May is such awesome month. May flowers from those April showers; Mother’s Day; Memorial Day; and the official kickoff to BBQ season. Yes, the yumminess that is summer outdoor eating!
But (and we hate the “but” part—unless we’re talking pork butt, which would be delicious barbecued) we should be mindful of our tummies, according to expert Dr. Julie. So, here’s the need-to-know info.
1. Don’t pile everything onto your plate then gobble it down in the same sitting
The brain gets a signal to supply digestive enzymes for whatever food type you eat first. If you start to chew a second and third type of food too early, the signal to produce new enzymes won’t be processed as quickly and the new foods will not be properly digested, causing bloating, gas, heartburn, and stomach pain. Additionally, you won’t get the energy from the food you’re eating because the body will now have to spend energy getting rid of the toxins that are forming from these wrongly mixed foods. Chew each bite slowly, a dozen or more times before swallowing, to trigger the proper enzymes and to aid absorption. Side benefit: You’ll feel full sooner and won’t eat as much.
Crack Wise-dom: You apparently didn’t come from a large family where if you didn’t eat fast and furious, you didn’t eat at all. Plus, gas and bloat can be a weapon against said family.
2. Steak or potato salad – which should I eat first?
One huge mistake most people make is eating their steak along with a baked potato or a potato side dish -- mixing heavy starches with heavy proteins. Eat steaks, burgers, and hot dogs first, slowly. You can have a bite of salad along the way. Once your steak is pretty well gone, after 15 minutes, have some potatoes. Then, if you want dessert, wait about 20 minutes.
Crack Wise-dom: What if I want a steak, a burger and a hot dog? Which comes first? #askingformyinnerfattie
3. Avoid trying new unfamiliar foods and strange food combinations
Don’t eat an assortment of “unfamiliar” foods and food combinations. It’s difficult for your body to signal a need for certain enzymes when your body has never experienced a particular food or food combination before.
Crack Wise-dom: Sounds a little food-ist to us… wink, wink.
4. Don’t eat if you’re too hot, too cold, emotionally upset, or physically ill
If your body is under physical or emotional stress or discomfort it will shut down enzyme production and digestive activity, so any food you eat will not be digested and will ferment in your digestive tract. Don’t eat after baking in the sun; cool down in the pool first.
Crack Wise-dom: Uhhmmm…. It’s summer. So, hot. And, we’re around other people. We live for the dramz.
5. Eat garnishes and veggie dishes that assist digestion
Certain cultures add garnishes, herbs, and spices to help with digestion, like ginger, which is super for digestion. Others add hot peppers, which are a stimulant to the digestive tract and help the body secrete more hydrochloric acid. Some cultures use turmeric to help digestion. Others add pineapple to their meats, which allows the bromelain in the pineapple to help break down the protein. In preparation of Greek food, lemon is used to assist digestion.
Crack Wise-dom: And?
6. Understand the role of “5 key digestive enzymes” and supplement them as needed
As we age, our body’s ability to produce digestive enzymes diminishes. To help break down different types of foods and improve digestion and nutrient absorption, these key enzymes can be taken individually or as a combination supplement (like AbsorbAid).
Protease: This enzyme breaks down proteins and liberates amino acids which are then absorbed through the intestinal walls.
Amylase: present in saliva, breaks down carbohydrates into sugars
Lipase: secreted by the pancreas into the small intestines to break down dietary fats into simple fatty acids and glycerol which can then be absorbed
Cellulase: helps decompose cellulose (vegetable fiber) into simple sugar
Lactase: converts milk sugar (lactose) into simple sugars glucose and galactose
Crack Wise-dom: What? Plus, isn’t “galactose” a video game from the 80s?
Cinco de Mayo is soon upon us (or it may be past, depending on when you read this.) Regardless, there’s always time for some Mexican yum. Grab that bottle of pre-made margaritas, and let’s make these...
Easy Chicken Flautas
*recipe courtesy of allrecipes
¼ cup butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup minced onion
¼ cup chopped black olives
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon oil
¼ teaspoon ground paprika
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups cooked shredded chicken
8 flour tortillas
oil for frying, or as needed
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat; stir flour into butter until smooth. Add onion to flour-butter mixture; cook and stir until onion is softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Mix black olives, lemon juice, oil, paprika, black pepper, and salt into onion mixture; cook and stir until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir chicken into mixture and remove skillet from heat and cover.
Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan or deep-fryer. Fill tortillas with chicken mixture. Roll tortilla around filling and secure with a toothpick. Fry the rolled tortillas, working in batches, in the hot oil until browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer fried tortillas to a paper towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon or tongs.
It appears we are in the midst of a mad love affair. Not with wearing yoga pants or baking sourdough bread, but with the mighty burrito. In fact, 53% of Americans would prefer an awesome burrito over a hot date (according to TOP Data.)
Well, that says a lot. Possible colon abuse and bad gas is preferred over someone that’s potentially high-maintenance. You can dump a hot date, but you can’t dump your colon. Oh, wait…
Who knew burrito love was so intense?
With this is mind, let’s commit for life to burritos!
The Easiest Burrito Recipe
*recipe courtesy of The Seasoned Mom
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 (1 ounce) packet taco seasoning mix
1 ½ cups refried beans (or 1 ½ cups drained and rinsed black beans)
¾ cup corn kernels
3 cups cooked rice (I like to use Uncle Ben's microwaveable Ready Rice for a quick option)
6 large (10-inch) flour tortillas (I like to use Mission brand "burrito size" tortillas)
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
Optional garnish: finely diced red onion; lettuce; diced tomato or salsa; sour cream; fresh cilantro; avocado or guacamole
Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Cook beef with taco seasoning mix, according to seasoning package instructions.
To prepare 1 burrito: spread ¼ cup beans down center of tortillas; top with ½ cup rice, beef, 2 tablespoons corn, and ¼ cup cheese. Fold in opposite sides of each tortilla, then roll up, burrito style. Place, seam-sides down, in prepared dish. Repeat with remaining ingredients to prepare 6 total burritos.
Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes (until heated through). If you are baking the burritos from the refrigerator while they’re still cold, it will take about 30-35 minutes for them to heat through.
Garlic is good. Find a person who digs garlic, and the two of you could sweat garlic together. Maybe that’s just our fantasy…
Garlic truly is good for us. It boosts immunity, decreases the risk of cancer, reduces inflammation and blood sugar, and protects your heart.
Oh, and it’s low in calories and adds some superb flavor.
Skip the breath mints, and dive into this delicious dish—courtesy of allrecipes (Terry Stirling)
Death By Garlic
½ cup olive oil
10 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 pound dry penne pasta
⅓ cup grated Romano cheese
Cook pasta according to directions. In a pan, brown garlic in oil. Add salt, pepper and parsley and remove from heat. Toss penne pasta with garlic mixture, red pepper flakes, Romano, cheese and serve.
Have you gotten on board the Shakshuka train yet? Honestly, we just like the word. A lot. But the dish itself is also something to like. Shakshuka is an easy, healthy breakfast recipe predominantly in Israel and other parts of the Middle East and North Africa. It’s a combo of simmering tomatoes, onions, garlic, spices, and gently poached eggs.
With April slated as National Garlic Month (and probably a million other things), Dorot Gardens wants us to turn to them for the bulbous veggie game. They’re known for pre-portioned garlic, onions, and herbs—which means no peeling, chopping, and measuring. Where have you been? Anywho-- to celebrate this scare-a-vampire-away month, they’ve dropped a Shakshuka recipe.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 cubes Dorot Gardens frozen garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 and 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2-3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (plus more for serving)
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and diced bell pepper and sauté for approximately five minutes, stirring frequently. Stirring continuously, add the Dorot Garlic cubes and cook for one minute more. Add the salt, black pepper, chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, and cayenne. Mix well to combine.
Stir in the can of diced tomatoes with its juices and bring to a low simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and use a potato masher to break down the onion, bell peppers, and tomatoes into small bits and pieces. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by at least half.
Use a spoon to make small wells in the sauce. Carefully crack one egg into each well. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for six to 10 minutes, or until eggs are cooked to your preference.
Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.
Cheese makes life better. Whether it's gouda, cheddar, swiss, processed American, or mozzarella-- it's all good. But research shows that mozzarella is tops. While people love the traditional mozz, they're not as down with fresh mozzarella. Perhaps the fresh stuff is too fancy, or doesn't really work well as a string cheese-type snack? Our cheese palate is wide open. Like our mouths.
We want to fit this in our mouths.
Fresh Mozzarella Arancini
Roasted red peppers , 2 cups
Heavy cream, ¼ cup
Smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon
Garlic clove, 1 each
Crushed red pepper flakes , 1 teaspoon
Panko breadcrumbs, divided, 2 cups
Cooked and cooled risotto , 4 cups
Parmesan Cheese, finely grated, ¼ cup
Dried basil , 2 tablespoons
Eggs, beaten, 2 each
Frozen Mozzarella, 12-1 oz. pieces
Vegetable oil, for frying
In a blender, add roasted red peppers, heavy cream, smoked paprika, garlic clove and crushed red pepper flakes. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.
In a medium bowl, mix ½ cup of the panko breadcrumbs, risotto, Parmesan Cheese, basil, and eggs. Mix well. Place the remaining panko breadcrumbs into a wide, shallow bowl.
Scoop about 2 tablespoons of risotto into the palm of your hand and flatten it to about ½ inch thick. Place a Fresh Mozzarella piece in the center and gently wrap the risotto around the cheese.
Roll the risotto ball in the panko and continue until all of the risotto mixture is used. This will make around 24 arancini. Place in a single layer on sheet pans and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
While arancini are refrigerating, prepare the fryer and heat oil to 350ºF. Remove arancini from the refrigerator and fry about 5-6 at a time, depending on the fryer capacity.
Fry for about 5 minutes until golden brown, turning constantly to achieve even browning.
Heat Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce before serving and use as a dipping sauce.
*recipe courtesy of Saputo Food Service
Look. You’ve already eaten everything. Every. Single. Thing. Now what in the af are we going to snack on? Molly Bz knows what’s what.
These ain’t your granny’s cookies. These are giant alcohol-infused cookies.
Some choices include:
Hot Mess: made with tequila and Hot Cheetos
Maple and Bacon: infused with whiskey
Jalapeno Margarita: candied jalapenos and tequila, chocolate chips.
Get ‘em by the flight, or join the Cookie of the Month Club.
Everybody needs a cookie in their mouth...
Keto lovers may have turned a back on carbs, but many Crack Wise-ians embrace them like a Siamese twin (don’t really know what that means, but you’re feelin’ it.) That is why we shed a tear of joy when Einstein Bros. Bagels announced their newest menu item:
The Texas Brisket Egg Sandwich
Did you all hear that heavenly orchestral music, or was it just us?
This complete foodgasm is all about slow-smoked beef brisket, cheddar cheese, “fried” egg, and smoky chipotle sauce on a jalapeno bacon bagel.
A hearty, to-go breakfast is here. And so is a nap for us…
*Available 2/25 for a limited time
True Aussie Beef and Lamb—no, this is not some new band, though it could make for an interesting alt rock name—hosted some virtual dinner party to break the Guinness World Record for the largest virtual dinner party in history.
We assume they achieved their goal, and we’re too lazy to Google the info, because let’s get to the heart of this here blog post--food.
These fine folks are proud of their beef… and their lamb… so here’s a delish sounding recipe you could try. Or bribe someone to make for you because it sounds complicated to the Crack Wise Staff.
Beef Barbacoa Tacos
Portion size: 2 tacos
Alternate cuts: Any grassfed beef cut
All-purpose BBQ rub:
1 cup paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cayenne
1/2 cup black pepper
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup dried oregano
1/2 cup fine sea salt
1/2 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 orange, zested and juiced
2 limes, zested and juiced
2 teaspoons all-purpose BBQ rub or other meat rub
1/2 tablespoon puréed canned chipotle in adobo
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 1/2 pounds trimmed Australian grassfed skirt steak
8 corn tortillas
one 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup pico de gallo
1/2 cup Cotija cheese, crumbled
For the rub: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and break up any excess lumps. Store in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place, such as your cupboard.
For the tacos: In a large bowl, combine the citrus juices and zests, BBQ rub, chipotle, garlic and cilantro for a marinade. Coat the skirt steak in the marinade and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
To cook: Preheat the grill over HIGH heat. Remove the skirt steak from the marinade, wiping off any excess. Grill the steak for 8 minutes, turning every 2 minutes, or until it reaches the desired doneness. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes, then slice the steak into thin strips.
To serve: Heat the tortillas over the grill to soften. Divide the skirt steak evenly among the tortillas. Top each tortilla with 3 tablespoons black beans, 2 tablespoons pico de gallo, and 1 tablespoon cotija cheese. Serve immediately.
*recipe courtesy of: Chef Adam Moore
How many people are coming over for Thanksgiving? How many people are allowed to come over? Well, if you want to celebrate all things turkey with a few peeps—or maybe on your own without the prying eyes of Big Brother—why not do Thanksgiving outdoors?
Instead of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, why not Mr. Gobbles? Okay. Not Mr. Gobbles—because he sounds like a Disney character gone astray. Roast some random sketchy turkey on an open fire.
And it’s not too difficult... but we’re gonna need help. Because our traditional Turkey Day role is drinking the wine and making a side dish that is un-mess-upable.
Campfire Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey
12 pound-ish turkey
Black pepper (freshly medium ground)
Your favorite turkey seasonings (thyme, sage, garlic, onion, etc.)
Method 1: Large Dutch Oven (not farting under a blanket)
Wire rack to keep turkey off floor of Dutch Oven
Remote reading cooking thermometer
Method 2: Cheesecloth
Start a campfire with hardwood logs like oak, hickory, hard maple, etc. Let it burn for at least an hour to develop a large supply of glowing coals. Alternately, you can start charcoal briquettes in a large starter chimney. It will take about 15-20 minutes for the charcoal to turn grey and be ready for cooking.
Make sure the turkey is completely thawed. Rub oil thoroughly on exterior and interior of turkey. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, and other seasonings. If you have whole leaf herbs you wish to use, place them inside the cavity of the bird. For food safety, it’s most often recommended these days you do not stuff the bird. An apple, peeled orange, onion, etc. loosely placed in the cavity for flavor is fine, but it’s recommended you do not stuff the bird with traditional dressing; cook that separately on the side.
Method 1: You need an extremely large Dutch Oven. You should ensure with the rack in the bottom to elevate the bird, the turkey does not contact the sides or the lid of the vessel. There are some extra deep Dutch Ovens with tall lids out there, but even with one of these it can be a close fit. Remember, the Dutch Oven is made to evenly heat its contents all around (just like you’re oven at home). Contact with the cast iron by the bird inhibits the system.
Assuming you find a Dutch Oven large enough, the rest is pretty simple. Place the turkey in the Dutch Oven, insert the probe of the thermometer into the center of the breast meat making sure it does not contact any bone. String the thermometer’s lead out to the sending unit and place the cover tightly on the Dutch Oven (Camp Chef Dutch Ovens have a special hole in the rim of the lid to accommodate the thermometer lead).
Place coals below and on top of the Dutch oven and replenish as they turn to ash. A 12-pound turkey will take about three hours to cook this way, but watch the read out! Remove when the internal temp hits 165 F, then allow the bird to rest, covered, for about 20 minutes before you begin to carve.
Method 2: While the campfire is burning to coals, dig a hole six inches larger than the turkey all the way around.
Wrap the oiled, seasoned turkey generously with cheesecloth, then with four layers of aluminum foil sealing as tightly as possible.
Rake or shovel two inches of coals (or charcoal) into the bottom of the pit. Make sure you’re getting coals and not ash. Place the wrapped bird on top of them. Fill in the space around the bird with coals to about two inches above the bird, then top off the pit with earth.
Time three hours, then remove the soil and ash on top of the package. Insert the probe of the thermometer through the foil and cheesecloth to check the internal temp of the breast. If it’s at least 165 F, then carefully remove the bird from the pit and set aside for 20 minutes of rest. If it’s not up to temp, leave the probe in place and carefully recover with fresh coals and earth. When up to temp, remove and rest.
After resting, carefully open pack and begin carving.
*recipe courtesy of 50campfires.com
*Or, you can order pizza and take that to the campground. All of 2020 has been non-traditional, so…
The cracked Crack Wise Staff-- warriors of the Funformation Movement.