It’s National Cheesecake Day!

cheesecake recipe

Don’t miss out on tasting one of these delicious cheesecake recipes to celebrate National Cheesecake Day! (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

National Cheesecake Day, which is unofficially celebrated on July 30, is your chance to celebrate this deliciously dreamy dessert featuring soft creamy cheese.  Join other cheesecake lovers around the country to celebrate one of America’s favorite desserts.  Whether you like it plain, covered with fruit, swirled with chocolate, or filled with exotic flavors, don’t miss out on the one day a year this creamy dessert is the star of the show.  To help you celebrate, here are some ideas for making National Cheesecake Day a fun event for your family and friends and some great recipe ideas for time-tested traditional cheesecake and fancy foodie cheesecake.

 

1.   Have a Contest to See Who Makes the Best Cheesecake on the Block

National Cheesecake Day provides a great opportunity to get friends, family, and neighbors together for some quality time and some fantastic cheesecake.  Ask everyone to bake or make their favorite cheesecake and then have a blind taste test where everyone gets to vote on their favorite entries.  Offering prizes like “Creamiest”, “Most Unusual”, “Most Like My Mom’s” lets more people win and spreads the fun around.

 

2.   Have a Cheesecake Raffle for Charity

Ask friends and family to donate cheesecakes, homemade or store bought, and then set up a table at a local church, community center, or community event and raffle off the cheesecakes.  Just remember to plan ahead for a way to keep those cheesecakes that need to be refrigerated cold.  You might take pictures of each cheesecake so that potential raffle ticket buyers can see what they are trying to win without risking any spoilage.  You could also keep the cheesecakes safely stored in a refrigerator until it is time to start raffling them off.

Raise money by selling entries to a drawing to be held at the event or later in the day.  When it comes time to draw the winners, start drawing names and let each person pick the cheesecake they want when their name is called.  You will need to decide up front if people must be present in order to win.  If not, make sure you know how you will handle choosing, storing, and delivering cheesecakes to winners who are not there at the time of the drawing.

 

3.   Make a Special Treat for those Who Need it Most

Another great way to celebrate National Cheesecake Day is to work with a local homeless shelter or food bank to see if you can donate enough cheesecake for all of their recipients to have a slice with their dinner that day.  Then ask friends and family to donate cheesecake and even come with you to help serve up this special treat on National Cheesecake Day.

 

4.   Use Fresh Arizona Ingredients

If you are looking for a great way to celebration National Cheesecake Day in true Arizona fashion, try these recipes that feature fresh Arizona ingredients from the local farmers market.

 

 

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USDA Reports U.S. Agriculture Production Numbers

US Agriculture Productionq

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40 Reasons to Be Mad for Mangoes

Mangos

Check out these delicious ideas for how to prepare mangos (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Mangoes, which are native to South/Southeast Asia, come in many colors including yellow, orange, red, green, and some have skins that feature several of those colors.  Inside the fruit, there is a large oblong pit that contains the seed which can be difficult to detach from the fruit.  Mangoes feature prominently in the cuisines of Southeast Asia including the Philippines and India, where it is the national fruit.   They can be found in jams, jellies, chutneys, curries, salads, smoothies, ice cream, and they can also be eaten raw.

Using mangoes can be somewhat challenging because of the pit.  Generally, mangoes should have the skins removed before using because, while they are edible, they can cause an allergic reaction in some people.  Once the skin is removed, the fruit must be chopped away from the pit.

Mangoes contain about 60 calories per 3.5 ounces and are high in both Vitamin C and folate.  They are also rich in antioxidants.

Here are some great ways for you to use mangoes this month to fill your family’s plate  with fresh, nutritious food.

  1. Mango Lassi
  2. Mango Chutney
  3. Grilled Red Chile Buttermilk Chicken with Spicy Mango Honey Glaze
  4. Mango, Strawberry, and Pineapple Smoothie
  5. Mambo Chicken with Mango Salsa
  6. Chipotle Mango BBQ Chicken
  7. Mexican Mango Cake
  8. Strawberry, Mango, and Mesclun Salad
  9. Avocado Mango Salsa
  10. Macadamia Crusted Sea Bass with Mango Cream Sauce
  11. Mahi Mahi with Coconut Rice and Mango Salsa
  12. Mango Blueberry Muffins with Coconut Streusel
  13. Bourbon Mango Pulled Pork
  14. Spicy Indian Chicken and Mango Curry
  15. Spicy Mango Sweet Potato Chicken
  16. Chicken and Pasta in a Mango Cream Sauce
  17. Chunky Mango Guacamole
  18. Mango and Red Cabbage Slaw
  19. Strawberry Mango Pound Cake Shortcakes
  20. Grilled Yellowtail with Mango Salsa
  21. Jerk Chicken with Mango Chutney and Fried Plantains
  22. Caprese Salad with Roasted Mango Dressing
  23. Jay’s Potato Crusted Fish with Mango Salsa
  24. Mango Cheesecake with Basil Lemon Syrup
  25. Cucumber Mango Salsa
  26. Curried Mango Chicken
  27. Jerk Turkey Burgers with Mango Salsa
  28. Homemade Mango and Jalapeno Jelly
  29. Chicken with Mango Barbecue Sauce
  30. Coconut Lime Cheesecake with Mango Coulis
  31. Mango Salsa Chicken
  32. Mango Cardamom Bread Pudding
  33. Spicy Mango Salad
  34. Poblano Pepper and Mango Quesadillas
  35. Grilled Chicken with Apple Mango Chutney
  36. Kale Salad with Mango Vinaigrette
  37. Mango Lime Cream Pie
  38. Mango Chicken Piccata
  39. Cilantro Lime Quinoa
  40. Chipotle Tilapia Tacos with Mango Cilantro Salsa
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Let Us Help You Find a Farmers Market

Don't miss these facts about our local Arizona Farmer's Markets (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Don’t miss these facts about our local Arizona Farmer’s Markets (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Arizona’s year round growing season means we have awesome access to farmers’ markets all over the state.  Here at Fill Your Plate, we think it’s important to spread the word about how all Arizonians can access fresh from the farm locally grown ingredients.  This is why we provide a searchable farmers’ market listing on Fill Your Plate.

Our farmer’s market listing is one of the most comprehensive lists of Arizona farmers’ markets online.  We are committed to keeping this listing up to date so that it is as easy as possible for you to find out where you can get locally grown, in-season produce and Arizona raised meat and dairy products.  You can search by county and then by city or you can simply get a list of all the farmers’ markets operating in a specific county.

Each farmers’ market listing provides:

  • The address of the market
  • The market’s location (corner of XYX Ave and ABC Street)
  • Which day or days it is open
  • Which months it operates
  • The hours it is open
  • Any special features the market offers
  • A link to the website for the farmers’ market
  • The name and contact information for the farmers’ market’s contact

In our most recent annual review of the Fill Your Plate Farmers’ Market Listing we found some great new markets to add to our extensive listing.  If you haven’t had a chance to check out these great new markets yet, make sure you check them out and support the farmers and ranchers who are the heart of Arizona agriculture.

Sun City Farmers Market

  • 16829 N. 99th Ave, Sun City
  • Open every Thursday, closed in the summer
  • Offers local farm produce including fresh vegetables & fruit, baked goods, honey, jams and jellies, nursery stock, natural pork, beef and fish.
  • Accepts AZ Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers. Also available at this market:
  • Provides easy credit card shopping! One credit card charge can pay for all your purchases from the vendors!
  • For more information, click here or email  marketinfo@arizonafarmersmarkets.com

SanTan Valley Farmers’ Market

  • 1572 W. Ocotillo Rd, San Tan Valley
  • Open every Saturday from 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Offers hand crafts, home décor, candles, food, jewelry, apparel and much more
  • For more information click here or email  carrie@glitzzed.com

Augusta Ranch Farmers Market

  • 2401 S Langsing, Mesa AZ.
  • Open Thursdays year round from 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
  • Offers food service and more
  • For more information click here

The Barn @Power Ranch

  • 3685 E Autumn Drive, South Gilbert/Queen Creek
  • Open Wednesdays, Fall, Winter and Spring from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM and Summer from 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM or dusk
  • Offers several food trucks and food vendors
  • For more information, click here

Peoria Farmers Market at Park West

  • 9744 West Northern Avenue, Peoria
  • Open Saturdays, September thru April from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM
  • Offers Fresh Produce provided by Fresh and Local TJ Farms, Horny Toad Farms,  Pinnacle Farms and others
  • For more information, click here
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5 Tips for Summer Food Safety

Don't get sick during your summer fun because you didn't follow these food safety tips (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Don’t get sick during your summer fun because you didn’t follow these food safety tips (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Summer is here and one of the top concerns has to be keeping families safe from food borne illness.   Summer means backyard barbecues, block parties, hiking trips, picnics, and all kinds of fun time spent outside.  But all that fun is often accompanied by food sets the stage for food borne illness to steal the show.  Make sure your family is safe this summer by following these easy food safety tips.

Get a Thermometer for the Grill

Much of the time when we are talking about food safety related to the summer months, we are talking about the dangers of letting cold food get too warm.  But it can also be dangerous if hot food doesn’t get hot enough, especially when you are cooking on the grill.  Get a good food thermometer to go with your grill equipment and always check the temperature to make sure the food you are cooking is safe to consume.

Keep Things Separated

Take steps to ensure that raw food and cooked food are kept separate at all times.  This means never reusing the plate you brought the raw hamburgers or chicken out on as the serving dish for the cooked meat.  It means having separate sets of thongs and other utensils so that there is no risk of contaminating food once it has been cooked.

Don’t Defrost Meat at Room Temperature

It can be very tempting to use all that summer sunshine to help defrost your meat for dinner more quickly but if you don’t defrost meat properly, you risk making it unsafe to eat.  The only safe way to defrost meat is to put it in the refrigerator a day or two before you plan to use it.

Wash Fruits, Veggies, and Greens…if They Need It

Most of the produce you bring into your home will need to be washed prior to being used and remembering to do this helps protect your family from food borne illness that can be lurking on the surface.  Make sure you do this, even if it is something you are going to peel before using like an apple or a melon, as those illness-causing microorganisms can be transferred from the skin to the flesh when you peel them or cut into them with a knife.  The one exception is the ready-to-eat leafy greens that come in plastic tubs or bags from the grocery store.  These have been pre-washed and you are better off not washing them as you are more likely to introduce a contaminant than to gain any benefit.

If you don’t have any fancy fruit wash, simply soaking the fruit in vinegar for a short time will accomplish the same goal.

Keep Cold Cold and Hot Hot

This is the most common tip to help you avoid food borne illness and it simply means that if something is served cold it needs to stay cold and if it is served hot it need to stay hot.  Using small serving bowls placed in larger bowls of ice is one way to accomplish this.  You can also serve foods that need to be kept cold out of a cooler.

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