Cooking Healthier Meals

Football Tailgating Vendors: Restaurant Equipment Ideal for Starting Your Seasonal Business

Posted by on Sep 26, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Football Tailgating Vendors: Restaurant Equipment Ideal for Starting Your Seasonal Business

Tailgating has transformed the world of football. What once used to be a few small grills and some fans has transformed into a large industry that spans both professional and college football leagues. If you’re interested in turning tailgating into a profitable enterprise, then you need to have proper equipment that can get the job done. As you plan to set up your vendor booth, there are a number of restaurant equipment supplies that can convert into ideal pieces of tailgating equipment. As you plan out your menu and logistics, consider the following four pieces of equipment to purchase. Each piece can make a big difference on the food and quality of your service.

Oversized Panini Grills

Large traditional grills are ideal for cooking up meats like chickens, steaks, and ribs, but you can have alternative cooking options by purchasing an oversized panini grill. Save space on your traditional grill by using a panini grill for tailgating food items like hot dogs and hamburgers. When setting up hot dogs on a panini grill, it’s easy to cook a large batch all at once. The hot dogs are spread out evenly, and the grill is pressed down onto the hot dogs until they are fully cooked. When serving up sandwiches like cheeseburgers or grilled cheese, five to ten seconds underneath the panini grill is ideal for melting cheese and providing a fresh taste. The flat surface of the grill makes it easy to clean between meals.

Conveyor Ovens

While you are cooking, it can become hard to monitor multiple meals at once. When items need to be baked for a specific amount of time, one of the best solutions is a conveyor oven. Items on a conveyor oven are set on one side and automatically moved through the heating element. Once the items reach the opposite side of the oven, they are ready to be removed and served to customers. One of the most common uses of a conveyor oven is to cook pizza. When you are hosting tailgating events, pizza is a great party food, but there are a number of other meals you can make in the conveyor oven. Small pasta dishes can easily heat up and have their cheese melted when they are sent through. The conveyor oven is also ideal for creating a number of different desserts like brownies or cookies. The more you get used to the oven, the more you can diversify your different cooking options.

Holding Cabinets

During certain points of the day, your tailgating tent may experience large lines of customers. This includes when the tailgating area first opens, in the minutes before a game starts, or even during post-game festivities. To help keep lines moving, you can purchase a holding cabinet for various foods. Holding cabinets are enclosed food warmers that can be set to specific temperatures. A traditional food warmer typically keeps the food exposed to the air. In a tailgating environment, this may include exposure to dirt and debris that is naturally found in a number of parking lots. A holding cabinet will keep the items fresh and clean. A countertop holding cabinet is easy to access and features the portability needed for tailgating. It can be used to hold cooked burgers, hot dogs, or items like French fries. As you choose your tailgating menu, you can find ideal ways to use a holding cabinet.

Soup Kettles

As you get through your first season a tailgating vendor, you may realize how cold conditions can get with the arrival of autumn and eventually winter. During these times, many tailgaters may seek warm comfort foods. A soup kettle can keep liquid foods warm and ready to serve. You can use kettles to serve up a fresh bowl or chili or chicken noodle soup. Instead of having to heat up a cup or bowl each time, the kettle will provide plenty of warmth and can be used throughout the whole day of working at your tent.

Budgeting for these supplies will help you plan out essential items and understand what products will best serve your needs. For more information about restaurant equipment supplies, contact a company such as Louis Wohl & Sons Inc.

Is Mexican Food Gluten-Free? 3 Tips For Gluten-Sensitive Diners

Posted by on Jul 8, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Is Mexican Food Gluten-Free? 3 Tips For Gluten-Sensitive Diners

Eating out at any restaurant can be challenging when you’re on a gluten-free diet. Ethnic restaurants can pose a particular challenge if you’re not familiar with the cooking style or the ingredients commonly used in those dishes. When you have a sensitivity to a particular ingredient, like gluten, you can’t afford to let the details of unfamiliar dishes remain a mystery. Take Mexican food: are those tortilla chips safe because they’re made of corn? Is there any way to get a gluten-free burrito? Take a look at some tips that will help you navigate a night out at a Mexican restaurant without exposing yourself to gluten.

Tortilla Chips

Great news! If you’re eating at an authentic Mexican restaurant, there’s a good chance that the tortilla chips on the table are safe for you to eat. Authentic Mexican tortilla chips are usually made from corn flour, not wheat flour, and corn flour doesn’t contain gluten. Incidentally, taco shells and tostada shells are also usually corn flour based, which could give you some more safe menu options to choose from.

Don’t assume that you’re safe without asking first, though. Some restaurants dust their corn tortillas with wheat flour, rendering them unsafe for someone with gluten sensitivities. Cross-contamination is an issue as well — unless the kitchen takes steps to prevent it, it’s always possible that gluten from another dish could be mixed in with your tortilla chips. If the chips are packaged and not made fresh at the restaurant, you can ask to see the package — it should specify whether or not the chips are gluten-free.


Burritos are often among the most popular dishes at Mexican restaurants, and unfortunately, most of them are off-limits to gluten-sensitive diners. Typically, the burrito ingredients are wrapped in a soft tortilla shell made of wheat flour, which contains gluten. However, you do have a couple of options.

Some Mexican restaurants will make burritos wrapped in soft corn tortillas. Though you might ordinarily think of corn tortillas as hard and crunchy, not soft like burrito shells, corn tortillas can be made into more flexible shells by soft-frying them in oil. As long as the fryer used to make the shells is not also used to make items containing gluten, a burrito wrapped in a soft corn tortilla is safe to eat. Another option is to simply ask for the contents of the burrito in a bowl. The meat, beans, vegetables, rice, and peppers found inside a burrito are gluten-free — it’s only the shell that’s a problem. Asking for a burrito bowl eliminates the gluten issue.


When you’re ordering Mexican food, don’t forget to inquire about whether the sauces they use on the food are gluten-free. For example, it’s not unusual for rojo sauce, the sauce that’s usually served on enchiladas, to contain gluten. Cheese sauces and dips sometimes contain wheat flour that serves as a thickener. Mole sauce also can contain a wheat thickener containing gluten, but this depends on the restaurant. Mole can take days to make, so a restaurant that doesn’t have a dedicated gluten-free menu may not be likely to have a gluten-free version on hand, and they can’t make one up quickly. But there are nearly as many versions of mole as there are Mexican restaurants, so you should definitely ask — you might get lucky.

Salsa and guacamole are both usually safe, and they go well with a great number of Mexican dishes. They can also stand in for dressings on a taco salad, if the ordinary dressings contain gluten. (If you prefer something a little lighter, try a spritz of lime juice on your salad instead.) Many hot pepper sauces commonly found in Mexican restaurants are gluten-free, so if you like your food spicy, you’re in luck.

Because of Mexican cuisine’s reliance on gluten-free grains like corn and rice, it’s easier to accommodate a gluten-free diet in a Mexican restaurant than it is in many other types of restaurants. Still, it’s always best to play it safe and ask before ordering. Try this site to learn more about the food Mexican restaurants might offer.

5 Reasons To Eat Chia Seeds And 5 Ways To Serve Them

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Reasons To Eat Chia Seeds And 5 Ways To Serve Them

Did you know that chia seeds are very nutritional and may be served in a variety of ways? Whether eating a handful as a healthy snack or adding them to your favorite recipe, you may find these seeds at your local natural foods store or buy chia seeds online. Here are 5 good reasons to add chia seeds to your diet, as well as 5 ways to serve them to your family:

Why You Should Eat More Chia Seeds

If you need convincing on why you should eat chia seeds, consider the following:

1. Chia Seeds Help Provide Energy and Give You a Natural “Lift”

Do you need more fuel to get you through your day? Perhaps you have a vitamin deficiency causing your tiredness. Consider adding chia seeds at mealtime or for a healthy alternative to sugary or salty snacks. These tiny black seeds contain plenty of nutrients , including the important B-vitamins that help energize. In addition, chia contains healthy plant-based protein which may help you ward off that “afternoon slump.” 

2. These Seeds Are Heart-Healthy

If you are concerned about heart health, you should incorporate chia seeds into your diet. Chia seeds contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which may help prevent abnormal heart rhythms. In addition, chia contains magnesium, which also helps to regulate healthy heart rhythm.

3. Eating Chia Seeds May Help Strengthen Your Bones

You need an adequate amount of calcium in your diet for strong bones. If you don’t eat diary products, you could be lacking this important mineral. Did you know that chia seeds contain a decent amount of calcium? A small serving of about one tablespoon contains 80 milligrams of calcium

4. They Are a Great Way to Up Your Fiber Intake

If you aren’t consuming enough fiber, your digestive system may become sluggish, leading to constipation and bloating. Try eating chia seeds daily and you may be surprised at the difference it can make. Just one ounce contains a whopping 11 grams of fiber

5. They May Help Promote Healthier Skin

Are you looking for ways to prevent skin damage or simply achieve a glowing complexion? If so, you might want to consume chia seeds more often, as they provide a decent amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants are important for preventing damage from free radicals that may damage skin cells.

How to Incorporate The Seeds Into Your Family’s Diet

With various ways to serve chia seeds, you may find you can incorporate them into meals and healthy snacks. Here are 5 yummy ways to serve them up:

1. Enjoy a Chia Smoothie

If you have a blender handy, why not put it to good use? Add the chia seeds to your favorite fruit or veggie smoothie recipe.

2. Sprinkle Them on Yogurt or Ice Cream

Ditch the chocolate chips and sugary sprinkles in favor of chia. Added to yogurt or frozen desserts, chia seeds are a unique way to add some variety and help cut calories as you do.

3. Add Them to Bran Muffins

For an added boost of healthy fiber, add a small amount of chia seeds to your favorite bran muffin recipe. It’s a great way to increase your daily fiber intake any time of the day.

4. Serve Them With Breakfast Foods

Chia seeds are a great addition to your favorite pancake recipe. Add a few blueberries or coconut flakes and you’ve got a mouth-watering and nutritional breakfast for the entire family to enjoy.

Do you crave a warm and nutritious breakfast for those chilly winter mornings? Drop a few chia seeds into a bowl of oatmeal. You may want to add more water or milk to your oatmeal, as chia seeds tend to adsorb water, which may thicken the texture.

5. Jam It Up With Chia

Do you enjoy making homemade jams and preserves? If so, consider adding some natural chia seeds to your fruit jams. It will give the jam a unique texture and provide extra nutrition for sandwiches.

As a final note, you might want to consider sprouting your chia seeds when using them for various recipes. This may not only increase the nutritional value, it will add a crispy green texture for salads and other dishes. Do a bit of research to learn how to sprout the seeds and what materials are needed.

2 Ways To Keep Your Professional Kitchen Stove Clean And Safe

Posted by on Jul 15, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Ways To Keep Your Professional Kitchen Stove Clean And Safe

If you are a restaurant owner, then you understand the stress that comes along with a surprise visit from an investor or a health inspector. As you walk through the kitchen with that professional and listen to suggestions, you might wish that you had paid more attention to that stove covered with drips, food particles, and dangerous pans of extra grease. However, keeping this crucial piece of equipment in tip-top shape doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are two ways to keep your professional kitchen stove clean and safe, so that you don’t have to worry:

1: Teach Stove Anatomy

You might assume that every member of your kitchen stove understands the intricacies of using that professional-grade stove, but what if you are wrong? If employees don’t know how to clean or assemble removable stove components, it might be hard for them to troubleshoot problems on the fly. To keep your kitchen running smoothly, take the time to teach each of your cooks about these key pieces of stove anatomy:

  • Surface Burners: If you have a gas stove, it might contain removable ceramic surface burners. Unfortunately, if these burners or dirty or placed in the wrong position, they can prevent the lighting system from working properly—which might cause flammable gas to fill your kitchen. Make sure that each employee understands how to properly remove, clean, and replace burners and trivets.
  • Grates: Once stuck-on food burns to a crisp, it can turn black and blend in with your grill grates. Unfortunately, this buildup can create problems with food quality or spark devastating kitchen fires. As you train your employees, show them what a clean grill grate looks like.
  • Controls: Your high-tech industrial range might have a wide range of features, but unless your employees understand how to use the controls, those extra options might go to waste. Read your range manual to learn the difference between controls, then teach your workers how to use each section of the stove.
  • Drip Trays: As workers hurry through dinner service, food particles, sauces, and grease can drip through surface burner openings and into your stove’s drip tray. Unfortunately, if these trays aren’t cleaned regularly, they can pose fire hazards. Teach employees where drip trays are located, and ask your staff to clean them after every service.

Once you have trained your employees, hold regular meetings to make sure that everyone stays up to date on stove anatomy. It might seem like a lot of extra work, but it might help your cooking areas to stay clean and safe. 

2: Assign Dedicated Workstations

It might seem like a good idea to change which employees man the stove from time to time, but the fact of the matter is that your cross training might create more problems than it solves. Here are a few reasons you should think about assigning dedicated workstations, and keeping the same crew on grill duty:

  • Understand System Quirks: Every stove is different, which might make it hard for each employee to keep up with the quirks. If workers don’t know which burner tends to flare or which section has trouble sparking, it might cause problems during busy times. However, if you assign certain employees to stove duty, they will become innately familiar with your equipment.
  • More Employee Accountability: When everyone works everywhere, it can be difficult to hold workers accountable for messes or problems. However, when you assign dedicated work areas, you will be able to tell who is doing their job and who needs to be corrected.    

By adding structure to your kitchen and taking the time to thoroughly train your employees, you might be able to enjoy a more functional restaurant. You can learn more about your stove and its parts by clicking here.

4 Unexpectedly Awesome Chocolate Pairings You Have To Try

Posted by on Jul 7, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Unexpectedly Awesome Chocolate Pairings You Have To Try

Chocolate, like that from Abdallah Candies And Gifts, is wonderful by itself, but it’s also pretty great when paired with certain other foods. Chocolate covered strawberries, cherries, and bananas are always popular. Chocolate and peanut butter is practically a staple. But what about less common pairings? There are some flavors that may not seem like they’d taste great with chocolate, like rich cheese, bitter beer, or spicy pepper. But if your first instinct is to think these flavors can’t be combined successfully, you’d be wrong. Check out some flavor combinations that are more tantalizing than they seem at first glance.

Chocolate and Cheese

In one sense, the pairing of chocolate and cheese makes sense. After all, chocolate is routinely paired with salty foods like pretzels or nuts to great effect. Why not salty cheese? But in addition to being salty, cheese is savory, and pairing it with chocolate may seem too rich a combination. It’s true not all cheese goes with all chocolate – it’s actually pretty difficult to correctly pull off this pairing. Sharp cheddar and dark chocolate, for example, may not be the best choice. But milk chocolate and Brie is an entirely different story.

As it turns out, one of the best flavor matches between chocolate and cheese is the pairing of Parmesan cheese and dark chocolate. It may sound strange, but the tastiness of this match has actually been study and confirmed in a lab by scientists. Try it grilled between two slices of bread for a rich, exotic lunch.

Chocolate and Beer

There is dessert wine and dessert liquor, but few people would think of combining dessert with beer. Beer is much more commonly consumed with savory, spicy, and salty foods and doesn’t seem to lend itself well to sweets at all. However, beer experts say you actually can find tastebud-pleasing combinations of beer and chocolate.

Eat milk chocolates with porter or stout, and dark chocolates with dark ale. Hops-heavy beers go well with chocolate flavored with lemon verbena or other citrus flavors, and beer aged in bourbon barrels goes well with chocolates containing caramel, toffee, or vanilla flavors. Imperial stouts work well with many types of chocolate, particularly those containing nuts.

Chocolate and Peppers

Chocolate and spicy pepper might be one of the more unexpected flavor combinations out there, but this pairing actually has a long history. Mole sauce, which combines chili peppers with chocolate and other spices, has a long history dating back to the Aztecs in Mexico, and it’s still popular today. Mole recipes not only combine chili peppers with chocolate, they also call for the mixture to be served on top of meat, another unlikely companion to chocolate.

You can pair chilies and chocolates in other ways as well. Chipotle peppers are sweet and smoky, and can be used to complement bitter dark chocolates. Cascabel peppers have tannic notes that pair well with coffee or toffee flavored chocolates. And Aleppo chilies partner easily with complex, nutty chocolates because of their acidic and zesty flavors. Try adding chilies to your brownies, or shake some chili powder into your hot chocolate to give your sweets some extra kick.

Chocolate and Insects

You may not think of insects as food, but in many parts of the world, they’re an important part of people’s diets. Insects like crickets, ants, grasshoppers, and caterpillars are actually good sources of protein. Covered in chocolate, they make crunchy, chewy, or gooey sweet treats.

Chocolate covered insects even have their own holiday: October 14th. You may not be able to find chocolate covered crickets in your grocery store, but you can certainly track some down online. Even if it sounds weird, why not give them a try, just once? After all, they’re covered in chocolate, so how bad can they be?

As you can see, chocolate is a more versatile food than you ever would have though. That’s why it’s not a bad idea to keep some good chocolate around the house – you never know when you might want to pair it with something unexpected.

Perk up Your Staff’s Performance with an Office Coffee Service

Posted by on Jun 7, 2014 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Perk up Your Staff’s Performance with an Office Coffee Service

An office coffee service might not seem to be a big thing to give to your employees, but it’s a benefit they’re likely to enjoy. In fact, a 2010 survey by the Keurig coffee machine company found that 37 percent of office workers would prefer free and daily fresh gourmet coffee or tea to the annual Christmas party.

So if you want to look like a hero, motivate your staff, and keep your workers from accruing unproductive downtime at the local coffee shop, consider these steps to hiring the right coffee service vendor.

Assessing and Budgeting

The first step to hiring a coffee service is to assess your employee needs. Coffee services can be expensive and you don’t want to pay more than you can afford, so if you’re a smaller company with less than 20 employees, it is more economical to buy a small coffee maker and a few pounds of coffee. However, if you have more than 20 employees, it is likely more economical to opt for a coffee service.

Budgeting for a coffee service and knowing what products you want is essential. For example, coffee can cost in the range of 6-60 cents per cup, depending on the quality of the coffee. Some coffee services will also provide other beverages such as tea or bottled water. Snacks and disposable tableware such as cups, stirrers, and napkins might be part of a coffee service package, or they might cost extra. Taking a survey of your employees before you order a coffee service will make them more likely to use the service and lead to less waste of resources and money.

The second phase of budgeting is soliciting bids from different coffee service vendors. Look not only at the bottom-line price, but also the variety of products that the vender sells. A cheap vender who gives you limited product options is not going to inspire your staff or give you value for your money. Be aware of the quality of the products, whether it is for coffee or snacks.

Getting the Right Equipment

Coffee equipment is also important, and many coffee service providers will provide you with the equipment you need for little or no charge. Don’t let the vender skimp on equipment. A cheap coffee maker can lead to bad-tasting coffee and additional maintenance time if the equipment breaks.

Look for providers that offer equipment from known brands, and ask if the equipment has water filtration for the brewer to give you better tasting coffee and minimize scale in the equipment. Most providers will offer a wide array of coffee brewer types, including:

  • Pour-over. These brewers use a water tank, making them practical for use nearly anywhere in the office. Most models also include a pot warmer.
  • Automatic. These brewers are similar to pour-over models but are directly connected to your office’s water source.
  • Airpot. These brewers are great for larger companies that have lots of employees clamoring for hot coffee in the morning, with the added benefit of portability.

Don’t make the mistake of purchasing equipment, since machines will eventually need costly servicing or replacing.

A coffee service provider should provide not only excellent maintenance of equipment and supplies, but also good customer service. Ask your provider how often they clean the carafes, how they handle inventory, and how quick their response time is for maintenance. Same day or next day service is ideal.

References and Contracts

Ask for references from former or current users of the coffee service. A good supplier should be willing to provide numerous references.

Never get locked into a contract with a service provider. Service providers should have your business on the strength of their products. If you have to sign a contract, choose a contract that you can end after a year or one that contains an opt-out clause.

Click here if you’re in need of office coffee service in Bolingbrook, IL.