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Cooking Hints




  1. Where can I find a dietitian who is a personal chef? Answer
  2. For the High Holiday my healthy daughter does not want potato latkes cooked the traditional way. Answer
  3. I was wondering about how long you could store catsup and if it could be frozen. Answer
  4. How do I extract juice from raw vegetables? Answer
  5. I was wondering what is tahini? Answer
  6. I was looking to find the difference between icing sugar and confection sugar. Answer
  7. What happens if the Styrofoam container (within which I'm heating my food) has melted a bit? Answer
  8. How many ounces of boneless chicken breasts should I buy for a recipe that calls for 3 cups of cut up chicken breast? Answer
  9. Do vegetables lose nutrients if they are steamed then refrigerated for a day or two and microwaved to reheat before serving? Answer


  10. Is there any harm in eating microwave foods daily? Answer
  11. What is the best way to prepare a two pound round steak to preserve the flavor and nutrients? Answer
  12. Is it important to cook spaghetti sauce for eight hours? Answer
  13. Does zucchini have any nutritional value? Answer
  14. Does an apple pie, after baking, still contain all the nutrients of the fresh apples that went into it? Answer


Where can I find a dietitian who is a personal chef?

The Food & Culinary Professionals dietetic practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics specializes in working as personal chefs, in commercial food service operations or food safety and sanitation. You can find a dietitian at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Include your zip code or city / state, the type of service you want (individual consultation) and expertise culinary arts if you are an individual or if you are a business looking for a dietitian, a specialty in restaurant and food service management, food service equipment, sales or kitchen design or sanitation, HACCP and quality control training.


Help, for the High Holiday my healthy daughter does not want potato latkes cooked the traditional way. Can you e-mail me an answer ASAP. Do you think we could spray the pan with Pam? But you would lose the wonderful "greasy" taste. Hope help is on the way! Thank you.

Yes, you could use an oil based spray to fry potato latkes. There are vegetable oil sprays in a pump spray that just contain oil that you could buy. The potato latkes would not have the same fried taste much as the same as French Fries to not taste the same as oven baked fries, but they would be lower in fat. You could serve them with a low fat sour cream and definitely applesauce which is naturally low fat.


I was referred to your site by a NFSD Coordinator. I was wondering about how long you could store catsup and if it could be frozen. She did not have a definitive answer for me, but thought that catsup could be stored for at least six months in the refrigerator. She also said that there is no reason why it couldn't be stored although some separation may be experienced and therefore need to be stirred vigorously. Is this correct.

You can store catsup, barbeque or chili sauce for 1 year unopened and 1 month after opening (stored in cupboard). Store opened catsup in the refrigerator for up to 6 months as refrigerating would inhibit mold growth, but it seems to keep indefinitely in refrigerators. The vinegar in catsup (catsup) and sugar reduce mold growth. Even the most popular brands of catsup seem to separate a few drops of clear liquid during storage so I give the bottle a quick shake before using.

As to freezing, never tried that, but sounds reasonable as the ingredients in catsup are tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt and spices which should freeze well. If you freeze an unopened bottle, remember liquids expand when frozen and the bottle may break. Since catsup is a cooked product, I wouldn't expect a lot of separation upon thawing as catsup doesn't contain a lot of free water.


How do I extract juice from raw vegetables?

Raw vegetables are high in fiber and the best / easiest way is with a juicer. Otherwise, you could put vegetables in your blender or food processor. However since water content varies from vegetable to vegetable, you may have to add water or juice or broth to the blender if the vegetable is too thick.

Remember to scrub vegetables prior to juicing. It would be your choice whether to peel or not peel a vegetable prior to juicing or blending.

Not all juiced vegetables taste that good because vegetable juices are not as flavorful or sweet as fruit juices. Vegetables that taste good blended are celery, carrot, green pepper, tomato. Consider adding some fruit (banana or citrus juice) to vegetables when juicing. You may want to check with the manual that came with your juicer, blender or food processor for vegetable juice recipes.

When juicing, do not strain the fiber from the vegetables or fruits.


I recently purchased a Juiceman juicer and one of the recipes called for the use of tahini. I was wondering what is tahini? I searched for the meaning of this word in all search engines and could not get a definition of it. Is it an alternative for dairy products? Thank you for taking the time to answer this question.

Tahini is ground sesame seeds, basically sesame seed butter. It looks like old fashioned peanut butter with the oil floating on top. It is a main ingredient in humus which is a middle eastern spread made with garbanzo beans, tahini and other ingredients. Remember to either turn the jar upside down for a few hours or stir before using.

You should find tahini in most grocery stores where peanut butter is displayed. It is not dairy and shouldn't have any dairy in it, only sesame seeds.


I was looking to find the difference between icing sugar and confection sugar as a member of my family cannot use icing sugar in cooking. Thank you for your time and help.

Confectioner's sugar is called icing sugar in Britain and sucre glace in France. As such they are the same.


What happens if the Styrofoam container, within which I'm heating my food, has melted a bit? I was microwaving some soup and when it came out, a ring of "melted" Styrofoam, where the grease/oil was floating, appeared. I had a bit of the soup and then got scared. Should I be? Thanks for your attention.

I would not recommend reheating food in Styrofoam (generic name polystyrene) or clamshell type food containers in a microwave oven. Next time heat the soup in a glass or ceramic container or microwave safe cookware. Only use microwave approved containers to cook or reheat food. Plastic storage containers not intended for use in a microwave oven can warp or melt allowing dangerous chemicals to leak into food.

Here is some information from the FDA Plastics and the Microwave.


I have a recipe that calls for 3 cups of cut up chicken breast. How many ounces of boneless chicken breasts should I buy? I find I frequently have trouble with recipes, which call for one measure, but the grocery store sells in another measure. Could you post some equivalents?

About 18 ounces or 1.125 pounds (about 4.5 raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts weighing 4 ounces each) would yield 3 cups of raw chicken breast. I have seen some rather large chicken breasts in my local grocery stores so go by weight rather than counting the number of breasts as long as the chicken is going to be cut up. The number of servings in the recipe would give you a clue as to the number of chicken breasts to buy unless it is a casserole or stir fry that extends the meat required. Generally, a chicken breast weighing 4 ounces raw (boneless and skinless) and measuring about 2/3 cup (per raw breast in cut pieces) is the same as 3 ounces of cooked chicken breast.


I usually steam fresh vegetables for approx. 10-20 minutes, depending on what I am cooking, then serve them. Do they lose nutrients if they are steamed then refrigerated for a day or two and microwaved to reheat before serving? This seems to me that the vegetables are being over cooked or twice cooked.

Steaming is great to retain vegetables, but the cooking time seems long. Cook the vegetables over a small amount of boiling water then test after 5 minutes with a fork. The fork should penetrate the vegetable, but is should still feel crisp. Why not cook only the amount you need for a meal?

If you do have vegetables left over, cover them tightly and refrigerate. Then re-heat in a microwave only to serving temperature (140 degrees).

Vitamin loss, especially vitamin C, increases with air, temperature, water and time. Less water (steamer) and shorter time (5 minutes) are better.


Is there any harm in eating microwave foods daily? Do you have any information on the effects of a microwave?

Microwave cooking of food is not harmful, based on current research. In fact, microwaves preserve more of the vitamins and minerals in food because the food's exposure to heat and water is shorter than with conventional cooking methods. Here is information from the USDA Use Your Microwave Safely.

Microwaves cause the water, fat and sugar molecules in food to rotate rapidly and bump into other molecules which produces heat and cooks the food. What initially scared consumers about using microwaves was the warning on the door about radiation if the door was open and a mesh screen covering the glass door. All microwave ovens have a safety mechanism that prevents you from operating the oven with the door open.

The only person who should not use a microwave oven is someone who has a heart pacemaker implanted. The microwave could disrupt the electrical impulses produced by the pacemaker.


What is the best way to prepare a two pound round steak to preserve the flavor and nutrients?

Round steak is a lean, less tender cut of meat and is usually cooked until well done. It is often braised in a pan on the top of the stove and cooked with a liquid like broth or tomatoes until tender (about two hours) either on the top of the stove or in a 300 to 325 degree Fahrenheit oven. Remember never let protein boil as it will toughen the meat. Shrinkage and flavor of the meat is best when cooked at a lower temperature for a longer time.

Meat is a good source of protein, iron, vitamin B12, niacin and some trace minerals. Most of these vitamins are retained during cooking. Any vitamin such as niacin that may be lost from the meat would be preserved if you made a sauce or gravy with the drippings. Remember to drain off any fat that accumulates before making a sauce or gravy.




Is it important to cook spaghetti sauce for eight hours?

It is not necessary to cook spaghetti sauce for eight hours. I know Italians who do cook their sauce all day and I know Italians who cook their sauce only to serving temperature. Prolonged heat and extended cooking destroys the vitamin C in tomatoes. You only need to heat spaghetti sauce to serving temperature. Refrigerating homemade spaghetti or marinara sauce overnight does allow the spices to more fully season the sauce.


I grow lots of zucchini every summer. Does it have any nutritional value? I cook it in recipes for soup, cakes and bread.

Zucchini (1 cup of slices) contains
Nutrient % Daily Value
calories 16
fiber 5%
thiamin, vitamin B1 5%
vitamin B6 5%
vitamin C 15%
folate 6%
magnesium 6%
manganese 7%
molybdenum 18%
potassium 8%


So to answer your question, yes, zucchini does have nutritional value and when included in recipes, zucchini adds vitamins and minerals. Remember not to over cook it as a vegetable. Don't add too much water or use too high a heat. Both these cooking methods destroy significant amounts of vitamin C.




Does an apple pie, after baking, still contain all the nutrients of the fresh apples that went into it?

Mostly yes other than some fiber is lost when the apple is peeled for the pie and some vitamin C is lost during baking. Apples are a source of vitamin C (14% Daily Value for a medium raw apple), potassium (5% DV) and low in other nutrients. The peel does add fiber (17% DV) so the fiber would be lower since the apple peel would be removed in apple pie and the vitamin C would be lower (10% DV for 1/8 of a 9" pie) due to heat during baking. The vitamin C in the apples (8.4 milligrams) would be one nutrient affected by baking a pie. Potassium is a mineral and like calcium so it is not lost in cooking. Your apple pie should have the majority of nutrients of the fresh apples that went into it.

One slice of apple pie is a source of thiamin and niacin and contains less than 10% iron, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin C and phosphorus. A pie crust of flour, healthy oils like soybean or Canola and salt adds the following nutrients - fat (30% Daily Value), thiamin (15% DV), riboflavin (10% DV) and niacin (10% DV) if the crust is made from enriched flour, and vitamin E (15% DV), folate (9% DV), iron (10% DV), manganese (14%), selenium (17%). When making a crust, you can add half the salt in the recipe or leave it out completely to reduce the sodium content (14% Daily value).






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