Thursday, 30 October 2008
If you're like me you're always on the lookout for some new Thanksgiving recipes to try. I enjoy cooking and started cooking the family dinner on Thanksgiving a few years ago. I also love experimenting with different flavors and ingredients. Some of my favorite foods are ethnic foods such as Moroccan, Indian and Persian.
However, on Thanksgiving I know I have to stick with classic Thanksgiving recipes, but I try to prepare them with a twist. I know that for years my family has eaten canned jellied cranberry sauce, but I'm tired of cranberry sauce out of the can. The last few years I tried some new Thanksgiving recipes. I've made both Bourbon Cranberry Sauce and Tangy Apple Cranberry Chutney, both were very simple to make, and the family enjoyed them. The best part is that we no longer use canned jellied cranberry sauce.
My family used to eat plain vegetables like corn and peas, carrots and creamed corn. Way too much in my opinion. I stopped cooking the creamed corn and the peas and added a Pear Onion au Gratin and a Campbell's Green Bean Casserole. Since they all enjoyed the new vegetable side dishes they didn't miss the old ones they used to eat.
One of my favorite parts about Thanksgiving is the stuffing. I used to make a very simple sage stuffing, in the bird. It was good, but I wanted to try something different. Several years ago I made an Apple, Sage and Sausage stuffing, and cooked it separately in the oven. I used my homemade Turkey Stock. That year the family didn't touch the Sage Stuffing from the bird, but they finished the Apple, Sage and Sausage Stuffing.
Another twist I've made to our Thanksgiving dinner menu is the addition of ham. But not just any ham, and not a spiral ham. After I score the skin of a smoked bone-in ham I stud it with cloves. I then cover it with a glaze of pineapple juice, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, garlic and ginger. I then decorate the ham with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries. I glaze the ham every 20 minutes during cooking. Another hit. This Thanksgiving we'll be cooking a smaller turkey and enjoying ham too.
It's been easy for me to bring a turn about in my family's Thanksgiving menu. I've done it slowly and carefully. At each Thanksgiving I add one or two new things and note their reactions. The next year I prepare the new recipes they like, and do away with the old recipe it replaces.
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
They say that by eating at least one meal a day together is critical to a family's success! By doing this, children are less likely to get into serious trouble that beset a lot of families today. Here is a way to make a meal time a lot of fun and one that your kids will be talking about long after Halloween is done!
Here is a recipe for "Dinner in a Pumpkin" that was given to me by one of my favorite aunt's. It has become a family tradition in our home. I have suggested a whole menu and you can adapt it to fit your family's needs. This is our main meal before we start on our house to house adventure for the evening on Halloween!
Back to planning the menu:
Dinner in a Pumpkin, Monster Mash Veggie Dip, Eyeball Appetizers, Pumpkin Sh sped Gelatin Fruit Salad, Scarecrow Cornbread, and Pumpkin Nut Bars.
Dinner in A Pumpkin
1 small pumpkin about 10" across and clean out the seeds
Combine the following on the stove: 2lbs. hamburger, 1 cup chopped onion and 1 chopped green pepper. Drain the grease once it's done Add 1-2 cups cooked rice, 1 1/2 t. salt, 2t. ground oregano, 1t. pepper, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1/3 cup green stuffed olives, 1 can tomato soup, 3 eggs, beaten, and more salt and pepper. Clean out the pumpkin and put the ingredients inside the pumpkin. Put the pumpkin lid back on the pumpkin. Place pumpkin on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve dinner from the pumpkin; and serve cooked pumpkin too! "Frightfully good!"
Pumpkin Shaped Orange Gelatin Fruit Salad
Dissolve a 6 oz. package of orange gelatin dessert, mix in 2 c. boiling water. Add 2 cups of Ginger Ale. You can add a variety of fruit such as mandarin oranges, grated carrots, bananas, fruit cocktail, marshmallows, etc...or just chill it without fruit. Put it in a 1 quart deep bowl and chill it until very firm. Unmold on a plate and decorate with whipped cream eyes, nose, mouth, collar, and hat. Get creative and can use other edible fruit or candies to decorate with. Add long green gumdrop stem. "Bootiful"!
Put eggs in a pan of water and boil until done. Once they are cooled, peel and prepare like deviled eggs. Take a small container of red icing and pipe lines through it like veins in an eye. Add a slice of black olive in the middle to give the effect of an eyeball. "Devilish"!
Apple juice, 1 liter of lemon/lime carbonated drink. Mix the two together and then add some dry ice right before serving time. Watch the fog appear! "Bewitching"!
Monster Mash Veggie Dip
1 8 oz cream cheese
1 T. beef bouillon dissolved in milk
1 green onion, chopped
Mix these ingredients together and add milk to desired consistency and add a little orange food coloring. You can also throw in some chopped olive and chopped celery. Serve with a variety of veggies! "Scary good"!
1 1/2 t. milk
1 1/2 cube butter, melted
3 cups Biscuit Mix
4 heaping T. Cornmeal
1 t. baking powder
1 1/2 cup sugar
Orange Food coloring
Beat eggs. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Put into a well greased 11 x 14" pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let it cool and cut into squares. Serve with honey butter (tinted green)! It's a scream!
Pumpkin Nut Bars (another family favorite)
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 t. nutmeg & ginger
1 cup flour
2/3 cup pumpkin
1/2 t. soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped nuts
Mix all ingredients well together. Bake in a 9 x 13" pan at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Frost with powdered sugar , margarine, and orange juice. Sprinkle black and orange sprinkles on top! "Mummy Yummy"!
So try your hand at this fun Halloween family dinner. Surprise your family with a new tradition and see if they don't request this dinner again next year. Plan some fun games at the dinner table or come up with some Halloween jokes to share. Prepare your kiddos for the night's festivities by first filling their tummies with lots of these yummies!
Don't forget to make your table look appetizing with some Halloween decor along with your festive food. Your family will be glad you took the time to celebrate a Happy Halloween with them!
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
The kitchen is your work room; it can be a place of stress or a place of release. However, whatever your kitchen is to you, it is a great place to make a stew for the whole family. Perhaps this sounds a little daunting, after all, stews are a serious cooking project, however, the result can calm any mood and make a would-be-boring dinner, into an extravaganza worth remembering.
I have three favorite stew recipes to recommend to you; the Chuckwagon Stew Recipe, Montana Cowboy Stew Recipe, and Amish Beef Stew Recipe.
Chuckwagon stew is an old-time favorite for stew makers, because it is a recipe stew that almost everyone is familiar with and one which everyone likes. You need a pound and a half of beef, half a pound of sliced sausage, a white onion, four potatoes, and a can of baked beans. This dish takes about eight to ten hours to stew in a slow cooker, gradually spooning the bean s in every hour or so. This will serve six people, each serving having about 600 calories.
Montana Cowboy Stew
For this stew you need more potatoes, about 8, an onion, green beans, 3 cans of cream of chicken soup (any brand). Coat the beef with flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to help add flavor to the beef. Put the beef in a plastic bag with all those ingredients, shake until fully covered. Fry the meat while slowly roasting the potatoes and onions. Combine these two together when fully cooked, and add the soup over everything. This stew cooks much fast in four hours, and serves ten people.
Amish Beef Stew
Amish Beef stew is much more vegetable based, if you have would like a little healthier stew. There is no sausage in this stew, just beef, combined with flour, onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, and a cup of tomato juice. Because this has less meat, the tomatoes help create a more marinated, thicker consistency to the stew.
Stew is on of those American classics that can serve a large group of people, or can keep for a week of leftovers for the family.
If you would like more information about making your own stewing or would like more cooking tips, visit www.cdkitchen.com toda
Monday, 27 October 2008
recipe with flavorful fruity sauce!
1. 12 slices cooked ham, about 1/2-inch thick
2. 6 slices pineapple
3. 1 cup raisins
4. 1 cup pineapple juice
5. 1 cup water
6. 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Place 6 ham slices in shallow baking dish. Arrange pineapple slices over ham slices; top with remaining ham slices. In a saucepan over low heat, combine raisins, pineapple juice, and water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water and stir into hot juice mixture. Continue cooking, stirring, until mixture is thickened and smooth. Pour sauce over ham slices. Bake 20 minutes at 350°. For each portion, allow 2 slices of ham and a slice of pineapple; serve with sauce and hot cooked rice, if desired. Serves 6.
Depending on the fat content of the meat, hams are great source of high-grade proteins from animals. It is favorably good as compared to beef because of a great energy content of 1,200 up to 2,600 calories for every pound. Aside from this, hams are also great source of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin B1, riboflavin, iron, calcium, phosphorous and niacin.
Hams are made from rear legs of hogs. These are prepared meticulously as food. It can be fresh ham or cured ham. Generally, holiday ham recipes center on the salting, and smoking of the meat, as well as, drying. Approximately 18% to 20% of the weigh to the hog goes to the ham. In the US, aside from the rear portion of the animal, the shoulder hams, the picnic hams, and California ham are also some of the varieties that are marketed. These are some of the varieties of hams that you can purchase in the market today.
Thursday, 23 October 2008
What's better for a big holiday dinner bash, a special celebration, or big birthday dinner? Prime rib is always a favorite, and grilling prime rib is one way to make sure your roast is succulent, juicy, full of flavor and mouthwatering. It also opens up your kitchen oven for all the side dishes that are so traditional with a big holiday meal!
Getting the Prime Rib Ready for Grilling
Defrost the prime rib, if necessary. You can have your butcher cut off the bones and then retie them onto the roast for cooking, if you'd like. The roast is easier to slice this way after it's grilled. However, don't get rid of the bones! Tying them to the roast will spread the richness and flavor from the bones throughout the roast, and they can help protect it from overcooking, too. Without the bones, your roast can dry out, and no one likes a dry prime rib!
Next prepare your favorite rub or spice seasoning. Rub the seasonings on every side of the roast, (including the bones), wrap in plastic wrap, and place the roast in the refrigerator overnight. This will help the spices to flavor the roast.
Grilling the Prime Rib
Low and slow is the way to make sure your prime rib is done to perfection and is still juicy, tender, and oh so mouthwatering. That means to allow at least 20 minutes per pound for your roast on the grill, and more if you like it medium to well-done. Each grill is different, and each grill heats differently, so you need to experiment with your particular grill to find out where it's the hottest and coolest, and how high the heat actually gets.
Don't rely on the built-in thermometer in your grill's lid, they are notoriously wrong. Invest in a good meat thermometer, and know the internal temperature of your roast when it should be done (more on that later).
To get great results, first, take your roast out of the refrigerator to warm up at least an hour before you plan to start cooking. Never put meat directly from the refrigerator onto the grill! The cold will seize up the meat, make it tougher and less juicy, and will rapidly bring down the temperature of your grill, too.
Next, heat up your grill on high for at least 15 minutes, or until it's as hot as you can get it. Turn down the heat to about 200 to 225 degrees, and put the roast on the grill. Close the lid, and don't open it except to check the temperature of the roast periodically.
Grill the roast until it reaches the desired temperature (see below). Remove the roast from the grill and allow to rest at least 10 minutes before carving and serving.
For rare prime rib heat until the internal temperature is about 130 to 135 degrees.
For medium prime rib heat until the internal temperature is about 145 degrees.
For medium-well heat until the internal temperature is about 150 degrees.
Even at medium-well, the end cuts should be well done, so you'll have well and medium well for those who want it.
Gas or Charcoal Grill
When grilling prime rib, you need a steady temperature. If you can keep your charcoal temperature steady, by adding more charcoal throughout the hours of cooking, then use a charcoal grill. However, gas grills maintain a more constant temperature throughout cooking, so if you're worried about losing your temp, and ruining your prime rib, try grilling prime rib on a gas grill for the best results.
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Looking for authentic Southern fried pork chop recipes? The best ones deliver homestyle chops that are juicy and tender on the inside, but crusty on the outside. Southern cooks have been putting pork chops on the table for decades, but you don't have to be an expert with a cookbook full of fried pork chop recipes to get started. Here's an easy one that will get you licking your lips for more. For extra Southern style, include the traditional rich cream gravy.
4 to 6 pork chops, about 1/2 in. thick
salt and pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp. flour
1 to 2 cups whole milk or buttermilk
1/2 tsp. browning sauce, such as Kitchen Bouquet
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Wash pork chops and trim the excess fat. Sprinkle the chops lightly with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet until it is hot and smoking. Brown the chops on both sides; then drain on paper towels. Pour off most of the oil, but reserve 2 tbsp. of the drippings in the skillet to make the gravy.
Add the flour to the drippings in the skillet, and stir until the mixture is smooth. Cook about 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Slowly and gradually add the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Stir in the browning sauce, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Add the browned pork chops to the cream gravy. Cover and cook over low heat about 45 minutes. Turn the chops a couple of times.
Many Southern fried pork chop recipes include a pinch of crushed red pepper for extra fire. You can also add garlic powder or try using a meat seasoning dry rub in place of the salt and pepper.
If you want to cook a larger number of chops, you'll need to fry in batches. Too many chops in the skillet will lower the cooking temperature of the oil. You'll get chops that are greasy and unevenly cooked.
You can also find healthier versions of fried pork chop recipes. Here's one to make in the oven. It's easy and delicious.
4 center-cut pork chops
3 tbsp. milk
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
Trim the fat from the chops. Combine the egg, milk and seasonings. Dip the chops in the egg mixture and dredge in breadcrumbs. Place chops on a rack in a pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until done, turning once.
For barbecued pork chops, just substitute a barbecue dry rub for the paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. When the chops are almost done, pour about a cup of barbecue sauce over them. Offer extra barbecue sauce on the side.
Serve the chops with creamed corn, mashed potatoes to soak up the extra gravy, homemade buttermilk biscuits and sliced tomatoes fresh from the garden.
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Having a traditional Thanksgiving doesn't have to mean doing things exactly the same way every year. Here are five new Thanksgiving ideas I've tried and liked.
- Use small pieces of lumber as a turkey rack. We all know turkey cooks better if it's sitting up on a rack, not in the bottom of the pan stewing in its own juices. But how many of us actually bother to get this special piece of equipment for something we cook only a couple of times a year? Metal jar lids are usually recommended for improvising a rack, but wood does nicely too. We used two eight-inch long,unfinished pieces of 1x2 - finish grade. (Yes, wood can be both finish grade - the non-splintering kind used for woodwork that shows - and unfinished.)
- Stuff the turkey only partway, with vegetables and spices. This is an idea I got from Rick Rodgers' Turkey Cookbook. One onion, one carrot, one stick of celery, and a few spoonfuls of spices are all you need for a small turkey. The turkey cooks much more quickly, and the vegetables combine well with leftover turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes to make a pie the next day.
- Put the turkey neck on to boil on top of the stove, and if you need liquid to keep the pan drippings from burning, use that. When you're getting ready to make gravy, combine the remaining liquid with the pan drippings. Take as much as you need for the gravy and put it in the fridge so the fat will rise to the top. (Save the rest for later.) Then spoon off the fat, thicken, and there's your gravy.
- Make raw cranberry sauce or relish. This is something else I got from The Turkey Cookbook. Just grind up the berries with sugar, maple syrup, fruit, and nuts. No standing over a pot of boiling water and sugar - no settling for canned cranberry sauce, either. And it tastes great.
- Bake some pumpkin pie filling without a crust. Got too much filling for your piecrust? (This happens a lot, no matter what the recipe on the canned pumpkin label says.) Just pour the excess into a greased baking dish and bake it along with the pie. This makes a somewhat lighter dessert for the days after Thanksgiving, with enough of the pumpkin pie flavor to bring the holiday mood back for a moment.
The Turkey Cookbook: 138 New Ways to Cook America's Favorite Bird, by Rick Rodgers, is available at Amazon.com.
Jane Wangersky is an ESL teacher and the author of Thanksgiving for Beginners. To get her free eBooklet, 50 Questions and Answers About Thanksgiving, visit her site Thanksgiving Tips for ESL Learners
Monday, 20 October 2008
For some reason, it seems like there is always a holiday right around the corner and with these holidays, come families and family gatherings. So it's inevitable that it's going to be your turn to cook that family feast.
Whether you're a seasoned pro or it's your first time hosting the gathering, preparing a turkey dinner for family and friends can be stressful on anyone.
Preparing your kitchen and yourself for the big day will be the key to your success.
By following a time line of up to 10 days prior to the big day you will be able to enjoy not only preparing the meal but also your company.
One week to 10 days prior
Prepare a list of everything you will need, including dinner napkins and decorations
Clean your oven thoroughly and check your appliances for problems. You will have lots of time to take care of those unexpected issues you might find
Clean out and rearrange your refrigerator, making sure there is lots of room for the turkey and all the trimmings
Mentally prepare yourself for the days to come
Three to four days prior
Purchase your turkey, keeping in mind to allow one half pound per person. Allow for more if you would like lots of leftovers
If your turkey is frozen set it in the refrigerator for defrosting (it can take up to 3 days to properly defrost a turkey in your fridge)
Go through your list and buy or get what you need for the big day
Bake dinner rolls and appetizers and set them in the freezer until the night before the dinner
Review your supplies to ensure everything you need is in your kitchen
The day before the dinner
If your turkey is frozen and you haven't allowed three days for defrosting, set the turkey in a bowl or pot in the sink. Fill the pot with cold water and leave the cold water running slowly. Defrosting a turkey this way may take several hours
Iron the tablecloth and any linen needed
Include the children in the preparation by having them decorate and prepare games for your other young guests
Prepare the cranberry sauce or relish and set it in the fridge
Save time on the big day by peeling and chopping the vegetables. They can be stored in the fridge as well
Prepare and bake your desserts and appetizers
Take out and thaw any frozen items you might need
The morning of the big day
Prepare the turkey for cooking
Cook the bird on 350° F allowing for 20 minutes of cook time per pound of turkey
Prepare your side dishes and have them ready to cook or heat when the time is right
Set your table and wait for your guests to arrive
Sit back, relax and enjoy the meal with your family and friends
Preparing and cooking a big turkey dinner or any other large meal doesn't have to be stressful. Preparing your kitchen and yourself for the task will make your day a breeze, even if it is your first time.
Jeanette Drover is a writer for Partselect.com, a provider of appliance parts to help repair all major appliances. Partselect has a full selection of stove parts for all major manufacturers to make sure that the stove is in tip-top condition for preparing that turkey dinner.
Friday, 17 October 2008
Many people who are trying to lose weight wonder is pasta healthy or fattening? Pasta, like many foods high in carbohydrates, often gets a bad reputation for being fattening; however, this does not have to be true.
Carbohydrates, though recently made out to be villains, are actually necessary to keep your body and mind running smoothly. When carbohydrates are broken down they provide a major source of glucose. Glucose is the primary source of energy for your body and the only source of energy for your brain. Many people who have tried to stick to very low-carb diets have suffered from low energy and bad moods. I know I would be in a bad mood if I never got to eat my favorite pastas!
Consuming too many carbohydrates can be fattening, but pasta itself is not fattening; cooked pasta has only about 200 calories per cup. Where you really get into trouble is with your pasta sauce. Pasta sauces that contain high calorie fatty meats, creams, cheese and other fattening ingredients can really make a pasta dish fattening. Tomato pasta sauces are usually not very fattening at all! Americans also have a tendency to eat too much pasta - portion control is important when controlling calories. Italians traditionally serve pasta as a side dish or as one course of a multi-course meal; not in the large mounds that are so common in the United States.
Along with being fattening, pasta has been criticized for being a simple carbohydrates and lumped into the same category as cake, pastries and white bread. The problem with all of these simple carbohydrates is that they spike your blood sugar resulting in excess insulin being secreted which encourages weight gain and a subsequent energy crash. Simple carbohydrates have a high Glycemic Index (GI) which is a number used to measure how quickly the body's blood sugar level rises after the ingestion of a food. The good news is that Pasta has a GI of 41, which is similar to pears and lower than many types of bread. And one easy way to lower the GI of pasta is to cook it like the Italians - "al dente".
Most pasta today is made from semolina flour obtained from durum wheat. This creates a firm dough which in turn also lowers the GI, while also providing a good source of nutrition. Homemade and dried pasta contain plenty of B vitamins, folic acid and iron. It's low in sodium and, despite a prevalent myth, pasta is not high in cholesterol even though it is usually made with eggs. It was once thought that egg consumption needed to be drastically reduced due to their high cholesterol content, but subsequent research has shown eggs are quite healthy in moderation and greatly contribute to the health benefits of pasta. For those on a strict diet, however, pasta can be made without eggs, while the flour and olive oil content still make this pasta healthy.
Another option is to use dried pasta. This pasta usually does not contain eggs or oil but is made from 100% semolina flour and is quite firm when cooked. The firmness of this pasta helps lower the GI index to less than bread, potatoes and white rice while still providing vitamin B, fiber and iron. Dried pasta can be stored up to 3 years, but be sure not to store your pasta in glass containers as the sunlight depletes the vitamin B.
Is Pasta healthy in other ways too?
Yes, homemade pasta can be quite healthy. It is not difficult to learn how to make pasta and homemade Pasta can be made even more nutritious with the inclusion of whole wheat flour, spinach, garlic and herbs that add to the vitamin, mineral and fiber content of the pasta. Fiber is another nutrient often lost in modern diets, but fiber is necessary for digestive health, hormonal balance and the prevention of certain types of cancers.
There are many easy pasta recipes which make this nutritious food very convenient for modern busy cooks as well. When trying to eat healthier, you don't have to wonder "is pasta healthy" since there are many ways to prepare pasta that are. So go ahead and enjoy your pasta without guilt, just remember to go easy on the fattening meats and sauces and enjoy your pasta in moderation!
Joy Harrison is an experienced home cook and cooking instructor. She loves to find easy ways to prepare great home cooked meals in today's busy world. To learn about homemade pasta and easy, delicious ways to prepare it visit her site at http://www.italian-cooking-made-easy.com
Thursday, 16 October 2008
It has become very simple to make quick easy meals which are nutritious and delicious. Many supermarkets have the precut vegetables, meats, and fruit making meal planning a breeze. You can find all your favorite fruits precut and available no matter what time of year it is. Deli's carry mouth watering rotisserie chicken or baked turkey to include in quick easy meals. When you combine your meats, vegetables, and fruits together you have quick easy meals which are stress free to prepare and will soon become your favorite.
Start off your quick and easy meals with a wonderful spinach salad. Simply take baby spinach leaves and wash them. Put them in a nice bowl and add a few cut up boiled eggs and a couple of tablespoons of almond slices. Cover lightly with grated Parmesan cheese and serve with low cal Italian salad dressing or Caesar.
The next course in quick and easy meals can consist of a wonderfully golden brown rotisserie chicken you picked up from the deli on your way home. Put one piece on each plate and serve with a side of steamed vegetables. To save time, you can purchase steamer bags for the microwave which will give you great steamed food in about twenty minutes or less. Add a wheat roll to the plate with low fat butter and you are set. Desert can consist of fresh fruit such as a melon sliced with orange juice over it and sprinkles of coconut on top.
If you have a little bit more time but still want quick and easy meals to prepare, you can try including a medley of vegetables that have been cut and pre-washed. It will only take about two cups of vegetables and a splash of water in the microwave to create. Toss the vegetables with some low fat butter and add a spoon full or two of low fat sprinkle cheese to the top. Put it back in the microwave only long enough to melt the cheese. This is great for cauliflower and broccoli.
To include fish in the diet, you can add talapia, salmon, or haddock to some of the quick and easy meals. You only need to brush the fish with olive oil and squeeze lemon juice over it with some pepper sprinkled on. Wrap each piece in foil and bake in the over for twenty minutes or until done. You can also use the microwave for this but make sure it is cooked through completely. Serve with a salad of dark greens and low fat salad dressing. Add a roll and you are done.
For nights with a chill, you can go with the old traditional quick and easy meals of soup and sandwiches. Purchase some low fat soups in whatever flavor you like and add a whole wheat bread sandwich of lean meats and low fat cheeses with come lettuce tomatoes and onions if you prefer. Add some regular or brown mustard or low fat mayonnaise and you are ready to eat.
Each recipe above is much easier to make for only one person but can be adapted to include the entire family. The fresh and healthy food varieties available work great in the microwave. This means quick and easy meals are even easier to prepare for your family. The next time you go into the store for groceries, look for prepackaged food items to give you an easy meal option. Once you get going with these recipes, you will be coming up with more ideas for quick and easy meals which are nutritious and taste good.
Want to learn more about Meal Planning? Visit http://mealplanningguide.com for meal planning ideas, meal plans and recipes.
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Are you interested in adding healthy meal plans to you or your families nutritional plan each day? Do you want to loose weight or build a better body for yourself? To do any of these things, one must understand the basic principles behind healthy meal plans to ensure they are eating correctly and adding the correct foods. Listed below are some things to consider in your healthy meal plans.
1. Eating Frequency - Each meal place should have you eating at least five, if not six, times a day. There should be 3 large meals and 2-3 snack times between to keep the hunger at bay. It also raises your metabolism and keeps it there. Those who eat healthy foods on a regular basis have been shown to have a higher metabolism when they eat and the time after when the body is digesting the food. The body tends to store fat when it is deprived or there is no regular food schedule. It is out to preserve itself and the storing action is a way to make sure it has something to run on later when the food supply is not being given.
2. Quality of Foods - Healthy meal plans should include foods which serve to give balanced quality calories. Every body needs the right amount of Protein, Carbohydrates, and unsaturated fats each day to stay fit. Fad diets and others which cut these out are no good for you. They are not healthy and can cause more harm than good. Your body needs these things to ensure it gets the right amount of minerals and vitamins every day. The brain uses mostly carbohydrates. When you strip these from the diet to loose weight, your brain function slows and damage can occur. You will feel sluggish and lack energy. Concentrating on the smallest things will be difficult because the brain has no fuel to run on.
3. Something To Maintain - Most diets are so difficult to continue. This is especially true of diets which take out foods or cut them so low, you are not putting into the body what it needs. Try instead, to add foods like vegetables, lean meats, fruits, healthy fats, fish, and low fat dairy products, seeds, and nuts. These will work to keep your body healthy for the long haul. Fad diets and the like only serve to short the body of the essential life giving things they need for the sake of looking thinner. Do not put your body through this and risk damage.
There is no need to spend a large amount of money on building a meal plan through a professional. You can create an easy one for yourself. Just make sure to include foods in the three groups above. Meal planning does not have to be difficult to work through. The more you practice and work on them, the easier it will be every week to create. Out with the fad diets and in with healthy choices. Get ready to begin your new lifestyle with healthy meal plans and be as healthy as you can.
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
No, this is not another one of those canned bean soups. You know what I'm talking about - the ever so famous "Tex-mex" soup with three kinds of beans. And the red beans I am talking about are not the kind of beans you pack on a camping trip either - the kind that gives you...gas. No no no my friend! The red bean soup I am talking about is of a whole different sort. It's sweet, warm, and (as if it couldn't get any more strange) served as a dessert!
Did I just say dessert AND red bean soup?!? You bet I did! Ok, before you go outside and yell, "Has the writer of I Heart Asian Food gone crazy?" let me explain to you what exactly is red bean soup.
Red bean soup is a traditional Chinese soup that is served warm as a dessert after dinner. It's made by boiling red azuki beans and sugar until soft and mushy. These beans give the soup a deep red color, which makes sense since the color red signifies happiness and luck to the Chinese.
It's sugary sweet, deep deep red, warm, has mushy tender red beans, and is the perfect satisfying dessert!
When I was a kid, I use think, Ummm...I'm not so sure, when I saw red bean soup. That's because it looked so unappetizing. Don't get me wrong - it still looks like brownish red water with bean mush. But I've learned better. As I grew older, I became more tolerant to try new foods, and I discovered how good red bean soup really is. I now see it as my guilt free dessert. I don't know how many calories are in it exactly, but the fact that it's a soup helps me to believe that no matter how many bowls I drink (like 2 or 3!), I still won't gain as much weight as if I ate a slice of dark chocolate cake.
Definitly try red bean soup whenever you go to your favorite Chinese restaurant. I'm sure you will find it to be just as satisfying (or even more than) ordering that regular old vanilla ice cream!
Monday, 13 October 2008
Turkey is one of the healthiest meats on the market today. In my opinion it is tastier and healthier than chicken. The white meat of the turkey is juicier and has more taste than the white meat of a chicken or even what is now called the other white meat (pork).
No. 1 of Turkey Breast Recipes: Quick Roasted (for four)
Ingredients: Turkey breast about three pounds or less, small red potatoes (about 12 or 14), 1 stick salted butter, salt & pepper to taste and one tablespoon of olive oil.
Preparation: Using a pan about 8x 14 or something similar, wash and lay the small red potatoes in the pan. Salt and pepper the potatoes to taste and rub the olive oil on them. Mix and rub them until all of the potatoes are oiled. Put a wire rack over the potatoes and place the turkey breast on the wire rack. Rub the turkey breast with butter (generously) and salt and pepper to taste. Place a foil sheet over the pan lightly and put into a 350 degree oven. Bake for about thirty minutes with the foil on. Remove the foil and bake until the turkey is browned to your liking. The center of the turkey breast should register 160 on your meat thermometer.
Variation of this turkey breast recipe: You can add onion and/or carrots and mushrooms to the potatoes.
No. 2 of Turkey Breast Recipes: Turkey Breast Soup (for four)
Ingredients: 1 small Turkey breast cut into fourths, giblets washed and kept whole, 1 medium size onion diced, two large carrots peeled and diced, three stalks celery peeled and diced, two large potatoes peeled and diced, two bay leaves, about two tablespoons dry parsley, about one teaspoon dry rosemary and salt and pepper to taste.
Preparation: Using a large pot (about eight quart) place the turkey breast into the pot and cover with cold water. Allow the water to come to a boil and remove the scum that will come to the top while the water is boiling. (If you have not done this before, use a slotted spoon to remove this scum. The slotted spoon will hold the scummy substance while the water falls through. Shake the scum off the spoon onto a thick piece of paper towel. Do this until the water is clear). When the water is clear add the vegetables, bay leaves, parsley and rosemary. Add salt and pepper to taste Add about four more cups of water and continue cooking until the turkey breast is thoroughly cooked.
When the turkey breast is cooked you can add other vegetables i.e. green beans, corn, peas etc. You can also add diced tomatoes to give the soup a tomato soup flavor.
No.3 of Turkey Breast Recipes: Turkey Breast Salad.
Ingredients: Turkey Breast (half of the cooked turkey from the soup recipe above) cut into small cubes, 1 small onion finely diced, 1 small bell pepper, 1 very small cucumber peeled and diced, 1 small carrot thinly shaved, ¼ cup mayo or salad dressing, salt and pepper to taste.
Preparation: Place all of the ingredients into a serving bowl including the mayo/salad dressing. Mix well until everything is coated and blended and serve with dinner rolls or bread of your choice.
These turkey breast recipes are easy and quick to prepare so make them and enjoy.
Friday, 10 October 2008
It is easy to make a moist succulent turkey breast by following a few helpful hints:
* Place your turkey breast in a shallow roasting pan, to allow the heat to circulate well.
* Place one inch of water in the bottom of the pan to help keep your turkey moist and tender.
* Brush the turkey breast lightly with oil, and cover liberally with your favorite herbs, spices, or seasonings.
Make a tent out of aluminum foil and place this over the turkey breast to hold in heat for even cooking. You will want to remove the aluminum foil during the last hour and a half of cooking for a nice golden brown color.
Check the water level periodically and add more water if needed. This juice and herb infused mixture can be used to make nice turkey gravy after the turkey is done cooking.
The typical turkey breast cooking times for thawed turkey breast at 325 to 350 degrees in a conventional oven are:
* 2 to 3 pounds - 1.5 to 2 hours
* 4 to 6 pounds - 2.5 to 3 hours
* 7 to 8 pounds - 3 to 4 hours
It is perfectly safe to take your turkey breast directly from the freezer and cook it in the oven, without thawing. Just make sure to remove the neck and giblets first.
This will increase the the turkey breast cooking time by approximately fifty percent.
* Place your frozen turkey breast in a shallow roasting pan
* Place one inch of water in the bottom of the pan to keep your turkey moist and tender
* Brush the turkey breast lightly with oil, and cover liberally with your favorite herbs, spices, or seasonings.
Place a tent of aluminum foil over the turkey to hold in heat for even cooking, remove the aluminum foil during the last hour and a half of cooking for a nice golden brown color.
The typical turkey breast cooking times for a frozen turkey breast at 325 to 350 degrees in a conventional oven are:
* 2 to 3 pounds - 3 to 4 hours
* 4 to 6 pounds - 5 to 6 hours
* 7 to 8 pounds- 6 to 8 hours
It is important to cook your turkey breast at 325 to 350 degrees to make sure that it doesn't dry out, and to maintain a safe internal temperature in the meat.
The best way to check for doneness is to use a meat thermometer. The minimum safe internal temperature is 165 degrees. If you pierce the breast with a fork, the juices should run clear.
If you use a convection oven it will reduce the turkey breast cooking times above by approximately 25 percent. To be safe use a meat thermometer to test for doneness
Following these easy tips will ensure that you have a delectable meal that everyone will be raving about.
Thursday, 09 October 2008
This recipe was developed out of necessity. It goes back many years to a time when there were very few places where you could buy cooked meals to bring to someone who was ill. I can remember the first meal I delivered. I had packed a collection of sauce pans, wrapped them in towels, and placed them on baking trays in the trunk of my car, to protect against spilling. The snow was coming down and I drove as fast as I could, mindful of the icy road and the tree lined roadway. I arrived at dinner time, rang the bell, carried the food into the kitchen, sidestepping kids, the Newfoundland, and a variety of galoshes and scarves. Written directions were handed to the harried husband and then I left. There was roast chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, carrots, and gravy. I heard it was all delicious, but of course, what else could they say? Years later, I heard the green beans and carrots burned but with a little gravy, the Newfoundland loved them. The solution was the recipe I'm going to give you. It is almost impossible to ruin, unless you reheat it uncovered, allowing it to dry out. Then your only recourse, obviously, is to get yourself a Newfoundland.The really nice thing about this recipe is that once you've made it you will find yourself inventing your own variations.
-Little Meatballs with Pasta,
-Smoky Ham and Shrimp
-Tuna with Black Olives
We'll start with the Chicken and Polish sausage.
1 lb. of sausage, Polish Kielbasa is a good choice.
1 lb.of Polish sausage
2 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
2 medium onions, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. salt
1 cup of white wine
2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
¼ cup each of olive oil* and butter
2 stalks of celery. diced
2 carrots, diced
1¼ cups Jasmine rice* or white rice
1½ cups frozen broccoli or peas
1 red pepper in thin strips
¼ tsp each dried basil, dried parsley,
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and butter gently, add onions and garlic and sauté until translucent. Add uncut kielbasa, carrot, celery, red pepper, wine, broth,and rice. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer gently for about 25-30 minutes until the rice is tender, but not mushy. Add broccoli florets, cooked for about 10 minutes. If using frozen peas, add the frozen peas. Set aside.
Heat the oven to 425 and lightly oil a pan. Place chicken breasts on the pan and roast chicken breast until firm to touch about 25 minutes. Remove from oven.. Now you have choices. If there is room in your fridge for a large oven proof serving dish, you can arrange the ingredients on it, cover tightly with aluminum foil, put in the fridge until an hour before serving time. If however, space is limited, wrap chicken in aluminum foil tightly and refrigerate. Put the rice and kielbasa in a bowl. Adjust seasonings, cover tightly and refrigerate.
It all should come out of the fridge to warm up a bit about 15 minutes before heating. Preheat oven to 325, arrange the food in your serving (oven proof) dish, cover with aluminum foil tightly and heat until hot., about 25 -30 minutes. Uncover and carefully add more water, distributed evenly over the top, if mixture is dry. Turn oven down to 200 to keep everything warm.
Ruth Graham administers http://americanmadeyes.com/ which is a resource for products, including food, made in the USA and which also offers tested, carefully selected recipes with illustrations for serving ideas.
Tuesday, 07 October 2008
The Autumn is there and with it the cold days. For such days, there is nothing better to eat than a soup. Soups are not only great to warm us in cold days but they are also very healthy. You can add as many vegetables as you want in a soup and make it a very nutritious and delicious dish.
I like almost all kinds of soups but one of my favorites is chicken soup. Chicken soups are very tasty and it is also well known that chicken noodle soup is a good remedy for cold and flu.
Here some of the best recipes for chicken soup. I hope you like them as I like.
Chicken Noodle Soup
3 lb. chicken
2 qts. water
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
2 cups celery, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
1 tart apple, chopped
1 cup onions, chopped
4 cups egg noodles
- Place chicken in kettle with 2 quarts water. Cover until tender (about 2 1/2 hours). Remove chicken from kettle and strain broth.
- Debone chicken and return to kettle with strained broth.
- Add chicken stock, celery, carrots, apple, onions, and pepper and cook until vegetables are tender.
- Add noodles and cook 8-10 minutes.
Chicken Soup With Tiny Meatballs
2 pounds stewing chicken
4 cups water
2 1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 pound small onions
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic
5 carrots, sliced
Parsley and celery leaves
1 cup finely minced beef
1 slice crumbly white bread
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
- Place chicken in water in large saucepan. Add salt, pepper, basil, bay leaf and garlic.
- Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer slowly for 1/2 hour or until chicken is tender.
- Remove chicken from pan. Cool and carefully skim fat from surface of soup.
- Bring soup to a boil and add onions, carrots, parsley and celery, simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- Mix beef with egg, bread, salt and pepper.
- Form into small meatballs, add meatballs to soup and simmer for 35 minutes.
- Meanwhile, skim and bone the chicken. Cut meat into small pieces.
- Garnish the soup with chicken and serve.
Chicken Soup Recipe
1 large stewing chicken, cut in pieces
1 qt. cold water
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. salt (optional)
1-2 tsp. curry powder
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped
1 med. carrot, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 med. apple, pared, cored and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup flour (optional)
1 (14 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
Cayenne pepper to taste
- In large soup pot or kettle, combine first 8 ingredients; cover and simmer approximately 45 minutes (until chicken is tender). Remove chicken, if needed, to determine the need for more water. You'll need at least a quart. Discard skin and bones; cut meat into small chunks.
- In another large pot, heat oil over medium heat and add next 7 ingredients; simmering until tender. Remove from heat and stir in flour.
- Stir in broth, chicken and tomatoes (with juice) and cayenne pepper. Boil, reduce heat; cover and simmer about 1 hour.
- Sprinkle with croutons and serve. It makes 8-10 servings.
Enjoy your chicken soup !!
To find more chicken soup recipes or chicken recipes you can prepare come to my site: www.welovechicken.com
Monday, 06 October 2008
Do you want to learn how to deep fry a turkey that will amaze your family and friends? I've been making our Thanksgiving bird like this for years and I promise you've never tasted anything like a whole turkey deep fried to perfection. If you've never tried to deep fry turkey there are some important things to keep in mind. That's why I wrote this helpful article containing deep fry turkey instructions and tips to help your frying go smoothly.
First of all you need to pick up a Turkey Frying Set. You could just use a big pot and rig something up yourself but it will be a lot easier and safer to use a set specifically designed for deep frying turkey. They run around $39 to $79 and they're worth every penny. They come with a large pot, a sturdy metal stand, a thermometer, a burner you hook up to your propane tank, and a hook you'll use when moving the bird in and out of the oil. You should also pick up a pair of rubber gloves to protect you from splattering oil.
You'll also need several gallons of cooking oil. Peanut oil works best but its a little expensive. If you can't afford to splurge canola oil will work just as well.
To prepare your bird you need to wash him thoroughly inside and out. Make sure there are no pop up devices or anything else inside.
Next you need to measure how much oil you'll need for frying. Place your turkey in the pot and add water until the bird is completely covered. Remove the bird and then measure the amount of water left in the pot. Now you know exactly how much oil you'll need!
Use paper towels to dry your turkey both inside and out, then season it using whatever dry rub recipe you like. I don't recommend using marinade for deep frying turkeys because you want the bird to be dry when you lower it into the oil.
Make sure the inside of the pot is completely dry too and then add the oil. Heat it up to a temperature of at least 350 degrees. For safety purposes you should have everything set up outside. Never deep fry inside your house or garage. It's extremely dangerous.
Once your oil is hot enough its time to carefully lower the bird in. Use extra caution and go slowly so you don't splatter oil or tip over the pot. You may want to have a friend standing by nearby just in case you need help.
Now one of the most common questions people ask is "How long to deep fry a turkey?" I never get tired of seeing the looks on their faces when I tell them just 3 1/2 minutes per pound. Isn't it amazing that the same turkey that takes hours to cook in the oven will be ready to eat in just 35-45 minutes when fried?
When the time is up turn off the burner and carefully remove the bird from the oil. Let it drain out and rest for about ten minutes and it will be ready for carving. Despite what you may think, it won't be all greasy and oily. If you followed my deep fry turkey instructions your bird will be juicy and delicious. You may never cook a turkey in the oven again!
Thursday, 02 October 2008
So, you know you're eating out too much, you've added a few pounds, and the cost is starting to get out of hand. But with your busy schedule and limited energy, where do you start to find the right meal planning idea that will work for your family? Are you one of the people who check with a search engine online about how to plan a spaghetti dinner?
Here are five ideas to get you started:
1. Set up a meal exchange with one or two families each week and agree to try it for a couple of months. Make a double batch of your favorite taco salad to deliver and know that you will have a prepared meal in exchange one night a week. Split the cost of inexpensive containers and lids that can go between homes.
2. If you are tempted to go out to eat, but it's not in the budget right now, you can cook your favorite Red Lobster's garlic cheese biscuits or Cracker Barrel Hash Brown Casserole. Just do an online search for words such as "copy cat recipes" or "top secret recipes." Before long your kitchen will start smelling like you work at the Olive Garden. This is a great way to create healthy meal plans for teens that don't want to join you for dinner any longer.
3. Consider trying a meal preparation service like Dream Dinners. For a set price, you go in and choose meals based on your family's likes, dislikes, eating restrictions, and budget. Then you prepare the meals right there and package them up to bring them home to your freezer. The result? Fast healthy dinner plans and finished meals. The cost may be a bit more than if you did it in your own kitchen, but it's significantly less than eating out and much healthier. It's a good chance to learn how to cook better too.
4. Avoid the temptation purchase entire meals of take-out. Instead, mix part of a meal from your favorite restaurant with a partially prepared meal at home. For example, it simple and inexpensive to make a large Greek salad with tossed with dressing, olives and feta cheese. Then order a large side order of Gyro meat from your local Greek restaurant. You'll get more value for your money and also have a fresh meal of something you typically would not make at home.
5. Get organized with meal planning by deciding what works best for your schedule. Can you make a double batch of meat loaf and freeze half for another evening? Online you can find various dinner menu planning software systems. Or find a blank print out of a weekly meal plan. Does it help to break down the dinners by style of foods? For example, plan six night's meals as: two - fish; one - poultry; one - beef; one - salad; one - sandwich.
The last step is to start flipping through magazines, dusting off those old cookbooks, and taking a poll of your family member's favorite meals. Then start your planning and grocery list. Within just a few days you will likely have at least twenty recipes and that can get you through about six weeks of meals. And forgo taking all the responsibility for meals. Make everyone get involved by making the kids responsible for one meal a week; bribe your spouse to accompany you to a Dream Dinner style meal preparation jaunt. In no time your dinner blues will disappear and leave you with a wonderful feeling of accomplishment... and relief!
Do you have a chronic illness? Get the first 40 pages of "Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend" when you sign up for our monthly ezine HopeNotes at http://www.restministries.org/res-ezine.htm - Plus find other articles all related to chronic illness and information on National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week at http://www.restministries.org - Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill through Christian resources and other programs and support group materials.
Wednesday, 01 October 2008
This is one of a collection of recipes I have. Many came from my mother or other relatives and friends. They are real Italian recipes mostly from east coast US first and second generation American-Italians. I have put them together for a complete meal from the appetizer to the dessert. This one has a great Sicilian steak and Roman soup. Enjoy!
1 large eggplant, 2/3 cup of vinegar, 4 cloves of garlic, 2 hot green peppers, olive oil.
Peel and cut garlic. Slice eggplant very thin. Place eggplant in a 1 quart, screw top glass jar. Add garlic, peppers, and vinegar. Fill jar with olive oil. Refrigerate for at least 1 day. Serve Cold.
1 lb. of pork or ham, 1 lb. of escarole, 1 can of red kidney beans, 2 rolls, 1 clove of garlic, 1 tsp. of parsley, 1 tsp. of basil, ½ cup of Parmesan cheese, 2 chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Cut meat into bite size pieces. Brown meat with garlic. Add tomatoes. Boil escarole until tender. Add escarole to meat along with kidney beans, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl cut up rolls to bite size. Add mixture with Parmesan cheese and blend well. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
The Main Dish:
4 choice steaks, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, ½ cup of olive oil, 3 tsp. of grated Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of Italian bread crumbs, salt and pepper.
Marinate steaks in garlic and oil mixture, for about 1 hour, flipping the steaks. Combine bread crumbs, cheese, salt, pepper and coat the steaks with it. Cook in broiler or foil cook on grill, turning once until steaks are ready.
The Bread, Roll, or Pastry:
ENGLISH MUFFIN PIZZA
16 oz. tomato sauce, 1 tbsp. oil, 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning, ½ tsp. of salt, ¼ tsp. of garlic powder, 6 English muffins cut in half, 1 cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese, 1 cup of shredded Romano cheese.
Toppings: all optional - create your own. Suggested: Strips of green peppers, sliced black olives, sliced pepperoni, sausage pieces.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, and garlic powder. Spread 2 ½ tablespoons of sauce onto each muffin half. Sprinkle with cheeses and add toppings. Bake in pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and cheese is melted. Have a jolly good time fellow.
The Cake, Cookie, or Dessert:
FRENCH COFFEE CAKE
1 cup of sour cream, 1 tsp. of baking powder, 1 tsp. of baking soda, 1 tsp. of vanilla, ¼ tsp. of salt, ¼ cup of butter, 1 cup of sugar, 1 tbsp. of sugar, 1 tsp. of cinnamon, 2 eggs, 2 cups of flour.
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Then add dry ingredients and sour cream. Then add vanilla. Pour into tube pan. Sprinkle 1 tsp. of cinnamon and 1 tbsp. of sugar on half of batter, then pour remaining batter on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. OOO La La!