County Extension

  • Quick soups and chili –– not from a can!


    Soups are always a good choice, either as a meal starter or as a complete meal in itself. In most cases, they are good choices nutritionally because of the variety of foods.

    Usually, soups contain lots of vegetables and small amounts of fat. A little meat can go a long way in even the heartiest soup. Adding beans and brown rice provides fiber, as well as flavor.

  • Breakfast in a hurry

     Continuing in the quest for quick, easy and nutritious five-ingredient meals, let’s start with breakfast. Of all the meals we eat at home, breakfast may be the most hurried. Before you skip breakfast completely or drive through the nearest fast-food place, consider other options at home.

  • Five-ingredient recipes

     Over the years that I’ve been teaching about food, cooking and nutrition, the one request I seem to get over and over again is people wanting ideas on how to prepare quick meals. They also want these meals to be good for them. That’s always a challenge.

  • Let’s talk a little about storing sugar

     Basically, sugars are simple carbohydrates that provide calories for energy. They also add the sweet taste to many foods. You can find sugars in two different forms: dry or liquid. There are many sources of sugars, but some of the most common are beet sugar or sugar cane (also called sucrose), corn sugar (dextrose), maple syrup and honey (fructose).

  • One food that fits the definition ‘smart snack’ is popcorn

     The National Popcorn Board (yes, there is such a group; I don’t make this stuff up) says popcorn is one snack food that always makes the grade: “As a snack or complement to any meal, popcorn is delicious, easy to prepare and fun to eat. Best of all, it’s good for you.”

  • Musical beans

    Every little kid knows the song: “Beans, beans the musical fruit ...” I’ll let you do the next line in your head.

    Not only are beans musical, they are inexpensive, tasty and a powerhouse of nutrition. On any given day, at least 14 percent of the U.S. population is eating beans. Good for them! Pinto beans are the most popular, closely followed by Navy, black, Great Northern and garbanzo beans.

  • The scoop on thawing and refreezing

     Here’s a story that might sound familiar: You thought ahead and put a frozen piece of meat in the refrigerator to thaw for dinner tomorrow night. Good for you, but your neighbor calls and suggests you go out to dinner instead. So what do you do with the thawed-out meat? Is it safe to refreeze it?

  • Growing better tomatoes

     By Patti Schleig

    Extension Master Gardener Volunteer


    There is nothing better than a freshly picked tomato from your garden. A method called trench planting piqued my interest last year, so I decided to test the method and do a comparative study of the traditional method (vertical planting) and trench planting.


    What is trench planting?

  • Yea or nay on Avocados?

     By Cheryle Jones Syracuse

    What is it with avocados? People basically use the same logic to decide if they are going to eat them. They are high in fat and calories, but it’s good fat. What about you? Do you shun or crave avocados?

  • Washing up is important

     Cheryle Jones Syracuse


    The older I get, the more Mom was right. If your mom was like mine, she always had you wash your hands before eating. I wish more people would remember what their moms said.