Tips & Videos

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Tips & Videos

We're here to show you how simple it is to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables, cook them easily and quickly, and serve your family their favorites the HappyHeathy way! The videos here will help you do all these things better than ever before. Check here often for new videos about easy ways to cook at home, how to be a HappyHealthy shopper, how to save money when you buy fresh fruits and vegetables, and how to handle food safely. Soon, you'll be a HappyHealthy expert!


3 Ways to Bake a Potato

There are three easy ways to bake a potato:

  • In the microwave
  • In the oven
  • In the slow cooker

For all methods, the first four steps are:

  1. Wash hands with soap and hot water.
  2. Clean the potatoes.
    1. Scrub the potatoes thoroughly under running water.
    2. Pat potatoes dry.
    3. Trim away any blemishes with a paring knife. You don’t have to remove all the eyes.
  3. Season the potatoes.
    1. Drizzle oil over the potatoes. It is easiest to use your hands, but a pastry brush works well.
  4. Prepare the potatoes.
    1. Poke the potatoes with a fork. This allows steam to escape while baking.

In the microwave

  • Complete steps 1-3
  • Place potatoes on microwave-safe dish
  • Microwave at full power for 5 minutes
  • Turn over potatoes
  • For 1 potato, microwave 3 minutes. For 2 or more potatoes, microwave 5 minutes.
  • Potatoes are done when soft. If needed, continue to microwave.

In the oven

  • Complete steps 1-3
  • Preheat oven to 425°
  • For crispy potato skins, cook on a baking pan. For softer potato skins, wrap each potato in aluminum foil.
  • Cook for 45 to 60 minutes until skin is crispy and potato is soft.

In the slow cooker

  • Complete steps 1-3
  • Wrap each potato in aluminum foil
  • Place the potatoes in the slow cooker so they fit snugly next to each other. Stack 5 or more potatoes in a second layer if needed.
  • Cover the slow cooker
  • Cook on low for 8-10 hours
  • The potatoes will be ready to eat when soft

Sweet potatoes may require additional cooking time in the microwave, oven, or slow cooker.

Go to for fun and tasty ways to stuff and top baked potatoes like

  • One Pan Fajitas
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Steamed broccoli with grated cheese

Serve while hot and enjoy!

Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Add More Fruits and Vegetables to Your Day

How to Add More Fruits and Vegetables to Your Day

You have lots of choices:

  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables

How to use canned fruits and vegetables:

Shop for:

  • “Low Sodium,” “Reduced Sodium,” “No Salt Added” vegetables
  • Canned fruit packed in “100% Juice” or “100% Fruit Juice

Drain and rinse canned vegetables to reduce sodium.

Add extra canned vegetables in soups, casseroles, salads, and sauces.

Use canned fruits s snacks, add to salads, or as a topping for yogurt.

How to use frozen fruits and vegetables:

Shop for frozen fruits and vegetables without added sauces, butter, gravies, or creams.

Frozen fruits ad vegetables are quick and easy to use, and as nutritious as fresh.

Add vegetables to your family’s favorite meal.

Hint: add to soups or thaw ad add to salads. Steam vegetables in the microwave for a tasty side dish.

How to use fresh fruits and vegetables:

For quick snacks, keep a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter.

Cut up fruits and vegetables and make grab-and-go refrigerator snack packs.

Freeze your favorite fruit snacks (grapes, sliced bananas, and fresh strawberries).

Use them with a healthy yogurt dip.

Add them to traditional recipes and invent new family favorites.

  • Add more celery to chicken or tuna salads.
  • Add more shredded carrots to salads.
  • Add more diced tomatoes to soups and spaghetti sauce.

Look for more ideas and recipes on

All Purpose Seasoning


  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2-3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin


  1. Wash hands with soap and hot water.
  2. Measure all ingredients.
  3. Combine all spices in small bowl.
  4. Mix together well.
  5. Keep in airtight container.
  6. Sprinkle on fish, chicken, and vegetables.

Chop, Slice, Dice, Mince, Peel, and Crush

How to Chop, Slice, Dice, Mince, Peel, and Crush

Wash your hands with soap and hot water.

To chop:

  1. Lay the fruit or vegetable on a cutting board and use a sharp knife.
  2. Remove the top and bottom.
  3. Cut the food in half so it can lie flat.
  4. Hold the food steady with your free hand.
  5. Curl your fingers into a claw.
  6. Tuck your knuckles underneath.
  7. Hold the flat side of the knife against your knuckles, with the entire knife lifted above the cutting board.
  8. Press downward and move the knife slightly forward as you cut.
  9. Lift the blade up and repeat.

To slice:

  1. Rinse the fruit or vegetable with water.
  2. Lay it on a cutting board and use a sharp knife.
  3. Remove the top and bottom.
  4. Cut it in half so it can lie flat.
  5. Hold the food steady with your free hand. 
  6. Curl your fingers into a claw.
  7. Tuck your knuckles underneath.
  8. Hold the tip of blade against the cutting board, with the handle of the knife positioned upward.
  9. Continue by pressing down and forward, using full length of the blade to slice through the food.

To dice:

  1. Lay the fruit or vegetable on a cutting board and use a sharp knife.
  2. Remove the tips.
  3. Hold the knife parallel to the cutting board.
  4. Cut the food vertically, without cutting all the way through.
  5. Cut across the slices you just made. This will give you several pieces.

To crush:

  1. Place the fruit or vegetable on a cutting board.
  2. Use a heavy knife, such as a chef’s knife, and place the blade of the knife flat on the food, with the sharp side of the knife facing
  3. away from you.
  4. Use the heel of your hand to press the blade down on the food

To mince:

  1. Place the fruit or vegetable on a cutting board. 
  2. Cut the food into thin slices.
  3. Turn the food and cut across the slices.

Cook Dried Beans in a Slow Cooker

How to Cook Dried Beans in a Slow Cooker

  1. Wash hands with soap and hot water.
  2. Place dried beans in a bowl.
  3. Add water to cover beans by 3 to 4 inches.
  4. Let beans soak overnight or 6 hours covered on the counter.
  5. Use colander to drain and rinse beans before cooking.
  6. Place soaked beans in crock pot.
  7. Add any seasonings: salt and pepper, garlic, jalapenos, onions (to taste).
  8. Cover with water by about 2 inches. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 6 hours.

Cook Whole Grains and Pasta

To cook grains:

  • Use a pot with a lid. Add water.
  • Follow directions on package.
  • Bring water to a boil.
  • Add grain, stir, and bring to a boil again.
  • Turn heat down to low.
  • Place lid on pot. Follow package directions for cooking time.
  • After 25 minutes, take pot off heat.
  • Use fork to fluff.
  • Place lid on pot. Let stand 5 minutes.


To cook pasta:

  • Add water to large pot. (4 quarts for every pound of pasta.)
  • Bring water to a boil.
  • Place pasta in boiling water and stir.
  • When pasta starts to cook, stir again so noodles will not stick together.
  • Follow cooking time on package.
  • Taste before draining to make sure pasta is done. Pasta should be a little chewy.
  • Drain in colander, bring careful of the steam.

Cooking in the Oven

Cooking in the Oven


Baking means to cook food in an over at a moderate temperature. Almost anything can be baked. 

  1. Always preheat the oven.
  2. 350°F is used most of the time for baking.
  3. Follow directions in the recipe for oven temperature and baking time.


Roasting means cooking food in an uncovered pan in the oven. You can roast at low, medium or high temperatures. 

  1. Use a heavy roasting pan.
  2. Cooking times:
    • Vegetables usually roast at 400°F.
    • Large roasts at 250°F to 375°F.
    • Small cuts of meat 350°F to 375°F.
  3. Check temperature using a meat thermometer.
  4. Always let meat rest 10 to 20 minutes before slicing.


Broiling means quick cooking at a very high heat.

  1. Move over rack to highest position in the oven, about 3 to 4 inches from the top.
  2. Set oven to Broil.
  3. Preheat 5 minutes before cooking.
  4. Use a broiler pan, cast iron skillet or baking sheet.
  5. Leave oven door open slightly while broiling.
  6. Most foods will be done in 5 to 10 minutes

Cooking on the Stovetop

Cooking on the Stovetop


Good for vegetables, potatoes, rice, fish, and seafood

  1. Put a small amount of water in a sauce pan.
  2. Bring the water to a simmer.
  3. Place food in a steam basket over the water and cover saucepan with lid.
  4. Steam until food is done or desired tenderness.


Good for meats, onions, and peppers

  1. Preheat skillet at medium-high heat.
  2. Add one Tablespoon of oil to pan.
  3. Add food to pan.
  4. Stir until lightly browned.


Good for onions, apples, and carrots

  1. Use a pan or skillet.
  2. Set the stove to high heat.
  3. Add oil to pan.
  4. When pan gets hot, add the food.
  5. Once you begin cooking, keep the temperature at low.
  6. Stir often to make sure it does not burn.
  7. Cook until food is deep golden brown.


Good for vegetables, soups and stews, and even large cuts of meat

  1. Cook food in skillet or sauce pan in liquid at medium heat.
  2. Food has bubbles gently rising to the surface, but not fully boiling.


Good for pasta, some grains, and green vegetables

  1. Use a large pot with water or other liquids.
  2. Cook at high heat until bubbles break through and pop on the surface.
  3. Add food to the water or liquid to cook it.


Good for vegetables in salads so they will be softer to chew and to get fresh vegetables ready for freezing

  1. Food is put in boiling water just a few minutes.
  2. One you take it out, food is put into a mixing bowl with an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.

Create a HappyHealthy Kitchen

HappyHealthy Kitchen

The easiest way to enjoy a HappyHealthy lifestyle is to stock your kitchen the HappyHealthy way.

In the Freezer

Fruits and vegetables

  • Buy frozen
    • Choose vegetables without sauce or seasoning
    • Choose fruits without added sugar or syrup
  • Buy fresh and freeze
    • When buying in bulk
    • When growing your own
      • Go to and check out this video for more instructions-“How to Freeze Fresh Fruits and Vegetables”

Meat, poultry, and seafood

  • Buy frozen
    • Choose lean meat
    • Avoid sauces or seasoning
  • Freeze from fresh
    • When buying in bulk
    • When you hunt or fish

Leftover dishes

  • Cook once, eat twice or more
  • Store in plastic bags with as much air removed as possible
  • Be sure to label and date

In the Refrigerator

Fruits and vegetables

  • Buy in season for best quality and to save money
  • Use out guide on to see what’s in season in Mississippi
  • Store separately to keep fresh longer
  • Store these fruits in the refrigerator
    • Strawberries
    • Apples
    • Lemons
    • Oranges
    • Blueberries
  • Store these vegetables in the refrigerator
    • Cucumbers
    • Lettuce
    • Broccoli
    • Squash
    • Carrots
  • Always look for 100% fruit or vegetable juice for drinking

Meat, poultry, seafood and eggs

  • Choose lean meats and poultry or remove skin and fat when possible
  • Store raw meat separately from fruits, vegetables, and prepared foods
  • Place on trays or in containers to keep juices from dripping onto other foods
  • Keep eggs on the bottom shelf in case one is cracked

Dairy (milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese, sour cream, butter)

  • Choose low-fat
  • Choose low-sugar
  • Store milk on bottom shelf at the back where refrigerator is coldest

Prepared and cooked foods

  • Prepare salads, dips, and snacks and keep in plastic bags or containers with lids
  • Store leftovers in plastic bags or containers with lids
  • Label and date prepared and cooked dishes and leftovers
  • Keep prepared and cooked foods on top shelves away from raw meat and eggs


  • Once condiments have been opened, keep in the door in the refrigerator (mustards, ketchup, mayonnaise, relishes, and pickles)

In the Pantry

Fruits and vegetables

  • Buy canned
    • Choose fruits packed in water or 100% juice (not syrup)
    • Choose vegetables that say “Low Sodium,” “No Salt Added,” or “Sodium Free” on the label
    • Avoid vegetables that are already seasoned
    • Diced tomatoes and beans are good to have on hand and can be used in many recipes
  • Buy fresh
    • Keep in pantry away from light, but where air can get to them (garlic, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes)

Meat, poultry, and seafood

  • Buy canned or sealed in packets
  • Choose meats packed in water instead of oil
  • Choose lean meats and remove skin
  • Avoid high sodium options

Grains (rice, pasta, breads, cereals, crackers)

  • Popcorn, oats, and oatmeal are whole grin options, too
  • Look at the ingredients on the food label and make sure the first ingredient includes one of the following:
    • Whole grain
    • Whole wheat
    • Brown rice, oats, oatmeal, or whole (other grain)
    • Avoid high sugar cereal


  • Peanuts and pecans are easy to use in family menus
  • Look for nuts and seeds at local stands and You-Pick Farms to improve quality and save money
  • When buying peanut butter, avoid added salt or sugar

Dried herbs and spices

  • Dried herbs and spice can add many health benefits and flavors
  • Start with these and store in your pantry:
    • Pepper
    • Garlic powder
    • Onion powder
    • Italian seasoning
    • Dried Oregano
    • Chili Powder
    • Salt
  • Go to to get the recipe for our “All-Purpose Seasoning”


  • Use vegetable oils for cooking
  • Oil is also good for making salad dressings
  • Vegetable oil spray is also a good option to have on hand for convenience

Flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking soda, cornstarch

  • These ingredients are essential when making the occasional baked goods
  • Use flour or cornstarch to thicken soups or sauces
  • Make your own bread or cornbread

On the Counter

Fruits and vegetables

  • Store these fruit and vegetables on the counter until they are ripe, then store in the refrigerator
    • Eggplant
    • Acorn squash
    • Butternut squash
    • Tomatoes
    • Apples
    • Oranges
    • Bananas
  • Keep a bowl of fruit on the counter for a quick snack




Homemade Salsa Your Way

You can make salsa out of almost everything.

Step 1

Start with fruit, vegetables, or both for a fresh beginning.

Measure 3 cups of your favorites:

  • Tomato
  • Peach
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Cucumber
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries

Step 2

Add some spicy heat with fresh or dried jalapeno peppers.

Step 3

Add a handful of fresh herbs for lots of extra flavor.

  • Cilantro
  • Mint
  • Parsley

Step 4

Add the must-haves are the key ingredients for every salsa.

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Step 5

Mix it up.

  • Chop everything into small cubes and mix together in a large bowl.

Try something new and different!

Go to for these salsa recipes:

  • Black Bean and Corn Salsa
  • Fruit Salsa

Everyone loves these classic salsas!


Makes 8 servings; ½ cup each serving


  • 2 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 bell pepper
  • ½ large onion
  • 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro (optional)


  1. Wash your hands well with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Drain tomatoes and add to a medium bowl.
  3. Wash bell pepper.
  4. Dice the pepper and add to bowl with other ingredients.
  5. Peel the onion. Dice onion and add to bowl with other ingredients
  6. Roll lime on cutting board to soften. Cut lime in half. Squeeze juice over ingredients.
  7. Add garlic, cumin, and salt to bowl.
  8. Mix ingredients with large spoon or spatula.
  9. Wash fresh cilantro. Pat dry with a paper towel. Remove leaves and tear or cut into small pieces. Add to salsa mixture and stir.
  10. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.


Makes 10 servings; ½ cup each serving


  • 1 20-ounce can pineapple tidbits
  • ½ mini seedless watermelon
  • 1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chilis
  • ½ large onion
  • ½ jalapeno, about 2 Tablespoons
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Wash your hands well with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Drain pineapple in colander. Add to large bowl.
  3. Rinse watermelon, remove rind, and dice watermelon into small pieces. Add to large bowl with pineapple.
  4. Drain tomatoes. Add to large bowl with other ingredients.
  5. Peel onion, cut in half, and dice. Add to mixture.
  6. Wash jalapeno, cut in half, and mince ½ of the pepper. Add 2 tablespoons to mixture.
  7. Add salt and cayenne pepper.
  8. Mix all ingredients together with a large spoon or spatula.
  9. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

How to Freeze Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

How to Freeze Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Freezing Vegetables:

To freeze many vegetables, you have to blanch them first.

  1. Use one gallon of water for every pound of vegetables.
  2. Pour vegetables in a pot of boiling water.
  3. Cover with a lid.
  4. Bring to boil again.
  5. Let vegetables cook for a few minutes.
    • Corn, small ears—7 minutes
    • Whole kernel corn—4 minutes
    • Okra—3-4 minutes
    • Green Beans—3 minutes
    • Summer squash—3 minutes
  6. Remove pot from heat.
  7. Quickly place vegetables into large bowl filled with ice water.
  8. Allow vegetables to drain and store in heavy weight, air tight containers or freezer bags.
  9. Fill containers to top and remove as much air as possible from freezer bags.

Freezing Fruit:

Always rinse fruit and allow time to dry before freezing.

Apples and Pears

  • Core, peel and cut in quarters or slices.
  • Toss in lemon juice diluted with water (1 Tablespoon lemon juice in 1 cup water) so they don’t brown.

Blueberries and Blackberries

  • Leave whole for freezing.


  • Cut in cubes or slices.


  • Peel, take out pits, and slice.


  • Cut off green caps, cut in halves or quarters.


  • Cover baking sheet with wax paper or foil.
  • Spread fruit slices in single layer on baking sheet.
  • Place flat in freezer for several days.
  • Place frozen slices in freezer bags with label and date.
  • Press out as much air as possible to seal.

How to Keep Food Safe

How to Keep Food Safe

Step 1- CLEAN

  • Wash hands the right way—at least 20 seconds with soap and hot running water
  • Wash counter tops and utensils every time you use them
  • Wash fresh fruits and vegetables under running water; drain in colander


  • Use one cutting board for fresh fruits and vegetables; use a different cutting board for raw meat, poultry, or seafood
  • Use separate plates and utensils for cooked and raw foods
  • Wash all plates, utensils, and cutting boards that were used for raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs
  • Keep meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate in your shopping cart, grocery bags, and refrigerator

Step 3-COOK

  • Cook food to the right temperature
  • Use a food thermometer; place the thermometer in the thickest part of the food to see if it’s done
  • Keep food hot after cooking at 140°F
  • Microwave food to 165°F

Step 4-CHILL

  • Refrigerate food within 2 hours
  • Don’t overfill your refrigerator; give your food some room
  • Keep refrigerator set between 40°F and 32°F
  • Freezing keeps food safe until you can cook it
  • Set freezer at 0°F or below
  • Never thaw or marinate food on the counter top
  • Thaw food in refrigerator, microwave, or in cold water
  • Always marinate food in the refrigerator

How to Make Salad Dressings

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Makes 14 servings, 1 tablespoon per serving


  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 11/2 cups oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning


  1. Wash your hands well with soap and hot water.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake until smooth. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  3. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours. Use within one month.

NOTE: For more flavor, add 1 teaspoon of any of the following extra ingredients to your liking: mustard, shallots, fresh herbs.

Ranch Dressing

Makes 14 servings, 2 tablespoons per serving


  • ½ cup low-fat mayonnaise or low-fat sour cream
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons dried or fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  1. Wash your hands well with soap and hot water.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake until smooth. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  3. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours. Use within 2 weeks.

Honey Mustard Dressing

Makes 12 servings, 2 tablespoons per serving


  • 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • ½ cup non-fat or 1% milk
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon mustard
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)


  1. Wash your hands well with soap and hot water.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake until smooth. Cover and chill for 30 minutes before serving.
  3. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours. Use within 2 weeks.

How to Make Soup

There are two easy ways to make soup:

  • In a stock pot
  • In a slow cooker

Use what you have to make soup. No recipe required.

In a stock pot

Basic steps are:

  1. Heat fat
  2. Add vegetables
  3. Cook protein
  4. Add stock and spices
  5. Bring to a boil
  6. Turn down to a simmer

Step 1

Wash hands with soap and hot water

Step 2

Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (for soups with tomato, stock or broth base) or add 2 tablespoons butter (for cream soups).

Step 3

Add about 1 to 2 cups of any chopped or diced root or fragrant vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beets, onions. Garlic, celery, peppers, etc.) Sauté until onions are clear or root vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

Step 4

Add 1 pound of raw meat. Sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Or add cooked met or non-meat protein (beans or lentils). For cooked meat or plant-based protein, additional sautéing is not necessary.

Step 5

Add 4 cups of a liquid base (low-sodium beef, chicken or vegetable stock or broth, tomato sauce, water, etc. If you are planning to use. If planning to us cream or milk, save until the last step.

Step 6

Do any spices (salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano, chili powder, etc.) If using, add frozen.

Step 7

Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.

Step 8

Add about 1 to 2 cups of chopped softer vegetables (spinach, zucchini, greens, tomatoes, etc. or canned vegetables.

NOTE: if using cooked whole grains, uncooked pasta, cream, or milk, add during the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking time.

In a slow cooker:

Basic steps are:

  1. Add protein
  2. Add root or fragrant vegetables
  3. Add fat
  4. Mix well
  5. Add 4 cups stock, 1 to 2 cups softer vegetables or canned/frozen vegetables and spices.
  6. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours. If using cream or milk, be sure to cook soup on low for 6 to 8 hours.

NOTE: Serve over cooked whole grains or add uncooked pasta during last 10 minutes of cooking time.

Serve while hot and enjoy.

Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

How to Measure Food Using Your Hands

How to Measure Food Using Your Hands

Control your portions even when you don’t have measuring cups or spoons. Judge the size of your serving by using your hand.

  • ½ cup = cupped hand

Measure grains, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, beans, cooked vegetables

  • 1 cup = 2 cupped hands

Measure grains, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, beans, cooked vegetables

  • 3 ounces = open palm of hand

The perfect serving of beef, poultry, pork or fish

  • 1 teaspoon = fingertip

Butter, mustard, mayonnaise, sauces

  • 1-2 Tablespoons = thumb

Salad dressing, peanut butter, hard cheese

  • 1 cup = clinched fist

Cereal, fresh fruits, salads, casseroles


How to Prepare Winter Squash for Cooking

How to Prepare Winter Squash for Cooking

Choose your favorite from many types of winter squash

  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Acorn Squash
  • Butternut Squash
  1. Wash your hands with soap and hot water.
  2. You need:
    • Cutting board
    • Large sharp chef knife
  3. Cut a thin piece off bottom or side of squash to keep squash from rolling.
  4. If recipe says to peel squash, peel it in thin strips with knife.
  5. Cut squash in half. Be careful to keep knife from slipping and cutting your hand.
  6. Use spoon to take out seeds. Discard seeds.

How to Store Fruits and Vegetables

How to Store Fruits and Vegetables

When you select or purchase fruits and vegetables from a garden, farmers market, or grocery, store fresh fruits and vegetables the right way:

  • For best flavor
  • To last longer 
  • To stretch your food dollars

Store these fruits in the refrigerator:

  • Apples (to keep them more than 7 days)
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries

Store these vegetables in the refrigerator:

  • Green Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Greens (collards, mustard, turnip)
  • Summer Squash
  • Sweet Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Lemons
  • Peppers

Keep these fruits on the counter until they’re ripe, then store in the refrigerator:

  • Peaches (until soft to touch and fragrant)
  • Pears (until soft to touch)
  • Plums (until soft to touch and fragrant
  • Persimmons
  • Melons (until ripe)

Keep these on the kitchen counter:

  • Apples (no longer than 7 days)
  • Bananas
  • Eggplant
  • Oranges
  • Melons
  • Tomatoes
  • Winter Squashes

Keep the following in the pantry, a cabinet or box, away from light where air can get to them:

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes

HappyHealthy Top Tips

How to make fresh fruits and vegetables last longer

Tip #1

Remove rubber bands and twist ties to allow for circulation.

Tip #2

Use fruits and vegetables within 1-3 days for maximum flavor and freshness.

Tip #3

Always store your fruits and vegetables separate from raw meat.

Tip #4

Always rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running water before using.

Tip #5


  • Leafy Greens
  • Spinach 
  • Lettuce

Tip #6

Store vegetables separate from fruit.

Tip #7

It is not necessary to wash fruits and vegetables labeled “ready to eat,” “washed,” or “triple washed.”

Prepare Leafy Greens

How to Prepare Leafy Greens for Cooking

It's easy to cook your favorite leafy greens!

For greens like cabbage, kale, spinach, collard greens, and others:

  1. Take off outside leaves, if needed. Remove wilted or brown leaves and dispose.
  2. Rinse completely under cold running water.
  3. Place in colander to drain.
  4. Place leaves in a plastic bag with a paper towel and store in refrigerator until you want to cook them.

When ready to cook kale:

  1. Cut out the hard stems.
  2. Stack about 3-4 leaves on top of each other. Roll them up.
  3. Use sharp knife and cut rolls into thin slices.

For iceberg lettuce:

  1. Hit the head on the counter to loosen the core and remove.
  2. Run cold water over lettuce head
  3. Place lettuce head in colander to drain.
  4. Store lettuce in a plastic bag with paper towel in refrigerator until ready to use.

Preparing to Cook

Preparing to Cook

  1. Put Everything in Place
    Professional chefs call this Mise en Place (Pronounced meez on plahs)
    • Before you cook, gather all the tools and equipment you need.
    • Gather all the ingredients.
    • Wash, trim, cut, prepare, and measure all the ingredients.
    • Prepare the equipment—preheat the oven, line baking sheets, etc.
    • Now, you’re ready to go!
  2. To Measure Liquids
    • Use a glass measuring cup with measured amount indicated on the side of the cup.
    • Place cup on flat surface.
    • Look at it at eye level as you fill the cup to the needed line.
  3. To Measure Dry Ingredients
    • Use a measuring cups set.
    • The measuring cups will have the measurement on it.
    • Spoon or scoop the ingredient lightly into the measuring cup.
    • Run a knife across the top of the powder to level the surface.
    • Scrape off excess.

Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas

Quick and Easy Breakfast

It’s absolutely true—breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast:

  • Helps adults focus at work or children focus at school
  • Promotes good health
  • Improves memory and concentration
  • Breakfast together can be a shared food time for the family

It’s easy to give your family breakfast that’s:

  • Healthy
  • Time saving
  • Tasty

There are lots of recipe options for breakfast at home or on the go:

  • Egg dishes
  • Whole grain options
  • Fruit and vegetable specialties


Make an Omelet in a Mug. It only takes about 2 minutes!

  1. Spray the inside of a large, microwave-safe mug lightly with cooking spray
  2. Crack 1 large egg into mug
  3. Add grated cheese and other extras such as chopped red bell pepper or chives
  4. Add a sprinkle of sale and pepper
  5. Stir with a fork until well mixed
  6. Microwave on high for 30 seconds
  7. Remove from microwave and stir with a fork
  8. Return to microwave and cook for another 20-30 seconds

Add eggs to sauteed vegetables and spoon into tortillas to make quick breakfast tacos, burritos or quesadillas.


Oatmeal is #1! Go to for our “Oatmeal Your Way” video for lots of delicious new ideas.

Make toast extra special:

  • Use whole grain bread
  • Spread peanut butter on the toast
  • Add your favorite toppings:
    • Bananas
    • Strawberries
    • Blueberries


  • There are several popular recipes on for you to try
  • “Berry Blast Off” combines fresh fruit with yogurt for a quick breakfast
  • For something special for your family, make this HappyHeathy recipe:


Makes 1 serving; 8 ounces each serving


  • 1 small to medium banana
  • ¼ cup oat or whole wheat cereal
  • ¼ cup low-fat yogurt
  • 3 medium strawberries
  • 12 blueberries
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey


  1. Wash your hands well with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Peel banana, cut in half, and place in a bowl.
  3. Top banana with yogurt and cereal.
  4. Wash and cut strawberries into small pieces and add to the top of the yogurt.
  5. Wash blueberries and add to the top of the yogurt.
  6. Drizzle honey on top of fruit.
  7. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.
  • Go to to check out these quick and easy breakfast recipes:
    • Omelet in a Mug
    • Egg and Spinach Casserole
    • French Toast with Fruit
    • Berry Blast Off
    • Breakfast Banana Split

Quick and Easy Snack Ideas

Quick and Easy Snacks

Snacks are important. Healthy snacks are good for you:

  • Improve health
  • Stop food cravings
  • Improve your mood
  • Manage hunger

How to Make Healthy Snacks a Habit

  • Keep healthy snacks on hand
  • Prepare them ahead of time and take them to work or school
  • Plan so you can avoid buying unhealthy sweet and salty snacks at the convenience or grocery store
  • Have snacks available if you get hungry between meals

There are lots of options for healthy snacks:

  • Fresh canned or frozen fruits
  • Fresh, canned or frozen vegetables
  • Low-fat milk or yogurt
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts and seeds

The Quickest Healthy Snacks Brown Bag Popcorn

  • Make it in the microwave
  • No oil needed

1/3 cup popcorn kernels

1 medium brown paper bag

Seasoning to taste

  1. Add popcorn to the bag
  2. Fold the top of the bag over twice
  3. Place bag in microwave
  4. Microwave on high for 1½ to 2 ½ minutes until the popping has a 1-second gap between pops.
  5. Remove the bag. Caption: be careful, the bag may be hot.
  6. Season with your favorite spices

Hummus and Fresh Vegetables

Plan on having vegetables cut up and stored in the refrigerator to enjoy with dip.

Go to and check out our recipe for “Hummus Spread.” Serve with colorful assortment of fresh vegetables for dipping:

  • Bell peppers
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers
  • Radishes

Find these easy recipes on

  • Baked Tortilla Chips
  • Fruit Salsa
  • Homemade Salsa Your Way

Try these Energy Bites for your family!


Makes 4 servings; 3 pieces each serving


  • 1 cup oats (old fashion or instant)
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey


  1. Wash your hands well with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Add oats, peanut butter, and honey to a bowl and mix until ingredients are combined. Place the bowl in refrigerator for 30 minutes. This will make rolling the balls easier.
  3. Use a tablespoon to scoop out mixture and then roll into a ball with your hands. Repeat until mixture is gone, should make about twelve balls.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Roast Vegetables

How to Roast Vegetables


  • 1 to 2 pounds of any vegetable

  • 1 Tablespoon oil

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon pepper


  1. Wash your hands well with soap and hot water. 
  2. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  3. Wash vegetables under cold running water.
  4. Drain vegetables in colander.
  5. Cut vegetables into bite-size pieces, all about the same size.
  6. Place vegetables in large bowl or plastic bag.
  7. Pour oil on top of vegetables.
  8. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  9. Stir or shake until all vegetables are coated with oil, salt and pepper.
  10. Spread vegetables on baking sheet in an even layer.
  11. Place baking sheet in oven. Cook soft vegetables 20-25 minutes. Cook hard vegetables 30 minutes or longer.
  12. Check vegetables and turn once. Cook longer if you need to.
  13. Vegetables are done if soft when stuck with a fork.
  14. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Sharpen Your Knife Skills

How to Sharpen Your Knife Skills

The two most useful knives are:

  • Chef knife
  • Paring knife

Chef Knife

Use to cut and dice fruits, vegetables, meat and fish.

To hold the chef knife:

  • Make sure the knife is sharp.
  • Place your thumb on the inside of the handle.
  • Place first finger on outside of handle, and last three fingers under handle.
  • With your other hand, hold what you are about to cut.
  • Make sure all your fingers are standing up facing down to prevent getting cut. 
  • Cut down through food onto board and push blade out forward.  Down and through.

Paring Knife

Use for cutting, slicing and peeling smaller things like garlic or strawberries.

To use the paring knife:

  • Make sure the knife is sharp.
  • For slicing:
    • Place fruits or vegetable on cutting board.
    • Place knife near one end and push it straight down as you slide the blade across.
  • For peeling:
    • Hold food with your first finger and your thumb.
    • Hold paring knife in your stronger hand with three fingers.
    • Place first knuckle of first finger against dull side of knife blade.
    • Place edge of knife at the top of food below your finger.
    • Cut into food just a little bit, putting knife between the food’s skin. 
    • Peel skin downward toward thumb.
    • Repeat until all the skin is removed.