Five Ways to Sneak Ginger into Your Menu

If you’re looking to spice up your meal planning, look no further than ginger root. You might be familiar with it as a popular flavor in South and East Asian cuisines, but ginger has an incredibly versatile flavor profile.

Its flavor is bright, zesty and warm. Though it packs a punch on the palate, many people love it for its supposed health benefits. Ginger is a common home remedy for soothing nausea, settling upset stomachs and clearing out sinuses. Whether for flavor or health, if you’re looking for a way to add ginger to your diet, we’ve got you covered with tips and a little inspiration.

Fresh Vs. Ground

There is a big difference between using fresh and ground ginger root. Depending on which you use, the flavor intensity may be impacted. Ground ginger has more concentrated flavor, so you can use less of it when subbing for freshly grated ginger root. If subbing fresh ginger for ground ginger in a recipe, use more.

Don’t fear buying an entire ginger root. You can store fresh ginger in your freezer and grate it as needed for recipes. Conveniently, Homeland Stores regularly carry both fresh ginger root and ground ginger. Pick up both to decide which you prefer using!

Morning Smoothies

Ginger is a surprisingly great way to freshen up your daily smoothie. It’s a great addition to green-based smoothies featuring a base of spinach or kale. Don’t believe us? Try adding 1 tablespoon of fresh-ground ginger with 2 cups kale or spinach, 1 cup frozen pineapple, 1 cup frozen mango, 1 cup ice, a squeeze of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of honey and 2 cups water or almond milk. The vitamin-packed smoothie will help you start your day on the right foot. The zesty taste of ginger and sweet fruit mask the more bitter-tasting, but good for you, greens.


Ginger tea is believed to have soothing benefits. If you’re looking for something that may help ease nausea or settle an upset stomach, a cup of ginger tea may help alleviate symptoms. Homeland has a wide selection of tea blends, including ginger. Check out brands like Yogi, Twinings and Tazo. Remember to always consult with your doctor before using ginger or any other natural supplement to treat an underlying condition.

Soups, Curries and Stews

If you’re looking for a way to brighten up a bland soup, ginger is a wonderful addition to meat or vegetable broth-based soups. If you’re congested from a stubborn cold, look up recipes for ginger chicken soup. The spice of the ginger may help temporarily alleviate congestion.

If you want to try your hand at international cuisines, try making a spicy green curry at home or vegetable fried rice with fresh grated ginger.

Rubs and Marinades

Throw together a quick marinade perfect for salmon or chicken with 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, 4 cups olive oil, 2 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon maple syrup and 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Want to showcase ginger more predominately? A simple lemon and ginger marinade will bring roasted chicken to life.

If you want to experiment with dry rubs, work ground ginger into a blend with other spices like coriander, cumin, garlic powder and paprika. The flavor can complement steak, pork, chicken and even vegetables.

Sweet Treats

Gingersnaps, anyone? Or maybe it’s gingerbread you’re craving. Ginger is a classic dessert flavor perfect for spicing cakes, pies, cookies and more. Pair ginger with molasses to create crunchy or chewy spice cookies or add a dash to your next pumpkin pie or peach crumble for a zesty element.

Homeland’s Wide Selection of Specialty Spices

Employee-owned and operated, Homeland is here for all your cooking and meal planning needs. We have a wide selection of spices and extracts perfect for flavoring any meal. Need something specific? We’d love to help you find it. Call your local Homeland store to see what is readily available or ask your local Homeland about submitting a special item request!

At Home Cooking Tips from Professional Chefs

In a perfect world, meal prep would be stress-free and family menu planning would be a piece of cake. While it would be a dream to have a professional chef cook for you every day, it’s likely not in your budget.

Cooking for yourself and your family can be rewarding and healthy. It also keeps your budget in check. With all your savings from cooking a few more meals at home, you’ll be able to enjoy more guilt-free nights out at fantastic restaurants.

While you might not roll out as many multi-course meals as a professional chef, you can learn how to source great ingredients and build satiating meals to please your palate. Simple tricks and seasonings will elevate what you can do in the kitchen.

Regardless if you’re new to cooking or a seasoned pro, you can learn a few tips from these OKC area professional chefs.

Start with a Menu

Developing a menu is a great way to keep from wasting groceries. Just ask Grant Johnson, a professional chef who works with OKC’s Good Egg Dining Group.

“The best way to keep food from spoiling is to plan a menu and stick to it,” said Johnson. “Whether you’re meal prepping for meals away from home or just cooking for the family at home, if you stick to what you’ve planned, you shouldn’t have anything going bad.”

Need to mix up your weekday menu? Take inspiration from Pinterest or recipe videos from Facebook if you’re stuck on the same meals week after week. Also, take a cue from what’s on sale at your grocery store and incorporate those items into your plan.

Buy Items in Bulk

It’s tempting to load up on a lot of groceries all at once, but this can lead to waste. When it comes to fresh fruits and veggies, it’s not wise to buy more than you need for the week. However, while produce isn’t ideal, dry goods are perfect for buying in bulk.

Johnson believes in buying certain dry goods, like rice, in bulk about once a month. Grains and dried beans are safe bets to last longer on your shelf. They can also be used as the base of many different meals.

Rhi Roesler, also a professional chef at Good Egg Dining and chef de cuisine at The Drake and Republic Gastropub, suggested buying meat and fish in bulk. Her tip is to freeze it in portions and defrost as needed.

What to buy in bulk

  • Grains (rice, quinoa, tabbouleh, etc.)
  • Dried beans and lentils
  • Meats (to freeze and portion)

What to avoid in bulk

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

Roesler also suggested buying fruit slightly under ripe. It will give you a few more days of shelf life.

Spice Up Everyday Meals

You might think cooking for yourself will result in bland meals. Don’t fear–you can save your cooking from a flavorless fate. Simply flavor with different combinations of spices, sauces, and dressings.

“The best way to dress up a simple meal is with seasoning. Don’t be afraid to play with your food,” Johnson said.

Herbs are fairly cheap in bulk and can be spread over many meals. Johnson recommends growing a few of your favorite herbs in a garden or on a windowsill.

He also recommends making your own dressings. His rule of thumb for a simple dressing is a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil. He says to experiment with different kinds of vinegar and acidic elements like lemon or lime juice. Salt, pepper and herbs round it out.

Rhi likes to add sauces to spice up her meals.

“I am a huge fan of sauces. I will make entire meals based on a sauce I’m craving,” Roesler said. “They are a cheap way to dress up any protein or center of the plate item.”

She keeps chicken and beef stock as staples in her kitchen. They’re easy to use in sauces and incorporate tons of hearty flavors.

Freeze Meals for Easy Dinners

When you have a heavy work schedule or a crew of hungry kids at home, freezing ready-to-eat or cook meals save precious time. The chefs love getting ahead of meal prep at home.

“Casserole or one pot meals tend to freeze well, and for a few hours of work in the kitchen, you can make 4 or 5 family size portions of the same meal that can be popped in the oven later when you don’t have time to cook a full meal,” said Johnson.

Roesler uses herbs to get ahead of meal prep by freezing large batches of pesto and herb butter in ice cube trays. When she’s ready to flavor a meal, she takes a cube and melts it into her recipe.

Keep a few essential gadgets around

A craftsman needs good tools. Chefs have their tried and true gadgets to help them elevate simple ingredients. Rhi loves her immersion blender for its many uses.

“The one gadget I use more than anything else is my immersion blender,” Rhi said. “It’s great for making anything, from your own salad dressings or sauces to a quick homemade pancake batter for the kiddos.”

Johnson promises that a rice cooker and slow cooker Crockpot can help stretch a dollar.

Of course, all chefs need to invest in a decent set of sharp knives. A dull knife will frustrate and make meal prep a pain. Plus, it can be dangerous and lead to injuries.

Homeland has what you need

We help feed you and your family quality meals. From fresh produce to quality meats and dry goods, we’ll make sure you have everything you need no matter your budget.

Oklahoma Onion Burger Tips from the Pros

Tucker’s Onion Burgers is a favorite among Oklahoma onion burger fans.

What’s the quintessential Oklahoma dish? Some would argue chicken fried steak or homemade pecan pie, but nothing beats the famous Oklahoma onion burger with its massive following of die-hard fans.

You can find onion burgers across the state. Ask any Oklahoman and they’ll let you know where to find the best. During grilling season, you might be tempted to flip your own at home.

The pros at Tucker’s Onion Burgers shared a few tips for creating the ultimate patty right in your own kitchen.

The Anatomy of a Perfect Onion Burger

The onion burger patty should be thin. A thin patty allows for a generous pile of cooked onions to be piled on top. Tucker’s secret? “You’re going to want to slice the onions as thin as you can get them,” Tucker’s Onion Burgers area director Randy Newberry says.

Temperature also affects the onions. If you cook the onions on low heat, they’ll take on a sweet flavor. Higher heat will bring sharp, more intense flavor.

The base of the burger should also be considered. Use a bun won’t get too soggy. Our bakery has a few options that can handle the juiciness of the burger and onions. We recommend toasting your hamburger buns slightly on a skillet or in the oven with a little butter before assembling.

Now to the real drama – should you add extras like jalapenos, pickles, or condiments, or let the onions shine solo? Cheese and pickles are common (and delicious) additions. At the end of the day, it’s your burger – choose as you please.

Photographed by Aly Clark of A Good Egg Dining Group

The onion burger pros at Tucker’s weigh beef to form patties.

How to Craft an Oklahoma Style Onion Burger

All good craftsmen need good tools. When making an onion burger at home, bring out the sturdy gear.

“Use a heavy cast iron skillet,” Newberry recommends. “That is going to get you nice sear on your patty.”

Overall, it’s a simple process about showcasing the onion’s flavor. Follow our recipe and give this classic a try.


  • 2 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 1 package hamburger buns
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Pickle slices


  • Form the ground beef into 2 ½ ounce balls. Lightly press the loose edges of each ball with your thumb as you shape them. Season each ball lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Slice the onion into very thin strips. Season with a pinch of salt. We recommend drying the excess moisture with a paper towel.
  • In a large cast iron skillet, evenly spread vegetable or canola oil. Add more as necessary to cover the skillet. Warm the oil over high heat until the oil begins to lightly smoke. Be careful during to monitor smoke during the entire process– you don’t want to set off your smoke alarm.
  • Once the oil is ready, place the ball of meat into the heated skillets, and flatten the meat patties down with a firm spatula. Then place onion slices evenly on top of each patty. Cook patties for three to five minutes. Add time for more well-done burgers.
  • With your spatula, flip the burger patties onion side down on to the skillet. Allow the onions to cook for another three to four minutes. Once the onions are cooked, place a cheese slice on each patty. Allow cheese to melt over the patties.
  • Transfer you patties from the skillet over to lightly toasted hamburger buns and build your burger. Pickles are a highly recommended addition. Serve immediately.

From bun to patty, Homeland has everything you need to make the perfect burger right at home! Be sure to grab fries from the frozen section and coleslaw from the deli to complete your meal.

Give Your Football Watch Party an Oklahoma Twist

February 5 is drawing near. It’s the biggest night in football, commercials and snacking. As the pros run drills, you’re prepping big time for the ultimate championship watch party. Leave the sweat to the competing teams. We’ve got your menu planned.

These recipes back flavor. Represented are smoky, Atlanta BBQ and classic Beantown favorites. While Oklahoma doesn’t have a representing pro football team, these recipes include all-star Oklahoma products.

Before you get into cooking mode, draw out your game plan. Make sure the basics are covered and stop by Homeland to pick up deli trays full of your favorite fruits, veggies, cheese and cold cuts. Make it a perfect touchdown and grab pies, cakes and cookies from the bakery.

No matter the outcome of the game, you’ll be the winner of the watch party with these recipes. MVP status? We’d say so.

Bacon_Wrapped_Sausage_100-460-400Bacon Wrapped Sausage Bites

This tasty sausage bite recipe comes from our friends at the Made in Oklahoma Coalition. MIO is an Oklahoma based group that promotes brand awareness and consumer loyalty for Oklahoma food products. This recipe showcases Okie brands at their absolute tastiest.



  • Set oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cut sausage into fourths and cut bacon slices in half. Wrap each piece of sausage with a bacon half. Secure with tooth pick.
  • Sprinkle Head Country Seasoning on top of sausages.
  • Cover a baking sheet with a layer of parchment paper. Place sausages on sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Allow to cool slightly and arrange on serving tray. Pour syrup, mustard and BBQ sauce into separate bowls for dipping.

Oklahoma Muffin-Top Sliders with Cola pulled pork

Each bite is sweet and savory when you bake a Shawnee Mills Mexican Corn Muffin and top it with cola pulled pork. Simply pick up the mix, add milk and an egg before baking and you’ll have the perfect kickoff to a game day treat.

Serve the pulled pork on top of the cornbread muffins to have an Oklahoma twist on an Atlanta-style barbecue favorite the Atlanta Falcons would be proud of. Garnish the top with some ready-made coleslaw to deepen the southern tradition.


  • Pork roast (4-5 pound shoulder or butt)
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced, dehydrated
  • 2 tsp. onions, minced, dehydrated
  • 14 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
  • 14 tsp. cayenne pepper, ground
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 liter Coca-Cola
  • 1 20 ounce bottle Head Country BBQ Sauce 


  • Bake Shawnee Mill Mexican Corn Muffins according to package instructions. Set muffins aside.
  • Place pork in a slow-cooker. Season with garlic, onion, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Add liquid smoke and pour in Coca-Cola until it reaches the top of the roast.
  • Set slow cooker on low heat and cook for eight hours.
  • When ready to serve, remove roast from slow-cooker to a platter. Remove any bones and trim all fat. With a fork, begin “pulling” pork apart into thin shreds. Add barbecue sauce and fold into meat. Finish by spooning meat on top of cornbread muffins. Serve with coleslaw side or topping.

Boston Bake Beans Okie Style

Beans, beans, the magical and beloved fruit. Take a hint from the New England Patriots and serve Boston baked beans to your guests, albeit with a little more Oklahoma flair. Siekle’s Oklahoma Gold Old Style Mustard will give the beans a bright, tangy flavor while Bar-S Thin Sliced Bacon adds smoky goodness.



  • Soak navy beans overnight in a large pot or bowl with enough water to cover the beans entirely. Drain beans in the morning.
  • In a bowl, combine brown sugar, molasses and Dijon mustard with hot water.
  • Slice bacon into one inch pieces. Place half of the bacon into the bottom of a slow-cooker. Then lay half of the beans over the bacon and add chopped onion. Repeat layer by topping with the remaining bacon and beans.
  • Pour in the, mustard and water mixture, molasses and brown sugar over all the ingredients.
  • Set slow cooker on low for seven to eight hours. Allow guests to serve themselves buffet style.

SpicyOklahomaCaviar-460-400Spicy Oklahoma Caviar

Get fresh and fancy by serving ‘Okie’ caviar. This dish is yet another one of MIO’s great Oklahoma-centric recipes! Check out their entire recipe catalogue if you’re hungry for more state-made products.


  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cans black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can hominy, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup Head Country Garden Rich Salsa
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning


  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover with lid or foil and chill overnight or for several hours.
  • Serve to guest with corn chips or tortilla chip! It’s also great as a side.

Want more recipes for game day? Check out our cheese and veggie platter how-to articles!

Get Ready for Fun in the Sun This July!

Are you ready to heat up the grill this July? Try something new this year that will impress your backyard BBQ guests! Kebabs are a delicious way to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Check out this great spin on turkey kebabs with grilled fruit. Want to learn more about grilling turkey? Check out the pointers from Today’s Turkey.


Grilled Turkey & Summer Fruit Kebabs with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Yield: 1 Serving



3 Pieces each 1 ½” x 1 ½ ” Skewer of watermelon & pineapple; lightly seasoned with sea salt & pepper

3 Pieces 1 ½” x 1 ½ ” Skewer of fresh turkey breast; lightly seasoned with sea salt & pepper

As needed Olive Oil Cooking Spray

¼ Cup Dry Couscous; prepared according to package directions

4 Segments Blood orange

Blood Orange Vinaigrette

3/4 Cup Blood orange juice

Zest of one Blood orange

1 Tablespoon White balsamic vinegar

2 Tablespoons Lemon juice, fresh

1 Each Shallot, minced

1 Tablespoon Mint, chopped

1 Tablespoon Basil, chopped

2 Tablespoons Honey

½ Teaspoon Black pepper, fresh ground

¾ Cup Olive oil


  1. Assemble fruit skewer. Lightly season and set aside.
  2. Assemble turkey skewer, lightly season and spray with olive oil.
  3. Flash grill the watermelon skewer over a clean, lightly oiled, hot grill. Remove and set aside.
  4. Grill turkey skewer over medium high heat. Rotate to heat each side. Cook to 165ºF, approximately 15 – 20 minutes.
  5. Arrange prepared couscous on serving plate
  6. Top with both skewers
  7. Add blood orange garnish and drizzle with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Overnight Oats

We’ve talked about the health benefits of pumpkin, now can we talk about how versatile and delicious it is? There are so many great recipe options that incorporate pumpkin and this is one of my favorites for breakfast! These pumpkin chocolate chip cookie overnight oats are not only packed full of nutrients, they are packed full of flavor! Make these a day ahead of time and enjoy for breakfast the next morning!



  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling
  • 1/3 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons dark Optional: 1 tablespoon vanilla protein powder


  1. In a small bowl, combine the almond butter, vanilla extract, and honey or maple syrup. Microwave for 10 seconds and then stir until well combined.
  2. Add in the pumpkin, milk, and oats.
  3. Stir well and make sure the almond butter is mashed in thoroughly.
  4. Add in the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. (Add in protein if desired) Again stir well and then mix in the chocolate chips.
  5. Transfer the mixture into a small jar or sealed container.
  6. Place in the fridge for at least an hour or until oats are completely softened (preferably overnight)
  7. Warm them up in morning or eat them cold straight out the fridge garnished with a few extra chocolate chips if desired.

Watch below to learn how to make this recipe!

Alyson Approved Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Overnight Oats from Homeland Stores on Vimeo.

5 Tailgate Foods That Are Surprisingly Healthy

Football season is here, which means that tailgating is about to be brought to full speed. This week, we are going to talk about some tailgate foods that are surprisingly healthy and taste great.

It’s not a secret that many tailgate foods can add on some unwanted calories. Before the guilt sets in for just thinking about indulging, you might be intrigued to learn which tailgate regulars are actually healthier than you might realize.

Street Corn
Perfectly seasoned sweet corn straight off the grill is hard to beat. You’ll be glad to know that cooked corn is high in cancer-fighting antioxidants. It also promotes healthy vision. Adding 1-2 teaspoons of butter is only an extra 34-68 calories. We like to add some feta cheese, cilantro, and spices for an extra flavorful side dish.


Baked Potato
Potatoes get a bad rap for being high in carbohydrates and calories. You might be surprised to find out that 1 medium sized potato has 0 grams of fat and only 160 calories. Potatoes have half of the vitamin C of an orange and more potassium than a banana! A baked potato bar is a fun way to let everyone personalize their plate and add a lot of vegetables to your pre-game meal. Good options include broccoli, bell peppers, and green onion. Adding beans increases the fiber content and some low-fat cheese adds calcium.


Grilled Chicken Wings
Grilled chicken is a great source of protein for your tailgate that is easy to prepare and can be cooked in large quantities. Removing the skin can cut calories and half of the fat. Many butchers will remove the skin for you if you ask when purchasing, which can save you a lot of time when preparing for the big game.


Chili is a common staple at tailgates especially when the temperatures begin to drop. Most chili recipes are packed with beans, our 4th healthy tailgate food. 1 serving of Navy Beans provides an astounding 76% of your daily fiber needs. Fiber helps to lower cholesterol and reduces hunger by keeping you feeling full. Just replacing half of your meat with beans will significantly decrease the fat content of your favorite chili recipe.


No tailgate is complete without this creamy dip. Avocado is a great source of healthy fats and biotin, which helps to keep your metabolism going. This tasty fruit is also great for your hair and skin. Try swapping tortilla chips for raw vegetables to increase your vitamin and mineral intake and to decrease calories and fat.


One of the biggest calorie contributors to a lot of tailgates is alcohol. A Skinny Margarita is a fun way to enjoy your game day beverage without all of those extra calories. You just combine 1 can of Fresca and 1 to-go packet of Crystal-Light Lemonade with a shot of tequila and ½ of a lime.


Whether your team wins or loses, you can avoid forfeiting your waistline if you stick to these foods at next weekends tailgate.

Peachy Keen

August is National Peach Month. Who could resist celebrating this fuzzy fruit all month long?

Sweet peaches are a summer staple and an extremely versatile ingredient. These fruits actually originated in China thousands of year ago and have made their way all around the world. They can be found during July and August at your nearest farmer’s market. There are over 2000 peach varieties in the world and over 300 of those are found in the United States.

Peaches can be categorized by the following:

  • All peaches are either clingstone or freestone (see this previous post for further explanation).
  • There are white and yellow varieties. The white varieties tend to be sweeter and more difficult to find. Yellow varieties are more widely available due to a longer growing season. Both colors can be used interchangeably in recipes based on availability and personal preference.
  • The shape of a peach can vary from very round with a pointed end (what we generally associate as a peach) to a flat shape, rounding in towards the center, such as a donut peach.

If you find a new variety, try it! You might find a new favorite treat.

And try these fun and fruity recipes to bring some sweetness to summer’s end. Chilled Peach Soup is a refreshing appetizer that pairs easily with many of our favorite grilled main dishes. The Peach Crostinis are a quick and easy first course or snack that are both sweet and tangy and will keep your guests coming back for more.


Chilled Peach Soup

  • 4 cups fresh peaches, peeled, sliced (about 5)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 6 oz plain yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh mint for garnish


  1. Combine peaches, wine, cinnamon, and cardamom in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Peaches should be soft.
  2. Remove saucepan from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Puree in a blender or food processor or blender until smooth.
  3. Add honey, lemon, yogurt, and vanilla extract to blender and pulse until combined. Add additional yogurt to thicken.
  4. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
  5. Garnish with mint when ready to serve.

Peach Crostini

  • 2 peaches, slicedpeachcrostini
  • ½ baguette, sliced into 1-inch rounds
  • 6 oz goat cheese, whipped
  • 12 basil leaves (or 6 halved)
  • Balsamic glaze


  1. Set oven to broil. Toast baguette slices until golden, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
  2. Spread goat cheese on toasted baguette slices.
  3. Add basil leaves and then a peach slice.
  4. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.
  5. Enjoy!

5 Herbs You Should Try

The commitment to eating healthy can seem like a challenge to your taste buds. The truth is, you’re retraining them to enjoy natural, nutritional flavors, and not the supercharged artificial taste they’re used to. Don’t give in to the temptation to sprinkle on the salt or load up the sugar. Here are five herbs you can use to keep your food tasting fresh and flavorful.


If you’re a gumbo fan, you’re already familiar with the taste of sassafras – it’s the basic component of Filé powder. It’s spicy and earthy, and can be used to thicken soups and stews in addition to the classic gumbo. Sassafras is also the key component of traditional root beer.


No Italian course would be complete without oregano, and its spicy, warm taste can kick any meal up a notch. Oregano actually becomes stronger when it’s dried, so watch how much dried oregano you add to your dinner. Adding it to stews can transform a good dish to a great one.


Known for its use in pesto, basil originated in India, but its use is common to many cuisines, including Italian, Thai, and Vietnamese. Use fresh basil at the end of your cooking period, or you’ll risk ruining its flavor with high heat.


Pair rosemary with white meats or a pot of beans for a fragrant, delicious, and hearty meal. Remember to remove the springs of rosemary before serving.


Last but not least, dill imparts a sharpness to any meal, and is often paired with creamy dishes to cut through their richness. Dill is commonly served on fish, and is a prime ingredient in pickle making. It can often be found in Eastern European cuisines.

Try using combinations of these herbs on some of your favorite dishes. We’re willing to bet you won’t miss the added fat, sugar, or salt you’ve been used to.

Choosing the Right Cut of Beef

Round, chuck, rib, shank, brisket, sirloin… The nine portions of a cow can yield some 40 common cuts of beef, each one with its own uses, flavors, and best cooking methods. Cuts of beef can vary wildly in their fat content, their toughness, and their taste. Here are a few of our favorite cuts.

From the Short Loin


The short loin of the cow, just behind the ribs, yields the well-known tenderloin cut, the porterhouse steak, and the T-bone steak.

The tenderloin is common in steak tartare, beef Wellington, and beef Stroganoff, and is the source of the iconic filet mignon.

The porterhouse and T-bone steaks are characterized by their t-shaped bone, and both have a strip steak on side of the bone, and a piece of tenderloin on the other. T-bone steaks typically have less tenderloin than porterhouse steaks.

From the RibRibeye

While we won’t wade it the murky waters beef ribs vs. pork ribs in regional barbecue, one of our favorite cuts of beef comes from the rib portion of the cow: the ribeye steak.

Ribeyes are known for being particularly tender and exceptionally flavorful, making them a favorite amongst steak eaters. Known as a “cowboy cut” when the bone is left in, this cut of beef is well-marbled and quite juicy.

The BrisketBeef Brisket

Beef brisket is a staple in the barbecue world, and its pickled variant – the corned beef brisket – has its own place in history as the foundation of the famed Reuben sandwich. Brisket is often cooked slowly over low to moderate heat, which tenderizes the meat and breaks down its connective tissues. Brisket is often purchased in one of two distinct cuts – the flat cut, or the deeply marbled point.

From the FlankFlank Steak

The flank portion of the cow gives us two well-known pieces of meat, the flank steak and the skirt steak. The skirt steak is best known for its use in classic fajitas, while the flank steak is often found in London broil. Both of these steaks are highly flavorful, but can be tough. Slicing the steak thinly, against the grain will improve its tenderness.