onions cooked in a rich (usually beef) broth topped with melted cheese over bread. He orders it every chance he gets, offering his critique on how each soup measures up. In order to come up with the most authentic plant-based version possible, I scoured old French cookbooks to discover the classic elements of these soups. It’s all in the onions – pounds and pounds of them caramelized in the pot to create the rich flavor we have grown to cherish. My son gave this recipe two thumbs up!

Makes 10 servings (about 3 quarts)
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
8 cups water
2 cubes low-sodium vegetable bouillon
2 cups white wine
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
10 small slices (1 ounce each) whole wheat French bread
3/4 cup shredded plant-based Swiss cheese

Instructions:

1. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 15 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
3. Stir in the flour and black pepper. Put the uncovered pot into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
4. While the onion mixture is baking, place the bread on a baking sheet and add to the oven. Bake until crisp (about 5 minutes), then set aside.
5. Turn off the oven and transfer the pot to the stovetop. Add the water, bouillon cubes, wine, bay leaf, and thyme and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the onions are tender, about 35 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
6. Heat the oven to 450 F. Arrange the toasted bread slices on top of the soup, either in the pot or distributed among individual oven-safe bowls. Sprinkle each slice of bread with 1 tablespoon of the shredded cheese.
7. Place the large pot or ovenproof bowls, uncovered into the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and the soup is bubbly. If serving out of the soup pot, scoop the soup into individualized bowls and top each with one slice of cheese covered bread.

Variation: If you’d like to omit the plant-based cheese, drizzle each slice of bread with ½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil before baking the soup.

Per serving (about 1 ½ cups soup plus 1 slice of bread with plant-based cheese):
Calories: 224
Carbohydrates: 27g
Fiber: 4g
Protein: 9g
Total Fat: 5g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Sodium: 375mg
Star nutrients: Vitamin C (15% DV), folate (13% DV), selenium (14% DV)

Sharon Palmer, RD is a registered dietitian, nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and writer and author of The Plant-Powered Diet. Over 750 of Sharon’s articles have appeared in a variety of national publications. In addition, she is the editor of the award-winning newsletter, Environmental Nutrition, and author of the blog, The Plant-Powered Dietitian.

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Bowlful of Love!

Brrr . . . baby it’s cold outside!
Do not despair, NOA’s good friend Mike is here to warm us up, with a good home-style Chili!
Ummm . . . I can smell those spices simmering now!

Who is this Mike fellow you ask?
Mike is a chili cook-off guru (think World Championship Chili Cook-off and Terlingua). He was the Honorable Mention in an onion-chili contest sponsored by the National Onion Association last year and I thought it would be neat to share one of his recipes. When I asked him about the recipe, he was very gracious and said yes. He said yes! I’d say that’s better than a guy going to Jared’s Galleria of Jewelry and buying a diamond ring, don’t you think?

Mike tells me this recipe is “pretty much” what winning chili’s used to be made – before cooks started using powders instead of fresh veggies. Mike says, “I used this recipe for quite a while when I started cooking competitively in the 70’s….Hope the folks who follow your blog enjoy it!”

Well Mike, I can’t think of a better way to heat things up this time of year than with a steamy bowl of chili and with a name like “Scorpion Breath” I can’t wait to try it!

“SCORPION BREATH” Chili
Courtesy of The Right Rev. Dr. J. Mike Smith 3, PhC, Chili Clergy

Bowl of Red Chili

This is a pretty good basic Texas-style chili recipe for those who enjoy the aromatic, sensual bliss of a real “Bowl of Red”!

Ingredients
2 pounds Mock Tender Beef or Chuck, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1 LARGE ONION, chopped finely
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 Serrano peppers, finely chopped (optional)
1 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon Cayenne pepper (optional)
1 14oz can beef stock and 1 14oz can chicken stock
1 14oz can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Comino
1 tsp. Mexican Oregano
5 tablespoons chili powder
1 Envelope of “Sazon Goya” spice
1 tsp. bottled hot sauce (cayenne based)
1 tablespoon Masa (corn flour)
1 tsp. honey OR brown sugar

Directions
1. Brown meat in big Chili Pot, using a little bacon grease, lard, or beef suet (olive oil in a pinch!).
2. Remove meat and set aside. Add onion, garlic, peppers, one tablespoon chili powder, one tablespoon Cayenne pepper (optional) and sauté six minutes or until soft.
3. Add meat back to the pot. Add beef and chicken stock, tomato sauce, and spices except Sazon and hot sauce.
4. Cook on medium-high roll for 45 minutes with lid on, stirring as needed.
5. Turn off and let it “rest” for at least an hour with the lid on the chili pot.
6. Turn back on medium heat. Add Sazon and honey, stir in well.
7. Bring to slow boil and simmer one hour, then add the Masa. Stir in well.
8. Cook 10 minutes more and turn off heat. Leave lid on.
9. Let rest 15 minutes or more, then serve up the Chili!

You can garnish with shredded cheese, sour cream, Mexican cheese, cilantro, chopped peppers, or chopped up ONIONS! Happy Eating!

A few words of wisdom from Mike:

Winter Time is probably the very most favorite time of year for eating good chili, but it has evolved into an “any day, any time” type of food. You can make it about as healthy as you want, too. By using extra lean cuts of meat, and some folks are even using turkey, you can cut back on the fat and calories.

Be sure to use real chunks of meat and NOT ground hamburger! Ground meat (hamburger) is what they use in Cincinnati style chili…..NOT TEXAS STYLE CHILI!

Make the chili your own by changing up the recipe to suit your family’s taste, but PLEASE …….NEVER, NEVER COOK BEANS with Chili!!
Beans are wonderful, and make a great side dish for Texas Chili, you can even add the beans to your Bowl of Chili, just don’t cook the beans with the chili. “The chemistry just don’t work ….”, said an old time ranch cook in West Texas about a hundred years ago…….And HE Was Right!

See Ya’ll Down The Trail!

Posted in Chili, General, Recipes with Permission, Soups n Stews | 2 Comments

Soups On!

Soup is good for the body and soul! To me, it’s the perfect comfort food – and often soup can also be the perfect health food.

After all the heavy food during the holidays it’s not surprising to learn January is National Soup Month. Here’s a great poem and some fun history trivia about soup.  And on that note, I’m sharing a few links to our favorite soups. Here’s to health and happiness by the bowlful in 2012!

Classic Onion Soup
Super Easy Slow Cooker French Onion Soup
Slow Cooker Market Stew
Slow Cooker Chili
Chunky Southwestern Soup
Hot & Sour Soup

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Sandwich

I recently read an interesting article about sandwiches in one of the foodservice magazines I get here at the association.  Being the sandwich fan I am, PMQ Magazine’s article spurred me into thinking about my days working at Subway as a ‘sandwich artist’ during college and before that, my fascination as a kid with Dagwood’s mightily stacked sandwich he would build in the cartoon strip ‘Blonde’. 

When you stop to think about how portable and convenient sandwiches are, plus all the different ingredients and sauces you can layer and slather onto them, the sky is really the limit – literally and figuratively speaking just like Dagwood’s sandwiches. 

As you can see, this is how this post came to be, so I sifted through our recipes and found five of our most popular sandwiches to share. Enjoy!

Asian Style Chicken Salad Sandwich

Hearty Onion Veggie Sandwich

Roast Beef withOnion Relish on Focaccia

Smoked Chicken Salad with Onions and Dried Cherries

Smoked Salmon Sandwich with Lemony Mayonnaise

Ingredients:

 1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon peel

2 teaspoons lemon juice           

1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped or dill weed (dry 1 teaspoon)

8 slices dark rye bread, buttered

Lettuce as needed

8 slices red or yellow tomatoes, thinly sliced           

8 ounces smoked salmon, sliced                                                                                   

1 cup sliced red or yellow onions

Directions:  Mix mayonnaise with lemon peel, juice and dill.  Assemble rye sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, salmon and onions stacked inside.  Dollop with mayonnaise.  Garnish with fresh dill sprigs, if desired.  Makes 4 servings.

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