Category Archives for "Food Tips"

How To Make Well-Marinated Sun-Dried Tomatoes?

There is nothing more exciting than making your own sun-dried vegetables. It’s no secret that they’ll last longer in shelf life and taste so much better compared to regular tomatoes. If you want to make sun-dried tomatoes that are well-marinated and taste good, you’re in the right place.

You will learn step by step how to make marinated sun-dried tomatoes so you can add them to your favorite salads and foods. You will also need some other ingredients that will make those tomatoes burst with flavor every time you take a bite. Once you’ve made your first batch, you’ll probably want to end up making more.

With that said, let’s dive in:

What You Need?

Here’s what you need for ingredients: tomatoes, dried oregano, dried basil. Optional ingredients include garlic cloves, onions, etc.

There are three different ways to make sun-dried tomatoes. We’ll be taking a look at how to make them using any of these three methods:

  • Food dehydrator (Option #1)
  • Oven (Option #2)
  • Single layer racks (Option #3)

How To Make Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes are perfect for salads, pasta, casseroles, and so many other dishes. But when they are marinated with other herbs and vegetables, they really are tasty. Let’s dig in and create some magic by “sun drying” some tomatoes:


  1. Wash the tomatoes and remove the stems.
  1. Cut the tomatoes into ¼ slices. Alternatively, you can cut the tomatoes in half. As a rule of thumb, just know that thicker pieces of tomato will take longer to dry compared to ¼ slices.
  1. Take the slices and place them in the dehydrator tray. If you have any dried oregano or basil handy, this would be a good time to liberally sprinkle some on your slices.
  1. Power on your oven or dehydrator and set it to 150 degrees (see further down below for instructions to dry tomatoes in the sun). At this temperature, it can take ten hours to dry the tomatoes. However, it may also depend on the liquid content of the tomatoes. The less it has, the shorter it will take to dry. Check on the tomatoes every four hours. You’ll know they are completely dry if they appear to look leathery.
  1. Once complete, remove your sun-dried tomatoes and place them in an airtight container. You can store them in the refrigerator or freezer. Either way, the shelf life will be extended. You can expect these sun-dried tomatoes to have a shelf life of six months to a year if they are properly stored.

Option #1 - the food dehydrator

If you are looking for a way to make healthier foods like sun-dried tomatoes or beef jerky, food dehydrators are a must-have in your home. Choosing the best food dehydrator depends on  many factors, like how often you plan to use, what you plan to use it for, and what your budget is. For something like sun-dried tomatoes, however, an entry level dehydrator would be fine

Not to mention, it’s a real money saver when compared to purchasing foods that are already packaged for sale. In other words, the cost-effective way to get your hands on sun-dried tomatoes is to make your own.

Not only that, if you are growing your own vegetables, you can be able to grow more and make an abundant amount of freeze-dried foods. That way, you’ll never run out and you’ll always have them on hand long after you’ve made them. Because the shelf-life is lengthy, you won’t need to throw away foods as often due to spoilage.

Simply put, when it comes to using a food dehydrator, you are making sun-dried veggies that put their canned counterparts to shame.

Option #2 - the Oven Method

If you do not have a food dehydrator, you can still be able to dry the tomatoes. You can use an oven and set it to a temperature of 150 degrees. They will typically take a few hours to dry, so check on them regularly. If they take on a leathery texture, then they are done.

The instructions on how to prep them are roughly the same. You can be able to sprinkle some basil or oregano so you can give it that enhanced flavor. One bite and they will be the best tomatoes you’ve ever tasted.

Option #3 - The “Sun-Dry” Method using Single Layer Racks

Of course, you can literally dry tomatoes in the sun. However, there are certain conditions that need to be met in order for you to make this method more effective. For one, you have to live in an environment where high heat and low humidity is normal.

Clearly, a high-humidity environment would defeat the entire purpose since there will be moisture in the air. Tomatoes left in the open air with plenty of moisture will mold and create a hotbed for bacteria. If you live in an area where the weather gets hot and humid, one of the previous methods above will be your best bet.

With this method, you’re going to need to blanch the tomatoes and remove the skins. Next, you’ll need to cut them in half and remove the pulp and seeds entirely. Using a single layer rack, place the tomatoes on top and let them sit in the sun.

You also need to make sure there is a two-inch space that will allow for appropriate air flow. The tomatoes must be in the full sun in order for this process to work. Every day for the next 12 days (which is the estimated time for this method), turn the tomatoes and bring in the racks every night.

The natural sun dry method is the longest in time elapsed since it doesn’t rely on the use of either an oven or a food dehydrator. The air temperature will be less than 150 degrees, so you don’t want to use this method if you quickly want to make sun-dried tomatoes.

What makes the “sun dry” method great?

If you are using the sun dry method, you’ll be able to make the flavor a bit more nuanced compared to the other two methods above. However, it may not be a good idea to use this as a way to preserve them for a longer shelf life.

Final Thoughts

Making marinated sun-dried tomatoes can be a great culinary skill to have up your sleeve. Especially when you want to make something that will make a great add on for plenty of dishes. You can also be able to give them more extra flavor with additional ingredients like garlic cloves, salt, and onions.

Whether it’s with a food dehydrator, an oven, or nature itself there is no wrong way to make sun-dried tomatoes that are “oh so tasty”.

What Does Butternut Squash Taste Like?

If you were to associate a scent to winter, it will probably be the smell of a lovely Christmas tree. If you're going to attribute a sound, likely, you would immediately think of Christmas carols. However, when it comes to taste, it is the pleasing one of the butternut squash. Despite its popularity, there are so many different opinions its taste. This article will answer the question, “what does butternut squash taste like? “

For over half a century, the butternut squash has become the staple of winter meals. The butternut squash is not only known for its lovely taste but also for its numerous nutritional benefits. It can be prepared in various different ways

The Butternut Squash is not the Only Type of Winter Squashes There Is

The butternut squash is not the type of popular winter squash. There are several types of winter squashes. This is one of the reasons why a lot of folks can’t really describe what a butternut squash tastes like accurately. 

Before we go on to describe how the butternut squash tastes, we must differentiate it from the other fruits in the family. In this section, you will be reading a brief exposition on some of the commonest winter squashes.

  • Pumpkin: Round fruit with a very firm exterior. It has a vibrant orange skin with a sweet and earthy flavor.
  • Banana Squash: This is a large fruit that is shaped like a banana. It has smooth skin with hues ranging from orange to pink to blue. It has a rich, sweet, and earthy flavor.
  • Buttercup Squash: The buttercup squash is a thick and round fruit with a green skin. It has a firm orange-colored flesh. It has a sweet and creamy taste.
  • Delicata Squash: Alternatively called the sweet potato squash. It is small in size with cream-colored skin and orange-yellow flesh. It tastes a lot like sweet potato.
  • Kabocha: About the same size as the buttercup squash. Both fruits also have similar skin colors. However, when it comes to taste, they differ. Instead of a sweet, creamy flavor., the kabocha has a sweet, nutty taste.
  • Turban Squash: This fruit is shaped like an irregular turban. It has a bumpy exterior with a hue that ranges from green to orange to yellow.
  • Spaghetti Squash: This fruit has a firm cream or yellow exterior. When cooked, the insides of the fruit look like spaghetti.
  • Sweet Dumpling Squash: Yellow skin. Small Fruit. The taste will remind you of corn.
  • Hubbard Squash: A very large fruit with a firm skin. The color of the exterior ranges from gray to blue. It has a rich pumpkin flavor.
  • Acorn Squash: The Acorn Squash is small in size. The color of the skin ranges between dark green and orange. The flesh of the fruit is orange-yellow. It has a subtle sweet and nutty taste.

The Butternut Squash

This fruit is a shaped like a pear with a cream-colored rind. It has a smooth orange colored flesh and little seeds.

The butternut squash is a great source of vitamin A. One serving has all the vitamin A you need in a day. The fruit is also known to help people lose weight and the prevent cancer. One serving contains 0.00318 kilograms of fat.

It is known for its ability to be an excellent antioxidant, boost the body's immunity, and reduce inflammation. The butternut squash is also known to be a great source of vitamin C.

The Taste of The Butternut Squash

The fruit is so sweet that it has been relatively compared with butterscotch candy. It also said to taste like carrots and turnips.

When it is cooked into a puree, a sweet potato-like taste becomes more prominent in its flavor. When made into soup, it has a slightly spicy, silky and sweet taste. The seeds of the fruit are edible and they have a strong nutty dose. It is also said to taste a lot like the pumpkin, only that it is a lot sweeter.

All in all, the taste of the butternut squash can be summarized into these three things: Sweet, Nutty, and Moist. The butternut squash can be eaten raw. However, its amazing taste comes out more when it is cooked. To get the ultimate Butternut Squash taste, roasting and sautéing are the best options thanks to what is known as the Maillard reaction. 

Here are some tips you can use to enhance the taste of your butternut squash meal. You can either:

  •  Roast with rosemary, olive oil and garlic,
  • Before baking or grilling, season it with dark pepper,
  • Mix sage-flavored oil in butternut squash ravioli or
  • Add some cheese to improve the flavor

Choosing the Best of the Bunch

In the previous section, we made an effort to describe the taste of the butternut. We reached the conclusion that it has a sweet nutty and moist flavor that goes very well with aromatic spices. However, it is important to note that only the best out of the bunch provides the authentic Butternut Squash taste. In this section, I will be sharing tips on how to choose the right butternut squash.

  •  When you grab it, it feels a lot heavier than you expect
  • The skin must be clean and clear.
  • It must have no bruises whatsoever
  • If it has frostbite scars, do not pick it
  • Check for punctures.

These guidelines may look naïve and unnecessary, but following them could be the difference between getting a tasty, satisfying, and healthy meal or otherwise.

Peeling and Seeding The Butternut Squash

A sharp knife is needed for the tough and thick butternut squash skin. You will also need a very sturdy vegetable peeler. Skinning a butternut squash can be hard work, but if you get your steps right, it can be a lot easier for you.  Here are some steps to take:

  • Cut away both ends
  • Horizontally divide the fruit into two
  • Start peeling from one extreme till you get to the round base
  • Divide what you have in half
  • Using a spoon, scoop out all the seeds.
  • Voila! You have skinned butternut squash. You can divide them into pieces based on your discretion.

Four Ways to Prepare a Butternut Squash

The way you prepare the butternut squash also goes a long way in determining how it will taste. There are so many ways to prepare butternut squash. In this section, we will discuss four of them. Once you understand them, you can experiment( and even make your own unique butternut squash dish!)

  • Steam-Baking: When you steam-bake any ingredient, its nutrients are more preserved than when you use another method of food processing. You do not even need to bother cutting it up or peeling it. Just divide it into two, put it into an oven, and remove the seeds with a spoon when you are done.
  • Roasting: Olive oil, thyme, cinnamon, and honey should be used to season the fruit before roasting.
  • Boiling: Wash and peel the fruit first, though.
  • Baking: Clean the fruit, cut in half season with dark pepper and bake at 204 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.


I hope you enjoyed reading this article. More importantly, I hope that you have learned something very useful about the butternut squash. Now you know that the butternut squash has a sweet, nutty and moist taste. The great taste only comes out when it is carefully picked and adequately processed. You can use the hints in the article to figure out how to do so.

Thanks for reading! 

Can You Microwave Styrofoam? Time To Uncover The Truth

Some of the foods we purchase are packed in a Styrofoam. Such type of packaging often leaves us skeptical with regards to its safety when putting in a microwave. We often hear people asking and wondering, "Can you microwave Styrofoam?" This article provides well-detailed information that uncovers the truth about microwaving Styrofoam containers. 

Continue reading

How to Preheat Oven: Important Steps You Shouldn’t Miss

Have you ever noticed most baking recipes start by preheating the oven? I, too, once wondered what the rationale behind that is. While the term ‘preheating’ may sound simple, the actual process is quite meticulous. If you are unsuccessful in doing this process correctly, your dishes will also be likely to fail ultimately. 

Baking requires having the right temperature. It is best to ensure that the oven’s temperature has reached its ideal setting and that you do not get too much heat by opening the gate before throwing your favorite cooked dish into the oven. 

If you are wondering how to preheat the oven the right way, read on to know more.

Why Preheat the Oven?

Preheating the oven is one of the frequently ignored steps in baking or roasting. What many people do not realize is that preheating the oven can make a massive difference in the dish. 

Here are four reasons why you should preheat the oven:

1. Browning Meat

Have you ever heard of the term “Maillard Reaction“? Browning or the Maillard reaction creates a flavor and shifts the food’s color. Meat would not have much flavor until the Maillard reaction happens. Hundreds of flavor compounds are formed in the process. In turn, these compounds create more flavorful substances. 

The Maillard reaction is characterized by each meal variety with a unique range of flavor substances. Browning can only occur when temperatures are higher than 300°C, so you’ll need to prepare your stove if you’re searching for an excellent black sear on the beef or chicken before baking.

2. Leavening Agents

When subjected unexpectedly to high heat, leavening agents, including baking soda, yeast, and baking powder, do not occur in a cold-starter oven.

3. Uneven Cooking

Have you ever experienced putting a chicken or meat inside the oven and ended up having rough brown patches all over them? This could signal that your oven wasn’t preheated well before starting your cooking session.

4. Food Safety

Meats that are not cooked well can cause severe health risks. Therefore, it is never a good idea to put your chicken and other meat straight into the oven without preheating. 

How Long To Preheat An Oven?

How Long To Preheat An Oven

The time it takes to preheat an oven depends on the manufacturer and model you are using. There are two types of ovens – the electric oven and the gas oven

It should take about 10-15 minutes for electric ovens to preheat. Modern stoves have a quick pre-heating characteristic. In 7 to 10 minutes, these stoves can preheat. A convection oven can, for instance, be preheated in under 6 minutes. It can also take approximately 5 to 10 minutes of preheating for ovens with a noticeable base baked component. It also takes a short time for gas-powered stoves to get completely warm.  

Nevertheless, there are various factors that may also impact your oven’s preheating time. Examples of these factors include but are not limited to the following:

  • A hidden baking component providing filtered heat
  • A wall oven mounted on a reduced voltage takes a longer time to preheat than one mounted on a higher voltage
  • Frequent opening of the oven’s door while preheating is ongoing
  • Unused rack in the oven
  • Room temperature

Steps on How to Preheat the Oven

preheat the oven

Once the oven is turned on, it rises slowly from room temperature to maintain the desired heat. If your food is still uncooked after using your oven for a prescribed time, your oven is probably cool, and it may take another 5 to 10 minutes to cook depending on the level of doneness. On the contrary, you might be running hot when your food appears hard or burnt.

The incorrect temperature of your baked goods may also result in unintended chewiness.  A prepared stove will ensure that your souffles cook at the correct heat before they can deflate and wash out your meringue. 

So, to have a perfectly cooked dish, preheat the oven using the following steps.

Step 1: Getting to know the oven you are using.

Your oven is not only a unit, it’s a partner in cooking everything that your family and guests will love. And with all partners, knowing them is the cornerstone to a healthy relationship. The more we know our oven, the more convenient it is to operate. 

The user’s handbook will assist you to know how you should care for your stove and how to use it if you use comparatively fresh ovens. This helps you know how to preheat and how to go about with your oven. 

Some electric-powered ovens create a buzzing noise or specify the correct temperature on their LCD screens. When the temperature gauge is present on an outdated oven, spend in an oven thermometer only when it is no longer so reliable.

Step 2: Decide when to switch on your oven.

At the very beginning, you do not have to preheat the oven just yet. Like all ingredients, reading the whole recipe before starting is an excellent practice, and that’s how you understand when to switch your oven on. 

You don’t need to have your oven in full heating mode if you need an hour to prepare your meal before putting it in an oven. Instead, set the time. Set the oven around twenty minutes before ultimately finishing your meal preparation. This is sufficient time to let your oven reach the correct temperature and adjust to that heat.

Timing is, therefore, essential for a perfectly cooked meal. It’s easier to heat electric ovens that have convection engines so that even 10 minutes should be enough time. However, due to the slower air circulation, gas ovens will take more time. So, it is advisable to preheat the oven for about 5-20 minutes. Some gas ovens, however, in particular, outdated models, may operate at an increasingly high temperature without stabilizing, so examining the temperature and letting it get warmed up first is an excellent practice.

Step 3: Examine what’s inside the oven.

Open the oven to ensure that everything is taken away. If you stock products including baking tools, in your oven, take them out and put them aside. When necessary, organize the rack levels. Most oven shelves are put in the center of the stove, but the dish you cook sometimes needs to be at a lower or higher section of the oven. See your recipe and remove the oven rack and position it to the correct level if needed. The oven’s interior walls should have tight edges where you can place your rack.

Dishes that need to be crispy and browned on top, including lasagnas and casseroles, are usually cooked on the upper part of the oven. Foods like cookies, cupcakes, and cakes, unless the recipe says otherwise, should be positioned at the mid-rack. Meals, including pizzas and plain bread, are put on the underside of the oven and need to make it crunchy and brown.

Step 4: Starting the oven by turning it on.

Switch on the oven, determine the temperature, establish the temperature setting. To get the correct temperature, refer to your food recipe. Oven temperature is usually the very first stage of every recipe. Just hold the button down and switch to the correct temperature so that the oven temperature ends up at the right temperature.

Step 5: Waiting time.

Wait until the required level of temperature is reached. The majority of advanced ovens have a configuration that can allow you to see the existing temperature or give you a beeping sound when ready. Some ovens show a small amount of light when the temperature is accurate. Usually, this light is near the temperature dial of the oven.

In most ovens, the proper heating time takes 10 to 15 minutes. When you have an outdated oven, you might not have a dial with the various temperatures on it; only an on-off switch can be installed. If this happens, merely switch the oven on and take 10 to 15 minutes before you put the food in.

Other Important Points to Remember


  1. Take an oven thermometer into consideration. The temperature in the oven is sometimes incorrect and does not correspond with the heat of the panel. The real temperature will be indicated by an oven thermometer, which is usually positioned within the oven. Instead of hoping for the signal or for the oven to beep, use a thermometer. Turn the stove on and adjust the temperature when the oven utilizes a pilot light. Before rotating, you may have to click the button gently.
  2. You have to modify the label if the oven is filled with gas marks rather than Fahrenheit or Celsius. You must go online and use a digital device for conversion.
  3. The pilot light sometimes leaves or must be activated before every use. In this case, make sure the temperature dials are ‘off,’ and the pilot light is located easily. Hold a flame by the pilot hole, and light up a match. Take away the match as the pilot light ignites. Turn the temperature up mildly if the pilot light does not ignite.
  4. If you have a digital oven, press the button brown, then set the temperature. To adjust the temperature, make use of the up and down arrows. Hit the ‘Start’ button once the temperature has been established. The digits will change on display. The figure represents the oven temperature inside. Wait until the heat increases, and the actual value is reached.
  5. Place the meals inside the oven when it hits the correct temperature. Gas ovens warm up more quickly than electric ovens so that the suitable temperature of your oven is within 5 to 10 minutes. Keep the gate of the oven closed if otherwise provided in the recipe. Keep your oven’s door closed and look into your food, as the temperature in the oven will drop off, thereby causing a longer cooking time. Do not place too many food meals on the lower rack if you have a bunch to bake and plan on cooking using both shelves. The heat may not reach the food at the upper rack.
  6. If you smell gas, take caution. You can have a gas leak if you smell gas while cooking. Immediately turn the oven off. Avoid using electrical equipment. That can lead to an explosion. Leave the windows open and leave the house. Contact emergency departments by telephone or mobile phone. Never use the mobile phone inside the house.


Knowing how to preheat the oven is an important aspect of every food recipe. Preparing the oven by removing all baking tools and racks and securing that the oven door is properly closed are factors that need to be taken into account to ensure proper preheating and achievement of the desired temperature.

How to Preheat Oven

4 Easy and Useful Ways on How to Reheat Shrimp

One of my most significant mysteries in life is knowing how to reheat shrimp. Not only do I doubt the best approach to reheat my favorite crustacean dish, but I also fear that through reheating, I might overcook it and lose the flavor.

If you have just started learning how to cook, reheating shrimp can be a daunting experience. And I believe that kind of notion stems from the pressure of ensuring that the shrimps remain tasty.

Through research and inquiries from expert chefs, I learned some of the best methods on how to reheat shrimp while making sure they are not overcooked and remain flavorful.

Continue reading

Can You Freeze Scrambled Eggs? Discover How to Do It

Who doesn't love eggs? Eggs are commonly used in various food recipes, such as sandwiches, salads, and soup. It is a go-to food for people seeking to load up on proteins without gaining weight.

On hectic days, finishing breakfast only becomes an option. Leftovers, such as scrambled eggs, are often left untouched. However, this should not be the case anymore once you know how to preserve them.

I know many of you are probably wondering and asking, "Can you freeze scrambled eggs?" A straightforward answer to that is, YES.

In this article, you will learn the proper way of cooking scrambled eggs so that they do not spoil quickly. You will also learn how you can freeze scrambled eggs and reheat them.

Continue reading
1 2 3 7