Chicken Alfredo Roll Ups

Pg A5 - chicken alfredo roll upsIngredients

2-3 cups of shredded chicken breast
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (8 oz.) tube crescent rolls
½ cup Italian style bread crumbs (or ½ cup regular crumbs plus ½ teaspoon Italian season)

Optional Cheese Sauce

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
2. In large bowl, combine chicken, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, chives, garlic powder. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Separate crescent rolls into eight triangles. Top each triangle with about 1/8
of the chicken mixture (3-4 tablespoons).
4. Starting with the wide end, roll up each triangle, wrapping the chicken mixture inside and tucking the ends underneath. 5. Dredge in bread crumbs, press to coat. Place seam-side down onto baking sheet. 6. Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.
7. To make the cheese sauce, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute.
8. Gradually whisk in milk, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.
9. Stir in cheese until melted and sauce is smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

 

Serve immediately | Yield: 8-12 servings

Courtesy: damndelicious.net

Selling Ice to Eskimos: Chipotle Goes GMO-Free

Can you sell ice to an Eskimo? Chipotle, one of the nation’s fastest growing 1,000 calorie burrito sellers, thinks it can. In fact, Chipotle is banking on it. In its self-proclaimed “never ending journey” to source the “highest quality ingredients it can find,” Chipotle announced this week it was dropping GMO ingredients from its menu.

Cashing in on a consuming public that’s widely disconnected from where its food comes from has become Chipotle’s specialty in a time and place where Americans can spell GMO, but most Chipotle blog1couldn’t tell you what it stands for (other than to likely insinuate that it’s somehow bad for you – hence the need for Chipotle to explain both on their website).

Chipotle might know how to make a burrito, but it is even better at marketing itself as standing on some type of higher moral ground that everyone else seems to fall short of (remember the whole idea that Chipotle only uses meat that come from animals raised in certain ways).

The irony of Chipotle is that the company is basically built on the concept of shunning technology while marketing to a population that’s so in-tune to it that you’d be hard pressed to find a Kindergartner who couldn’t run your iphone (chances are you’re reading this on a tech device your great-grandpa, in his time, would think came from another planet).

While chasing tech savy consumers’ dollars, Chipotle, oddly enough, has demonized farmers and farming practices over the years that are very much a product of technological improvement over time, whether it involves how farm animals are housed or the seeds farmers put in the ground.

Even more ironic on Chipotle’s GMO stance, is the reality that, from a big picture perspective, there really is no such thing as GMO-free food products. Nature has been making GMOs since, well…the beginning of time. While science has developed the practice of introducing new traits into organisms in a scientific setting, similar cross hybridization has been happening in nature forever. The study of such genetic manipulation has been occurring as early as the 19th Century at the hands of an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel who was the first to study how genetic traits were passed between different species of peas.

Henry Miller at Forbes hit the proverbial nail on the head in his piece “Chipotle, the Strangest Restaurant Menu Ever” questioning Chipotle’s “no genetic modification” promise. Miller correctly pointed out that virtually every food comes from an organism that has been genetically modified in some way at some time, scientific setting or otherwise.

In a capitalistic society, there’s nothing wrong with Chipotle catering to its perceived customer base. However, by eliminating GMO ingredients from their menu under the guise of “food with integrity”, Chipotle sends a message that using GMOs somehow demonstrates a lack of integrity, even though USDA has said GMOs are safe to grow, EPA has said they are safe for the environment, and the Food and Drug Administration has said they are safe to eat.

At the end of the day, Chipotle isn’t obligated to talk about Mother Nature’s role in tinkering with the genetics of our food, nor tell the whole story of GMOs. Having an understanding of that falls squarely on us as consumers. Whether or not you choose to buy into the idea that Chipotle can actually sell something that’s truly GMO-free, is up to you.

But you should probably ask yourself…do I want some ice with that?

Red Velvet Cake Roll

Pg A5 - Red Velvet RollIngredients

¼ cup powdered sugar
4 eggs, separated
½ cup plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (1-oz. bottle) red food coloring
Water
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt

Cake Filling (not typical cream cheese frosting)

1 cup milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375º. Line a 15 ½ x 10 ½ inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper or foil. Grease the paper/foil.
2. Sprinkle a thin cotton towel with the ¼ cup powdered sugar.
3. Beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add ½ cup granulated sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
4. In medium bowl on medium speed, beat egg yolks and vanilla for 3 minutes. Gradually add remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar; continue beating for an additional 2 minutes.
5. Add 1/3 cup water to red food coloring
6. In a small bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add to the egg yolk mixture iternately with colored water, beating on low speed just until batter is smooth.
7. Gradually fold the chocolate mixture
into the beaten egg whites until well blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
8. Bake 12-15 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly in center. Immediately loosen cake from the edges of the pan; invert onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off the parchment paper/foil. Immediately roll the cake and towel together starting from the narrow end; place on a wire rack to cool completely.
9. Prepare cake filling: In a small saucepan, combine milk and flour. Cook until thick. Cool.
10. In medium bowl cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until almost white in color. This takes some time. Add the cooled milk mixture. Beat until very light and fluffy. (The filling should have the appearance and consistency of whipped cream).
11. Carefully unroll the cooled cake. Spread the filling evenly over cake. Reroll without towel. Wrap the filled cake with waxed paper and wrap again in plastic wrap. Refrigerate with seam down for at least 1 hour.
12. Just before serving, sprinkle with additional powdered sugar. Refrigerate leftover cake.

 
NOTE: A cream cheese frosting may be used instead of the buttery filling. However, the filling recipe is the actual recipe for icing the original Waldorf Astoria (red) cake.

 

Yield: 10 servings

Take a Bite Out of a Healthy Lifestyle

Pg A13 - Amber Pankonin PhotoHello and welcome to Amber Pankonin MS, RDN, CSP, LMNT! She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, passionate about food, nutrition science, and agriculture. She works as a nutrition communications consultant and adjunct professor at UNL. Her nutrition views are based on science and not popular hype. Her friends call her a “realistic nutritionist” because in her words, “I don’t quite the fit the mold of the perfect dietitian. But I love food, creating cool things, and I’m passionate about building community.”

Each year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics promotes a “National Nutrition Month” as a way to promote healthy eating and physical activity.

The theme this year is, “Take a bite out of a healthy lifestyle.” I think this means that we should take advantage of all the benefits that healthy eating and physical activity have to offer. You can take a bite out of a healthy lifestyle by enjoying fruits and veggies that are in season and by aiming for at least 10,000 steps a day.

It’s also important to not bite off more than you can chew. I often see people make dramatic changes in their diet or physical activity that they can’t sustain. For example, trying the latest fad diet or signing up for races without proper training.

So, take a bite out of a healthy lifestyle by taking it one day at a time. Sometimes it’s the little changes that can lead to big results over time.

Her Stirlist blog can be found at www.stirlist.com

Southwestern Stew

Pg A5 - Southwest StewIngredients

2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
¾ cup water
1 can (28 ounces) tomatoes with liquid, cut up
1 bag (16 ounces) frozen corn
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup salsa
1 teaspoon salt, optional
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon hot sauce, optional

 

Directions

1. In a Dutch oven, brown beef and onion.
2. Drain.
3. Add all of the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat and cover and simmer for 1 ½ hours.

 

Recipe courtesy of Lincoln Schwarz of Phelps/Gosper County

Drifter Salad

Pg A5 - drifter saladIngredients

2 cups rotini noodles cooked and drained
1 small onion chopped
1 small cucumber chopped
1 small green pepper chopped
1 can sliced black olives
1/2 bottle of Dorothy Lynch dressing

 

Directions

1. Mix all ingredients together and chill

 

Recipe courtesy of High Plain Drifter of Dawes County

Food Guidelines Should Focus on Nutrition

steve corn head shotEvery five years the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) goes through a process to review the dietary guidelines for Americans. Those of us who are a little bit older will recall the guidelines being reflected in the iconic ‘Food Pyramid’ taught in school to earlier generations. Younger generations know these guidelines today through USDA’s “My Plate” initiative.

USDA is currently in the process of (once again) of reviewing nutritional standards, but this time around there’s a major twist, one that’s of growing concern to farmers and ranchers and to anyone who is focused on nutrition and freedom of food choice.

Previous iterations of the guidelines have focused solely on nutrition, (i.e. identifying how many servings a day of fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains, dairy, etc. are necessary for a balanced diet). This time around there’s a movement to try and tie other factors into the nutritional mix, including how food is produced.

For example, should a vegetable that requires more water to grow and requires greater transportation to get it to market be downgraded in USDA’s guidelines because of potential environmental impact, even if it has the same nutritional value? That’s the type of scenario USDA is considering for inclusion in nutritional standards this time around.

America was founded on the principle of an individual’s right to choose in the marketplace. If enough people want hamburgers that come from cows that were specifically raised in Nebraska, someone will fill that market. That’s what America was founded on and why it’s still the greatest country in the world.

When it comes to nutrition, science can tell us the exact make up of our food so we know just how many calories, carbohydrates, fats, etc., are in what we eat. Knowing that information and making recommendations on how much someone should have from a basic consumption standpoint makes sense for guidelines that are supposed to help people make informed dietary choices. However, putting different foods at odds based on where they are grown, how they are grown, and what goes into the process of getting them to market is something entirely different. Those should come from personal choice, not government recommendation.

There are many forces at work that are interested in limiting your food choices. Those interests have wrapped themselves in the idea that such reforms are somehow needed to save the planet or protect food animals in some way. Those ideas are clearly on display in California where residents are finding out the hard way the implications of misguided policy actions. Egg prices have nearly tripled from a year ago due to a movement pushed by animal rights activists to place restrictions on how chickens must be housed on farms. The changes were made under the guise that chickens need to be treated differently, when in reality, the groups that pushed for these modifications believe that we shouldn’t be eating eggs at all.

Allowing USDA to move what should be science-based dietary recommendations in a direction that advances extreme activists agendas for groups like PETA and the Humane Society of the United States are not good, particularly for those of us who like to eat and have a say in what we put in our mouths. At Farm Bureau we believe there’s clearly a role for government to help people make informed dietary decisions, but that shouldn’t include telling you how and where your food should come from. Some things should still be your choice and Farm Bureau will continue to work to keep government overreach off your plate.