Amagansett Food Institute

Everything You Need To Know About Food

The air fryer is fairly new but has been getting a lot of praise from almost everyone that has had the pleasure of using this device since Philips put the first one on the market a few years back. Since then, the popularity has gone through the roof and there are so many more brands that have come with their own versions. Competition is to be expected from something that makes a lot of unbelievable promises and meets them with ease. This is exactly what the best air fryer is capable of doing but you need to get the best if you wish to truly experience the results that it promises.

These results are huge because they are extremely beneficial for the overall health of the human body. Nobody can argue against that fact that we love that crispy taste of the fried food. But as we all know, the ingredient regardless of whether it is chicken or potatoes cut into fries, will need to be drenched in oil during the cooking process. This will ultimately lead to that color and taste that we all love and crave so much. I would honestly be content about missing out any type of food but I admit, French fries are my weakness and no matter how hard I try, I cannot stay away from them for more than two or three days. This has haunted me despite the fact that I usually practice a balanced diet that is on the healthier side. In this situation, French fries should be banned but unfortunately, I cannot stay away. The oil within these is immense and it definitely hurts my body because I can feel it.

An oil less fryer is what provides the solution to this problem for me because it does not use too much oil. As a matter of fact, if you buy French fries from the supermarket, you will not need to put any oil into the air fryer. But if you are cutting and preparing the potatoes yourself then it will be a good idea to put a tiny sprinkle of oil but again, you can use a healthier oil if you wish. In my opinion, the complete removal or minimal use of oil is the biggest benefit of this device, as it improves my diet ten-fold. The impressive thing is that the taste is better and ever despite the lack of oil. Taste is of huge importance to me and when I first about a so called oil less fryer, I definitely did not believe that it would perform like it has.

There are many benefits of using the best air fryer.Air fryers are devices that are based on the concept of hot air circulating all around the food and the food is thoroughly cooked. This is also done a lot quicker than most other kitchen devices that normally have. It is better than a deep fryer and it is definitely more versatile and quicker than the oven. The food and ingredients feel fresher and more thoroughly cooked despite taking less time to cook. However, you will need to get the best air fryer if you are to experience this level of performance.

In terms of versatility, an oil less fryer can cook all kinds of foods. It can make or bake desserts while at the same time at the same time having the potential to fry food, grill meat and do various other jobs. This versatility is of major importance and it also means that you will not need to keep multiple devices on your counter in the kitchen. This will not only make the kitchen look clean at all times but it will also save a lot of money for you because the total money spent on these and the running costs will be reduced significantly.

This device has been doing a crazy amount of business recently and it is quite clear to see the reason for this. However, you need to check the Philips air fryer review before you go out and buy one yourself. It must be said that doing this will definitely be worth your time and money.

Even though this morning is rainy, dreary and windy, it is made better by the fact that I haven’t had to leave the house yet. On top of that, I just feel like doing nothing all day. Unfortunately my to-do list today is pretty full and the most important task is to work on my resume and cover letter. I don’t know about you, but if I don’t prioritize my to-do list, I can wind up spending a lot of time on the unimportant tasks and not leave enough time on the others.

In order to avoid getting too involved in the kitchen, I’ve got two things working in there that don’t require much attention at all: turkey stock and crock-pot chili.

When I started the turkey stock the other evening, I didn’t really give it enough time to cook before I had to go to bed. Since I couldn’t let it simmer for quite as long as I wanted, I decided to put the stock into a smaller pot with the remaining bones and meat and then let it sit in the refrigerator until I could tend to it again.

This morning I pulled it out of the fridge, poured half into another stock pot, added a little more water to both pots, and let it come back up to a simmer. Since I’ll be around for most of the day, the mixture can continue to cook and develop the flavors further.

As for the chili, it is one of my favorite things to cook because you can make it differently each time and still have it turn out well! The recipe usually depends on what I have on hand in terms of vegetables and beans. I usually make it with ground turkey, but I decided to experiment with a vegetarian chili today. The crock-pot makes this process even easier for me and will ensure that my attention stays focused on my most important task of the day.

Crockpot Vegetarian Chili – Recipe Elements

1 can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 can of corn, drained

2 cans of diced tomatoes (I used 1 fire roasted and 1 regular)

3 tablespoons of tomato paste (I used some from the freezer)

2 green bell peppers, cleaned and diced

1 red bell pepper, cleaned and diced

1/2 sweet onion, diced

1 large carrot, grated

1/2 zucchini, diced

Spices (to taste): chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder

The Full Cooking Process

Vegetarian Chili is a great option for dinner.1. Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker and mix well.

2. Cook on low for about 6 hours. Serve and enjoy!

I love that chili helps me use up some vegetables that might otherwise get tossed out; the red and green bell peppers were on their last leg, but they worked perfectly in the chili. I’ve never included carrots or zucchini in my chili, but I think that they will provide bulk and sweetness to the recipe. I normally have zucchini with grilled chicken and love it so thought it would work well in this recipe as well. Mushrooms would also be a really good addition to the recipe, too.

So there you have it, my quick and easy slow-cooker recipe that will keep me focused and (hopefully) out of the kitchen and on-task for the rest of the day. So, what is your favorite slow-cooker recipe?

I haven’t really mentioned it on the blog, but for the past few weeks I’ve been following the new Weight Watchers PointsPlus program. As someone who has counted points previously on the old program, I was curious as to how this new program was going to be different in terms of my eating and weight loss.

Besides the fact that all fruits and (most) vegetables are zero PointsPlus, I think my favorite thing about the new program is that it is forcing me to look at nutritional information in more detail than just seeking out the calories, fat and fiber; I’m looking at the protein and carbohydrates, too.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been having a very similar breakfast each morning that, while delicious, wasn’t really providing me enough protein and left me feeling hungry relatively soon after eating. Since I don’t really prefer meat or beans with breakfast, I’m burnt out on nut butters and a small serving of walnuts or almonds doesn’t really fill me up, I knew I needed to find another hearty source of protein.

It finally hit me: cottage cheese. Now, I haven’t tried cottage cheese in years and the last time I had it, I don’t remember particularly liking it– but I decided to give it a try.

I tried a taste of it on its own and actually kind of liked it, which is really exciting! But for today, I decided to use it in a recipe instead of eating it as-is. I used an old family recipe but changed it up a little bit. The only changes I made were:

1% whipped cottage cheese (instead of fat-free)

1/4 cup of egg substitute (instead of 1 egg + 1 egg white)

2 tablespoons of raw Stevia (instead of Agave)

I picked up the 1% whipped variety since I’m not usually a huge fan of fat-free dairy products (besides plain yogurt). This brand boasted 16 g of protein for a 1/2 cup serving (2 PP).

I would have used the egg + egg white, but I used all of mine up yesterday making hard-boiled eggs.

Since cottage cheese can have varying levels of salt, be sure to taste your cottage cheese to determine how much salt you need to use for the rest of the recipe. I didn’t think about this as I was making my batter, and I wound up with something a little saltier than I intended.

These were amazing! I sprinkled the top of mine with cinnamon, and served them with a side of light syrup (for dipping) and a chopped apple sprinkled with cinnamon.

This was an awesome breakfast with some great staying power at 6 PointsPlus! Since these are a little more time-consuming in the morning, I might make a large batch of them to store in the refrigerator (and freezer), and then just toast or warm them as needed.

Yum! How do you work protein into your breakfast? What is your favorite way to eat cottage cheese?

In my last few years of college, a friend and I had a standing Thursday night date. Each week, we would go grocery shopping, recap our weeks, make dinner, and watch the NBC lineup. We had a rotating schedule for dinner plans, too: one week I’d make dinner, the next week she’d make dinner, and then on the third week we’d either go out to a restaurant or (more likely than not) have an appetizer night. I almost prefer having a variety of fun foods to choose from versus having a heavy meal. However, some appetizers can pack the same (if not a higher) caloric punch if you don’t choose carefully. For me, I like making my own appetizers as I can easily lighten up standard recipes to make them fit in with my standard.

Even though the Thursday night tradition had to end, my love for lightened up appetizers (and appetizer night) still runs strong. Instead of turning to a pre-made item from the store or a standard recipe, I decided to make something a little different today. This recipe let me feature one of my favorite things: caramelized onions! If you aren’t a fan of onions, this probably isn’t the recipe for you, but if you do love them: give this recipe a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Caramelized Onion Dip – Recipe Elements

4 small (or 2 large) onions, thinly sliced (sweet onions are ideal).

1 tablespoon of olive oil.

1/2 cup of low fat plain yogurt.

1/4 cup of low fat mayonnaise.

3 ounces low fat cream cheese.

Spices: salt, pepper and garlic powder.

The Full Cooking Process

This Caramelized Onion Dip is definitely worth a try.1. Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet (or regular pan) over medium-high heat on the stove. When the pan is coated with oil, add onions and a sprinkle of salt. Allow it to cook for about 10 minutes or until they are softened; stirring often. (If you aren’t using sweet onions, add a sprinkle of sugar or sweetener at this step.)

2. In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt, mayonnaise and cream cheese. When the onions are finished cooking, pour them into the bowl and mix thoroughly. Adding them when they are still hot allows the cream cheese to melt into the mixture.

3. Pour the entire mixture into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until pureed. Add spices to taste.

4. Chill for about 2 hours to allow the flavors to come together. Serve with sliced vegetables, chips and crackers; enjoy!

As always, be relatively light-handed with the spices. I added in a little too much garlic powder and it is stronger than I had planned, but still good. Also, this recipe doesn’t have to be pureed, but I would recommend letting it chill for even longer to allow the flavors to come together better.

The flavor of the onions really comes through in the final dip, and has a very real and authentic taste instead of the fake onion taste you sometimes get in pre-made dips. Don’t be fooled though, the flavor of onions is quite strong in this recipe. If you aren’t a huge fan of onions like me and you want a milder onion flavor, I’d recommend cutting the amount of onions you use in half. Are you a fan of onions? What is your favorite lightened-up appetizer recipe?

Picture it: It is 3:47 pm on a Saturday afternoon and I’m standing barefoot in front of my open pantry, looking for the right shape of pasta to use for a dinner recipe that has been swimming in my head. Green beans are steaming on the stove and applesauce is cooking in the rice cooker.

On the shelves of my pantry, there are no less than 6 different shapes and sizes of pasta to choose from, and when I reach for the perfect box (a half full box of SmartTaste Penne Rigate, in case you were wondering), an open box of orzo comes cascading down, spilling the very small shaped pasta all over the place. It is in between my toes, it is in baskets where I store the bottles of oil and vinegar, it is in between the shelf and the wall, and it is sticking to the hardwood floors.

It looks like I’ll be doing a pretty intense cleaning and organizing project in the pantry. Here is tip #1 for organizing your pantry: seal open boxes of pasta with more than just tucking the cardboard tab into itself, or you will regret it

I tell you all of this because this is the chaos in which this recipe came to be. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to make for dinner, but I knew that I wanted to use pasta as the base, plus zucchini and green beans from the farmer’s market, and about 2/3 cup defrosted, frozen spinach that I wanted to use up before it went bad (I told you, no food goes to waste). I was also very sure that I didn’t want a pasta dish with red sauce.

With all that I’ve already told you, you should know that this recipe was put together in a pretty chaotic fashion, so I’m going to rework the directions that they aren’t so unnecessarily complicated. If I had done this the simple way, I wouldn’t have created a counter full of dishes to wash after dinner, but I digress.

Easy Green Baked Pasta – Recipe Elements

About 8 oz pasta, cooked to al dente, run under cold water and cooled.

1-2 cups green beans, steamed until tender-firm, run under cold water and cooled.

2/3 cup of frozen defrosted spinach.

1/2 small onion, diced small.

2 teaspoons of minced garlic (I used a little more, but do this based on your preferences)

3 small zucchini, diced small.

Olive oil.

Salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste.

1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, shredded.

1/4 cup of feta (I used Reduced Fat)

The Full Cooking Process

This Easy Green Baked Pasta looks very tasty.1. Combine the cooked pasta, green beans and spinach with about a teaspoon of olive oil in a medium mixing bowl.

2. Saute minced garlic and diced onions in olive oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet until onions begin to soften. Add the diced zucchini and continue cooking until all of the vegetables have cooked down.

3. Pour the cooked vegetables into the mixing bowl mixture, adding salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

4. Fold in the parmesan and feta cheeses, reserving a small amount of parmesan cheese. I also added another drizzle of olive oil here.

5. When all of the ingredients are combined, place in a prepared baking dish (I used 9×13). Sprinkle the reserved cheese on top.

6. Bake at 325 until heated through. Serve and enjoy!

Since this dish doesn’t utilize a binding sauce, it doesn’t hold together like other baked pasta dishes (i.e. Baked Ziti). The main reason I chose for baking was to allow the cheese to melt further into the dish and to make sure the top noodles got a little crunchier (that’s how we like it). We ate this by itself as a light dinner; it would also work (as written) as a side dish. To make this a heavier main dish, I would add protein: white beans to keep it vegetarian, shredded chicken or ground turkey for the meat eaters.

This dish can work with varying amounts of vegetable and pasta. I used what I had on hand, but I could easily see using more or less of any of the vegetables. This recipe is really versatile in that you could use any vegetables you had on hand, but I kept it green tonight with my vegetable choices.

My favorite part of this recipe is the way green beans were used. Most of the time, I relegate them to side dish status, but they worked perfectly as a main component of the baked pasta dish. I also really liked combining parmesan and feta cheeses. I rarely, if ever, include feta in baked dishes, but it added a salty, flavorful layer. Using vegetables helps to bulk up the recipe without adding additional calories or fat; plus, it changes the texture from what is usually expected in a pasta dish. What other vegetables do you usually relegate to side dish status that could work well featured in a main dish?

This morning I woke up wondering what I was going to blog about today. I didn’t make dinner last night (we ate leftovers) and I have plans to go out shopping with my aunt this evening, so I’ll be eating dinner out with her. Plus, even though we went grocery shopping last night, we kept our produce purchases to a minimum because we are going to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning (and we probably won’t be eating dinner here again until Sunday evening).

I was perusing our pantry deciding what to make for lunch when I spotted two cans of chickpeas just begging to be turned into tasty snacks.

Lunch could wait; I had chickpeas to deal with. First up: hummus!

When I was gathering up ingredients for homemade hummus, I realized that I was missing some key ingredients for a traditional version, namely lemon juice and tahini. I wasn’t going to let this stop me, though, and thank goodness I didn’t; using what I had on hand gave me the most interesting and unique tasting hummus, plus it was so simple!

Balsamic Basil Hummus – Recipe Elements

1 can of chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

Olive Oil (amount will change depending on preferred taste and texture)

1 1/2 tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar

Spices: Garlic Powder, Basil, Red Pepper Flakes, Salt and Pepper

The Full Cooking Process

These chickpeas are both savory and sweet.1. In your food processor bowl, combine the chickpeas and about a tablespoon each of olive oil and water. Puree until you reach a smooth consistency; slowly add in the vinegar, making sure that it doesn’t become too runny.

2. When you’ve reached the right consistency (add water and olive oil as needed), add in the spices to taste. I used a fair amount of basil and garlic, and just a small amount of the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

3. Chill for about 30 minutes to allow flavors to combine. Serve with pita, toasted bread, pepper strips or other vegetables. Enjoy!

I loved that I was able to replace the acidity I needed with the balsamic vinegar. It gave it a really unique flavor that I haven’t experienced before in hummus. I think even those that aren’t huge fans of hummus (gasp!) would enjoy this recipe because the flavor of the chickpeas isn’t as strong.

I’d love to make this to bring to a party. So simple, so inexpensive and so delicious! Plus, it fit perfectly in one of my old hummus containers that I had held onto.

Next up, I decided to try something a little sweeter and a little crunchier using the other can of beans, which I had thoroughly dried out on a few layers of paper towels while I was making the hummus.

Apple Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas – Recipe Elements

1 can of chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed and dried on a paper towel

4 tablespoons of natural applesauce


Brown sugar


The Full Cooking Process

1. In a mixing bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of natural applesauce, cinnamon, brown sugar and stevia; mix well.

2. Add the chickpeas and stir to coat.

3. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray.

4. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes. I like to shake the pan around every 10 minutes to make sure they aren’t sticking and ensure each side it getting cooked.

5. Remove them from the oven, and toss with the remaining tablespoon of applesauce. Put back into the oven and bake at 250 until all of the moisture has disappeared.

5. Allow them to cool. Top with cinnamon and stevia to taste. Enjoy!

Roasted Chickpeas aren’t really the most photogenic snack, but I promise they are tasty. Store them in an airtight container to ensure freshness. I usually keep mine in the fridge. Before attempting this recipe, I had only ever had savory roasted chickpeas, seasoned with garlic and red pepper flakes. I was a little hesitant about eating them in a sweet context, mainly because I was afraid the bean taste might be too strong. While they aren’t a traditional tasting snack, they are fun to eat and have an interesting texture to crunch on. They aren’t going to replace a decadent dessert, but they might hit the spot when you are looking for something sweet and crunchy!

So there you have it, chickpeas two different and delicious ways! What is your favorite way to eat chickpeas?

While I’m not the biggest fan of reading books, I was reading one the other day and came across something interesting. It was basically the “Forbidden Foods” Exercise.

These foods should be strictly forbidden.

As you might have guessed, the nature of the exercise was to make a list of all the things you “forbid” yourself to eat — whether that’s ham, salami, cookies, cakes, candy bars, chocolate, pastries, scones or ice cream — whatever it is that you think is off limits, or SHOULD be, for whatever reason. In my mind, for example, it’s not always just junk food — I even have conflicts about who made the product sometimes, whether it’s local or not, how much it costs, whether it’s bad for the environment, so much so that as I was drafting my list today it occurred to me that it’s a wonder there’s anything left in the world that I do allow myself to eat “guilt-free”! Think about all the possible excuses or conflicts from my list alone:

  • It’s too expensive
  • I should have bought something healthier
  • It has refined flour in it
  • It’s a processed food
  • It has sugar in it
  • It has high-fructose corn syrup
  • It’s not organic/free-trade
  • It has caffeine in it
  • It comes individually wrapped, which is bad for the environment
  • It’s not on sale
  • No health nut would eat this
  • I’d be embarrassed if someone I knew saw what’s in my shopping cart
  • There are “traces of corn or peanuts,” which I’m allergic to — although even my doctor said I don’t need to be too concerned about this any more
  • I should only be snacking on fruit, not this
  • I shouldn’t be drinking the juice; I should be eating the fruit because it has more fiber
  • I should buy more vegetables instead of spending my money on cookies
  • So-and-so would never eat this
  • It was handed to me through the window of my car

Really, from that list, what’s left? Whole-wheat bread, organic fruit and vegetables and local, organically raised meats that, frankly, taste like the dirt and grass the animals were munching on before they came to their demise? And immediately, of course, a red flag goes up in my mind — YES! That is all you should be eating. What’s wrong with that? Maybe then you wouldn’t catch colds. Maybe then you wouldn’t also have conflicts about whether to call in sick when you’re sick. Maybe then you’d feel better about yourself and the tiny little world you live in.

And here, of course, lie all the problems.

Again, it took an outsider to point this out to me, but taking illness as an example, do you really think it’s possible to not ever catch another cold again just because you eat more fruits and vegetables? And on the flip side, do you really think it’s possible to never eat another blueberry scone again, for the rest of your life? That’s not the point. The point is to be able to eat the scone if you want it, and to not feel guilty about it. What good does guilt do? Your initial reaction may be, well, it spurs you on to act differently the next time. But, actually that’s true. Guilt, fear, panic, anxiety, even happiness or joy are just emotions. What counts IS the action you take next time, not whatever emotional reaction you had yesterday or last week or this morning. I may feel guilty, but I still eat the cookies, pita chips and store-bought guacamole.

So why don’t you take a crack at it? Make a list of forbidden foods, and then bring one of the items into your home for a week. Buy plenty of it. Eat it only when you’re hungry, and eat it only to satisfaction, not fullness, but try your best to not feel any guilt about it. In fact, don’t feel any emotions, necessarily; try to just focus on how your body feels after you eat it, and while you’re eating it, for that matter. Does it taste as good as you thought it would? Do you even really like hard candies? Do you like the texture of the steak? Think about this as you munch, and try to push away any other emotions — or write them down as part of the exercise. Identifying them may help you to move past them in the future.

Let me know how it goes!

Hello everyone! This is officially the first post on Amagansett Food Institute. I’ve started off with my family’s classic stand-by summer supper. You can easily adjust for more people by simply adding more chicken and zucchini to the mix, seasoning to taste. Voila!

Recipe Elements

2 4-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 tablespoon of Mrs Dash Chicken Grilling Blend

1 large zucchini, ends removed and sliced lengthwise

2 tablespoons of good-quality extra-virgin olive oil (I prefer Morea unfiltered)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

The Full Cooking Process

This Grilled Chicken together with Zucchini tastes delicious.Heat an outdoor gas grill to low. While the grill is heating up, sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts evenly with Mrs Dash, drizzle zucchini with oil and season it with salt and pepper.

Once your grill is hot, place the chicken and the zucchini directly on the source of heat. (If you have a vegetable rack or broiler pan, you can place the zucchini on that first, and then over the flame to avoid losing any stragglers in the fire.) Cook the chicken breasts for six to eight minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. The zucchini should cook until tender in about the same amount of time, but you can move it to the upper rack or flip the slices more frequently if you’re noticing more char accumulating than you prefer.

Serve hot, right off the grill; serves two.

That’s it! With farm-fresh zucchini and quick-cooking chicken breasts, this meal comes together quickly and affordably. Mrs Dash is a no-MSG seasoning, but of course you can substitute in your preferred spice blend or fresh herbs and citrus. A little garlic and fresh lemon juice would be another fast, simple preparation if you have the ingredients on hand.

I would suggest rounding out the meal with a whole-wheat roll and some fresh fruit for dessert. That way you’re getting two servings of fruit and vegetables, a whole grain, healthy fat and some filling protein. Good food that’s actually good for you. Enjoy!