Perfect Salads With Pancetta

ancetta, also called “Italian bacon,” has a sweet, savory taste unlike the smokier flavor of bacon and this seasoned cut of pork is the absolute perfect complement to salads. Pancetta also lends considerable flavor to dishes like soups, sauces, risottos, and pasta. Various regions of Italy produce their own special varieties of pancetta using different … Continue reading “Perfect Salads With Pancetta”

ancetta, also called “Italian bacon,” has a sweet, savory taste unlike the smokier flavor of bacon and this seasoned cut of pork is the absolute perfect complement to salads. Pancetta also lends considerable flavor to dishes like soups, sauces, risottos, and pasta.


Various regions of Italy produce their own special varieties of pancetta using different spices but it is most commonly cured with salt and spices like ground red pepper. You can purchase pancetta at the deli in slices, sliced in packages, or in whole rolls that can be sliced, chopped, or used as needed.
Pancetta will keep in the refrigerator for up to two to three weeks or in the freezer for as long as six months if it is wrapped tightly.

If a recipe calls for pancetta but you do not have any handy, you can substitute slices of fatty prosciutto or even un-smoked, lean slices of bacon. The taste will be a bit different but similar enough that the end results are just as good.

Although ideal for flavoring salads, you can also use pancetta on top of pizzas along with vegetables like roasted red bell peppers and plenty of fontina cheese.
Thinly sliced, sauteed pancetta is equally delicious on sandwiches and when mixed with warm green beans or chopped and used in salads with Bibb lettuce, toasted walnuts, and Anjou pears.
Green Bean and Pancetta Salad Recipe
What You Need

  • 3 medium sized ripe tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 pound pancetta, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound of fresh green beans, ends trimmed, strings removed, halved
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

How to Make It
Slice the tomatoes in half and gently remove the seeds and squeeze out the majority of the juice. Chop the tomato halves into 1 inch sized pieces then set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the sherry vinegar and the honey and mix well. Set aside.
Preheat a large pan over medium heat then add the sliced pancetta in a single layer. Cook until crisp and golden brown then place on paper towels to drain.
Leave about a tablespoon of fat in the pan discarding the rest. Add the olive oil to the pan and set aside.
Chop the cooked pancetta.

Cook the trimmed and halved green beans in a pot of salted, boiling water for about 5 minutes or until tender. Drain the beans and place them in a large bowl with the chopped tomatoes.
Heat the pan with the pancetta fat and olive oil over medium heat then add in the honey and vinegar mixture with a whisk. Increase the heat as you whisk the mixture until it boils.
Pour the hot dressing over the bean and tomato mixture then season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Add the chopped pancetta to the salad and toss.
Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese atop of the green bean and pancetta salad just before serving.
Serves 4.

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Making Healthy Salads With Root Vegetables

Although root vegetables are not the most visually appealing foods you have to choose from especially where fruits and vegetables are concerned, they certainly offer quite a bit of flavor not to mention a selection of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to benefit from.


The autumn months are the most ideal time to enjoy freshly harvested root vegetables including beets, carrots, parsnips, and radishes. Besides borscht, beets are great baked, boiled, or steamed and they can also be used in salads sliced or grated.

Carrots are members of the parsley family and these inexpensive vegetables can be used in a wide variety of ways. When buying this root vegetable, look for those that have the brightest, orange color and try to buy bunches without any cracks or slits running up and down the length of the carrots. You can buy carrots with the greens still attached, already trimmed, or completely trimmed and peeled.

Keep your carrots in a plastic bag for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. If the carrots are no longer crisp and you need them raw cut or grated for salads, immerse them in ice water for 30 minutes before using.
Parsnips are related to carrots and these whitish, ivory colored root vegetable are simply perfect for using in hot salads after being baked, boiled, roasted, or steamed. You can also mash parsnips much like you would potatoes and then use them in soups and stews. To enjoy fresh parsnips, choose the youngest, smallest ones and grate them or slice them thinly and mix with dressing and salad greens.
Keep your parsnips wrapped a perforated plastic bag for as long as one month in the crisper in the refrigerator.

Radishes are not only good to eat but they are great for adding color and interest to many types of salads. There are numerous varieties of radishes that vary by size, color, and the length they take to mature with the Cherry Belle variety being one of the most popular. Radishes can be eaten raw although the tougher varieties are best when steamed.
Root Vegetable Slaw Recipe
What You Need

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 medium parsnips
  • 1 small celery root
  • 1/2 Daikon radish

How to Make It
Using a blender or food processor, combine the mustard, salt, sugar, red wine vinegar, and the chopped parsley and process for about 30 seconds or until well mixed. Scrape all the ingredients to the bottom of the blender or food processor and slowly add in the olive oil. Puree or process on the highest setting for 1 minute.

Peel the vegetables using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler. Using a coarse grater or peeler, shred the vegetables into a large mixing bowl.

Toss the vinaigrette dressing with the shredded vegetables to coat everything well.
Refrigerate the root vegetable slaw for 30 minutes before serving.
Serves 4.

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Crockpot Cooking – Advantages and Disadvantages

In my ‘un-biased’ opinion, the crockpot / slow cooker
is one of the most convenient and easy to use appliances
in my kitchen. The time savings features of the
slow cooker and the delicious dinners that have
resulted more than offset any minor drawbacks.


Before I list my top reasons why the crockpot is the
most useful appliance in any kitchen, I will list
a few of the areas where it does not perform as well.

– Large cuts of meat such as boneless prime rib or
leg of lamb are still best when oven roasted.
– Except for stews and chowders, the slow cooker
does not cook fish very well.

– The slow cooker collects a lot of the juices
since the steam does not escape during cooking and these
juices can become diluted and watery, which can affect
the flavoring of the food.

– If not careful, a slow cooker can overcook food -especially
some of the more tender meats and poultry.

These drawbacks are relatively minor compared to the
positives which I will list now.

– The slow cooker needs virtually no tending while
it cooks, freeing you up to do other chores or recipes.

– The slow cooker will tenderize less expensive, tough
cuts of meat and make great stews out of them.

– The slow cooker allows you to be out of the kitchen
for extended periods of time -sometimes even all day.

– Burning your food is rarely a problem. The slow cooker
will make many dishes for you better than any other
appliance -especially those that tend to stick to
the bottom of a pan.

In my opinion the slow cooker is one of the most
under-utilized and yet superior of kitchen appliances.
When used for what it does best, you will find that you
are able to prepare great dishes in less time than you
though possible!

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Hamilton Beach Crock Pot – Why Must You Purchase One?

What is there to know about the Hamilton Beach Crock Pot other than the fact that it is one of the most sought after slow cooker brands in the market? Well, you cannot expect people to know a lot about cooking equipments especially if they have not even tried cooking with one. For the benefit of those who have just heard about crock pots and slow cookers, this is one of the useful cooking appliances that every kitchen should have.

Crock Pot

The Hamilton Beach Crock Pot is the perfect tool to use in preparing a variety of food recipes including meat recipes, stews, soups and other home-cooked meals. It is often used in simmering or in other cooking methods that requires slow heating for long hours. You can make use of this product at home or even in outdoor settings. It is made versatile and durable for various occasions and activities that every family might be interested in doing.

There are different models of a Hamilton Beach Crock Pot. Each of these models may have different designs and specifications that are made to meet the needs and expectations of its user. Some of its interesting features include its sizable interior, its light indicator and its dial control which allows its user to change heat settings comfortably. But what makes this product more interesting is the fact that you can bring it in any travel plans that you have. It is made suitable to use in potlucks, camping trips and all sorts of gatherings.

The other interesting features of the Hamilton Beach Crock Pot include its tightly sealed glass lid which comes with clips and gaskets that holds it in place. It is very easy and convenient to carry or transport. The chance of spillage is also reduced. Since its lid is made of glass, you can be provided with a clear view on what’s cooking while using it. Its side handles also remain cool in the process so you will not have difficulties in gripping it. The product also comes with a serving spoon which makes it even valuable for its price.

Based on several user reviews, potential buyers can gain a lot of information with regards the specifications and uses of this cooking appliance. Most user reviews referred to the product as a high-quality and well-built equipment that may come in handy in the kitchen. It is said to cook food evenly and thoroughly. Even if you do not tend it for a few hours, you can ensure that meat is cooked tenderly without breaking it. Other food items can be layered properly as well due to its spacious interior.

Other users thought of the product to be worthy of its price. Though a few users mentioned about having odd odors in its lid, others were not able to have the same experience. It is robust, yet attractive. It is easy to use and clean. It is convenient to carry and its lids secure whatever is inside it. Based on these facts, there is no doubt that the Hamilton Beach Crock Pot is one of the best choices of cooking equipments to own.

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Low Back Pain Causes – Good Reasons To Change Your Mattress

Have you ever waken up in the morning with an agonizing pain in your lower back? If you have, then probably the mattress you were sleeping on is not suitable for you. If you are still sleeping on it now, you better change it as soon as possible before you experience another lower back pain in the future because of your mattress.

Back Pain

I also had an experience of lower back pain before. Luckily, I managed to find out that my mattress is the source of my lower back pain. I had been sleeping on it since I was still an undergraduate ten years ago. Every morning, I always woke up with pain in my lower back until one day my friend, who slept on my mattress, also experienced the same problem. Finally it was dawn to me that it was not my back problem and that I had to change my mattress as soon as possible. Ever since I changed that old but comfortable mattress, I always wake up with fresh mind and also fresh body without experiencing any pain.

I am sure that many people out there, and possibly you, still keep your old mattress and sleep on it. I understand that old mattress is always comfortable because our body has been used to it. However, if you do experience any pain, you have to bid farewell to that old mattress. The old mattress will most likely no longer give you the support to your back that it provided many years ago. This will only worsen your back problem, and the comfort of it is actually a guilty comfort. Moreover, if it is soft, then it must be disposed immediately. You are probably asking yourself what the problem is with soft mattress. Is it not comfortable? Yes, it is, but the softness of the mattress is the one that causes your back pain. Even worse, the shocking truth is that the softer the mattress is, the more back pain you will have after sleeping on it.

Most people have the wrong conception as they think that softer mattress is more comfortable and therefore better for your back. Yet, the fact is that it is not good for your back. When you flip your body at night and turn along the bed, the soft mattress does not provide good support for your back muscles. The muscles will instead become tense and they are strained. This is the cause of the back pain and therefore, the soft mattress is not good for your back.

So is a harder mattress better? Yes it is, although sometimes we will feel that hard mattress is not comfortable at all. A harder mattress will provide the kind of support to your back. However, what I mean by hard is not a mattress that is as hard as a board. Try selecting a harder mattress that is at the same time, provides comfort while you are sleeping.

If you have not purchased your harder mattress now, and you are having back pain, you can try stretching and lying on the floor or a harder bed. It will improve your blood circulation at your back, and therefore, it will promote your back healing. Try purchasing a harder mattress in near future so that you can say good bye to your back pain. If your back pain still exists after some time, try consulting the nearest doctor and seek for his advice. Back pain is a problem that cannot be ignored, because it will only weaken your back from time to time.

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