Cooking Family Meals with Tea

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There is something nostalgic about sitting on the front porch and sharing a glass of tea with neighbors or family that lends to slowing life down and making memories. But have you tried cooking with tea? With September being National Family Meals Month, it’s the perfect drink to have on the table and perfect ingredients to add to your recipe as your family gathers around the dinner table for a meal at home.

Tea is guilt-free with zero calories per serving. Unsweetened iced tea is 99.5 percent water, making it an ideal thirst-quenching drink. Tea is also packed with antioxidants and offers a way to add flavor to both savory and sweet dishes. The rich flavor of tea is not only soothing in a mug or glass, but it adds depth to any recipe.

You can also feel good about tea’s sustainability. Every Glass of lipton Tea is more than just a cup of tea. Lipton works with the Rainforest Alliance to help provide access to education and a brighter future for families who work on Lipton’s tea plantations. Rainforest Alliance certified farms also ensure sustainable farming practices and improve quality of life for tea vendors, according to Unilever. Lipton has helped the Rainforest Alliance certify more than 500,000 smallholder farmers, helped set up 1,685 Farmer Field Schools, and trained more than 450,000 farmers in better growing practices.

In many recipes, you can replace water with tea or use powdered tea (such as matcha green tea or tea ground in a spice grinder) as a garnish, spice or rub on meats. In addition, you can smoke meats or meat substitutes with tea leaves or marinate meats with brewed tea. When steaming foods, such as fish, rice or vegetables, you can add a pinch of tea leaves to the water.

Here are some ideas for savory tea foods:

Boil eggs and other foods in tea instead of water.

Infuse teas into broths for soups and stews

Flavorful black (like Assams and Ceylons) are better for beef or pork, while umami-rich Japanese green teas (like Gyokuro and Sencha) are better for chicken or seafood broth.

Marinate tofu, seitan, seafood or meat in tea for 30 minutes or more to impart flavor and remove unpleasant odors.

Use brewed tea and tea leaves as an ingredient in rice dishes.

Stuff whole fish with oolong or green tea leaves before steaming fish

Whisk matcha into sauces and dressings

After brewing a Chinese green tea, retain the leaves and saute them with vegetables and/or meats.

Poach fruit in black or oolong tea with sugar or honey.

Add spices as desired.

Use tea or tea-infused milk/cream to make tea sorbets and tea ice creams

Add a splash of tea to your favorite smoothie.

For sweeter tea foods, infusing an Earl Grey tea into a ganache for tea chocolate truffles. As you warm milk to make hot chocolate, steep some tea in it. Strain the tea leaves ( or remove the teabag) and continue to make hot chocolate as you normally would.

Lemon Pepper Iced Tea Chicken. Serves 4.

All you need:

½ cup unsweetened Lipton iced tea

Juice from one lemon

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp salt

1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

1 fresh rosemary sprig

4 (6oz each) boneless skinless chicken breasts.

All you do:

Combine tea, lemon juice, garlic, honey, olive oil, salt, black pepper and rosemary sprig in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag. Seal and shake until well combined. Add the chicken breasts to the bag and coat with marinade. Refrigerate for 8 hours.

Preheat the grill until hot. Remove the chicken form the marinade, discard the marinade and grill, flipping as needed, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Nutrition Facts per servings: 270 calories, 5g fat, 0g saturated fat, 410mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 37g protein.

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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